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Title: Past and Present - Thomas Carlyle's Collected Works, Vol. XIII.
Author: Carlyle, Thomas, 1795-1881
Language: English
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THOMAS CARLYLE'S

COLLECTED WORKS.


LIBRARY EDITION.
_IN THIRTY VOLUMES._


VOL. XIII.
PAST AND PRESENT.


LONDON: CHAPMAN AND HALL (LIMITED),
11 HENRIETTA STREET, COVENT GARDEN.



PAST AND PRESENT.

BY

THOMAS CARLYLE.



    Ernst ist das Leben.
                         SCHILLER.

[1843.]



CONTENTS.


BOOK I.

PROEM.

 CHAP.                             PAGE

    I. Midas                          3

   II. The Sphinx                    10

  III. Manchester Insurrection       19

   IV. Morrison's Pill               29

    V. Aristocracy of Talent         34

   VI. Hero-Worship                  41


BOOK II.

THE ANCIENT MONK.

    I. Jocelin of Brakelond          51

   II. St. Edmundsbury               60

  III. Landlord Edmund               65

   IV. Abbot Hugo                    73

    V. Twelfth Century               79

   VI. Monk Samson                   84

  VII. The Canvassing                92

 VIII. The Election                  96

   IX. Abbot Samson                 105

    X. Government                   112

   XI. The Abbot's Ways             117

  XII. The Abbot's Troubles         124

 XIII. In Parliament                131

  XIV. Henry of Essex               134

   XV. Practical-Devotional         139

  XVI. St. Edmund                   148

 XVII. The Beginnings               157


BOOK III.

THE MODERN WORKER.

    I. Phenomena                    171

   II. Gospel of Mammonism          181

  III. Gospel of Dilettantism       188

   IV. Happy                        192

    V. The English                  197

   VI. Two Centuries                208

  VII. Over-Production              213

 VIII. Unworking Aristocracy        218

   IX. Working Aristocracy          228

    X. Plugson of Undershot         235

   XI. Labour                       244

  XII. Reward                       250

 XIII. Democracy                    260

  XIV. Sir Jabesh Windbag           275

   XV. Morrison again               280


BOOK IV.

HOROSCOPE.

    I. Aristocracies                297

   II. Bribery Committee            312

  III. The One Institution          318

   IV. Captains of Industry         333

    V. Permanence                   341

   VI. The Landed                   348

  VII. The Gifted                   355

 VIII. The Didactic                 361


Summary and Index              371, 383



BOOK I.

PROEM



CHAPTER I.

MIDAS.


The condition of England, on which many pamphlets are now in the
course of publication, and many thoughts unpublished are going on in
every reflective head, is justly regarded as one of the most ominous,
and withal one of the strangest, ever seen in this world. England is
full of wealth, of multifarious produce, supply for human want in
every kind; yet England is dying of inanition. With unabated bounty
the land of England blooms and grows; waving with yellow harvests;
thick-studded with workshops, industrial implements, with fifteen
millions of workers, understood to be the strongest, the cunningest
and the willingest our Earth ever had; these men are here; the work
they have done, the fruit they have realised is here, abundant,
exuberant on every hand of us: and behold, some baleful fiat as of
Enchantment has gone forth, saying, "Touch it not, ye workers, ye
master-workers, ye master-idlers; none of you can touch it, no man of
you shall be the better for it; this is enchanted fruit!" On the poor
workers such fiat falls first, in its rudest shape; but on the rich
master-workers too it falls; neither can the rich master-idlers, nor
any richest or highest man escape, but all are like to be brought low
with it, and made 'poor' enough, in the money sense or a far fataler
one.

Of these successful skilful workers some two millions it is now
counted, sit in Workhouses, Poor-law Prisons; or have 'out-door
relief' flung over the wall to them,--the workhouse Bastille being
filled to bursting, and the strong Poor-law broken asunder by a
stronger.[1] They sit there, these many months now; their hope of
deliverance as yet small. In workhouses, pleasantly so-named, because
work cannot be done in them. Twelve-hundred-thousand workers in
England alone; their cunning right-hand lamed, lying idle in their
sorrowful bosom; their hopes, outlooks, share of this fair world,
shut-in by narrow walls. They sit there, pent up, as in a kind of
horrid enchantment; glad to be imprisoned and enchanted, that they may
not perish starved. The picturesque Tourist, in a sunny autumn day,
through this bounteous realm of England, descries the Union Workhouse
on his path. 'Passing by the Workhouse of St. Ives in Huntingdonshire,
on a bright day last autumn,' says the picturesque Tourist, 'I saw
sitting on wooden benches, in front of their Bastille and within their
ring-wall and its railings, some half-hundred or more of these men.
Tall robust figures, young mostly or of middle age; of honest
countenance, many of them thoughtful and even intelligent-looking men.
They sat there, near by one another; but in a kind of torpor,
especially in a silence, which was very striking. In silence: for,
alas, what word was to be said? An Earth all lying round, crying, Come
and till me, come and reap me;--yet we here sit enchanted! In the eyes
and brows of these men hung the gloomiest expression, not of anger,
but of grief and shame and manifold inarticulate distress and
weariness; they returned my glance with a glance that seemed to say,
"Do not look at us. We sit enchanted here, we know not why. The Sun
shines and the Earth calls; and, by the governing Powers and
Impotences of this England, we are forbidden to obey. It is
impossible, they tell us!" There was something that reminded me of
Dante's Hell in the look of all this; and I rode swiftly away.'

So many hundred thousands sit in workhouses: and other hundred
thousands have not yet got even workhouses; and in thrifty Scotland
itself, in Glasgow or Edinburgh City, in their dark lanes, hidden from
all but the eye of God, and of rare Benevolence the minister of God,
there are scenes of woe and destitution and desolation, such as, one
may hope, the Sun never saw before in the most barbarous regions where
men dwelt. Competent witnesses, the brave and humane Dr. Alison, who
speaks what he knows, whose noble Healing Art in his charitable hands
becomes once more a truly sacred one, report these things for us:
these things are not of this year, or of last year, have no reference
to our present state of commercial stagnation, but only to the common
state. Not in sharp fever-fits, but in chronic gangrene of this kind
is Scotland suffering. A Poor-law, any and every Poor-law, it may be
observed, is but a temporary measure; an anodyne, not a remedy: Rich
and Poor, when once the naked facts of their condition have come into
collision, cannot long subsist together on a mere Poor-law. True
enough:--and yet, human beings cannot be left to die! Scotland too,
till something better come, must have a Poor-law, if Scotland is not
to be a byword among the nations. O, what a waste is there; of noble
and thrice-noble national virtues; peasant Stoicisms, Heroisms;
valiant manful habits, soul of a Nation's worth,--which all the metal
of Potosi cannot purchase back; to which the metal of Potosi, and all
you can buy with _it_, is dross and dust!

Why dwell on this aspect of the matter? It is too indisputable, not
doubtful now to any one. Descend where you will into the lower class,
in Town or Country, by what avenue you will, by Factory Inquiries,
Agricultural Inquiries, by Revenue Returns, by Mining-Labourer
Committees, by opening your own eyes and looking, the same sorrowful
result discloses itself: you have to admit that the working body of
this rich English Nation has sunk or is fast sinking into a state, to
which, all sides of it considered, there was literally never any
parallel. At Stockport Assizes,--and this too has no reference to the
present state of trade, being of date prior to that,--a Mother and a
Father are arraigned and found guilty of poisoning three of their
children, to defraud a 'burial-society' of some _3l. 8s._ due on the
death of each child: they are arraigned, found guilty; and the
official authorities, it is whispered, hint that perhaps the case is
not solitary, that perhaps you had better not probe farther into that
department of things. This is in the autumn of 1841; the crime itself
is of the previous year or season. "Brutal savages, degraded Irish,"
mutters the idle reader of Newspapers; hardly lingering on this
incident. Yet it is an incident worth lingering on; the depravity,
savagery and degraded Irishism being never so well admitted. In the
British land, a human Mother and Father, of white skin and professing
the Christian religion, had done this thing; they, with their Irishism
and necessity and savagery, had been driven to do it. Such instances
are like the highest mountain apex emerged into view; under which lies
a whole mountain region and land, not yet emerged. A human Mother and
Father had said to themselves, What shall we do to escape starvation?
We are deep sunk here, in our dark cellar; and help is far.--Yes, in
the Ugolino Hungertower stern things happen; best-loved little Gaddo
fallen dead on his Father's knees!--The Stockport Mother and Father
think and hint: Our poor little starveling Tom, who cries all day for
victuals, who will see only evil and not good in this world: if he
were out of misery at once; he well dead, and the rest of us perhaps
kept alive? It is thought, and hinted; at last it is done. And now Tom
being killed, and all spent and eaten, Is it poor little starveling
Jack that must go, or poor little starveling Will?--What a committee
of ways and means!

In starved sieged cities, in the uttermost doomed ruin of old
Jerusalem fallen under the wrath of God, it was prophesied and said,
'The hands of the pitiful women have sodden their own children.' The
stern Hebrew imagination could conceive no blacker gulf of
wretchedness; that was the ultimatum of degraded god-punished man. And
we here, in modern England, exuberant with supply of all kinds,
besieged by nothing if it be not by invisible Enchantments, are we
reaching that?--How come these things? Wherefore are they, wherefore
should they be?

       *       *       *       *       *

Nor are they of the St. Ives workhouses, of the Glasgow lanes, and
Stockport cellars, the only unblessed among us. This successful
industry of England, with its plethoric wealth, has as yet made nobody
rich; it is an enchanted wealth, and belongs yet to nobody. We might
ask, Which of us has it enriched? We can spend thousands where we once
spent hundreds; but can purchase nothing good with them. In Poor and
Rich, instead of noble thrift and plenty, there is idle luxury
alternating with mean scarcity and inability. We have sumptuous
garnitures for our Life, but have forgotten to _live_ in the middle of
them. It is an enchanted wealth; no man of us can yet touch it. The
class of men who feel that they are truly better off by means of it,
let them give us their name!

Many men eat finer cookery, drink dearer liquors,--with what
advantage they can report, and their Doctors can: but in the heart of
them, if we go out of the dyspeptic stomach, what increase of
blessedness is there? Are they better, beautifuler, stronger, braver?
Are they even what they call 'happier'? Do they look with satisfaction
on more things and human faces in this God's-Earth; do more things and
human faces look with satisfaction on them? Not so. Human faces gloom
discordantly, disloyally on one another. Things, if it be not mere
cotton and iron things, are growing disobedient to man. The Master
Worker is enchanted, for the present, like his Workhouse Workman,
clamours, in vain hitherto, for a very simple sort of 'Liberty:' the
liberty 'to buy where he finds it cheapest, to sell where he finds it
dearest.' With guineas jingling in every pocket, he was no whit
richer; but now, the very guineas threatening to vanish, he feels that
he is poor indeed. Poor Master Worker! And the Master Unworker, is not
he in a still fataler situation? Pausing amid his game-preserves, with
awful eye,--as he well may! Coercing fifty-pound tenants; coercing,
bribing, cajoling; 'doing what he likes with his own.' His mouth full
of loud futilities, and arguments to prove the excellence of his
Corn-law; and in his heart the blackest misgiving, a desperate
half-consciousness that his excellent Corn-law is _in_defensible, that
his loud arguments for it are of a kind to strike men too literally
_dumb_.

To whom, then, is this wealth of England wealth? Who is it that it
blesses; makes happier, wiser, beautifuler, in any way better? Who has
got hold of it, to make it fetch and carry for him, like a true
servant, not like a false mock-servant; to do him any real service
whatsoever? As yet no one. We have more riches than any Nation ever
had before; we have less good of them than any Nation ever had
before. Our successful industry is hitherto unsuccessful; a strange
success, if we stop here! In the midst of plethoric plenty, the people
perish; with gold walls, and full barns, no man feels himself safe or
satisfied. Workers, Master Workers, Unworkers, all men, come to a
pause; stand fixed, and cannot farther. Fatal paralysis spreading
inwards, from the extremities, in St. Ives workhouses, in Stockport
cellars, through all limbs, as if towards the heart itself. Have we
actually got enchanted, then; accursed by some god?--

       *       *       *       *       *

Midas longed for gold, and insulted the Olympians. He got gold, so
that whatsoever he touched became gold,--and he, with his long ears,
was little the better for it. Midas had misjudged the celestial
music-tones; Midas had insulted Apollo and the gods: the gods gave him
his wish, and a pair of long ears, which also were a good appendage to
it. What a truth in these old Fables!

FOOTNOTES:

[1] The Return of Paupers for England and Wales, at Ladyday 1842, is,
'In-door 221,687, Out-door 1,207,402, Total 1,429,089.' _Official
Report._



CHAPTER II.

THE SPHINX.


How true, for example, is that other old Fable of the Sphinx, who sat
by the wayside, propounding her riddle to the passengers, which if
they could not answer she destroyed them! Such a Sphinx is this Life
of ours, to all men and societies of men. Nature, like the Sphinx, is
of womanly celestial loveliness and tenderness; the face and bosom of
a goddess, but ending in claws and the body of a lioness. There is in
her a celestial beauty,--which means celestial order, pliancy to
wisdom; but there is also a darkness, a ferocity, fatality, which are
infernal. She is a goddess, but one not yet dis-imprisoned; one still
half-imprisoned,--the articulate, lovely still encased in the
inarticulate, chaotic. How true! And does she not propound her riddles
to us? Of each man she asks daily, in mild voice, yet with a terrible
significance, "Knowest thou the meaning of this Day? What thou canst
do Today; wisely attempt to do?" Nature, Universe, Destiny, Existence,
howsoever we name this grand unnamable Fact in the midst of which we
live and struggle, is as a heavenly bride and conquest to the wise and
brave, to them who can discern her behests and do them; a destroying
fiend to them who cannot. Answer her riddle, it is well with thee.
Answer it not, pass on regarding it not, it will answer itself; the
solution for thee is a thing of teeth and claws; Nature is a dumb
lioness, deaf to thy pleadings, fiercely devouring. Thou art not now
her victorious bridegroom; thou art her mangled victim, scattered on
the precipices, as a slave found treacherous, recreant, ought to be
and must.

With Nations it is as with individuals: Can they rede the riddle of
Destiny? This English Nation, will it get to know the meaning of _its_
strange new Today? Is there sense enough extant, discoverable anywhere
or anyhow, in our united twenty-seven million heads to discern the
same; valour enough in our twenty-seven million hearts to dare and do
the bidding thereof? It will be seen!--

The secret of gold Midas, which he with his long ears never could
discover, was, That he had offended the Supreme Powers;--that he had
parted company with the eternal inner Facts of this Universe, and
followed the transient outer Appearances thereof; and so was arrived
_here_. Properly it is the secret of all unhappy men and unhappy
nations. Had they known Nature's right truth, Nature's right truth
would have made them free. They have become enchanted; stagger
spell-bound, reeling on the brink of huge peril, because they were not
wise enough. They have forgotten the right Inner True, and taken up
with the Outer Sham-true. They answer the Sphinx's question _wrong_.
Foolish men cannot answer it aright! Foolish men mistake transitory
semblance for eternal fact, and go astray more and more.

Foolish men imagine that because judgment for an evil thing is
delayed, there is no justice, but an accidental one, here below.
Judgment for an evil thing is many times delayed some day or two, some
century or two, but it is sure as life, it is sure as death! In the
centre of the world-whirlwind, verily now as in the oldest days,
dwells and speaks a God. The great soul of the world is _just_. O
brother, can it be needful now, at this late epoch of experience,
after eighteen centuries of Christian preaching for one thing, to
remind thee of such a fact; which all manner of Mahometans, old Pagan
Romans, Jews, Scythians and heathen Greeks, and indeed more or less
all men that God made, have managed at one time to see into; nay which
thou thyself, till 'redtape' strangled the inner life of thee, hadst
once some inkling of: That there _is_ justice here below; and even, at
bottom, that there is nothing else but justice! Forget that, thou hast
forgotten all. Success will never more attend thee: how can it now?
Thou hast the whole Universe against thee. No more success: mere
sham-success, for a day and days; rising ever higher,--towards its
Tarpeian Rock. Alas, how, in thy soft-hung Longacre vehicle, of
polished leather to the bodily eye, of redtape philosophy, of
expediences, clubroom moralities, Parliamentary majorities to the
mind's eye, thou beautifully rollest: but knowest thou whitherward? It
is towards the _road's end_. Old use-and-wont; established methods,
habitudes, _once_ true and wise; man's noblest tendency, his
perseverance, and man's ignoblest, his inertia; whatsoever of noble
and ignoble Conservatism there is in men and Nations, strongest always
in the strongest men and Nations: all this is as a road to thee, paved
smooth through the abyss,--till all this _end_. Till men's bitter
necessities can endure thee no more. Till Nature's patience with thee
is done; and there is no road or footing any farther, and the abyss
yawns sheer!--

Parliament and the Courts of Westminster are venerable to me; how
venerable; gray with a thousand years of honourable age! For a
thousand years and more, Wisdom and faithful Valour, struggling amid
much Folly and greedy Baseness, not without most sad distortions in
the struggle, have built them up; and they are as we see. For a
thousand years, this English Nation has found them useful or
supportable; they have served this English Nation's want; _been_ a
road to it through the abyss of Time. They are venerable, they are
great and strong. And yet it is good to remember always that they are
not the venerablest, nor the greatest, nor the strongest! Acts of
Parliament are venerable; but if they correspond not with the writing
on the 'Adamant Tablet,' what are they? Properly their one element of
venerableness, of strength or greatness, is, that they at all times
correspond therewith as near as by human possibility they can. They
are cherishing destruction in their bosom every hour that they
continue otherwise.

Alas, how many causes that can plead well for themselves in the Courts
of Westminster; and yet in the general Court of the Universe, and free
Soul of Man, have no word to utter! Honourable Gentlemen may find this
worth considering, in times like ours. And truly, the din of
triumphant Law-logic, and all shaking of horse-hair wigs and
learned-serjeant gowns having comfortably ended, we shall do well to
ask ourselves withal, What says that high and highest Court to the
verdict? For it is the Court of Courts, that same; where the universal
soul of Fact and very Truth sits President;--and thitherward, more and
more swiftly, with a really terrible increase of swiftness, all causes
do in these days crowd for revisal,--for confirmation, for
modification, for reversal with costs. Dost thou know that Court; hast
thou had any Law-practice there? What, didst thou never enter; never
file any petition of redress, reclaimer, disclaimer or demurrer,
written as in thy heart's blood, for thy own behoof or another's; and
silently await the issue? Thou knowest not such a Court? Hast merely
heard of it by faint tradition as a thing that was or had been? Of
thee, I think, we shall get little benefit.

For the gowns of learned-serjeants are good: parchment records, fixed
forms, and poor terrestrial Justice, with or without horse-hair, what
sane man will not reverence these? And yet, behold, the man is not
sane but insane, who considers these alone as venerable. Oceans of
horse-hair, continents of parchment, and learned-serjeant eloquence,
were it continued till the learned tongue wore itself small in the
indefatigable learned mouth, cannot make unjust just. The grand
question still remains, Was the judgment just? If unjust, it will not
and cannot get harbour for itself, or continue to have footing in this
Universe, which was made by other than One Unjust. Enforce it by never
such statuting, three readings, royal assents; blow it to the four
winds with all manner of quilted trumpeters and pursuivants, in the
rear of them never so many gibbets and hangmen, it will not stand, it
cannot stand. From all souls of men, from all ends of Nature, from the
Throne of God above, there are voices bidding it: Away, away! Does it
take no warning; does it stand, strong in its three readings, in its
gibbets and artillery-parks? The more woe is to it, the frightfuler
woe. It will continue standing for its day, for its year, for its
century, doing evil all the while; but it has One enemy who is
Almighty: dissolution, explosion, and the everlasting Laws of Nature
incessantly advance towards it; and the deeper its rooting, more
obstinate its continuing, the deeper also and huger will its ruin and
overturn be.

In this God's-world, with its wild-whirling eddies and mad
foam-oceans, where men and nations perish as if without law, and
judgment for an unjust thing is sternly delayed, dost thou think that
there is therefore no justice? It is what the fool hath said in his
heart. It is what the wise, in all times, were wise because they
denied, and knew forever not to be. I tell thee again, there is
nothing else but justice. One strong thing I find here below: the just
thing, the true thing. My friend, if thou hadst all the artillery of
Woolwich trundling at thy back in support of an unjust thing; and
infinite bonfires visibly waiting ahead of thee, to blaze centuries
long for thy victory on behalf of it,--I would advise thee to call
halt, to fling down thy baton, and say, "In God's name, No!" Thy
'success'? Poor devil, what will thy success amount to? If the thing
is unjust, thou hast not succeeded; no, not though bonfires
blazed from North to South, and bells rang, and editors wrote
leading-articles, and the just thing lay trampled out of sight, to all
mortal eyes an abolished and annihilated thing. Success? In few years
thou wilt be dead and dark,--all cold, eyeless, deaf; no blaze of
bonfires, ding-dong of bells or leading-articles visible or audible to
thee again at all forever: What kind of success is that!--

       *       *       *       *       *

It is true, all goes by approximation in this world; with any not
insupportable approximation we must be patient. There is a noble
Conservatism as well as an ignoble. Would to Heaven, for the sake of
Conservatism itself, the noble alone were left, and the ignoble, by
some kind severe hand, were ruthlessly lopped away, forbidden evermore
to show itself! For it is the right and noble alone that will have
victory in this struggle; the rest is wholly an obstruction, a
postponement and fearful imperilment of the victory. Towards an
eternal centre of right and nobleness, and of that only, is all this
confusion tending. We already know whither it is all tending; what
will have victory, what will have none! The Heaviest will reach the
centre. The Heaviest, sinking through complex fluctuating media and
vortices, has its deflexions, its obstructions, nay at times its
resiliences, its reboundings; whereupon some blockhead shall be heard
jubilating, "See, your Heaviest ascends!"--but at all moments it is
moving centreward, fast as is convenient for it; sinking, sinking;
and, by laws older than the World, old as the Maker's first Plan of
the World, it has to arrive there.

Await the issue. In all battles, if you await the issue, each fighter
has prospered according to his right. His right and his might, at the
close of the account, were one and the same. He has fought with all
his might, and in exact proportion to all his right he has prevailed.
His very death is no victory over him. He dies indeed; but his work
lives, very truly lives. A heroic Wallace, quartered on the scaffold,
cannot hinder that his Scotland become, one day, a part of England:
but he does hinder that it become, on tyrannous unfair terms, a part
of it; commands still, as with a god's voice, from his old Valhalla
and Temple of the Brave, that there be a just real union as of brother
and brother, not a false and merely semblant one as of slave and
master. If the union with England be in fact one of Scotland's chief
blessings, we thank Wallace withal that it was not the chief curse.
Scotland is not Ireland: no, because brave men rose there, and said,
"Behold, ye must not tread us down like slaves; and ye shall not,--and
cannot!" Fight on, thou brave true heart, and falter not, through dark
fortune and through bright. The cause thou fightest for, so far as it
is true, no farther, yet precisely so far, is very sure of victory.
The falsehood alone of it will be conquered, will be abolished, as it
ought to be: but the truth of it is part of Nature's own Laws,
co-operates with the World's eternal Tendencies, and cannot be
conquered.

The _dust_ of controversy, what is it but the _falsehood_ flying off
from all manner of conflicting true forces, and making such a loud
dust-whirlwind,--that so the truths alone may remain, and embrace
brother-like in some true resulting-force! It is ever so. Savage
fighting Heptarchies: their fighting is an ascertainment, who has the
right to rule over whom; that out of such waste-bickering Saxondom a
peacefully coöperating England may arise. Seek through this Universe;
if with other than owl's eyes, thou wilt find nothing nourished there,
nothing kept in life, but what has right to nourishment and life. The
rest, look at it with other than owl's eyes, is not living; is all
dying, all as good as dead! Justice was ordained from the foundations
of the world; and will last with the world and longer.

       *       *       *       *       *

From which I infer that the inner sphere of Fact, in this present
England as elsewhere, differs infinitely from the outer sphere and
spheres of Semblance. That the Temporary, here as elsewhere, is too
apt to carry it over the Eternal. That he who dwells in the temporary
Semblances, and does not penetrate into the eternal Substance, will
_not_ answer the Sphinx-riddle of Today, or of any Day. For the
substance alone is substantial; that _is_ the law of Fact; if you
discover not that, Fact, who already knows it, will let you also know
it by and by!

What is Justice? that, on the whole, is the question of the Sphinx to
us. The law of Fact is, that Justice must and will be done. The sooner
the better; for the Time grows stringent, frightfully pressing! "What
is Justice?" ask many, to whom cruel Fact alone will be able to prove
responsive. It is like jesting Pilate asking, What is Truth? Jesting
Pilate had not the smallest chance to ascertain what was Truth. He
could not have known it, had a god shown it to him. Thick serene
opacity, thicker than amaurosis, veiled those smiling eyes of his to
Truth; the inner _retina_ of them was gone paralytic, dead. He looked
at Truth; and discerned her not, there where she stood. "What is
Justice?" The clothed embodied Justice that sits in Westminster Hall,
with penalties, parchments, tipstaves, is very visible. But the
_un_embodied Justice, whereof that other is either an emblem, or else
is a fearful indescribability, is not so visible! For the unembodied
Justice is of Heaven; a Spirit, and Divinity of Heaven,--_in_visible
to all but the noble and pure of soul. The impure ignoble gaze with
eyes, and she is not there. They will prove it to you by logic, by
endless Hansard Debatings, by bursts of Parliamentary eloquence. It is
not consolatory to behold! For properly, as many men as there are in a
Nation who _can_ withal see Heaven's invisible Justice, and know it to
be on Earth also omnipotent, so many men are there who stand between a
Nation and perdition. So many, and no more. Heavy-laden England, how
many hast thou in this hour? The Supreme Power sends new and ever new,
all _born_ at least with hearts of flesh and not of stone;--and heavy
Misery itself, once heavy enough, will prove didactic!--



CHAPTER III.

MANCHESTER INSURRECTION.


Blusterowski, Colacorde, and other Editorial prophets of the
Continental-Democratic Movement, have in their leading-articles shown
themselves disposed to vilipend the late Manchester Insurrection, as
evincing in the rioters an extreme backwardness to battle; nay as
betokening, in the English People itself, perhaps a want of the proper
animal courage indispensable in these ages. A million hungry operative
men started up, in utmost paroxysm of desperate protest against their
lot; and, ask Colacorde and company, How many shots were fired? Very
few in comparison! Certain hundreds of drilled soldiers sufficed to
suppress this million-headed hydra, and tread it down, without the
smallest appeasement or hope of such, into its subterranean
settlements again, there to reconsider itself. Compared with our
revolts in Lyons, in Warsaw and elsewhere, to say nothing of
incomparable Paris City past or present, what a lamblike
Insurrection!--

The present Editor is not here, with his readers, to vindicate the
character of Insurrections; nor does it matter to us whether
Blusterowski and the rest may think the English a courageous people or
not courageous. In passing, however, let us mention that, to our view,
this was not an unsuccessful Insurrection; that as Insurrections go,
we have not heard lately of any that succeeded so well.

A million of hungry operative men, as Blusterowski says rose all up,
came all out into the streets, and--stood there. What other could they
do? Their wrongs and griefs were bitter, insupportable, their rage
against the same was just: but who are they that cause these wrongs,
who that will honestly make effort to redress them? Our enemies are we
know not who or what; our friends are we know not where! How shall we
attack any one, shoot or be shot by any one? Oh, if the accursed
invisible Nightmare, that is crushing out the life of us and ours,
would take a shape; approach us like the Hyrcanian tiger, the Behemoth
of Chaos, the Archfiend himself; in any shape that we could see, and
fasten on!--A man can have himself shot with cheerfulness; but it
needs first that he see clearly for what. Show him the divine face of
Justice, then the diabolic monster which is eclipsing that: he will
fly at the throat of such monster, never so monstrous, and need no
bidding to do it. Woolwich grapeshot will sweep clear all streets,
blast into invisibility so many thousand men: but if your Woolwich
grapeshot be but eclipsing Divine Justice, and the God's-radiance
itself gleam recognisable athwart such grapeshot,--then, yes then is
the time come for fighting and attacking. All artillery-parks have
become weak, and are about to dissipate: in the God's-thunder, their
poor thunder slackens, ceases; finding that it is, in all senses of
the term, a _brute_ one!--

That the Manchester Insurrection stood still, on the streets, with an
indisposition to fire and bloodshed, was wisdom for it even as an
Insurrection. Insurrection, never so necessary, is a most sad
necessity; and governors who wait for that to instruct them, are
surely getting into the fatalest courses,--proving themselves Sons of
Nox and Chaos, of blind Cowardice, not of seeing Valour! How can there
be any remedy in insurrection? It is a mere announcement of the
disease,--visible now even to Sons of Night. Insurrection usually
'gains' little; usually wastes how much! One of its worst kinds of
waste, to say nothing of the rest, is that of irritating and
exasperating men against each other, by violence done; which is always
sure to be injustice done, for violence does even justice unjustly.

Who shall compute the waste and loss, the obstruction of every sort,
that was produced in the Manchester region by Peterloo alone! Some
thirteen unarmed men and women cut down,--the number of the slain and
maimed is very countable: but the treasury of rage, burning hidden or
visible in all hearts ever since, more or less perverting the effort
and aim of all hearts ever since, is of unknown extent. "How ye came
among us, in your cruel armed blindness, ye unspeakable County
Yeomanry, sabres flourishing, hoofs prancing, and slashed us down at
your brute pleasure; deaf, blind to all _our_ claims and woes and
wrongs; of quick sight and sense to your own claims only! There lie
poor sallow work-worn weavers, and complain no more now; women
themselves are slashed and sabred, howling terror fills the air; and
ye ride prosperous, very victorious,--ye unspeakable: give _us_ sabres
too, and then come-on a little!" Such are Peterloos. In all hearts
that witnessed Peterloo, stands written, as in fire-characters, or
smoke-characters prompt to become fire again, a legible
balance-account of grim vengeance; very unjustly balanced, much
exaggerated, as is the way with such accounts: but payable readily at
sight, in full with compound interest! Such things should be avoided
as the very pestilence! For men's hearts ought not to be set against
one another; but set _with_ one another, and all against the Evil
Thing only. Men's souls ought to be left to see clearly; not
jaundiced, blinded, twisted all awry, by revenge, mutual abhorrence,
and the like. An Insurrection that can announce the disease, and then
retire with no such balance-account opened anywhere, has attained the
highest success possible for it.

And this was what these poor Manchester operatives, with all the
darkness that was in them and round them, did manage to perform. They
put their huge inarticulate question, "What do you mean to do with
us?" in a manner audible to every reflective soul in this kingdom;
exciting deep pity in all good men, deep anxiety in all men whatever;
and no conflagration or outburst of madness came to cloud that feeling
anywhere, but everywhere it operates unclouded. All England heard the
question: it is the first practical form of _our_ Sphinx-riddle.
England will answer it; or, on the whole, England will perish;--one
does not yet expect the latter result!

For the rest, that the Manchester Insurrection could yet discern no
radiance of Heaven on any side of its horizon; but feared that all
lights, of the O'Connor or other sorts, hitherto kindled, were but
deceptive fish-oil transparencies, or bog will-o'-wisp lights, and no
dayspring from on high: for this also we will honour the poor
Manchester Insurrection, and augur well of it. A deep unspoken sense
lies in these strong men,--inconsiderable, almost stupid, as all they
can articulate of it is. Amid all violent stupidity of speech, a right
noble instinct of what is doable and what is not doable never forsakes
them: the strong inarticulate men and workers, whom _Fact_ patronises;
of whom, in all difficulty and work whatsoever, there is good augury!
This work too is to be done: Governors and Governing Classes that
_can_ articulate and utter, in any measure, what the law of Fact and
Justice is, may calculate that here is a Governed Class who will
listen.

And truly this first practical form of the Sphinx-question,
inarticulately and so audibly put there, is one of the most
impressive ever asked in the world. "Behold us here, so many
thousands, millions, and increasing at the rate of fifty every hour.
We are right willing and able to work; and on the Planet Earth is
plenty of work and wages for a million times as many. We ask, If you
mean to lead us towards work; to try to lead us,--by ways new, never
yet heard of till this new unheard-of Time? Or if you declare that you
cannot lead us? And expect that we are to remain quietly unled, and in
a composed manner perish of starvation? What is it you expect of us?
What is it you mean to do with us?" This question, I say, has been put
in the hearing of all Britain; and will be again put, and ever again,
till some answer be given it.

Unhappy Workers, unhappier Idlers, unhappy men and women of this
actual England. We are yet very far from an answer, and there will be
no existence for us without finding one. "A fair day's-wages for a
fair day's-work:" it is as just a demand as Governed men ever made of
Governing. It is the everlasting right of man. Indisputable as
Gospels, as arithmetical multiplication-tables: it must and will have
itself fulfilled;--and yet, in these times of ours, with what enormous
difficulty, next-door to impossibility! For the times are really
strange; of a complexity intricate with all the new width of the
ever-widening world; times here of half-frantic velocity of impetus,
there of the deadest-looking stillness and paralysis; times definable
as showing two qualities, Dilettantism and Mammonism;--most intricate
obstructed times! Nay, if there were not a Heaven's radiance of
Justice, prophetic, clearly of Heaven, discernible behind all these
confused world-wide entanglements, of Landlord interests,
Manufacturing interests, Tory-Whig interests, and who knows what other
interests, expediencies, vested interests, established possessions,
inveterate Dilettantisms, Midas-eared Mammonisms,--it would seem to
every one a flat impossibility, which all wise men might as well at
once abandon. If you do not know eternal Justice from momentary
Expediency, and understand in your heart of hearts how Justice,
radiant, beneficent, as the all-victorious Light-element, is also in
essence, if need be, an all-victorious _Fire_-element, and melts all
manner of vested interests, and the hardest iron cannon, as if they
were soft wax, and does ever in the long-run rule and reign, and
allows nothing else to rule and reign,--you also would talk of
impossibility! But it is only difficult, it is not impossible.
Possible? It is, with whatever difficulty, very clearly inevitable.

       *       *       *       *       *

Fair day's-wages for fair day's-work! exclaims a sarcastic man: Alas,
in what corner of this Planet, since Adam first awoke on it, was that
ever realised? The day's-wages of John Milton's day's-work, named
_Paradise Lost_ and _Milton's Works_, were Ten Pounds paid by
instalments, and a rather close escape from death on the gallows.
Consider that: it is no rhetorical flourish; it is an authentic,
altogether quiet fact,--emblematic, quietly documentary of a whole
world of such, ever since human history began. Oliver Cromwell quitted
his farming; undertook a Hercules' Labour and lifelong wrestle with
that Lernean Hydra-coil, wide as England, hissing heaven-high through
its thousand crowned, coroneted, shovel-hatted quack-heads; and he did
wrestle with it, the truest and terriblest wrestle I have heard of;
and he wrestled it, and mowed and cut it down a good many stages, so
that its hissing is ever since pitiful in comparison, and one can walk
abroad in comparative peace from it;--and his wages, as I understand,
were burial under the gallows-tree near Tyburn Turnpike, with his
head on the gable of Westminster Hall, and two centuries now of mixed
cursing and ridicule from all manner of men. His dust lies under the
Edgware Road, near Tyburn Turnpike, at this hour; and his memory
is--Nay what matters what his memory is? His memory, at bottom, is or
yet shall be as that of a god: a terror and horror to all quacks and
cowards and insincere persons; an everlasting encouragement, new
memento, battleword, and pledge of victory to all the brave. It is the
natural course and history of the Godlike, in every place, in every
time. What god ever carried it with the Tenpound Franchisers; in Open
Vestry, or with any Sanhedrim of considerable standing? When was a god
found 'agreeable' to everybody? The regular way is to hang, kill,
crucify your gods, and execrate and trample them under your stupid
hoofs for a century or two; till you discover that they are gods,--and
then take to braying over them, still in a very long-eared manner!--So
speaks the sarcastic man; in his wild way, very mournful truths.

Day's-wages for day's-work? continues he: The Progress of Human
Society consists even in this same, The better and better apportioning
of wages to work. Give me this, you have given me all. Pay to every
man accurately what he has worked for, what he has earned and done and
deserved,--to this man broad lands and honours, to that man high
gibbets and treadmills: what more have I to ask? Heaven's Kingdom,
which we daily pray for, _has_ come; God's will is done on Earth even
as it is in Heaven! This _is_ the radiance of celestial Justice; in
the light or in the fire of which all impediments, vested interests,
and iron cannon, are more and more melting like wax, and disappearing
from the pathways of men. A thing ever struggling forward;
irrepressible, advancing inevitable; perfecting itself, all days,
more and more,--never to be _perfect_ till that general Doomsday, the
ultimate Consummation, and Last of earthly Days.

True, as to 'perfection' and so forth, answer we; true enough! And yet
withal we have to remark, that imperfect Human Society holds itself
together, and finds place under the Sun, in virtue simply of some
_approximation_ to perfection being actually made and put in practice.
We remark farther, that there are supportable approximations, and then
likewise insupportable. With some, almost with any, supportable
approximation men are apt, perhaps too apt, to rest indolently
patient, and say, It will do. Thus these poor Manchester manual
workers mean only, by day's-wages for day's-work, certain coins of
money adequate to keep them living;--in return for their work, such
modicum of food, clothes and fuel as will enable them to continue
their work itself! They as yet clamour for no more; the rest, still
inarticulate, cannot yet shape itself into a demand at all, and only
lies in them as a dumb wish; perhaps only, still more inarticulate, as
a dumb, altogether unconscious want. _This_ is the supportable
approximation they would rest patient with, That by their work they
might be kept alive to work more!--_This_ once grown unattainable, I
think your approximation may consider itself to have reached the
_in_supportable stage; and may prepare, with whatever difficulty,
reluctance and astonishment, for one of two things, for changing or
perishing! With the millions no longer able to live, how can the units
keep living? It is too clear the Nation itself is on the way to
suicidal death.

Shall we say then, The world has retrograded in its talent of
apportioning wages to work, in late days? The world had always a
talent of that sort, better or worse. Time was when the mere
_hand_worker needed not announce his claim to the world by
Manchester Insurrections!--The world, with its Wealth of Nations,
Supply-and-demand and suchlike, has of late days been terribly
inattentive to that question of work and wages. We will not say, the
poor world has retrograded even here: we will say rather, the world
has been rushing on with such fiery animation to get work and ever
more work done, it has had no time to think of dividing the wages; and
has merely left them to be scrambled for by the Law of the Stronger,
law of Supply-and-demand, law of Laissez-faire, and other idle Laws
and Un-laws,--saying, in its dire haste to get the work done, That is
well enough!

And now the world will have to pause a little, and take up that other
side of the problem, and in right earnest strive for some solution of
that. For it has become pressing. What is the use of your spun shirts?
They hang there by the million unsaleable; and here, by the million,
are diligent bare backs that can get no hold of them. Shirts are
useful for covering human backs; useless otherwise, an unbearable
mockery otherwise. You have fallen terribly behind with that side of
the problem! Manchester Insurrections, French Revolutions, and
thousandfold phenomena great and small, announce loudly that you must
bring it forward a little again. Never till now, in the history of an
Earth which to this hour nowhere refuses to grow corn if you will
plough it, to yield shirts if you will spin and weave in it, did the
mere manual two-handed worker (however it might fare with other
workers) cry in vain for such 'wages' as _he_ means by 'fair wages,'
namely food and warmth! The Godlike could not and cannot be paid; but
the Earthly always could. Gurth, a mere swineherd, born thrall of
Cedric the Saxon, tended pigs in the wood, and did get some parings of
the pork. Why, the four-footed worker has already _got_ all that this
two-handed one is clamouring for! How often must I remind you? There
is not a horse in England, able and willing to work, but _has_ due
food and lodging; and goes about sleek-coated, satisfied in heart. And
you say, It is impossible. Brothers, I answer, if for you it be
impossible, what is to become of you? It is impossible for us to
believe it to be impossible. The human brain, looking at these sleek
English horses, refuses to believe in such impossibility for English
men. Do you depart quickly; clear the ways soon, lest worse befall. We
for our share do purpose, with full view of the enormous difficulty,
with total disbelief in the impossibility, to endeavour while life is
in us, and to die endeavouring, we and our sons, till we attain it or
have all died and ended.

Such a Platitude of a World, in which all working horses could be well
fed, and innumerable working men should die starved, were it not best
to end it; to have done with it, and restore it once for all to the
_Jötuns_, Mud-giants, Frost-giants, and Chaotic Brute-gods of the
Beginning? For the old Anarchic Brute-gods it may be well enough; but
it is a Platitude which Men should be above countenancing by their
presence in it. We pray you, let the word _impossible_ disappear from
your vocabulary in this matter. It is of awful omen: to all of us, and
to yourselves first of all.



CHAPTER IV.

MORRISON'S PILL.


What is to be done, what would you have us do? asks many a one, with a
tone of impatience, almost of reproach; and then, if you mention some
one thing, some two things, twenty things that might be done, turns
round with a satirical tehee, and "These are your remedies!" The state
of mind indicated by such question, and such rejoinder, is worth
reflecting on.

It seems to be taken for granted, by these interrogative philosophers,
that there is some 'thing,' or handful of 'things,' which could be
done; some Act of Parliament, 'remedial measure' or the like, which
could be passed, whereby the social malady were fairly fronted,
conquered, put an end to; so that, with your remedial measure in your
pocket, you could then go on triumphant, and be troubled no farther.
"You tell us the evil," cry such persons, as if justly aggrieved, "and
do not tell us how it is to be cured!"

How it is to be cured? Brothers, I am sorry I have got no Morrison's
Pill for curing the maladies of Society. It were infinitely handier if
we had a Morrison's Pill, Act of Parliament, or remedial measure,
which men could swallow, one good time, and then go on in their old
courses, cleared from all miseries and mischiefs! Unluckily we have
none such; unluckily the Heavens themselves, in their rich
pharmacopoeia, contain none such. There will no 'thing' be done that
will cure you. There will a radical universal alteration of your
regimen and way of life take place; there will a most agonising
divorce between you and your chimeras, luxuries and falsities, take
place; a most toilsome, all-but 'impossible' return to Nature, and her
veracities and her integrities, take place: that so the inner
fountains of life may again begin, like eternal Light-fountains, to
irradiate and purify your bloated, swollen, foul existence, drawing
nigh, as at present, to nameless death! Either death, or else all this
will take place. Judge if, with such diagnosis, any Morrison's Pill is
like to be discoverable!

But the Life-fountain within you once again set flowing, what
innumerable 'things,' whole sets and classes and continents of
'things,' year after year, and decade after decade, and century after
century, will then be doable and done! Not Emigration, Education,
Corn-Law Abrogation, Sanitary Regulation, Land Property-Tax; not these
alone, nor a thousand times as much as these. Good Heavens, there will
then be light in the inner heart of here and there a man, to discern
what is just, what is commanded by the Most High God, what _must_ be
done, were it never so 'impossible.' Vain jargon in favour of the
palpably unjust will then abridge itself within limits. Vain jargon,
on Hustings, in Parliaments or wherever else, when here and there a
man has vision for the essential God's-Truth of the things jargoned
of, will become very vain indeed. The silence of here and there such a
man, how eloquent in answer to such jargon! Such jargon, frightened at
its own gaunt echo, will unspeakably abate; nay, for a while, may
almost in a manner disappear,--the wise answering it in silence, and
even the simple taking cue from them to hoot it down wherever heard.
It will be a blessed time; and many 'things' will become doable,--and
when the brains are out, an absurdity will die! Not easily again shall
a Corn-Law argue ten years for itself; and still talk and argue, when
impartial persons have to say with a sigh that, for so long back, they
have heard no 'argument' advanced for it but such as might make the
angels and almost the very jackasses weep!--

Wholly a blessed time: when jargon might abate, and here and there
some genuine speech begin. When to the noble opened heart, as to such
heart they alone do, all noble things began to grow visible; and the
difference between just and unjust, between true and false, between
work and sham-work, between speech and jargon, was once more, what to
our happier Fathers it used to be, _infinite_,--as between a Heavenly
thing and an Infernal: the one a thing which you were _not_ to do,
which you were wise not to attempt doing; which it were better for you
to have a millstone tied round your neck, and be cast into the sea,
than concern yourself with doing!--Brothers, it will not be a
Morrison's Pill, or remedial measure, that will bring all this about
for us.

       *       *       *       *       *

And yet, very literally, till, in some shape or other, it be brought
about, we remain cureless; till it begin to be brought about, the cure
does not begin. For Nature and Fact, not Redtape and Semblance, are to
this hour the basis of man's life; and on those, through never such
strata of these, man and his life and all his interests do, sooner or
later, infallibly come to rest,--and to be supported or be swallowed
according as they agree with those. The question is asked of them,
not, How do you agree with Downing Street and accredited Semblance?
but, How do you agree with God's Universe and the actual Reality of
things? This Universe _has_ its Laws. If we walk according to the Law,
the Law-Maker will befriend us; if not, not. Alas, by no Reform Bill,
Ballot-box, Five-point Charter, by no boxes or bills or charters, can
you perform this alchemy: 'Given a world of Knaves, to produce an
Honesty from their united action!' It is a distillation, once for all,
not possible. You pass it through alembic after alembic, it comes out
still a Dishonesty, with a new dress on it, a new colour to it. 'While
we ourselves continue valets, how _can_ any hero come to govern us?'
We are governed, very infallibly, by the 'sham-hero,'--whose name is
Quack, whose work and governance is Plausibility, and also is Falsity
and Fatuity; to which Nature says, and must say when it comes to _her_
to speak, eternally No! Nations cease to be befriended of the
Law-Maker, when they walk _not_ according to the Law. The
Sphinx-question remains unsolved by them, becomes ever more insoluble.

If thou ask again, therefore, on the Morrison's-Pill hypothesis, What
is to be done? allow me to reply: By thee, for the present, almost
nothing. Thou there, the thing for thee to do is, if possible, to
cease to be a hollow sounding-shell of hearsays, egoisms, purblind
dilettantisms; and become, were it on the infinitely small scale, a
faithful discerning soul. Thou shalt descend into thy inner man, and
see if there be any traces of a _soul_ there; till then there can be
nothing done! O brother, we must if possible resuscitate some soul and
conscience in us, exchange our dilettantisms for sincerities, our dead
hearts of stone for living hearts of flesh. Then shall we discern, not
one thing, but, in clearer or dimmer sequence, a whole endless host of
things that can be done. _Do_ the first of these; do it; the second
will already have become clearer, doabler; the second, third and
three-thousandth will then have begun to be possible for us. Not any
universal Morrison's Pill shall we then, either as swallowers or as
venders, ask after at all; but a far different sort of remedies:
Quacks shall no more have dominion over us, but true Heroes and
Healers!

       *       *       *       *       *

Will not that be a thing worthy of 'doing;' to deliver ourselves from
quacks, sham-heroes; to deliver the whole world more and more from
such? They are the one bane of the world. Once clear the world of
them, it ceases to be a Devil's-world, in all fibres of it wretched,
accursed; and begins to be a God's-world, blessed, and working hourly
towards blessedness. Thou for one wilt not again vote for any quack,
do honour to any edge-gilt vacuity in man's shape: cant shall be known
to thee by the sound of it;--thou wilt fly from cant with a shudder
never felt before; as from the opened litany of Sorcerers' Sabbaths,
the true Devil-worship of this age, more horrible than any other
blasphemy, profanity or genuine blackguardism elsewhere audible among
men. It is alarming to witness,--in its present completed state! And
Quack and Dupe, as we must ever keep in mind, are upper-side and under
of the selfsame substance; convertible personages: turn up your dupe
into the proper fostering element, and he himself can become a quack;
there is in him the due prurient insincerity, open voracity for
profit, and closed sense for truth, whereof quacks too, in all their
kinds, are made.

Alas, it is not to the hero, it is to the sham-hero, that, of right
and necessity, the valet-world belongs. 'What is to be done?' The
reader sees whether it is like to be the seeking and swallowing of
some 'remedial measure'!



CHAPTER V.

ARISTOCRACY OF TALENT.


When an individual is miserable, what does it most of all behove him
to do? To complain of this man or of that, of this thing or of that?
To fill the world and the street with lamentation, objurgation? Not so
at all; the reverse of so. All moralists advise him not to complain of
any person or of any thing, but of himself only. He is to know of a
truth that being miserable he has been unwise, he. Had he faithfully
followed Nature and her Laws, Nature, ever true to her Laws, would
have yielded fruit and increase and felicity to him: but he has
followed other than Nature's Laws; and now Nature, her patience with
him being ended, leaves him desolate; answers with very emphatic
significance to him: No. Not by this road, my son; by another road
shalt thou attain well-being: this, thou perceivest, is the road to
ill-being; quit this!--So do all moralists advise: that the man
penitently say to himself first of all, Behold I was not wise enough;
I quitted the laws of Fact, which are also called the Laws of God, and
mistook for them the Laws of Sham and Semblance, which are called the
Devil's Laws; therefore am I here!

Neither with Nations that become miserable is it fundamentally
otherwise. The ancient guides of Nations, Prophets, Priests, or
whatever their name, were well aware of this; and, down to a late
epoch, impressively taught and inculcated it. The modern guides of
Nations, who also go under a great variety of names, Journalists,
Political Economists, Politicians, Pamphleteers, have entirely
forgotten this, and are ready to deny this. But it nevertheless
remains eternally undeniable: nor is there any doubt but we shall all
be taught it yet, and made again to confess it: we shall all be
striped and scourged till we do learn it; and shall at last either get
to know it, or be striped to death in the process. For it is
undeniable! When a Nation is unhappy, the old Prophet was right and
not wrong in saying to it: Ye have forgotten God, ye have quitted the
ways of God, or ye would not have been unhappy. It is not according to
the laws of Fact that ye have lived and guided yourselves, but
according to the laws of Delusion, Imposture, and wilful and unwilful
_Mistake_ of Fact; behold therefore the Unveracity is worn out;
Nature's long-suffering with you is exhausted; and ye are here!

Surely there is nothing very inconceivable in this, even to the
Journalist, to the Political Economist, Modern Pamphleteer, or any
two-legged animal without feathers! If a country finds itself
wretched, sure enough that country has been _mis_guided: it is with
the wretched Twenty-seven Millions, fallen wretched, as with the Unit
fallen wretched: they, as he, have quitted the course prescribed by
Nature and the Supreme Powers, and so are fallen into scarcity,
disaster, infelicity; and pausing to consider themselves, have to
lament and say: Alas, we were not wise enough! We took transient
superficial Semblance for everlasting central Substance; we have
departed far away from the _Laws_ of this Universe, and behold now
lawless Chaos and inane Chimera is ready to devour us!--'Nature in
late centuries,' says Sauerteig, 'was universally supposed to be dead;
an old eight-day clock, made many thousand years ago, and still
ticking, but dead as brass,--which the Maker, at most, sat looking
at, in a distant, singular and indeed incredible manner: but now I am
happy to observe, she is everywhere asserting herself to be not dead
and brass at all, but alive and miraculous, celestial-infernal, with
an emphasis that will again penetrate the thickest head of this Planet
by and by!'--

Indisputable enough to all mortals now, the guidance of this country
has not been sufficiently wise; men too foolish have been set to the
guiding and governing of it, and have guided it _hither_; we must find
wiser,--wiser, or else we perish! To this length of insight all
England has now advanced; but as yet no farther. All England stands
wringing its hands, asking itself, nigh desperate, What farther?
Reform Bill proves to be a failure; Benthamee Radicalism, the gospel
of 'Enlightened Selfishness,' dies out, or dwindles into Five-point
Chartism, amid the tears and hootings of men: what next are we to hope
or try? Five-point Charter, Free-trade, Church-extension,
Sliding-scale; what, in Heaven's name, are we next to attempt, that we
sink not in inane Chimera, and be devoured of Chaos?--The case is
pressing, and one of the most complicated in the world. A
God's-message never came to thicker-skinned people; never had a
God's-message to pierce through thicker integuments, into heavier
ears. It is Fact, speaking once more, in miraculous thunder-voice,
from out of the centre of the world;--how unknown its language to the
deaf and foolish many; how distinct, undeniable, terrible and yet
beneficent, to the hearing few: Behold, ye shall grow wiser, or ye
shall die! Truer to Nature's Fact, or inane Chimera will swallow you;
in whirlwinds of fire, you and your Mammonisms, Dilettantisms, your
Midas-eared philosophies, double-barrelled Aristocracies, shall
disappear!--Such is the God's-message to _us_, once more, in these
modern days.

We must have more Wisdom to govern us, we must be governed by the
Wisest, we must have an Aristocracy of Talent! cry many. True, most
true; but how to get it? The following extract from our young friend
of the _Houndsditch Indicator_ is worth perusing: 'At this time,' says
he, 'while there is a cry everywhere, articulate or inarticulate, for
an "Aristocracy of Talent," a Governing Class namely which did govern,
not merely which took the wages of governing, and could not with all
our industry be kept from misgoverning, corn-lawing, and playing the
very deuce with us,--it may not be altogether useless to remind some
of the greener-headed sort what a dreadfully difficult affair the
getting of such an Aristocracy is! Do you expect, my friends, that
your indispensable Aristocracy of Talent is to be enlisted
straightway, by some sort of recruitment aforethought, out of the
general population; arranged in supreme regimental order; and set to
rule over us? That it will be got sifted, like wheat out of chaff,
from the Twenty-seven Million British subjects; that any Ballot-box,
Reform Bill, or other Political Machine, with Force of Public Opinion
never so active on it, is likely to perform said process of sifting?
Would to Heaven that we had a sieve; that we could so much as fancy
any kind of sieve, wind-fanners, or ne-plus-ultra of machinery,
devisable by man, that would do it!

'Done nevertheless, sure enough, it must be; it shall and will be. We
are rushing swiftly on the road to destruction; every hour bringing us
nearer, until it be, in some measure, done. The doing of it is not
doubtful; only the method and the costs! Nay I will even mention to
you an infallible sifting process whereby he that has ability will be
sifted out to rule among us, and that same blessed Aristocracy of
Talent be verily, in an approximate degree, vouchsafed us by and by:
an infallible sifting-process; to which, however, no soul can help his
neighbour, but each must, with devout prayer to Heaven, endeavour to
help himself. It is, O friends, that all of us, that many of us,
should acquire the true _eye_ for talent, which is dreadfully wanting
at present! The true eye for talent presupposes the true reverence for
it,--O Heavens, presupposes so many things!

'For example, you Bobus Higgins, Sausage-maker on the great scale, who
are raising such a clamour for this Aristocracy of Talent, what is it
that you do, in that big heart of yours, chiefly in very fact pay
reverence to? Is it to talent, intrinsic manly worth of any kind, you
unfortunate Bobus? The manliest man that you saw going in a ragged
coat, did you ever reverence him; did you so much as know that he was
a manly man at all, till his coat grew better? Talent! I understand
you to be able to worship the fame of talent, the power, cash,
celebrity or other success of talent; but the talent itself is a thing
you never saw with eyes. Nay what is it in yourself that you are
proudest of, that you take most pleasure in surveying meditatively in
thoughtful moments? Speak now, is it the bare Bobus stript of his very
name and shirt, and turned loose upon society, that you admire and
thank Heaven for; or Bobus with his cash-accounts and larders dropping
fatness, with his respectabilities, warm garnitures, and pony-chaise,
admirable in some measure to certain of the flunky species? Your own
degree of worth and talent, is it of _infinite_ value to you; or only
of finite,--measurable by the degree of currency, and conquest of
praise or pudding, it has brought you to? Bobus, you are in a vicious
circle, rounder than one of your own sausages; and will never vote for
or promote any talent, except what talent or sham-talent has already
_got_ itself voted for!'--We here cut short the _Indicator_; all
readers perceiving whither he now tends.

       *       *       *       *       *

'More Wisdom' indeed: but where to find more Wisdom? We have already a
Collective Wisdom, after its kind,--though 'class-legislation,' and
another thing or two, affect it somewhat! On the whole, as they say,
Like people like priest; so we may say, Like people like king. The man
gets himself appointed and elected who is ablest--to be appointed and
elected. What can the incorruptiblest _Bobuses_ elect, if it be not
some _Bobissimus_, should they find such?

Or again, perhaps there is not, in the whole Nation, Wisdom enough,
'collect' it as we may, to make an adequate Collective! That too is a
case which may befall: a ruined man staggers down to ruin because
there was not wisdom enough in him; so, clearly also, may Twenty-seven
Million collective men!--But indeed one of the infalliblest fruits of
Unwisdom in a Nation is that it cannot get the use of what Wisdom is
actually in it: that it is not governed by the wisest it has, who
alone have a divine right to govern in all Nations; but by the
sham-wisest, or even by the openly not-so-wise if they are handiest
otherwise! This is the infalliblest result of Unwisdom; and also the
balefulest, immeasurablest,--not so much what we can call a
poison-_fruit_, as a universal death-disease, and poisoning of the
whole tree. For hereby are fostered, fed into gigantic bulk, all
manner of Unwisdoms, poison-fruits; till, as we say, the life-tree
everywhere is made a upas-tree, deadly Unwisdom overshadowing all
things; and there is done what lies in human skill to stifle all
Wisdom everywhere in the birth, to smite our poor world barren of
Wisdom,--and make your utmost Collective Wisdom, were it collected
and elected by Rhadamanthus, Æacus and Minos, not to speak of drunken
Tenpound Franchisers with their ballot-boxes, an inadequate
Collective! The Wisdom is not now there: how will you 'collect' it? As
well wash Thames mud, by improved methods, to find more gold in it.

Truly, the first condition is indispensable, That Wisdom be there: but
the second is like unto it, is properly one with it; these two
conditions act and react through every fibre of them, and go
inseparably together. If you have much Wisdom in your Nation, you will
get it faithfully collected; for the wise love Wisdom, and will search
for it as for life and salvation. If you have little Wisdom, you will
get even that little ill-collected, trampled under foot, reduced as
near as possible to annihilation; for fools do not love Wisdom; they
are foolish, first of all, because they have never loved Wisdom,--but
have loved their own appetites, ambitions, their coroneted coaches,
tankards of heavy-wet. Thus is your candle lighted at both ends, and
the progress towards consummation is swift. Thus is fulfilled that
saying in the Gospel: To him that hath shall be given; and from him
that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. Very
literally, in a very fatal manner, that saying is here fulfilled.

Our 'Aristocracy of Talent' seems at a considerable distance yet; does
it not, O Bobus?



CHAPTER VI.

HERO-WORSHIP.


To the present Editor, not less than to Bobus, a Government of the
Wisest, what Bobus calls an Aristocracy of Talent, seems the one
healing remedy: but he is not so sanguine as Bobus with respect to the
means of realising it. He thinks that we have at once missed realising
it, and come to need it so pressingly, by departing far from the inner
eternal Laws, and taking-up with the temporary outer semblances of
Laws. He thinks that 'enlightened Egoism,' never so luminous, is not
the rule by which man's life can be led. That 'Laissez-faire,'
'Supply-and-demand,' 'Cash-payment for the sole nexus,' and so forth,
were not, are not and will never be, a practicable Law of Union for a
Society of Men. That Poor and Rich, that Governed and Governing,
cannot long live together on any such Law of Union. Alas, he thinks
that man has a soul in him, _different_ from the stomach in any sense
of this word; that if said soul be asphyxied, and lie quietly
forgotten, the man and his affairs are in a bad way. He thinks that
said soul will have to be resuscitated from its asphyxia; that if it
prove irresuscitable, the man is not long for this world. In brief,
that Midas-eared Mammonism, double-barrelled Dilettantism, and their
thousand adjuncts and corollaries, are _not_ the Law by which God
Almighty has appointed this his Universe to go. That, once for all,
these are not the Law: and then farther that we shall have to return
to what _is_ the Law,--not by smooth flowery paths, it is like, and
with 'tremendous cheers' in our throat; but over steep untrodden
places, through stormclad chasms, waste oceans, and the bosom of
tornadoes; thank Heaven, if not through very Chaos and the Abyss! The
resuscitating of a soul that has gone to asphyxia is no momentary or
pleasant process, but a long and terrible one.

       *       *       *       *       *

To the present Editor, 'Hero-worship,' as he has elsewhere named it,
means much more than an elected Parliament, or stated Aristocracy, of
the Wisest; for in his dialect it is the summary, ultimate essence,
and supreme practical perfection of all manner of 'worship,' and true
worthships and noblenesses whatsoever. Such blessed Parliament and,
were it once in perfection, blessed Aristocracy of the Wisest,
god-honoured and man-honoured, he does look for, more and more
perfected,--as the topmost blessed practical apex of a whole world
reformed from sham-worship, informed anew with worship, with truth and
blessedness! He thinks that Hero-worship, done differently in every
different epoch of the world, is the soul of all social business among
men; that the doing of it well, or the doing of it ill, measures
accurately what degree of well-being or of ill-being there is in the
world's affairs. He thinks that we, on the whole, do our Hero-worship
worse than any Nation in this world ever did it before: that the Burns
an Exciseman, the Byron a Literary Lion, are intrinsically, all things
considered, a baser and falser phenomenon than the Odin a God, the
Mahomet a Prophet of God. It is this Editor's clear opinion,
accordingly, that we must learn to do our Hero-worship better; that to
do it better and better, means the awakening of the Nation's soul from
its asphyxia, and the return of blessed life to us,--Heaven's blessed
life, not Mammon's galvanic accursed one. To resuscitate the
Asphyxied, apparently now moribund and in the last agony if not
resuscitated: such and no other seems the consummation.

'Hero-worship,' if you will,--yes, friends; but, first of all, by
being ourselves of heroic mind. A whole world of Heroes; a world not
of Flunkies, where no Hero-King _can_ reign: that is what we aim at!
We, for our share, will put away all Flunkyism, Baseness, Unveracity
from us; we shall then hope to have Noblenesses and Veracities set
over us; never till then. Let Bobus and Company sneer, "That is your
Reform!" Yes, Bobus, that is our Reform; and except in that, and what
will follow out of that, we have no hope at all. Reform, like Charity,
O Bobus, must begin at home. Once well at home, how will it radiate
outwards, irrepressible, into all that we touch and handle, speak and
work; kindling ever new light, by incalculable contagion, spreading in
geometric ratio, far and wide,--doing good only, wheresoever it
spreads, and not evil.

By Reform Bills, Anti-Corn-Law Bills, and thousand other bills and
methods, we will demand of our Governors, with emphasis, and for the
first time not without effect, that they cease to be quacks, or else
depart; that they set no quackeries and blockheadisms anywhere to rule
over us, that they utter or act no cant to us,--it will be better if
they do not. For we shall now know quacks when we see them; cant, when
we hear it, shall be horrible to us! We will say, with the poor
Frenchman at the Bar of the Convention, though in wiser style than he,
and 'for the space' not 'of an hour' but of a lifetime: "_Je demande
l'arrestation des coquins et des lâches_." 'Arrestment of the knaves
and dastards:' ah, we know what a work that is; how long it will be
before _they_ are all or mostly got 'arrested:'--but here is one;
arrest him, in God's name; it is one fewer! We will, in all
practicable ways, by word and silence, by act and refusal to act,
energetically demand that arrestment,--"_je demande cette
arrestation-là!_"--and by degrees infallibly attain it. Infallibly:
for light spreads; all human souls, never so bedarkened, love light;
light once kindled spreads, till all is luminous;--till the cry,
"_Arrest_ your knaves and dastards" rises imperative from millions of
hearts, and rings and reigns from sea to sea. Nay how many of them may
we not 'arrest' with our own hands, even now; we! Do not countenance
them, thou there: turn away from their lacquered sumptuosities, their
belauded sophistries, their serpent graciosities, their spoken and
acted cant, with a sacred horror, with an _Apage Satanas_.--Bobus and
Company, and all men will gradually join us. We demand arrestment of
the knaves and dastards, and begin by arresting our own poor selves
out of that fraternity. There is no other reform conceivable. Thou and
I, my friend, can, in the most flunky world, make, each of us, _one_
non-flunky, one hero, if we like: that will be two heroes to begin
with:--Courage! even that is a whole world of heroes to end with, or
what we poor Two can do in furtherance thereof!

Yes, friends: Hero-kings, and a whole world not unheroic,--there lies
the port and happy haven, towards which, through all these stormtost
seas, French Revolutions, Chartisms, Manchester Insurrections, that
make the heart sick in these bad days, the Supreme Powers are driving
us. On the whole, blessed be the Supreme Powers, stern as they are!
Towards that haven will we, O friends; let all true men, with what of
faculty is in them, bend valiantly, incessantly, with thousandfold
endeavour, thither, thither! There, or else in the Ocean-abysses, it
is very clear to me, we shall arrive.

Well; here truly is no answer to the Sphinx-question; not the answer
a disconsolate public, inquiring at the College of Health, was in
hopes of! A total change of regimen, change of constitution and
existence from the very centre of it; a new body to be got, with
resuscitated soul,--not without convulsive travail-throes; as all
birth and new-birth presupposes travail! This is sad news to a
disconsolate discerning Public, hoping to have got off by some
Morrison's Pill, some Saint-John's corrosive mixture and perhaps a
little blistery friction on the back!--We were prepared to part with
our Corn-Law, with various Laws and Unlaws: but this, what is this?

Nor has the Editor forgotten how it fares with your ill-boding
Cassandras in Sieges of Troy. Imminent perdition is not usually driven
away by words of warning. Didactic Destiny has other methods in store;
or these would fail always. Such words should, nevertheless, be
uttered, when they dwell truly in the soul of any man. Words are hard,
are importunate; but how much harder the importunate events they
foreshadow! Here and there a human soul may listen to the words,--who
knows how many human souls?--whereby the importunate events, if not
diverted and prevented, will be rendered _less_ hard. The present
Editor's purpose is to himself full of hope.

For though fierce travails, though wide seas and roaring gulfs lie
before us, is it not something if a Loadstar, in the eternal sky, do
once more disclose itself; an everlasting light, shining through all
cloud-tempests and roaring billows; ever as we emerge from the trough
of the sea: the blessed beacon, far off on the edge of far horizons,
towards which we are to steer incessantly for life? Is it not
something; O Heavens, is it not all? There lies the Heroic Promised
Land; under that Heaven's-light, my brethren, bloom the Happy
Isles,--there, O there! Thither will we;

    'There dwells the great Achilles whom we knew.'[2]

There dwell all Heroes, and will dwell: thither, all ye
heroic-minded!--The Heaven's Loadstar once clearly in our eye, how
will each true man stand truly to _his_ work in the ship; how, with
undying hope, will all things be fronted, all be conquered. Nay, with
the ship's prow once turned in that direction, is not all, as it were,
already well? Sick wasting misery has become noble manful effort with
a goal in our eye. 'The choking Nightmare chokes us no longer; for we
_stir_ under it; the Nightmare has already fled.'--

Certainly, could the present Editor instruct men how to know Wisdom,
Heroism, when they see it, that they might do reverence to _it_ only,
and loyally make it ruler over them,--yes, he were the living epitome
of all Editors, Teachers, Prophets, that now teach and prophesy; he
were an _Apollo_-Morrison, a Trismegistus and _effective_ Cassandra!
Let no Able Editor hope such things. It is to be expected the present
laws of copyright, rate of reward per sheet, and other considerations,
will save him from that peril. Let no Editor hope such things:
no;--and yet let all Editors aim towards such things, and even towards
such alone! One knows not what the meaning of editing and writing is,
if even this be not it.

Enough, to the present Editor it has seemed possible some glimmering
of light, for here and there a human soul, might lie in these confused
Paper-Masses now intrusted to him; wherefore he determines to edit the
same. Out of old Books, new Writings, and much Meditation not of
yesterday, he will endeavour to select a thing or two; and from the
Past, in a circuitous way, illustrate the Present and the Future. The
Past is a dim indubitable fact: the Future too is one, only dimmer;
nay properly it is the _same_ fact in new dress and development. For
the Present holds it in both the whole Past and the whole Future;--as
the Life-tree Igdrasil, wide-waving, many-toned, has its roots down
deep in the Death-kingdoms, among the oldest dead dust of men, and
with its boughs reaches always beyond the stars; and in all times and
places is one and the same Life-tree!

FOOTNOTES:

[2] Tennyson's _Poems_ (Ulysses).



BOOK II.

THE ANCIENT MONK.



CHAPTER I.

JOCELIN OF BRAKELOND.


We will, in this Second Portion of our Work, strive to penetrate a
little, by means of certain confused Papers, printed and other, into a
somewhat remote Century; and to look face to face on it, in hope of
perhaps illustrating our own poor Century thereby. It seems a
circuitous way; but it may prove a way nevertheless. For man has ever
been a striving, struggling, and, in spite of wide-spread calumnies to
the contrary, a veracious creature: the Centuries too are all lineal
children of one another; and often, in the portrait of early
grandfathers, this and the other enigmatic feature of the newest
grandson shall disclose itself, to mutual elucidation. This Editor
will venture on such a thing.

Besides, in Editors' Books, and indeed everywhere else in the world of
Today, a certain latitude of movement grows more and more becoming for
the practical man. Salvation lies not in tight lacing, in these
times;--how far from that, in any province whatsoever! Readers and men
generally are getting into strange habits of asking all persons and
things, from poor Editors' Books up to Church Bishops and State
Potentates, not, By what designation art thou called; in what wig and
black triangle dost thou walk abroad? Heavens, I know thy designation
and black triangle well enough! But, in God's name, what _art_ thou?
Not Nothing, sayest thou! Then, How much and what? This is the thing I
would know; and even _must_ soon know, such a pass am I come to!--What
weather-symptoms,--not for the poor Editor of Books alone! The Editor
of Books may understand withal that if, as is said, 'many kinds are
permissible,' there is one kind not permissible, 'the kind that has
nothing in it, _le genre ennuyeux_;' and go on his way accordingly.

       *       *       *       *       *

A certain Jocelinus de Brakelonda, a natural-born Englishman, has left
us an extremely foreign Book,[3] which the labours of the Camden
Society have brought to light in these days. Jocelin's Book, the
'Chronicle,' or private Boswellean Notebook, of Jocelin, a certain old
St. Edmundsbury Monk and Boswell, now seven centuries old, how remote
is it from us; exotic, extraneous; in all ways, coming from far
abroad! The language of it is not foreign only but dead: Monk-Latin
lies across not the British Channel, but the ninefold Stygian Marshes,
Stream of Lethe, and one knows not where! Roman Latin itself, still
alive for us in the Elysian Fields of Memory, is domestic in
comparison. And then the ideas, life-furniture, whole workings and
ways of this worthy Jocelin; covered deeper than Pompeii with the
lava-ashes and inarticulate wreck of seven hundred years!

Jocelin of Brakelond cannot be called a conspicuous literary
character; indeed few mortals that have left so visible a work, or
footmark, behind them can be more obscure. One other of those
vanished Existences, whose work has not yet vanished;--almost a
pathetic phenomenon, were not the whole world full of such! The
builders of Stonehenge, for example:--or, alas, what say we,
Stonehenge and builders? The writers of the _Universal Review_ and
_Homer's Iliad_; the paviors of London streets;--sooner or later, the
entire Posterity of Adam! It is a pathetic phenomenon; but an
irremediable, nay, if well meditated, a consoling one.

By his dialect of Monk-Latin, and indeed by his name, this Jocelin
seems to have been a Norman Englishman; the surname _de Brakelonda_
indicates a native of St. Edmundsbury itself, _Brakelond_ being the
known old name of a street or quarter in that venerable Town. Then
farther, sure enough, our Jocelin was a Monk of St. Edmundsbury
Convent; held some '_obedientia_,' subaltern officiality there, or
rather, in succession several; was, for one thing, 'chaplain to my
Lord Abbot, living beside him night and day for the space of six
years;'--which last, indeed, is the grand fact of Jocelin's existence,
and properly the origin of this present Book, and of the chief meaning
it has for us now. He was, as we have hinted, a kind of born
_Boswell_, though an infinitesimally small one; neither did he
altogether want his _Johnson_ even there and then. Johnsons are rare;
yet, as has been asserted, Boswells perhaps still rarer,--the more is
the pity on both sides! This Jocelin, as we can discern well, was an
ingenious and ingenuous, a cheery-hearted, innocent, yet withal
shrewd, noticing, quick-witted man; and from under his monk's cowl has
looked out on that narrow section of the world in a really _human_
manner; not in any _simial_, canine, ovine, or otherwise _in_human
manner,--afflictive to all that have humanity! The man is of patient,
peaceable, loving, clear-smiling nature; open for this and that. A
wise simplicity is in him; much natural sense; a _veracity_ that goes
deeper than words. Veracity: it is the basis of all; and, some say,
means genius itself; the prime essence of all genius whatsoever. Our
Jocelin, for the rest, has read his classical manuscripts, his
Virgilius, his Flaccus, Ovidius Naso; of course still more, his
Homilies and Breviaries, and if not the Bible, considerable extracts
of the Bible. Then also he has a pleasant wit; and loves a timely
joke, though in mild subdued manner: very amiable to see. A learned
grown man, yet with the heart as of a good child; whose whole life
indeed has been that of a child,--St. Edmundsbury Monastery a larger
kind of cradle for him, in which his whole prescribed duty was to
_sleep_ kindly, and love his mother well! This is the Biography of
Jocelin; 'a man of excellent religion,' says one of his contemporary
Brother Monks, '_eximiæ religionis, potens sermone et opere_.'

For one thing, he had learned to write a kind of Monk or Dog-Latin,
still readable to mankind; and, by good luck for us, had bethought him
of noting down thereby what things seemed notablest to him. Hence
gradually resulted a _Chronica Jocelini_; new Manuscript in the _Liber
Albus_ of St. Edmundsbury. Which Chronicle, once written in its
childlike transparency, in its innocent good-humour, not without
touches of ready pleasant wit and many kinds of worth, other men liked
naturally to read: whereby it failed not to be copied, to be
multiplied, to be inserted in the _Liber Albus_; and so surviving
Henry the Eighth, Putney Cromwell, the Dissolution of Monasteries, and
all accidents of malice and neglect for six centuries or so, it got
into the _Harleian Collection_,--and has now therefrom, by Mr.
Rokewood of the Camden Society, been deciphered into clear print; and
lies before us, a dainty thin quarto, to interest for a few minutes
whomsoever it can.

Here too it will behove a just Historian gratefully to say that Mr.
Rokewood, Jocelin's Editor, has done his editorial function well. Not
only has he deciphered his crabbed Manuscript into clear print; but he
has attended, what his fellow editors are not always in the habit of
doing, to the important truth that the Manuscript so deciphered ought
to have a meaning for the reader. Standing faithfully by his text, and
printing its very errors in spelling, in grammar or otherwise, he has
taken care by some note to indicate that they are errors, and what the
correction of them ought to be. Jocelin's Monk-Latin is generally
transparent, as shallow limpid water. But at any stop that may occur,
of which there are a few, and only a very few, we have the comfortable
assurance that a meaning does lie in the passage, and may by industry
be got at; that a faithful editor's industry had already got at it
before passing on. A compendious useful Glossary is given; nearly
adequate to help the uninitiated through: sometimes one wishes it had
been a trifle larger; but, with a Spelman and Ducange at your elbow,
how easy to have made it far too large! Notes are added, generally
brief; sufficiently explanatory of most points. Lastly, a copious
correct Index; which no such Book should want, and which unluckily
very few possess. And so, in a word, the _Chronicle of Jocelin_ is, as
it professes to be, unwrapped from its thick cerements, and fairly
brought forth into the common daylight, so that he who runs, and has a
smattering of grammar, may read.

       *       *       *       *       *

We have heard so much of Monks; everywhere, in real and fictitious
History, from Muratori Annals to Radcliffe Romances, these singular
two-legged animals, with their rosaries and breviaries, with their
shaven crowns, hair-cilities, and vows of poverty, masquerade so
strangely through our fancy; and they are in fact so very strange an
extinct species of the human family,--a veritable Monk of Bury St.
Edmunds is worth attending to, if by chance made visible and audible.
Here he is; and in his hand a magical speculum, much gone to rust
indeed, yet in fragments still clear; wherein the marvellous image of
his existence does still shadow itself, though fitfully, and as with
an intermittent light! Will not the reader peep with us into this
singular _camera lucida_, where an extinct species, though fitfully,
can still be seen alive? Extinct species, we say; for the live
specimens which still go about under that character are too evidently
to be classed as spurious in Natural History: the Gospel of Richard
Arkwright once promulgated, no Monk of the old sort is any longer
possible in this world. But fancy a deep-buried Mastodon, some fossil
Megatherion, Ichthyosaurus, were to begin to _speak_ from amid its
rock-swathings, never so indistinctly! The most extinct fossil species
of Men or Monks can do, and does, this miracle,--thanks to the Letters
of the Alphabet, good for so many things.

Jocelin, we said, was somewhat of a Boswell; but unfortunately, by
Nature, he is none of the largest, and distance has now dwarfed him to
an extreme degree. His light is most feeble, intermittent, and
requires the intensest kindest inspection; otherwise it will disclose
mere vacant haze. It must be owned, the good Jocelin, spite of his
beautiful childlike character, is but an altogether imperfect 'mirror'
of these old-world things! The good man, he looks on us so clear and
cheery, and in his neighbourly soft-smiling eyes we see so well our
_own_ shadow,--we have a longing always to cross-question him, to
force from him an explanation of much. But no; Jocelin, though he
talks with such clear familiarity, like a next-door neighbour, will
not answer any question: that is the peculiarity of him, dead these
six hundred and fifty years, and quite deaf to us, though still so
audible! The good man, he cannot help it, nor can we.

But truly it is a strange consideration this simple one, as we go on
with him, or indeed with any lucid simple-hearted soul like him:
Behold therefore, this England of the Year 1200 was no chimerical
vacuity or dreamland, peopled with mere vaporous Fantasms, Rymer's
Foedera, and Doctrines of the Constitution; but a green solid place,
that grew corn and several other things. The Sun shone on it: the
vicissitude of seasons and human fortunes. Cloth was woven and worn;
ditches were dug, furrow-fields ploughed, and houses built. Day by day
all men and cattle rose to labour, and night by night returned home
weary to their several lairs. In wondrous Dualism, then as now, lived
nations of breathing men; alternating, in all ways, between Light and
Dark; between joy and sorrow, between rest and toil,--between hope,
hope reaching high as Heaven, and fear deep as very Hell. Not vapour
Fantasms, Rymer's Foedera at all! Coeur-de-Lion was not a
theatrical popinjay with greaves and steel-cap on it, but a man living
upon victuals,--_not_ imported by Peel's Tariff. Coeur-de-Lion came
palpably athwart this Jocelin at St. Edmundsbury; and had almost
peeled the sacred gold '_Feretrum_,' or St. Edmund Shrine itself, to
ransom him out of the Danube Jail.

These clear eyes of neighbour Jocelin looked on the bodily presence of
King John; the very John _Sansterre_, or Lackland, who signed _Magna
Charta_ afterwards in Runnymead. Lackland, with a great retinue,
boarded once, for the matter of a fortnight, in St. Edmundsbury
Convent; daily in the very eyesight, palpable to the very fingers of
our Jocelin: O Jocelin, what did he say, what did he do; how looked
he, lived he;--at the very lowest, what coat or breeches had he on?
Jocelin is obstinately silent. Jocelin marks down what interests
_him_; entirely deaf to _us_. With Jocelin's eyes we discern almost
nothing of John Lackland. As through a glass darkly, we with our own
eyes and appliances, intensely looking, discern at most: A blustering,
dissipated human figure, with a kind of blackguard quality air, in
cramoisy velvet, or other uncertain texture, uncertain cut, with much
plumage and fringing; amid numerous other human figures of the like;
riding abroad with hawks; talking noisy nonsense;--tearing out the
bowels of St. Edmundsbury Convent (its larders namely and cellars) in
the most ruinous way, by living at rack and manger there. Jocelin
notes only, with a slight subacidity of manner, that the King's
Majesty, _Dominus Rex_, did leave, as gift for our St. Edmund Shrine,
a handsome enough silk cloak,--or rather pretended to leave, for one
of his retinue borrowed it of us, and _we_ never got sight of it
again; and, on the whole, that the _Dominus Rex_, at departing, gave
us 'thirteen _sterlingii_,' one shilling and one penny, to say a mass
for him; and so departed,--like a shabby Lackland as he was! 'Thirteen
pence sterling,' this was what the Convent got from Lackland, for all
the victuals he and his had made away with. We of course said our mass
for him, having covenanted to do it,--but let impartial posterity
judge with what degree of fervour!

And in this manner vanishes King Lackland; traverses swiftly our
strange intermittent magic-mirror, jingling the shabby thirteen pence
merely; and rides with his hawks into Egyptian night again. It is
Jocelin's manner with all things; and it is men's manner and men's
necessity. How intermittent is our good Jocelin; marking down, without
eye to _us_, what _he_ finds interesting! How much in Jocelin, as in
all History, and indeed in all Nature, is at once inscrutable and
certain; so dim, yet so indubitable; exciting us to endless
considerations. For King Lackland _was_ there, verily he; and did
leave these _tredecim sterlingii_, if nothing more, and did live and
look in one way or the other, and a whole world was living and looking
along with him! There, we say, is the grand peculiarity; the
immeasurable one; distinguishing, to a really infinite degree, the
poorest historical Fact from all Fiction whatsoever. Fiction,
'Imagination,' 'Imaginative Poetry,' &c. &c., except as the vehicle
for truth, or _fact_ of some sort,--which surely a man should first
try various other ways of vehiculating, and conveying safe,--what is
it? Let the Minerva and other Presses respond!--

But it is time we were in St. Edmundsbury Monastery, and Seven good
Centuries off. If indeed it be possible, by any aid of Jocelin, by any
human art, to get thither, with a reader or two still following us?

FOOTNOTES:

[3] _Chronica_ Jocelini de Brakelonda, _de rebus gestis Samsonis
Abbatis Monasterii Sancti Edmundi nunc primum typis mandata, curante
Johanne Gage Rokewood._ (Camden Society, London, 1840)



CHAPTER II.

ST. EDMUNDSBURY.


The _Burg_, Bury, or 'Berry' as they call it, of St. Edmund is still a
prosperous brisk Town; beautifully diversifying, with its clear brick
houses, ancient clean streets, and twenty or fifteen thousand busy
souls, the general grassy face of Suffolk; looking out right
pleasantly, from its hill-slope, towards the rising Sun: and on the
eastern edge of it, still runs, long, black and massive, a range of
monastic ruins; into the wide internal spaces of which the stranger is
admitted on payment of one shilling. Internal spaces laid out, at
present, as a botanic garden. Here stranger or townsman, sauntering at
his leisure amid these vast grim venerable ruins, may persuade himself
that an Abbey of St. Edmundsbury did once exist; nay there is no doubt
of it: see here the ancient massive Gateway, of architecture
interesting to the eye of Dilettantism; and farther on, that other
ancient Gateway, now about to tumble, unless Dilettantism, in these
very months, can subscribe money to cramp it and prop it!

Here, sure enough, is an Abbey; beautiful in the eye of Dilettantism.
Giant Pedantry also will step in, with its huge _Dugdale_ and other
enormous _Monasticons_ under its arm, and cheerfully apprise you, That
this was a very great Abbey, owner and indeed creator of St. Edmund's
Town itself, owner of wide lands and revenues; nay that its lands were
once a county of themselves; that indeed King Canute or Knut was very
kind to it, and gave St. Edmund his own gold crown off his head, on
one occasion: for the rest, that the Monks were of such and such a
genus, such and such a number; that they had so many carucates of land
in this hundred, and so many in that; and then farther that the large
Tower or Belfry was built by such a one, and the smaller Belfry was
built by &c. &c.--Till human nature can stand no more of it; till
human nature desperately take refuge in forgetfulness, almost in flat
disbelief of the whole business, Monks, Monastery, Belfries, Carucates
and all! Alas, what mountains of dead ashes, wreck and burnt bones,
does assiduous Pedantry dig up from the Past Time, and name it
History, and Philosophy of History; till, as we say, the human soul
sinks wearied and bewildered; till the Past Time seems all one
infinite incredible gray void, without sun, stars, hearth-fires, or
candle-light; dim offensive dust-whirlwinds filling universal Nature;
and over your Historical Library, it is as if all the Titans had
written for themselves: Dry Rubbish shot here!

And yet these grim old walls are not a dilettantism and dubiety; they
are an earnest fact. It was a most real and serious purpose they were
built for! Yes, another world it was, when these black ruins, white in
their new mortar and fresh chiselling, first saw the sun as walls,
long ago. Gauge not, with thy dilettante compasses, with that placid
dilettante simper, the Heaven's-Watchtower of our Fathers, the fallen
God's-Houses, the Golgotha of true Souls departed!

Their architecture, belfries, land-carucates? Yes,--and that is but a
small item of the matter. Does it never give thee pause, this other
strange item of it, that men then had a _soul_,--not by hearsay alone,
and as a figure of speech; but as a truth that they _knew_, and
practically went upon! Verily it was another world then. Their
Missals have become incredible, a sheer platitude, sayest thou? Yes, a
most poor platitude; and even, if thou wilt, an idolatry and
blasphemy, should any one persuade _thee_ to believe them, to pretend
praying by them. But yet it is pity we had lost tidings of our
souls:--actually we shall have to go in quest of them again, or worse
in all ways will befall! A certain degree of soul, as Ben Jonson
reminds us, is indispensable to keep the very body from destruction of
the frightfulest sort; to 'save us,' says he, 'the expense of _salt_.'
Ben has known men who had soul enough to keep their body and five
senses from becoming carrion, and save salt:--men, and also Nations.
You may look in Manchester Hunger-mobs and Corn-law Commons Houses,
and various other quarters, and say whether either soul or else salt
is not somewhat wanted at present!--

Another world, truly: and this present poor distressed world might get
some profit by looking wisely into it, instead of foolishly. But at
lowest, O dilettante friend, let us know always that it _was_ a world,
and not a void infinite of gray haze with fantasms swimming in it.
These old St. Edmundsbury walls, I say, were not peopled with
fantasms; but with men of flesh and blood, made altogether as we are.
Had thou and I then been, who knows but we ourselves had taken refuge
from an evil Time, and fled to dwell here, and meditate on an
Eternity, in such fashion as we could? Alas, how like an old osseous
fragment, a broken blackened shin-bone of the old dead Ages, this
black ruin looks out, not yet covered by the soil; still indicating
what a once gigantic Life lies buried there! It is dead now, and dumb;
but was alive once, and spake. For twenty generations, here was the
earthly arena where painful living men worked out their
life-wrestle,--looked at by Earth, by Heaven and Hell. Bells tolled
to prayers; and men, of many humours, various thoughts, chanted
vespers, matins;--and round the little islet of their life rolled
forever (as round ours still rolls, though we are blind and deaf) the
illimitable Ocean, tinting all things with _its_ eternal hues and
reflexes; making strange prophetic music! How silent now; all
departed, clean gone. The World-Dramaturgist has written: _Exeunt_.
The devouring Time-Demons have made away with it all: and in its
stead, there is either nothing; or what is worse, offensive universal
dust-clouds, and gray eclipse of Earth and Heaven, from 'dry rubbish
shot here!'--

       *       *       *       *       *

Truly it is no easy matter to get across the chasm of Seven Centuries,
filled with such material. But here, of all helps, is not a Boswell
the welcomest; even a small Boswell? Veracity, true simplicity of
heart, how valuable are these always! He that speaks what _is_ really
in him, will find men to listen, though under never such impediments.
Even gossip, springing free and cheery from a human heart, this too is
a kind of veracity and _speech_;--much preferable to pedantry and
inane gray haze! Jocelin is weak and garrulous, but he is human.
Through the thin watery gossip of our Jocelin, we do get some glimpses
of that deep-buried Time; discern veritably, though in a fitful
intermittent manner, these antique figures and their life-method, face
to face! Beautifully, in our earnest loving glance, the old centuries
melt from opaque to partially translucent, transparent here and there;
and the void black Night, one finds, is but the summing-up of
innumerable peopled luminous _Days_. Not parchment Chartularies,
Doctrines of the Constitution, O Dryasdust; not altogether, my erudite
friend!--

Readers who please to go along with us into this poor _Jocelini
Chronica_ shall wander inconveniently enough, as in wintry twilight,
through some poor stript hazel-grove, rustling with foolish noises,
and perpetually hindering the eyesight; but across which, here and
there, some real human figure is seen moving: very strange; whom we
could hail if he would answer;--and we look into a pair of eyes deep
as our own, _imaging_ our own, but all unconscious of us; to whom we,
for the time, are become as spirits and invisible!



CHAPTER III.

LANDLORD EDMUND.


Some three centuries or so had elapsed since _Beodric's-worth_[4]
became St. Edmund's _Stow_, St. Edmund's _Town_ and Monastery, before
Jocelin entered himself a Novice there. 'It was,' says he, 'the year
after the Flemings were defeated at Fornham St. Genevieve.'

Much passes away into oblivion: this glorious victory over the
Flemings at Fornham has, at the present date, greatly dimmed itself
out of the minds of men. A victory and battle nevertheless it was, in
its time: some thrice-renowned Earl of Leicester, not of the De
Montfort breed (as may be read in Philosophical and other Histories,
could any human memory retain such things), had quarrelled with his
sovereign, Henry Second of the name; had been worsted, it is like, and
maltreated, and obliged to fly to foreign parts; but had rallied there
into new vigour; and so, in the year 1173, returns across the German
Sea with a vengeful army of Flemings. Returns, to the coast of
Suffolk; to Framlingham Castle, where he is welcomed; westward towards
St. Edmundsbury and Fornham Church, where he is met by the constituted
authorities with _posse comitatus_; and swiftly cut in pieces, he and
his, or laid by the heels; on the right bank of the obscure river
Lark,--as traces still existing will verify.

For the river Lark, though not very discoverably, still runs or
stagnates in that country; and the battle-ground is there; serving at
present as a pleasure-ground to his Grace of Northumberland. Copper
pennies of Henry II. are still found there;--rotted out from the
pouches of poor slain soldiers, who had not had _time_ to buy liquor
with them. In the river Lark itself was fished up, within man's
memory, an antique gold ring; which fond Dilettantism can almost
believe may have been the very ring Countess Leicester threw away, in
her flight, into that same Lark river or ditch.[5] Nay, few years ago,
in tearing out an enormous superannuated ash-tree, now grown quite
corpulent, bursten, superfluous, but long a fixture in the soil, and
not to be dislodged without revolution,--there was laid bare, under
its roots, 'a circular mound of skeletons wonderfully complete,' all
radiating from a centre, faces upwards, feet inwards; a 'radiation'
not of Light, but of the Nether Darkness rather; and evidently the
fruit of battle; for 'many of the heads were cleft, or had arrow-holes
in them,' The Battle of Fornham, therefore, is a fact, though a
forgotten one; no less obscure than undeniable,--like so many other
facts.

       *       *       *       *       *

Like the St. Edmund's Monastery itself! Who can doubt, after what we
have said, that there was a Monastery here at one time? No doubt at
all there was a Monastery here; no doubt, some three centuries prior
to this Fornham Battle, there dwelt a man in these parts of the name
of Edmund, King, Landlord, Duke or whatever his title was, of the
Eastern Counties;--and a very singular man and landlord he must have
been.

For his tenants, it would appear, did not in the least complain of
him; his labourers did not think of burning his wheatstacks, breaking
into his game-preserves; very far the reverse of all that. Clear
evidence, satisfactory even to my friend Dryasdust, exists that, on
the contrary, they honoured, loved, admired this ancient Landlord to a
quite astonishing degree,--and indeed at last to an immeasurable and
inexpressible degree; for, finding no limits or utterable words for
their sense of his worth, they took to beatifying and adoring him!
'Infinite admiration,' we are taught, 'means worship.'

Very singular,--could we discover it! What Edmund's specific duties
were; above all, what his method of discharging them with such results
was, would surely be interesting to know; but are _not_ very
discoverable now. His Life has become a poetic, nay a religious
_Mythus_; though, undeniably enough, it was once a prose Fact, as our
poor lives are; and even a very rugged unmanageable one. This landlord
Edmund did go about in leather shoes, with _femoralia_ and bodycoat of
some sort on him; and daily had his breakfast to procure; and daily
had contradictory speeches, and most contradictory facts not a few, to
reconcile with himself. No man becomes a Saint in his sleep. Edmund,
for instance, instead of _reconciling_ those same contradictory facts
and speeches to himself,--which means _subduing_, and in a manlike and
godlike manner conquering them to himself,--might have merely thrown
new contention into them, new unwisdom into them, and so been
conquered _by_ them; much the commoner case! In that way he had proved
no 'Saint,' or Divine-looking Man, but a mere Sinner, and unfortunate,
blameable, more or less Diabolic-looking man! No landlord Edmund
becomes infinitely admirable in his sleep.

With what degree of wholesome rigour his rents were collected, we hear
not. Still less by what methods he preserved his game, whether by
'bushing' or how,--and if the partridge-seasons were 'excellent,' or
were indifferent. Neither do we ascertain what kind of Corn-bill he
passed, or wisely-adjusted Sliding-scale:--but indeed there were few
spinners in those days; and the nuisance of spinning, and other dusty
labour, was not yet so glaring a one.

How then, it may be asked, did this Edmund rise into favour; become to
such astonishing extent a recognised Farmer's Friend? Really, except
it were by doing justly and loving mercy to an unprecedented extent,
one does not know. The man, it would seem, 'had walked,' as they say,
'humbly with God;' humbly and valiantly with God; struggling to make
the Earth heavenly as he could: instead of walking sumptuously and
pridefully with Mammon, leaving the Earth to grow hellish as it liked.
Not sumptuously with Mammon? How then could he 'encourage
trade,'--cause Howel and James, and many wine-merchants, to bless him,
and the tailor's heart (though in a very short-sighted manner) to sing
for joy? Much in this Edmund's Life is mysterious.

That he could, on occasion, do what he liked with his own, is
meanwhile evident enough. Certain Heathen Physical-Force
Ultra-Chartists, 'Danes' as they were then called, coming into his
territory with their 'five points,' or rather with their
five-and-twenty thousand _points_ and edges too, of pikes namely and
battle-axes; and proposing mere Heathenism, confiscation, spoliation,
and fire and sword,--Edmund answered that he would oppose to the
utmost such savagery. They took him prisoner; again required his
sanction to said proposals. Edmund again refused. Cannot we kill you?
cried they.--Cannot I die? answered he. My life, I think, is my own to
do what I like with! And he died, under barbarous tortures, refusing
to the last breath; and the Ultra-Chartist Danes _lost_ their
propositions;--and went with their 'points' and other apparatus, as is
supposed, to the Devil, the Father of them. Some say, indeed, these
Danes were not Ultra-Chartists, but Ultra-Tories, demanding to reap
where they had not sown, and live in this world without working,
though all the world should starve for it; which likewise seems a
possible hypothesis. Be what they might, they went, as we say, to the
Devil; and Edmund doing what he liked with his own, the Earth was got
cleared of them.

Another version is, that Edmund on this and the like occasions stood
by his order; the oldest, and indeed only true order of Nobility known
under the stars, that of Just Men and Sons of God, in opposition to
Unjust and Sons of Belial,--which latter indeed are _second_-oldest,
but yet a very unvenerable order. This, truly, seems the likeliest
hypothesis of all. Names and appearances alter so strangely, in some
half-score centuries; and all fluctuates chameleon-like, taking now
this hue, now that. Thus much is very plain, and does not change hue:
Landlord Edmund was seen and felt by all men to have done verily a
man's part in this life-pilgrimage of his; and benedictions, and
out-flowing love and admiration from the universal heart, were his
meed. Well-done! Well-done! cried the hearts of all men. They raised
his slain and martyred body; washed its wounds with fast-flowing
universal tears; tears of endless pity, and yet of a sacred joy and
triumph. The beautifulest kind of tears,--indeed perhaps the
beautifulest kind of thing: like a sky all flashing diamonds and
prismatic radiance; all weeping, yet shone on by the everlasting
Sun:--and _this_ is not a sky, it is a Soul and living Face! Nothing
liker the _Temple of the Highest_, bright with some real effulgence of
the Highest, is seen in this world.

Oh, if all Yankee-land follow a small good 'Schnüspel the
distinguished Novelist' with blazing torches, dinner-invitations,
universal hep-hep-hurrah, feeling that he, though small, _is_
something; how might all Angle-land once follow a hero-martyr and
great true Son of Heaven! It is the very joy of man's heart to admire,
where he can; nothing so lifts him from all his mean imprisonments,
were it but for moments, as true admiration. Thus it has been said,
'all men, especially all women, are born worshippers;' and will
worship, if it be but possible. Possible to worship a Something, even
a small one; not so possible a mere loud-blaring Nothing! What sight
is more pathetic than that of poor multitudes of persons met to gaze
at Kings' Progresses, Lord Mayors' Shows, and other gilt-gingerbread
phenomena of the worshipful sort, in these times; each so eager to
worship; each, with a dim fatal sense of disappointment, finding that
he cannot rightly here! These be thy gods, O Israel? And thou art so
_willing_ to worship,--poor Israel!

In this manner, however, did the men of the Eastern Counties take up
the slain body of their Edmund, where it lay cast forth in the village
of Hoxne; seek out the severed head, and reverently reunite the
same. They embalmed him with myrrh and sweet spices, with love, pity,
and all high and awful thoughts; consecrating him with a very
storm of melodious adoring admiration, and sun-dyed showers of
tears;--joyfully, yet with awe (as all deep joy has something of the
awful in it), commemorating his noble deeds and godlike walk and
conversation while on Earth. Till, at length, the very Pope and
Cardinals at Rome were forced to hear of it; and they, summing up as
correctly as they well could, with _Advocatus-Diaboli_ pleadings and
their other forms of process, the general verdict of mankind,
declared: That he had, in very fact, led a hero's life in this world;
and being now _gone_, was gone, as they conceived, to God above, and
reaping his reward _there_. Such, they said, was the best judgment
they could form of the case;--and truly not a bad judgment. Acquiesced
in, zealously adopted, with full assent of 'private judgment,' by all
mortals.

       *       *       *       *       *

The rest of St. Edmund's history, for the reader sees he has now
become a _Saint_, is easily conceivable. Pious munificence provided
him a _loculus_, a _feretrum_ or shrine; built for him a wooden
chapel, a stone temple, ever widening and growing by new pious
gifts;--such the overflowing heart feels it a blessedness to solace
itself by giving. St. Edmund's Shrine glitters now with diamond
flowerages, with a plating of wrought gold. The wooden chapel, as we
say, has become a stone temple. Stately masonries, long-drawn arches,
cloisters, sounding aisles buttress it, begirdle it far and wide.
Regimented companies of men, of whom our Jocelin is one, devote
themselves, in every generation, to meditate here on man's Nobleness
and Awfulness, and celebrate and show forth the same, as they best
can,--thinking they will do it better here, in presence of God the
Maker, and of the so Awful and so Noble made by Him. In one word, St.
Edmund's Body has raised a Monastery round it. To such length, in
such manner, has the Spirit of the Time visibly taken body, and
crystallised itself here. New gifts, houses, farms, _katalla_[6]--come
ever in. King Knut, whom men call Canute, whom the Ocean-tide would
not be forbidden to wet,--we heard already of this wise King, with his
crown and gifts; but of many others, Kings, Queens, wise men and noble
loyal women, let Dryasdust and divine Silence be the record!
Beodric's-Worth has become St. Edmund's _Bury_;--and lasts visible to
this hour. All this that thou now seest, and namest Bury Town, is
properly the Funeral Monument of Saint or Landlord Edmund. The present
respectable Mayor of Bury may be said, like a Fakeer (little as he
thinks of it), to have his dwelling in the extensive, many-sculptured
Tombstone of St. Edmund; in one of the brick niches thereof dwells the
present respectable Mayor of Bury.

Certain Times do crystallise themselves in a magnificent manner; and
others, perhaps, are like to do it in rather a shabby one!--But
Richard Arkwright too will have his Monument, a thousand years hence:
all Lancashire and Yorkshire, and how many other shires and countries,
with their machineries and industries, for his monument! A true
_pyr_amid or '_flame_-mountain,' flaming with steam fires and useful
labour over wide continents, usefully towards the Stars, to a certain
height;--how much grander than your foolish Cheops Pyramids or Sakhara
clay ones! Let us withal be hopeful, be content or patient.

FOOTNOTES:

[4] Dryasdust puzzles and pokes for some biography of this Beodric;
and repugns to consider him a mere East-Anglian Person of Condition,
not in need of a biography,--whose [Old English: weowð], _weorth_ or
_worth_, that is to say, _Growth_, Increase, or as we should now name
it, _Estate_, that same Hamlet and wood Mansion, now St. Edmund's
Bury, originally was. For, adds our erudite Friend, the Saxon [Old
English: weowðan], equivalent to the German _werden_, means to _grow_,
to _become_; traces of which old vocable are still found in the
North-country dialects; as, 'What is _word_ of him?' meaning, 'What is
_become_ of him?' and the like. Nay we in modern English still say,
'Woe _worth_ the hour' (Woe _befall_ the hour), and speak of the
'_Weird_ Sisters;' not to mention the innumerable other names of
places still ending in _weorth_ or _worth_. And indeed, our common
noun _worth_, in the sense of _value_, does not this mean simply, What
a thing has _grown_ to, What a man has _grown_ to, How much he amounts
to,--by the Threadneedle-street standard or another!

[5] Lyttelton's _History of Henry II._ (2d edition), v. 169, &c.

[6] Goods, properties; what we now call _chattels_, and still more
singularly _cattle_, says my erudite friend!



CHAPTER IV.

ABBOT HUGO.


It is true, all things have two faces, a light one and a dark. It is
true, in three centuries much imperfection accumulates; many an Ideal,
monastic or other, shooting forth into practice as it can, grows to a
strange enough Reality; and we have to ask with amazement, Is this
your Ideal! For, alas, the Ideal always has to grow in the Real, and
to seek out its bed and board there, often in a very sorry way. No
beautifulest Poet is a Bird-of-Paradise, living on perfumes; sleeping
in the æther with outspread wings. The Heroic, _independent_ of bed
and board, is found in Drury-Lane Theatre only; to avoid
disappointments, let us bear this in mind.

By the law of Nature, too, all manner of Ideals have their fatal
limits and lot; their appointed periods, of youth, of maturity or
perfection, of decline, degradation, and final death and
disappearance. There is nothing born but has to die. Ideal
monasteries, once grown real, do seek bed and board in this world; do
find it more and more successfully; do get at length too intent on
finding it, exclusively intent on that. They are then like diseased
corpulent bodies fallen idiotic, which merely eat and sleep; _ready_
for 'dissolution,' by a Henry the Eighth or some other. Jocelin's St.
Edmundsbury is still far from this last dreadful state: but here too
the reader will prepare himself to see an Ideal not sleeping in the
æther like a bird-of-paradise, but roosting as the common wood-fowl
do, in an imperfect, uncomfortable, more or less contemptible
manner!--

       *       *       *       *       *

Abbot Hugo, as Jocelin, breaking at once into the heart of the
business, apprises us, had in those days grown old, grown rather
blind, and his eyes were somewhat darkened, _aliquantulum caligaverunt
oculi ejus_. He dwelt apart very much, in his _Talamus_ or peculiar
Chamber; got into the hands of flatterers, a set of mealy-mouthed
persons who strove to make the passing hour easy for him,--for him
easy, and for themselves profitable; accumulating in the distance mere
mountains of confusion. Old Dominus Hugo sat inaccessible in this way,
far in the interior, wrapt in his warm flannels and delusions;
inaccessible to all voice of Fact; and bad grew ever worse with us.
Not that our worthy old _Dominus Abbas_ was inattentive to the divine
offices, or to the maintenance of a devout spirit in us or in himself;
but the Account-Books of the Convent fell into the frightfulest state,
and Hugo's annual Budget grew yearly emptier, or filled with futile
expectations, fatal deficit, wind and debts!

His one worldly care was to raise ready money; sufficient for the day
is the evil thereof. And how he raised it: From usurious insatiable
Jews; every fresh Jew sticking on him like a fresh horseleech, sucking
his and our life out; crying continually, Give, give! Take one example
instead of scores. Our _Camera_ having fallen into ruin, William the
Sacristan received charge to repair it; strict charge, but no money;
Abbot Hugo would, and indeed could, give him no fraction of money. The
_Camera_ in ruins, and Hugo penniless and inaccessible, Willelmus
Sacrista borrowed Forty Marcs (some Seven-and-twenty Pounds) of
Benedict the Jew, and patched-up our Camera again. But the means of
repaying him? There were no means. Hardly could _Sacrista_,
_Cellerarius_, or any public officer, get ends to meet, on the
indispensablest scale, with their shrunk allowances: ready money had
vanished.

Benedict's Twenty-seven pounds grew rapidly at compound-interest; and
at length, when it had amounted to a Hundred pounds, he, on a day of
settlement, presents the account to Hugo himself. Hugo already owed
him another Hundred of his own; and so here it has become Two Hundred!
Hugo, in a fine frenzy, threatens to depose the Sacristan, to do this
and do that; but, in the mean while, How to quiet your insatiable Jew?
Hugo, for this couple of hundreds, grants the Jew his bond for Four
hundred payable at the end of four years. At the end of four years
there is, of course, still no money; and the Jew now gets a bond for
Eight hundred and eighty pounds, to be paid by instalments, Fourscore
pounds every year. Here was a way of doing business!

Neither yet is this insatiable Jew satisfied or settled with: he had
papers against us of 'small debts fourteen years old;' his modest
claim amounts finally to 'Twelve hundred pounds besides
interest;'--and one hopes he never got satisfied in this world; one
almost hopes he was one of those beleaguered Jews who hanged
themselves in York Castle shortly afterwards, and had his usances and
quittances and horseleech papers summarily set fire to! For
approximate justice will strive to accomplish itself; if not in one
way, then in another. Jews, and also Christians and Heathens, who
accumulate in this manner, though furnished with never so many
parchments, do, at times, 'get their grinder-teeth successively pulled
out of their head, each day a new grinder,' till they consent to
disgorge again. A sad fact,--worth reflecting on.

Jocelin, we see, is not without secularity: Our _Dominus
Abbas_ was intent enough on the divine offices; but then his
Account-Books--?--One of the things that strike us most, throughout,
in Jocelin's _Chronicle_, and indeed in Eadmer's _Anselm_, and other
old monastic Books, written evidently by pious men, is this, That
there is almost no mention whatever of 'personal religion' in them;
that the whole gist of their thinking and speculation seems to be the
'privileges of our order,' 'strict exaction of our dues,' 'God's
honour' (meaning the honour of our Saint), and so forth. Is not this
singular? A body of men, set apart for perfecting and purifying their
own souls, do not seem disturbed about that in any measure: the
'Ideal' says nothing about its idea; says much about finding bed and
board for itself! How is this?

Why, for one thing, bed and board are a matter very apt to come to
speech: it is much easier to _speak_ of them than of ideas; and they
are sometimes much more pressing with some! Nay, for another thing,
may not this religious reticence, in these devout good souls, be
perhaps a merit, and sign of health in them? Jocelin, Eadmer, and such
religious men, have as yet nothing of 'Methodism;' no Doubt or even
root of Doubt. Religion is not a diseased self-introspection, an
agonising inquiry: their duties are clear to them, the way of supreme
good plain, indisputable, and they are travelling on it. Religion lies
over them like an all-embracing heavenly canopy, like an atmosphere
and life-element, which is not spoken of, which in all things is
presupposed without speech. Is not serene or complete Religion the
highest aspect of human nature; as serene Cant, or complete
No-religion, is the lowest and miserablest? Between which two, all
manner of earnest Methodisms, introspections, agonising inquiries,
never so morbid, shall play their respective parts, not without
approbation.

       *       *       *       *       *

But let any reader fancy himself one of the Brethren in St.
Edmundsbury Monastery under such circumstances! How can a Lord Abbot,
all stuck-over with horseleeches of this nature, front the world? He
is fast losing his life-blood, and the Convent will be as one of
Pharaoh's lean kine. Old monks of experience draw their hoods deeper
down; careful what they say: the monk's first duty is obedience. Our
Lord the King, hearing of such work, sends down his Almoner to make
investigations: but what boots it? Abbot Hugo assembles us in Chapter;
asks, "If there is any complaint?" Not a soul of us dare answer, "Yes,
thousands!" but we all stand silent, and the Prior even says that
things are in a very comfortable condition. Whereupon old Abbot Hugo,
turning to the royal messenger, says, "You see!"--and the business
terminates in that way. I, as a brisk-eyed noticing youth and novice,
could not help asking of the elders, asking of Magister Samson in
particular: Why he, well-instructed and a knowing man, had not spoken
out, and brought matters to a bearing? Magister Samson was Teacher of
the Novices, appointed to breed us up to the rules, and I loved him
well. "_Fili mi_," answered Samson, "the burnt child shuns the fire.
Dost thou not know, our Lord the Abbot sent me once to Acre in
Norfolk, to solitary confinement and bread-and-water, already? The
Hinghams, Hugo and Robert, have just got home from banishment for
speaking. This is the hour of darkness: the hour when flatterers rule
and are believed. _Videat Dominus_, let the Lord see, and judge."

In very truth, what could poor old Abbot Hugo do? A frail old man, and
the Philistines were upon him,--that is to say, the Hebrews. He had
nothing for it but to shrink away from them; get back into his warm
flannels, into his warm delusions again. Happily, before it was quite
too late, he bethought him of pilgriming to St. Thomas of Canterbury.
He set out, with a fit train, in the autumn days of the year 1180;
near Rochester City, his mule threw him, dislocated his poor kneepan,
raised incurable inflammatory fever; and the poor old man got his
dismissal from the whole coil at once. St. Thomas à Becket, though in
a circuitous way, had _brought_ deliverance! Neither Jew usurers, nor
grumbling monks, nor other importunate despicability of men or
mud-elements afflicted Abbot Hugo any more; but he dropt his rosaries,
closed his account-books, closed his old eyes, and lay down into the
long sleep. Heavy-laden hoary old Dominus Hugo, fare thee well.

One thing we cannot mention without a due thrill of horror: namely,
that, in the empty exchequer of Dominus Hugo, there was not found one
penny to distribute to the Poor that they might pray for his soul! By
a kind of godsend, Fifty shillings did, in the very nick of time, fall
due, or seem to fall due, from one of his Farmers (the _Firmarius_ de
Palegrava), and he paid it, and the Poor had it; though, alas, this
too only _seemed_ to fall due, and we had it to pay again afterwards.
Dominus Hugo's apartments were plundered by his servants, to the last
portable stool, in a few minutes after the breath was out of his body.
Forlorn old Hugo, fare thee well forever.



CHAPTER V.

TWELFTH CENTURY.


Our Abbot being dead, the _Dominus Rex_, Henry II., or Ranulf de
Glanvill _Justiciarius_ of England for him, set Inspectors or
Custodiars over us;--not in any breathless haste to appoint a new
Abbot, our revenues coming into his own _Scaccarium_, or royal
Exchequer, in the mean while. They proceeded with some rigour, these
Custodiars; took written inventories, clapt-on seals, exacted
everywhere strict tale and measure: but wherefore should a living monk
complain? The living monk has to do his devotional drill-exercise;
consume his allotted _pitantia_, what we call _pittance_, or ration of
victual; and possess his soul in patience.

Dim, as through a long vista of Seven Centuries, dim and very strange
looks that monk-life to us; the ever-surprising circumstance this,
That it is a _fact_ and no dream, that we see it there, and gaze into
the very eyes of it! Smoke rises daily from those culinary
chimney-throats; there are living human beings there, who chant,
loud-braying, their matins, nones, vespers; awakening _echoes_, not to
the bodily ear alone. St. Edmund's Shrine, perpetually illuminated,
glows ruddy through the Night, and through the Night of Centuries
withal; St. Edmundsbury Town paying yearly Forty pounds for that
express end. Bells clang out; on great occasions, all the bells. We
have Processions, Preachings, Festivals, Christmas Plays, _Mysteries_
shown in the Churchyard, at which latter the Townsfolk sometimes
quarrel. Time was, Time is, as Friar Bacon's Brass Head remarked; and
withal Time will be. There are three Tenses, _Tempora_, or Times; and
there is one Eternity; and as for us,

    'We are such stuff as Dreams are made of!'

Indisputable, though very dim to modern vision, rests on its
hill-slope that same _Bury_, _Stow_, or Town of St. Edmund; already a
considerable place, not without traffic, nay manufactures, would
Jocelin only tell us what. Jocelin is totally careless of telling:
but, through dim fitful apertures, we can see _Fullones_, 'Fullers,'
see cloth-making; looms dimly going, dye-vats, and old women spinning
yarn. We have Fairs too, _Nundinæ_, in due course; and the Londoners
give us much trouble, pretending that they, as a metropolitan people,
are exempt from toll. Besides there is Field-husbandry, with perplexed
settlement of Convent rents: corn-ricks pile themselves within burgh,
in their season; and cattle depart and enter; and even the poor weaver
has his cow,--'dungheaps' lying quiet at most doors (_ante foras_,
says the incidental Jocelin), for the Town has yet no improved police.
Watch and ward nevertheless we do keep, and have Gates,--as what Town
must not; thieves so abounding; war, _werra_, such a frequent thing!
Our thieves, at the Abbot's judgment-bar, deny; claim wager of battle;
fight, are beaten, and _then_ hanged. 'Ketel, the thief,' took this
course; and it did nothing for him,--merely brought us, and indeed
himself, new trouble!

Everyway a most foreign Time. What difficulty, for example, has our
_Cellerarius_ to collect the _repselver_, 'reaping silver,' or penny,
which each householder is by law bound to pay for cutting down the
Convent grain! Richer people pretend that it is commuted, that it is
this and the other; that, in short, they will not pay it. Our
_Cellerarius_ gives up calling on the rich. In the houses of the poor,
our _Cellerarius_ finding, in like manner, neither penny nor good
promise, snatches, without ceremony, what _vadium_ (pledge, _wad_) he
can come at: a joint-stool, kettle, nay the very house-door,
'_hostium_;' and old women, thus exposed to the unfeeling gaze of the
public, rush out after him with their distaffs and the angriest
shrieks: '_vetulæ exibant cum colis suis_,' says Jocelin, '_minantes
et exprobrantes_.'

What a historical picture, glowing visible, as St. Edmund's Shrine by
night, after Seven long Centuries or so! _Vetulæ cum colis_: My
venerable ancient spinning grandmothers,--ah, and ye too have to
shriek, and rush out with your distaffs; and become Female Chartists,
and scold all evening with void doorway;--and in old Saxon, as we in
modern, would fain demand some Five-point Charter, could it be
fallen-in with, the Earth being too tyrannous!--Wise Lord Abbots,
hearing of such phenomena, did in time abolish or commute the
reap-penny, and one nuisance was abated. But the image of these justly
offended old women, in their old wool costumes, with their angry
features, and spindles brandished, lives forever in the historical
memory. Thanks to thee, Jocelin Boswell. Jerusalem was taken by the
Crusaders, and again lost by them; and Richard Coeur-de-Lion 'veiled
his face' as he passed in sight of it: but how many other things went
on, the while!

Thus, too, our trouble with the Lakenheath eels is very great. King
Knut namely, or rather his Queen who also did herself honour by
honouring St. Edmund, decreed by authentic deed yet extant on
parchment, that the Holders of the Town Fields, once Beodric's,
should, for one thing, go yearly and catch us four thousand eels in
the marsh-pools of Lakenheath. Well, they went, they continued to go;
but, in later times, got into the way of returning with a most short
account of eels. Not the due six-score apiece; no, Here are two-score,
Here are twenty, ten,--sometimes, Here are none at all; Heaven help
us, we _could_ catch no more, they were not there! What is a
distressed _Cellerarius_ to do? We agree that each Holder of so many
acres shall pay one penny yearly, and let-go the eels as too slippery.
But, alas, neither is this quite effectual: the Fields, in my time,
have got divided among so many hands, there is no catching of _them_
either; I have known our Cellarer get seven-and-twenty pence formerly,
and now it is much if he get ten pence farthing (_vix decem denarios
et obolum_). And then their sheep, which they are bound to fold
nightly in our pens, for the manure's sake; and, I fear, do not always
fold: and their _aver-pennies_, and their _avragiums_, and their
_fodercorns_, and mill-and-market dues! Thus, in its undeniable but
dim manner, does old St. Edmundsbury spin and till, and laboriously
keep its pot boiling, and St. Edmund's Shrine lighted, under such
conditions and averages as it can.

       *       *       *       *       *

How much is still alive in England; how much has not yet come into
life! A Feudal Aristocracy is still alive, in the prime of life;
superintending the cultivation of the land, and less consciously the
distribution of the produce of the land, the adjustment of the
quarrels of the land; judging, soldiering, adjusting; everywhere
governing the people,--so that even a Gurth, born thrall of Cedric,
lacks not his due parings of the pigs he tends. Governing;--and, alas,
also game-preserving; so that a Robert Hood, a William Scarlet and
others have, in these days, put on Lincoln coats, and taken to living,
in some universal-suffrage manner, under the greenwood-tree!

How silent, on the other hand, lie all Cotton-trades and suchlike;
not a steeple-chimney yet got on end from sea to sea! North of the
Humber, a stern Willelmus Conquæstor burnt the Country, finding it
unruly, into very stern repose. Wild fowl scream in those ancient
silences, wild cattle roam in those ancient solitudes; the scanty
sulky Norse-bred population all coerced into silence,--feeling that,
under these new Norman Governors, their history has probably as good
as _ended_. Men and Northumbrian Norse populations know little what
has ended, what is but beginning! The Ribble and the Aire roll down,
as yet unpolluted by dyers' chemistry; tenanted by merry trouts and
piscatory otters; the sunbeam and the vacant wind's-blast alone
traversing those moors. Side by side sleep the coal-strata and the
iron-strata for so many ages; no Steam-Demon has yet risen smoking
into being. Saint Mungo rules in Glasgow; James Watt still slumbering
in the deep of Time. _Mancunium_, Manceaster, what we now call
Manchester, spins no cotton,--if it be not _wool_ 'cottons,' clipped
from the backs of mountain sheep. The Creek of the Mersey gurgles,
twice in the four-and-twenty hours, with eddying brine, clangorous
with sea-fowl; and is a _Lither_-Pool, a _lazy_ or sullen Pool, no
monstrous pitchy City, and Seahaven of the world! The Centuries are
big; and the birth-hour is coming, not yet come. _Tempus ferax, tempus
edax rerum._



CHAPTER VI.

MONK SAMSON.


Within doors, down at the hill-foot, in our Convent here, we are a
peculiar people,--hardly conceivable in the Arkwright Corn-Law ages,
of mere Spinning-Mills and Joe-Mantons! There is yet no Methodism
among us, and we speak much of Secularities: no Methodism; our
Religion is not yet a horrible restless Doubt, still less a far
horribler composed Cant; but a great heaven-high Unquestionability,
encompassing, interpenetrating the whole of Life. Imperfect as we may
be, we are here, with our litanies, shaven crowns, vows of poverty, to
testify incessantly and indisputably to every heart, That this Earthly
Life and _its_ riches and possessions, and good and evil hap, are not
intrinsically a reality at all, but _are_ a shadow of realities
eternal, infinite; that this Time-world, as an air-image, fearfully
_emblematic_, plays and flickers in the grand still mirror of
Eternity; and man's little Life has Duties that are great, that are
alone great, and go up to Heaven and down to Hell. This, with our poor
litanies, we testify, and struggle to testify.

Which, testified or not, remembered by all men or forgotten by all
men, does verily remain the fact, even in Arkwright Joe-Manton ages!
But it is incalculable, when litanies have grown obsolete; when
_fodercorns_, _avragiums_, and all human dues and reciprocities have
been fully changed into one great due of _cash payment_; and man's
duty to man reduces itself to handing him certain metal coins, or
covenanted money-wages, and then shoving him out of doors; and man's
duty to God becomes a cant, a doubt, a dim inanity, a 'pleasure of
virtue' or suchlike; and the thing a man does infinitely fear (the
real _Hell_ of a man) is, 'that he do not make money and advance
himself,'--I say, it is incalculable what a change has introduced
itself everywhere into human affairs! How human affairs shall now
circulate everywhere not healthy life-blood in them, but, as it were,
a detestable copperas banker's ink; and all is grown acrid, divisive,
threatening dissolution; and the huge tumultuous Life of Society is
galvanic, devil-ridden, too truly possessed by a devil: For, in short,
Mammon _is_ not a god at all; but a devil, and even a very despicable
devil. Follow the Devil faithfully, you are sure enough to _go_ to the
Devil: whither else can you go?--In such situations, men look back
with a kind of mournful recognition even on poor limited Monk-figures,
with their poor litanies; and reflect, with Ben Jonson, that soul is
indispensable, some degree of soul, even to save you the expense of
salt!--

For the rest, it must be owned, we Monks of St. Edmundsbury are but a
limited class of creatures, and seem to have a somewhat dull life of
it. Much given to idle gossip; having indeed no other work, when our
chanting is over. Listless gossip, for most part, and a mitigated
slander; the fruit of idleness, not of spleen. We are dull, insipid
men, many of us; easy-minded; whom prayer and digestion of food will
avail for a life. We have to receive all strangers in our Convent, and
lodge them gratis; such and such sorts go by rule to the Lord Abbot
and his special revenues; such and such to us and our poor Cellarer,
however straitened. Jews themselves send their wives and little ones
hither in war-time, into our _Pitanceria_; where they abide safe, with
due _pittances_,--for a consideration. We have the fairest chances
for collecting news. Some of us have a turn for reading Books; for
meditation, silence; at times we even write Books. Some of us can
preach, in English-Saxon, in Norman-French, and even in Monk-Latin;
others cannot in any language or jargon, being stupid.

Failing all else, what gossip about one another! This is a perennial
resource. How one hooded head applies itself to the ear of another,
and whispers--_tacenda_. Willelmus Sacrista, for instance, what does
he nightly, over in that Sacristy of his? Frequent bibations,
'_frequentes bibationes et quædam tacenda_,'--eheu! We have '_tempora
minutionis_,' stated seasons of blood-letting, when we are all let
blood together; and then there is a general free-conference, a
sanhedrim of clatter. Notwithstanding our vow of poverty, we can by
rule amass to the extent of 'two shillings;' but it is to be given to
our necessitous kindred, or in charity. Poor Monks! Thus too a certain
Canterbury Monk was in the habit of 'slipping, _clanculo_, from his
sleeve,' five shillings into the hand of his mother, when she came to
see him, at the divine offices, every two months. Once, slipping the
money clandestinely, just in the act of taking leave, he slipt it not
into her hand but on the floor, and another had it; whereupon the poor
Monk, coming to know it, looked mere despair for some days; till
Lanfranc the noble Archbishop, questioning his secret from him, nobly
made the sum _seven_ shillings,[7] and said, Never mind!

       *       *       *       *       *

One Monk, of a taciturn nature, distinguishes himself among these
babbling ones: the name of him Samson; he that answered Jocelin,
"_Fili mi_, a burnt child shuns the fire." They call him 'Norfolk
_Barrator_,' or litigious person; for indeed, being of grave taciturn
ways, he is not universally a favourite; he has been in trouble more
than once. The reader is desired to mark this Monk. A personable man
of seven-and-forty; stout-made, stands erect as a pillar; with bushy
eyebrows, the eyes of him beaming into you in a really strange way;
the face massive, grave, with 'a very eminent nose;' his head almost
bald, its auburn remnants of hair, and the copious ruddy beard,
getting slightly streaked with gray. This is Brother Samson; a man
worth looking at.

He is from Norfolk, as the nickname indicates; from Tottington in
Norfolk, as we guess; the son of poor parents there. He has told me
Jocelin, for I loved him much, That once in his ninth year he had an
alarming dream;--as indeed we are all somewhat given to dreaming here.
Little Samson, lying uneasily in his crib at Tottington, dreamed that
he saw the Arch Enemy in person, just alighted in front of some grand
building, with outspread bat-wings, and stretching forth detestable
clawed hands to grip him, little Samson, and fly-off with him:
whereupon the little dreamer shrieked desperate to St. Edmund for
help, shrieked and again shrieked; and St. Edmund, a reverend heavenly
figure, did come,--and indeed poor little Samson's mother, awakened by
his shrieking, did come; and the Devil and the Dream both fled away
fruitless. On the morrow, his mother, pondering such an awful dream,
thought it were good to take him over to St. Edmund's own Shrine, and
pray with him there. See, said little Samson at sight of the
Abbey-Gate; see, mother, this is the building I dreamed of! His poor
mother dedicated him to St. Edmund,--left him there with prayers and
tears: what better could she do? The exposition of the dream, Brother
Samson used to say, was this: _Diabolus_ with outspread bat-wings
shadowed forth the pleasures of this world, _voluptates hujus sæculi_,
which were about to snatch and fly away with me, had not St. Edmund
flung his arms round me, that is to say, made me a monk of his. A
monk, accordingly, Brother Samson is; and here to this day where his
mother left him. A learned man, of devout grave nature; has studied at
Paris, has taught in the Town Schools here, and done much else; can
preach in three languages, and, like Dr. Caius, 'has had losses' in
his time. A thoughtful, firm-standing man; much loved by some, not
loved by all; his clear eyes flashing into you, in an almost
inconvenient way!

Abbot Hugo, as we said, had his own difficulties with him; Abbot Hugo
had him in prison once, to teach him what authority was, and how to
dread the fire in future. For Brother Samson, in the time of the
Antipopes, had been sent to Rome on business; and, returning
successful, was too late,--the business had all misgone in the
interim! As tours to Rome are still frequent with us English, perhaps
the reader will not grudge to look at the method of travelling thither
in those remote ages. We happily have, in small compass, a personal
narrative of it. Through the clear eyes and memory of Brother Samson
one peeps direct into the very bosom of that Twelfth Century, and
finds it rather curious. The actual _Papa_, Father, or universal
President of Christendom, as yet not grown chimerical, sat there;
think of that only! Brother Samson went to Rome as to the real
Light-fountain of this lower world; we now--!--But let us hear Brother
Samson, as to his mode of travelling:

'You know what trouble I had for that Church of Woolpit; how I was
despatched to Rome in the time of the Schism between Pope Alexander
and Octavian; and passed through Italy at that season, when all clergy
carrying letters for our Lord Pope Alexander were laid hold of, and
some were clapt in prison, some hanged; and some, with nose and lips
cut off, were sent forward to our Lord the Pope, for the disgrace and
confusion of him (_in dedecus et confusionem ejus_). I, however,
pretended to be Scotch, and putting on the garb of a Scotchman, and
taking the gesture of one, walked along; and when anybody mocked at
me, I would brandish my staff in the manner of that weapon they call
_gaveloc_,[8] uttering comminatory words after the way of the Scotch.
To those that met and questioned me who I was, I made no answer but:
_Ride, ride Rome; turne Cantwereberei_.[9] Thus did I, to conceal
myself and my errand, and get safer to Rome under the guise of a
Scotchman.

Having at last obtained a Letter from our Lord the Pope according to
my wishes, I turned homewards again. I had to pass through a certain
strong town on my road; and lo, the soldiers thereof surrounded me,
seizing me, and saying: "This vagabond (_iste solivagus_), who
pretends to be Scotch, is either a spy, or has Letters from the false
Pope Alexander." And whilst they examined every stitch and rag of me,
my leggings (_caligas_), breeches, and even the old shoes that I
carried over my shoulder in the way of the Scotch,--I put my hand into
the leather scrip I wore, wherein our Lord the Pope's Letter lay,
close by a little jug (_ciffus_) I had for drinking out of; and the
Lord God so pleasing, and St. Edmund, I got out both the Letter and
the jug together; in such a way that, extending my arm aloft, I held
the Letter hidden between jug and hand: they saw the jug, but the
Letter they saw not. And thus I escaped out of their hands in the name
of the Lord. Whatever money I had, they took from me; wherefore I had
to beg from door to door, without any payment (_sine omni expensa_)
till I came to England again. But hearing that the Woolpit Church was
already given to Geoffry Ridell, my soul was struck with sorrow
because I had laboured in vain. Coming home, therefore, I sat me down
secretly under the Shrine of St. Edmund, fearing lest our Lord Abbot
should seize and imprison me, though I had done no mischief; nor was
there a monk who durst speak to me? nor a laic who durst bring me food
except by stealth.'[10]

Such resting and welcoming found Brother Samson, with his worn soles,
and strong heart! He sits silent, revolving many thoughts, at the foot
of St. Edmund's Shrine. In the wide Earth, if it be not Saint Edmund,
what friend or refuge has he? Our Lord Abbot, hearing of him, sent the
proper officer to lead him down to prison, and clap 'foot-gyves on
him' there. Another poor official furtively brought him a cup of wine;
bade him "be comforted in the Lord." Samson utters no complaint; obeys
in silence. 'Our Lord Abbot, taking counsel of it, banished me to
Acre, and there I had to stay long.'

Our Lord Abbot next tried Samson with promotions; made him
Subsacristan, made him Librarian, which he liked best of all, being
passionately fond of Books: Samson, with many thoughts in him, again
obeyed in silence; discharged his offices to perfection, but never
thanked our Lord Abbot,--seemed rather as if looking into him, with
those clear eyes of his. Whereupon Abbot Hugo said, _Se nunquam
vidisse_, He had never seen such a man; whom no severity would break
to complain, and no kindness soften into smiles or thanks:--a
questionable kind of man!

In this way, not without troubles, but still in an erect
clear-standing manner, has Brother Samson reached his forty-seventh
year; and his ruddy beard is getting slightly grizzled. He is
endeavouring, in these days, to have various broken things thatched
in; nay perhaps to have the Choir itself completed, for he can bear
nothing ruinous. He has gathered 'heaps of lime and sand;' has masons,
slaters working, he and _Warinus monachus noster_, who are joint
keepers of the Shrine; paying out the money duly,--furnished by
charitable burghers of St. Edmundsbury, they say. Charitable burghers
of St. Edmundsbury? To me Jocelin it seems rather, Samson, and Warinus
whom he leads, have privily hoarded the oblations at the Shrine
itself, in these late years of indolent dilapidation, while Abbot Hugo
sat wrapt inaccessible; and are struggling, in this prudent way, to
have the rain kept out![11]--Under what conditions, sometimes, has
Wisdom to struggle with Folly; get Folly persuaded to so much as
thatch out the rain from itself! For, indeed, if the Infant govern the
Nurse, what dextrous practice on the Nurse's part will not be
necessary!

It is a new regret to us that, in these circumstances, our Lord the
King's Custodiars, interfering, prohibited all building or thatching
from whatever source; and no Choir shall be completed, and Rain and
Time, for the present, shall have their way. Willelmus Sacrista, he of
'the frequent bibations and some things not be spoken of;' he, with
his red nose, I am of opinion, had made complaint to the Custodiars;
wishing to do Samson an ill turn:--Samson his _Sub_-sacristan, with
those clear eyes, could not be a prime favourite of his! Samson again
obeys in silence.

FOOTNOTES:

[7] _Eadmeri Hist._ p. 8.

[8] Javelin, missile pike. _Gaveloc_ is still the Scotch name for
_crowbar_.

[9] Does this mean, "Rome forever; Canterbury _not_" (which claims an
unjust Supremacy over us)! Mr. Rokewood is silent. Dryasdust would
perhaps explain it,--in the course of a week or two of talking; did
one dare to question him!

[10] _Jocelini Chronica_, p. 36.

[11] _Jocelini Chronica_, p. 7.



CHAPTER VII.

THE CANVASSING.


Now, however, come great news to St. Edmundsbury: That there is to be
an Abbot elected; that our interlunar obscuration is to cease; St.
Edmund's Convent no more to be a doleful widow, but joyous and once
again a bride! Often in our widowed state had we prayed to the Lord
and St. Edmund, singing weekly a matter of 'one-and-twenty penitential
Psalms, on our knees in the Choir,' that a fit Pastor might be
vouchsafed us. And, says Jocelin, had some known what Abbot we were to
get, they had not been so devout, I believe!--Bozzy Jocelin opens to
mankind the floodgates of authentic Convent gossip; we listen, as in a
Dionysius' Ear, to the inanest hubbub, like the voices at Virgil's
Horn-Gate of Dreams. Even gossip, seven centuries off, has
significance. List, list, how like men are to one another in all
centuries:

'_Dixit quidam de quodam_, A certain person said of a certain person,
"He, that _Frater_, is a good monk, _probabilis persona_; knows much
of the order and customs of the church; and, though not so perfect a
philosopher as some others, would make a very good Abbot. Old Abbot
Ording, still famed among us, knew little of letters. Besides,
as we read in Fables, it is better to choose a log for king, than
a serpent never so wise, that will venomously hiss and bite his
subjects."--"Impossible!" answered the other: "How can such a man make
a sermon in the Chapter, or to the people on festival-days, when he
is without letters? How can he have the skill to bind and to loose, he
who does not understand the Scriptures? How--?"'

And then 'another said of another, _alius de alio_, "That _Frater_ is
a _homo literatus_, eloquent, sagacious; vigorous in discipline; loves
the Convent much, has suffered much for its sake." To which a third
party answers, "From all your great clerks, good Lord deliver us! From
Norfolk barrators and surly persons, That it would please thee to
preserve us, We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord!" Then another
_quidam_ said of another _quodam_, "That _Frater_ is a good manager
(_husebondus_);" but was swiftly answered, "God forbid that a man who
can neither read nor chant, nor celebrate the divine offices, an
unjust person withal, and grinder of the faces of the poor, should
ever be Abbot!"' One man, it appears, is nice in his victuals. Another
is indeed wise, but apt to slight inferiors; hardly at the pains to
answer, if they argue with him too foolishly. And so each _aliquis_
concerning his _aliquo_,--through whole pages of electioneering
babble. 'For,' says Jocelin, 'So many men, as many minds.' Our Monks
'at time of blood-letting, _tempore minutionis_,' holding their
sanhedrim of babble, would talk in this manner: Brother Samson, I
remarked, never said anything; sat silent, sometimes smiling; but he
took good note of what others said, and would bring it up, on
occasion, twenty years after. As for me Jocelin, I was of opinion that
'some skill in Dialectics, to distinguish true from false,' would be
good in an Abbot. I spake, as a rash Novice in those days, some
conscientious words of a certain benefactor of mine; 'and behold, one
of those sons of Belial' ran and reported them to him, so that he
never after looked at me with the same face again! Poor Bozzy!--

Such is the buzz and frothy simmering ferment of the general mind and
no-mind; struggling to 'make itself up,' as the phrase is, or
ascertain what _it_ does really want: no easy matter, in most cases.
St. Edmundsbury, in that Candlemas season of the year 1182, is a
busily fermenting place. The very clothmakers sit meditative at their
looms; asking, Who shall be Abbot? The _sochemanni_ speak of it,
driving their ox-teams afield; the old women with their spindles: and
none yet knows what the days will bring forth.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Prior, however, as our interim chief, must proceed to work; get
ready 'Twelve Monks,' and set off with them to his Majesty at Waltham,
there shall the election be made. An election, whether managed
directly by ballot-box on public hustings, or indirectly by force of
public opinion, or were it even by open alehouses, landlords'
coercion, popular club-law, or whatever electoral methods, is always
an interesting phenomenon. A mountain tumbling in great travail,
throwing up dustclouds and absurd noises, is visibly there; uncertain
yet what mouse or monster it will give birth to.

Besides, it is a most important social act; nay, at bottom, the one
important social act. Given the men a People choose, the People
itself, in its exact worth and worthlessness, is given. A heroic
people chooses heroes, and is happy; a valet or flunky people chooses
sham-heroes, what are called quacks, thinking them heroes, and is not
happy. The grand summary of a man's spiritual condition, what brings
out all his herohood and insight, or all his flunkyhood and horn-eyed
dimness, is this question put to him, What man dost thou honour? Which
is thy ideal of a man; or nearest that? So too of a People: for a
People too, every People, _speaks_ its choice,--were it only by
silently obeying, and not revolting,--in the course of a century or
so. Nor are electoral methods, Reform Bills and suchlike, unimportant.
A People's electoral methods are, in the long-run, the express image
of its electoral _talent_; tending and gravitating perpetually,
irresistibly, to a conformity with that: and are, at all stages, very
significant of the People. Judicious readers, of these times, are not
disinclined to see how Monks elect their Abbot in the Twelfth Century:
how the St. Edmundsbury mountain manages its midwifery; and what mouse
or man the outcome is.



CHAPTER VIII.

THE ELECTION.


Accordingly our Prior assembles us in Chapter; and, we adjuring him
before God to do justly, nominates, not by our selection, yet with our
assent, Twelve Monks, moderately satisfactory. Of whom are Hugo
Third-Prior, Brother Dennis a venerable man, Walter the _Medicus_,
Samson _Subsacrista_, and other esteemed characters,--though Willelmus
_Sacrista_, of the red nose, too is one. These shall proceed
straightway to Waltham; and there elect the Abbot as they may and can.
Monks are sworn to obedience; must not speak too loud, under penalty
of foot-gyves, limbo, and bread-and-water: yet monks too would know
what it is they are obeying. The St. Edmundsbury Community has no
hustings, ballot-box, indeed no open voting: yet by various vague
manipulations, pulse-feelings, we struggle to ascertain what its
virtual aim is, and succeed better or worse.

This question, however, rises; alas, a quite preliminary question:
Will the _Dominus Rex_ allow us to choose freely? It is to be hoped!
Well, if so, we agree to choose one of our own Convent. If not, if the
_Dominus Rex_ will force a stranger on us, we decide on demurring, the
Prior and his Twelve shall demur: we can appeal, plead, remonstrate;
appeal even to the Pope, but trust it will not be necessary. Then
there is this other question, raised by Brother Samson: What if the
Thirteen should not themselves be able to agree? Brother Samson
_Subsacrista_, one remarks, is ready oftenest with some question, some
suggestion, that has wisdom in it. Though a servant of servants, and
saying little, his words all tell, having sense in them; it seems by
his light mainly that we steer ourselves in this great dimness.

What if the Thirteen should not themselves be able to agree? Speak,
Samson, and advise.--Could not, hints Samson, Six of our venerablest
elders be chosen by us, a kind of electoral committee, here and now:
of these, 'with their hand on the Gospels, with their eye on the
_Sacrosancta_,' we take oath that they will do faithfully; let these,
in secret and as before God, agree on Three whom they reckon fittest;
write their names in a Paper, and deliver the same sealed, forthwith,
to the Thirteen: one of those Three the Thirteen shall fix on, if
permitted. If not permitted, that is to say, if the _Dominus Rex_
force us to demur,--the paper shall be brought back unopened, and
publicly burned, that no man's secret bring him into trouble.

So Samson advises, so we act; wisely, in this and in other crises of
the business. Our electoral committee, its eye on the Sacrosancta, is
soon named, soon sworn; and we, striking-up the Fifth Psalm, '_Verba
mea_,

    'Give ear unto my words, O Lord,
    My meditation weigh,'

march out chanting, and leave the Six to their work in the Chapter
here. Their work, before long, they announce as finished: they, with
their eye on the Sacrosancta, imprecating the Lord to weigh and
witness their meditation, have fixed on Three Names, and written them
in this Sealed Paper. Let Samson Subsacrista, general servant of the
party, take charge of it. On the morrow morning, our Prior and his
Twelve will be ready to get under way.

This, then, is the ballot-box and electoral winnowing-machine they
have at St. Edmundsbury: a mind fixed on the Thrice Holy, an appeal to
God on high to witness their meditation: by far the best, and indeed
the only good electoral winnowing-machine,--if men have souls in them.
Totally worthless, it is true, and even hideous and poisonous, if men
have no souls. But without soul, alas, what winnowing-machine in human
elections can be of avail? We cannot get along without soul; we stick
fast, the mournfulest spectacle; and salt itself will not save us!

       *       *       *       *       *

On the morrow morning, accordingly, our Thirteen set forth; or rather
our Prior and Eleven; for Samson, as general servant of the party, has
to linger, settling many things. At length he too gets upon the road;
and, 'carrying the sealed Paper in a leather pouch hung round his
neck; and _froccum bajulans in ulnis_' (thanks to thee, Bozzy
Jocelin), 'his frock-skirts looped over his elbow,' showing
substantial stern-works, tramps stoutly along. Away across the Heath,
not yet of Newmarket and horse-jockeying; across your Fleam-dike and
Devil's-dike, no longer useful as a Mercian East-Anglian boundary or
bulwark: continually towards Waltham, and the Bishop of Winchester's
House there, for his Majesty is in that. Brother Samson, as
purse-bearer, has the reckoning always, when there is one, to pay;
'delays are numerous,' progress none of the swiftest.

But, in the solitude of the Convent, Destiny thus big and in her
birthtime, what gossiping, what babbling, what dreaming of dreams! The
secret of the Three our electoral elders alone know: some Abbot we
shall have to govern us; but which Abbot, oh, which! One Monk discerns
in a vision of the night-watches, that we shall get an Abbot of our
own body, without needing to demur: a prophet appeared to him clad
all in white, and said, "Ye shall have one of yours, and he will rage
among you like a wolf, _sæviet ut lupus_." Verily!--then which of
ours? Another Monk now dreams: he has seen clearly which; a certain
Figure taller by head and shoulders than the other two, dressed in alb
and _pallium_, and with the attitude of one about to fight;--which
tall Figure a wise Editor would rather not name at this stage of the
business! Enough that the vision is true: that Saint Edmund himself,
pale and awful, seemed to rise from his Shrine, with naked feet, and
say audibly, "He, _ille_, shall veil my feet;" which part of the
vision also proves true. Such guessing, visioning, dim perscrutation
of the momentous future: the very clothmakers, old women, all
townsfolk speak of it, 'and more than once it is reported in St.
Edmundsbury, This one is elected; and then, This one, and That other.'
Who knows?

       *       *       *       *       *

But now, sure enough, at Waltham 'on the Second Sunday of
Quadragesima,' which Dryasdust declares to mean the 22d day of
February, year 1182, Thirteen St. Edmundsbury Monks are, at last, seen
processioning towards the Winchester Manorhouse; and, in some high
Presence-chamber and Hall of State, get access to Henry II. in all his
glory. What a Hall,--not imaginary in the least, but entirely real and
indisputable, though so extremely dim to us; sunk in the deep
distances of Night! The Winchester Manorhouse has fled bodily, like a
Dream of the old Night; not Dryasdust himself can show a wreck of it.
House and people, royal and episcopal, lords and varlets, where are
they? Why _there_, I say, Seven Centuries off; sunk _so_ far in the
Night, there they _are_; peep through the blankets of the old Night,
and thou wilt see! King Henry himself is visibly there; a vivid,
noble-looking man, with grizzled beard, in glittering uncertain
costume; with earls round him, and bishops, and dignitaries, in the
like. The Hall is large, and has for one thing an altar near
it,--chapel and altar adjoining it; but what gilt seats, carved
tables, carpeting of rush-cloth, what arras-hangings, and huge fire of
logs:--alas, it has Human Life in it; and is not that the grand
miracle, in what hangings or costume soever?--

The _Dominus Rex_, benignantly receiving our Thirteen with their
obeisance, and graciously declaring that he will strive to act for
God's honour and the Church's good, commands, 'by the Bishop of
Winchester and Geoffrey the Chancellor,'--_Galfridus Cancellarius_,
Henry's and the Fair Rosamond's authentic Son present here!--commands,
"That they, the said Thirteen, do now withdraw, and fix upon Three
from their own Monastery." A work soon done; the Three hanging ready
round Samson's neck, in that leather pouch of his. Breaking the
seal, we find the names,--what think _ye_ of it, ye higher
dignitaries, thou indolent Prior, thou Willelmus _Sacrista_ with the red
bottle-nose?--the names, in this order: of Samson _Subsacrista_, of
Roger the distressed Cellarer, of Hugo _Tertius-Prior_.

The higher dignitaries, all omitted here, 'flush suddenly red in the
face;' but have nothing to say. One curious fact and question
certainly is, How Hugo Third-Prior, who was of the electoral
committee, came to nominate _himself_ as one of the Three? A curious
fact, which Hugo Third-Prior has never yet entirely explained, that I
know of!--However, we return, and report to the King our Three names;
merely altering the order; putting Samson last, as lowest of all. The
King, at recitation of our Three, asks us: "Who are they? Were they
born in my domain? Totally unknown to me! You must nominate three
others." Whereupon Willelmus Sacrista says, "Our Prior must be named,
_quia caput nostrum est_, being already our head." And the Prior
responds, "Willelmus Sacrista is a fit man, _bonus vir est_,"--for all
his red nose. Tickle me, Toby, and I'll tickle thee! Venerable Dennis
too is named; none in his conscience can say nay. There are now Six on
our List. "Well," said the King, "they have done it swiftly, they!
_Deus est cum eis._" The Monks withdraw again; and Majesty revolves,
for a little, with his _Pares_ and _Episcopi_, Lords or '_Law-wards_'
and Soul-Overseers, the thoughts of the royal breast. The Monks wait
silent in an outer room.

In short while, they are next ordered, To add yet another three; but
not from their own Convent; from other Convents, "for the honour of my
kingdom." Here,--what is to be done here? We will demur, if need be!
We do name three, however, for the nonce: the Prior of St. Faith's, a
good Monk of St. Neot's, a good Monk of St. Alban's; good men all; all
made abbots and dignitaries since, at this hour. There are now Nine
upon our List. What the thoughts of the Dominus Rex may be farther?
The Dominus Rex, thanking graciously, sends out word that we shall now
strike off three. The three strangers are instantly struck off.
Willelmus Sacrista adds, that he will of his own accord decline,--a
touch of grace and respect for the _Sacrosancta_, even in Willelmus!
The King then orders us to strike off a couple more; then yet one
more: Hugo Third-Prior goes, and Roger _Cellerarius_, and venerable
Monk Dennis;--and now there remain on our List two only, Samson
Subsacrista and the Prior.

Which of these two? It were hard to say,--by Monks who may get
themselves foot-gyved and thrown into limbo for speaking! We humbly
request that the Bishop of Winchester and Geoffrey the Chancellor may
again enter, and help us to decide. "Which do you want?" asks the
Bishop. Venerable Dennis made a speech, 'commending the persons of the
Prior and Samson; but always in the corner of his discourse, _in
angulo sui sermonis_, brought Samson in.' "I see!" said the Bishop:
"We are to understand that your Prior is somewhat remiss; that you
want to have him you call Samson for Abbot." "Either of them is good,"
said venerable Dennis, almost trembling; "but we would have the
better, if it pleased God." "Which of the two _do_ you want?" inquires
the Bishop pointedly. "Samson!" answered Dennis; "Samson!" echoed all
of the rest that durst speak or echo anything: and Samson is reported
to the King accordingly. His Majesty, advising of it for a moment,
orders that Samson be brought in with the other Twelve.

The King's Majesty, looking at us somewhat sternly, then says: "You
present to me Samson; I do not know him: had it been your Prior, whom
I do know, I should have accepted him: however, I will now do as you
wish. But have a care of yourselves. By the true eyes of God, _per
veros oculos Dei_, if you manage badly, I will be upon you!" Samson,
therefore, steps forward, kisses the King's feet; but swiftly rises
erect again, swiftly turns towards the altar, uplifting with the other
Twelve, in clear tenor-note, the Fifty-first Psalm, '_Miserere mei
Deus_,

    'After thy loving-kindness, Lord,
    Have mercy upon _me_;'

with firm voice, firm step and head, no change in his countenance
whatever. "By God's eyes," said the King, "that one, I think, will
govern the Abbey well." By the same oath (charged to your Majesty's
account), I too am precisely of that opinion! It is some while since I
fell in with a likelier man anywhere than this new Abbot Samson. Long
life to him, and may the Lord _have_ mercy on him as Abbot!

       *       *       *       *       *

Thus, then, have the St. Edmundsbury Monks, without express ballot-box
or other good winnowing-machine, contrived to accomplish the most
important social feat a body of men can do, to winnow-out the
man that is to govern them: and truly one sees not that, by any
winnowing-machine whatever, they could have done it better. O ye kind
Heavens, there is in every Nation and Community a _fittest_, a wisest,
bravest, best; whom could we find and make King over us, all were in
very truth well;--the best that God and Nature had permitted _us_ to
make it! By what art discover him? Will the Heavens in their pity
teach us no art; for our need of him is great!

Ballot-boxes, Reform Bills, winnowing-machines: all these are good, or
are not so good;--alas, brethren, how _can_ these, I say, be other
than inadequate, be other than failures, melancholy to behold? Dim all
souls of men to the divine, the high and awful meaning of Human Worth
and Truth, we shall never, by all the machinery in Birmingham,
discover the True and Worthy. It is written, 'if we are ourselves
valets, there shall exist no hero for us; we shall not know the hero
when we see him;'--we shall take the quack for a hero; and cry,
audibly through all ballot-boxes and machinery whatsoever, Thou art
he; be thou King over us!

What boots it? Seek only deceitful Speciosity, money with gilt
carriages, 'fame' with newspaper-paragraphs, whatever name it bear,
you will find only deceitful Speciosity; godlike Reality will be
forever far from you. The Quack shall be legitimate inevitable King of
you; no earthly machinery able to exclude the Quack. Ye shall be born
thralls of the Quack, and suffer under him, till your hearts are near
broken, and no French Revolution or Manchester Insurrection, or
partial or universal volcanic combustions and explosions, never so
many, can do more than 'change the _figure_ of your Quack;' the
essence of him remaining, for a time and times.--"How long, O
Prophet?" say some, with a rather melancholy sneer. Alas, ye
_un_prophetic, ever till this come about: Till deep misery, if nothing
softer will, have driven you out of your Speciosities _into_ your
Sincerities; and you find that there either is a Godlike in the world,
or else ye are an unintelligible madness; that there is a God, as well
as a Mammon and a Devil, and a Genius of Luxuries and canting
Dilettantisms and Vain Shows! How long that will be, compute for
yourselves. My unhappy brothers!--



CHAPTER IX.

ABBOT SAMSON.


So, then, the bells of St. Edmundsbury clang out one and all, and in
church and chapel the organs go: Convent and Town, and all the west
side of Suffolk, are in gala; knights, viscounts, weavers, spinners,
the entire population, male and female, young and old, the very
sockmen with their chubby infants,--out to have a holiday, and see the
Lord Abbot arrive! And there is: 'stripping barefoot' of the Lord
Abbot at the Gate, and solemn leading of him in to the High Altar and
Shrine; with sudden 'silence of all the bells and organs,' as we kneel
in deep prayer there; and again with outburst of all the bells and
organs, and loud _Te Deum_ from the general human windpipe; and
speeches by the leading viscount, and giving of the kiss of
brotherhood; the whole wound-up with popular games, and dinner within
doors of more than a thousand strong, _plus quam mille comedentibus in
gaudio magno_.

In such manner is the selfsame Samson once again returning to us,
welcomed on _this_ occasion. He that went away with his frock-skirts
looped over his arm, comes back riding high; suddenly made one of the
dignitaries of this world. Reflective readers will admit that here was
a trial for a man. Yesterday a poor mendicant, allowed to possess not
above two shillings of money, and without authority to bid a dog run
for him,--this man today finds himself a _Dominus Abbas_, mitred Peer
of Parliament, Lord of manor-houses, farms, manors, and wide lands; a
man with 'Fifty Knights under him,' and dependent, swiftly obedient
multitudes of men. It is a change greater than Napoleon's; so sudden
withal. As if one of the Chandos day-drudges had, on awakening some
morning, found that _he_ overnight was become Duke! Let Samson with
his clear-beaming eyes see into that, and discern it if he can. We
shall now get the measure of him by a new scale of inches,
considerably more rigorous than the former was. For if a noble soul is
rendered tenfold beautifuler by victory and prosperity, springing now
radiant as into his own due element and sun-throne; an ignoble one is
rendered tenfold and hundredfold uglier, pitifuler. Whatsoever vices,
whatsoever weaknesses were in the man, the parvenu will show us them
enlarged, as in the solar microscope, into frightful distortion. Nay,
how many mere seminal principles of vice, hitherto all wholesomely
kept latent, may we now see unfolded, as in the solar hothouse, into
growth, into huge universally-conspicuous luxuriance and development!

       *       *       *       *       *

But is not this, at any rate, a singular aspect of what political and
social capabilities, nay, let us say, what depth and opulence of true
social vitality, lay in those old barbarous ages, That the fit
Governor could be met with under such disguises, could be recognised
and laid hold of under such? Here he is discovered with a maximum of
two shillings in his pocket, and a leather scrip round his neck;
trudging along the highway, his frock-skirts looped over his arm. They
think this is he nevertheless, the true Governor; and he proves to be
so. Brethren, have we no need of discovering true Governors, but will
sham ones forever do for us? These were absurd superstitious
blockheads of Monks; and we are enlightened Tenpound Franchisers,
without taxes on knowledge! Where, I say, are our superior, are our
similar or at all comparable discoveries? We also have eyes, or ought
to have; we have hustings, telescopes; we have lights, link-lights and
rush-lights of an enlightened free Press, burning and dancing
everywhere, as in a universal torch-dance; singeing your whiskers as
you traverse the public thoroughfares in town and country. Great
souls, true Governors, go about under all manner of disguises now as
then. Such telescopes, such enlightenment,--and such discovery! How
comes it, I say; how comes it? Is it not lamentable; is it not even,
in some sense, amazing?

Alas, the defect, as we must often urge and again urge, is less a
defect of telescopes than of some eyesight. Those superstitious
blockheads of the Twelfth Century had no telescopes, but they had
still an eye; not ballot-boxes; only reverence for Worth, abhorrence
of Unworth. It is the way with all barbarians. Thus Mr. Sale informs
me, the old Arab Tribes would gather in liveliest _gaudeamus_, and
sing, and kindle bonfires, and wreathe crowns of honour, and solemnly
thank the gods that, in their Tribe too, a Poet had shown himself. As
indeed they well might; for what usefuler, I say not nobler and
heavenlier thing could the gods, doing their very kindest, send to any
Tribe or Nation, in any time or circumstances? I declare to thee, my
afflicted quack-ridden brother, in spite of thy astonishment, it is
very lamentable! We English find a Poet, as brave a man as has been
made for a hundred years or so anywhere under the Sun; and do we
kindle bonfires, or thank the gods? Not at all. We, taking due counsel
of it, set the man to gauge ale-barrels in the Burgh of Dumfries; and
pique ourselves on our 'patronage of genius.'

Genius, Poet: do we know what these words mean? An inspired Soul once
more vouchsafed us, direct from Nature's own great fire-heart, to see
the Truth, and speak it, and do it; Nature's own sacred voice heard
once more athwart the dreary boundless element of hearsaying and
canting, of twaddle and poltroonery, in which the bewildered Earth,
nigh perishing, has _lost its way_. Hear once more, ye bewildered
benighted mortals; listen once again to a voice from the inner
Light-sea and Flame-sea, Nature's and Truth's own heart; know the Fact
of your Existence what it is, put away the Cant of it which it is
_not_; and knowing, do, and let it be well with you!--

George the Third is Defender of something we call 'the Faith' in those
years; George the Third is head charioteer of the Destinies of
England, to guide them through the gulf of French Revolutions,
American Independences; and Robert Burns is Gauger of ale in Dumfries.
It is an Iliad in a nutshell. The physiognomy of a world now verging
towards dissolution, reduced now to spasms and death-throes, lies
pictured in that one fact,--which astonishes nobody, except at me for
being astonished at it. The fruit of long ages of confirmed Valethood,
entirely confirmed as into a Law of Nature; cloth-worship and
quack-worship: entirely _confirmed_ Valethood,--which will have to
_un_confirm itself again; God knows, with difficulty enough!--

       *       *       *       *       *

Abbot Samson had found a Convent all in dilapidation; rain beating
through it, material rain and metaphorical, from all quarters of the
compass. Willelmus Sacrista sits drinking nightly, and doing mere
_tacenda_. Our larders are reduced to leanness, Jew harpies and
unclean creatures our purveyors; in our basket is no bread. Old women
with their distaffs rush out on a distressed Cellarer in shrill
Chartism. 'You cannot stir abroad but Jews and Christians pounce upon
you with unsettled bonds;' debts boundless seemingly as the National
Debt of England. For four years our new Lord Abbot never went abroad
but Jew creditors and Christian, and all manner of creditors, were
about him; driving him to very despair. Our Prior is remiss; our
Cellarers, officials are remiss; our monks are remiss: what man is not
remiss? Front this, Samson, thou alone art there to front it; it is
thy task to front and fight this, and to die or kill it. May the Lord
have mercy on thee!

To our antiquarian interest in poor Jocelin and his Convent, where the
whole aspect of existence, the whole dialect, of thought, of speech,
of activity, is so obsolete, strange, long-vanished, there now
superadds itself a mild glow of human interest for Abbot Samson; a
real pleasure, as at sight of man's work, especially of governing,
which is man's highest work, done _well_. Abbot Samson had no
experience in governing; had served no apprenticeship to the trade of
governing,--alas, only the hardest apprenticeship to that of obeying.
He had never in any court given _vadium_ or _plegium_, says Jocelin;
hardly ever seen a court, when he was set to preside in one. But it is
astonishing, continues Jocelin, how soon he learned the ways of
business; and, in all sort of affairs, became expert beyond others. Of
the many persons offering him their service, 'he retained one Knight
skilled in taking _vadia_ and _plegia_;' and within the year was
himself well skilled. Nay, by and by, the Pope appoints him Justiciary
in certain causes; the King one of his new Circuit Judges: official
Osbert is heard saying, "That Abbot is one of your shrewd ones,
_disputator est_; if he go on as he begins, he will cut out every
lawyer of us!"[12]

Why not? What is to hinder this Samson from governing? There is in him
what far transcends all apprenticeships; in the man himself there
exists a model of governing, something to govern by! There exists in
him a heart-abhorrence of whatever is incoherent, pusillanimous,
unveracious,--that is to say, chaotic, _un_governed; of the Devil, not
of God. A man of this kind cannot help governing! He has the living
ideal of a governor in him; and the incessant necessity of struggling
to unfold the same out of him. Not the Devil or Chaos, for any wages,
will he serve; no, this man is the born servant of Another than them.
Alas, how little avail all apprenticeships, when there is in your
governor himself what we may well call _nothing_ to govern by:
nothing;--a general gray twilight, looming with shapes of
expediencies, parliamentary traditions, division-lists,
election-funds, leading-articles; this, with what of vulpine alertness
and adroitness soever, is not much!

But indeed what say we, apprenticeship? Had not this Samson served, in
his way, a right good apprenticeship to governing; namely, the
harshest slave-apprenticeship to obeying! Walk this world with no
friend in it but God and St. Edmund, you will either fall into the
ditch, or learn a good many things. To learn obeying is the
fundamental art of governing. How much would many a Serene Highness
have learned, had he travelled through the world with water-jug and
empty wallet, _sine omni expensa_; and, at his victorious return, sat
down not to newspaper-paragraphs and city-illuminations, but at the
foot of St. Edmund's Shrine to shackles and bread-and-water! He that
cannot be servant of many, will never be master, true guide and
deliverer of many;--that is the meaning of true mastership. Had not
the Monk-life extraordinary 'political capabilities' in it; if not
imitable by us, yet enviable? Heavens, had a Duke of Logwood, now
rolling sumptuously to his place in the Collective Wisdom, but
himself happened to plough daily, at one time, on seven-and-sixpence a
week, with no out-door relief,--what a light, unquenchable by logic
and statistic and arithmetic, would it have thrown on several things
for him!

In all cases, therefore, we will agree with the judicious Mrs. Glass:
'First catch your hare!' First get your man; all is got: he can learn
to do all things, from making boots, to decreeing judgments, governing
communities; and will do them like a man. Catch your no-man,--alas,
have you not caught the terriblest Tartar in the world! Perhaps all
the terribler, the quieter and gentler he looks. For the mischief that
one blockhead, that every blockhead does, in a world so feracious,
teeming with endless results as ours, no ciphering will sum up. The
quack bootmaker is considerable; as corn-cutters can testify, and
desperate men reduced to buckskin and list-shoes. But the quack
priest, quack high-priest, the quack king! Why do not all just
citizens rush, half-frantic, to stop him, as they would a
conflagration? Surely a just citizen _is_ admonished by God and his
own Soul, by all silent and articulate voices of this Universe, to do
what in _him_ lies towards relief of this poor blockhead-quack, and of
a world that groans under him. Run swiftly; relieve him,--were it even
by extinguishing him! For all things have grown so old, tinder-dry,
combustible; and he is more ruinous than conflagration. Sweep him
_down_, at least; keep him strictly within the hearth: he will then
cease to be conflagration; he will then become useful, more or less,
as culinary fire. Fire is the best of servants; but what a master!
This poor blockhead too is born, for uses: why, elevating him to
mastership, will you make a conflagration, a parish-curse or
world-curse of him?

FOOTNOTES:

[12] _Jocelini Chronica_, p. 25.



CHAPTER X.

GOVERNMENT.


How Abbot Samson, giving his new subjects seriatim the kiss of
fatherhood in the St. Edmundsbury chapterhouse, proceeded with
cautious energy to set about reforming their disjointed distracted way
of life; how he managed with his Fifty rough _Milites_ (Feudal
Knights), with his lazy Farmers, remiss refractory Monks, with Pope's
Legates, Viscounts, Bishops, Kings; how on all sides he laid about him
like a man, and putting consequence on premiss, and everywhere the
saddle on the right horse, struggled incessantly to educe organic
method out of lazily fermenting wreck,--the careful reader will
discern, not without true interest, in these pages of Jocelin Boswell.
In most antiquarian quaint costume, not of garments alone, but of
thought, word, action, outlook and position, the substantial figure of
a man with eminent nose, bushy brows and clear-flashing eyes, his
russet beard growing daily grayer, is visible, engaged in true
governing of men. It is beautiful how the chrysalis governing-soul,
shaking off its dusty slough and prison, starts forth winged, a true
royal soul! Our new Abbot has a right honest unconscious feeling,
without insolence as without fear or flutter, of what he is and what
others are. A courage to quell the proudest, an honest pity to
encourage the humblest. Withal there is a noble reticence in this Lord
Abbot: much vain unreason he hears; lays up without response. He is
not there to expect reason and nobleness of others; he is there to
give them of his own reason and nobleness. Is he not their servant, as
we said, who can suffer from them, and for them; bear the burden their
poor spindle-limbs totter and stagger under; and, in virtue of _being_
their servant, govern them, lead them out of weakness into strength,
out of defeat into victory!

       *       *       *       *       *

One of the first Herculean Labours Abbot Samson undertook, or the very
first, was to institute a strenuous review and radical reform of his
economics. It is the first labour of every governing man, from
_Paterfamilias_ to _Dominus Rex_. To get the rain thatched out from
you is the preliminary of whatever farther, in the way of speculation
or of action, you may mean to do. Old Abbot Hugo's budget, as we saw,
had become empty, filled with deficit and wind. To see his
account-books clear, be delivered from those ravening flights of Jew
and Christian creditors, pouncing on him like obscene harpies wherever
he showed face, was a necessity for Abbot Samson.

On the morrow after his instalment he brings in a load of money-bonds,
all duly stamped, sealed with this or the other Convent Seal:
frightful, unmanageable, a bottomless confusion of Convent finance.
There they are;--but there at least they all are; all that shall be of
them. Our Lord Abbot demands that all the official seals in use among
us be now produced and delivered to him. Three-and-thirty seals turn
up; are straightway broken, and shall seal no more: the Abbot only,
and those duly authorised by him shall seal any bond. There are but
two ways of paying debt: increase of industry in raising income,
increase of thrift in laying it out. With iron energy, in slow but
steady undeviating perseverance, Abbot Samson sets to work in both
directions. His troubles are manifold: cunning _milites_, unjust
bailiffs, lazy sockmen, he an inexperienced Abbot; relaxed lazy monks,
not disinclined to mutiny in mass: but continued vigilance, rigorous
method, what we call 'the eye of the master,' work wonders. The
clear-beaming eyesight of Abbot Samson, steadfast, severe,
all-penetrating,--it is like _Fiat lux_ in that inorganic waste
whirlpool; penetrates gradually to all nooks, and of the chaos makes a
_kosmos_ or ordered world!

He arranges everywhere, struggles unweariedly to arrange, and place on
some intelligible footing, the 'affairs and dues, _res ac redditus_,'
of his dominion. The Lakenheath eels cease to breed squabbles between
human beings; the penny of _reap-silver_ to explode into the streets
the Female Chartism of St. Edmundsbury. These and innumerable greater
things. Wheresoever Disorder may stand or lie, let it have a care;
here is the man that has declared war with it, that never will make
peace with it. Man is the Missionary of Order; he is the servant not
of the Devil and Chaos, but of God and the Universe! Let all sluggards
and cowards, remiss, false-spoken, unjust, and otherwise diabolic
persons have a care: this is a dangerous man for them. He has a mild
grave face; a thoughtful sternness, a sorrowful pity: but there is a
terrible flash of anger in him too; lazy monks often have to murmur,
"_Sævit ut lupus_, He rages like a wolf; was not our Dream true!" 'To
repress and hold-in such sudden anger he was continually 'careful,'
and succeeded well:--right, Samson; that it may become in thee as
noble central heat, fruitful, strong, beneficent; not blaze out, or
the seldomest possible blaze out, as wasteful volcanoism to scorch and
consume!

       *       *       *       *       *

"We must first creep, and gradually learn to walk," had Abbot Samson
said of himself, at starting. In four years he has become a great
walker; striding prosperously along; driving much before him.
In less than four years, says Jocelin, the Convent Debts were all
liquidated: the harpy Jews not only settled with, but banished, bag
and baggage, out of the _Bannaleuca_ (Liberties, _Banlieue_) of St.
Edmundsbury,--so has the King's Majesty been persuaded to permit.
Farewell to _you_, at any rate; let us, in no extremity, apply again
to you! Armed men march them over the borders, dismiss them under
stern penalties,--sentence of excommunication on all that shall again
harbour them here: there were many dry eyes at their departure.

New life enters everywhere, springs up beneficent, the Incubus of Debt
once rolled away. Samson hastes not; but neither does he pause to
rest. This of the Finance is a life-long business with him;--Jocelin's
anecdotes are filled to weariness with it. As indeed to Jocelin it was
of very primary interest.

But we have to record also, with a lively satisfaction, that spiritual
rubbish is as little tolerated in Samson's Monastery as material. With
due rigour, Willelmus Sacrista, and his bibations and _tacenda_ are,
at the earliest opportunity, softly yet irrevocably put an end to. The
bibations, namely, had to end; even the building where they used to be
carried on was razed from the soil of St. Edmundsbury, and 'on its
place grow rows of beans:' Willelmus himself, deposed from the
Sacristy and all offices, retires into obscurity, into absolute
taciturnity unbroken thenceforth to this hour. Whether the poor
Willelmus did not still, by secret channels, occasionally get some
slight wetting of vinous or alcoholic liquor,--now grown, in a manner,
indispensable to the poor man? Jocelin hints not: one knows not how to
hope, what to hope! But if he did, it was in silence and darkness;
with an ever-present feeling that teetotalism was his only true
course. Drunken dissolute Monks are a class of persons who had better
keep out of Abbot Samson's way. _Sævit ut lupus_; was not the Dream
true! murmured many a Monk. Nay Ranulf de Glanvill, Justiciary in
Chief, took umbrage at him, seeing these strict ways; and watched
farther with suspicion: but discerned gradually that there was nothing
wrong, that there was much the opposite of wrong.



CHAPTER XI.

THE ABBOT'S WAYS.


Abbot Samson showed no extraordinary favour to the Monks who had been
his familiars of old; did not promote them to offices,--_nisi essent
idonei_, unless they chanced to be fit men! Whence great discontent
among certain of these, who had contributed to make him Abbot:
reproaches, open and secret, of his being 'ungrateful, hard-tempered,
unsocial, a Norfolk _barrator_ and _paltenerius_.'

Indeed, except it were for _idonei_, 'fit men,' in all kinds, it was
hard to say for whom Abbot Samson had much favour. He loved his
kindred well, and tenderly enough acknowledged the poor part of them;
with the rich part, who in old days had never acknowledged him, he
totally refused to have any business. But even the former he did not
promote into offices; finding none of them _idonei_. 'Some whom he
thought suitable he put into situations in his own household, or made
keepers of his country places: if they behaved ill, he dismissed them
without hope of return.' In his promotions, nay almost in his
benefits, you would have said there was a certain impartiality. 'The
official person who had, by Abbot Hugo's order, put the fetters on him
at his return from Italy, was now supported with food and clothes to
the end of his days at Abbot Samson's expense.'

Yet he did not forget benefits; far the reverse, when an opportunity
occurred of paying them at his own cost. How pay them at the public
cost;--how, above all, by _setting fire_ to the public, as we said;
clapping 'conflagrations' on the public, which the services of
blockheads, _non-idonei_, intrinsically are! He was right willing to
remember friends, when it could be done. Take these instances: 'A
certain chaplain who had maintained him at the Schools of Paris by the
sale of holy water, _quæstu aquæ benedictæ_;--to this good chaplain he
did give a vicarage, adequate to the comfortable sustenance of him.'
'The Son of Elias too, that is, of old Abbot Hugo's Cupbearer, coming
to do homage for his Father's land, our Lord Abbot said to him in full
Court: "I have, for these seven years, put off taking thy homage for
the land which Abbot Hugo gave thy Father, because that gift was to
the damage of Elmswell, and a questionable one: but now I must profess
myself overcome; mindful of the kindness thy Father did me when I was
in bonds; because he sent me a cup of the very wine his master had
been drinking, and bade me be comforted in God."'

'To Magister Walter, son of Magister William de Dice, who wanted the
vicarage of Chevington, he answered: "Thy Father was Master of the
Schools; and when I was an indigent _clericus_, he granted me freely
and in charity an entrance to his School, and opportunity of learning;
wherefore I now, for the sake of God, grant to thee what thou
askest."' Or lastly, take this good instance,--and a glimpse, along
with it, into long-obsolete times: 'Two _Milites_ of Risby, Willelm
and Norman, being adjudged in Court to come under his mercy, _in
misericordia ejus_,' for a certain very considerable fine of twenty
shillings, 'he thus addressed them publicly on the spot: "When I was a
Cloister-monk, I was once sent to Durham on business of our Church;
and coming home again, the dark night caught me at Risby, and I had
to beg a lodging there. I went to Dominus Norman's, and he gave me a
flat refusal. Going then to Dominus Willelm's, and begging
hospitality, I was by him honourably received. The twenty shillings
therefore of _mercy_, I, without mercy, will exact from Dominus
Norman; to Dominus Willelm, on the other hand, I, with thanks, will
wholly remit the said sum."' Men know not always to whom they refuse
lodgings; men have lodged Angels unawares!--

       *       *       *       *       *

It is clear Abbot Samson had a talent; he had learned to judge better
than Lawyers, to manage better than bred Bailiffs:--a talent shining
out indisputable, on whatever side you took him. 'An eloquent man he
was,' says Jocelin, 'both in French and Latin; but intent more on the
substance and method of what was to be said, than on the ornamental
way of saying it. He could read English Manuscripts very elegantly,
_elegantissime_: he was wont to preach to the people in the English
tongue, though according to the dialect of Norfolk, where he had been
brought up; wherefore indeed he had caused a Pulpit to be erected in
our Church both for ornament of the same, and for the use of his
audiences.' There preached he, according to the dialect of Norfolk: a
man worth going to hear.

That he was a just clear-hearted man, this, as the basis of all true
talent, is presupposed. How can a man, without clear vision in his
heart first of all, have any clear vision in the head? It is
impossible! Abbot Samson was one of the justest of judges; insisted on
understanding the case to the bottom, and then swiftly decided without
feud or favour. For which reason, indeed, the Dominus Rex, searching
for such men, as for hidden treasure and healing to his distressed
realm, had made him one of the new Itinerant Judges,--such as continue
to this day. "My curse on that Abbot's court," a suitor was heard
imprecating, "_Maledicta sit curia istius Abbatis_, where neither gold
nor silver can help me to confound my enemy!" And old friendships and
all connexions forgotten, when you go to seek an office from him! "A
kinless loon," as the Scotch said of Cromwell's new judges,--intent on
mere indifferent fair-play!

Eloquence in three languages is good; but it is not the best. To us,
as already hinted, the Lord Abbot's eloquence is less admirable than
his _in_eloquence, his great invaluable 'talent of silence'! '"_Deus,
Deus_," said the Lord Abbot to me once, when he heard the Convent were
murmuring at some act of his, "I have much need to remember that Dream
they had of me, that I was to rage among them like a wolf. Above all
earthly things I dread their driving me to do it. How much do I hold
in, and wink at; raging and shuddering in my own secret mind, and not
outwardly at all!" He would boast to me at other times: "This and that
I have seen, this and that I have heard; yet patiently stood it." He
had this way, too, which I have never seen in any other man, that he
affectionately loved many persons to whom he never or hardly ever
showed a countenance of love. Once on my venturing to expostulate with
him on the subject, he reminded me of Solomon: "Many sons I have; it
is not fit that I should smile on them." He would suffer faults,
damage from his servants, and know what he suffered, and not speak of
it; but I think the reason was, he waited a good time for speaking of
it, and in a wise way amending it. He intimated, openly in chapter to
us all, that he would have no eavesdropping: "Let none," said he,
"come to me secretly accusing another, unless he will publicly stand
to the same; if he come otherwise, I will openly proclaim the name of
him. I wish, too, that every Monk of you have free access to me, to
speak of your needs or grievances when you will."

The kinds of people Abbot Samson liked worst were these three:
'_Mendaces_, _ebriosi_, _verbosi_, Liars, drunkards and wordy or windy
persons;'--not good kinds, any of them! He also much condemned
'persons given to murmur at their meat or drink, especially Monks of
that disposition.' We remark, from the very first, his strict anxious
order to his servants to provide handsomely for hospitality, to guard
'above all things that there be no shabbiness in the matter of meat
and drink; no look of mean parsimony, _in novitate meâ_, at the
beginning of my Abbotship;' and to the last he maintains a due
opulence of table and equipment for others; but he is himself in the
highest degree indifferent to all such things.

'Sweet milk, honey and other naturally sweet kinds of food, were what
he preferred to eat: but he had this virtue,' says Jocelin, 'he never
changed the dish (_ferculum_) you set before him, be what it might.
Once when I, still a novice, happened to be waiting table in the
refectory, it came into my head' (rogue that I was!) 'to try if this
were true; and I thought I would place before him a _ferculum_ that
would have displeased any other person, the very platter being black
and broken. But he, seeing it, was as one that saw it not: and now
some little delay taking place, my heart smote me that I had done
this; and so, snatching up the platter (_discus_), I changed both it
and its contents for a better, and put down that instead; which
emendation he was angry at, and rebuked me for,'--the stoical monastic
man! 'For the first seven years he had commonly four sorts of dishes
on his table; afterwards only three, except it might be presents, or
venison from his own parks, or fishes from his ponds. And if, at any
time, he had guests living in his house at the request of some great
person, or of some friend, or had public messengers, or had harpers
(_citharoedos_), or any one of that sort, he took the first
opportunity of shifting to another of his Manor-houses, and so got rid
of such superfluous individuals,'[13]--very prudently, I think.

As to his parks, of these, in the general repair of buildings, general
improvement and adornment of the St. Edmund Domains, 'he had laid out
several, and stocked them with animals, retaining a proper huntsman
with hounds: and, if any guest of great quality were there, our Lord
Abbot with his Monks would sit in some opening of the woods, and see
the dogs run; but he himself never meddled with hunting, that I
saw.'[14]

       *       *       *       *       *

'In an opening of the woods;'--for the country was still dark with
wood in those days; and Scotland itself still rustled shaggy and
leafy, like a damp black American Forest, with cleared spots and
spaces here and there. Dryasdust advances several absurd hypotheses as
to the insensible but almost total disappearance of these woods; the
thick wreck of which now lies as _peat_, sometimes with huge
heart-of-oak timber-logs imbedded in it, on many a height and hollow.
The simplest reason doubtless is, that by increase of husbandry, there
was increase of cattle; increase of hunger for green spring food; and
so, more and more, the new seedlings got yearly eaten out in April;
and the old trees, having only a certain length of life in them, died
gradually, no man heeding it, and disappeared into _peat_.

A sorrowful waste of noble wood and umbrage! Yes,--but a very common
one; the course of most things in this world. Monachism itself, so
rich and fruitful once, is now all rotted into _peat_; lies sleek and
buried,--and a most feeble bog-grass of Dilettantism all the crop we
reap from it! That also was frightful waste; perhaps among the saddest
our England ever saw. Why will men destroy noble Forests, even when in
part a nuisance, in such reckless manner; turning loose four-footed
cattle and Henry-the-Eighths into them! The fifth part of our English
soil, Dryasdust computes, lay consecrated to 'spiritual uses,' better
or worse; solemnly set apart to foster spiritual growth and culture of
the soul, by the methods then known: and now--it too, like the
four-fifths, fosters what? Gentle shepherd, tell me what!

FOOTNOTES:

[13] _Jocelini Chronica_, p. 31.

[14] Ibid. p. 21.



CHAPTER XII.

THE ABBOT'S TROUBLES.


The troubles of Abbot Samson, as he went along in this abstemious,
reticent, rigorous way, were more than tongue can tell. The Abbot's
mitre once set on his head, he knew rest no more. Double, double toil
and trouble; that is the life of all governors that really govern: not
the spoil of victory, only the glorious toil of battle can be theirs.
Abbot Samson found all men more or less headstrong, irrational, prone
to disorder; continually threatening to prove _un_governable.

His lazy Monks gave him most trouble. 'My heart is tortured,' said he,
'till we get out of debt, _cor meum cruciatum est_.' Your heart,
indeed;--but not altogether ours! By no devisable method, or none of
three or four that he devised, could Abbot Samson get these Monks of
his to keep their accounts straight; but always, do as he might, the
Cellerarius at the end of the term is in a coil, in a flat
deficit,--verging again towards debt and Jews. The Lord Abbot at last
declares sternly he will keep our accounts too himself; will appoint
an officer of his own to see our Cellerarius keep them. Murmurs
thereupon among us: Was the like ever heard? Our Cellerarius a cipher;
the very Townsfolk know it: _subsannatio et derisio sumus_, we have
become a laughingstock to mankind. The Norfolk barrator and paltener!

And consider, if the Abbot found such difficulty in the mere economic
department, how much in more complex ones, in spiritual ones perhaps!
He wears a stern calm face; raging and gnashing teeth, _fremens_ and
_frendens_, many times, in the secret of his mind. Withal, however,
there is a noble slow perseverance in him; a strength of 'subdued
rage' calculated to subdue most things: always, in the long-run, he
contrives to gain his point.

       *       *       *       *       *

Murmurs from the Monks, meanwhile, cannot fail, ever deeper murmurs,
new grudges accumulating. At one time, on slight cause, some drop
making the cup run over, they burst into open mutiny: the Cellarer
will not obey, prefers arrest on bread-and-water to obeying; the Monks
thereupon strike work; refuse to do the regular chanting of the day,
at least the younger part of them with loud clamour and uproar
refuse:--Abbot Samson has withdrawn to another residence, acting only
by messengers: the awful report circulates through St. Edmundsbury
that the Abbot is in danger of being murdered by the Monks with their
knives! How wilt thou appease this, Abbot Samson! Return; for the
Monastery seems near catching fire!

Abbot Samson returns; sits in his _Talamus_, or inner room, hurls out
a bolt or two of excommunication: lo, one disobedient Monk sits in
limbo, excommunicated, with foot-shackles on him, all day; and three
more our Abbot has gyved 'with the lesser sentence, to strike fear
into the others'! Let the others think with whom they have to do. The
others think; and fear enters into them. 'On the morrow morning we
decide on humbling ourselves before the Abbot, by word and gesture, in
order to mitigate his mind. And so accordingly was done. He, on the
other side, replying with much humility, yet always alleging his own
justice and turning the blame on us, when he saw that we were
conquered, became himself conquered. And bursting into tears,
_perfusus lachrymis_, he swore that he had never grieved so much for
anything in the world as for this, first on his own account, and then
secondly and chiefly for the public scandal which had gone abroad,
that St. Edmund's Monks were going to kill their Abbot. And when he
had narrated how he went away on purpose till his anger should cool,
repeating this word of the philosopher, "I would have taken vengeance
on thee, had not I been angry," he arose weeping, and embraced each
and all of us with the kiss of peace. He wept; we all wept:'[15]--what
a picture! Behave better, ye remiss Monks, and thank Heaven for such
an Abbot; or know at least that ye must and shall obey him.

       *       *       *       *       *

Worn down in this manner, with incessant toil and tribulation, Abbot
Samson had a sore time of it; his grizzled hair and beard grew daily
grayer. Those Jews, in the first four years, had 'visibly emaciated
him:' Time, Jews, and the task of Governing, will make a man's beard
very gray! 'In twelve years,' says Jocelin, 'our Lord Abbot had grown
wholly white as snow, _totus efficitur albus sicut nix_.' White atop,
like the granite mountains:--but his clear-beaming eyes still look
out, in their stern clearness, in their sorrow and pity; the heart
within him remains unconquered.

Nay sometimes there are gleams of hilarity too; little snatches of
encouragement granted even to a Governor. 'Once my Lord Abbot and I,
coming down from London through the Forest, I inquired of an old woman
whom we came up to, Whose wood this was, and of what manor; who the
master, who the keeper?'--All this I knew very well beforehand, and my
Lord Abbot too, Bozzy that I was! But 'the old woman answered, The
wood belonged to the new Abbot of St. Edmund's, was of the manor of
Harlow, and the keeper of it was one Arnald. How did he behave to the
people of the manor? I asked farther. She answered that he used to be
a devil incarnate, _dæmon vivus_, an enemy of God, and flayer of the
peasants' skins,'--skinning them like live eels, as the manner of some
is: 'but that now he dreads the new Abbot, knowing him to be a wise
and sharp man, and so treats the people reasonably, _tractat homines
pacifice_.' Whereat the Lord Abbot _factus est hilaris_,--could not
but take a triumphant laugh for himself; and determines to leave that
Harlow manor yet unmeddled with, for a while.[16]

A brave man, strenuously fighting, fails not of a little triumph now
and then, to keep him in heart. Everywhere we try at least to give the
adversary as good as he brings; and, with swift force or slow watchful
manoeuvre, extinguish this and the other solecism, leave one
solecism less in God's Creation; and so _proceed_ with our battle, not
slacken or surrender in it! The Fifty feudal Knights, for example,
were of unjust greedy temper, and cheated us, in the Installation-day,
of ten knights'-fees;--but they know now whether that has profited
them aught, and I Jocelin know. Our Lord Abbot for the moment had to
endure it, and say nothing; but he watched his time.

Look also how my Lord of Clare, coming to claim his _un_due 'debt' in
the Court of Witham, with barons and apparatus, gets a Roland for his
Oliver! Jocelin shall report: 'The Earl, crowded round (_constipatus_)
with many barons and men-at-arms, Earl Alberic and others standing by
him, said, "That his bailiffs had given him to understand they were
wont annually to receive for his behoof, from the Hundred of
Risebridge and the bailiffs thereof, a sum of five shillings, which
sum was now unjustly held back;" and he alleged farther that his
predecessors had been infeft, at the Conquest, in the lands of Alfric
son of Wisgar, who was Lord of that Hundred, as may be read in
Domesday Book by all persons.--The Abbot, reflecting for a moment,
without stirring from his place, made answer: "A wonderful deficit, my
Lord Earl, this that thou mentionest! King Edward gave to St. Edmund
that entire Hundred, and confirmed the same with his Charter; nor is
there any mention there of those five shillings. It will behove thee
to say, for what service, or on what ground, thou exactest those five
shillings." Whereupon the Earl, consulting with his followers,
replied, That he had to carry the Banner of St. Edmund in war-time,
and for this duty the five shillings were his. To which the Abbot:
"Certainly, it seems inglorious, if so great a man, Earl of Clare no
less, receive so small a gift for such a service. To the Abbot of St.
Edmund's it is no unbearable burden to give five shillings. But Roger
Earl Bigot holds himself duly seised, and asserts that he by such
seisin has the office of carrying St. Edmund's Banner; and he did
carry it when the Earl of Leicester and his Flemings were beaten at
Fornham. Then again Thomas de Mendham says that the right is his. When
you have made out with one another, that this right is thine, come
then and claim the five shillings, and I will promptly pay them!"
Whereupon the Earl said, He would speak with Earl Roger his relative;
and so the matter _cepit dilationem_,' and lies undecided to the end
of the world. Abbot Samson answers by word or act, in this or the like
pregnant manner, having justice on his side, innumerable persons:
Pope's Legates, King's Viscounts, Canterbury Archbishops, Cellarers,
_Sochemanni_;--and leaves many a solecism extinguished.

On the whole, however, it is and remains sore work. 'One time, during
my chaplaincy, I ventured to say to him: "_Domine_, I heard thee, this
night after matins, wakeful, and sighing deeply, _valde suspirantem_,
contrary to thy usual wont." He answered: "No wonder. Thou, son
Jocelin, sharest in my good things, in food and drink, in riding and
suchlike; but thou little thinkest concerning the management of House
and Family, the various and arduous businesses of the Pastoral Care,
which harass me, and make my soul to sigh and be anxious." Whereto I,
lifting up my hands to Heaven: "From such anxiety, Omnipotent merciful
Lord deliver me!"--I have heard the Abbot say, If he had been as he
was before he became a Monk, and could have anywhere got five or six
marcs of income,' some three-pound ten of yearly revenue, 'whereby to
support himself in the schools, he would never have been Monk nor
Abbot. Another time he said with an oath, If he had known what a
business it was to govern the Abbey, he would rather have been
Almoner, how much rather Keeper of the Books, than Abbot and Lord.
That latter office he said he had always longed for, beyond any other.
_Quis talia crederet?_' concludes Jocelin, 'Who can believe such
things?'

Three-pound ten, and a life of Literature, especially of
quiet Literature, without copyright, or world-celebrity of
literary-gazettes,--yes, thou brave Abbot Samson, for thyself it had
been better, easier, perhaps also nobler! But then, for thy
disobedient Monks, unjust Viscounts; for a Domain of St. Edmund
overgrown with Solecisms, human and other, it had not been so well.
Nay neither could _thy_ Literature, never so quiet, have been easy.
Literature, when noble, is not easy; but only when ignoble.
Literature too is a quarrel, and internecine duel, with the whole
World of Darkness that lies without one and within one;--rather a hard
fight at times, even with the three-pound ten secure. Thou, there
where thou art, wrestle and duel along cheerfully to the end: and make
no remarks!

FOOTNOTES:

[15] _Jocelini Chronica_, p. 85.

[16] _Jocelini Chronica_, p. 24.



CHAPTER XIII.

IN PARLIAMENT.


Of Abbot Samson's public business we say little, though that also was
great. He had to judge the people as Justice Errant, to decide in
weighty arbitrations and public controversies; to equip his _milites_,
send them duly in war-time to the King;--strive every way that the
Commonweal, in his quarter of it, take no damage.

Once, in the confused days of Lackland's usurpation, while
Coeur-de-Lion was away, our brave Abbot took helmet himself, having
first excommunicated all that should favour Lackland; and led his men
in person to the siege of _Windleshora_, what we now call Windsor;
where Lackland had entrenched himself, the centre of infinite
confusions; some Reform Bill, then as now, being greatly needed. There
did Abbot Samson 'fight the battle of reform,'--with other ammunition,
one hopes, than 'tremendous cheering' and suchlike! For these things
he was called 'the magnanimous Abbot.'

He also attended duly in his place in Parliament _de arduis regni_;
attended especially, as in _arduissimo_, when 'the news reached London
that King Richard was a captive in Germany.' Here 'while all the
barons sat to consult,' and many of them looked blank enough, 'the
Abbot started forth, _prosiliit coram omnibus_, in his place in
Parliament, and said, That _he_ was ready to go and seek his Lord the
King, either clandestinely by subterfuge (_in tapinagio_), or by any
other method; and search till he found him, and got certain notice of
him; he for one! By which word,' says Jocelin, he acquired great
praise for himself,'--unfeigned commendation from the Able Editors of
that age.

By which word;--and also by which _deed_: for the Abbot actually went
'with rich gifts to the King in Germany;'[17] Usurper Lackland being
first rooted out from Windsor, and the King's peace somewhat settled.

       *       *       *       *       *

As to these 'rich gifts,' however, we have to note one thing: In all
England, as appeared to the Collective Wisdom, there was not like to
be treasure enough for ransoming King Richard; in which extremity
certain Lords of the Treasury, _Justiciarii ad Scaccarium_, suggested
that St. Edmund's Shrine, covered with thick gold, was still
untouched. Could not it, in this extremity, be peeled off, at least in
part; under condition, of course, of its being replaced when times
mended? The Abbot, starting plumb up, _se erigens_, answered: "Know ye
for certain, that I will in nowise do this thing; nor is there any man
who could force me to consent thereto. But I will open the doors of
the Church: Let him that likes enter; let him that dares come
forward!" Emphatic words, which created a sensation round the
woolsack. For the Justiciaries of the _Scaccarium_ answered, 'with
oaths, each for himself: "I won't come forward, for my share; nor will
I, nor I! The distant and absent who offended him, Saint Edmund has
been known to punish fearfully; much more will he those close by, who
lay violent hands on his coat, and would strip it off!" These things
being said, the Shrine was not meddled with, nor any ransom levied for
it.'[18]

For Lords of the Treasury have in all times their impassable limits,
be it by 'force of public opinion' or otherwise; and in those days a
heavenly Awe overshadowed and encompassed, as it still ought and must,
all earthly Business whatsoever.

FOOTNOTES:

[17] _Jocelini Chronica_, pp. 39, 40.

[18] Ibid. p. 71.



CHAPTER XIV.

HENRY OF ESSEX.


Of St. Edmund's fearful avengements have they not the remarkablest
instance still before their eyes? He that will go to Reading Monastery
may find there, now tonsured into a mournful penitent Monk, the once
proud Henry Earl of Essex; and discern how St. Edmund punishes
terribly, yet with mercy! This Narrative is too significant to be
omitted as a document of the Time. Our Lord Abbot, once on a visit at
Reading, heard the particulars from Henry's own mouth; and thereupon
charged one of his monks to write it down;--as accordingly the Monk
has done, in ambitious rhetorical Latin; inserting the same, as
episode, among Jocelin's garrulous leaves. Read it here; with ancient
yet with modern eyes.

       *       *       *       *       *

Henry Earl of Essex, standard-bearer of England, had high places and
emoluments; had a haughty high soul, yet with various flaws, or rather
with one many-branched flaw and crack, running through the texture of
it. For example, did he not treat Gilbert de Cereville in the most
shocking manner? He cast Gilbert into prison; and, with chains and
slow torments, wore the life out of him there. And Gilbert's crime was
understood to be only that of innocent Joseph: the Lady Essex was a
Potiphar's Wife, and had accused poor Gilbert! Other cracks, and
branches of that wide-spread flaw in the Standard-bearer's soul we
could point out: but indeed the main stem and trunk of all is too
visible in this, That he had no right reverence for the Heavenly in
Man,--that far from showing due reverence to St. Edmund, he did not
even show him common justice. While others in the Eastern Counties
were adorning and enlarging with rich gifts St. Edmund's
resting-place, which had become a city of refuge for many things, this
Earl of Essex flatly defrauded him, by violence or quirk of law, of
five shillings yearly, and converted said sum to his own poor uses!
Nay, in another case of litigation, the unjust Standard-bearer, for
his own profit, asserting that the cause belonged not to St. Edmund's
Court, but to _his_ in Lailand Hundred, 'involved us in travellings
and innumerable expenses, vexing the servants of St. Edmund for a long
tract of time.' In short, he is without reverence for the Heavenly,
this Standard-bearer; reveres only the Earthly, Gold-coined; and has a
most morbid lamentable flaw in the texture of him. It cannot come to
good.

Accordingly, the same flaw, or St.-Vitus' _tic_, manifests itself ere
long in another way. In the year 1157, he went with his Standard to
attend King Henry, our blessed Sovereign (whom _we_ saw afterwards at
Waltham), in his War with the Welsh. A somewhat disastrous War; in
which while King Henry and his force were struggling to retreat
Parthian-like, endless clouds of exasperated Welshmen hemming them in,
and now we had come to the 'difficult pass of Coleshill,' and as it
were to the nick of destruction,--Henry Earl of Essex shrieks out on a
sudden (blinded doubtless by his inner flaw, or 'evil genius' as some
name it), That King Henry is killed, That all is lost,--and flings
down his Standard to shift for itself there! And, certainly enough,
all _had_ been lost, had all men been as he;--had not brave men,
without such miserable jerking _tic-douloureux_ in the souls of them,
come dashing up, with blazing swords and looks, and asserted, That
nothing was lost yet, that all must be regained yet. In this manner
King Henry and his force got safely retreated, Parthian-like, from the
pass of Coleshill and the Welsh War.[19] But, once home again, Earl
Robert de Montfort, a kinsman of this Standard-bearer's, rises up in
the King's Assembly to declare openly that such a man is unfit for
bearing English Standards, being in fact either a special traitor, or
something almost worse, a coward namely, or universal traitor. Wager
of Battle in consequence; solemn Duel, by the King's appointment, 'in
a certain Island of the Thames-stream at Reading, _apud Radingas_,
short way from the Abbey there.' King, Peers, and an immense multitude
of people, on such scaffoldings and heights as they can come at, are
gathered round, to see what issue the business will take. The business
takes this bad issue, in our Monk's own words faithfully rendered:

'And it came to pass, while Robert de Montfort thundered on him
manfully (_viriliter intonâsset_) with hard and frequent strokes, and
a valiant beginning promised the fruit of victory, Henry of Essex,
rather giving way, glanced round on all sides; and lo, at the rim of
the horizon, on the confines of the River and land, he discerned the
glorious King and Martyr Edmund, in shining armour, and as if hovering
in the air; looking towards him with severe countenance, nodding his
head with a mien and motion of austere anger. At St. Edmund's hand
there stood also another Knight, Gilbert de Cereville, whose armour
was not so splendid, whose stature was less gigantic; casting vengeful
looks at him. This he seeing with his eyes, remembered that old crime
brings new shame. And now wholly desperate, and changing reason into
violence, he took the part of one blindly attacking, not skilfully
defending. Who while he struck fiercely was more fiercely struck; and
so, in short, fell down vanquished, and it was thought slain. As he
lay there for dead, his kinsmen, Magnates of England, besought the
King, that the Monks of Reading might have leave to bury him. However,
he proved not to be dead, but got well again among them; and now, with
recovered health, assuming the Regular Habit, he strove to wipe out
the stain of his former life, to cleanse the long week of his
dissolute history by at least a purifying sabbath, and cultivate the
studies of Virtue into fruits of eternal Felicity.'[20]

       *       *       *       *       *

Thus does the Conscience of man project itself athwart whatsoever of
knowledge or surmise, of imagination, understanding, faculty,
acquirement, or natural disposition, he has in him; and, like light
through coloured glass, paint strange pictures 'on the rim of the
horizon' and elsewhere! Truly, this same 'sense of the Infinite nature
of Duty' is the central part of all with us; a ray as of Eternity and
Immortality, immured in dusky many-coloured Time, and its deaths and
births. Your 'coloured glass' varies so much from century to
century;--and, in certain money-making, game-preserving centuries, it
gets so terribly opaque! Not a Heaven with cherubim surrounds you
then, but a kind of vacant leaden-coloured Hell. One day it will again
cease to be _opaque_, this 'coloured glass.' Nay, may it not become at
once translucent and _un_coloured? Painting no Pictures more for us,
but only the everlasting Azure itself? That will be a right glorious
consummation!--

Saint Edmund from the horizon's edge, in shining armour, threatening
the misdoer in his hour of extreme need: it is beautiful, it is great
and true. So old, yet so modern, actual; true yet for every one of us,
as for Henry the Earl and Monk! A glimpse as of the Deepest in Man's
Destiny, which is the same for all times and ages. Yes, Henry my
brother, there in thy extreme need, thy soul is _lamed_; and behold
thou canst not so much as fight! For Justice and Reverence _are_ the
everlasting central Law of this Universe; and to forget them, and have
all the Universe against one, God and one's own Self for enemies, and
only the Devil and the Dragons for friends, is not that a 'lameness'
like few? That some shining armed St. Edmund hang minatory on thy
horizon, that infinite sulphur-lakes hang minatory, or do not now
hang,--this alters no whit the eternal fact of the thing. I say, thy
soul is lamed, and the God and all Godlike in it marred: lamed,
paralytic, tending towards baleful eternal death, whether thou know it
or not;--nay hadst thou never known it, that surely had been worst of
all!--

Thus, at any rate, by the heavenly Awe that overshadows earthly
Business, does Samson, readily in those days, save St. Edmund's
Shrine, and innumerable still more precious things.

FOOTNOTES:

[19] See Lyttelton's _Henry II._, ii. 384.

[20] _Jocelini Chronica_, p, 52.



CHAPTER XV.

PRACTICAL-DEVOTIONAL.


Here indeed, by rule of antagonisms, may be the place to mention that,
after King Richard's return, there was a liberty of tourneying given
to the fighting-men of England: that a Tournament was proclaimed in
the Abbot's domain, 'between Thetford and St. Edmundsbury,'--perhaps
in the Euston region, on Fakenham Heights, midway between these two
localities: that it was publicly prohibited by our Lord Abbot; and
nevertheless was held in spite of him,--and by the parties, as would
seem, considered 'a gentle and free passage of arms.'

Nay, next year, there came to the same spot four-and-twenty young men,
sons of Nobles, for another passage of arms; who, having completed the
same, all rode into St. Edmundsbury to lodge for the night. Here is
modesty! Our Lord Abbot, being instructed of it, ordered the Gates to
be closed; the whole party shut in. The morrow was the Vigil of the
Apostles Peter and Paul; no outgate on the morrow. Giving their
promise not to depart without permission, those four-and-twenty young
bloods dieted all that day (_manducaverunt_) with the Lord Abbot,
waiting for trial on the morrow. 'But after dinner,'--mark it,
posterity!--'the Lord Abbot retiring into his _Talamus_, they all
started up, and began carolling and singing (_carolare et cantare_);
sending into the Town for wine; drinking, and afterwards howling
(_ululantes_);--totally depriving the Abbot and Convent of their
afternoon's nap; doing all this in derision of the Lord Abbot, and
spending in such fashion the whole day till evening, nor would they
desist at the Lord Abbot's order! Night coming on, they broke the
bolts of the Town-Gates, and went off by violence!'[21] Was the like
ever heard of? The roysterous young dogs; carolling, howling, breaking
the Lord Abbot's sleep,--after that sinful chivalry cockfight of
theirs! They too are a feature of distant centuries, as of near ones.
St. Edmund on the edge of your horizon, or whatever else there, young
scamps, in the dandy state, whether cased in iron or in whalebone,
begin to caper and carol on the green Earth! Our Lord Abbot
excommunicated most of them; and they gradually came in for
repentance.

Excommunication is a great recipe with our Lord Abbot; the prevailing
purifier in those ages. Thus when the Townsfolk and Monks' menials
quarrelled once at the Christmas Mysteries in St. Edmund's Churchyard,
and 'from words it came to cuffs, and from cuffs to cutting and the
effusion of blood,'--our Lord Abbot excommunicates sixty of the
rioters, with bell, book and candle (_accensis candelis_), at one
stroke.[22] Whereupon they all come suppliant, indeed nearly naked,
'nothing on but their breeches, _omnino nudi præter femoralia_, and
prostrate themselves at the Church-door.' Figure that!

In fact, by excommunication or persuasion, by impetuosity of driving
or adroitness in leading, this Abbot, it is now becoming plain
everywhere, is a man that generally remains master at last. He tempers
his medicine to the malady, now hot, now cool; prudent though fiery,
an eminently practical man. Nay sometimes in his adroit practice there
are swift turns almost of a surprising nature! Once, for example, it
chanced that Geoffrey Riddell Bishop of Ely, a Prelate rather
troublesome to our Abbot, made a request of him for timber from his
woods towards certain edifices going on at Glemsford. The Abbot, a
great builder himself, disliked the request; could not, however, give
it a negative. While he lay, therefore, at his Manorhouse of Melford
not long after, there comes to him one of the Lord Bishop's men or
monks, with a message from his Lordship, "That he now begged
permission to cut down the requisite trees in Elmswell Wood,"--so said
the monk: Elms_well_, where there are no trees but scrubs and shrubs,
instead of Elm_set_, our true _nemus_ and high-towering oak-wood, here
on Melford Manor! Elmswell? The Lord Abbot, in surprise, inquires
privily of Richard his Forester; Richard answers that my Lord of Ely
has already had his _carpentarii_ in Elm_set_, and marked out for his
own use all the best trees in the compass of it. Abbot Samson
thereupon answers the monk: "Elmswell? Yes surely, be it as my Lord
Bishop wishes." The successful monk, on the morrow morning, hastens
home to Ely; but, on the morrow morning, 'directly after mass,' Abbot
Samson too was busy! The successful monk, arriving at Ely, is rated
for a goose and an owl; is ordered back to say that Elmset was the
place meant. Alas, on arriving at Elmset, he finds the Bishop's trees,
they 'and a hundred more,' all felled and piled, and the stamp of St.
Edmund's Monastery burnt into them,--for roofing of the great tower we
are building there! Your importunate Bishop must seek wood for
Glemsford edifices in some other _nemus_ than this. A practical Abbot!

We said withal there was a terrible flash of anger in him: witness his
address to old Herbert the Dean, who in a too thrifty manner has
erected a windmill for himself on his glebe-lands at Haberdon. On the
morrow, after mass, our Lord Abbott orders the Cellerarius to send off
his carpenters to demolish the said structure _brevi manu_, and lay
up the wood in safe keeping. Old Dean Herbert, hearing what was
toward, comes tottering along hither, to plead humbly for himself and
his mill. The Abbot answers: "I am obliged to thee as if thou hadst
cut off both my feet! By God's face, _per os Dei_, I will not eat
bread till that fabric be torn in pieces. Thou art an old man, and
shouldst have known that neither the King nor his Justiciary dare
change aught within the Liberties without consent of Abbot and
Convent: and thou hast presumed on such a thing? I tell thee, it will
_not_ be without damage to my mills; for the Townsfolk will go to thy
mill, and grind their corn (_bladum suum_) at their own good pleasure;
nor can I hinder them, since they are free men. I will allow no new
mills on such principle. Away, away; before thou gettest home again,
thou shalt see what thy mill has grown to!"[23]--The very reverend the
old Dean totters home again, in all haste; tears the mill in pieces by
his own _carpentarii_, to save at least the timber; and Abbot Samson's
workmen, coming up, find the ground already clear of it.

       *       *       *       *       *

Easy to bully-down poor old rural Deans, and blow their windmills
away: but who is the man that dare abide King Richard's anger; cross
the Lion in his path, and take him by the whiskers! Abbot Samson too;
he is that man, with justice on his side. The case was this. Adam de
Cokefield, one of the chief feudatories of St. Edmund, and a principal
man in the Eastern Counties, died, leaving large possessions, and for
heiress a daughter of three months; who by clear law, as all men know,
became thus Abbot Samson's ward; whom accordingly he proceeded to
dispose of to such person as seemed fittest. But now King Richard has
another person in view, to whom the little ward and her great
possessions were a suitable thing. He, by letter, requests that Abbot
Samson will have the goodness to give her to this person. Abbot
Samson, with deep humility, replies that she is already given. New
letters from Richard, of severer tenor; answered with new deep
humilities, with gifts and entreaties, with no promise of obedience.
King Richard's ire is kindled; messengers arrive at St. Edmundsbury,
with emphatic message to obey or tremble! Abbot Samson, wisely silent
as to the King's threats, makes answer: "The King can send if he will,
and seize the ward: force and power he has to do his pleasure, and
abolish the whole Abbey. But I, for my part, never can be bent to wish
this that he seeks, nor shall it by me be ever done. For there is
danger lest such things be made a precedent of, to the prejudice of my
successors. _Videat Altissimus_, Let the Most High look on it.
Whatsoever thing shall befall I will patiently endure."

Such was Abbot Samson's deliberate decision. Why not? Coeur-de-Lion
is very dreadful, but not the dreadfulest. _Videat Altissimus._ I
reverence Coeur-de-Lion to the marrow of my bones, and will in all
right things be _homo suus_; but it is not, properly speaking, with
terror, with any fear at all. On the whole, have I not looked on the
face of 'Satan with outspread wings;' steadily into Hell-fire these
seven-and-forty years;--and was not melted into terror even at that,
such the Lord's goodness to me? Coeur-de-Lion!

Richard swore tornado oaths, worse than our armies in Flanders, To be
revenged on that proud Priest. But in the end he discovered that the
Priest was right; and forgave him, and even loved him. 'King Richard
wrote, soon after, to Abbot Samson, That he wanted one or two of the
St. Edmundsbury dogs, which he heard were good.' Abbot Samson sent
him dogs of the best; Richard replied by the present of a ring, which
Pope Innocent the Third had given him. Thou brave Richard, thou brave
Samson! Richard too, I suppose, 'loved a man,' and knew one when he
saw him.

       *       *       *       *       *

No one will accuse our Lord Abbot of wanting worldly wisdom, due
interest in worldly things. A skilful man; full of cunning insight,
lively interests; always discerning the road to his object, be it
circuit, be it short-cut, and victoriously travelling forward thereon.
Nay rather it might seem, from Jocelin's Narrative, as if he had his
eye all but exclusively directed on terrestrial matters, and was much
too secular for a devout man. But this too, if we examine it, was
right. For it is _in_ the world that a man, devout or other, has his
life to lead, his work waiting to be done. The basis of Abbot
Samson's, we shall discover, was truly religion, after all. Returning
from his dusty pilgrimage, with such welcome as we saw, 'he sat down
at the foot of St. Edmund's Shrine.' Not a talking theory, that; no, a
silent practice: Thou, St. Edmund, with what lies in thee, thou now
must help me, or none will!

This also is a significant fact: the zealous interest our Abbot took
in the Crusades. To all noble Christian hearts of that era, what
earthly enterprise so noble? 'When Henry II., having taken the cross,
came to St. Edmund's, to pay his devotions before setting out, the
Abbot secretly made for himself a cross of linen cloth: and, holding
this in one hand and a threaded needle in the other, asked leave of
the King to assume it.' The King could not spare Samson out of
England;--the King himself indeed never went. But the Abbot's eye was
set on the Holy Sepulchre, as on the spot of this Earth where the true
cause of Heaven was deciding itself. 'At the retaking of Jerusalem by
the Pagans, Abbot Samson put on a cilice and hair-shirt, and wore
under-garments of hair-cloth ever after; he abstained also from flesh
and flesh-meats (_carne et carneis_) thenceforth to the end of his
life.' Like a dark cloud eclipsing the hopes of Christendom, those
tidings cast their shadow over St. Edmundsbury too: Shall Samson Abbas
take pleasure while Christ's Tomb is in the hands of the Infidel?
Samson, in pain of body, shall daily be reminded of it, daily be
admonished to grieve for it.

The great antique heart: how like a child's in its simplicity, like a
man's in its earnest solemnity and depth! Heaven lies over him
wheresoever he goes or stands on the Earth; making all the Earth a
mystic Temple to him, the Earth's business all a kind of worship.
Glimpses of bright creatures flash in the common sunlight; angels yet
hover doing God's messages among men: that rainbow was set in the
clouds by the hand of God! Wonder, miracle encompass the man; he lives
in an element of miracle; Heaven's splendour over his head, Hell's
darkness under his feet. A great Law of Duty, high as these two
Infinitudes, dwarfing all else, annihilating all else,--making royal
Richard as small as peasant Samson, smaller if need be!--The
'imaginative faculties?' 'Rude poetic ages?' The 'primeval poetic
element?' Oh, for God's sake, good reader, talk no more of all that!
It was not a Dilettantism this of Abbot Samson. It was a Reality, and
it is one. The garment only of it is dead; the essence of it lives
through all Time and all Eternity!--

       *       *       *       *       *

And truly, as we said above, is not this comparative silence of Abbot
Samson as to his religion precisely the healthiest sign of him and of
it? 'The Unconscious is the alone Complete.' Abbot Samson all along a
busy working man, as all men are bound to be, his religion, his
worship was like his daily bread to him;--which he did not take the
trouble to talk much about; which he merely ate at stated intervals,
and lived and did his work upon! This is Abbot Samson's Catholicism of
the Twelfth Century;--something like the _Ism_ of all true men in all
true centuries, I fancy! Alas, compared with any of the _Isms_ current
in these poor days, what a thing! Compared with the respectablest,
morbid, struggling Methodism, never so earnest; with the
respectablest, ghastly, dead or galvanised Dilettantism, never so
spasmodic!

Methodism with its eye forever turned on its own navel; asking itself
with torturing anxiety of Hope and Fear, "Am I right? am I wrong?
Shall I be saved? shall I not be damned?"--what is this, at bottom,
but a new phasis of _Egoism_, stretched out into the Infinite; not
always the heavenlier for its infinitude! Brother, so soon as
possible, endeavour to rise above all that. "Thou _art_ wrong; thou
art like to be damned:" consider that as the fact, reconcile thyself
even to that, if thou be a man;--then first is the devouring Universe
subdued under thee, and from the black murk of midnight and noise of
greedy Acheron, dawn as of an everlasting morning, how far above all
Hope and all Fear, springs for thee, enlightening thy steep path,
awakening in thy heart celestial Memnon's music!

But of our Dilettantisms, and galvanised Dilettantisms; of Puseyism--O
Heavens, what shall we say of Puseyism, in comparison to
Twelfth-Century Catholicism? Little or nothing; for indeed it is a
matter to strike one dumb.

    The Builder of this Universe was wise,
    He plann'd all souls, all systems, planets, particles:
    The Plan He shap'd all Worlds and Æons by,
    Was--Heavens!--Was thy small Nine-and-thirty Articles?

That certain human souls, living on this practical Earth, should
think to save themselves and a ruined world by noisy theoretic
demonstrations and laudations of _the_ Church, instead of some
unnoisy, unconscious, but _practical_, total, heart-and-soul
demonstration of a Church: this, in the circle of revolving ages, this
also was a thing we were to see. A kind of penultimate thing,
precursor of very strange consummations; last thing but one? If there
is no atmosphere, what will it serve a man to demonstrate the
excellence of lungs? How much profitabler, when you can, like Abbot
Samson, breathe; and go along your way!

FOOTNOTES:

[21] _Jocelini Chronica_, p. 40.

[22] Ibid. p. 68.

[23] _Jocelini Chronica_, p. 43.



CHAPTER XVI.

ST. EDMUND.


Abbot Samson built many useful, many pious edifices; human dwellings,
churches, church-steeples, barns;--all fallen now and vanished, but
useful while they stood. He built and endowed 'the Hospital of
Babwell;' built 'fit houses for the St. Edmundsbury Schools.' Many are
the roofs once 'thatched with reeds' which he 'caused to be covered
with tiles;' or if they were churches, probably 'with lead.' For all
ruinous incomplete things, buildings or other, were an eye-sorrow to
the man. We saw his 'great tower of St. Edmund's;' or at least the
roof-timbers of it, lying cut and stamped in Elmset Wood. To change
combustible decaying reed-thatch into tile or lead; and material,
still more, moral wreck into rain-tight order, what a comfort to
Samson!

       *       *       *       *       *

One of the things he could not in any wise but rebuild was the great
Altar, aloft on which stood the Shrine itself; the great Altar, which
had been damaged by fire, by the careless rubbish and careless candle
of two somnolent Monks, one night,--the Shrine escaping almost as if
by miracle! Abbot Samson read his Monks a severe lecture: "A Dream one
of us had, that he saw St. Edmund naked and in lamentable plight. Know
ye the interpretation of that Dream? St. Edmund proclaims himself
naked, because ye defraud the naked Poor of your old clothes, and
give with reluctance 'what ye are bound to give them of meat and
drink: the idleness moreover and negligence of the Sacristan and his
people is too evident from the late misfortune by fire. Well might our
Holy Martyr seem to lie cast out from his Shrine, and say with groans
that he was stript of his garments, and wasted with hunger and
thirst!"

This is Abbot Samson's interpretation of the Dream;--diametrically the
reverse of that given by the Monks themselves, who scruple not to say
privily, "It is _we_ that are the naked and famished limbs of the
Martyr; we whom the Abbot curtails of all our privileges, setting his
own official to control our very Cellarer!" Abbot Samson adds, that
this judgment by fire has fallen upon them for murmuring about their
meat and drink.

Clearly enough, meanwhile, the Altar, whatever the burning of it mean
or foreshadow, must needs be reëdified. Abbot Samson reëdifies it, all
of polished marble; with the highest stretch of art and sumptuosity,
reëmbellishes the Shrine for which it is to serve as pediment. Nay
farther, as had ever been among his prayers, he enjoys, he sinner, a
glimpse of the glorious Martyr's very Body in the process; having
solemnly opened the _Loculus_, Chest or sacred Coffin, for that
purpose. It is the culminating moment of Abbot Samson's life. Bozzy
Jocelin himself rises into a kind of Psalmist solemnity on this
occasion; the laziest monk 'weeps' warm tears, as _Te Deum_ is sung.

Very strange;--how far vanished from us in these unworshipping ages of
ours! The Patriot Hampden, best beatified man we have, had lain in
like manner some two centuries in his narrow home, when certain
dignitaries of us, 'and twelve grave-diggers with pulleys,' raised him
also up, under cloud of night, cut off his arm with penknives, pulled
the scalp off his head,--and otherwise worshipped our Hero Saint in
the most amazing manner![24] Let the modern eye look earnestly on that
old midnight hour in St. Edmundsbury Church, shining yet on us,
ruddy-bright, through the depths of seven hundred years; and consider
mournfully what our Hero-worship once was, and what it now is! We
translate with all the fidelity we can:

'The Festival of St. Edmund now approaching, the marble blocks are
polished, and all things are in readiness for lifting of the Shrine to
its new place. A fast of three days was held by all the people, the
cause and meaning thereof being publicly set forth to them. The Abbot
announces to the Convent that all must prepare themselves for
transferring of the Shrine, and appoints time and way for the work.
Coming therefore that night to matins, we found the great Shrine
(_feretrum magnum_) raised upon the Altar, but empty; covered all over
with white doeskin leather, fixed to the wood with silver nails; but
one pannel of the Shrine was left down below, and resting thereon,
beside its old column of the Church, the Loculus with the Sacred Body
yet lay where it was wont. Praises being sung, we all proceeded to
commence our disciplines (_ad disciplinas suscipiendas_). These
finished, the Abbot and certain with him are clothed in their albs;
and, approaching reverently, set about uncovering the Loculus. There
was an outer cloth of linen, enwrapping the Loculus and all; this we
found tied on the upper side with strings of its own: within this was
a cloth of silk, and then another linen cloth, and then a third; and
so at last the Loculus was uncovered, and seen resting on a little
tray of wood, that the bottom of it might not be injured by the stone.
Over the breast of the Martyr, there lay, fixed to the surface of the
Loculus, a Golden Angel about the length of a human foot; holding in
one hand a golden sword, and in the other a banner: under this there
was a hole in the lid of the Loculus, on which the ancient servants of
the Martyr had been wont to lay their hands for touching the Sacred
Body. And over the figure of the Angel was this verse inscribed:

    _Martiris ecce zoma servat Michaelis agalma._[25]

At the head and foot of the Loculus were iron rings whereby it could
be lifted.

'Lifting the Loculus and Body, therefore, they carried it to the
Altar; and I put-to my sinful hand to help in carrying, though the
Abbot had commanded that none should approach except called. And the
Loculus was placed in the Shrine; and the pannel it had stood on was
put in its place, and the Shrine for the present closed. We all
thought that the Abbot would show the Loculus to the people; and bring
out the Sacred Body again, at a certain period of the Festival. But in
this we were wofully mistaken, as the sequel shows.

'For in the fourth holiday of the Festival, while the Convent were all
singing _Completorium_, our Lord Abbot spoke privily with the
Sacristan and Walter the Medicus; and order was taken that twelve of
the Brethren should be appointed against midnight, who were strong for
carrying the pannel-planks of the Shrine, and skilful in unfixing
them, and putting them together again. The Abbot then said that it was
among his prayers to look once upon the Body of his Patron; and that
he wished the Sacristan and Walter the Medicus to be with him. The
Twelve appointed Brethren were these: The Abbot's two Chaplains, the
two Keepers of the Shrine, the two Masters of the Vestry; and six
more, namely, the Sacristan Hugo, Walter the Medicus, Augustin,
William of Dice, Robert, and Richard. I, alas, was not of the number.

'The Convent therefore being all asleep, these Twelve, clothed in
their albs, with the Abbot, assembled at the Altar; and opening a
pannel of the Shrine, they took out the Loculus; laid it on a table,
near where the Shrine used to be; and made ready for unfastening the
lid, which was joined and fixed to the Loculus with sixteen very long
nails. Which when, with difficulty, they had done, all except the two
forenamed associates are ordered to draw back. The Abbot and they two
were alone privileged to look in. The Loculus was so filled with the
Sacred Body that you could scarcely put a needle between the head and
the wood, or between the feet and the wood: the head lay united to the
body, a little raised with a small pillow. But the Abbot, looking
close, found now a silk cloth veiling the whole Body, and then a linen
cloth of wondrous whiteness; and upon the head was spread a small
linen cloth, and then another small and most fine silk cloth, as if it
were the veil of a nun. These coverings being lifted off, they found
now the Sacred Body all wrapt in linen; and so at length the
lineaments of the same appeared. But here the Abbot stopped; saying he
durst not proceed farther, or look at the sacred flesh naked. Taking
the head between his hands, he thus spake, groaning: "Glorious Martyr,
holy Edmund, blessed be the hour when thou wert born. Glorious Martyr,
turn it not to my perdition that I have so dared to touch thee, I
miserable and sinful; thou knowest my devout love, and the intention
of my mind." And proceeding, he touched the eyes; and the nose, which
was very massive and prominent (_valde grossum et valde eminentem_);
and then he touched the breast and arms; and raising the left arm he
touched the fingers, and placed his own fingers between the sacred
fingers. And proceeding he found the feet standing stiff up, like the
feet of a man dead yesterday; and he touched the toes and counted them
(_tangendo numeravit_).

'And now it was agreed that the other Brethren should be called
forward to see the miracles; and accordingly those ten now advanced,
and along with them six others who had stolen in without the Abbot's
assent, namely, Walter of St. Alban's, Hugh the Infirmirarius, Gilbert
brother of the Prior, Richard of Henham, Jocellus our Cellarer, and
Turstan the Little; and all these saw the Sacred Body, but Turstan
alone of them put forth his hand, and touched the Saint's knees and
feet. And that there might be abundance of witnesses, one of our
Brethren, John of Dice, sitting on the roof of the Church, with the
servants of the Vestry, and looking through, clearly saw all these
things.'

       *       *       *       *       *

What a scene; shining luminous effulgent, as the lamps of St. Edmund
do, through the dark Night; John of Dice, with vestrymen, clambering
on the roof to look through; the Convent all asleep, and the Earth all
asleep,--and since then, Seven Centuries of Time mostly gone to sleep!
Yes, there, sure enough, is the martyred Body of Edmund, landlord of
the Eastern Counties, who, nobly doing what he liked with his own, was
slain three hundred years ago: and a noble awe surrounds the memory of
him, symbol and promoter of many other right noble things.

But have not we now advanced to strange new stages of Hero-worship,
now in the little Church of Hampden, with our penknives out, and
twelve grave-diggers with pulleys? The manner of men's Hero-worship,
verily it is the innermost fact of their existence, and determines all
the rest,--at public hustings, in private drawing-rooms, in church,
in market, and wherever else. Have true reverence, and what indeed is
inseparable therefrom, reverence the right man, all is well; have
sham-reverence, and what also follows, greet with it the wrong man,
then all is ill, and there is nothing well. Alas, if Hero-worship
become Dilettantism, and all except Mammonism be a vain grimace, how
much, in this most earnest Earth, has gone and is evermore going to
fatal destruction, and lies wasting in quiet lazy ruin, no man
regarding it! Till at length no heavenly _Ism_ any longer coming down
upon us, _Isms_ from the other quarter have to mount up. For the
Earth, I say, is an earnest place; Life is no grimace, but a most
serious fact. And so, under universal Dilettantism much having been
stript bare, not the souls of men only, but their very bodies and
bread-cupboards having been stript bare, and life now no longer
possible,--all is reduced to desperation, to the iron law of Necessity
and very Fact again; and to temper Dilettantism, and astonish it, and
burn it up with infernal fire, arises Chartism, _Bare-back-ism_,
Sansculottism so-called! May the gods, and what of unworshipped heroes
still remain among us, avert the omen!--

       *       *       *       *       *

But however this may be, St. Edmund's Loculus, we find, has the veils
of silk and linen reverently replaced, the lid fastened down again
with its sixteen ancient nails; is wrapt in a new costly covering of
silk, the gift of Hubert Archbishop of Canterbury: and through the
sky-window John of Dice sees it lifted to its place in the Shrine, the
pannels of this latter duly refixed, fit parchment documents being
introduced withal;--and now John and his vestrymen can slide down from
the roof, for all is over, and the Convent wholly awakens to matins.
'When we assembled to sing matins,' says Jocelin, 'and understood
what had been done, grief took hold of all that had not seen these
things, each saying to himself, "Alas, I was deceived." Matins over,
the Abbot called the Convent to the great Altar; and briefly
recounting the matter, alleged that it had not been in his power, nor
was it permissible or fit, to invite us all to the sight of such
things. At hearing of which, we all wept, and with tears sang _Te Deum
laudamus_; and hastened to toll the bells in the Choir.'

Stupid blockheads, to reverence their St. Edmund's dead Body in this
manner? Yes, brother;--and yet, on the whole, who knows how to
reverence the Body of a Man? It is the most reverend phenomenon under
this Sun. For the Highest God dwells visible in that mystic
unfathomable Visibility, which calls itself "I" on the Earth. 'Bending
before men,' says Novalis, 'is a reverence done to this Revelation in
the Flesh. We touch Heaven when we lay our hand on a human Body.' And
the Body of one Dead;--a temple where the Hero-soul once was and now
is not: Oh, all mystery, all pity, all mute _awe_ and wonder;
_Super_-naturalism brought home to the very dullest; Eternity laid
open, and the nether Darkness and the upper Light-Kingdoms, do conjoin
there, or exist nowhere! Sauerteig used to say to me, in his peculiar
way: "A Chancery Lawsuit; justice, nay justice in mere money, denied a
man, for all his pleading, till twenty, till forty years of his Life
are gone seeking it: and a Cockney Funeral, Death reverenced by
hatchments, horsehair, brass-lacquer, and unconcerned bipeds carrying
long poles and bags of black silk:--are not these two reverences, this
reverence for Death and that reverence for Life, a notable pair of
reverences among you English?"

Abbot Samson, at this culminating point of his existence may, and
indeed must, be left to vanish with his Life-scenery from the eyes of
modern men. He had to run into France, to settle with King Richard for
the military service there of his St. Edmundsbury Knights; and with
great labour got it done. He had to decide on the dilapidated Coventry
Monks; and with great labour, and much pleading and journeying, got
them reinstated; dined with them all, and with the 'Masters of the
Schools of Oxneford,'--the veritable Oxford _Caput_ sitting there at
dinner, in a dim but undeniable manner, in the City of Peeping Tom! He
had, not without labour, to controvert the intrusive Bishop of Ely,
the intrusive Abbot of Cluny. Magnanimous Samson, his life is but a
labour and a journey; a bustling and a justling, till the still Night
come. He is sent for again, over sea, to advise King Richard touching
certain Peers of England, who had taken the Cross, but never followed
it to Palestine; whom the Pope is inquiring after. The magnanimous
Abbot makes preparation for departure; departs, and----And Jocelin's
Boswellean Narrative, suddenly shorn-through by the scissors of
Destiny, _ends_. There are no words more; but a black line, and leaves
of blank paper. Irremediable: the miraculous hand, that held all this
theatric-machinery, suddenly quits hold; impenetrable Time-Curtains
rush down; in the mind's eye all is again dark, void; with loud
dinning in the mind's ear, our real-phantasmagory of St. Edmundsbury
plunges into the bosom of the Twelfth Century again, and all is over.
Monks, Abbot, Hero-worship, Government, Obedience, Coeur-de-Lion and
St. Edmund's Shrine, vanish like Mirza's Vision; and there is nothing
left but a mutilated black Ruin amid green botanic expanses, and oxen,
sheep and dilettanti pasturing in their places.

FOOTNOTES:

[24] _Annual Register_ (year 1828, Chronicle, p. 93), _Gentleman's
Magazine_, &c. &c.

[25] 'This is the Martyr's Garment, which Michael's Image guards.'



CHAPTER XVII.

THE BEGINNINGS.


What a singular shape of a Man, shape of a Time, have we in this Abbot
Samson and his history; how strangely do modes, creeds, formularies,
and the date and place of a man's birth, modify the figure of the man!

Formulas too, as we call them, have a _reality_ in Human Life. They
are real as the very _skin_ and _muscular tissue_ of a Man's Life; and
a most blessed indispensable thing, so long as they have _vitality_
withal, and are a _living_ skin and tissue to him! No man, or man's
life, can go abroad and do business in the world without skin and
tissues. No; first of all, these have to fashion themselves,--as
indeed they spontaneously and inevitably do. Foam itself, and this is
worth thinking of, can harden into oyster-shell; all living objects do
by necessity form to themselves a skin.

And yet, again, when a man's Formulas become _dead_; as all Formulas,
in the progress of living growth, are very sure to do! When the poor
man's integuments, no longer nourished from within, become dead skin,
mere adscititious leather and callosity, wearing thicker and thicker,
uglier and uglier; till no _heart_ any longer can be felt beating
through them, so thick, callous, calcified are they; and all over it
has now grown mere calcified oyster-shell, or were it polished
mother-of-pearl, inwards almost to the very heart of the poor
man:--yes then, you may say, his usefulness once more is quite
obstructed; once more, he cannot go abroad and do business in the
world; it is time that _he_ take to bed, and prepare for departure,
which cannot now be distant!

_Ubi homines sunt modi sunt._ Habit is the deepest law of human
nature. It is our supreme strength; if also, in certain circumstances,
our miserablest weakness.--From Stoke to Stowe is as yet a field, all
pathless, untrodden: from Stoke where I live, to Stowe where I have to
make my merchandises, perform my businesses, consult my heavenly
oracles, there is as yet no path or human footprint; and I, impelled
by such necessities, must nevertheless undertake the journey. Let me
go once, scanning my way with any earnestness of outlook, and
successfully arriving, my footprints are an invitation to me a second
time to go by the same way. It is easier than any other way: the
industry of 'scanning' lies already invested in it for me; I can go
this time with less of scanning, or without scanning at all. Nay the
very sight of my footprints, what a comfort for me; and in a degree,
for all my brethren of mankind! The footprints are trodden and
retrodden; the path wears ever broader, smoother, into a broad
highway, where even wheels can run; and many travel it;--till--till
the Town of Stowe disappear from that locality (as towns have been
known to do), or no merchandising, heavenly oracle, or real business
any longer exist for one there: then why should anybody travel the
way?--Habit is our primal, fundamental law; Habit and Imitation, there
is nothing more perennial in us than these two. They are the source of
all Working and all Apprenticeship, of all Practice and all Learning,
in this world.

Yes, the wise man too speaks, and acts, in Formulas; all men do so.
And in general, the more completely cased with Formulas a man may be,
the safer, happier is it for him. Thou who, in an All of rotten
Formulas, seemest to stand nigh bare, having indignantly shaken off
the superannuated rags and unsound callosities of Formulas,--consider
how thou too art still clothed! This English Nationality, whatsoever
from uncounted ages is genuine and a fact among thy native People, in
their words and ways: all this, has it not made for thee a skin or
second-skin, adhesive actually as thy natural skin? This thou hast not
stript off, this thou wilt never strip off: the humour that thy mother
gave thee has to show itself through this. A common, or it may be an
uncommon Englishman thou art: but, good Heavens, what sort of Arab,
Chinaman, Jew-Clothesman, Turk, Hindoo, African Mandingo, wouldst thou
have been, _thou_ with those mother-qualities of thine!

It strikes me dumb to look over the long series of faces, such as any
full Church, Courthouse, London-Tavern Meeting, or miscellany of men
will show them. Some score or two of years ago, all these were little
red-coloured pulpy infants; each of them capable of being kneaded,
baked into any social form you chose: yet see now how they are fixed
and hardened,--into artisans, artists, clergy, gentry, learned
serjeants, unlearned dandies, and can and shall now be nothing else
henceforth!

Mark on that nose the colour left by too copious port and viands; to
which the profuse cravat with exorbitant breastpin, and the fixed,
forward, and as it were menacing glance of the eyes correspond. That
is a 'Man of Business;' prosperous manufacturer, house-contractor,
engineer, law-manager; his eye, nose, cravat have, in such work and
fortune, got such a character: deny him not thy praise, thy pity. Pity
him too, the Hard-handed, with bony brow, rudely-combed hair, eyes
looking out as in labour, in difficulty and uncertainty; rude mouth,
the lips coarse, loose, as in hard toil and lifelong fatigue they
have got the habit of hanging:--hast thou seen aught more touching
than the rude intelligence, so cramped, yet energetic, unsubduable,
true, which looks out of that marred visage? Alas, and his poor wife,
with her own hands, washed that cotton neck-cloth for him, buttoned
that coarse shirt, sent him forth creditably trimmed as she could. In
such imprisonment lives he, for his part; man cannot now deliver him:
the red pulpy infant has been baked and fashioned _so_.

Or what kind of baking was it that this other brother mortal got,
which has baked him into the genus Dandy? Elegant Vacuum; serenely
looking down upon all Plenums and Entities as low and poor to his
serene Chimeraship and _Non_entity laboriously attained! Heroic
Vacuum; inexpugnable, while purse and present condition of society
hold out; curable by no hellebore. The doom of Fate was, Be thou a
Dandy! Have thy eye-glasses, opera-glasses, thy Long-Acre cabs with
white-breeched tiger, thy yawning impassivities, pococurantisms; _fix_
thyself in Dandyhood, undeliverable; it is thy doom.

And all these, we say, were red-coloured infants; of the same pulp and
stuff, few years ago; now irretrievably shaped and kneaded as we see!
Formulas? There is no mortal extant, out of the depths of Bedlam, but
lives all skinned, thatched, covered over with Formulas; and is, as it
were, held in from delirium and the Inane by his Formulas! They are
withal the most beneficent, indispensable of human equipments: blessed
he who has a skin and tissues, so it be a living one, and the
heart-pulse everywhere discernible through it. Monachism, Feudalism,
with a real King Plantagenet, with real Abbots Samson, and their other
living realities, how blessed!--

Not without a mournful interest have we surveyed that authentic image
of a Time now wholly swallowed. Mournful reflections crowd on us;--and
yet consolatory. How many brave men have lived before Agamemnon! Here
is a brave governor Samson, a man fearing God, and fearing nothing
else; of whom as First Lord of the Treasury, as King, Chief Editor,
High Priest, we could be so glad and proud; of whom nevertheless Fame
has altogether forgotten to make mention! The faint image of him,
revived in this hour, is found in the gossip of one poor Monk, and in
Nature nowhere else. Oblivion had so nigh swallowed him altogether,
even to the echo of his ever having existed. What regiments and hosts
and generations of such has Oblivion already swallowed! Their crumbled
dust makes up the soil our life-fruit grows on. Said I not, as my old
Norse Fathers taught me, The Life-tree Igdrasil, which waves round
thee in this hour, whereof thou in this hour art portion, has its
roots down deep in the oldest Death-Kingdoms; and grows; the Three
Nornas, or _Times_, Past, Present, Future, watering it from the Sacred
Well!

For example, who taught thee to _speak_? From the day when two
hairy-naked or fig-leaved Human Figures began, as uncomfortable
dummies, anxious no longer to be dumb, but to impart themselves to one
another; and endeavoured, with gaspings, gesturings, with unsyllabled
cries, with painful pantomime and interjections, in a very
unsuccessful manner,--up to the writing of this present copyright
Book, which also is not very successful! Between that day and this, I
say, there has been a pretty space of time; a pretty spell of work,
which _somebody_ has done! Thinkest thou there were no poets till Dan
Chaucer? No heart burning with a thought, which it could not hold, and
had no word for; and needed to shape and coin a word for,--what thou
callest a metaphor, trope, or the like? For every word we have, there
was such a man and poet. The coldest word was once a glowing new
metaphor, and bold questionable originality. 'Thy very ATTENTION, does
it not mean an _attentio_, a STRETCHING-TO?' Fancy that act of the
mind, which all were conscious of, which none had yet named,--when
this new 'poet' first felt bound and driven to name it! His
questionable originality, and new glowing metaphor, was found
adoptable, intelligible; and remains our name for it to this day.

Literature:--and look at Paul's Cathedral, and the Masonries and
Worships and Quasi-Worships that are there; not to speak of
Westminster Hall and its wigs! Men had not a hammer to begin with, not
a syllabled articulation: they had it all to make;--and they have made
it. What thousand thousand articulate, semi-articulate,
earnest-stammering _Prayers_ ascending up to Heaven, from hut and
cell, in many lands, in many centuries, from the fervent kindled souls
of innumerable men, each struggling to pour itself forth incompletely,
as it might, before the incompletest _Liturgy_ could be compiled! The
Liturgy, or adoptable and generally adopted Set of Prayers and
Prayer-Method, was what we can call the Select Adoptabilities, 'Select
Beauties' well edited (by [OE]cumenic Councils and other
Useful-Knowledge Societies) from that wide waste imbroglio of Prayers
already extant and accumulated, good and bad. The good were found
adoptable by men; were gradually got together, well-edited,
accredited: the bad, found inappropriate, unadoptable, were gradually
forgotten, disused and burnt. It is the way with human things. The
first man who, looking with opened soul on this august Heaven and
Earth, this Beautiful and Awful, which we name Nature, Universe and
suchlike, the essence of which remains for ever Unnameable; he who
first, gazing into this, fell on his knees awestruck, in silence as is
likeliest,--he, driven by inner necessity, the 'audacious original'
that he was, had done a thing, too, which all thoughtful hearts saw
straightway to be an expressive, altogether adoptable thing! To bow
the knee was ever since the attitude of supplication. Earlier than any
spoken Prayers, _Litanias_, or _Leitourgias_; the beginning of all
Worship,--which needed but a beginning, so rational was it. What a
poet he! Yes, this bold original was a successful one withal. The
wellhead this one, hidden in the primeval dusks and distances, from
whom as from a Nile-source all _Forms of Worship_ flow:--such a
Nile-river (somewhat muddy and malarious now!) of Forms of Worship
sprang there, and flowed, and flows, down to Puseyism, Rotatory
Calabash, Archbishop Laud at St. Catherine Creed's, and perhaps lower!

Things rise, I say, in that way. The _Iliad_ Poem, and indeed most
other poetic, especially epic things, have risen as the Liturgy did.
The great _Iliad_ in Greece, and the small _Robin Hood's Garland_ in
England, are each, as I understand, the well-edited 'Select Beauties'
of an immeasurable waste imbroglio of Heroic Ballads in their
respective centuries and countries. Think what strumming of the
seven-stringed heroic lyre, torturing of the less heroic
fiddle-catgut, in Hellenic Kings' Courts, and English wayside Public
Houses; and beating of the studious Poetic brain, and gasping here too
in the semi-articulate windpipe of Poetic men, before the Wrath of a
Divine Achilles, the Prowess of a Will Scarlet or Wakefield Pindar,
could be adequately sung! Honour to you, ye nameless great and
greatest ones, ye long-forgotten brave!

Nor was the Statute _De Tallagio non concedendo_, nor any Statute,
Law-method, Lawyer's-wig, much less were the Statute-Book and Four
Courts, with Coke upon Lyttelton and Three Estates of Parliament in
the rear of them, got together without human labour,--mostly forgotten
now! From the time of Cain's slaying Abel by swift head-breakage, to
this time of killing your man in Chancery by inches, and slow
heart-break for forty years,--there too is an interval! Venerable
Justice herself began by Wild-Justice; all Law is as a tamed
furrowfield, slowly worked out, and rendered arable, from the waste
jungle of Club-Law. Valiant Wisdom tilling and draining; escorted by
owl-eyed Pedantry, by owlish and vulturish and many other forms of
Folly;--the valiant husbandman assiduously tilling; the blind greedy
enemy _too_ assiduously sowing tares! It is because there is yet in
venerable wigged Justice some wisdom, amid such mountains of wiggeries
and folly, that men have not cast her into the River; that she still
sits there, like Dryden's Head in the _Battle of the Books_,--a huge
helmet, a huge mountain of greased parchment, of unclean horsehair,
first striking the eye; and then in the innermost corner, visible at
last, in size as a hazelnut, a real fraction of God's Justice, perhaps
not yet unattainable to some, surely still indispensable to all;--and
men know not what to do with her! Lawyers were not all pedants,
voluminous voracious persons; Lawyers too were poets, were heroes,--or
their Law had been past the Nore long before this time. Their Owlisms,
Vulturisms, to an incredible extent, will disappear by and by, their
Heroisms only remaining, and the helmet be reduced to something like
the size of the head, we hope!--

It is all work and forgotten work, this peopled, clothed,
articulate-speaking, high-towered, wide-acred World. The hands of
forgotten brave men have made it a World for us; they,--honour to
them; they, in _spite_ of the idle and the dastard. This English
Land, here and now, is the summary of what was found of wise, and
noble, and accordant with God's Truth, in all the generations of
English Men. Our English Speech is speakable because there were
Hero-Poets of our blood and lineage; speakable in proportion to the
number of these. This Land of England has its conquerors, possessors,
which change from epoch to epoch, from day to day; but its real
conquerors, creators, and eternal proprietors are these following, and
their representatives if you can find them: All the Heroic Souls that
ever were in England, each in their degree; all the men that ever cut
a thistle, drained a puddle out of England, contrived a wise scheme in
England, did or said a true and valiant thing in England. I tell thee,
they had not a hammer to begin with; and yet Wren built St. Paul's:
not an articulated syllable; and yet there have come English
Literatures, Elizabethan Literatures, Satanic-School, Cockney-School,
and other Literatures;--once more, as in the old time of the
_Leitourgia_, a most waste imbroglio, and world-wide jungle and
jumble; waiting terribly to be 'well-edited' and 'well-burnt'! Arachne
started with forefinger and thumb, and had not even a distaff; yet
thou seest Manchester, and Cotton Cloth, which will shelter naked
backs, at twopence an ell.

Work? The quantity of done and forgotten work that lies silent under
my feet in this world, and escorts and attends me, and supports and
keeps me alive, wheresoever I walk or stand, whatsoever I think or do,
gives rise to reflections! Is it not enough, at any rate, to strike
the thing called 'Fame' into total silence for a wise man? For fools
and unreflective persons, she is and will be very noisy, this 'Fame,'
and talks of her 'immortals' and so forth: but if you will consider
it, what is she? Abbot Samson was not nothing because nobody _said_
anything of him. Or thinkest thou, the Right Honourable Sir Jabesh
Windbag can be made something by Parliamentary Majorities and Leading
Articles? Her 'immortals'! Scarcely two hundred years back can Fame
recollect articulately at all; and there she but maunders and mumbles.
She manages to recollect a Shakspeare or so; and prates, considerably
like a goose, about him;--and in the rear of that, onwards to the
birth of Theuth, to Hengst's Invasion, and the bosom of Eternity, it
was all blank; and the respectable Teutonic Languages, Teutonic
Practices, Existences, all came of their own accord, as the grass
springs, as the trees grow; no Poet, no work from the inspired heart
of a Man needed there; and Fame has not an articulate word to say
about it! Or ask her, What, with all conceivable appliances and
mnemonics, including apotheosis and human sacrifices among the number,
she carries in her head with regard to a Wodan, even a Moses, or other
such? She begins to be uncertain as to what they were, whether spirits
or men of mould,--gods, charlatans; begins sometimes to have a
misgiving that they were mere symbols, ideas of the mind; perhaps
nonentities and Letters of the Alphabet! She is the noisiest,
inarticulately babbling, hissing, screaming, foolishest, unmusicalest
of fowls that fly; and needs no 'trumpet,' I think, but her own
enormous goose-throat,--measuring several degrees of celestial
latitude, so to speak. Her 'wings,' in these days, have grown far
swifter than ever; but her goose-throat hitherto seems only larger,
louder and foolisher than ever. _She_ is transitory, futile, a
goose-goddess:--if she were not transitory, what would become of us!
It is a chief comfort that she forgets us all; all, even to the very
Wodans; and grows to consider us, at last, as probably nonentities and
Letters of the Alphabet.

Yes, a noble Abbot Samson resigns himself to Oblivion too; feels _it_
no hardship, but a comfort; counts it as a still resting-place, from
much sick fret and fever and stupidity, which in the night-watches
often made his strong heart sigh. Your most sweet voices, making one
enormous goose-voice, O Bobus and Company, how can they be a guidance
for any Son of Adam? In _silence_ of you and the like of you, the
'small still voices' will speak to him better; in which does lie
guidance.

My friend, all speech and rumour is short-lived, foolish, untrue.
Genuine Work alone, what thou workest faithfully, that is eternal, as
the Almighty Founder and World-Builder himself. Stand thou by that;
and let 'Fame' and the rest of it go prating.

    'Heard are the Voices,
    Heard are the Sages,
    The Worlds and the Ages:
    "Choose well; your choice is
    Brief and yet endless.

    Here eyes do regard you,
    In Eternity's stillness;
    Here is all fulness,
    Ye brave, to reward you;
    Work, and despair not."'

    _Goethe._



BOOK III.

THE MODERN WORKER.



CHAPTER I.

PHENOMENA.


But, it is said, our religion is gone: we no longer believe in St.
Edmund, no longer see the figure of him 'on the rim of the sky,'
minatory or confirmatory! God's absolute Laws, sanctioned by an
eternal Heaven and an eternal Hell, have become Moral Philosophies,
sanctioned by able computations of Profit and Loss, by weak
considerations of Pleasures of Virtue and the Moral Sublime.

It is even so. To speak in the ancient dialect, we 'have forgotten
God;'--in the most modern dialect and very truth of the matter, we
have taken up the Fact of this Universe as it _is not_. We have
quietly closed our eyes to the eternal Substance of things, and
opened them only to the Shows and Shams of things. We quietly
believe this Universe to be intrinsically a great unintelligible
Perhaps; extrinsically, clear enough, it is a great, most extensive
Cattlefold and Workhouse, with most extensive Kitchen-ranges,
Dining-tables,--whereat he is wise who can find a place! All the Truth
of this Universe is uncertain; only the profit and loss of it, the
pudding and praise of it, are and remain very visible to the practical
man.

There is no longer any God for us! God's Laws are become a
Greatest-Happiness Principle, a Parliamentary Expediency: the Heavens
overarch us only as an Astronomical Time-keeper; a butt for
Herschel-telescopes to shoot science at, to shoot sentimentalities
at:--in our and old Jonson's dialect, man has lost the _soul_ out of
him; and now, after the due period,--begins to find the want of it!
This is verily the plague-spot; centre of the universal Social
Gangrene, threatening all modern things with frightful death. To him
that will consider it, here is the stem, with its roots and taproot,
with its world-wide upas-boughs and accursed poison-exudations, under
which the world lies writhing in atrophy and agony. You touch the
focal-centre of all our disease, of our frightful nosology of
diseases, when you lay your hand on this. There is no religion; there
is no God; man has lost his soul, and vainly seeks antiseptic salt.
Vainly: in killing Kings, in passing Reform Bills, in French
Revolutions, Manchester Insurrections, is found no remedy. The foul
elephantine leprosy, alleviated for an hour, reappears in new force
and desperateness next hour.

For actually this is _not_ the real fact of the world; the world is
not made so, but otherwise!--Truly, any Society setting out from this
No-God hypothesis will arrive at a result or two. The _Un_veracities,
escorted, each Unveracity of them by its corresponding Misery and
Penalty; the Phantasms, and Fatuities, and ten-years Corn-Law
Debatings, that shall walk the Earth at noonday,--must needs be
numerous! The Universe _being_ intrinsically a Perhaps, being too
probably an 'infinite Humbug,' why should any minor Humbug astonish
us? It is all according to the order of Nature; and Phantasms riding
with huge clatter along the streets, from end to end of our existence,
astonish nobody. Enchanted St. Ives' Workhouses and Joe-Manton
Aristocracies; giant Working Mammonism near strangled in the
partridge-nets of giant-looking Idle Dilettantism,--this, in all its
branches, in its thousand-thousand modes and figures, is a sight
familiar to us.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Popish Religion, we are told, flourishes extremely in these years;
and is the most vivacious-looking religion to be met with at present.
"_Elle a trois cents ans dans le ventre_," counts M. Jouffroy; "_c'est
pourquoi je la respecte!_"--The old Pope of Rome, finding it laborious
to kneel so long while they cart him through the streets to bless the
people on _Corpus-Christi_ Day, complains of rheumatism; whereupon his
Cardinals consult;--construct him, after some study, a stuffed cloaked
figure, of iron and wood, with wool or baked hair; and place it in a
kneeling posture. Stuffed figure, or rump of a figure; to this stuffed
rump he, sitting at his ease on a lower level, joins, by the aid of
cloaks and drapery, his living head and outspread hands: the rump with
its cloaks kneels, the Pope looks, and holds his hands spread; and so
the two in concert bless the Roman population on _Corpus-Christi_ Day,
as well as they can.

I have considered this amphibious Pope, with the wool-and-iron back,
with the flesh head and hands; and endeavoured to calculate his
horoscope. I reckon him the remarkablest Pontiff that has darkened
God's daylight, or painted himself in the human retina, for these
several thousand years. Nay, since Chaos first shivered, and
'sneezed,' as the Arabs say, with the first shaft of sunlight shot
through it, what stranger product was there of Nature and Art working
together? Here is a Supreme Priest who believes God to be--What, in
the name of God, _does_ he believe God to be?--and discerns that all
worship of God is a scenic phantasmagory of wax-candles, organ-blasts,
Gregorian chants, mass-brayings, purple monsignori, wool-and-iron
rumps, artistically spread out,--to save the ignorant from worse.

O reader, I say not who are Belial's elect. This poor amphibious Pope
too gives loaves to the Poor; has in him more good latent than he is
himself aware of. His poor Jesuits, in the late Italian Cholera, were,
with a few German Doctors, the only creatures whom dastard terror had
not driven mad: they descended fearless into all gulfs and bedlams;
watched over the pillow of the dying, with help, with counsel and
hope; shone as luminous fixed stars, when all else had gone out in
chaotic night: honour to them! This poor Pope,--who knows what good is
in him? In a Time otherwise too prone to forget, he keeps up the
mournfulest ghastly memorial of the Highest, Blessedest, which once
was; which, in new fit forms, will again partly have to be. Is he not
as a perpetual death's-head and cross-bones, with their _Resurgam_, on
the grave of a Universal Heroism,--grave of a Christianity? Such
Noblenesses, purchased by the world's best heart's-blood, must not be
lost; we cannot afford to lose them, in what confusions soever. To all
of us the day will come, to a few of us it has already come, when no
mortal, with his heart yearning for a 'Divine Humility,' or other
'Highest form of Valour,' will need to look for it in death's-heads,
but will see it round him in here and there a beautiful living head.

Besides, there is in this poor Pope, and his practice of the Scenic
Theory of Worship, a frankness which I rather honour. Not half and
half, but with undivided heart does _he_ set about worshipping by
stage-machinery; as if there were now, and could again be, in Nature
no other. He will ask you, What other? Under this my Gregorian Chant,
and beautiful wax-light Phantasmagory, kindly hidden from you is an
Abyss, of Black Doubt, Scepticism, nay Sansculottic Jacobinism; an
Orcus that has no bottom. Think of that. 'Groby Pool _is_ thatched
with pancakes,'--as Jeannie Deans's Innkeeper defied it to be! The
Bottomless of Scepticism, Atheism, Jacobinism, behold, it is thatched
over, hidden from your despair, by stage-properties judiciously
arranged. This stuffed rump of mine saves not me only from rheumatism,
but you also from what other _isms_! In this your Life-pilgrimage
Nowhither, a fine Squallacci marching-music, and Gregorian Chant,
accompanies you, and the hollow Night of Orcus is well hid!

Yes truly, few men that worship by the rotatory Calabash of the
Calmucks do it in half so great, frank or effectual a way. Drury-Lane,
it is said, and that is saying much, might learn from him in the
dressing of parts, in the arrangement of lights and shadows. He is the
greatest Play-actor that at present draws salary in this world. Poor
Pope; and I am told he is fast growing bankrupt too; and will, in a
measurable term of years (a great way _within_ the 'three hundred'),
not have a penny to make his pot boil! His old rheumatic back will
then get to rest; and himself and his stage-properties sleep well in
Chaos forevermore.

       *       *       *       *       *

Or, alas, why go to Rome for Phantasms walking the streets? Phantasms,
ghosts, in this midnight hour, hold jubilee, and screech and jabber;
and the question rather were, What high Reality anywhere is yet awake?
Aristocracy has become Phantasm-Aristocracy, no longer able to _do_
its work, not in the least conscious that it has any work longer to
do. Unable, totally careless to _do_ its work; careful only to clamour
for the _wages_ of doing its work,--nay for higher, and _palpably_
undue wages, and Corn-Laws and _increase_ of rents; the old rate of
wages not being adequate now! In hydra-wrestle, giant '_Mill_ocracy'
so-called, a real giant, though as yet a blind one and but half-awake,
wrestles and wrings in choking nightmare, 'like to be strangled in
the partridge-nets of Phantasm-Aristocracy,' as we said, which fancies
itself still to be a giant. Wrestles, as under nightmare, till it do
awaken; and gasps and struggles thousandfold, we may say, in a truly
painful manner, through all fibres of our English Existence, in these
hours and years! Is our poor English Existence wholly becoming a
Nightmare; full of mere Phantasms?--

The Champion of England, cased in iron or tin, rides into Westminster
Hall, 'being lifted into his saddle with little assistance,' and there
asks, If in the four quarters of the world, under the cope of Heaven,
is any man or demon that dare question the right of this King? Under
the cope of Heaven no man makes intelligible answer,--as several men
ought already to have done. Does not this Champion too know the world;
that it is a huge Imposture, and bottomless Inanity, thatched over
with bright cloth and other ingenious tissues? Him let us leave there,
questioning all men and demons.

Him we have left to his destiny; but whom else have we found? From
this the highest apex of things, downwards through all strata and
breadths, how many fully awakened Realities have we fallen in
with:--alas, on the contrary, what troops and populations of
Phantasms, not God-Veracities but Devil-Falsities, down to the very
lowest stratum,--which now, by such superincumbent weight of
Unveracities, lies enchanted in St. Ives' Workhouses, broad enough,
helpless enough! You will walk in no public thoroughfare or remotest
byway of English Existence but you will meet a man, an interest of
men, that has given up hope in the Everlasting, True, and placed its
hope in the Temporary, half or wholly False. The Honourable Member
complains unmusically that there is 'devil's-dust' in Yorkshire cloth.
Yorkshire cloth,--why, the very Paper I now write on is made, it
seems, partly of plaster-lime well smoothed, and obstructs my writing!
You are lucky if you can find now any good Paper,--any work really
_done_; search where you will, from highest Phantasm apex to lowest
Enchanted basis.

Consider, for example, that great Hat seven-feet high, which now
perambulates London Streets; which my Friend Sauerteig regarded justly
as one of our English notabilities; "the topmost point as yet," said
he, "would it were your culminating and returning point, to which
English Puffery has been observed to reach!"--The Hatter in the Strand
of London, instead of making better felt-hats than another, mounts a
huge lath-and-plaster Hat, seven-feet high, upon wheels; sends a man
to drive it through the streets; hoping to be saved _thereby_. He has
not attempted to _make_ better hats, as he was appointed by the
Universe to do, and as with this ingenuity of his he could very
probably have done; but his whole industry is turned to _persuade_ us
that he has made such! He too knows that the Quack has become God.
Laugh not at him, O reader; or do not laugh only. He has ceased to be
comic; he is fast becoming tragic. To me this all-deafening blast of
Puffery, of poor Falsehood grown necessitous, of poor Heart-Atheism
fallen now into Enchanted Workhouses, sounds too surely like a
Doom's-blast! I have to say to myself in old dialect: "God's blessing
is not written on all this; His curse is written on all this!" Unless
perhaps the Universe _be_ a chimera;--some old totally deranged
eightday clock, dead as brass; which the Maker, if there ever was any
Maker, has long ceased to meddle with?--To my Friend Sauerteig this
poor seven-feet Hat-manufacturer, as the topstone of English Puffery,
was very notable.

Alas, that we natives note him little, that we view him as a thing of
course, is the very burden of the misery. We take it for granted, the
most rigorous of us, that all men who have made anything are expected
and entitled to make the loudest possible proclamation of it, and call
on a discerning public to reward them for it. Every man his own
trumpeter; that is, to a really alarming extent, the accepted rule.
Make loudest possible proclamation of your Hat: true proclamation if
that will do; if that will not do, then false proclamation,--to such
extent of falsity as will serve your purpose; as will not seem too
false to be credible!--I answer, once for all, that the fact is not
so. Nature requires no man to make proclamation of his doings and
hat-makings; Nature forbids all men to make such. There is not a man
or hat-maker born into the world but feels, or has felt, that he is
degrading himself if he speak of his excellencies and prowesses, and
supremacy in his craft: his inmost heart says to him, "Leave thy
friends to speak of these; if possible, thy enemies to speak of these;
but at all events, thy friends!" He feels that he is already a poor
braggart; fast hastening to be a falsity and speaker of the Untruth.

Nature's Laws, I must repeat, are eternal: her small still voice,
speaking from the inmost heart of us, shall not, under terrible
penalties, be disregarded. No one man can depart from the truth
without damage to himself; no one million of men; no Twenty-seven
Millions of men. Show me a Nation fallen everywhere into this course,
so that each expects it, permits it to others and himself, I will show
you a Nation travelling with one assent on the broad way. The broad
way, however many Banks of England, Cotton-Mills and Duke's Palaces it
may have. Not at happy Elysian fields, and everlasting crowns of
victory, earned by silent Valour, will this Nation arrive; but at
precipices, devouring gulfs, if it pause not. Nature has appointed
happy fields, victorious laurel-crowns; but only to the brave and
true: _Un_nature, what we call Chaos, holds nothing in it but
vacuities, devouring gulfs. What are Twenty-seven Millions, and their
unanimity? Believe them not: the Worlds and the Ages, God and Nature
and All Men say otherwise.

'Rhetoric all this?' No, my brother, very singular to say, it is Fact
all this. Cocker's Arithmetic is not truer. Forgotten in these days,
it is old as the foundations of the Universe, and will endure till the
Universe cease. It is forgotten now; and the first mention of it
puckers thy sweet countenance into a sneer: but it will be brought to
mind again,--unless indeed the Law of Gravitation chance to cease, and
men find that they _can_ walk on vacancy. Unanimity of the
Twenty-seven Millions will do nothing; walk not thou with them; fly
from them as for thy life. Twenty-seven Millions travelling on such
courses, with gold jingling in every pocket, with vivats heaven-high,
are incessantly advancing, let me again remind thee, towards the
_firm-land's end_,--towards the end and extinction of what
Faithfulness, Veracity, real Worth, was in their way of life. Their
noble ancestors have fashioned for them a 'life-road;'--in how many
thousand senses, this! There is not an old wise Proverb on their
tongue, an honest Principle articulated in their hearts into
utterance, a wise true method of doing and despatching any work or
commerce of men, but helps yet to carry them forward. Life is still
possible to them, because all is not yet Puffery, Falsity,
Mammon-worship and Unnature; because somewhat is yet Faithfulness,
Veracity and Valour. With a certain very considerable finite quantity
of Unveracity and Phantasm, social life is still possible; not with an
infinite quantity! Exceed your certain quantity, the seven-feet Hat,
and all things upwards to the very Champion cased in tin, begin to
reel and flounder,--in Manchester Insurrections, Chartisms,
Sliding-scales; the Law of Gravitation not forgetting to act. You
advance incessantly towards the land's end; you are, literally enough,
'consuming the way.' Step after step, Twenty-seven Million unconscious
men;--till you are _at_ the land's end; till there is not Faithfulness
enough among you any more: and the next step now is lifted _not_ over
land, but into air, over ocean-deeps and roaring abysses:--unless
perhaps the Law of Gravitation have forgotten to act?

Oh, it is frightful when a whole Nation, as our Fathers used to say,
has 'forgotten God;' has remembered only Mammon, and what Mammon leads
to! When your self-trumpeting Hatmaker is the emblem of almost all
makers, and workers, and men, that make anything,--from
soul-overseerships, body-overseerships, epic poems, acts of
parliament, to hats and shoe-blacking! Not one false man but does
uncountable mischief: how much, in a generation or two, will
Twenty-seven Millions, mostly false, manage to accumulate? The sum of
it, visible in every street, market-place, senate-house,
circulating-library, cathedral, cotton-mill, and union-workhouse,
fills one _not_ with a comic feeling!



CHAPTER II.

GOSPEL OF MAMMONISM.


Reader, even Christian Reader as thy title goes, hast thou any notion
of Heaven and Hell? I rather apprehend, not. Often as the words are on
our tongue, they have got a fabulous or semi-fabulous character for
most of us, and pass on like a kind of transient similitude, like a
sound signifying little.

Yet it is well worth while for us to know, once and always, that they
are not a similitude, nor a fable nor semi-fable; that they are an
everlasting highest fact! "No Lake of Sicilian or other sulphur burns
now anywhere in these ages," sayest thou? Well, and if there did not!
Believe that there does not; believe it if thou wilt, nay hold by it
as a real increase, a rise to higher stages, to wider horizons and
empires. All this has vanished, or has not vanished; believe as thou
wilt as to all this. But that an Infinite of Practical Importance,
speaking with strict arithmetical exactness, an _Infinite_, has
vanished or can vanish from the Life of any Man: this thou shalt not
believe! O brother, the Infinite of Terror, of Hope, of Pity, did it
not at any moment disclose itself to thee, indubitable, un-nameable?
Came it never, like the gleam of _preter_natural eternal Oceans, like
the voice of old Eternities, far-sounding through thy heart of hearts?
Never? Alas, it was not thy Liberalism, then; it was thy Animalism!
The Infinite is more sure than any other fact. But only men can
discern it; mere building beavers, spinning arachnes, much more the
predatory vulturous and vulpine species, do not discern it well!--

'The word Hell,' says Sauerteig, 'is still frequently in use among the
English people: but I could not without difficulty ascertain what they
meant by it. Hell generally signifies the Infinite Terror, the thing a
man _is_ infinitely afraid of, and shudders and shrinks from,
struggling with his whole soul to escape from it. There is a Hell
therefore, if you will consider, which accompanies man, in all stages
of his history, and religious or other development: but the Hells of
men and Peoples differ notably. With Christians it is the infinite
terror of being found guilty before the Just Judge. With old Romans, I
conjecture, it was the terror not of Pluto, for whom probably they
cared little, but of doing unworthily, doing unvirtuously, which was
their word for un_man_fully. And now what is it, if you pierce through
his Cants, his oft-repeated Hearsays, what he calls his Worships and
so forth,--what is it that the modern English soul does, in very
truth, dread infinitely, and contemplate with entire despair? What
_is_ his Hell, after all these reputable, oft-repeated Hearsays, what
is it? With hesitation, with astonishment, I pronounce it to be: The
terror of "Not succeeding;" of not making money, fame, or some other
figure in the world,--chiefly of not making money! Is not that a
somewhat singular Hell?'

Yes, O Sauerteig, it is very singular. If we do not 'succeed,' where
is the use of us? We had better never have been born. "Tremble
intensely," as our friend the Emperor of China says: _there_ is the
black Bottomless of Terror; what Sauerteig calls the 'Hell of the
English'!--But indeed this Hell belongs naturally to the Gospel of
Mammonism, which also has its corresponding Heaven. For there _is_ one
Reality among so many Phantasms; about one thing we are entirely in
earnest: The making of money. Working Mammonism does divide the world
with idle game-preserving Dilettantism:--thank Heaven that there is
even a Mammonism, _any_thing we are in earnest about! Idleness is
worst, Idleness alone is without hope: work earnestly at anything, you
will by degrees learn to work at almost all things. There is endless
hope in work, were it even work at making money.

True, it must be owned, we for the present, with our Mammon-Gospel,
have come to strange conclusions. We call it a Society; and go about
professing openly the totalest separation, isolation. Our life is not
a mutual helpfulness; but rather, cloaked under due laws-of-war, named
'fair competition' and so forth, it is a mutual hostility. We have
profoundly forgotten everywhere that _Cash-payment_ is not the sole
relation of human beings; we think, nothing doubting, that _it_
absolves and liquidates all engagements of man. "My starving workers?"
answers the rich mill-owner: "Did not I hire them fairly in the
market? Did I not pay them, to the last sixpence, the sum covenanted
for? What have I to do with them more?"--Verily Mammon-worship is a
melancholy creed. When Cain, for his own behoof, had killed Abel, and
was questioned, "Where is thy brother?" he too made answer, "Am I my
brother's keeper?" Did I not pay my brother _his_ wages, the thing he
had merited from me?

O sumptuous Merchant-Prince, illustrious game-preserving Duke, is
there no way of 'killing' thy brother but Cain's rude way! 'A good man
by the very look of him, by his very presence with us as a fellow
wayfarer in this Life-pilgrimage, _promises_ so much:' woe to him if
he forget all such promises, if he never know that they were given!
To a deadened soul, seared with the brute Idolatry of Sense, to whom
going to Hell is equivalent to not making money, all 'promises,' and
moral duties, that cannot be pleaded for in Courts of Requests,
address themselves in vain. Money he can be ordered to pay, but
nothing more. I have not heard in all Past History, and expect not to
hear in all Future History, of any Society anywhere under God's Heaven
supporting itself on such Philosophy. The Universe is not made so; it
is made otherwise than so. The man or nation of men that thinks it is
made so, marches forward nothing doubting, step after step; but
marches--whither we know! In these last two centuries of Atheistic
Government (near two centuries now, since the blessed restoration of
his Sacred Majesty, and Defender of the Faith, Charles Second), I
reckon that we have pretty well exhausted what of 'firm earth' there
was for us to march on;--and are now, very ominously, shuddering,
reeling, and let us hope trying to recoil, on the cliff's edge!--

For out of this that we call Atheism come so many other _isms_ and
falsities, each falsity with its misery at its heels!--A soul is not
like wind (_spiritus_, or breath) contained within a capsule; the
Almighty Maker is not like a Clockmaker that once, in old immemorial
ages, having _made_ his Horologe of a Universe, sits ever since and
sees it go! Not at all. Hence comes Atheism; come, as we say, many
other _isms_; and as the sum of all, comes Valetism, the _reverse_ of
Heroism; sad root of all woes whatsoever. For indeed, as no man ever
saw the above-said wind-element enclosed within its capsule, and finds
it at bottom more deniable than conceivable; so too he finds, in spite
of Bridgwater Bequests, your Clockmaker Almighty an entirely
questionable affair, a deniable affair;--and accordingly denies it,
and along with it so much else. Alas, one knows not what and how much
else! For the faith in an Invisible, Unnameable, Godlike, present
everywhere in all that we see and work and suffer, is the essence of
all faith whatsoever; and that once denied, or still worse, asserted
with lips only, and out of bound prayerbooks only, what other thing
remains believable? That Cant well-ordered is marketable Cant; that
Heroism means gas-lighted Histrionism; that seen with 'clear eyes' (as
they call Valet-eyes), no man is a Hero, or ever was a Hero, but all
men are Valets and Varlets. The accursed practical quintessence of all
sorts of Unbelief! For if there be now no Hero, and the Histrio
himself begin to be seen into, what hope is there for the seed of Adam
here below? We are the doomed everlasting prey of the Quack; who, now
in this guise, now in that, is to filch us, to pluck and eat us, by
such modes as are convenient for him. For the modes and guises I care
little. The Quack once inevitable, let him come swiftly, let him pluck
and eat me;--swiftly, that I may at least have done with him; for in
his Quack-world I can have no wish to linger. Though he slay me, yet
will I _not_ trust in him. Though he conquer nations, and have all the
Flunkies of the Universe shouting at his heels, yet will I know well
that _he_ is an Inanity; that for him and his there is no continuance
appointed, save only in Gehenna and the Pool. Alas, the Atheist world,
from its utmost summits of Heaven and Westminster-Hall, downwards
through poor seven-feet Hats and 'Unveracities fallen hungry,' down to
the lowest cellars and neglected hunger-dens of it, is very wretched.

One of Dr. Alison's Scotch facts struck us much.[26] A poor Irish
Widow, her husband having died in one of the Lanes of Edinburgh, went
forth with her three children, bare of all resource, to solicit help
from the Charitable Establishments of that City. At this Charitable
Establishment and then at that she was refused; referred from one to
the other, helped by none;--till she had exhausted them all; till her
strength and heart failed her: she sank down in typhus-fever; died,
and infected her Lane with fever, so that 'seventeen other persons'
died of fever there in consequence. The humane Physician asks
thereupon, as with a heart too full for speaking, Would it not have
been _economy_ to help this poor Widow? She took typhus-fever, and
killed seventeen of you!--Very curious. The forlorn Irish Widow
applies to her fellow-creatures, as if saying, "Behold I am sinking,
bare of help: ye must help me! I am your sister, bone of your bone;
one God made us: ye must help me!" They answer, "No, impossible; thou
art no sister of ours." But she proves her sisterhood; her
typhus-fever kills _them_: they actually were her brothers, though
denying it! Had human creature ever to go lower for a proof?

For, as indeed was very natural in such case, all government of the
Poor by the Rich has long ago been given over to Supply-and-demand,
Laissez-faire and suchlike, and universally declared to be
'impossible.' "You are no sister of ours; what shadow of proof is
there? Here are our parchments, our padlocks, proving indisputably our
money-safes to be _ours_, and you to have no business with them.
Depart! It is impossible!"--Nay, what wouldst thou thyself have us do?
cry indignant readers. Nothing, my friends,--till you have got a soul
for yourselves again. Till then all things are 'impossible.' Till then
I cannot even bid you buy, as the old Spartans would have done,
two-pence worth of powder and lead, and compendiously shoot to death
this poor Irish Widow: even that is 'impossible' for you. Nothing is
left but that she prove her sisterhood by dying, and infecting you
with typhus. Seventeen of you lying dead will not deny such proof that
she _was_ flesh of your flesh; and perhaps some of the living may lay
it to heart.

       *       *       *       *       *

'Impossible:' of a certain two-legged animal with feathers it is said,
if you draw a distinct chalk-circle round him, he sits imprisoned, as
if girt with the iron ring of Fate; and will die there, though within
sight of victuals,--or sit in sick misery there, and be fatted to
death. The name of this poor two-legged animal is--Goose; and they
make of him, when well fattened, _Pâté de foie gras_, much prized by
some!

FOOTNOTES:

[26] _Observations on the Management of the Poor in Scotland_, by
William Pulteney Alison, M.D. (Edinburgh, 1840.)



CHAPTER III.

GOSPEL OF DILETTANTISM.


But after all, the Gospel of Dilettantism, producing a Governing Class
who do not govern, nor understand in the least that they are bound or
expected to govern, is still mournfuler than that of Mammonism.
Mammonism, as we said, at least works; this goes idle. Mammonism has
seized some portion of the message of Nature to man; and seizing that,
and following it, will seize and appropriate more and more of Nature's
message: but Dilettantism has missed it wholly. 'Make money:' that
will mean withal, 'Do work in order to make money.' But, 'Go
gracefully idle in Mayfair,' what does or can that mean? An idle,
game-preserving and even corn-lawing Aristocracy, in such an England
as ours: has the world, if we take thought of it, ever seen such a
phenomenon till very lately? Can it long continue to see such?

Accordingly the impotent, insolent Donothingism in Practice and
Saynothingism in Speech, which we have to witness on that side of our
affairs, is altogether amazing. A Corn-Law demonstrating itself
openly, for ten years or more, with 'arguments' to make the angels,
and some other classes of creatures, weep! For men are not ashamed to
rise in Parliament and elsewhere, and speak the things they do _not_
think. 'Expediency,' 'Necessities of Party,' &c. &c.! It is not known
that the Tongue of Man is a sacred organ; that Man himself is
definable in Philosophy as an 'Incarnate _Word_;' the Word not there,
you have no Man there either, but a Phantasm instead! In this way it
is that Absurdities may live long enough,--still walking, and talking
for themselves, years and decades after the brains are quite out! How
are 'the knaves and dastards' ever to be got 'arrested' at that
rate?--

"No man in this fashionable London of yours," friend Sauerteig would
say, "speaks a plain word to me. Every man feels bound to be something
more than plain; to be pungent withal, witty, ornamental. His poor
fraction of sense has to be perked into some epigrammatic shape, that
it may prick into me;--perhaps (this is the commonest) to be
topsyturvied, left standing on its head, that I may remember it the
better! Such grinning inanity is very sad to the soul of man. Human
faces should not grin on one like masks; they should look on one like
faces! I love honest laughter, as I do sunlight; but not dishonest:
most kinds of dancing too; but the St. Vitus kind not at all! A
fashionable wit, _ach Himmel_! if you ask, Which, he or a
Death's-head, will be the cheerier company for me? pray send _not_
him!"

Insincere Speech, truly, is the prime material of insincere Action.
Action hangs, as it were, _dissolved_ in Speech, in Thought whereof
Speech is the Shadow; and precipitates itself therefrom. The kind of
Speech in a man betokens the kind of Action you will get from him. Our
Speech, in these modern days, has become amazing. Johnson complained,
"Nobody speaks in earnest, Sir; there is no serious conversation." To
us all serious speech of men, as that of Seventeenth-Century Puritans,
Twelfth-Century Catholics, German Poets of this Century, has become
jargon, more or less insane. Cromwell was mad and a quack; Anselm,
Becket, Goethe, _ditto ditto_.

Perhaps few narratives in History or Mythology are more significant
than that Moslem one, of Moses and the Dwellers by the Dead Sea. A
tribe of men dwelt on the shores of that same Asphaltic Lake; and
having forgotten, as we are all too prone to do, the inner facts of
Nature, and taken up with the falsities and outer semblances of it,
were fallen into sad conditions,--verging indeed towards a certain far
deeper Lake. Whereupon it pleased kind Heaven to send them the Prophet
Moses, with an instructive word of warning, out of which might have
sprung 'remedial measures' not a few. But no: the men of the Dead Sea
discovered, as the valet-species always does in heroes or prophets, no
comeliness in Moses; listened with real tedium to Moses, with light
grinning, or with splenetic sniffs and sneers, affecting even to yawn;
and signified, in short, that they found him a humbug, and even a
bore. Such was the candid theory these men of the Asphalt Lake formed
to themselves of Moses, That probably he was a humbug, that certainly
he was a bore.

Moses withdrew; but Nature and her rigorous veracities did not
withdraw. The men of the Dead Sea, when we next went to visit them,
were all 'changed into Apes;'[27] sitting on the trees there, grinning
now in the most _un_affected manner; gibbering and chattering very
genuine nonsense; finding the whole Universe now a most indisputable
Humbug! The Universe has _become_ a Humbug to these Apes who thought
it one. There they sit and chatter, to this hour: only, I believe,
every Sabbath there returns to them a bewildered half-consciousness,
half-reminiscence; and they sit, with their wizened smoke-dried
visages, and such an air of supreme tragicality as Apes may; looking
out through those blinking smoke-bleared eyes of theirs, into the
wonderfulest universal smoky Twilight and undecipherable disordered
Dusk of Things; wholly an Uncertainty, Unintelligibility, they and it;
and for commentary thereon, here and there an unmusical chatter or
mew:--truest, tragicalest Humbug conceivable by the mind of man or
ape! They made no use of their souls; and so have lost them. Their
worship on the Sabbath now is to roost there, with unmusical
screeches, and half-remember that they had souls.

Didst thou never, O Traveller, fall-in with parties of this tribe?
Meseems they are grown somewhat numerous in our day.

FOOTNOTES:

[27] Sale's _Koran_ (Introduction).



CHAPTER IV.

HAPPY.


All work, even cotton-spinning, is noble; work is alone noble:
be that here said and asserted once more. And in like manner too,
all dignity is painful; a life of ease is not for any man, nor for
any god. The life of all gods figures itself to us as a Sublime
Sadness,--earnestness of Infinite Battle against Infinite Labour. Our
highest religion is named the 'Worship of Sorrow.' For the son of man
there is no noble crown, well worn or even ill worn, but is a crown of
thorns!--These things, in spoken words, or still better, in felt
instincts alive in every heart, were once well known.

Does not the whole wretchedness, the whole _Atheism_ as I call it, of
man's ways, in these generations, shadow itself for us in that
unspeakable Life-philosophy of his: The pretension to be what he calls
'happy'? Every pitifulest whipster that walks within a skin has his
head filled with the notion that he is, shall be, or by all human and
divine laws ought to be 'happy.' His wishes, the pitifulest
whipster's, are to be fulfilled for him; his days, the pitifulest
whipster's, are to flow on in ever-gentle current of enjoyment,
impossible even for the gods. The prophets preach to us, Thou shalt be
happy; thou shalt love pleasant things, and find them. The people
clamour, Why have we not found pleasant things?

We construct our theory of Human Duties, not on any
Greatest-Nobleness Principle, never so mistaken; no, but on a
Greatest-Happiness Principle. 'The word _Soul_ with us, as in some
Slavonic dialects, seems to be synonymous with _Stomach_.' We plead
and speak, in our Parliaments and elsewhere, not as from the Soul, but
from the Stomach;--wherefore indeed our pleadings are so slow to
profit. We plead not for God's Justice; we are not ashamed to stand
clamouring and pleading for our own 'interests,' our own rents and
trade-profits; we say, They are the 'interests' of so many; there is
such an intense desire in us for them! We demand Free-Trade, with much
just vociferation and benevolence, That the poorer classes, who are
terribly ill-off at present, may have cheaper New-Orleans bacon. Men
ask on Free-trade platforms, How can the indomitable spirit of
Englishmen be kept up without plenty of bacon? We shall become a
ruined Nation!--Surely, my friends, plenty of bacon is good and
indispensable: but, I doubt, you will never get even bacon by aiming
only at that. You are men, not animals of prey, well-used or ill-used!
Your Greatest-Happiness Principle seems to me fast becoming a rather
unhappy one.--What if we should cease babbling about 'happiness,' and
leave _it_ resting on its own basis, as it used to do!

A gifted Byron rises in his wrath; and feeling too surely that he for
his part is not 'happy,' declares the same in very violent language,
as a piece of news that may be interesting. It evidently has surprised
him much. One dislikes to see a man and poet reduced to proclaim on
the streets such tidings: but on the whole, as matters go, that is not
the most dislikable. Byron speaks the _truth_ in this matter. Byron's
large audience indicates how true it is felt to be.

'Happy,' my brother? First of all, what difference is it whether thou
art happy or not! Today becomes Yesterday so fast, all Tomorrows
become Yesterdays; and then there is no question whatever of the
'happiness,' but quite another question. Nay, thou hast such a sacred
pity left at least for thyself, thy very pains, once gone over into
Yesterday, become joys to thee. Besides, thou knowest not what
heavenly blessedness and indispensable sanative virtue was in them;
thou shalt only know it after many days, when thou art wiser!--A
benevolent old Surgeon sat once in our company, with a Patient fallen
sick by gourmandising, whom he had just, too briefly in the Patient's
judgment, been examining. The foolish Patient still at intervals
continued to break in on our discourse, which rather promised to take
a philosophic turn: "But I have lost my appetite," said he,
objurgatively, with a tone of irritated pathos; "I have no appetite; I
can't eat!"--"My dear fellow," answered the Doctor in mildest tone,
"it isn't of the slightest consequence;"--and continued his
philosophical discoursings with us!

Or does the reader not know the history of that Scottish iron
Misanthrope? The inmates of some town-mansion, in those Northern
parts, were thrown into the fearfulest alarm by indubitable symptoms
of a ghost inhabiting the next house, or perhaps even the
partition-wall! Ever at a certain hour, with preternatural gnarring,
growling and screeching, which attended as running bass, there began,
in a horrid, semi-articulate, unearthly voice, this song: "Once I was
hap-hap-happy, but now I'm _mees_erable! Clack-clack-clack, gnarr-r-r,
whuz-z: Once I was hap-hap-happy, but now I'm _mees_erable!"--Rest,
rest, perturbed spirit;--or indeed, as the good old Doctor said: My
dear fellow, it isn't of the slightest consequence! But no; the
perturbed spirit could not rest; and to the neighbours, fretted,
affrighted, or at least insufferably bored by him, it _was_ of such
consequence that they had to go and examine in his haunted chamber.
In his haunted chamber, they find that the perturbed spirit is an
unfortunate--Imitator of Byron? No, is an unfortunate rusty Meat-jack,
gnarring and creaking with rust and work; and this, in Scottish
dialect, is _its_ Byronian musical Life-philosophy, sung according to
ability!

       *       *       *       *       *

Truly, I think the man who goes about pothering and uproaring for his
'happiness,'--pothering, and were it ballot-boxing, poem-making, or in
what way soever fussing and exerting himself,--he is not the man that
will help us to 'get our knaves and dastards arrested'! No; he rather
is on the way to increase the number,--by at least one unit and his
tail! Observe, too, that this is all a modern affair; belongs not to
the old heroic times, but to these dastard new times. 'Happiness our
being's end and aim,' all that very paltry speculation is at bottom,
if we will count well, not yet two centuries old in the world.

The only happiness a brave man ever troubled himself with asking much
about was, happiness enough to get his work done. Not "I can't eat!"
but "I can't work!" that was the burden of all wise complaining among
men. It is, after all, the one unhappiness of a man, That he cannot
work; that he cannot get his destiny as a man fulfilled. Behold, the
day is passing swiftly over, our life is passing swiftly over; and the
night cometh, wherein no man can work. The night once come, our
happiness, our unhappiness,--it is all abolished; vanished, clean
gone; a thing that has been: 'not of the slightest consequence'
whether we were happy as eupeptic Curtis, as the fattest pig of
Epicurus, or unhappy as Job with potsherds, as musical Byron with
Giaours and sensibilities of the heart; as the unmusical Meat-jack
with hard labour and rust! But our work,--behold that is not
abolished, that has not vanished: our work, behold, it remains, or the
want of it remains;--for endless Times and Eternities, remains; and
that is now the sole question with us forevermore! Brief brawling Day,
with its noisy phantasms, its poor paper-crowns tinsel-gilt, is gone;
and divine everlasting Night, with her star-diadems, with her silences
and her veracities, is come! What hast thou done, and how? Happiness,
unhappiness: all that was but the _wages_ thou hadst; thou hast spent
all that, in sustaining thyself hitherward; not a coin of it remains
with thee, it is all spent, eaten: and now thy work, where is thy
work? Swift, out with it; let us see thy work!

       *       *       *       *       *

Of a truth, if man were not a poor hungry dastard, and even much of a
blockhead withal, he would cease criticising his victuals to such
extent; and criticise himself rather, what he does with his victuals!



CHAPTER V.

THE ENGLISH.


And yet, with all thy theoretic platitudes, what a depth of practical
sense in thee, great England! A depth of sense, of justice, and
courage; in which, under all emergencies and world-bewilderments, and
under this most complex of emergencies we now live in, there is still
hope, there is still assurance!

The English are a dumb people. They can do great acts, but not
describe them. Like the old Romans, and some few others, _their_ Epic
Poem is written on the Earth's surface: England her Mark! It is
complained that they have no artists: one Shakspeare indeed; but for
Raphael only a Reynolds; for Mozart nothing but a Mr. Bishop: not a
picture, not a song. And yet they did produce one Shakspeare: consider
how the element of Shakspearean melody does lie imprisoned in their
nature; reduced to unfold itself in mere Cotton-mills, Constitutional
Governments, and suchlike;--all the more interesting when it does
become visible, as even in such unexpected shapes it succeeds in
doing! Goethe spoke of the Horse, how impressive, almost affecting it
was that an animal of such qualities should stand obstructed so; its
speech nothing but an inarticulate neighing, its handiness mere
_hoof_iness, the fingers all constricted, tied together, the
finger-nails coagulated into a mere hoof, shod with iron. The more
significant, thinks he, are those eye-flashings of the generous noble
quadruped; those prancings, curvings of the neck clothed with thunder.

A Dog of Knowledge has free utterance; but the Warhorse is almost
mute, very far from free! It is even so. Truly, your freest utterances
are not by any means always the best: they are the worst rather; the
feeblest, trivialest; their meaning prompt, but small, ephemeral.
Commend me to the silent English, to the silent Romans. Nay the
silent Russians, too, I believe to be worth something: are they
not even now drilling, under much obloquy, an immense semi-barbarous
half-world from Finland to Kamtschatka, into rule, subordination,
civilisation,--really in an old Roman fashion; speaking no word about
it; quietly hearing all manner of vituperative Able Editors speak!
While your ever-talking, ever-gesticulating French, for example, what
are they at this moment drilling?--Nay of all animals, the freest of
utterance, I should judge, is the genus _Simia_: go into the Indian
woods, say all Travellers, and look what a brisk, adroit, unresting
Ape-population it is!

       *       *       *       *       *

The spoken Word, the written Poem, is said to be an epitome of the
man; how much more the done Work. Whatsoever of morality and of
intelligence; what of patience, perseverance, faithfulness, of method,
insight, ingenuity, energy; in a word, whatsoever of Strength the man
had in him will lie written in the Work he does. To work: why, it is
to try himself against Nature, and her everlasting unerring Laws;
these will tell a true verdict as to the man. So much of virtue and of
faculty did _we_ find in him; so much and no more! He had such
capacity of harmonising himself with _me_ and my unalterable
ever-veracious Laws; of coöperating and working as _I_ bade him;--and
has prospered, and has not prospered, as you see!--Working as great
Nature bade him: does not that mean virtue of a kind; nay of all
kinds? Cotton can be spun and sold, Lancashire operatives can be got
to spin it, and at length one has the woven webs and sells them, by
following Nature's regulations in that matter: by not following
Nature's regulations, you have them not. You have them not;--there is
no Cotton-web to sell: Nature finds a bill against you; your
'Strength' is not Strength, but Futility! Let faculty be honoured, so
far as it is faculty. A man that can succeed in working is to me
always a man.

How one loves to see the burly figure of him, this thick-skinned,
seemingly opaque, perhaps sulky, almost stupid Man of Practice, pitted
against some light adroit Man of Theory, all equipt with clear logic,
and able anywhere to give you Why for Wherefore! The adroit Man of
Theory, so light of movement, clear of utterance, with his bow
full-bent and quiver full of arrow-arguments,--surely he will strike
down the game, transfix everywhere the heart of the matter; triumph
everywhere, as he proves that he shall and must do? To your
astonishment, it turns out oftenest No. The cloudy-browed,
thick-soled, opaque Practicality, with no logic utterance, in silence
mainly, with here and there a low grunt or growl, has in him what
transcends all logic-utterance: a Congruity with the Unuttered. The
Speakable, which lies atop, as a superficial film, or outer skin, is
his or is not his: but the Doable, which reaches down to the World's
centre, you find him there!

The rugged Brindley has little to say for himself; the rugged
Brindley, when difficulties accumulate on him, retires silent,
'generally to his bed;' retires 'sometimes for three days together to
his bed, that he may be in perfect privacy there,' and ascertain in
his rough head how the difficulties can be overcome. The ineloquent
Brindley, behold he _has_ chained seas together; his ships do visibly
float over valleys, invisibly through the hearts of mountains; the
Mersey and the Thames, the Humber and the Severn have shaken hands:
Nature most audibly answers, Yea! The Man of Theory twangs his
full-bent bow: Nature's Fact ought to fall stricken, but does not: his
logic-arrow glances from it as from a scaly dragon, and the obstinate
Fact keeps walking its way. How singular! At bottom, you will have to
grapple closer with the dragon; take it home to you, by real faculty,
not by seeming faculty; try whether you are stronger, or it is
stronger. Close with it, wrestle it: sheer obstinate toughness of
muscle; but much more, what we call toughness of heart, which will
mean persistence hopeful and even desperate, unsubduable patience,
composed candid openness, clearness of mind: all this shall be
'strength' in wrestling your dragon; the whole man's real strength is
in this work, we shall get the measure of him here.

Of all the Nations in the world at present the English are the
stupidest in speech, the wisest in action. As good as a 'dumb' Nation,
I say, who cannot speak, and have never yet spoken,--spite of the
Shakspeares and Miltons who show us what possibilities there are!--O
Mr. Bull, I look in that surly face of thine with a mixture of pity
and laughter, yet also with wonder and veneration. Thou complainest
not, my illustrious friend; and yet I believe the heart of thee is
full of sorrow, of unspoken sadness, seriousness,--profound melancholy
(as some have said) the basis of thy being. Unconsciously, for thou
speakest of nothing, this great Universe is great to thee. Not by
levity of floating, but by stubborn force of swimming, shalt thou make
thy way. The Fates sing of thee that thou shalt many times be thought
an ass and a dull ox, and shalt with a godlike indifference believe
it. My friend,--and it is all untrue, nothing ever falser in point of
fact! Thou art of those great ones whose greatness the small passer-by
does not discern. Thy very stupidity is wiser than their wisdom. A
grand _vis inertiæ_ is in thee; how many grand qualities unknown to
small men! Nature alone knows thee, acknowledges the bulk and strength
of thee: thy Epic, unsung in words, is written in huge characters on
the face of this Planet,--sea-moles, cotton-trades, railways, fleets
and cities, Indian Empires, Americas, New Hollands; legible throughout
the Solar System!

But the dumb Russians too, as I said, they, drilling all wild Asia and
wild Europe into military rank and file, a terrible yet hitherto a
prospering enterprise, are still dumber. The old Romans also could not
_speak_, for many centuries:--not till the world was theirs; and so
many speaking Greekdoms, their logic-arrows all spent, had been
absorbed and abolished. The logic-arrows, how they glanced futile from
obdurate thick-skinned Facts; Facts to be wrestled down only by the
real vigour of Roman thews!--As for me, I honour, in these
loud-babbling days, all the Silent rather. A grand Silence that of
Romans;--nay the grandest of all, is it not that of the gods! Even
Triviality, Imbecility, that can sit silent, how respectable is it in
comparison! The 'talent of silence' is our fundamental one. Great
honour to him whose Epic is a melodious hexameter Iliad; not a
jingling Sham-Iliad, nothing true in it but the hexameters and forms
merely. But still greater honour, if his Epic be a mighty Empire
slowly built together, a mighty Series of Heroic Deeds,--a mighty
Conquest over Chaos; _which_ Epic the 'Eternal Melodies' have, and
must have, informed and dwelt in, as it sung itself! There is no
mistaking that latter Epic. Deeds are greater than Words. Deeds have
such a life, mute but undeniable, and grow as living trees and
fruit-trees do; they people the vacuity of Time, and make it green and
worthy. Why should the oak prove logically that it ought to grow, and
will grow? Plant it, try it; what gifts of diligent judicious
assimilation and secretion it has, of progress and resistance, of
_force_ to grow, will then declare themselves. My much-honoured,
illustrious, extremely inarticulate Mr. Bull!--

Ask Bull his spoken opinion of any matter,--oftentimes the force of
dullness can no farther go. You stand silent, incredulous, as over a
platitude that borders on the Infinite. The man's Churchisms,
Dissenterisms, Puseyisms, Benthamisms, College Philosophies,
Fashionable Literatures, are unexampled in this world. Fate's prophecy
is fulfilled; you call the man an ox and an ass. But set him once to
work,--respectable man! His spoken sense is next to nothing,
nine-tenths of it palpable _non_sense: but his unspoken sense, his
inner silent feeling of what is true, what does agree with fact, what
is doable and what is not doable,--this seeks its fellow in the world.
A terrible worker; irresistible against marshes, mountains,
impediments, disorder, incivilisation; everywhere vanquishing
disorder, leaving it behind him as method and order. He 'retires to
his bed three days,' and considers!

Nay withal, stupid as he is, our dear John,--ever, after infinite
tumblings, and spoken platitudes innumerable from barrel-heads and
parliament-benches, he does settle down somewhere about the just
conclusion; you are certain that his jumblings and tumblings will end,
after years or centuries, in the stable equilibrium. Stable
equilibrium, I say; centre-of-gravity lowest;--not the unstable, with
centre-of-gravity highest, as I have known it done by quicker people!
For indeed, do but jumble and tumble sufficiently, you avoid that
worst fault, of settling with your centre-of-gravity highest; your
centre-of-gravity is certain to come lowest, and to stay there. If
slowness, what we in our impatience call 'stupidity,' be the price of
stable equilibrium over unstable, shall we grudge a little slowness?
Not the least admirable quality of Bull is, after all, that of
remaining insensible to logic; holding out for considerable periods,
ten years or more, as in this of the Corn-Laws, after all arguments
and shadow of arguments have faded away from him, till the very
urchins on the street titter at the arguments he brings.
Logic,--[Greek: Logikê], the 'Art of Speech,'--does indeed speak so
and so; clear enough: nevertheless Bull still shakes his head; will
see whether nothing else _illogical_, not yet 'spoken,' not yet able
to be 'spoken,' do not lie in the business, as there so often
does!--My firm belief is, that, finding himself now enchanted,
hand-shackled, foot-shackled, in Poor-Law Bastilles and elsewhere, he
will retire three days to his bed, and _arrive_ at a conclusion or
two! His three-years 'total stagnation of trade,' alas, is not that a
painful enough 'lying in bed to consider himself'? Poor Bull!

Bull is a born Conservative; for this too I inexpressibly honour him.
All great Peoples are conservative; slow to believe in novelties;
patient of much error in actualities; deeply and forever certain of
the greatness that is in LAW, in Custom once solemnly established, and
now long recognised as just and final.--True, O Radical Reformer,
there is no Custom that can, properly speaking, be final; none. And
yet thou seest _Customs_ which, in all civilised countries, are
accounted final; nay, under the Old-Roman name of _Mores_, are
accounted _Morality_, Virtue, Laws of God Himself. Such, I assure
thee, not a few of them are; such almost all of them once were. And
greatly do I respect the solid character,--a blockhead, thou wilt say;
yes, but a well-conditioned blockhead, and the best-conditioned,--who
esteems all 'Customs once solemnly acknowledged' to be ultimate,
divine, and the rule for a man to walk by, nothing doubting, not
inquiring farther. What a time of it had we, were all men's life and
trade still, in all parts of it, a problem, a hypothetic seeking, to
be settled by painful Logics and Baconian Inductions! The Clerk in
Eastcheap cannot spend the day in verifying his Ready-Reckoner; he
must take it as verified, true and indisputable; or his Book-keeping
by Double Entry will stand still. "Where is your Posted Ledger?" asks
the Master at night.--"Sir," answers the other, "I was verifying my
Ready-Reckoner, and find some errors. The Ledger is--!"--Fancy such a
thing!

True, all turns on your Ready-Reckoner being moderately
correct,--being _not_ insupportably incorrect! A Ready-Reckoner which
has led to distinct entries in your Ledger such as these: '_Creditor_
an English People by fifteen hundred years of good Labour; and
_Debtor_ to lodging in enchanted Poor-Law Bastilles: _Creditor_ by
conquering the largest Empire the Sun ever saw; and _Debtor_ to
Donothingism and "Impossible" written on all departments of the
government thereof: _Creditor_ by mountains of gold ingots earned; and
_Debtor_ to No Bread purchasable by them:'--_such_ Ready-Reckoner,
methinks, is beginning to be suspect; nay is ceasing, and has ceased,
to be suspect! Such Ready-Reckoner is a Solecism in Eastcheap; and
must, whatever be the press of business, and will and shall be
rectified a little. Business can go on no longer with _it_. The most
Conservative English People, thickest-skinned, most patient of
Peoples, is driven alike by its Logic and its Unlogic, by things
'spoken,' and by things not yet spoken or very speakable, but only
felt and very unendurable, to be wholly a Reforming People. Their
Life, as it is, has ceased to be longer possible for them.

Urge not this noble silent People; rouse not the Berserkir rage that
lies in them! Do you know their Cromwells, Hampdens, their Pyms and
Bradshaws? Men very peaceable, but men that can be made very terrible!
Men who, like their old Teutsch Fathers in Agrippa's days, 'have a
soul that despises death;' to whom 'death,' compared with falsehoods
and injustices, is light;--'in whom there is a rage unconquerable by
the immortal gods!' Before this, the English People have taken very
preternatural-looking Spectres by the beard; saying virtually: "And if
thou _wert_ 'preternatural'? Thou with thy 'divine-rights' grown
diabolic-wrongs? Thou,--not even 'natural;' decapitable; totally
extinguishable!"--Yes, just so godlike as this People's patience was,
even so godlike will and must its impatience be. Away, ye scandalous
Practical Solecisms, children actually of the Prince of Darkness; ye
have near broken our hearts; we can and will endure you no longer.
Begone, we say; depart, while the play is good! By the Most High God,
whose sons and born, missionaries true men are, ye shall not continue
here! You and we have become incompatible; can inhabit one house no
longer. Either you must go, or we. Are ye ambitious to try _which_ it
shall be?

O my Conservative friends, who still specially name and struggle to
approve yourselves 'Conservative,' would to Heaven I could persuade
you of this world-old fact, than which Fate is not surer, That Truth
and Justice alone are _capable_ of being 'conserved' and preserved!
The thing which is unjust, which is _not_ according to God's Law, will
you, in a God's Universe, try to conserve that? It is so old, say you?
Yes, and the hotter haste ought _you_, of all others, to be in, to let
it grow no older! If but the faintest whisper in your hearts intimate
to you that it is not fair,--hasten, for the sake of Conservatism
itself, to probe it rigorously, to cast it forth at once and forever
if guilty. How will or can you preserve _it_, the thing that is not
fair? 'Impossibility' a thousandfold is marked on that. And ye call
yourselves Conservatives, Aristocracies:--ought not honour and
nobleness of mind, if they had departed from all the Earth elsewhere,
to find their last refuge with you? Ye unfortunate!

The bough that is dead shall be cut away, for the sake of the tree
itself. Old? Yes, it is too old. Many a weary winter has it swung and
creaked there, and gnawed and fretted, with its dead wood, the organic
substance and still living fibre of this good tree; many a long summer
has its ugly naked brown defaced the fair green umbrage; every day it
has done mischief, and that only: off with it, for the tree's sake, if
for nothing more; let the Conservatism that would preserve cut _it_
away. Did no wood-forester apprise you that a dead bough with its dead
root left sticking there is extraneous, poisonous; is as a dead iron
spike, some horrid rusty ploughshare driven into the living
substance;--nay is far worse; for in every wind-storm ('commercial
crisis' or the like), it frets and creaks, jolts itself to and fro,
and cannot lie quiet as your dead iron spike would.

If I were the Conservative Party of England (which is another bold
figure of speech), I would not for a hundred thousand pounds an hour
allow those Corn-Laws to continue! Potosi and Golconda put together
would not purchase my assent to them. Do you count what treasuries of
bitter indignation they are laying up for you in every just English
heart? Do you know what questions, not as to Corn-prices and
Sliding-scales alone, they are _forcing_ every reflective Englishman
to ask himself? Questions insoluble, or hitherto unsolved; deeper
than any of our Logic-plummets hitherto will sound: questions deep
enough,--which it were better that we did not name even in thought!
You are forcing us to think of them, to begin uttering them. The
utterance of them is begun; and where will it be ended, think you?
When two millions of one's brother-men sit in Workhouses, and five
millions, as is insolently said, 'rejoice in potatoes,' there are
various things that must be begun, let them end where they can.



CHAPTER VI.

TWO CENTURIES.


The Settlement effected by our 'Healing Parliament' in the Year of
Grace 1660, though accomplished under universal acclamations from the
four corners of the British Dominions, turns out to have been one of
the mournfulest that ever took place in this land of ours. It called
and thought itself a Settlement of brightest hope and fulfilment,
bright as the blaze of universal tar-barrels and bonfires could make
it: and we find it now, on looking back on it with the insight which
trial has yielded, a Settlement as of despair. Considered well, it was
a Settlement to govern henceforth without God, with only some decent
Pretence of God.

Governing by the Christian Law of God had been found a thing of
battle, convulsion, confusion, an infinitely difficult thing:
wherefore let us now abandon it, and govern only by so much of God's
Christian Law as--as may prove quiet and convenient for us. What is
the end of Government? To guide men in the way wherein they should go:
towards their true good in this life, the portal of infinite good in a
life to come? To guide men in such way, and ourselves in such way, as
the Maker of men, whose eye is upon us, will sanction at the Great
Day?--Or alas, perhaps at bottom _is_ there no Great Day, no sure
outlook of any life to come; but only this poor life, and what of
taxes, felicities, Nell-Gwyns and entertainments we can manage to
muster here? In that case, the end of Government will be, To suppress
all noise and disturbance, whether of Puritan preaching, Cameronian
psalm-singing, thieves'-riot, murder, arson, or what noise soever,
and--be careful that supplies do not fail! A very notable conclusion,
if we will think of it, and not without an abundance of fruits for us.
Oliver Cromwell's body hung on the Tyburn gallows, as the type of
Puritanism found futile, inexecutable, execrable,--yes, that
gallows-tree has been a fingerpost into very strange country indeed.
Let earnest Puritanism die; let decent Formalism, whatsoever cant it
be or grow to, live! We have had a pleasant journey in that direction;
and are--arriving at our inn?

To support the Four Pleas of the Crown, and keep Taxes coming in: in
very sad seriousness, has not this been, ever since, even in the best
times, almost the one admitted end and aim of Government? Religion,
Christian Church, Moral Duty; the fact that man had a soul at all;
that in man's life there was any eternal truth or justice at all,--has
been as good as left quietly out of sight. Church indeed,--alas, the
endless talk and struggle we have had of High-Church, Low-Church,
Church-Extension, Church-in-Danger: we invite the Christian reader to
think whether it has not been a too miserable screech-owl phantasm of
talk and struggle, as for a 'Church,'--which one had rather not define
at present!

But now in these godless two centuries, looking at England and her
efforts and doings, if we ask, What of England's doings the Law of
Nature had accepted, Nature's King had actually furthered and
pronounced to have truth in them,--where is our answer? Neither the
'Church' of Hurd and Warburton, nor the Anti-Church of Hume and
Paine; not in any shape the Spiritualism of England: all this is
already seen, or beginning to be seen, for what it is; a thing that
Nature does _not_ own. On the one side is dreary Cant, with a
_reminiscence_ of things noble and divine; on the other is but acrid
Candour, with a _prophecy_ of things brutal, infernal. Hurd and
Warburton are sunk into the sere and yellow leaf; no considerable body
of true-seeing men looks thitherward for healing: the Paine-and-Hume
Atheistic theory, of 'things well let alone,' with Liberty, Equality
and the like, is also in these days declaring itself nought, unable to
keep the world from taking fire.

The theories and speculations of both these parties, and, we may say,
of all intermediate parties and persons, prove to be things which the
Eternal Veracity did not accept; things superficial, ephemeral, which
already a near Posterity, finding them already dead and brown-leafed,
is about to suppress and forget. The Spiritualism of England, for
those godless years, is, as it were, all forgettable. Much has been
written: but the perennial Scriptures of Mankind have had small
accession: from all English Books, in rhyme or prose, in leather
binding or in paper wrappage, how many verses have been added to
these? Our most melodious Singers have sung as from the throat
outwards: from the inner Heart of Man, from the great Heart of Nature,
through no Pope or Philips, has there come any tone. The Oracles have
been dumb. In brief, the Spoken Word of England has not been true. The
Spoken Word of England turns out to have been trivial; of short
endurance; not valuable, not available as a Word, except for the
passing day. It has been accordant with transitory Semblance;
discordant with eternal Fact. It has been unfortunately not a Word,
but a Cant; a helpless involuntary Cant, nay too often a cunning
voluntary one: either way, a very mournful Cant; the Voice not of
Nature and Fact, but of something other than these.

With all its miserable shortcomings, with its wars, controversies,
with its trades-unions, famine-insurrections,--it is her Practical
Material Work alone that England has to show for herself! This, and
hitherto almost nothing more; yet actually this. The grim inarticulate
veracity of the English People, unable to speak its meaning in words,
has turned itself silently on things; and the dark powers of Material
Nature have answered, "Yes, this at least is true, this is not false!"
So answers Nature. "Waste desert-shrubs of the Tropical swamps have
become Cotton-trees; and here, under my furtherance, are verily woven
shirts,--hanging unsold, undistributed, but capable to be distributed,
capable to cover the bare backs of my children of men. Mountains, old
as the Creation, I have permitted to be bored through; bituminous
fuel-stores, the wreck of forests that were green a million years
ago,--I have opened them from my secret rock-chambers, and they are
yours, ye English. Your huge fleets, steamships, do sail the sea; huge
Indias do obey you; from huge _New_ Englands and Antipodal Australias
comes profit and traffic to this Old England of mine!" So answers
Nature. The Practical Labour of England is _not_ a chimerical
Triviality: it is a Fact, acknowledged by all the Worlds; which no man
and no demon will contradict. It is, very audibly, though very
inarticulately as yet, the one God's Voice we have heard in these two
atheistic centuries.

       *       *       *       *       *

And now to observe with what bewildering obscurations and impediments
all this as yet stands entangled, and is yet intelligible to no man!
How, with our gross Atheism, we hear it not to be the Voice of God to
us, but regard it merely as a Voice of earthly Profit-and-Loss. And
have a Hell in England,--the Hell of not making money. And coldly see
the all-conquering valiant Sons of Toil sit enchanted, by the million,
in their Poor-Law Bastille, as if this were Nature's Law;--mumbling to
ourselves some vague janglement of Laissez-faire, Supply-and-demand,
Cash-payment the one nexus of man to man: Free-trade, Competition, and
Devil take the hindmost, our latest Gospel yet preached!

As if, in truth, there were no God of Labour; as if godlike Labour and
brutal Mammonism were convertible terms. A serious, most earnest
Mammonism grown Midas-eared; an unserious Dilettantism, earnest about
nothing, grinning with inarticulate incredulous incredible jargon
about all things, as the _enchanted_ Dilettanti do by the Dead Sea! It
is mournful enough, for the present hour; were there not an endless
hope in it withal. Giant Labour, truest emblem there is of God
the World-Worker, Demiurgus, and Eternal Maker; noble Labour,
which is yet to be the King of this Earth, and sit on the highest
throne,--staggering hitherto like a blind irrational giant, hardly
allowed to have his common place on the street-pavements; idle
Dilettantism. Dead-Sea Apism crying out, "Down with him; he is
dangerous!"

Labour must become a seeing rational giant, with a _soul_ in the body
of him, and take his place on the throne of things,--leaving his
Mammonism, and several other adjuncts, on the lower steps of said
throne.



CHAPTER VII.

OVER-PRODUCTION.


But what will reflective readers say of a Governing Class, such as
ours, addressing its Workers with an indictment of 'Over-production'!
Over-production: runs it not so? "Ye miscellaneous, ignoble
manufacturing individuals, ye have produced too much! We accuse you of
making above two-hundred thousand shirts for the bare backs of
mankind. Your trousers too, which you have made, of fustian, of
cassimere, of Scotch-plaid, of jane, nankeen and woollen broadcloth,
are they not manifold? Of hats for the human head, of shoes for the
human foot, of stools to sit on, spoons to eat with--Nay, what say we
hats or shoes? You produce gold-watches, jewelries, silver-forks, and
epergnes, commodes, chiffoniers, stuffed sofas--Heavens, the
Commercial Bazaar and multitudinous Howel-and-Jameses cannot contain
you. You have produced, produced;--he that seeks your indictment, let
him look around. Millions of shirts, and empty pairs of breeches, hang
there in judgment against you. We accuse you of over-producing: you
are criminally guilty of producing shirts, breeches, hats, shoes and
commodities, in a frightful over-abundance. And now there is a glut,
and your operatives cannot be fed!"

Never surely, against an earnest Working Mammonism was there brought,
by Game-preserving aristocratic Dilettantism, a stranger accusation,
since this world began. My lords and gentlemen,--why, it was _you_
that were appointed, by the fact and by the theory of your position
on the Earth, to 'make and administer Laws,'--that is to say, in a
world such as ours, to guard against 'gluts;' against honest
operatives, who had done their work, remaining unfed! I say, _you_
were appointed to preside over the Distribution and Apportionment of
the Wages of Work done; and to see well that there went no labourer
without his hire, were it of money-coins, were it of hemp
gallows-ropes: that function was yours, and from immemorial time has
been; yours, and as yet no other's. These poor shirt-spinners have
forgotten much, which by the virtual unwritten law of their position
they should have remembered: but by any written recognised law of
their position, what have they forgotten? They were set to make
shirts. The Community with all its voices commanded them, saying,
"Make shirts;"--and there the shirts are! Too many shirts? Well, that
is a novelty, in this intemperate Earth, with its nine-hundred
millions of bare backs! But the Community commanded you, saying, "See
that the shirts are well apportioned, that our Human Laws be emblem of
God's Laws;"--and where is the apportionment? Two million shirtless or
ill-shirted workers sit enchanted in Workhouse Bastilles, five million
more (according to some) in Ugolino Hunger-cellars; and for remedy,
you say,--what say you?--"Raise _our_ rents!" I have not in my time
heard any stranger speech, not even on the Shores of the Dead Sea. You
continue addressing those poor shirt-spinners and over-producers in
really a _too_ triumphant manner!

"Will you bandy accusations, will you accuse _us_ of over-production?
We take the Heavens and the Earth to witness that we have produced
nothing at all. Not from us proceeds this frightful overplus of
shirts. In the wide domains of created Nature circulates no shirt or
thing of our producing. Certain fox-brushes nailed upon our
stable-door, the fruit of fair audacity at Melton Mowbray; these we
have produced, and they are openly nailed up there. He that accuses us
of producing, let him show himself, let him name what and when. We are
innocent of producing;--ye ungrateful, what mountains of things have
we not, on the contrary, had to 'consume' and make away with!
Mountains of those your heaped manufactures, wheresoever edible or
wearable, have they not disappeared before us, as if we had the talent
of ostriches, of cormorants, and a kind of divine faculty to eat? Ye
ungrateful!--and did you not grow under the shadow of our wings? Are
not your filthy mills built on these fields of ours; on this soil of
England, which belongs to--whom think you? And we shall not offer you
our own wheat at the price that pleases us, but that partly pleases
you? A precious notion! What would become of you, if we chose, at any
time, to decide on growing no wheat more?"

Yes, truly, _here_ is the ultimate rock-basis of all Corn-Laws;
whereon, at the bottom of much arguing, they rest, as securely as they
can: What would become of you, if we decided, some day, on growing no
more wheat at all? If we chose to grow only partridges henceforth, and
a modicum of wheat for our own uses? Cannot we do what we like with
our own?--Yes, indeed! For my share, if I could melt Gneiss Rock, and
create Law of Gravitation; if I could stride out to the Doggerbank,
some morning, and striking down my trident there into the mud-waves,
say, "Be land, be fields, meadows, mountains and fresh-rolling
streams!" by Heaven, I should incline to have the letting of _that_
land in perpetuity, and sell the wheat of it, or burn the wheat of it,
according to my own good judgment! My Corn-Lawing friends, you
affright me.

To the 'Millo-cracy' so-called, to the Working Aristocracy, steeped
too deep in mere ignoble Mammonism, and as yet all unconscious of its
noble destinies, as yet but an irrational or semi-rational giant,
struggling to awake some soul in itself,--the world will have much to
say, reproachfully, reprovingly, admonishingly. But to the Idle
Aristocracy, what will the world have to say? Things painful, and not
pleasant!

To the man who _works_, who attempts, in never so ungracious barbarous
a way, to get forward with some work, you will hasten out with
furtherances, with encouragements, corrections; you will say to him:
"Welcome; thou art ours; our care shall be of thee." To the Idler,
again, never so gracefully going idle, coming forward with never so
many parchments, you will not hasten out; you will sit still, and be
disinclined to rise. You will say to him: "Not welcome, O complex
Anomaly; would thou hadst stayed out of doors: for who of mortals
knows what to do with thee? Thy parchments: yes, they are old, of
venerable yellowness; and we too honour parchment, old-established
settlements, and venerable use-and-wont. Old parchments in very
truth:--yet on the whole, if thou wilt remark, they are young to the
Granite Rocks, to the Groundplan of God's Universe! We advise thee to
put up thy parchments; to go home to thy place, and make no needless
noise whatever. Our heart's wish is to save thee: yet there as thou
art, hapless Anomaly, with nothing but thy yellow parchments, noisy
futilities, and shotbelts and fox-brushes, who of gods or men can
avert dark Fate? Be counselled, ascertain if no work exist for thee on
God's Earth; if thou find no commanded-duty there but that of going
gracefully idle? Ask, inquire earnestly, with a half-frantic
earnestness; for the answer means Existence or Annihilation to thee.
We apprise thee of the world-old fact, becoming sternly disclosed
again in these days, That he who cannot work in this Universe cannot
get existed in it: had he parchments to thatch the face of the world,
these, combustible fallible sheepskin, cannot avail him. Home, thou
unfortunate; and let us have at least no noise from thee!"

Suppose the unfortunate Idle Aristocracy, as the unfortunate Working
one has done, were to 'retire three days to _its_ bed,' and consider
itself there, what o'clock it had become?--

How have we to regret not only that men have 'no religion,' but that
they have next to no reflection: and go about with heads full of mere
extraneous noises, with eyes wide-open but visionless,--for most part
in the somnambulist state!



CHAPTER VIII.

UNWORKING ARISTOCRACY.


It is well said, 'Land is the right basis of an Aristocracy;' whoever
possesses the Land, he, more emphatically than any other, is the
Governor, Viceking of the people on the Land. It is in these days as
it was in those of Henry Plantagenet and Abbot Samson; as it will in
all days be. The Land is _Mother_ of us all; nourishes, shelters,
gladdens, lovingly enriches us all; in how many ways, from our first
wakening to our last sleep on her blessed mother-bosom, does she, as
with blessed mother-arms, enfold us all!

The Hill I first saw the Sun rise over, when the Sun and I and all
things were yet in their auroral hour, who can divorce me from it?
Mystic, deep as the world's centre, are the roots I have struck into
my Native Soil; no _tree_ that grows is rooted so. From noblest
Patriotism to humblest industrial Mechanism; from highest dying for
your country, to lowest quarrying and coal-boring for it, a Nation's
Life depends upon its Land. Again and again we have to say, there can
be no true Aristocracy but must possess the Land.

Men talk of 'selling' Land. Land, it is true, like Epic Poems and even
higher things, in such a trading world, has to be presented in the
market for what it will bring, and as we say be 'sold:' but the notion
of 'selling,' for certain bits of metal, the _Iliad_ of Homer, how
much more the _Land_ of the World-Creator, is a ridiculous
impossibility! We buy what is saleable of it; nothing more was ever
buyable. Who can or could sell it to us? Properly speaking, the Land
belongs to these two: To the Almighty God; and to all His Children of
Men that have ever worked well on it, or that shall ever work well on
it. No generation of men can or could, with never such solemnity and
effort, sell Land on any other principle: it is not the property of
any generation, we say, but that of all the past generations that have
worked on it, and of all the future ones that shall work on it.

Again, we hear it said, The soil of England, or of any country, is
properly worth nothing, except 'the labour bestowed on it.' This,
speaking even in the language of Eastcheap, is not correct. The rudest
space of country equal in extent to England, could a whole English
Nation, with all their habitudes, arrangements, skills, with
whatsoever they do carry within the skins of them and cannot be stript
of, suddenly take wing and alight on it,--would be worth a very
considerable thing! Swiftly, within year and day, this English Nation,
with its multiplex talents of ploughing, spinning, hammering, mining,
road-making and trafficking, would bring a handsome value out of such
a space of country. On the other hand, fancy what an English Nation,
once 'on the wing,' could have done with itself, had there been simply
no soil, not even an inarable one, to alight on? Vain all its talents
for ploughing, hammering, and whatever else; there is no Earth-room
for this Nation with its talents: this Nation will have to _keep_
hovering on the wing, dolefully shrieking to and fro; and perish
piecemeal; burying itself, down to the last soul of it, in the waste
unfirmamented seas. Ah yes, soil, with or without ploughing, is the
gift of God. The soil of all countries belongs evermore, in a very
considerable degree, to the Almighty Maker! The last stroke of labour
bestowed on it is not the making of its value, but only the
increasing thereof.

It is very strange, the degree to which these truisms are forgotten in
our days; how, in the ever-whirling chaos of Formulas, we have quietly
lost sight of Fact,--which it is so perilous not to keep forever in
sight. Fact, if we do not see it, will make us _feel_ it by and
by!--From much loud controversy, and Corn-Law debating there rises,
loud though inarticulate, once more in these years, this very question
among others, Who made the Land of England? Who made it, this
respectable English Land, wheat-growing, metalliferous, carboniferous,
which will let readily hand over head for seventy millions or upwards,
as it here lies: who did make it?--"We!" answer the much-_consuming_
Aristocracy; "We!" as they ride in, moist with the sweat of Melton
Mowbray: "It is we that made it; or are the heirs, assigns and
representatives of those who did!"--My brothers, You? Everlasting
honour to you, then; and Corn-Laws as many as you will, till your own
deep stomachs cry Enough, or some voice of Human pity for our famine
bids you Hold! Ye are as gods, that can create soil. Soil-creating
gods there is no withstanding. They have the might to sell wheat at
what price they list; and the right, to all lengths, and
famine-lengths,--if they be pitiless infernal gods! Celestial gods, I
think, would stop short of the famine-price; but no infernal nor any
kind of god can be bidden stop!----Infatuated mortals, into what
questions are you driving every thinking man in England?

I say, you did _not_ make the Land of England; and, by the possession
of it, you _are_ bound to furnish guidance and governance to England!
That is the law of your position on this God's-Earth; an everlasting
act of Heaven's Parliament, not repealable in St. Stephen's or
elsewhere! True government and guidance; not no-government and
Laissez-faire; how much less, _mis_-government and Corn-Law! There is
not an imprisoned Worker looking out from these Bastilles but appeals,
very audibly in Heaven's High Courts, against you, and me, and
everyone who is not imprisoned, "Why am I here?" His appeal is audible
in Heaven; and will become audible enough on Earth too, if it remain
unheeded here. His appeal is against you, foremost of all; you stand
in the front-rank of the accused; you, by the very place you hold,
have first of all to answer him and Heaven!

       *       *       *       *       *

What looks maddest, miserablest in these mad and miserable Corn-Laws
is independent altogether of their 'effect on wages,' their effect on
'increase of trade,' or any other such effect: it is the continual
maddening proof they protrude into the faces of all men, that our
Governing Class, called by God and Nature and the inflexible law of
Fact, either to do something towards governing, or to die and be
abolished,--have not yet learned even to sit still and do no mischief!
For no Anti-Corn-Law League yet asks more of them than this;--Nature
and Fact, very imperatively, asking so much more of them.
Anti-Corn-Law League asks not, Do something; but, Cease your
destructive misdoing, Do ye nothing!

Nature's message will have itself obeyed: messages of mere Free-Trade,
Anti-Corn-Law League and Laissez-faire, will then need small
obeying!--Ye fools, in name of Heaven, work, work, at the Ark of
Deliverance for yourselves and us, while hours are still granted you!
No: instead of working at the Ark, they say, "We cannot get our hands
kept rightly warm;" and _sit obstinately burning the planks_. No
madder spectacle at present exhibits itself under this Sun.

The Working Aristocracy; Mill-owners, Manufacturers, Commanders of
Working Men: alas, against them also much shall be brought in
accusation; much,--and the freest Trade in Corn, total abolition of
Tariffs, and uttermost 'Increase of Manufactures' and 'Prosperity of
Commerce,' will permanently mend no jot of it. The Working Aristocracy
must strike into a new path; must understand that money alone is _not_
the representative either of man's success in the world, or of man's
duties to man; and reform their own selves from top to bottom, if they
wish England reformed. England will not be habitable long, unreformed.

The Working Aristocracy--Yes, but on the threshold of all this, it is
again and again to be asked, What of the Idle Aristocracy? Again and
again, What shall we say of the Idle Aristocracy, the Owners of the
Soil of England; whose recognised function is that of handsomely
consuming the rents of England, shooting the partridges of England,
and as an agreeable amusement (if the purchase-money and other
conveniences serve), dilettante-ing in Parliament and Quarter-Sessions
for England? We will say mournfully, in the presence of Heaven and
Earth,--that we stand speechless, stupent, and know not what to say!
That a class of men entitled to live sumptuously on the marrow of the
earth; permitted simply, nay entreated, and as yet entreated in vain,
to do nothing at all in return, was never heretofore seen on the face
of this Planet. That such a class is transitory, exceptional, and,
unless Nature's Laws fall dead, cannot continue. That it has continued
now a moderate while; has, for the last fifty years, been rapidly
attaining its state of perfection. That it will have to find its
duties and do them; or else that it must and will cease to be seen on
the face of this Planet, which is a Working one, not an Idle one.

Alas, alas, the Working Aristocracy, admonished by Trades-unions,
Chartist conflagrations, above all by their own shrewd sense kept in
perpetual communion with the fact of things, will assuredly reform
themselves, and a working world will still be possible:--but the fate
of the Idle Aristocracy, as one reads its horoscope hitherto in
Corn-Laws and suchlike, is an abyss that fills one with despair. Yes,
my rosy fox-hunting brothers, a terrible _Hippocratic look_ reveals
itself (God knows, not to my joy) through those fresh buxom
countenances of yours. Through your Corn-Law Majorities,
Sliding-Scales, Protecting-Duties, Bribery-Elections, and triumphant
Kentish-fire, a thinking eye discerns ghastly images of ruin, too
ghastly for words; a handwriting as of Mene, Mene. Men and brothers,
on your Sliding-scale you seem sliding, and to have slid,--you little
know whither! Good God! did not a French Donothing Aristocracy, hardly
above half a century ago, declare in like manner, and in its
featherhead believe in like manner, "We cannot exist, and continue to
dress and parade ourselves, on the just rent of the soil of France;
but we must have farther payment than rent of the soil, we must be
exempted from taxes too,"--we must have a Corn-Law to extend our rent?
This was in 1789: in four years more--Did you look into the Tanneries
of Meudon, and the long-naked making for themselves breeches of human
skins! May the merciful Heavens avert the omen; may we be wiser, that
so we be less wretched.

       *       *       *       *       *

A High Class without duties to do is like a tree planted on
precipices; from the roots of which all the earth has been crumbling.
Nature owns no man who is not a Martyr withal. Is there a man who
pretends to live luxuriously housed up; screened from all work, from
want, danger, hardship, the victory over which is what we name
work--he himself to sit serene, amid down-bolsters and appliances, and
have all his work and battling done by other men? And such man calls
himself a _noble_-man? His fathers worked for him, he says; or
successfully gambled for him: here _he_ sits; professes, not in sorrow
but in pride, that he and his have done no work, time out of mind. It
is the law of the land, and is thought to be the law of the Universe,
that he, alone of recorded men, shall have no task laid on him, except
that of eating his cooked victuals, and not flinging himself out of
window. Once more I will say, there was no stranger spectacle ever
shown under this Sun. A veritable fact in our England of the
Nineteenth Century. His victuals he does eat: but as for keeping in
the inside of the window,--have not his friends, like me, enough to
do? Truly, looking at his Corn-Laws, Game-Laws, Chandos-Clauses,
Bribery-Elections and much else, you do shudder over the tumbling and
plunging he makes, held back by the lapels and coatskirts; only a thin
fence of window-glass before him,--and in the street mere horrid iron
spikes! My sick brother, as in hospital-maladies men do, thou dreamest
of Paradises and Eldorados, which are far from thee. 'Cannot I do what
I like with my own?' Gracious Heaven, my brother, this that thou seest
with those sick eyes is no firm Eldorado, and Corn-Law Paradise of
Donothings, but a dream of thy own fevered brain. It is a
glass-window, I tell thee, so many stories from the street; where are
iron spikes and the law of gravitation!

What is the meaning of nobleness, if this be 'noble'? In a valiant
suffering for others, not in a slothful making others suffer for us,
did nobleness ever lie. The chief of men is he who stands in the van
of men; fronting the peril which frightens back all others; which, if
it be not vanquished, will devour the others. Every noble crown is,
and on Earth will forever be, a crown of thorns. The Pagan Hercules,
why was he accounted a hero? Because he had slain Nemean Lions,
cleansed Augean Stables, undergone Twelve Labours only not too heavy
for a god. In modern, as in ancient and all societies, the
Aristocracy, they that assume the functions of an Aristocracy, doing
them or not, have taken the post of honour; which is the post of
difficulty, the post of danger,--of death, if the difficulty be not
overcome. _Il faut payer de sa vie._ Why was our life given us, if not
that we should manfully give it? Descend, O Donothing Pomp; quit thy
down-cushions; expose thyself to learn what wretches feel, and how to
cure it! The Czar of Russia became a dusty toiling shipwright; worked
with his axe in the Docks of Saardam; and his aim was small to thine.
Descend thou: undertake this horrid 'living chaos of Ignorance and
Hunger' weltering round thy feet; say, "I will heal it, or behold I
will die foremost in it." Such is verily the law. Everywhere and
everywhen a man has to '_pay_ with his life;' to do his work, as a
soldier does, at the expense of life. In no Piepowder earthly Court
can you sue an Aristocracy to do its work, at this moment: but in the
Higher Court, which even _it_ calls 'Court of Honour,' and which is
the Court of Necessity withal, and the eternal Court of the Universe,
in which all Fact comes to plead, and every Human Soul is an
apparitor,--the Aristocracy is answerable, and even now answering,
_there_.

       *       *       *       *       *

Parchments? Parchments are venerable: but they ought at all times to
represent, as near as they by possibility can, the writing of the
Adamant Tablets; otherwise they are not so venerable! Benedict the Jew
in vain pleaded parchments; his usuries were too many. The King said,
"Go to, for all thy parchments, thou shalt pay just debt; down with
thy dust, or observe this tooth-forceps!" Nature, a far juster
Sovereign, has far terribler forceps. Aristocracies, actual and
imaginary, reach a time when parchment pleading does not avail them.
"Go to, for all thy parchments, thou shalt pay due debt!" shouts the
Universe to them, in an emphatic manner. They refuse to pay,
confidently pleading parchment: their best grinder-tooth, with
horrible agony, goes out of their jaw. Wilt thou pay now? A second
grinder, again in horrible agony, goes: a second, and a third, and if
need be, all the teeth and grinders, and the life itself with
them;--and _then_ there is free payment, and an anatomist-subject into
the bargain!

Reform Bills, Corn-Law Abrogation Bills, and then Land-Tax Bill,
Property-Tax Bill, and still dimmer list of _etceteras_; grinder after
grinder:--my lords and gentlemen, it were better for you to arise and
begin doing your work, than sit there and plead parchments!

       *       *       *       *       *

We write no Chapter on the Corn-Laws, in this place; the Corn-Laws are
too mad to have a Chapter. There is a certain immorality, when there
is not a necessity, in speaking about things finished; in chopping
into small pieces the already slashed and slain. When the brains are
out, why does not a Solecism die? It is at its own peril if it refuse
to die; it ought to make all conceivable haste to die, and get itself
buried! The trade of Anti-Corn-Law Lecturer in these days, still an
indispensable, is a highly tragic one.

The Corn-Laws will go, and even soon go: would we were all as sure of
the Millennium as they are of going! They go swiftly in these present
months; with an increase of velocity, an ever-deepening,
ever-widening sweep of momentum, truly notable. It is at the
Aristocracy's own damage and peril, still more than at any other's
whatsoever, that the Aristocracy maintains them;--at a damage, say
only, as above computed, of a 'hundred thousand pounds an hour'! The
Corn-Laws keep all the air hot: fostered by their fever-warmth, much
that is evil, but much also, how much that is good and indispensable,
is rapidly coming to life among us!



CHAPTER IX.

WORKING ARISTOCRACY.


A poor Working Mammonism getting itself 'strangled in the
partridge-nets of an Unworking Dilettantism,' and bellowing
dreadfully, and already black in the face, is surely a disastrous
spectacle! But of a Midas-eared Mammonism, which indeed at bottom all
pure Mammonisms are, what better can you expect? No better;--if not
this, then something other equally disastrous, if not still more
disastrous. Mammonisms, grown asinine, have to become human again, and
rational; they have, on the whole, to cease to be Mammonisms, were it
even on compulsion, and pressure of the hemp round their neck!--My
friends of the Working Aristocracy, there are now a great many things
which you also, in your extreme need, will have to consider.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Continental people, it would seem, are 'exporting our machinery,
beginning to spin cotton and manufacture for themselves, to cut us out
of this market and then out of that!' Sad news indeed; but
irremediable;--by no means the saddest news. The saddest news is, that
we should find our National Existence, as I sometimes hear it said,
depend on selling manufactured cotton at a farthing an ell cheaper
than any other People. A most narrow stand for a great Nation to base
itself on! A stand which, with all the Corn-Law Abrogations
conceivable, I do not think will be capable of enduring.

My friends, suppose we quitted that stand; suppose we came honestly
down from it, and said: "This is our minimum of cotton-prices. We care
not, for the present, to make cotton any cheaper. Do you, if it seem
so blessed to you, make cotton cheaper. Fill your lungs with
cotton-fuzz, your hearts with copperas-fumes, with rage and mutiny;
become ye the general gnomes of Europe, slaves of the lamp!"--I admire
a Nation which fancies it will die if it do not undersell all other
Nations, to the end of the world. Brothers, we will cease to
_under_sell them; we will be content to _equal_-sell them; to be happy
selling equally with them! I do not see the use of underselling them.
Cotton-cloth is already two-pence a yard or lower; and yet bare backs
were never more numerous among us. Let inventive men cease to spend
their existence incessantly contriving how cotton can be made cheaper;
and try to invent, a little, how cotton at its present cheapness could
be somewhat justlier divided among us. Let inventive men consider,
Whether the Secret of this Universe, and of Man's Life there, does,
after all, as we rashly fancy it, consist in making money? There is
One God, just, supreme, almighty: but is Mammon the name of him?--With
a Hell which means 'Failing to make money,' I do not think there is
any Heaven possible that would suit one well; nor so much as an Earth
that can be habitable long! In brief, all this Mammon-Gospel, of
Supply-and-demand, Competition, Laissez-faire, and Devil take the
hindmost, begins to be one of the shabbiest Gospels ever preached; or
altogether the shabbiest. Even with Dilettante partridge-nets, and at
a horrible expenditure of pain, who shall regret to see the entirely
transient, and at best somewhat despicable life strangled out of _it_?
At the best, as we say, a somewhat despicable, unvenerable thing, this
same 'Laissez-faire;' and now, at the _worst_, fast growing an
altogether detestable one!

"But what is to be done with our manufacturing population, with our
agricultural, with our ever-increasing population?" cry many.--Ay,
what? Many things can be done with them, a hundred things, and a
thousand things,--had we once got a soul, and begun to try. This one
thing, of doing for them by 'underselling all people,' and filling our
own bursten pockets and appetites by the road; and turning over all
care for any 'population,' or human or divine consideration except
cash only, to the winds, with a "Laissez-faire" and the rest of it:
this is evidently not the thing. Farthing cheaper per yard? No great
Nation can stand on the apex of such a pyramid; screwing itself higher
and higher; balancing itself on its great-toe! Can England not subsist
without being _above_ all people in working? England never
deliberately purposed such a thing. If England work better than all
people, it shall be well. England, like an honest worker, will work as
well as she can; and hope the gods may allow her to live on that
basis. Laissez-faire and much else being once well dead, how many
'impossibles' will become possible! They are impossible, as
cotton-cloth at two-pence an ell was--till men set about making it.
The inventive genius of great England will not forever sit patient
with mere wheels and pinions, bobbins, straps and billy-rollers
whirring in the head of it. The inventive genius of England is not a
Beaver's, or a Spinner's or Spider's genius: it is a _Man's_ genius, I
hope, with a God over him!

Laissez-faire, Supply-and-demand,--one begins to be weary of all that.
Leave all to egoism, to ravenous greed of money, of pleasure, of
applause:--it is the Gospel of Despair! Man _is_ a Patent-Digester,
then: only give him Free Trade, Free digesting-room; and each of us
digest what he can come at, leaving the rest to Fate! My unhappy
brethren of the Working Mammonism, my unhappier brethren of the Idle
Dilettantism, no world was ever held together in that way for long. A
world of mere Patent-Digesters will soon have nothing to digest: such
world ends, and by Law of Nature must end, in 'over-population;' in
howling universal famine, 'impossibility,' and suicidal madness, as of
endless dog-kennels run rabid. Supply-and-demand shall do its full
part, and Free Trade shall be free as air;--thou of the shotbelts, see
thou forbid it not, with those paltry, _worse_ than Mammonish
swindleries and Sliding-scales of thine, which are seen to be
swindleries for all thy canting, which in times like ours are very
scandalous to see! And Trade never so well freed, and all Tariffs
settled or abolished, and Supply-and-demand in full operation,--let us
all know that we have yet done nothing; that we have merely cleared
the ground for doing.

Yes, were the Corn-Laws ended tomorrow, there is nothing yet ended;
there is only room made for all manner of things beginning. The
Corn-Laws gone, and Trade made free, it is as good as certain this
paralysis of industry will pass away. We shall have another period of
commercial enterprise, of victory and prosperity; during which, it is
likely, much money will again be made, and all the people may, by the
extant methods, still for a space of years, be kept alive and
physically fed. The strangling band of Famine will be loosened from
our necks; we shall have room again to breathe; time to bethink
ourselves, to repent and consider! A precious and thrice-precious
space of years; wherein to struggle as for life in reforming our foul
ways; in alleviating, instructing, regulating our people; seeking, as
for life, that something like spiritual food be imparted them, some
real governance and guidance be provided them! It will be a priceless
time. For our new period or paroxysm of commercial prosperity will and
can, on the old methods of 'Competition and Devil take the hindmost,'
prove but a paroxysm: a new paroxysm,--likely enough, if we do not use
it better, to be our _last_. In this, of itself, is no salvation. If
our Trade in twenty years, 'flourishing' as never Trade flourished,
could double itself; yet then also, by the old Laissez-faire method,
our Population is doubled: we shall then be as we are, only twice as
many of us, twice and ten times as unmanageable!

       *       *       *       *       *

All this dire misery, therefore; all this of our poor Workhouse
Workmen, of our Chartisms, Trades-strikes, Corn-Laws, Toryisms, and
the general downbreak of Laissez-faire in these days,--may we not
regard it as a voice from the dumb bosom of Nature, saying to us:
"Behold! Supply-and-demand is not the one Law of Nature; Cash-payment
is not the sole nexus of man with man,--how far from it! Deep, far
deeper than Supply-and-demand, are Laws, Obligations sacred as Man's
Life itself: these also, if you will continue to do work, you shall
now learn and obey. He that will learn them, behold Nature is on his
side, he shall yet work and prosper with noble rewards. He that will
not learn them, Nature is against him, he shall not be able to do work
in Nature's empire,--not in hers. Perpetual mutiny, contention,
hatred, isolation, execration shall wait on his footsteps, till all
men discern that the thing which he attains, however golden it look or
be, is not success, but the want of success."

Supply-and-demand,--alas! For what noble work was there ever yet any
audible 'demand' in that poor sense? The man of Macedonia, speaking in
vision to an Apostle Paul, "Come over and help us," did not specify
what rate of wages he would give! Or was the Christian Religion itself
accomplished by Prize-Essays, Bridgwater Bequests, and a 'minimum of
Four thousand five hundred a year'? No demand that I heard of was made
then, audible in any Labour-market, Manchester Chamber of Commerce, or
other the like emporium and hiring establishment; silent were all
these from any whisper of such demand;--powerless were all these to
'supply' it, had the demand been in thunder and earthquake, with gold
Eldorados and Mahometan Paradises for the reward. Ah me, into what
waste latitudes, in this Time-Voyage, have we wandered; like
adventurous Sindbads;--where the men go about as if by galvanism, with
meaningless glaring eyes, and have no soul, but only a beaver-faculty
and stomach! The haggard despair of Cotton-factory, Coal-mine
operatives, Chandos Farm-labourers, in these days, is painful to
behold; but not so painful, hideous to the inner sense, as that
brutish godforgetting Profit-and-Loss Philosophy and Life-theory,
which we hear jangled on all hands of us, in senate-houses,
spouting-clubs, leading-articles, pulpits and platforms, everywhere as
the Ultimate Gospel and candid Plain-English of Man's Life, from the
throats and pens and thoughts of all-but all men!--

Enlightened Philosophies, like Molière Doctors, will tell you:
"Enthusiasms, Self-sacrifice, Heaven, Hell and suchlike: yes, all that
was true enough for old stupid times; all that used to be true: but we
have changed all that, _nous avons changé tout cela_!" Well; if the
heart be got round now into the right side, and the liver to the left;
if man have no heroism in him deeper than the wish to eat, and in his
soul there dwell now no Infinite of Hope and Awe, and no divine
Silence can become imperative because it is not Sinai Thunder, and no
tie will bind if it be not that of Tyburn gallows-ropes,--then verily
you have changed all that; and for it, and for you, and for me, behold
the Abyss and nameless Annihilation is ready. So scandalous a beggarly
Universe deserves indeed nothing else; I cannot say I would save it
from Annihilation. Vacuum, and the serene Blue, will be much
handsomer; easier too for all of us. I, for one, decline living as a
Patent-Digester. Patent-Digester, Spinning-Mule, Mayfair
Clothes-Horse: many thanks, but your Chaosships will have the goodness
to excuse me!



CHAPTER X.

PLUGSON OF UNDERSHOT.


One thing I do know: Never, on this Earth, was the relation of man to
man long carried on by Cash-payment alone. If, at any time, a
philosophy of Laissez-faire, Competition and Supply-and-demand, start
up as the exponent of human relations, expect that it will soon end.

Such philosophies will arise: for man's philosophies are usually the
'supplement of his practice;' some ornamental Logic-varnish, some
outer skin of Articulate Intelligence, with which he strives to render
his dumb Instinctive Doings presentable when they are done. Such
philosophies will arise; be preached as Mammon-Gospels, the ultimate
Evangel of the World; be believed, with what is called belief, with
much superficial bluster, and a kind of shallow satisfaction real in
its way:--but they are ominous gospels! They are the sure, and even
swift, forerunner of great changes. Expect that the old System of
Society is done, is dying and fallen into dotage, when it begins to
rave in that fashion. Most Systems that I have watched the death of,
for the last three thousand years, have gone just so. The Ideal, the
True and Noble that was in them having faded out, and nothing now
remaining but naked Egoism, vulturous Greediness, they cannot live;
they are bound and inexorably ordained by the oldest Destinies,
Mothers of the Universe, to die. Curious enough: they thereupon,
as I have pretty generally noticed, devise some light comfortable
kind of 'wine-and-walnuts philosophy' for themselves, this
of Supply-and-demand or another; and keep saying, during hours
of mastication and rumination, which they call hours of
meditation: "Soul, take thy ease; it is all _well_ that thou art a
vulture-soul;"--and pangs of dissolution come upon them, oftenest
before they are aware!

Cash-payment never was, or could except for a few years be, the
union-bond of man to man. Cash never yet paid one man fully his
deserts to another; nor could it, nor can it, now or henceforth to the
end of the world. I invite his Grace of Castle-Rackrent to reflect on
this;--does he think that a Land Aristocracy when it becomes a Land
Auctioneership can have long to live? Or that Sliding-scales will
increase the vital stamina of it? The indomitable Plugson too, of the
respected Firm of Plugson, Hunks and Company, in St. Dolly Undershot,
is invited to reflect on this; for to him also it will be new, perhaps
even newer. Book-keeping by double entry is admirable, and records
several things in an exact manner. But the Mother-Destinies also keep
their Tablets; in Heaven's Chancery also there goes on a recording;
and things, as my Moslem friends say, are 'written on the iron leaf.'

Your Grace and Plugson, it is like, go to Church occasionally: did you
never in vacant moments, with perhaps a dull parson droning to you,
glance into your New Testament, and the cash-account stated four times
over, by a kind of quadruple entry,--in the Four Gospels there? I
consider that a cash-account, and balance-statement of work done and
wages paid, worth attending to. Precisely _such_, though on a smaller
scale, go on at all moments under this Sun; and the statement and
balance of them in the Plugson Ledgers and on the Tablets of Heaven's
Chancery are discrepant exceedingly;--which ought really to teach, and
to have long since taught, an indomitable common-sense Plugson of
Undershot, much more an unattackable _un_common-sense Grace of
Rackrent, a thing or two!--In brief, we shall have to dismiss the
Cash-Gospel rigorously into its own place: we shall have to know, on
the threshold, that either there is some infinitely deeper Gospel,
subsidiary, explanatory and daily and hourly corrective, to the Cash
one; or else that the Cash one itself and all others are fast
travelling!

       *       *       *       *       *

For all human things do require to have an Ideal in them; to have some
Soul in them, as we said, were it only to keep the Body unputrefied.
And wonderful it is to see how the Ideal or Soul, place it in what
ugliest Body you may, will irradiate said Body with its own nobleness;
will gradually, incessantly, mould, modify, new-form or reform said
ugliest Body, and make it at last beautiful, and to a certain degree
divine!--Oh, if you could dethrone that Brute-god Mammon, and put a
Spirit-god in his place! One way or other, he must and will have to be
dethroned.

Fighting, for example, as I often say to myself, Fighting with steel
murder-tools is surely a much uglier operation than Working, take it
how you will. Yet even of Fighting, in religious Abbot Samson's days,
see what a Feudalism there had grown,--a 'glorious Chivalry,' much
besung down to the present day. Was not that one of the 'impossiblest'
things? Under the sky is no uglier spectacle than two men with
clenched teeth, and hell-fire eyes, hacking one another's flesh;
converting precious living bodies, and priceless living souls, into
nameless masses of putrescence, useful only for turnip-manure. How did
a Chivalry ever come out of that; how anything that was not hideous,
scandalous, infernal? It will be a question worth considering by and
by.

I remark, for the present, only two things: first, that the Fighting
itself was not, as we rashly suppose it, a Fighting without cause, but
more or less with cause. Man is created to fight; he is perhaps best
of all definable as a born soldier; his life 'a battle and a march,'
under the right General. It is forever indispensable for a man to
fight: now with Necessity, with Barrenness, Scarcity, with Puddles,
Bogs, tangled Forests, unkempt Cotton;--now also with the
hallucinations of his poor fellow Men. Hallucinatory visions rise in
the head of my poor fellow man; make him claim over me rights which
are not his. All Fighting, as we noticed long ago, is the dusty
conflict of strengths, each thinking itself the strongest, or, in
other words, the justest;--of Mights which do in the long-run, and
forever will in this just Universe in the long-run, mean Rights. In
conflict the perishable part of them, beaten sufficiently, flies off
into dust: this process ended, appears the imperishable, the true and
exact.

And now let us remark a second thing: how, in these baleful
operations, a noble devout-hearted Chevalier will comport himself, and
an ignoble godless Bucanier and Chactaw Indian. Victory is the aim of
each. But deep in the heart of the noble man it lies forever legible,
that as an Invisible Just God made him, so will and must God's Justice
and this only, were it never so invisible, ultimately prosper in all
controversies and enterprises and battles whatsoever. What an
Influence; ever-present,--like a Soul in the rudest Caliban of a body;
like a ray of Heaven, and illuminative creative _Fiat-Lux_, in the
wastest terrestrial Chaos! Blessed divine Influence, traceable even in
the horror of Battlefields and garments rolled in blood: how it
ennobles even the Battlefield; and, in place of a Chactaw Massacre,
makes it a Field of Honour! A Battlefield too is great. Considered
well, it is a kind of Quintessence of Labour; Labour distilled into
its utmost concentration; the significance of years of it compressed
into an hour. Here too thou shalt be strong, and not in muscle only,
if thou wouldst prevail. Here too thou shalt be strong of heart, noble
of soul; thou shalt dread no pain or death, thou shalt not love ease
or life; in rage, thou shalt remember mercy, justice;--thou shalt be a
Knight and not a Chactaw, if thou wouldst prevail! It is the rule of
all battles, against hallucinating fellow Men, against unkempt Cotton,
or whatsoever battles they may be, which a man in this world has to
fight.

Howel Davies dyes the West-Indian Seas with blood, piles his decks
with plunder; approves himself the expertest Seaman, the daringest
Seafighter: but he gains no lasting victory, lasting victory is not
possible for him. Not, had he fleets larger than the combined British
Navy all united with him in bucaniering. He, once for all, cannot
prosper in his duel. He strikes down his man: yes; but his man, or his
man's representative, has no notion to lie struck down; neither,
though slain ten times, will he keep so lying;--nor has the Universe
any notion to keep him so lying! On the contrary, the Universe and he
have, at all moments, all manner of motives to start up again, and
desperately fight again. Your Napoleon is flung out, at last, to St.
Helena; the latter end of him sternly compensating the beginning. The
Bucanier strikes down a man, a hundred or a million men: but what
profits it? He has one enemy never to be struck down; nay two enemies:
Mankind and the Maker of Men. On the great scale or on the small, in
fighting of men or fighting of difficulties, I will not embark my
venture with Howel Davies: it is not the Bucanier, it is the Hero only
that can gain victory, that can do more than _seem_ to succeed. These
things will deserve meditating; for they apply to all battle and
soldiership, all struggle and effort whatsoever in this Fight of Life.
It is a poor Gospel, Cash-Gospel or whatever name it have, that does
not, with clear tone, uncontradictable, carrying conviction to all
hearts, forever keep men in mind of these things.

Unhappily, my indomitable friend Plugson of Undershot has, in a great
degree, forgotten them;--as, alas, all the world has; as, alas, our
very Dukes and Soul-Overseers have, whose special trade it was to
remember them! Hence these tears.--Plugson, who has indomitably spun
Cotton merely to gain thousands of pounds, I have to call as yet a
Bucanier and Chactaw; till there come something better, still more
indomitable from him. His hundred Thousand-pound Notes, if there be
nothing other, are to me but as the hundred Scalps in a Chactaw
wigwam. The blind Plugson: he was a Captain of Industry, born member
of the Ultimate genuine Aristocracy of this Universe, could he have
known it! These thousand men that span and toiled round him, they were
a regiment whom he had enlisted, man by man; to make war on a very
genuine enemy: Bareness of back, and disobedient Cotton-fibre, which
will not, unless forced to it, consent to cover bare backs. Here is a
most genuine enemy; over whom all creatures will wish him victory. He
enlisted his thousand men; said to them, "Come, brothers, let us have
a dash at Cotton!" They follow with cheerful shout; they gain such a
victory over Cotton as the Earth has to admire and clap hands at: but,
alas, it is yet only of the Bucanier or Chactaw sort,--as good as no
victory! Foolish Plugson of St. Dolly Undershot: does he hope to
become illustrious by hanging up the scalps in his wigwam, the hundred
thousands at his banker's, and saying, Behold my scalps? Why, Plugson,
even thy own host is all in mutiny: Cotton is conquered; but the 'bare
backs'--are worse covered than ever! Indomitable Plugson, thou must
cease to be a Chactaw; thou and others; thou thyself, if no other!

Did William the Norman Bastard, or any of his Taillefers,
_Ironcutters_, manage so? Ironcutter, at the end of the campaign, did
not turn-off his thousand fighters, but said to them: "Noble fighters,
this is the land we have gained; be I Lord in it,--what we will call
_Law-ward_, maintainer and _keeper_ of Heaven's _Laws_: be I
_Law-ward_, or in brief orthoepy _Lord_ in it, and be ye Loyal Men
around me in it; and we will stand by one another, as soldiers round a
captain, for again we shall have need of one another!" Plugson,
bucanier-like, says to them: "Noble spinners, this is the Hundred
Thousand we have gained, wherein I mean to dwell and plant vineyards;
the hundred thousand is mine, the three and sixpence daily was yours:
adieu, noble spinners; drink my health with this groat each, which I
give you over and above!" The entirely unjust Captain of Industry, say
I; not Chevalier, but Bucanier! 'Commercial Law' does indeed acquit
him; asks, with wide eyes, What else? So too Howel Davies asks, Was it
not according to the strictest Bucanier Custom? Did I depart in any
jot or tittle from the Laws of the Bucaniers?

After all, money, as they say, is miraculous. Plugson wanted victory;
as Chevaliers and Bucaniers, and all men alike do. He found money
recognised, by the whole world with one assent, as the true symbol,
exact equivalent and synonym of victory;--and here we have him, a
grimbrowed, indomitable Bucanier, coming home to us with a 'victory,'
which the whole world is _ceasing_ to clap hands at! The whole world,
taught somewhat impressively, is beginning to recognise that such
victory is but half a victory; and that now, if it please the Powers,
we must--have the other half!

Money is miraculous. What miraculous facilities has it yielded, will
it yield us; but also what never-imagined confusions, obscurations has
it brought in; down almost to total extinction of the moral-sense in
large masses of mankind! 'Protection of property,' of what is
'_mine_,' means with most men protection of money,--the thing which,
had I a thousand padlocks over it, is least of all _mine_; is, in a
manner, scarcely worth calling mine! The symbol shall be held sacred,
defended everywhere with tipstaves, ropes and gibbets; the thing
signified shall be composedly cast to the dogs. A human being who has
worked with human beings clears all scores with them, cuts himself
with triumphant completeness forever loose from them, by paying down
certain shillings and pounds. Was it not the wages I promised you?
There they are, to the last sixpence,--according to the Laws of the
Bucaniers!--Yes, indeed;--and, at such times, it becomes imperatively
necessary to ask all persons, bucaniers and others, Whether these same
respectable Laws of the Bucaniers are written on God's eternal Heavens
at all, on the inner Heart of Man at all; or on the respectable
Bucanier Logbook merely, for the convenience of bucaniering merely?
What a question;--whereat Westminster Hall shudders to its driest
parchment; and on the dead wigs each particular horsehair stands on
end!

The Laws of Laissez-faire, O Westminster, the laws of industrial
Captain and industrial Soldier, how much more of idle Captain and
industrial Soldier, will need to be remodelled, and modified, and
rectified in a hundred and a hundred ways,--and _not_ in the
Sliding-scale direction, but in the totally opposite one! With two
million industrial Soldiers already sitting in Bastilles, and five
million pining on potatoes, methinks Westminster cannot begin too
soon!--A man has other obligations laid on him, in God's Universe,
than the payment of cash: these also Westminster, if it will continue
to exist and have board-wages, must contrive to take some charge
of:--by Westminster or by another, they must and will be taken charge
of; be, with whatever difficulty, got articulated, got enforced, and
to a certain approximate extent put in practice. And, as I say, it
cannot be too soon! For Mammonism, left to itself, has become
Midas-eared; and with all its gold mountains, sits starving for want
of bread: and Dilettantism with its partridge-nets, in this extremely
earnest Universe of ours, is playing somewhat too high a game. 'A man
by the very look of him promises so much:' yes; and by the rent-roll
of him does he promise nothing?--

       *       *       *       *       *

Alas, what a business will this be, which our Continental friends,
groping this long while somewhat absurdly about it and about it, call
'Organisation of Labour;'--which must be taken out of the hands of
absurd windy persons, and put into the hands of wise, laborious,
modest and valiant men, to begin with it straightway; to proceed with
it, and succeed in it more and more, if Europe, at any rate if
England, is to continue habitable much longer. Looking at the kind of
most noble Corn-Law Dukes or Practical _Duces_ we have, and also of
right reverend Soul-Overseers, Christian Spiritual _Duces_ 'on a
minimum of four thousand five hundred,' one's hopes are a little
chilled. Courage, nevertheless; there are many brave men in England!
My indomitable Plugson,--nay is there not even in thee some hope? Thou
art hitherto a Bucanier, as it was written and prescribed for thee by
an evil world: but in that grim brow, in that indomitable heart which
_can_ conquer Cotton, do there not perhaps lie other ten-times nobler
conquests?



CHAPTER XI

LABOUR.


For there is a perennial nobleness, and even sacredness, in Work. Were
he never so benighted, forgetful of his high calling, there is always
hope in a man that actually and earnestly works: in Idleness alone is
there perpetual despair. Work, never so Mammonish, mean, _is_ in
communication with Nature; the real desire to get Work done will
itself lead one more and more to truth, to Nature's appointments and
regulations, which are truth.

The latest Gospel in this world is, Know thy work and do it. 'Know
thyself:' long enough has that poor 'self' of thine tormented thee;
thou wilt never get to 'know' it, I believe! Think it not thy
business, this of knowing thyself; thou art an unknowable individual:
know what thou canst work at; and work at it, like a Hercules! That
will be thy better plan.

It has been written, 'an endless significance lies in Work;' a man
perfects himself by working. Foul jungles are cleared away, fair
seedfields rise instead, and stately cities; and withal the man
himself first ceases to be a jungle and foul unwholesome desert
thereby. Consider how, even, in the meanest sorts of Labour, the whole
soul of a man is composed into a kind of real harmony, the instant he
sets himself to work! Doubt, Desire, Sorrow, Remorse, Indignation,
Despair itself, all these like helldogs lie beleaguering the soul of
the poor dayworker, as of every man: but he bends himself with free
valour against his task, and all these are stilled, all these shrink
murmuring far off into their caves. The man is now a man. The blessed
glow of Labour in him, is it not as purifying fire, wherein all poison
is burnt up, and of sour smoke itself there is made bright blessed
flame!

Destiny, on the whole, has no other way of cultivating us. A formless
Chaos, once set it _revolving_, grows round and ever rounder; ranges
itself, by mere force of gravity, into strata, spherical courses; is
no longer a Chaos, but a round compacted World. What would become of
the Earth, did she cease to revolve? In the poor old Earth, so long as
she revolves, all inequalities, irregularities disperse themselves;
all irregularities are incessantly becoming regular. Hast thou looked
on the Potter's wheel,--one of the venerablest objects; old as the
Prophet Ezechiel and far older? Rude lumps of clay, how they spin
themselves up, by mere quick whirling, into beautiful circular dishes.
And fancy the most assiduous Potter, but without his wheel; reduced to
make dishes, or rather amorphous botches, by mere kneading and baking!
Even such a Potter were Destiny, with a human soul that would rest and
lie at ease, that would not work and spin! Of an idle unrevolving man
the kindest Destiny, like the most assiduous Potter without wheel, can
bake and knead nothing other than a botch; let her spend on him what
expensive colouring, what gilding and enamelling she will, he is but a
botch. Not a dish; no, a bulging, kneaded, crooked, shambling,
squint-cornered, amorphous botch,--a mere enamelled vessel of
dishonour! Let the idle think of this.

Blessed is he who has found his work; let him ask no other
blessedness. He has a work, a life-purpose; he has found it, and will
follow it! How, as a free-flowing channel, dug and torn by noble
force through the sour mud-swamp of one's existence, like an
ever-deepening river there, it runs and flows;--draining-off the sour
festering water, gradually from the root of the remotest grass-blade;
making, instead of pestilential swamp, a green fruitful meadow with
its clear-flowing stream. How blessed for the meadow itself, let the
stream and _its_ value be great or small! Labour is Life: from the
inmost heart of the Worker rises his god-given Force, the sacred
celestial Life-essence breathed into him by Almighty God; from his
inmost heart awakens him to all nobleness,--to all knowledge,
'self-knowledge' and much else, so soon as Work fitly begins.
Knowledge? The knowledge that will hold good in working, cleave thou
to that; for Nature herself accredits that, says Yea to that. Properly
thou hast no other knowledge but what thou hast got by working: the
rest is yet all a hypothesis of knowledge; a thing to be argued of in
schools, a thing floating in the clouds, in endless logic-vortices,
till we try it and fix it. 'Doubt, of whatever kind, can be ended by
Action alone.'

       *       *       *       *       *

And again, hast thou valued Patience, Courage, Perseverance, Openness
to light; readiness to own thyself mistaken, to do better next time?
All these, all virtues, in wrestling with the dim brute Powers of
Fact, in ordering of thy fellows in such wrestle, there and elsewhere
not at all, thou wilt continually learn. Set down a brave Sir
Christopher in the middle of black ruined Stone-heaps, of foolish
unarchitectural Bishops, redtape Officials, idle Nell-Gwyn Defenders
of the Faith; and see whether he will ever raise a Paul's Cathedral
out of all that, yea or no! Rough, rude, contradictory are all things
and persons, from the mutinous masons and Irish hodmen, up to the idle
Nell-Gwyn Defenders, to blustering redtape Officials, foolish
unarchitectural Bishops. All these things and persons are there not
for Christopher's sake and his Cathedral's; they are there for their
own sake mainly! Christopher will have to conquer and constrain all
these,--if he be able. All these are against him. Equitable Nature
herself, who carries her mathematics and architectonics not on the
face of her, but deep in the hidden heart of her,--Nature herself is
but partially for him; will be wholly against him, if he constrain her
not! His very money, where is it to come from? The pious munificence
of England lies far-scattered, distant, unable to speak, and say, "I
am here;"--must be spoken to before it can speak. Pious munificence,
and all help, is so silent, invisible like the gods; impediment,
contradictions manifold are so loud and near! O brave Sir Christopher,
trust thou in those notwithstanding, and front all these; understand
all these; by valiant patience, noble effort, insight, by
man's-strength, vanquish and compel all these,--and, on the whole,
strike down victoriously the last topstone of that Paul's Edifice; thy
monument for certain centuries, the stamp 'Great Man' impressed very
legibly on Portland-stone there!--

Yes, all manner of help, and pious response from Men or Nature, is
always what we call silent; cannot speak or come to light, till it be
seen, till it be spoken to. Every noble work is at first 'impossible.'
In very truth, for every noble work the possibilities will lie
diffused through Immensity; inarticulate, undiscoverable except to
faith. Like Gideon thou shalt spread out thy fleece at the door of thy
tent; see whether under the wide arch of Heaven there be any bounteous
moisture, or none. Thy heart and life-purpose shall be as a miraculous
Gideon's fleece, spread out in silent appeal to Heaven; and from the
kind Immensities, what from the poor unkind Localities and town and
country Parishes there never could, blessed dew-moisture to suffice
thee shall have fallen!

Work is of a religious nature:--work is of a _brave_ nature; which it
is the aim of all religion to be. All work of man is as the swimmer's:
a waste ocean threatens to devour him; if he front it not bravely, it
will keep its word. By incessant wise defiance of it, lusty rebuke and
buffet of it, behold how it loyally supports him, bears him as its
conqueror along. 'It is so,' says Goethe, 'with all things that man
undertakes in this world.'

Brave Sea-captain, Norse Sea-king,--Columbus, my hero, royalest
Sea-king of all! it is no friendly environment this of thine, in the
waste deep waters; around thee mutinous discouraged souls, behind thee
disgrace and ruin, before thee the unpenetrated veil of Night.
Brother, these wild water-mountains, bounding from their deep bases
(ten miles deep, I am told), are not entirely there on thy behalf!
Meseems _they_ have other work than floating thee forward:--and the
huge Winds, that sweep from Ursa Major to the Tropics and Equators,
dancing their giant-waltz through the kingdoms of Chaos and Immensity,
they care little about filling rightly or filling wrongly the small
shoulder-of-mutton sails in this cockle-skiff of thine! Thou art not
among articulate-speaking friends, my brother; thou art among
immeasurable dumb monsters, tumbling, howling wide as the world here.
Secret, far off, invisible to all hearts but thine, there lies a help
in them: see how thou wilt get at that. Patiently thou wilt wait till
the mad South-wester spend itself, saving thyself by dextrous science
of defence, the while: valiantly, with swift decision, wilt thou
strike in, when the favouring East, the Possible, springs up. Mutiny
of men thou wilt sternly repress; weakness, despondency, thou wilt
cheerily encourage: thou wilt swallow down complaint, unreason,
weariness, weakness of others and thyself;--how much wilt thou swallow
down! There shall be a depth of Silence in thee, deeper than this Sea,
which is but ten miles deep: a Silence unsoundable; known to God only.
Thou shalt be a Great Man. Yes, my World-Soldier, thou of the World
Marine-service,--thou wilt have to be _greater_ than this tumultuous
unmeasured World here round thee is: thou, in thy strong soul, as with
wrestler's arms, shalt embrace it, harness it down; and make it bear
thee on,--to new Americas, or whither God wills!



CHAPTER XII.

REWARD.


'Religion,' I said; for, properly speaking, all true Work is Religion:
and whatsoever Religion is not Work may go and dwell among the
Brahmins, Antinomians, Spinning Dervishes, or where it will; with me
it shall have no harbour. Admirable was that of the old Monks,
'_Laborare est Orare_, Work is Worship.'

Older than all preached Gospels was this unpreached, inarticulate, but
ineradicable, forever-enduring Gospel: Work, and therein have
wellbeing. Man, Son of Earth and of Heaven, lies there not, in the
innermost heart of thee, a Spirit of active Method, a Force for
Work;--and burns like a painfully-smouldering fire, giving thee no
rest till thou unfold it, till thou write it down in beneficent Facts
around thee! What is immethodic, waste, thou shalt make methodic,
regulated, arable; obedient and productive to thee. Wheresoever thou
findest Disorder, there is thy eternal enemy; attack him swiftly,
subdue him; make Order of him, the subject not of Chaos, but of
Intelligence, Divinity and Thee! The thistle that grows in thy path,
dig it out, that a blade of useful grass, a drop of nourishing milk,
may grow there instead. The waste cotton-shrub, gather its waste white
down, spin it, weave it; that, in place of idle litter, there may be
folded webs, and the naked skin of man be covered.

But above all, where thou findest Ignorance, Stupidity,
Brute-mindedness,--yes, there, with or without Church-tithes and
Shovel-hat, with or without Talfourd-Mahon Copyrights, or were it with
mere dungeons and gibbets and crosses, attack it, I say; smite it
wisely, unweariedly, and rest not while thou livest and it lives; but
smite, smite, in the name of God! The Highest God, as I understand it,
does audibly so command thee; still audibly, if thou have ears to
hear. He, even He, with his _un_spoken voice, awfuler than any Sinai
thunders or syllabled speech of Whirlwinds; for the Silence of deep
Eternities, of Worlds from beyond the morning-stars, does it not speak
to thee? The unborn Ages; the old Graves, with their long-mouldering
dust, the very tears that wetted it now all dry,--do not these speak
to thee, what ear hath not heard? The deep Death-kingdoms, the Stars
in their never-resting courses, all Space and all Time, proclaim it to
thee in continual silent admonition. Thou too, if ever man should,
shalt work while it is called Today. For the Night cometh, wherein no
man can work.

All true Work is sacred; in all true Work, were it but true
hand-labour, there is something of divineness. Labour, wide as the
Earth, has its summit in Heaven. Sweat of the brow; and up from that
to sweat of the brain, sweat of the heart; which includes all Kepler
calculations, Newton meditations, all Sciences, all spoken Epics, all
acted Heroisms, Martyrdoms,--up to that 'Agony of bloody sweat,' which
all men have called divine! O brother, if this is not 'worship,' then
I say, the more pity for worship; for this is the noblest thing yet
discovered under God's sky. Who art thou that complainest of thy life
of toil? Complain not. Look up, my wearied brother; see thy fellow
Workmen there, in God's Eternity: surviving there, they alone
surviving: sacred Band of the Immortals, celestial Bodyguard of the
Empire of Mankind. Even in the weak Human Memory they survive so long,
as saints, as heroes, as gods; they alone surviving; peopling, they
alone, the unmeasured solitudes of Time! To thee Heaven, though
severe, is _not_ unkind; Heaven is kind,--as a noble Mother; as that
Spartan Mother, saying while she gave her son his shield, "With it, my
son, or upon it!" Thou too shalt return _home_ in honour; to thy
far-distant Home, in honour; doubt it not,--if in the battle thou keep
thy shield! Thou, in the Eternities and deepest Death-kingdoms, art
not an alien; thou everywhere art a denizen! Complain not; the very
Spartans did not _complain_.

And who art thou that braggest of thy life of Idleness; complacently
showest thy bright gilt equipages; sumptuous cushions; appliances for
folding of the hands to mere sleep? Looking up, looking down, around,
behind or before, discernest thou, if it be not in Mayfair alone, any
_idle_ hero, saint, god, or even devil? Not a vestige of one. In the
Heavens, in the Earth, in the Waters under the Earth, is none like
unto thee. Thou art an original figure in this Creation; a denizen in
Mayfair alone, in this extraordinary Century or Half-Century alone!
One monster there is in the world: the idle man. What is his
'Religion'? That Nature is a Phantasm, where cunning beggary or
thievery may sometimes find good victual. That God is a lie; and that
Man and his Life are a lie.--Alas, alas, who of us _is_ there that can
say, I have worked? The faithfulest of us are unprofitable servants;
the faithfulest of us know that best. The faithfulest of us may say,
with sad and true old Samuel, "Much of my life has been trifled away!"
But he that has, and except 'on public occasions' professes to have,
no function but that of going idle in a graceful or graceless manner;
and of begetting sons to go idle; and to address Chief Spinners and
Diggers, who at least _are_ spinning and digging, "Ye scandalous
persons who produce too much"--My Corn-Law friends, on what imaginary
still richer Eldorados, and true iron-spikes with law of gravitation,
are ye rushing!

       *       *       *       *       *

As to the Wages of Work there might innumerable things be said; there
will and must yet innumerable things be said and spoken, in St.
Stephen's and out of St. Stephen's; and gradually not a few things be
ascertained and written, on Law-parchment, concerning this very
matter:--'Fair day's-wages for a fair day's-work' is the most
unrefusable demand! Money-wages 'to the extent of keeping your worker
alive that he may work more;' these, unless you mean to dismiss him
straightway out of this world, are indispensable alike to the noblest
Worker and to the least noble!

One thing only I will say here, in special reference to the former
class, the noble and noblest; but throwing light on all the other
classes and their arrangements of this difficult matter: The 'wages'
of every noble Work do yet lie in Heaven or else Nowhere. Not in
Bank-of-England bills, in Owen's Labour-bank, or any the most improved
establishment of banking and money-changing, needest thou, heroic
soul, present thy account of earnings. Human banks and labour-banks
know thee not; or know thee after generations and centuries have
passed away, and thou art clean gone from 'rewarding,'--all manner of
bank-drafts, shop-tills, and Downing-street Exchequers lying very
invisible, so far from thee! Nay, at bottom, dost thou need any
reward? Was it thy aim and life-purpose to be filled with good things
for thy heroism; to have a life of pomp and ease, and be what men call
'happy,' in this world, or in any other world? I answer for thee
deliberately, No. The whole spiritual secret of the new epoch lies in
this, that thou canst answer for thyself, with thy whole clearness of
head and heart, deliberately, No!

My brother, the brave man has to give his Life away. Give it, I advise
thee;--thou dost not expect to _sell_ thy Life in an adequate manner?
What price, for example, would content thee? The just price of thy
Life to thee,--why, God's entire Creation to thyself, the whole
Universe of Space, the whole Eternity of Time, and what they hold:
that is the price which would content thee; that, and if thou wilt be
candid, nothing short of that! It is thy all; and for it thou wouldst
have all. Thou art an unreasonable mortal;--or rather thou art a poor
_infinite_ mortal, who, in thy narrow clay-prison here, _seemest_ so
unreasonable! Thou wilt never sell thy Life, or any part of thy Life,
in a satisfactory manner. Give it, like a royal heart; let the price
be Nothing: thou _hast_ then, in a certain sense, got All for it! The
heroic man,--and is not every man, God be thanked, a potential
hero?--has to do so, in all times and circumstances. In the most
heroic age, as in the most unheroic, he will have to say, as Burns
said proudly and humbly of his little Scottish Songs, little dewdrops
of Celestial Melody in an age when so much was unmelodious: "By
Heaven, they shall either be invaluable or of no value; I do not need
your guineas for them!" It is an element which should, and must, enter
deeply into all settlements of wages here below. They never will be
'satisfactory' otherwise; they cannot, O Mammon Gospel, they never
can! Money for my little piece of work 'to the extent that will allow
me to keep working;' yes, this,--unless you mean that I shall go my
ways _before_ the work is all taken out of me: but as to 'wages'--!--

On the whole, we do entirely agree with those old Monks, _Laborare
est Orare_. In a thousand senses, from one end of it to the other,
true Work _is_ Worship. He that works, whatsoever be his work, he
bodies forth the form of Things Unseen; a small Poet every Worker is.
The idea, were it but of his poor Delf Platter, how much more of his
Epic Poem, is as yet 'seen,' half-seen, only by himself; to all others
it is a thing unseen, impossible; to Nature herself it is a thing
unseen, a thing which never hitherto was;--very 'impossible,' for it
is as yet a No-thing! The Unseen Powers had need to watch over such a
man; he works in and for the Unseen. Alas, if he look to the Seen
Powers only, he may as well quit the business; his No-thing will never
rightly issue as a Thing, but as a Deceptivity, a Sham-thing,--which
it had better not do!

Thy No-thing of an Intended Poem, O Poet who hast looked merely to
reviewers, copyrights, booksellers, popularities, behold it has not
yet become a Thing; for the truth is not in it! Though printed,
hotpressed, reviewed, celebrated, sold to the twentieth edition: what
is all that? The Thing, in philosophical uncommercial language, is
still a No-thing, mostly semblance, and deception of the
sight;--benign Oblivion incessantly gnawing at it, impatient till
Chaos, to which it belongs, do reabsorb it!--

He who takes not counsel of the Unseen and Silent, from him will never
come real visibility and speech. Thou must descend to the _Mothers_,
to the _Manes_, and Hercules-like long suffer and labour there,
wouldst thou emerge with victory into the sunlight. As in battle and
the shock of war,--for is not this a battle?--thou too shalt fear no
pain or death, shalt love no ease or life; the voice of festive
Lubberlands, the noise of greedy Acheron shall alike lie silent under
thy victorious feet. Thy work, like Dante's, shall 'make thee lean for
many years.' The world and its wages, its criticisms, counsels,
helps, impediments, shall be as a waste ocean-flood; the chaos through
which thou art to swim and sail. Not the waste waves and their weedy
gulf-streams, shalt thou take for guidance: thy star alone,--'_Se tu
segui tua stella!_' Thy star alone, now clear-beaming over Chaos, nay
now by fits gone out, disastrously eclipsed: this only shalt thou
strive to follow. O, it is a business, as I fancy, that of weltering
your way through Chaos and the murk of Hell! Green-eyed dragons
watching you, three-headed Cerberuses,--not without sympathy of
_their_ sort! "_Eccovi l' uom ch' è stato all' Inferno._" For in fine,
as Poet Dryden says, you do walk hand in hand with sheer Madness, all
the way,--who is by no means pleasant company! You look fixedly into
Madness, and _her_ undiscovered, boundless, bottomless Night-empire;
that you may extort new Wisdom out of it, as an Eurydice from
Tartarus. The higher the Wisdom, the closer was its neighbourhood and
kindred with mere Insanity; literally so;--and thou wilt, with a
speechless feeling, observe how highest Wisdom, struggling up into
this world, has oftentimes carried such tinctures and adhesions of
Insanity still cleaving to it hither!

All Works, each in their degree, are a making of Madness sane;--truly
enough a religious operation; which cannot be carried on without
religion. You have not work otherwise; you have eye-service, greedy
grasping of wages, swift and ever swifter manufacture of semblances to
get hold of wages. Instead of better felt-hats to cover your head, you
have bigger lath-and-plaster hats set travelling the streets on
wheels. Instead of heavenly and earthly Guidance for the souls of men,
you have 'Black or White Surplice' Controversies, stuffed
hair-and-leather Popes;--terrestrial _Law-wards_, Lords and
Law-bringers, 'organising Labour' in these years, by passing
Corn-Laws. With all which, alas, this distracted Earth is now full,
nigh to bursting. Semblances most smooth to the touch and eye; most
accursed, nevertheless, to body and soul. Semblances, be they of
Sham-woven Cloth or of Dilettante Legislation, which are _not_ real
wool or substance, but Devil's-dust, accursed of God and man! No man
has worked, or can work, except religiously; not even the poor
day-labourer, the weaver of your coat, the sewer of your shoes. All
men, if they work not as in a Great Taskmaster's eye, will work wrong,
work unhappily for themselves and you.

       *       *       *       *       *

Industrial work, still under bondage to Mammon, the rational soul of
it not yet awakened, is a tragic spectacle. Men in the rapidest motion
and self-motion; restless, with convulsive energy, as if driven by
Galvanism, as if possessed by a Devil; tearing asunder mountains,--to
no purpose, for Mammonism is always Midas-eared! This is sad, on the
face of it. Yet courage: the beneficent Destinies, kind in their
sternness, are apprising us that this cannot continue. Labour is not a
devil, even while encased in Mammonism; Labour is ever an imprisoned
god, writhing unconsciously or consciously to escape out of Mammonism!
Plugson of Undershot, like Taillefer of Normandy, wants victory; how
much happier will even Plugson be to have a Chivalrous victory than a
Chactaw one! The unredeemed ugliness is that of a slothful People.
Show me a People energetically busy; heaving, struggling, all
shoulders at the wheel; their heart pulsing, every muscle swelling,
with man's energy and will;--I show you a People of whom great good is
already predicable; to whom all manner of good is yet certain, if
their energy endure. By very working, they will learn; they have,
Antæus-like, their foot on Mother Fact: how can they but learn?

The vulgarest Plugson of a Master-Worker, who can command Workers,
and get work out of them, is already a considerable man. Blessed and
thrice-blessed symptoms I discern of Master-Workers who are not vulgar
men; who are Nobles, and begin to feel that they must act as such: all
speed to these, they are England's hope at present! But in this
Plugson himself, conscious of almost no nobleness whatever, how much
is there! Not without man's faculty, insight, courage, hard energy, is
this rugged figure. His words none of the wisest; but his actings
cannot be altogether foolish. Think, how were it, stoodst thou
suddenly in his shoes! He has to command a thousand men. And not
imaginary commanding; no, it is real, incessantly practical. The evil
passions of so many men (with the Devil in them, as in all of us) he
has to vanquish; by manifold force of speech and of silence, to
repress or evade. What a force of silence, to say nothing of the
others, is in Plugson! For these his thousand men he has to provide
raw-material, machinery, arrangement, houseroom; and ever at the
week's end, wages by due sale. No Civil-List, or Goulburn-Baring
Budget has he to fall back upon, for paying of his regiment; he has to
pick his supplies from the confused face of the whole Earth and
Contemporaneous History, by his dexterity alone. There will be dry
eyes if he fail to do it!--He exclaims, at present, 'black in the
face,' near strangled with Dilettante Legislation: "Let me have
elbow-room, throat-room, and I will not fail! No, I will spin yet, and
conquer like a giant: what 'sinews of war' lie in me, untold resources
towards the Conquest of this Planet, if instead of hanging me, you
husband them, and help me!"--My indomitable friend, it is _true_; and
thou shalt and must be helped.

This is not a man I would kill and strangle by Corn-Laws, even if I
could! No, I would fling my Corn-Laws and Shotbelts to the Devil; and
try to help this man. I would teach him, by noble precept and
law-precept, by noble example most of all, that Mammonism was not the
essence of his or of my station in God's Universe; but the
adscititious excrescence of it; the gross, terrene, godless embodiment
of it; which would have to become, more or less, a godlike one. By
noble _real_ legislation, by true _noble's_-work, by unwearied,
valiant, and were it wageless effort, in my Parliament and in my
Parish, I would aid, constrain, encourage him to effect more or less
this blessed change. I should know that it would have to be effected;
that unless it were in some measure effected, he and I and all of us,
I first and soonest of all, were doomed to perdition!--Effected it
will be; unless it were a Demon that made this Universe; which I, for
my own part, do at no moment, under no form, in the least believe.

May it please your Serene Highnesses, your Majesties, Lordships and
Law-wardships, the proper Epic of this world is not now 'Arms and the
Man;' how much less, 'Shirt-frills and the Man:' no, it is now 'Tools
and the Man:' that, henceforth to all time, is now our Epic;--and you,
first of all others, I think, were wise to take note of that!



CHAPTER XIII.

DEMOCRACY.


If the Serene Highnesses and Majesties do not take note of that, then,
as I perceive, _that_ will take note of itself! The time for levity,
insincerity, and idle babble and play-acting, in all kinds, is gone
by; it is a serious, grave time. Old long-vexed questions, not yet
solved in logical words or parliamentary laws, are fast solving
themselves in facts, somewhat unblessed to behold! This largest of
questions, this question of Work and Wages, which ought, had we heeded
Heaven's voice, to have begun two generations ago or more, cannot be
delayed longer without hearing Earth's voice. 'Labour' will verily
need to be somewhat 'organised,' as they say,--God knows with what
difficulty. Man will actually need to have his debts and earnings a
little better paid by man; which, let Parliaments speak of them or be
silent of them, are eternally his due from man, and cannot, without
penalty and at length not without death-penalty, be withheld. How much
ought to cease among us straightway; how much ought to begin
straightway, while the hours yet are!

Truly they are strange results to which this of leaving all to 'Cash;'
of quietly shutting-up the God's Temple, and gradually opening
wide-open the Mammon's Temple, with 'Laissez-faire, and Every man for
himself,'--have led us in these days! We have Upper, speaking Classes,
who indeed do 'speak' as never man spake before; the withered
flimsiness, the godless baseness and barrenness of whose Speech might
of itself indicate what kind of Doing and practical Governing went on
under it! For Speech is the gaseous element out of which most kinds of
Practice and Performance, especially all kinds of moral Performance,
condense themselves, and take shape; as the one is, so will the other
be. Descending, accordingly, into the Dumb Class in its Stockport
Cellars and Poor-Law Bastilles, have we not to announce that they also
are hitherto unexampled in the History of Adam's Posterity?

Life was never a May-game for men: in all times the lot of the dumb
millions born to toil was defaced with manifold sufferings,
injustices, heavy burdens, avoidable and unavoidable; not play at all,
but hard work that made the sinews sore and the heart sore. As
bond-slaves, _villani_, _bordarii_, _sochemanni_, nay indeed as dukes,
earls and kings, men were oftentimes made weary of their life; and had
to say, in the sweat of their brow and of their soul, Behold, it is
not sport, it is grim earnest, and our back can bear no more! Who
knows not what massacrings and harryings there have been; grinding,
long-continuing, unbearable injustices,--till the heart had to rise in
madness, and some "_Eu Sachsen, nimith euer sachses_, You Saxons, out
with your gully-knives, then!" You Saxons, some 'arrestment,' partial
'arrestment of the Knaves and Dastards' has become indispensable!--The
page of Dryasdust is heavy with such details.

And yet I will venture to believe that in no time, since the
beginnings of Society, was the lot of those same dumb millions of
toilers so entirely unbearable as it is even in the days now passing
over us. It is not to die, or even to die of hunger, that makes a man
wretched; many men have died; all men must die,--the last exit of us
all is in a Fire-Chariot of Pain. But it is to live miserable we know
not why: to work sore and yet gain nothing; to be heart-worn, weary,
yet isolated, unrelated, girt-in with a cold-universal Laissez-faire:
it is to die slowly all our life long, imprisoned in a deaf, dead,
Infinite Injustice, as in the accursed iron belly of a Phalaris' Bull!
This is and remains forever intolerable to all men whom God has made.
Do we wonder at French Revolutions, Chartisms, Revolts of Three Days?
The times, if we will consider them, are really unexampled.

Never before did I hear of an Irish Widow reduced to 'prove her
sisterhood by dying of typhus-fever and infecting seventeen
persons,'--saying in such undeniable way, "You _see_ I was your
sister!" Sisterhood, brotherhood, was often forgotten; but not till
the rise of these ultimate Mammon and Shotbelt Gospels did I ever see
it so expressly denied. If no pious Lord or _Law-ward_ would remember
it, always some pious Lady ('_Hlaf-dig_,' Benefactress,
'_Loaf-giveress_,' they say she is,--blessings on her beautiful
heart!) was there, with mild mother-voice and hand, to remember it;
some pious thoughtful _Elder_, what we now call 'Prester,' _Presbyter_
or 'Priest,' was there to put all men in mind of it, in the name of
the God who had made all.

Not even in Black Dahomey was it ever, I think, forgotten to the
typhus-fever length. Mungo Park, resourceless, had sunk down to die
under the Negro Village-Tree, a horrible White object in the eyes of
all. But in the poor Black Woman, and her daughter who stood aghast at
him, whose earthly wealth and funded capital consisted of one small
calabash of rice, there lived a heart richer than _Laissez-faire_:
they, with a royal munificence, boiled their rice for him; they sang
all night to him, spinning assiduous on their cotton distaffs, as he
lay to sleep: "Let us pity the poor white man; no mother has he to
fetch him milk, no sister to grind him corn!" Thou poor black Noble
One,--thou _Lady_ too: did not a God make thee too; was there not in
thee too something of a God!--

       *       *       *       *       *

Gurth, born thrall of Cedric the Saxon, has been greatly pitied by
Dryasdust and others. Gurth, with the brass collar round his neck,
tending Cedric's pigs in the glades of the wood, is not what I call an
exemplar of human felicity: but Gurth, with the sky above him, with
the free air and tinted boscage and umbrage round him, and in him at
least the certainty of supper and social lodging when he came home;
Gurth to me seems happy, in comparison with many a Lancashire and
Buckinghamshire man of these days, not born thrall of anybody! Gurth's
brass collar did not gall him: Cedric _deserved_ to be his master. The
pigs were Cedric's, but Gurth too would get his parings of them. Gurth
had the inexpressible satisfaction of feeling himself related
indissolubly, though in a rude brass-collar way, to his fellow-mortals
in this Earth. He had superiors, inferiors, equals.--Gurth is now
'emancipated' long since; has what we call 'Liberty.' Liberty, I am
told, is a divine thing. Liberty when it becomes the 'Liberty to die
by starvation' is not so divine!

Liberty? The true liberty of a man, you would say, consisted in his
finding out, or being forced to find out the right path, and to walk
thereon. To learn, or to be taught, what work he actually was able
for; and then by permission, persuasion, and even compulsion, to set
about doing of the same! That is his true blessedness, honour,
'liberty' and maximum of wellbeing: if liberty be not that, I for one
have small care about liberty. You do not allow a palpable madman to
leap over precipices; you violate his liberty, you that are wise; and
keep him, were it in strait-waistcoats, away from the precipices!
Every stupid, every cowardly and foolish man is but a less palpable
madman: his true liberty were that a wiser man, that any and every
wiser man, could, by brass collars, or in whatever milder or sharper
way, lay hold of him when he was going wrong, and order and compel him
to go a little righter. O, if thou really art my _Senior_, Seigneur,
my _Elder_, Presbyter or Priest,--if thou art in very deed my _Wiser_,
may a beneficent instinct lead and impel thee to 'conquer' me, to
command me! If thou do know better than I what is good and right, I
conjure thee in the name of God, force me to do it; were it by never
such brass collars, whips and handcuffs, leave me not to walk over
precipices! That I have been called, by all the Newspapers, a 'free
man' will avail me little, if my pilgrimage have ended in death and
wreck. O that the Newspapers had called me slave, coward, fool, or
what it pleased their sweet voices to name me, and I had attained not
death, but life!--Liberty requires new definitions.

A conscious abhorrence and intolerance of Folly, of Baseness,
Stupidity, Poltroonery and all that brood of things, dwells deep in
some men: still deeper in others an _un_conscious abhorrence and
intolerance, clothed moreover by the beneficent Supreme Powers in what
stout appetites, energies, egoisms so-called, are suitable to
it;--these latter are your Conquerors, Romans, Normans, Russians,
Indo-English; Founders of what we call Aristocracies. Which indeed
have they not the most 'divine right' to found;--being themselves very
truly [Greek: Aristoi], Bravest, Best; and conquering generally a
confused rabble of Worst, or at lowest, clearly enough, of Worse? I
think their divine right, tried, with affirmatory verdict, in the
greatest Law-Court known to me, was good! A class of men who are
dreadfully exclaimed against by Dryasdust; of whom nevertheless
beneficent Nature has oftentimes had need; and may, alas, again have
need.

When, across the hundredfold poor scepticisms, trivialisms, and
constitutional cobwebberies of Dryasdust, you catch any glimpse of a
William the Conqueror, a Tancred of Hauteville or suchlike,--do you
not discern veritably some rude outline of a true God-made King; whom
not the Champion of England cased in tin, but all Nature and the
Universe were calling to the throne? It is absolutely necessary that
he get thither. Nature does not mean her poor Saxon children to
perish, of obesity, stupor or other malady, as yet: a stern Ruler and
Line of Rulers therefore is called in,--a stern but most beneficent
_perpetual House-Surgeon_ is by Nature herself called in, and even the
appropriate _fees_ are provided for him! Dryasdust talks lamentably
about Hereward and the Fen Counties; fate of Earl Waltheof; Yorkshire
and the North reduced to ashes: all which is undoubtedly lamentable.
But even Dryasdust apprises me of one fact: 'A child, in this
William's reign, might have carried a purse of gold from end to end of
England.' My erudite friend, it is a fact which outweighs a thousand!
Sweep away thy constitutional, sentimental and other cobwebberies;
look eye to eye, if thou still have any eye, in the face of this big
burly William Bastard: thou wilt see a fellow of most flashing
discernment, of most strong lion-heart;--in whom, as it were, within a
frame of oak and iron, the gods have planted the soul of 'a man of
genius'! Dost thou call that nothing? I call it an immense
thing!--Rage enough was in this Willelmus Conquæstor, rage enough for
his occasions;--and yet the essential element of him, as of all such
men, is not scorching _fire_, but shining illuminative _light_. Fire
and light are strangely interchangeable; nay, at bottom, I have found
them different forms of the same most godlike 'elementary substance'
in our world: a thing worth stating in these days. The essential
element of this Conquæstor is, first of all, the most sun-eyed
perception of what _is_ really what on this God's-Earth;--which, thou
wilt find, does mean at bottom 'Justice,' and 'Virtues' not a few:
_Conformity_ to what the Maker has seen good to make; that, I suppose,
will mean Justice and a Virtue or two?--

Dost thou think Willelmus Conquæstor would have tolerated ten
years' jargon, one hour's jargon, on the propriety of killing
Cotton-manufactures by partridge Corn-Laws? I fancy, this was not the
man to knock out of his night's-rest with nothing but a noisy
bedlamism in your mouth! "Assist us still better to bush the
partridges; strangle Plugson who spins the shirts?"--"_Par la
Splendeur de Dieu!_"----Dost thou think Willelmus Conquæstor, in this
new time, with Steamengine Captains of Industry on one hand of him,
and Joe-Manton Captains of Idleness on the other, would have doubted
which _was_ really the Best; which did deserve strangling, and which
not?

I have a certain indestructible regard for Willelmus Conquæstor. A
resident House-Surgeon, provided by Nature for her beloved English
People, and even furnished with the requisite fees, as I said; for he
by no means felt himself doing Nature's work, this Willelmus, but his
own work exclusively! And his own work withal it was; informed '_par
la Splendeur de Dieu_.'--I say, it is necessary to get the work out of
such a man, however harsh that be! When a world, not yet doomed for
death, is rushing down to ever-deeper Baseness and Confusion, it is a
dire necessity of Nature's to bring in her Aristocracies, her Best,
even by forcible methods. When their descendants or representatives
cease entirely to _be_ the Best, Nature's poor world will very soon
rush down again to Baseness; and it becomes a dire necessity of
Nature's to cast them out. Hence French Revolutions, Five-point
Charters, Democracies, and a mournful list of _Etceteras_, in these
our afflicted times.

To what extent Democracy has now reached, how it advances irresistible
with ominous, ever-increasing speed, he that will open his eyes on any
province of human affairs may discern. Democracy is everywhere the
inexorable demand of these ages, swiftly fulfilling itself. From the
thunder of Napoleon battles, to the jabbering of Open-vestry in St.
Mary Axe, all things announce Democracy. A distinguished man, whom
some of my readers will hear again with pleasure, thus writes to me
what in these days he notes from the Wahngasse of Weissnichtwo, where
our London fashions seem to be in full vogue. Let us hear the Herr
Teufelsdröckh again, were it but the smallest word!

'Democracy, which means despair of finding any Heroes to govern you,
and contented putting-up with the want of them,--alas, thou too, _mein
Lieber_, seest well how close it is of kin to _Atheism_, and other sad
_Isms_: he who discovers no God whatever, how shall he discover
Heroes, the visible Temples of God?--Strange enough meanwhile
it is, to observe with what thoughtlessness, here in our rigidly
Conservative Country, men rush into Democracy with full cry. Beyond
doubt, his Excellenz the Titular-Herr Ritter Kauderwälsch von
Pferdefuss-Quacksalber, he our distinguished Conservative Premier
himself, and all but the thicker-headed of his Party, discern
Democracy to be inevitable as death, and are even desperate of
delaying it much!

'You cannot walk the streets without beholding Democracy announce
itself: the very Tailor has become, if not properly Sansculottic,
which to him would be ruinous, yet a Tailor unconsciously symbolising,
and prophesying with his scissors, the reign of Equality. What now is
our fashionable coat? A thing of superfinest texture, of deeply
meditated cut; with Malines-lace cuffs; quilted with gold; so that a
man can carry, without difficulty, an estate of land on his back?
_Keineswegs_, By no manner of means! The Sumptuary Laws have fallen
into such a state of desuetude as was never before seen. Our
fashionable coat is an amphibium between barn-sack and drayman's
doublet. The cloth of it is studiously coarse; the colour a speckled
soot-black or rust-brown gray; the nearest approach to a Peasant's.
And for shape,--thou shouldst see it! The last consummation of the
year now passing over us is definable as Three Bags; a big bag for the
body, two small bags for the arms, and by way of collar a hem! The
first Antique Cheruscan who, of felt-cloth or bear's-hide, with bone
or metal needle, set about making himself a coat, before Tailors had
yet awakened out of Nothing,--did not he make it even so? A loose wide
poke for body, with two holes to let out the arms; this was his
original coat: to which holes it was soon visible that two small loose
pokes, or sleeves, easily appended, would be an improvement.

'Thus has the Tailor-art, so to speak, overset itself, like most other
things; changed its centre-of-gravity; whirled suddenly over from
zenith to nadir. Your Stulz, with huge somerset, vaults from his high
shopboard down to the depths of primal savagery,--carrying much along
with him! For I will invite thee to reflect that the Tailor, as
topmost ultimate froth of Human Society, is indeed swift-passing,
evanescent, slippery to decipher; yet significant of much, nay of all.
Topmost evanescent froth, he is churned-up from the very lees, and
from all intermediate regions of the liquor. The general outcome he,
visible to the eye, of what men aimed to do, and were obliged and
enabled to do, in this one public department of symbolising themselves
to each other by covering of their skins. A smack of all Human Life
lies in the Tailor: its wild struggles towards beauty, dignity,
freedom, victory; and how, hemmed-in by Sedan and Huddersfield, by
Nescience, Dulness, Prurience, and other sad necessities and laws of
Nature, it has attained just to this: Gray savagery of Three Sacks
with a hem!

'When the very Tailor verges towards Sansculottism, is it not ominous?
The last Divinity of poor mankind dethroning himself; sinking _his_
taper too, flame downmost, like the Genius of Sleep or of Death;
admonitory that Tailor time shall be no more!--For, little as one
could advise Sumptuary Laws at the present epoch, yet nothing is
clearer than that where ranks do actually exist, strict division of
costumes will also be enforced; that if we ever have a new Hierarchy
and Aristocracy, acknowledged veritably as such, for which I daily
pray Heaven, the Tailor will reawaken; and be, by volunteering and
appointment, consciously and unconsciously, a safeguard of that
same.'--Certain farther observations, from the same invaluable pen, on
our never-ending changes of mode, our 'perpetual nomadic and even
ape-like appetite for change and mere change' in all the equipments of
our existence, and the 'fatal revolutionary character' thereby
manifested, we suppress for the present. It may be admitted that
Democracy, in all meanings of the word, is in full career;
irresistible by any Ritter Kauderwälsch or other Son of Adam, as times
go. 'Liberty' is a thing men are determined to have.

       *       *       *       *       *

But truly, as I had to remark in the mean while, 'the liberty of not
being oppressed by your fellow man' is an indispensable, yet one of
the most insignificant fractional parts of Human Liberty. No man
oppresses thee, can bid thee fetch or carry, come or go, without
reason shown. True; from all men thou art emancipated: but from
Thyself and from the Devil--? No man, wiser, unwiser, can make thee
come or go: but thy own futilities, bewilderments, thy false appetites
for Money, Windsor Georges and suchlike? No man oppresses thee, O free
and independent Franchiser: but does not this stupid Porter-pot
oppress thee? No Son of Adam can bid thee come or go; but this absurd
Pot of Heavy-wet, this can and does! Thou art the thrall not of Cedric
the Saxon, but of thy own brutal appetites and this scoured dish of
liquor. And thou pratest of thy 'liberty'? Thou entire blockhead!

Heavy-wet and gin: alas, these are not the only kinds of thraldom.
Thou who walkest in a vain show, looking out with ornamental
dilettante sniff and serene supremacy at all Life and all Death; and
amblest jauntily; perking up thy poor talk into crotchets, thy poor
conduct into fatuous somnambulisms;--and _art_ as an 'enchanted Ape'
under God's sky, where thou mightest have been a man, had proper
Schoolmasters and Conquerors, and Constables with cat-o'-nine tails,
been vouchsafed thee; dost thou call that 'liberty'? Or your
unreposing Mammon-worshipper again, driven, as if by Galvanisms, by
Devils and Fixed-Ideas, who rises early and sits late, chasing the
impossible; straining every faculty to 'fill himself with the east
wind,'--how merciful were it, could you, by mild persuasion, or by the
severest tyranny so-called, check him in his mad path, and turn him
into a wiser one! All painful tyranny, in that case again, were but
mild 'surgery;' the pain of it cheap, as health and life, instead of
galvanism and fixed-idea, are cheap at any price.

Sure enough, of all paths a man could strike into, there _is_, at any
given moment, a _best path_ for every man; a thing which, here and
now, it were of all things _wisest_ for him to do;--which could he be
but led or driven to do, he were then doing 'like a man,' as we phrase
it; all men and gods agreeing with him, the whole Universe virtually
exclaiming Well-done to him! His success, in such case, were complete;
his felicity a maximum. This path, to find this path and walk in it,
is the one thing needful for him. Whatsoever forwards him in that, let
it come to him even in the shape of blows and spurnings, is liberty:
whatsoever hinders him, were it wardmotes, open-vestries, pollbooths,
tremendous cheers, rivers of heavy-wet, is slavery.

The notion that a man's liberty consists in giving his vote at
election-hustings, and saying, "Behold, now I too have my
twenty-thousandth part of a Talker in our National Palaver; will not
all the gods be good to me?"--is one of the pleasantest! Nature
nevertheless is kind at present; and puts it into the heads of many,
almost of all. The liberty especially which has to purchase itself by
social isolation, and each man standing separate from the other,
having 'no business with him' but a cash-account: this is such a
liberty as the Earth seldom saw;--as the Earth will not long put up
with, recommend it how you may. This liberty turns out, before it have
long continued in action, with all men flinging up their caps round
it, to be, for the Working Millions a liberty to die by want of food;
for the Idle Thousands and Units, alas, a still more fatal liberty to
live in want of work; to have no earnest duty to do in this
God's-World any more. What becomes of a man in such predicament?
Earth's Laws are silent; and Heaven's speak in a voice which is not
heard. No work, and the ineradicable need of work, give rise to new
very wondrous life-philosophies, new very wondrous life-practices!
Dilettantism, Pococurantism, Beau-Brummelism, with perhaps an
occasional, half-mad, protesting burst of Byronism, establish
themselves: at the end of a certain period,--if you go back to 'the
Dead Sea,' there is, say our Moslem friends, a very strange
'Sabbath-day' transacting itself there!--Brethren, we know but
imperfectly yet, after ages of Constitutional Government, what Liberty
and Slavery are.

Democracy, the chase of Liberty in that direction, shall go its full
course; unrestrainable by him of Pferdefuss-Quacksalber, or any of
_his_ household. The Toiling Millions of Mankind, in most vital need
and passionate instinctive desire of Guidance, shall cast away
False-Guidance; and hope, for an hour, that No-Guidance will suffice
them: but it can be for an hour only. The smallest item of human
Slavery is the oppression of man by his Mock-Superiors; the
palpablest, but I say at bottom the smallest. Let him shake-off such
oppression, trample it indignantly under his feet; I blame him not, I
pity and commend him. But oppression by your Mock-Superiors well
shaken off, the grand problem yet remains to solve: That of finding
government by your Real-Superiors! Alas, how shall we ever learn the
solution of that, benighted, bewildered, sniffing, sneering,
godforgetting unfortunates as we are? It is a work for centuries; to
be taught us by tribulations, confusions, insurrections, obstructions;
who knows if not by conflagration and despair! It is a lesson
inclusive of all other lessons; the hardest of all lessons to learn.

One thing I do know: Those Apes, chattering on the branches by the
Dead Sea, never got it learned; but chatter there to this day. To them
no Moses need come a second time; a thousand Moseses would be but so
many painted Phantasms, interesting Fellow-Apes of new strange
aspect,--whom they would 'invite to dinner,' be glad to meet with in
lion-soirées. To them the voice of Prophecy, of heavenly monition, is
quite ended. They chatter there, all Heaven shut to them, to the end
of the world. The unfortunates! Oh, what is dying of hunger, with
honest tools in your hand, with a manful purpose in your heart, and
much real labour lying round you done, in comparison? You honestly
quit your tools; quit a most muddy confused coil of sore work, short
rations, of sorrows, dispiritments and contradictions, having now
honestly done with it all;--and await, not entirely in a distracted
manner, what the Supreme Powers, and the Silences and the Eternities
may have to say to you.

A second thing I know: This lesson will have to be learned,--under
penalties! England will either learn it, or England also will cease to
exist among Nations. England will either learn to reverence its
Heroes, and discriminate them from its Sham-Heroes and Valets and
gaslighted Histrios; and to prize them as the audible God's-voice,
amid all inane jargons and temporary market-cries, and say to them
with heart-loyalty, "Be ye King and Priest, and Gospel and Guidance
for us:" or else England will continue to worship new and ever-new
forms of Quackhood,--and so, with what resiliences and reboundings
matters little, go down to the Father of Quacks! Can I dread such
things of England? Wretched, thick-eyed, gross-hearted mortals, why
will ye worship lies, and 'Stuffed Clothes-suits created by the
ninth-parts of men'! It is not your purses that suffer; your
farm-rents, your commerces, your mill-revenues, loud as ye lament over
these; no, it is not these alone, but a far deeper than these: it is
your souls that lie dead, crushed down under despicable Nightmares,
Atheisms, Brain-fumes; and are not souls at all, but mere succedanea
for _salt_ to keep your bodies and their appetites from putrefying!
Your cotton-spinning and thrice-miraculous mechanism, what is this
too, by itself, but a larger kind of Animalism? Spiders can spin,
Beavers can build and show contrivance; the Ant lays-up accumulation
of capital, and has, for aught I know, a Bank of Antland. If there is
no soul in man higher than all that, did it reach to sailing on the
cloud-rack and spinning sea-sand; then I say, man is but an animal, a
more cunning kind of brute: he has no soul, but only a succedaneum for
salt. Whereupon, seeing himself to be truly of the beasts that perish,
he ought to admit it, I think;--and also straightway universally to
kill himself; and so, in a manlike manner at least _end_, and wave
these brute-worlds _his_ dignified farewell!--



CHAPTER XIV.

SIR JABESH WINDBAG.


Oliver Cromwell, whose body they hung on their Tyburn gallows because
he had found the Christian Religion inexecutable in this country,
remains to me by far the remarkablest Governor we have had here for
the last five centuries or so. For the last five centuries, there has
been no Governor among us with anything like similar talent; and for
the last two centuries, no Governor, we may say, with the possibility
of similar talent,--with an idea in the heart of him capable of
inspiring similar talent, capable of co-existing therewith. When you
consider that Oliver believed in a God, the difference between
Oliver's position and that of any subsequent Governor of this Country
becomes, the more you reflect on it, the more immeasurable!

Oliver, no volunteer in Public Life, but plainly a balloted soldier
strictly ordered thither, enters upon Public Life; comports himself
there like a man who carried his own life in his hand; like a man
whose Great Commander's eye was always on him. Not without results.
Oliver, well-advanced in years, finds now, by Destiny and his own
Deservings, or as he himself better phrased it, by wondrous successive
'Births of Providence,' the Government of England put into his hands.
In senate-house and battle-field, in counsel and in action, in private
and in public, this man has proved himself a man: England and the
voice of God, through waste awful whirlwinds and environments,
speaking to his great heart, summon him to assert formally, in the way
of solemn Public Fact and as a new piece of English Law, what
informally and by Nature's eternal Law needed no asserting, That he,
Oliver, was the Ablest Man of England, the King of England; that he,
Oliver, would undertake governing England. His way of making this same
'assertion,' the one way he had of making it, has given rise to
immense criticism: but the assertion itself, in what way soever
'made,' is it not somewhat of a solemn one, somewhat of a tremendous
one!

And now do but contrast this Oliver with my right honourable friend
Sir Jabesh Windbag, Mr. Facing-both-ways, Viscount Mealymouth,
Earl of Windlestraw, or what other Cagliostro, Cagliostrino,
Cagliostraccio, the course of Fortune and Parliamentary Majorities has
constitutionally guided to that dignity, any time during these last
sorrowful hundred-and-fifty years! Windbag, weak in the faith of a
God, which he believes only at Church on Sundays, if even then; strong
only in the faith that Paragraphs and Plausibilities bring votes; that
Force of Public Opinion, as he calls it, is the primal Necessity of
Things, and highest God we have:--Windbag, if we will consider him,
has a problem set before him which may be ranged in the impossible
class. He is a Columbus minded to sail to the indistinct country of
Nowhere, to the indistinct country of Whitherward, by the _friendship_
of those same waste-tumbling Water-Alps and howling waltz of All the
Winds; not by conquest of them and in spite of them, but by friendship
of them, when once _they_ have made-up their mind! He is the most
original Columbus I ever saw. Nay, his problem is not an impossible
one: he will infallibly _arrive_ at that same country of Nowhere; his
indistinct Whitherward will be a _Thither_ward! In the Ocean Abysses
and Locker of Davy Jones, there certainly enough do he and _his_
ship's company, and all their cargo and navigatings, at last find
lodgment.

Oliver knew that his America lay There, Westward Ho;--and it was not
entirely by _friendship_ of the Water-Alps, and yeasty insane
Froth-Oceans, that he meant to get thither! He sailed accordingly; had
compass-card, and Rules of Navigation,--older and greater than these
Froth-Oceans, old as the Eternal God! Or again, do but think of this.
Windbag in these his probable five years of office has to prosper and
get Paragraphs: the Paragraphs of these five years must be his
salvation, or he is a lost man; redemption nowhere in the Worlds or in
the Times discoverable for him. Oliver too would like his Paragraphs;
successes, popularities in these five years are not undesirable to
him: but mark, I say, this enormous circumstance: _after_ these five
years are gone and done, comes an Eternity for Oliver! Oliver has to
appear before the Most High Judge: the utmost flow of Paragraphs, the
utmost ebb of them, is now, in strictest arithmetic, verily no matter
at all; its exact value _zero_; an account altogether erased!
Enormous;--which a man, in these days, hardly fancies with an effort!
Oliver's Paragraphs are all done, his battles, division-lists,
successes all summed: and now in that awful unerring Court of Review,
the real question first rises, Whether he has succeeded at all;
whether he has not been defeated miserably forevermore? Let him come
with world-wide _Io-Pæans_, these avail him not. Let him come covered
over with the world's execrations, gashed with ignominious
death-wounds, the gallows-rope about his neck: what avails that? The
word is, Come thou brave and faithful; the word is, Depart thou quack
and accursed!

O Windbag, my right honourable friend, in very truth I pity thee. I
say, these Paragraphs, and low or loud votings of thy poor
fellow-blockheads of mankind, will never guide thee in any enterprise
at all. Govern a country on such guidance? Thou canst not make a pair
of shoes, sell a pennyworth of tape, on such. No, thy shoes are vamped
up falsely to meet the market; behold, the leather only _seemed_ to be
tanned; thy shoes melt under me to rubbishy pulp, and are not
veritable mud-defying shoes, but plausible vendible similitudes of
shoes,--thou unfortunate, and I! O my right honourable friend, when
the Paragraphs flowed in, who was like Sir Jabesh? On the swelling
tide he mounted; higher, higher, triumphant, heaven-high. But the
Paragraphs again ebbed out, as unwise Paragraphs needs must: Sir
Jabesh lies stranded, sunk and forever sinking in ignominious ooze;
the Mud-nymphs, and ever-deepening bottomless Oblivion, his portion to
eternal time. 'Posterity?' Thou appealest to Posterity, thou? My right
honourable friend, what will Posterity do for thee! The voting of
Posterity, were it continued through centuries in thy favour, will be
quite inaudible, extra-forensic, without any effect whatever.
Posterity can do simply nothing for a man; nor even seem to do much if
the man be not brainsick. Besides, to tell the truth, the bets are a
thousand to one, Posterity will not hear of thee, my right honourable
friend! Posterity, I have found, has generally his own Windbags
sufficiently trumpeted in all market-places, and no leisure to attend
to ours. Posterity, which has made of Norse Odin a similitude, and of
Norman William a brute monster, what will or can it make of English
Jabesh? O Heavens, 'Posterity!'--

"These poor persecuted Scotch Covenanters," said I to my inquiring
Frenchman, in such stinted French as stood at command, "_ils s'en
appelaient à_"--"_A la Postérité_," interrupted he, helping me
out.--"_Ah, Monsieur, non, mille fois non!_ They appealed to the
Eternal God; not to Posterity at all! _C'était différent._"



CHAPTER XV.

MORRISON AGAIN.


Nevertheless, O Advanced-Liberal, one cannot promise thee any 'New
Religion,' for some time; to say truth, I do not think we have the
smallest chance of any! Will the candid reader, by way of closing this
Book Third, listen to a few transient remarks on that subject?

Candid readers have not lately met with any man who had less notion to
interfere with their Thirty-Nine or other Church-Articles; wherewith,
very helplessly as is like, they may have struggled to form for
themselves some not inconceivable hypothesis about this Universe, and
their own Existence there. Superstition, my friend, is far from me;
Fanaticism, for any _Fanum_ likely to arise soon on this Earth, is
far. A man's Church-Articles are surely articles of price to him; and
in these times one has to be tolerant of many strange 'Articles,' and
of many still stranger 'No-articles,' which go about placarding
themselves in a very distracted manner,--the numerous long
placard-poles, and questionable infirm paste-pots, interfering with
one's peaceable thoroughfare sometimes!

Fancy a man, moreover, recommending his fellow men to believe in God,
that so Chartism might abate, and the Manchester Operatives be got to
spin peaceably! The idea is more distracted than any placard-pole seen
hitherto in a public thoroughfare of men! My friend, if thou ever do
come to believe in God, thou wilt find all Chartism, Manchester riot,
Parliamentary incompetence, Ministries of Windbag, and the wildest
Social Dissolutions, and the burning-up of this entire Planet, a most
small matter in comparison. Brother, this Planet, I find, is but an
inconsiderable sand-grain in the continents of Being: this Planet's
poor temporary interests, thy interests and my interests there, when I
look fixedly into that eternal Light-Sea and Flame-Sea with _its_
eternal interests, dwindle literally into Nothing; my speech of it
is--silence for the while. I will as soon think of making Galaxies and
Star-Systems to guide little herring-vessels by, as of preaching
Religion that the Constable may continue possible. O my
Advanced-Liberal friend, this new second progress, of proceeding 'to
invent God,' is a very strange one! Jacobinism unfolded into
Saint-Simonism bodes innumerable blessed things; but the thing itself
might draw tears from a Stoic!--As for me, some twelve or thirteen New
Religions, heavy Packets, most of them unfranked, having arrived here
from various parts of the world, in a space of six calendar months, I
have instructed my invaluable friend the Stamped Postman to introduce
no more of them, if the charge exceed one penny.

       *       *       *       *       *

Henry of Essex, duelling in that Thames Island, 'near to Reading
Abbey,' had a religion. But was it in virtue of his seeing armed
Phantasms of St. Edmund 'on the rim of the horizon,' looking minatory
on him? Had that, intrinsically, anything to do with his religion at
all? Henry of Essex's religion was the Inner Light or Moral Conscience
of his own soul; such as is vouchsafed still to all souls of
men;--which Inner Light shone here 'through such intellectual and
other media' as there were; producing 'Phantasms,' Kircherean
Visual-Spectra, according to circumstances! It is so with all men. The
clearer my Inner Light may shine, through the _less_ turbid media,
the _fewer_ Phantasms it may produce,--the gladder surely shall I be,
and not the sorrier! Hast thou reflected, O serious reader,
Advanced-Liberal or other, that the one end, essence, use of all
religion past, present and to come, was this only: To keep that same
Moral Conscience or Inner Light of ours alive and shining;--which
certainly the 'Phantasms' and the 'turbid media' were not essential
for! All religion was here to remind us, better or worse, of what we
already know better or worse, of the quite _infinite_ difference there
is between a Good man and a Bad; to bid us love infinitely the one,
abhor and avoid infinitely the other,--strive infinitely to _be_ the
one, and not to be the other. 'All religion issues in due Practical
Hero-worship.' He that has a soul unasphyxied will never want a
religion; he that has a soul asphyxied, reduced to a succedaneum for
salt, will never find any religion, though you rose from the dead to
preach him one.

But indeed, when men and reformers ask for 'a religion,' it is
analogous to their asking, 'What would you have us to do?' and
suchlike. They fancy that their religion too shall be a kind of
Morrison's Pill, which they have only to swallow once, and all will be
well. Resolutely once gulp-down your Religion, your Morrison's Pill,
you have it all plain sailing now: you can follow your affairs, your
no-affairs, go along money-hunting, pleasure-hunting, dilettanteing,
dangling, and miming and chattering like a Dead-Sea Ape: your
Morrison will do your business for you. Men's notions are very
strange!--Brother, I say there is not, was not, nor will ever be, in
the wide circle of Nature, any Pill or Religion of that character. Man
cannot afford thee such; for the very gods it is impossible. I advise
thee to renounce Morrison; once for all, quit hope of the Universal
Pill. For body, for soul, for individual or society, there has not any
such article been made. _Non extat._ In Created Nature it is not, was
not, will not be. In the void imbroglios of Chaos only, and realms of
Bedlam, does some shadow of it hover, to bewilder and bemock the poor
inhabitants _there_.

Rituals, Liturgies, Creeds, Hierarchies: all this is not religion; all
this, were it dead as Odinism, as Fetishism, does not kill religion at
all! It is Stupidity alone, with never so many rituals, that kills
religion. Is not this still a World? Spinning Cotton under Arkwright
and Adam Smith; founding Cities by the Fountain of Juturna, on the
Janiculum Mount; tilling Canaan under Prophet Samuel and Psalmist
David, man is ever man; the missionary of Unseen Powers; and great and
victorious, while he continues true to his mission; mean, miserable,
foiled, and at last annihilated and trodden out of sight and memory,
when he proves untrue. Brother, thou art a Man, I think; thou art not
a mere building Beaver, or two-legged Cotton-Spider; thou hast verily
a Soul in thee, asphyxied or otherwise! Sooty Manchester,--it too is
built on the infinite Abysses; overspanned by the skyey Firmaments;
and there is birth in it, and death in it;--and it is every whit as
wonderful, as fearful, unimaginable, as the oldest Salem or Prophetic
City. Go or stand, in what time, in what place we will, are there not
Immensities, Eternities over us, around us, in us:

    'Solemn before us,
    Veiled, the dark Portal,
    Goal of all mortal:--
    Stars silent rest o'er us,
    Graves under us silent!'

Between _these_ two great Silences, the hum of all our spinning
cylinders, Trades-Unions, Anti-Corn-Law Leagues and Carlton Clubs
goes on. Stupidity itself ought to pause a little and consider that. I
tell thee, through all thy Ledgers, Supply-and-demand Philosophies,
and daily most modern melancholy Business and Cant, there does shine
the presence of a Primeval Unspeakable; and thou wert wise to
recognise, not with lips only, that same!

The Maker's Laws, whether they are promulgated in Sinai Thunder, to
the ear or imagination, or quite otherwise promulgated, are the Laws
of God; transcendent, everlasting, imperatively demanding obedience
from all men. This, without any thunder, or with never so much
thunder, thou, if there be any soul left in thee, canst know of a
truth. The Universe, I say, is made by Law; the great Soul of the
World is just and not unjust. Look thou, if thou have eyes or soul
left, into this great shoreless Incomprehensible: in the heart of its
tumultuous Appearances, Embroilments, and mad Time-vortexes, is there
not, silent, eternal, an All-just, an All-beautiful; sole Reality and
ultimate controlling Power of the whole? This is not a figure of
speech; this is a fact. The fact of Gravitation known to all animals,
is not surer than this inner Fact, which may be known to all men. He
who knows this, it will sink, silent, awful, unspeakable, into his
heart. He will say with Faust: "Who _dare_ name Him?" Most rituals or
'namings' he will fall in with at present, are like to be
'namings'--which shall be nameless! In silence, in the Eternal Temple,
let him worship, if there be no fit word: Such knowledge, the crown of
his whole spiritual being, the life of his life, let him keep and
sacredly walk by. He has a religion. Hourly and daily, for himself and
for the whole world, a faithful, unspoken, but not ineffectual prayer
rises, "Thy will be done." His whole work on Earth is an emblematic
spoken or acted prayer, Be the will of God done on Earth,--not the
Devil's will, or any of the Devil's servants' wills! He has a
religion, this man; an everlasting Load-star that beams the brighter
in the Heavens, the darker here on Earth grows the night around him.
Thou, if thou know not this, what are all rituals, liturgies,
mythologies, mass-chantings, turnings of the rotatory calabash? They
are as nothing; in a good many respects they are as _less_. Divorced
from this, getting half-divorced from this, they are a thing to fill
one with a kind of horror; with a sacred inexpressible pity and fear.
The most tragical thing a human eye can look on. It was said to the
Prophet, "Behold, I will show thee worse things than these: women
weeping to Thammuz." That was the acme of the Prophet's vision,--then
as now.

Rituals, Liturgies, Credos, Sinai Thunder: I know more or less the
history of these; the rise, progress, decline and fall of these. Can
thunder from all the thirty-two azimuths, repeated daily for centuries
of years, make God's Laws more godlike to me? Brother, No. Perhaps I
am grown to be a man now; and do not need the thunder and the terror
any longer! Perhaps I am above being frightened; perhaps it is not
Fear, but Reverence alone, that shall now lead me!--Revelations,
Inspirations? Yes: and thy own god-created Soul; dost thou not call
that a 'revelation'? Who made Thee? Where didst Thou come from? The
Voice of Eternity, if thou be not a blasphemer and poor asphyxied
mute, speaks with that tongue of thine! _Thou_ art the latest Birth of
Nature; it is 'the Inspiration of the Almighty' that giveth _thee_
understanding! My brother, my brother!--

Under baleful Atheisms, Mammonisms, Joe-Manton Dilettantisms, with
their appropriate Cants and Idolisms, and whatsoever scandalous
rubbish obscures and all but extinguishes the soul of man,--religion
now is; its Laws, written if not on stone tables, yet on the Azure of
Infinitude, in the inner heart of God's Creation, certain as Life,
certain as Death! I say the Laws are there, and thou shalt not disobey
them. It were better for thee not. Better a hundred deaths than yes.
Terrible 'penalties,' withal, if thou still need 'penalties,' are
there for disobeying. Dost thou observe, O redtape Politician, that
fiery infernal Phenomenon, which men name French Revolution, sailing,
unlooked-for, unbidden; through thy inane Protocol Dominion:--farseen,
with splendour, not of Heaven? Ten centuries will see it. There were
Tanneries at Meudon for human skins. And Hell, very truly Hell, had
power over God's upper Earth for a season. The cruelest Portent that
has risen into created Space these ten centuries: let us hail it, with
awestruck repentant hearts, as the voice once more of a God, though of
one in wrath. Blessed be the God's-voice; for _it_ is true, and
Falsehoods have to cease before it! But for that same preternatural
quasi-infernal Portent, one could not know what to make of this
wretched world, in these days, at all. The deplorablest quack-ridden,
and now hunger-ridden, downtrodden Despicability and _Flebile
Ludibrium_, of redtape Protocols, rotatory Calabashes, Poor-Law
Bastilles: who is there that could think of _its_ being fated to
continue?--

Penalties enough, my brother! This penalty inclusive of all: Eternal
Death to thy own hapless Self, if thou heed no other. Eternal Death, I
say,--with many meanings old and new, of which let this single one
suffice us here: The eternal impossibility for thee to be aught but a
Chimera, and swift-vanishing deceptive Phantasm, in God's
Creation;--swift-vanishing, never to reappear: why should _it_
reappear! Thou hadst one chance, thou wilt never have another.
Everlasting ages will roll on, and no other be given thee. The
foolishest articulate-speaking soul now extant, may not he say to
himself: "A whole Eternity I waited to be born; and now I have a whole
Eternity waiting to see what I will do when born!" This is not
Theology, this is Arithmetic. And thou but half-discernest this; thou
but half-believest it? Alas, on the shores of the Dead Sea, on
Sabbath, there goes on a Tragedy!--

But we will leave this of 'Religion;' of which, to say truth, it is
chiefly profitable in these unspeakable days to keep silence. Thou
needest no 'New Religion;' nor art thou like to get any. Thou hast
already more 'religion' than thou makest use of. This day thou knowest
ten commanded duties, seest in thy mind ten things which should be
done, for one that thou doest! _Do_ one of them; this of itself will
show thee ten others which can and shall be done. "But my future
fate?" Yes, thy future fate, indeed! Thy future fate, while thou
makest _it_ the chief question, seems to me--extremely questionable! I
do not think it can be good. Norse Odin, immemorial centuries ago, did
not he, though a poor Heathen, in the dawn of Time, teach us that for
the Dastard there was, and could be, no good fate; no harbour
anywhere, save down with Hela, in the pool of Night! Dastards, Knaves,
are they that lust for Pleasure, that tremble at Pain. For this world
and for the next Dastards are a class of creatures made to be
'arrested;' they are good for nothing else, can look for nothing else.
A greater than Odin has been here. A greater than Odin has taught
us--not a greater Dastardism, I hope! My brother, thou must pray for a
_soul_; struggle, as with life-and-death energy, to get back thy soul!
Know that; 'religion' is no Morrison's Pill from without, but a
reawakening of thy own Self from within:--and, above all, leave me
alone of thy 'religions' and 'new religions' here and elsewhere! I am
weary of this sick croaking for a Morrison's-Pill religion; for any
and for every such. I want none such; and discern all such to be
impossible. The resuscitation of old liturgies fallen dead; much more,
the manufacture of new liturgies that will never be alive: how
hopeless! Stylitisms, eremite fanaticisms and fakeerisms; spasmodic
agonistic posture-makings, and narrow, cramped, morbid, if forever
noble wrestlings: all this is not a thing desirable to me. It is a
thing the world _has_ done once,--when its beard was not grown as now!

       *       *       *       *       *

And yet there is, at worst, one Liturgy which does remain forever
unexceptionable: that of _Praying_ (as the old Monks did withal) _by
Working_. And indeed the Prayer which accomplished itself in special
chapels at stated hours, and went not with a man, rising up from all
his Work and Action, at all moments sanctifying the same,--what was it
ever good for? 'Work is Worship:' yes, in a highly considerable
sense,--which, in the present state of all 'worship,' who is there
that can unfold! He that understands it well, understands the Prophecy
of the whole Future; the last Evangel, which has included all others.
_Its_ cathedral the Dome of Immensity,--hast thou seen it? coped with
the star-galaxies; paved with the green mosaic of land and ocean; and
for altar, verily, the Star-throne of the Eternal! Its litany and
psalmody the noble acts, the heroic work and suffering, and true
heart-utterance of all the Valiant of the Sons of Men. Its choir-music
the ancient Winds and Oceans, and deep-toned, inarticulate, but most
speaking voices of Destiny and History,--supernal ever as of old.
Between two great Silences:

    'Stars silent rest o'er us,
    Graves under us silent!'

Between which two great Silences, do not, as we said, all human
Noises, in the naturalest times, most _preter_naturally march and
roll?--

I will insert this also, in a lower strain, from Sauerteig's
_Æsthetische Springwurzeln_. 'Worship?' says he: 'Before that inane
tumult of Hearsay filled men's heads, while the world lay yet silent,
and the heart true and open, many things were Worship! To the primeval
man whatsoever good came, descended on him (as, in mere fact, it ever
does) direct from God; whatsoever duty lay visible for him, this a
Supreme God had prescribed. To the present hour I ask thee, Who else?
For the primeval man, in whom dwelt Thought, this Universe was all a
Temple; Life everywhere a Worship.

'What Worship, for example, is there not in mere Washing! Perhaps one
of the most moral things a man, in common cases, has it in his power
to do. Strip thyself, go into the bath, or were it into the limpid
pool and running brook, and there wash and be clean; thou wilt step
out again a purer and a better man. This consciousness of perfect
outer pureness, that to thy skin there now adheres no foreign speck of
imperfection, how it radiates in on thee, with cunning symbolic
influences, to thy very soul! Thou hast an increase of tendency
towards all good things whatsoever. The oldest Eastern Sages, with joy
and holy gratitude, had felt it so,--and that it was the Maker's gift
and will. Whose else _is_ it? It remains a religious duty, from oldest
times, in the East.--Nor could Herr Professor Strauss, when I put the
question, deny that for us at present it is still such here in the
West! To that dingy fuliginous Operative, emerging from his soot-mill,
what is the first duty I will prescribe, and offer help towards? That
he clean the skin of him. _Can_ he pray, by any ascertained method?
One knows not entirely:--but with soap and a sufficiency of water, he
can wash. Even the dull English feel something of this; they have a
saying, "Cleanliness is near of kin to Godliness:"--yet never, in any
country, saw I operative men worse washed, and, in a climate drenched
with the softest cloudwater, such a scarcity of baths!'--Alas,
Sauerteig, our 'operative men' are at present short even of potatoes:
what 'duty' can you prescribe to them?

Or let us give a glance at China. Our new friend, the Emperor there,
is Pontiff of three hundred million men; who do all live and work,
these many centuries now; authentically patronised by Heaven so far;
and therefore must have some 'religion' of a kind. This
Emperor-Pontiff has, in fact, a religious belief of certain Laws of
Heaven; observes, with a religious rigour, his 'three thousand
punctualities,' given out by men of insight, some sixty generations
since, as a legible transcript of the same,--the Heavens do seem to
say, not totally an incorrect one. He has not much of a ritual, this
Pontiff-Emperor; believes, it is likest, with the old Monks, that
'Labour is Worship.' His most public Act of Worship, it appears, is
the drawing solemnly at a certain day, on the green bosom of our
Mother Earth, when the Heavens, after dead black winter, have again
with their vernal radiances awakened her, a distinct red Furrow with
the Plough,--signal that all the Ploughs of China are to begin
ploughing and worshipping! It is notable enough. He, in sight of the
Seen and Unseen Powers, draws his distinct red Furrow there; saying,
and praying, in mute symbolism, so many most eloquent things!

If you ask this Pontiff, "Who made him? What is to become of him and
us?" he maintains a dignified reserve; waves his hand and
pontiff-eyes over the unfathomable deep of Heaven, the 'Tsien,' the
azure kingdoms of Infinitude; as if asking, "Is it doubtful that we
are right _well_ made? Can aught that is _wrong_ become of us?"--He
and his three hundred millions (it is their chief 'punctuality') visit
yearly the Tombs of their Fathers; each man the Tomb of his Father and
his Mother: alone there, in silence, with what of 'worship' or of
other thought there may be, pauses solemnly each man; the divine Skies
all silent over him; the divine Graves, and this divinest Grave, all
silent under him; the pulsings of his own soul, if he have any soul,
alone audible. Truly it may be a kind of worship! Truly, if a man
cannot get some glimpse into the Eternities, looking through this
portal,--through what other need he try it?

Our friend the Pontiff-Emperor permits cheerfully, though with
contempt, all manner of Buddists, Bonzes, Talapoins and suchlike, to
build brick Temples, on the voluntary principle; to worship with what
of chantings, paper-lanterns and tumultuous brayings, pleases them;
and make night hideous, since they find some comfort in so doing.
Cheerfully, though with contempt. He is a wiser Pontiff than many
persons think! He is as yet the one Chief Potentate or Priest in this
Earth who has made a distinct systematic attempt at what we call the
ultimate result of all religion, '_Practical_ Hero-worship:' he does
incessantly, with true anxiety, in such way as he can, search and sift
(it would appear) his whole enormous population for the Wisest born
among them; by which Wisest, as by born Kings, these three hundred
million men are governed. The Heavens, to a certain extent, do appear
to countenance him. These three hundred millions actually make
porcelain, souchong tea, with innumerable other things; and fight,
under Heaven's flag, against Necessity;--and have fewer Seven-Years
Wars, Thirty-Years Wars, French-Revolution Wars, and infernal
fightings with each other, than certain millions elsewhere have!

       *       *       *       *       *

Nay in our poor distracted Europe itself, in these newest times, have
there not religious voices risen,--with a religion new and yet the
oldest; entirely indisputable to all hearts of men? Some I do know,
who did not call or think themselves 'Prophets,' far enough from that;
but who were, in very truth, melodious Voices from the eternal Heart
of Nature once again; souls forever venerable to all that have a soul.
A French Revolution is one phenomenon; as complement and spiritual
exponent thereof, a Poet Goethe and German Literature is to me
another. The old Secular or Practical World, so to speak, having gone
up in fire, is not here the prophecy and dawn of a new Spiritual
World, parent of far nobler, wider, new Practical Worlds? A Life of
Antique devoutness, Antique veracity and heroism, has again become
possible, is again _seen_ actual there, for the most modern man. A
phenomenon, as quiet as it is, comparable for greatness to no other!
'The great event for the world is, now as always, the arrival
in it of a new Wise Man.' Touches there are, be the Heavens ever
thanked, of new Sphere-melody; audible once more, in the infinite
jargoning discords and poor scrannel-pipings of the thing called
Literature;--priceless there, as the voice of new Heavenly Psalms!
Literature, like the old Prayer-Collections of the first centuries,
were it 'well selected from and burnt,' contains precious things. For
Literature, with all its printing-presses, puffing-engines and
shoreless deafening triviality, _is_ yet 'the Thought of Thinking
Souls.' A sacred 'religion,' if you like the name, does live in the
heart of that strange froth-ocean, not wholly froth, which we call
Literature; and will more and more disclose itself therefrom;--not now
as scorching Fire: the red smoky scorching Fire has purified itself
into white sunny Light. Is not Light grander than Fire? It is the same
element in a state of purity.

My ingenuous readers, we will march out of this Third Book with a
rhythmic word of Goethe's on our lips; a word which perhaps has
already sung itself, in dark hours and in bright, through many a
heart. To me, finding it devout yet wholly credible and veritable,
full of piety yet free of cant; to me, joyfully finding much in it,
and joyfully missing so much in it, this little snatch of music, by
the greatest German Man, sounds like a stanza in the grand _Road-Song_
and _Marching-Song_ of our great Teutonic Kindred, wending, wending,
valiant and victorious, through the undiscovered Deeps of Time! He
calls it _Mason-Lodge_,--not Psalm or Hymn:

    The Mason's ways are
    A type of Existence,
    And his persistence
    Is as the days are
    Of men in this world.

    The Future hides in it
    Gladness and sorrow;
    We press still thorow,
    Nought that abides in it
    Daunting us,--onward.

    And solemn before us,
    Veiled, the dark Portal,
    Goal of all mortal:--
    Stars silent rest o'er us,
    Graves under us silent!

    While earnest thou gazest,
    Comes boding of terror,
    Comes phantasm and error,
    Perplexes the bravest
    With doubt and misgiving.

    But heard are the Voices,--
    Heard are the Sages,
    The Worlds and the Ages:
    "Choose well, your choice is
    Brief and yet endless:

    Here eyes do regard you,
    In Eternity's stillness;
    Here is all fulness,
    Ye brave, to reward you;
    Work, and despair not."



BOOK IV.

HOROSCOPE.



CHAPTER I.

ARISTOCRACIES.


To predict the Future, to manage the Present, would not be so
impossible, had not the Past been so sacrilegiously mishandled;
effaced, and what is worse, defaced! The Past cannot be seen; the
Past, looked at through the medium of 'Philosophical History' in these
times, cannot even be _not_ seen: it is misseen; affirmed to have
existed,--and to have been a godless Impossibility. Your Norman
Conquerors, true royal souls, crowned kings as such, were vulturous
irrational tyrants: your Becket was a noisy egoist and hypocrite;
getting his brains spilt on the floor of Canterbury Cathedral, to
secure the main chance,--somewhat uncertain how! 'Policy, Fanaticism,'
or say 'Enthusiasm,' even 'honest Enthusiasm,'--ah yes, of course:

    'The Dog, to gain his private ends,
    _Went_ mad, and bit the Man!'--

For in truth, the eye sees in all things 'what it brought with it the
means of seeing.' A godless century, looking back on centuries that
were godly, produces portraitures more miraculous than any other. All
was inane discord in the Past; brute Force bore rule everywhere;
Stupidity, savage Unreason, fitter for Bedlam than for a human World!
Whereby indeed it becomes sufficiently natural that the like
qualities, in new sleeker habiliments, should continue in our time to
rule. Millions enchanted in Bastille Workhouses; Irish Widows proving
their relationship by typhus-fever: what would you have? It was ever
so, or worse. Man's History, was it not always even this: The cookery
and eating-up of imbecile Dupedom by successful Quackhood; the battle,
with various weapons, of vulturous Quack and Tyrant against vulturous
Tyrant and Quack? No God was in the Past Time; nothing but Mechanisms
and Chaotic Brute-Gods:--how shall the poor 'Philosophic Historian,'
to whom his own century is all godless, see any God in other
centuries?

Men believe in Bibles, and disbelieve in them: but of all Bibles the
frightfulest to disbelieve in is this 'Bible of Universal History.'
This is the Eternal Bible and God's-Book, 'which every born man,' till
once the soul and eyesight are extinguished in him, 'can and must,
with his own eyes, see the God's-Finger writing!' To discredit this,
is an _infidelity_ like no other. Such infidelity you would punish, if
not by fire and faggot, which are difficult to manage in our times,
yet by the most peremptory order, To hold its peace till it got
something wiser to say. Why should the blessed Silence be broken into
noises, to communicate only the like of this? If the Past have no
God's-Reason in it, nothing but Devil's-Unreason, let the Past be
eternally forgotten: mention _it_ no more;--we whose ancestors were
all hanged, why should we talk of ropes!

It is, in brief, not true that men ever lived by Delirium, Hypocrisy,
Injustice, or any form of Unreason, since they came to inhabit this
Planet. It is not true that they ever did, or ever will, live except
by the reverse of these. Men will again be taught this. Their acted
History will then again be a Heroism; their written History, what it
once was, an Epic. Nay, forever it is either such, or else it
virtually is--Nothing. Were it written in a thousand volumes, the
Unheroic of such volumes hastens incessantly to be forgotten; the net
content of an Alexandrian Library of Unheroics is, and will ultimately
show itself to be, _zero_. What man is interested to remember _it_;
have not all men, at all times, the liveliest interest to forget
it?--'Revelations,' if not celestial, then infernal, will teach us
that God is; we shall then, if needful, discern without difficulty
that He has always been! The Dryasdust Philosophisms and enlightened
Scepticisms of the Eighteenth Century, historical and other, will have
to survive for a while with the Physiologists, as a memorable
_Nightmare-Dream_. All this haggard epoch, with its ghastly Doctrines,
and death's-head Philosophies 'teaching by example' or otherwise, will
one day have become, what to our Moslem friends their godless ages
are, 'the Period of Ignorance.'

       *       *       *       *       *

If the convulsive struggles of the last Half-Century have taught poor
struggling convulsed Europe any truth, it may perhaps be this as the
essence of innumerable others: That Europe requires a real
Aristocracy, a real Priesthood, or it cannot continue to exist. Huge
French Revolutions, Napoleonisms, then Bourbonisms with their
corollary of Three Days, finishing in very unfinal Louis-Philippisms:
all this ought to be didactic! All this may have taught us, That False
Aristocracies are insupportable; that No-Aristocracies,
Liberty-and-Equalities are impossible; that true Aristocracies are at
once indispensable and not easily attained.

Aristocracy and Priesthood, a Governing Class and a Teaching
Class: these two, sometimes separate, and endeavouring to
harmonise themselves, sometimes conjoined as one, and the King a
Pontiff-King:--there did no Society exist without these two vital
elements, there will none exist. It lies in the very nature of man:
you will visit no remotest village in the most republican country of
the world, where virtually or actually you do not find these two
powers at work. Man, little as he may suppose it, is necessitated to
obey superiors. He is a social being in virtue of this necessity; nay
he could not be gregarious otherwise. He obeys those whom he esteems
better than himself, wiser, braver; and will forever obey such; and
even be ready and delighted to do it.

The Wiser, Braver: these, a Virtual Aristocracy everywhere and
everywhen, do in all Societies that reach any articulate shape,
develop themselves into a ruling class, an Actual Aristocracy, with
settled modes of operating, what are called laws and even
_private-laws_ or privileges, and so forth; very notable to look upon
in this world.--Aristocracy and Priesthood, we say, are sometimes
united. For indeed the Wiser and the Braver are properly but one
class; no wise man but needed first of all to be a brave man, or he
never had been wise. The noble Priest was always a noble _Aristos_ to
begin with, and something more to end with. Your Luther, your Knox,
your Anselm, Becket, Abbot Samson, Samuel Johnson, if they had not
been brave enough, by what possibility could they ever have been
wise?--If, from accident or forethought, this your Actual Aristocracy
have got discriminated into Two Classes, there can be no doubt but the
Priest Class is the more dignified; supreme over the other, as
governing head is over active hand. And yet in practice again, it is
likeliest the reverse will be found arranged;--a sign that the
arrangement is already vitiated; that a split is introduced into it,
which will widen and widen till the whole be rent asunder.

In England, in Europe generally, we may say that these two
Virtualities have unfolded themselves into Actualities, in by far the
noblest and richest manner any region of the world ever saw. A
spiritual Guideship, a practical Governorship, fruit of the grand
conscious endeavours, say rather of the immeasurable unconscious
instincts and necessities of men, have established themselves; very
strange to behold. Everywhere, while so much has been forgotten, you
find the King's Palace, and the Viceking's Castle, Mansion,
Manorhouse; till there is not an inch of ground from sea to sea but
has both its King and Viceking, long due series of Vicekings, its
Squire, Earl, Duke or whatever the title of him,--to whom you have
given the land, that he may govern you in it.

More touching still, there is not a hamlet where poor peasants
congregate, but, by one means and another, a Church-Apparatus has been
got together,--roofed edifice, with revenues and belfries; pulpit,
reading-desk, with Books and Methods: possibility, in short, and
strict prescription, That a man stand there and speak of spiritual
things to men. It is beautiful;--even in its great obscuration and
decadence, it is among the beautifulest, most touching objects one
sees on the Earth. This Speaking Man has indeed, in these times,
wandered terribly from the point; has, alas, as it were, totally lost
sight of the point: yet, at bottom, whom have we to compare with him?
Of all public functionaries boarded and lodged on the Industry of
Modern Europe, is there one worthier of the board he has? A man even
professing, and never so languidly making still some endeavour, to
save the souls of men: contrast him with a man professing to do little
but shoot the partridges of men! I wish he could find the point again,
this Speaking One; and stick to it with tenacity, with deadly energy:
for there is need of him yet! The Speaking Function, this of Truth
coming to us with a living voice, nay in a living shape, and as a
concrete practical exemplar: this, with all our Writing and Printing
Functions, has a perennial place. Could he but find the point
again,--take the old spectacles off his nose, and looking up discover,
almost in contact with him, what the _real_ Satanas, and
soul-devouring, world-devouring _Devil_, now is! Original Sin and
suchlike are bad enough. I doubt not: but distilled Gin, dark
Ignorance, Stupidity, dark Corn-Law, Bastille and Company, what are
they! _Will_ he discover our new real Satan, whom he has to fight; or
go on droning through his old nose-spectacles about old extinct
Satans; and never see the real one, till he _feel_ him at his own
throat and ours? That is a question, for the world! Let us not
intermeddle with it here.

Sorrowful, phantasmal as this same Double Aristocracy of Teachers and
Governors now looks, it is worth all men's while to know that the
purport of it is and remains noble and most real. Dryasdust, looking
merely at the surface, is greatly in error as to those ancient Kings.
William Conqueror, William Rufus or Redbeard, Stephen Curthose
himself, much more Henry Beauclerc and our brave Plantagenet Henry:
the life of these men was not a vulturous Fighting; it was a valorous
Governing,--to which occasionally Fighting did, and alas must yet,
though far seldomer now, superadd itself as an accident, a distressing
impedimental adjunct. The fighting too was indispensable, for
ascertaining who had the might over whom, the right over whom. By much
hard fighting, as we once said, 'the unrealities, beaten into dust,
flew gradually off;' and left the plain reality and fact, "Thou
stronger than I; thou wiser than I; thou king, and subject I," in a
somewhat clearer condition.

Truly we cannot enough admire, in those Abbot-Samson and
William-Conqueror times, the arrangement they had made of their
Governing Classes. Highly interesting to observe how the sincere
insight, on their part, into what did, of primary necessity, behove to
be accomplished, had led them to the way of accomplishing it, and in
the course of time to get it accomplished! No imaginary Aristocracy
would serve their turn; and accordingly they attained a real one. The
Bravest men, who, it is ever to be repeated and remembered, are also
on the whole the Wisest, Strongest, everyway Best, had here, with a
respectable degree of accuracy, been got selected; seated each on his
piece of territory, which was lent him, then gradually given him, that
he might govern it. These Vicekings, each on his portion of the common
soil of England, with a Head King over all, were a 'Virtuality
perfected into an Actuality' really to an astonishing extent.

For those were rugged stalwart ages; full of earnestness, of a rude
God's-truth:--nay, at any rate, their _quilting_ was so unspeakably
_thinner_ than ours; Fact came swiftly on them, if at any time they
had yielded to Phantasm! 'The Knaves and Dastards' had to be
'arrested' in some measure; or the world, almost within year and day,
found that it could not live. The Knaves and Dastards accordingly were
got arrested. Dastards upon the very throne had to be got arrested,
and taken off the throne,--by such methods as there were; by the
roughest method, if there chanced to be no smoother one! Doubtless
there was much harshness of operation, much severity; as indeed
government and surgery are often somewhat severe. Gurth, born thrall
of Cedric, it is like, got cuffs as often as pork-parings, if he
misdemeaned himself; but Gurth did belong to Cedric: no human creature
then went about connected with nobody; left to go his way into
Bastilles or worse, under _Laissez-faire_; reduced to prove his
relationship by dying of typhus-fever!--Days come when there is no
King in Israel, but every man is his own king, doing that which is
right in his own eyes;--and tarbarrels are burnt to 'Liberty.'
'Ten-pound Franchise' and the like, with considerable effect in
various ways!--

That Feudal Aristocracy, I say, was no imaginary one. To a respectable
degree, its _Jarls_, what we now call Earls, were _Strong-Ones_ in
fact as well as etymology; its Dukes _Leaders_; its Lords _Law-wards_.
They did all the Soldiering and Police of the country, all the
Judging, Law-making, even the Church-Extension; whatsoever in the way
of Governing, of Guiding and Protecting could be done. It was a Land
Aristocracy; it managed the Governing of this English People, and had
the reaping of the Soil of England in return. It is, in many senses,
the Law of Nature, this same Law of Feudalism;--no right Aristocracy
but a Land one! The curious are invited to meditate upon it in these
days. Soldiering, Police and Judging, Church-Extension, nay real
Government and Guidance, all this was actually _done_ by the Holders
of the Land in return for their Land. How much of it is now done by
them; done by anybody? Good Heavens, "Laissez-faire, Do ye nothing,
eat your wages and sleep," is everywhere the passionate half-wise cry
of this time; and they will not so much as do nothing, but must do
mere Corn-Laws! We raise Fifty-two millions, from the general mass of
us, to get our Governing done--or, alas, to get ourselves persuaded
that it is done: and the 'peculiar burden of the Land' is to pay, not
all this, but to pay, as I learn, one twenty-fourth part of all this.
Our first Chartist Parliament, or Oliver _Redivivus_, you would say,
will know where to lay the new taxes of England!--Or, alas, taxes? If
we made the Holders of the Land pay every shilling still of the
expense of Governing the Land, what were all that? The Land, by mere
hired Governors, cannot be got governed. You cannot hire men to govern
the Land: it is by a mission not contracted for in the Stock-Exchange,
but felt in their own hearts as coming out of Heaven, that men can
govern a Land. The mission of a Land Aristocracy is a _sacred_ one, in
both the senses of that old word. The footing it stands on, at
present, might give rise to thoughts other than of Corn-Laws!--

But truly a 'Splendour of God,' as in William Conqueror's rough oath,
did dwell in those old rude veracious ages; did inform, more and more,
with a heavenly nobleness, all departments of their work and life.
Phantasms could not yet walk abroad in mere Cloth Tailorage; they were
at least Phantasms 'on the rim of the horizon,' pencilled there by an
eternal Light-beam from within. A most 'practical' Hero-worship went
on, unconsciously or half-consciously, everywhere. A Monk Samson, with
a maximum of two shillings in his pocket, could, without ballot-box,
be made a Viceking of, being seen to be worthy. The difference between
a good man and a bad man was as yet felt to be, what it forever is, an
immeasurable one. Who _durst_ have elected a Pandarus Dogdraught, in
those days, to any office, Carlton Club, Senatorship, or place
whatsoever? It was felt that the arch Satanas and no other had a clear
right of property in Pandarus; that it were better for you to have no
hand in Pandarus, to keep out of Pandarus his neighbourhood! Which is,
to this hour, the mere fact; though for the present, alas, the
forgotten fact. I think they were comparatively blessed times those,
in their way! 'Violence,' 'war,' 'disorder:' well, what is war, and
death itself, to such a perpetual life-in-death, and 'peace, peace,
where there is no peace'! Unless some Hero-worship, in its new
appropriate form, can return, this world does not promise to be very
habitable long.

Old Anselm, exiled Archbishop of Canterbury, one of the purest-minded
'men of genius,' was travelling to make his appeal to Rome against
King Rufus,--a man of rough ways, in whom the 'inner Lightbeam' shone
very fitfully. It is beautiful to read, in Monk Eadmer, how the
Continental populations welcomed and venerated this Anselm, as no
French population now venerates Jean-Jacques or giant-killing
Voltaire; as not even an American population now venerates a Schnüspel
the distinguished Novelist! They had, by phantasy and true insight,
the intensest conviction that a God's-Blessing dwelt in this
Anselm,--as is my conviction too. They crowded round, with bent knees
and enkindled hearts, to receive his blessing, to hear his voice, to
see the light of his face. My blessings on them and on him!--But the
notablest was a certain necessitous or covetous Duke of Burgundy, in
straitened circumstances we shall hope,--who reflected that in all
likelihood this English Archbishop, going towards Rome to appeal, must
have taken store of cash with him to bribe the Cardinals. Wherefore he
of Burgundy, for his part, decided to lie in wait and rob him. 'In an
open space of a wood,' some 'wood' then green and growing, eight
centuries ago, in Burgundian Land,--this fierce Duke, with fierce
steel followers, shaggy, savage, as the Russian bear, dashes out on
the weak old Anselm; who is riding along there, on his small
quiet-going pony; escorted only by Eadmer and another poor Monk on
ponies; and, except small modicum of roadmoney, not a gold coin in his
possession. The steelclad Russian bear emerges, glaring: the old
white-bearded man starts not,--paces on unmoved, looking into him with
those clear old earnest eyes, with that venerable sorrowful time-worn
face; of whom no man or thing need be afraid, and who also is afraid
of no created man or thing. The fire-eyes of his Burgundian Grace meet
these clear eye-glances, convey them swift to his heart: he bethinks
him that probably this feeble, fearless, hoary Figure has in it
something of the Most High God; that probably he shall be damned if he
meddle with it,--that, on the whole, he had better not. He plunges,
the rough savage, from his war-horse, down to his knees; embraces the
feet of old Anselm: he too begs his blessing; orders men to escort
him, guard him from being robbed, and under dread penalties see him
safe on his way. _Per os Dei_, as his Majesty was wont to ejaculate!

Neither is this quarrel of Rufus and Anselm, of Henry and Becket,
uninstructive to us. It was, at bottom, a great quarrel. For,
admitting that Anselm was full of divine blessing, he by no means
included in him all forms of divine blessing:--there were far other
forms withal, which he little dreamed of; and William Redbeard was
unconsciously the representative and spokesman of these. In truth,
could your divine Anselm, your divine Pope Gregory have had their way,
the results had been very notable. Our Western World had all become a
European Thibet, with one Grand Lama sitting at Rome; our one
honourable business that of singing mass, all day and all night. Which
would not in the least have suited us! The Supreme Powers willed it
not so.

It was as if King Redbeard unconsciously, addressing Anselm, Becket
and the others, had said: "Right Reverend, your Theory of the Universe
is indisputable by man or devil. To the core of our heart we feel that
this divine thing, which you call Mother Church, does fill the whole
world hitherto known, and is and shall be all our salvation and all
our desire. And yet--and yet--Behold, though it is an unspoken secret,
the world is _wider_ than any of us think, Right Reverend! Behold,
there are yet other immeasurable Sacrednesses in this that you call
Heathenism, Secularity! On the whole, I, in an obscure but most rooted
manner, feel that I cannot comply with you. Western Thibet and
perpetual mass-chanting,--No. I am, so to speak, in the family-way;
with child, of I know not what,--certainly of something far different
from this! I have--_Per os Dei_, I have Manchester Cotton-trades,
Bromwicham Iron-trades, American Commonwealths, Indian Empires, Steam
Mechanisms and Shakspeare Dramas, in my belly; and cannot do it, Right
Reverend!"--So accordingly it was decided: and Saxon Becket spilt his
life in Canterbury Cathedral, as Scottish Wallace did on Tower-hill,
and as generally a noble man and martyr has to do,--not for nothing;
no, but for a divine something other than _he_ had altogether
calculated. We will now quit this of the hard, organic, but limited
Feudal Ages; and glance timidly into the immense Industrial Ages, as
yet all inorganic, and in a quite pulpy condition, requiring
desperately to harden themselves into some organism!

Our Epic having now become _Tools and the Man_, it is more than
usually impossible to prophesy the Future. The boundless Future does
lie there, predestined, nay already extant though unseen; hiding, in
its Continents of Darkness, 'gladness and sorrow:' but the supremest
intelligence of man cannot prefigure much of it:--the united
intelligence and effort of All Men in all coming generations, this
alone will gradually prefigure it, and figure and form it into a seen
fact! Straining our eyes hitherto, the utmost effort of intelligence
sheds but some most glimmering dawn, a little way into its dark
enormous Deeps: only huge outlines loom uncertain on the sight; and
the ray of prophecy, at a short distance, expires. But may we not say,
here as always, Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof! To shape
the whole Future is not our problem; but only to shape faithfully a
small part of it, according to rules already known. It is perhaps
possible for each of us, who will with due earnestness inquire, to
ascertain clearly what he, for his own part, ought to do: this let
him, with true heart, do, and continue doing. The general issue will,
as it has always done, rest well with a Higher Intelligence than ours.

One grand 'outline,' or even two, many earnest readers may perhaps, at
this stage of the business, be able to prefigure for themselves,--and
draw some guidance from. One prediction, or even two, are already
possible. For the Life-tree Igdrasil, in all its new developments, is
the selfsame world-old Life-tree: having found an element or elements
there, running from the very roots of it in Hela's Realms, in the Well
of Mimer and of the Three Nornas or Times, up to this present hour of
it in our own hearts, we conclude that such will have to continue. A
man has, in his own soul, an Eternal; can read something of the
Eternal there, if he will look! He already knows what will continue;
what cannot, by any means or appliance whatsoever, be made to
continue!

One wide and widest 'outline' ought really, in all ways, to be
becoming clear to us; this namely: That a 'Splendour of God,' in one
form or other, will have to unfold itself from the heart of these our
Industrial Ages too; or they will never get themselves 'organised;'
but continue chaotic, distressed, distracted evermore, and have to
perish in frantic suicidal dissolution. A second 'outline' or
prophecy, narrower, but also wide enough, seems not less certain:
That there will again _be_ a King in Israel; a system of Order and
Government; and every man shall, in some measure, see himself
constrained to do that which is right in the King's eyes. This too we
may call a sure element of the Future; for this too is of the
Eternal;--this too is of the Present, though hidden from most; and
without it no fibre of the Past ever was. An actual new Sovereignty,
Industrial Aristocracy, real not imaginary Aristocracy, is
indispensable and indubitable for us.

But what an Aristocracy; on what new, far more complex and cunningly
devised conditions than that old Feudal fighting one! For we are to
bethink us that the Epic verily is not _Arms and the Man_, but
_Tools and the Man_,--an infinitely wider kind of Epic. And again
we are to bethink us that men cannot now be bound to men by
_brass-collars_,--not at all: that this brass-collar method, in all
figures of it, has vanished out of Europe forevermore! Huge Democracy,
walking the streets everywhere in its Sack Coat, has asserted so much;
irrevocably, brooking no reply! True enough, man _is_ forever the
'born thrall' of certain men, born master of certain other men, born
equal of certain others, let him acknowledge the fact or not. It is
unblessed for him when he cannot acknowledge this fact; he is in the
chaotic state, ready to perish, till he do get the fact acknowledged.
But no man is, or can henceforth be, the brass-collar thrall of any
man; you will have to bind him by other, far nobler and cunninger
methods. Once for all, he is to be loose of the brass-collar, to have
a scope _as_ wide as his faculties now are:--will he not be all the
usefuler to you in that new state? Let him go abroad as a trusted one,
as a free one; and return home to you with rich earnings at night!
Gurth could only tend pigs; this one will build cities, conquer waste
worlds.--How, in conjunction with inevitable Democracy, indispensable
Sovereignty is to exist: certainly it is the hugest question ever
heretofore propounded to Mankind! The solution of which is work for
long years and centuries. Years and centuries, of one knows not what
complexion;--blessed or unblessed, according as they shall, with
earnest valiant effort, make progress therein, or, in slothful
unveracity and dilettantism, only talk of making progress. For either
progress therein, or swift and ever swifter progress towards
dissolution, is henceforth a necessity.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is of importance that this grand reformation were begun; that
Corn-Law Debatings and other jargon, little less than delirious in
such a time, had fled far away, and left us room to begin! For the
evil has grown practical, extremely conspicuous; if it be not seen and
provided for, the blindest fool will have to feel it ere long. There
is much that can wait; but there is something also that cannot wait.
With millions of eager Working Men imprisoned in 'Impossibility' and
Poor-Law Bastilles, it is time that some means of dealing with them
were trying to become 'possible'! Of the Government of England, of all
articulate-speaking functionaries, real and imaginary Aristocracies,
of me and of thee, it is imperatively demanded, "How do you mean to
manage these men? Where are they to find a supportable existence? What
is to become of them,--and of you!"



CHAPTER II.

BRIBERY COMMITTEE.


In the case of the late Bribery Committee, it seemed to be the
conclusion of the soundest practical minds that Bribery could not be
put down; that Pure Election was a thing we had seen the last of, and
must now go on without, as we best could. A conclusion not a little
startling; to which it requires a practical mind of some seasoning to
reconcile yourself at once! It seems, then, we are henceforth to get
ourselves constituted Legislators not according to what merit we may
have, or even what merit we may seem to have, but according to the
length of our purse, and our frankness, impudence and dexterity in
laying out the contents of the same. Our theory, written down in all
books and law-books, spouted forth from all barrel-heads, is perfect
purity of Tenpound Franchise, absolute sincerity of question put and
answer given;--and our practice is irremediable bribery; irremediable,
unpunishable, which you will do more harm than good by attempting to
punish! Once more, a very startling conclusion indeed; which, whatever
the soundest practical minds in Parliament may think of it, invites
all British men to meditations of various kinds.

A Parliament, one would say, which proclaims itself elected and
eligible by bribery, tells the Nation that is governed by it a piece
of singular news. Bribery: have we reflected what bribery is? Bribery
means not only length of purse, which is neither qualification nor the
contrary for legislating well; but it means dishonesty, and even
impudent dishonesty;--brazen insensibility to lying and to making
others lie; total oblivion, and flinging overboard, for the nonce, of
any real thing you can call veracity, morality; with dextrous
putting-on the cast-clothes of that real thing, and strutting about in
them! What Legislating can you get out of a man in that fatal
situation? None that will profit much, one would think! A Legislator
who has left his veracity lying on the door-threshold, he, why verily
_he_--ought to be sent out to seek it again!

Heavens, what an improvement, were there once fairly in Downing-street
an Election-Office opened, with a tariff of Boroughs! Such and such a
population, amount of property-tax, ground-rental, extent of trade;
returns two Members, returns one Member, for so much money down:
Ipswich so many thousands, Nottingham so many,--as they happened, one
by one, to fall into this new Downing-street Schedule A! An
incalculable improvement, in comparison: for now at least you have it
fairly by length of purse, and leave the dishonesty, the impudence,
the unveracity all handsomely aside. Length of purse and desire to be
a Legislator ought to get a man into Parliament, not _with_, but if
possible _without_ the unveracity, the impudence and the dishonesty!
Length of purse and desire, these are, as intrinsic qualifications,
correctly equal to zero; but they are not yet _less_ than zero,--as
the smallest addition of that latter sort will make them!

And is it come to this? And does our venerable Parliament announce
itself elected and eligible in this manner? Surely such a Parliament
promulgates strange horoscopes of itself. What is to become of a
Parliament elected or eligible in this manner? Unless Belial and
Beelzebub have got possession of the throne of this Universe, such
Parliament is preparing itself for new Reform-bills. We shall have to
try it by Chartism, or any conceivable _ism_, rather than put-up with
this! There is already in England 'religion' enough to get six hundred
and fifty-eight Consulting Men brought together who do _not_ begin
work with a lie in their mouth. Our poor old Parliament, thousands of
years old, is still good for something, for several things;--though
many are beginning to ask, with ominous anxiety, in these days: For
what thing? But for whatever thing and things Parliament be good,
indisputably it must start with other than a lie in its mouth! On the
whole, a Parliament working with a lie in its mouth, will have to take
itself away. To no Parliament or thing, that one has heard of, did
this Universe ever long yield harbour on that footing. At all hours of
the day and night, some Chartism is advancing, some armed Cromwell is
advancing, to apprise such Parliament: "Ye are no Parliament. In the
name of God,--go!"

In sad truth, once more, how is our whole existence, in these present
days, built on Cant, Speciosity, Falsehood, Dilettantism; with this
one serious Veracity in it: Mammonism! Dig down where you will,
through the Parliament-floor or elsewhere, how infallibly do you, at
spade's depth below the service, come upon this universal _Liars_-rock
substratum! Much else is ornamental; true on barrel-heads, in pulpits,
hustings, Parliamentary benches; but this is forever true and truest:
"Money does bring money's worth; Put money in your purse." Here, if
nowhere else, is the human soul still in thorough earnest; sincere
with a prophet's sincerity: and 'the Hell of the English,' as
Sauerteig said, 'is the infinite terror of Not getting on, especially
of Not making money.' With results!

To many persons the horoscope of Parliament is more interesting than
to me: but surely all men with souls must admit that sending members
to Parliament by bribery is an infamous solecism; an act entirely
immoral, which no man can have to do with more or less, but he will
soil his fingers more or less. No Carlton Clubs, Reform Clubs, nor any
sort of clubs or creatures, or of accredited opinions or practices,
can make a Lie Truth, can make Bribery a Propriety. The Parliament
should really either punish and put away Bribery, or legalise it by
some Office in Downing-street. As I read the Apocalypses, a Parliament
that can do neither of these things is not in a good way.--And yet,
alas, what of Parliaments and their Elections? Parliamentary Elections
are but the topmost ultimate outcome of an electioneering which goes
on at all hours, in all places, in every meeting of two or more men.
It is _we_ that vote wrong, and teach the poor ragged Freemen of
Boroughs to vote wrong. We pay respect to those worthy of no respect.

Is not Pandarus Dogdraught a member of select clubs, and admitted into
the drawing-rooms of men? Visibly to all persons he is of the offal of
Creation; but he carries money in his purse, due lacquer on his
dog-visage, and it is believed will not steal spoons. The human
species does not with one voice, like the Hebrew Psalmist, 'shun to
sit' with Dogdraught, refuse totally to dine with Dogdraught; men
called of honour are willing enough to dine with him, his talk being
lively, and his champagne excellent. We say to ourselves, "The man is
in good society,"--others have already voted for him; why should not
I? We _forget_ the indefeasible right of property that Satan has in
Dogdraught,--we are not afraid to be near Dogdraught! It is we that
vote wrong; blindly, nay with falsity prepense! It is we that no
longer know the difference between Human Worth and Human Unworth; or
feel that the one is admirable and alone admirable, the other
detestable, damnable! How shall _we_ find out a Hero and Viceking
Samson with a maximum of two shillings in his pocket? We have no
chance to do such a thing. We have got out of the Ages of Heroism,
deep into the Ages of Flunkyism,--and must return or die. What a noble
set of mortals are we, who, because there is no Saint Edmund
threatening us at the rim of the horizon, are not afraid to be
whatever, for the day and hour, is smoothest for us!

And now, in good sooth, why should an indigent discerning Freeman give
his vote without bribes? Let us rather honour the poor man that he
does discern clearly wherein lies, for him, the true kernel of the
matter. What is it to the ragged grimy Freeman of a Tenpound-Franchise
Borough, whether Aristides Rigmarole Esq. of the Destructive, or the
Hon. Alcides Dolittle of the Conservative Party be sent to
Parliament;--much more, whether the two-thousandth part of them be
sent, for that is the amount of his faculty in it? Destructive or
Conservative, what will either of them destroy or conserve of vital
moment to this Freeman? Has he found either of them care, at bottom, a
sixpence for him or his interests, or those of his class or of his
cause, or of any class or cause that is of much value to God or to
man? Rigmarole and Dolittle have alike cared for themselves hitherto;
and for their own clique, and self-conceited crotchets,--their greasy
dishonest interests of pudding, or windy dishonest interests of
praise; and not very perceptibly for any other interest whatever.
Neither Rigmarole nor Dolittle will accomplish any good or any evil
for this grimy Freeman, like giving him a five-pound note, or refusing
to give it him. It will be smoothest to vote according to value
received. That is the veritable fact; and he indigent, like others
that are not indigent, acts conformably thereto.

Why, reader, truly, if they asked thee or me, Which way we meant to
vote?--were it not our likeliest answer: Neither way! I, as a Tenpound
Franchiser, will receive no bribe; but also I will not vote for either
of these men. Neither Rigmarole nor Dolittle shall, by furtherance of
mine, go and make laws for this country. I will have no hand in such a
mission. How dare I! If other men cannot be got in England, a totally
other sort of men, different as light is from dark, as star-fire is
from street-mud, what is the use of votings, or of Parliaments in
England? England ought to resign herself; there is no hope or
possibility for England. If England cannot get her Knaves and Dastards
'arrested,' in some degree, but only get them 'elected,' what is to
become of England?

       *       *       *       *       *

I conclude, with all confidence, that England will verily have to put
an end to briberies on her Election Hustings and elsewhere, at what
cost soever;--and likewise that we, Electors and Eligibles, one and
all of us, for our own behoof and hers, cannot too soon begin, at what
cost soever, to put an end to _bribeabilities_ in ourselves. The
death-leprosy, attacked in this manner, by purifying lotions from
without and by rallying of the vital energies and purities from
within, will probably abate somewhat! It has otherwise no chance to
abate.



CHAPTER III.

THE ONE INSTITUTION.


What our Government can do in this grand Problem of the Working
Classes of England? Yes, supposing the insane Corn-Laws totally
abolished, all speech of them ended, and 'from ten to twenty years of
new possibility to live and find wages' conceded us in consequence:
What the English Government might be expected to accomplish or attempt
towards rendering the existence of our Labouring Millions somewhat
less anomalous, somewhat less impossible, in the years that are to
follow those 'ten or twenty,' if either 'ten' or 'twenty' there be?

It is the most momentous question. For all this of the Corn-Law
Abrogation, and what can follow therefrom, is but as the shadow on
King Hezekiah's Dial: the shadow has gone back twenty years; but will
again, in spite of Free-Trades and Abrogations, travel forward its old
fated way. With our present system of individual Mammonism, and
Government by Laissez-faire, this Nation cannot live. And if, in the
priceless interim, some new life and healing be not found, there is no
second respite to be counted on. The shadow on the Dial advances
thenceforth without pausing. What Government can do? This that they
call 'Organising of Labour' is, if well understood, the Problem of the
whole Future, for all who will in future pretend to govern men. But
our first preliminary stage of it, How to deal with the Actual
Labouring Millions of England? this is the imperatively pressing
Problem of the Present, pressing with a truly fearful intensity and
imminence in these very years and days. No Government can longer
neglect it: once more, what can our Government do in it?

       *       *       *       *       *

Governments are of very various degrees of activity: some, altogether
Lazy Governments, in 'free countries' as they are called, seem in
these times almost to profess to do, if not nothing, one knows not at
first what. To debate in Parliament, and gain majorities; and
ascertain who shall be, with a toil hardly second to Ixion's, the
Prime Speaker and Spoke-holder, and keep the Ixion's-Wheel going, if
not forward, yet round? Not altogether so:--much, to the experienced
eye, is not what it seems! Chancery and certain other Law-Courts seem
nothing; yet in fact they are, the worst of them, something: chimneys
for the devilry and contention of men to escape by;--a very
considerable something! Parliament too has its tasks, if thou wilt
look; fit to wear-out the lives of toughest men. The celebrated
Kilkenny Cats, through their tumultuous congress, cleaving the ear of
Night, could they be said to do nothing? Hadst thou been of them, thou
hadst seen! The feline Heart laboured, as with steam up--to the
bursting point; and death-doing energy nerved every muscle: they had a
work there; and did it! On the morrow, two tails were found left, and
peaceable annihilation; a neighbourhood _delivered_ from despair.

Again, are not Spinning-Dervishes an eloquent emblem, significant of
much? Hast thou noticed him, that solemn-visaged Turk, the eyes shut;
dingy wool mantle circularly hiding his figure;--bell-shaped; like a
dingy bell set spinning on the _tongue_ of it? By centrifugal force
the dingy wool mantle heaves itself; spreads more and more, like
upturned cup widening into upturned saucer: thus spins he, to the
praise of Allah and advantage of mankind, fast and faster, till
collapse ensue, and sometimes death!--

A Government such as ours, consisting of from seven to eight hundred
Parliamentary Talkers, with their escort of Able Editors and Public
Opinion; and for head, certain Lords and Servants of the Treasury, and
Chief Secretaries and others, who find themselves at once Chiefs and
No-Chiefs, and often commanded rather than commanding,--is doubtless a
most complicate entity, and none of the alertest for getting on with
business! Clearly enough, if the Chiefs be not self-motive and what we
call men, but mere patient lay-figures without self-motive principle,
the Government will not move anywhither; it will tumble disastrously,
and jumble, round its own axis, as for many years past we have seen it
do.--And yet a self-motive man who is not a lay-figure, place him in
the heart of what entity you may, will make it move more or less! The
absurdest in Nature he will make a little _less_ absurd, he. The
unwieldiest he will make to move;--that is the use of his existing
there. He will at least have the manfulness to depart out of it, if
not; to say: "I cannot move in thee, and be a man; like a wretched
drift-log dressed in man's clothes and minister's clothes, doomed to a
lot baser than belongs to man, I will not continue with thee, tumbling
aimless on the Mother of Dead Dogs here:--Adieu!"

For, on the whole, it is the lot of Chiefs everywhere, this same. No
Chief in the most despotic country but was a Servant withal; at once
an absolute commanding General, and a poor Orderly-Sergeant, ordered
by the very men in the ranks,--obliged to collect the vote of the
ranks too, in some articulate or inarticulate shape, and weigh well
the same. The proper name of all Kings is Minister, Servant. In no
conceivable Government can a lay-figure get forward! _This_ Worker,
surely he above all others has to 'spread out his Gideon's Fleece,'
and collect the monitions of Immensity; the poor Localities, as we
said, and Parishes of Palace-yard or elsewhere, having no due monition
in them. A Prime Minister, even here in England, who shall dare
believe the heavenly omens, and address himself like a man and hero to
the great dumb-struggling heart of England; and speak out for it, and
act out for it, the God's-Justice it is writhing to get uttered and
perishing for want of,--yes, he too will see awaken round him, in
passionate burning all-defiant loyalty, the heart of England, and such
a 'support' as no Division-List or Parliamentary Majority was ever yet
known to yield a man! Here as there, now as then, he who can and dare
trust the heavenly Immensities, all earthly Localities are subject to
him. We will pray for such a Man and First-Lord;--yes, and far better,
we will strive and incessantly make ready, each of us, to be worthy to
serve and second such a First-Lord! We shall then be as good as sure
of his arriving; sure of many things, let him arrive or not.

       *       *       *       *       *

Who can despair of Governments that passes a Soldier's Guard-house, or
meets a redcoated man on the streets! That a body of men could be got
together to kill other men when you bade them: this, _a priori_, does
it not seem one of the impossiblest things? Yet look, behold it: in
the stolidest of Donothing Governments, that impossibility is a thing
done. See it there, with buff belts, red coats on its back; walking
sentry at guard-houses, brushing white breeches in barracks; an
indisputable palpable fact. Out of gray Antiquity, amid all
finance-difficulties, _scaccarium_-tallies, ship-moneys,
coat-and-conduct moneys, and vicissitudes of Chance and Time, there,
down to the present blessed hour, it is.

Often, in these painfully decadent and painfully nascent Times, with
their distresses, inarticulate gaspings and 'impossibilities;' meeting
a tall Lifeguardsman in his snow-white trousers, or seeing those two
statuesque Lifeguardsmen in their frowning bearskins, pipe-clayed
buckskins, on their coal-black sleek-fiery quadrupeds, riding sentry
at the Horse-Guards,--it strikes one with a kind of mournful interest,
how, in such universal down-rushing and wrecked impotence of almost
all old institutions, this oldest Fighting Institution is still so
young! Fresh-complexioned, firm-limbed, six feet by the standard, this
fighting-man has verily been got up, and can fight. While so much has
not yet got into being; while so much has gone gradually out of it,
and become an empty Semblance or Clothes-suit; and highest
king's-cloaks, mere chimeras parading under them so long, are getting
unsightly to the earnest eye, unsightly, almost offensive, like a
costlier kind of scarecrow's-blanket,--here still is a reality!

The man in horsehair wig advances, promising that he will get me
'justice:' he takes me into Chancery Law-Courts, into decades,
half-centuries of hubbub, of distracted jargon; and does _get_
me--disappointment, almost desperation; and one refuge: that of
dismissing him and his 'justice' altogether out of my head. For I have
work to do; I cannot spend my decades in mere arguing with other men
about the exact wages of my work: I will work cheerfully with no
wages, sooner than with a ten-years gangrene or Chancery Lawsuit in my
heart! He of the horsehair wig is a sort of failure; no substance, but
a fond imagination of the mind. He of the shovel-hat, again, who comes
forward professing that he will save my soul--O ye Eternities, of him
in this place be absolute silence!--But he of the red coat, I say, is
a success and no failure! He will veritably, if he get orders, draw
out a long sword and kill me. No mistake there. He is a fact and not a
shadow. Alive in this Year Forty-three, able and willing to do _his_
work. In dim old centuries, with William Rufus, William of Ipres, or
far earlier, he began; and has come down safe so far. Catapult has
given place to cannon, pike has given place to musket, iron mail-shirt
to coat of red cloth, saltpetre ropematch to percussion-cap;
equipments, circumstances have all changed, and again changed: but the
human battle-engine in the inside of any or of each of these, ready
still to do battle, stands there, six feet in standard size. There are
Pay-Offices, Woolwich Arsenals, there is a Horse-Guards, War-Office,
Captain-General; persuasive Sergeants, with tap of drum, recruit in
market-towns and villages;--and, on the whole, I say, here is your
actual drilled fighting-man; here are your actual Ninety-thousand of
such, ready to go into any quarter of the world and fight!

Strange, interesting, and yet most mournful to reflect on. Was this,
then, of all the things mankind had some talent for, the one thing
important to learn well, and bring to perfection; this of successfully
killing one another? Truly you have learned it well, and carried the
business to a high perfection. It is incalculable what, by arranging,
commanding and regimenting, you can make of men. These thousand
straight-standing firmset individuals, who shoulder arms, who march,
wheel, advance, retreat; and are, for your behoof, a magazine charged
with fiery death, in the most perfect condition of potential activity:
few months ago, till the persuasive sergeant came, what were they?
Multiform ragged losels, runaway apprentices, starved weavers,
thievish valets; an entirely broken population, fast tending towards
the treadmill. But the persuasive sergeant came; by tap of drum
enlisted, or formed lists of them, took heartily to drilling
them;--and he and you have made them this! Most potent, effectual for
all work whatsoever, is wise planning, firm combining and commanding
among men. Let no man despair of Governments who looks on these two
sentries at the Horse-Guards and our United-Service Clubs! I could
conceive an Emigration Service, a Teaching Service, considerable
varieties of United and Separate Services, of the due thousands
strong, all effective as this Fighting Service is; all doing _their_
work, like it;--which work, much more than fighting, is henceforth the
necessity of these New Ages we are got into! Much lies among us,
convulsively, nigh desperately _struggling to be born_.

But mean Governments, as mean-limited individuals do, have stood by
the physically indispensable; have realised that and nothing more. The
Soldier is perhaps one of the most difficult things to realise; but
Governments, had they not realised him, could not have existed:
accordingly he is here. O Heavens, if we saw an army ninety-thousand
strong, maintained and fully equipt, in continual real action and
battle against Human Starvation, against Chaos, Necessity, Stupidity,
and our real 'natural enemies,' what a business were it! Fighting and
molesting not 'the French,' who, poor men, have a hard enough battle
of their own in the like kind, and need no additional molesting from
us; but fighting and incessantly spearing down and destroying
Falsehood, Nescience, Delusion, Disorder, and the Devil and his
Angels! Thou thyself, cultivated reader, hast done something in that
alone true warfare; but, alas, under what circumstances was it? Thee
no beneficent drill-sergeant, with any effectiveness, would rank in
line beside thy fellows; train, like a true didactic artist, by the
wit of all past experience, to do thy soldiering; encourage thee when
right, punish thee when wrong, and everywhere with wise
word-of-command say, Forward on this hand, Forward on that! Ah, no:
thou hadst to learn thy small-sword and platoon exercise where and how
thou couldst; to all mortals but thyself it was indifferent whether
thou shouldst ever learn it. And the rations, and shilling a day, were
they provided thee,--reduced as I have known brave Jean-Pauls,
learning their exercise, to live on 'water _without_ the bread'? The
rations; or any furtherance of promotion to corporalship,
lance-corporalship, or due cat-o'-nine tails, with the slightest
reference to thy deserts, were not provided. Forethought, even as of a
pipe-clayed drill-sergeant, did not preside over thee. To
corporalship, lance-corporalship, thou didst attain; alas, also to the
halberts and cat: but thy rewarder and punisher seemed blind as the
Deluge: neither lance-corporalship, nor even drummer's cat, because
both appeared delirious, brought thee due profit.

It was well, all this, we know;--and yet it was not well! Forty
soldiers, I am told, will disperse the largest Spitalfields mob: forty
to ten-thousand, that is the proportion between drilled and undrilled.
Much there is which cannot yet be organised in this world; but
somewhat also which can, somewhat also which must. When one thinks,
for example, what Books are become and becoming for us, what Operative
Lancashires are become; what a Fourth Estate, and innumerable
Virtualities not yet got to be Actualities are become and
becoming,--one sees Organisms enough in the dim huge Future; and
'United Services' quite other than the redcoat one; and much, even in
these years, struggling to be born!

Of Time-Bill, Factory-Bill and other such Bills the present Editor
has no authority to speak. He knows not, it is for others than he to
know, in what specific ways it may be feasible to interfere, with
Legislation, between the Workers and the Master-Workers;--knows only
and sees, what all men are beginning to see, that Legislative
interference, and interferences not a few are indispensable; that as a
lawless anarchy of supply-and-demand, on market-wages alone, this
province of things cannot longer be left. Nay interference has begun:
there are already Factory Inspectors,--who seem to have no _lack_ of
work. Perhaps there might be Mine-Inspectors too:--might there not be
Furrowfield Inspectors withal, and ascertain for us how on seven and
sixpence a week a human family does live! Interference has begun; it
must continue, must extensively enlarge itself, deepen and sharpen
itself. Such things cannot longer be idly lapped in darkness, and
suffered to go on unseen: the Heavens do see them; the curse, not the
blessing of the Heavens is on an Earth that refuses to see them.

Again, are not Sanitary Regulations possible for a Legislature? The
old Romans had their Ædiles; who would, I think, in direct
contravention to supply-and-demand, have rigorously seen rammed up
into total abolition many a foul cellar in our Southwarks,
Saint-Gileses, and dark poison-lanes; saying sternly, "Shall a Roman
man dwell there?" The Legislature, at whatever cost of consequences,
would have had to answer, "God forbid!"--The Legislature, even as it
now is, could order all dingy Manufacturing Towns to cease from their
soot and darkness; to let-in the blessed sunlight, the blue of Heaven,
and become clear and clean; to burn their coal-smoke, namely, and make
flame of it. Baths, free air, a wholesome temperature, ceilings twenty
feet high, might be ordained, by Act of Parliament, in all
establishments licensed as Mills. There are such Mills already
extant;--honour to the builders of them! The Legislature can say to
others: Go ye and do likewise; better if you can.

Every toiling Manchester, its smoke and soot all burnt, ought it not,
among so many world-wide conquests, to have a hundred acres or so of
free greenfield, with trees on it, conquered, for its little children
to disport in; for its all-conquering workers to take a breath of
twilight air in? You would say so! A willing Legislature could say so
with effect. A willing Legislature could say very many things! And to
whatsoever 'vested interest,' or suchlike, stood up, gainsaying
merely, "I shall lose profits,"--the willing Legislature would answer,
"Yes, but my sons and daughters will gain health, and life, and a
soul."--"What is to become of our Cotton-trade?" cried certain
Spinners, when the Factory Bill was proposed; "What is to become of
our invaluable Cotton-trade?" The Humanity of England answered
steadfastly: "Deliver me these rickety perishing souls of infants, and
let your Cotton-trade take its chance. God Himself commands the one
thing; not God especially the other thing. We cannot have prosperous
Cotton-trades at the expense of keeping the Devil a partner in
them!"--

Bills enough, were the Corn-Law Abrogation Bill once passed, and a
Legislature willing! Nay this one Bill, which lies yet unenacted, a
right Education Bill, is not this of itself the sure parent of
innumerable wise Bills,--wise regulations, practical methods and
proposals, gradually ripening towards the state of Bills? To irradiate
with intelligence, that is to say, with order, arrangement and all
blessedness, the Chaotic, Unintelligent: how, except by educating,
_can_ you accomplish this? That thought, reflection, articulate
utterance and understanding be awakened in these individual million
heads, which are the atoms of your Chaos: there is no other way of
illuminating any Chaos! The sum-total of intelligence that is found in
it, determines the extent of order that is possible for your
Chaos,--the feasibility and rationality of what your Chaos will dimly
demand from you, and will gladly obey when proposed by you! It is an
exact equation; the one accurately measures the other.--If the whole
English People, during these 'twenty years of respite,' be not
educated, with at least schoolmaster's educating, a tremendous
responsibility, before God and men, will rest somewhere! How dare any
man, especially a man calling himself minister of God, stand up in any
Parliament or place, under any pretext or delusion, and for a day or
an hour forbid God's Light to come into the world, and bid the Devil's
Darkness continue in it one hour more! For all light and science,
under all shapes, in all degrees of perfection, is of God; all
darkness, nescience, is of the Enemy of God. 'The schoolmaster's creed
is somewhat awry?' Yes, I have found few creeds entirely correct; few
light-beams shining _white_, pure of admixture: but of all creeds and
religions now or ever before known, was not that of thoughtless
thriftless Animalism, of Distilled Gin, and Stupor and Despair,
unspeakably the least orthodox? We will exchange _it_ even with
Paganism, with Fetishism; and, on the whole, must exchange it with
something.

An effective 'Teaching Service' I do consider that there must be; some
Education Secretary, Captain-General of Teachers, who will actually
contrive to get us _taught_. Then again, why should there not be an
'Emigration Service,' and Secretary, with adjuncts, with funds,
forces, idle Navy-ships, and ever-increasing apparatus; in fine an
_effective system_ of Emigration; so that, at length, before our
twenty years of respite ended, every honest willing Workman who found
England too strait, and the 'Organisation of Labour' not yet
sufficiently advanced, might find likewise a bridge built to carry him
into new Western Lands, there to 'organise' with more elbow-room some
labour for himself? There to be a real blessing, raising new corn for
us, purchasing new webs and hatchets from us; leaving us at least in
peace;--instead of staying here to be a Physical-Force Chartist,
unblessed and no blessing! Is it not scandalous to consider that a
Prime Minister could raise within the year, as I have seen it done, a
Hundred and Twenty Millions Sterling to shoot the French; and we are
stopt short for want of the hundredth part of that to keep the English
living? The bodies of the English living, and the souls of the English
living:--these two 'Services,' an Education Service and an Emigration
Service, these with others will actually have to be organised!

A free bridge for Emigrants: why, we should then be on a par with
America itself, the most favoured of all lands that have no
government; and we should have, besides, so many traditions and
mementos of priceless things which America has cast away. We could
proceed deliberately to 'organise Labour,' not doomed to perish unless
we effected it within year and day;--every willing Worker that proved
superfluous, finding a bridge ready for him. This verily will have to
be done; the Time is big with this. Our little Isle is grown too
narrow for us; but the world is wide enough yet for another Six
Thousand Years. England's sure markets will be among new Colonies of
Englishmen in all quarters of the Globe. All men trade with all men,
when mutually convenient; and are even bound to do it by the Maker of
men. Our friends of China, who guiltily refused to trade, in these
circumstances,--had we not to argue with them, in cannon-shot at last,
and convince them that they ought to trade! 'Hostile Tariffs' will
arise, to shut us out; and then again will fall, to let us in: but the
Sons of England, speakers of the English language were it nothing
more, will in all times have the ineradicable predisposition to trade
with England. Mycale was the _Pan-Ionian_, rendezvous of all the
Tribes of Ion, for old Greece; why should not London long continue the
_All-Saxon-home_, rendezvous of all the 'Children of the Harz-Rock,'
arriving, in select samples, from the Antipodes and elsewhere, by
steam and otherwise, to the 'season' here!--What a Future; wide as the
world, if we have the heart and heroism for it,--which, by Heaven's
blessing, we shall:

    'Keep not standing fixed and rooted,
    Briskly venture, briskly roam;
    Head and hand, where'er thou foot it,
    And stout heart are still at home.

    In what land the sun does visit,
    Brisk are we, whate'er betide:
    To give space for wandering is it
    That the world was made so wide.'[28]

Fourteen hundred years ago, it was by a considerable 'Emigration
Service,' never doubt it, by much enlistment, discussion and
apparatus, that we ourselves arrived in this remarkable Island,--and
got into our present difficulties among others!

       *       *       *       *       *

It is true the English Legislature, like the English People, is of
slow temper; essentially conservative. In our wildest periods of
reform, in the Long Parliament itself, you notice always the
invincible instinct to hold fast by the Old; to admit the _minimum_ of
New; to expand, if it be possible, some old habit or method, already
found fruitful, into new growth for the new need. It is an instinct
worthy of all honour; akin to all strength and all wisdom. The Future
hereby is not dissevered from the Past, but based continuously on it;
grows with all the vitalities of the Past, and is rooted down deep
into the beginnings of us. The English Legislature is entirely
repugnant to believe in 'new epochs.' The English Legislature does not
occupy itself with epochs; has, indeed, other business to do than
looking at the Time-Horologe and hearing it tick! Nevertheless new
epochs do actually come; and with them new imperious peremptory
necessities; so that even an English Legislature has to look up, and
admit, though with reluctance, that the hour has struck. The hour
having struck, let us not say 'impossible:'--it will have to be
possible! 'Contrary to the habits of Parliament, the habits of
Government?' Yes: but did any Parliament or Government ever sit in a
Year Forty-three before? One of the most original, unexampled years
and epochs; in several important respects totally unlike any other!
For Time, all-edacious and all-feracious, does run on: and the Seven
Sleepers, awakening hungry after a hundred years, find that it is not
their old nurses who can now give them suck!

For the rest, let not any Parliament, Aristocracy, Millocracy, or
Member of the Governing Class, condemn with much triumph this small
specimen of 'remedial measures;' or ask again, with the least anger,
of this Editor, What is to be done, How that alarming problem of the
Working Classes is to be managed? Editors are not here, foremost of
all, to say How. A certain Editor thanks the gods that nobody pays him
three hundred thousand pounds a year, two hundred thousand, twenty
thousand, or any similar sum of cash for saying How;--that his wages
are very different, his work somewhat fitter for him. An Editor's
stipulated work is to apprise _thee_ that it must be done. The 'way to
do it,'--is to try it, knowing that thou shalt die if it be not done.
There is the bare back, there is the web of cloth; thou shalt cut me a
coat to cover the bare back, thou whose trade it is. 'Impossible?'
Hapless Fraction, dost thou discern Fate there, half unveiling herself
in the gloom of the future, with her gibbet-cords, her steel-whips,
and very authentic Tailor's Hell; waiting to see whether it is
'possible'? Out with thy scissors, and cut that cloth or thy own
windpipe!

FOOTNOTES:

[28] Goethe, _Wilhelm Meister_.



CHAPTER IV.

CAPTAINS OF INDUSTRY.


If I believed that Mammonism with its adjuncts was to continue
henceforth the one serious principle of our existence, I should reckon
it idle to solicit remedial measures from any Government, the disease
being insusceptible of remedy. Government can do much, but it can in
no wise do all. Government, as the most conspicuous object in Society,
is called upon to give signal of what shall be done; and, in many
ways, to preside over, further, and command the doing of it. But the
Government cannot do, by all its signaling and commanding, what the
Society is radically indisposed to do. In the long-run every
Government is the exact symbol of its People, with their wisdom and
unwisdom; we have to say, Like People like Government.--The main
substance of this immense Problem of Organising Labour, and first of
all of Managing the Working Classes, will, it is very clear, have to
be solved by those who stand practically in the middle of it; by those
who themselves work and preside over work. Of all that can be enacted
by any Parliament in regard to it, the germs must already lie
potentially extant in those two Classes, who are to obey such
enactment. A Human Chaos _in_ which there is no light, you vainly
attempt to irradiate by light shed _on_ it: order never can arise
there.

But it is my firm conviction that the 'Hell of England' will _cease_
to be that of 'not making money;' that we shall get a nobler Hell and
a nobler Heaven! I anticipate light _in_ the Human Chaos, glimmering,
shining more and more; under manifold true signals from without That
light shall shine. Our deity no longer being Mammon,--O Heavens, each
man will then say to himself: "Why such deadly haste to make money? I
shall not go to Hell, even if I do not make money! There is another
Hell, I am told!" Competition, at railway-speed, in all branches of
commerce and work will then abate:--good felt-hats for the head, in
every sense, instead of seven-feet lath-and-plaster hats on wheels,
will then be discoverable! Bubble-periods, with their panics and
commercial crises, will again become infrequent; steady modest
industry will take the place of gambling speculation. To be a noble
Master, among noble Workers, will again be the first ambition with
some few; to be a rich Master only the second. How the Inventive
Genius of England, with the whirr of its bobbins and billy-rollers
shoved somewhat into the backgrounds of the brain, will contrive and
devise, not cheaper produce exclusively, but fairer distribution of
the produce at its present cheapness! By degrees, we shall again have
a Society with something of Heroism in it, something of Heaven's
Blessing on it; we shall again have, as my German friend asserts,
'instead of Mammon-Feudalism with unsold cotton-shirts and
Preservation of the Game, noble just Industrialism and Government by
the Wisest!'

It is with the hope of awakening here and there a British man to know
himself for a man and divine soul, that a few words of parting
admonition, to all persons to whom the Heavenly Powers have lent power
of any kind in this land, may now be addressed. And first to those
same Master-Workers, Leaders of Industry; who stand nearest and in
fact powerfulest, though not most prominent, being as yet in too many
senses a Virtuality rather than an Actuality.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Leaders of Industry, if Industry is ever to be led, are virtually
the Captains of the World; if there be no nobleness in them, there
will never be an Aristocracy more. But let the Captains of Industry
consider: once again, are they born of other clay than the old
Captains of Slaughter; doomed forever to be no Chivalry, but a mere
gold-plated _Doggery_,--what the French well name _Canaille_,
'Doggery' with more or less gold carrion at its disposal? Captains of
Industry are the true Fighters, henceforth recognisable as the only
true ones: Fighters against Chaos, Necessity and the Devils and
Jötuns; and lead on Mankind in that great, and alone true, and
universal warfare; the stars in their courses fighting for them, and
all Heaven and all Earth saying audibly, Well done! Let the Captains
of Industry retire into their own hearts, and ask solemnly, If there
is nothing but vulturous hunger, for fine wines, valet reputation and
gilt carriages, discoverable there? Of hearts made by the Almighty God
I will not believe such a thing. Deep-hidden under wretchedest
god-forgetting Cants, Epicurisms, Dead-Sea Apisms; forgotten as under
foulest fat Lethe mud and weeds, there is yet, in all hearts born into
this God's-World, a spark of the Godlike slumbering. Awake, O
nightmare sleepers; awake, arise, or be forever fallen! This is not
playhouse poetry; it is sober fact. Our England, our world cannot live
as it is. It will connect itself with a God again, or go down with
nameless throes and fire-consummation to the Devils. Thou who feelest
aught of such a Godlike stirring in thee, any faintest intimation of
it as through heavy-laden dreams, follow _it_, I conjure thee. Arise,
save thyself, be one of those that save thy country.

Bucaniers, Chactaw Indians, whose supreme aim in fighting is that
they may get the scalps, the money, that they may amass scalps and
money: out of such came no Chivalry, and never will! Out of such came
only gore and wreck, infernal rage and misery; desperation quenched in
annihilation. Behold it, I bid thee, behold there, and consider! What
is it that thou have a hundred thousand-pound bills laid-up in thy
strong-room, a hundred scalps hung-up in thy wigwam? I value not them
or thee. Thy scalps and thy thousand-pound bills are as yet nothing,
if no nobleness from within irradiate them; if no Chivalry, in action,
or in embryo ever struggling towards birth and action, be there.

Love of men cannot be bought by cash-payment; and without love men
cannot endure to be together. You cannot lead a Fighting World without
having it regimented, chivalried: the thing, in a day, becomes
impossible; all men in it, the highest at first, the very lowest at
last, discern consciously, or by a noble instinct, this necessity. And
can you any more continue to lead a Working World unregimented,
anarchic? I answer, and the Heavens and Earth are now answering, No!
The thing becomes not 'in a day' impossible; but in some two
generations it does. Yes, when fathers and mothers, in Stockport
hunger-cellars, begin to eat their children, and Irish widows have to
prove their relationship by dying of typhus-fever; and amid Governing
'Corporations of the Best and Bravest,' busy to preserve their
game by 'bushing,' dark millions of God's human creatures start
up in mad Chartisms, impracticable Sacred-Months, and Manchester
Insurrections;--and there is a virtual Industrial Aristocracy as yet
only half-alive, spell-bound amid money-bags and ledgers; and an
actual Idle Aristocracy seemingly near dead in somnolent delusions, in
trespasses and double-barrels; 'sliding,' as on inclined-planes,
which every new year they _soap_ with new Hansard's-jargon under God's
sky, and so are 'sliding,' ever faster, towards a 'scale' and
balance-scale whereon is written _Thou art found Wanting_:--in such
days, after a generation or two, I say, it does become, even to the
low and simple, very palpably impossible! No Working World, any more
than a Fighting World, can be led on without a noble Chivalry of Work,
and laws and fixed rules which follow out of that,--far nobler than
any Chivalry of Fighting was. As an anarchic multitude on mere
Supply-and-demand, it is becoming inevitable that we dwindle in horrid
suicidal convulsion and self-abrasion, frightful to the imagination,
into _Chactaw_ Workers. With wigwams and scalps,--with palaces and
thousand-pound bills; with savagery, depopulation, chaotic desolation!
Good Heavens, will not one French Revolution and Reign of Terror
suffice us, but must there be two? There will be two if needed; there
will be twenty if needed; there will be precisely as many as are
needed. The Laws of Nature will have themselves fulfilled. That is a
thing certain to me.

Your gallant battle-hosts and work-hosts, as the others did, will need
to be made loyally yours; they must and will be regulated,
methodically secured in their just share of conquest under
you;--joined with you in veritable brotherhood, sonhood, by quite
other and deeper ties than those of temporary day's wages! How would
mere redcoated regiments, to say nothing of chivalries, fight for you,
if you could discharge them on the evening of the battle, on payment
of the stipulated shillings,--and they discharge you on the morning of
it! Chelsea Hospitals, pensions, promotions, rigorous lasting covenant
on the one side and on the other, are indispensable even for a hired
fighter. The Feudal Baron, much more,--how could he subsist with mere
temporary mercenaries round him, at sixpence a day; ready to go over
to the other side, if sevenpence were offered? He could not have
subsisted;--and his noble instinct saved him from the necessity of
even trying! The Feudal Baron had a Man's Soul in him; to which
anarchy, mutiny, and the other fruits of temporary mercenaries, were
intolerable: he had never been a Baron otherwise, but had continued a
Chactaw and Bucanier. He felt it precious, and at last it became
habitual, and his fruitful enlarged existence included it as a
necessity, to have men round him who in heart loved him; whose life he
watched over with rigour yet with love; who were prepared to give
their life for him, if need came. It was beautiful; it was human! Man
lives not otherwise, nor can live contented, anywhere or any-when.
Isolation is the sum-total of wretchedness to man. To be cut off, to
be left solitary: to have a world alien, not your world; all a hostile
camp for you; not a home at all, of hearts and faces who are yours,
whose you are! It is the frightfulest enchantment; too truly a work of
the Evil One. To have neither superior, nor inferior, nor equal,
united manlike to you. Without father, without child, without brother.
Man knows no sadder destiny. 'How is each of us,' exclaims Jean Paul,
'so lonely in the wide bosom of the All!' Encased each as in his
transparent 'ice-palace;' our brother visible in his, making signals
and gesticulations to us;--visible, but forever unattainable: on his
bosom we shall never rest, nor he on ours. It was not a God that did
this; no!

Awake, ye noble Workers, warriors in the one true war: all this must
be remedied. It is you who are already half-alive, whom I will welcome
into life; whom I will conjure, in God's name, to shake off your
enchanted sleep, and live wholly! Cease to count scalps, gold-purses;
not in these lies your or our salvation. Even these, if you count only
these, will not long be left. Let bucaniering be put far from you;
alter, speedily abrogate all laws of the bucaniers, if you would gain
any victory that shall endure. Let God's justice, let pity, nobleness
and manly valour, with more gold-purses or with fewer, testify
themselves in this your brief Life-transit to all the Eternities, the
Gods and Silences. It is to you I call; for ye are not dead, ye are
already half-alive: there is in you a sleepless dauntless energy, the
prime-matter of all nobleness in man. Honour to you in your kind. It
is to you I call: ye know at least this, That the mandate of God to
His creature man is: Work! The future Epic of the World rests not with
those that are near dead, but with those that are alive, and those
that are coming into life.

Look around you. Your world-hosts are all in mutiny, in confusion,
destitution; on the eve of fiery wreck and madness! They will not
march farther for you, on the sixpence a day and supply-and-demand
principle: they will not; nor ought they, nor can they. Ye shall
reduce them to order, begin reducing them. To order, to just
subordination; noble loyalty in return for noble guidance. Their souls
are driven nigh mad; let yours be sane and ever saner. Not as a
bewildered bewildering mob; but as a firm regimented mass, with real
captains over them, will these men march any more. All human
interests, combined human endeavours, and social growths in this
world, have, at a certain stage of their development, required
organising: and Work, the grandest of human interests, does now
require it.

God knows, the task will be hard: but no noble task was ever easy.
This task will wear away your lives, and the lives of your sons and
grandsons: but for what purpose, if not for tasks like this, were
lives given to men? Ye shall cease to count your thousand-pound
scalps, the noble of you shall cease! Nay the very scalps, as I say,
will not long be left if you count only these. Ye shall cease wholly
to be barbarous vulturous Chactaws, and become noble European
Nineteenth-Century Men. Ye shall know that Mammon, in never such gigs
and flunky 'respectabilities,' is not the alone God; that of himself
he is but a Devil, and even a Brute-god.

Difficult? Yes, it will be difficult. The short-fibre cotton; that too
was difficult. The waste cotton-shrub, long useless, disobedient, as
the thistle by the wayside,--have ye not conquered it; made it into
beautiful bandana webs; white woven shirts for men; bright-tinted
air-garments wherein flit goddesses? Ye have shivered mountains
asunder, made the hard iron pliant to you as soft putty: the
Forest-giants, Marsh-jötuns bear sheaves of golden-grain; Ægir the
Sea-demon himself stretches his back for a sleek highway to you, and
on Firehorses and Windhorses ye career. Ye are most strong. Thor
red-bearded, with his blue sun-eyes, with his cheery heart and strong
thunder-hammer, he and you have prevailed. Ye are most strong, ye Sons
of the icy North, of the far East,--far marching from your rugged
Eastern Wildernesses, hitherward from the gray Dawn of Time! Ye are
Sons of the _Jötun_-land; the land of Difficulties Conquered.
Difficult? You must try this thing. Once try it with the understanding
that it will and shall have to be done. Try it as ye try the paltrier
thing, making of money! I will bet on you once more, against all
Jötuns, Tailor-gods, Double-barrelled Law-wards, and Denizens of Chaos
whatsoever!



CHAPTER V.

PERMANENCE.


Standing on the threshold, nay as yet outside the threshold, of a
'Chivalry of Labour,' and an immeasurable Future which it is to fill
with fruitfulness and verdant shade; where so much has not yet come
even to the rudimental state, and all speech of positive enactments
were hazardous in those who know this business only by the eye,--let
us here hint at simply one widest universal principle, as the basis
from which all organisation hitherto has grown up among men, and all
henceforth will have to grow: The principle of Permanent Contract
instead of Temporary.

       *       *       *       *       *

Permanent not Temporary:--you do not hire the mere redcoated fighter
by the day, but by the score of years! Permanence, persistence is the
first condition of all fruitfulness in the ways of men. The 'tendency
to persevere,' to persist in spite of hindrances, discouragements and
'impossibilities:' it is this that in all things distinguishes the
strong soul from the weak; the civilised burgher from the nomadic
savage,--the Species Man from the Genus Ape! The Nomad has his very
house set on wheels; the Nomad, and in a still higher degree the Ape,
are all for 'liberty;' the privilege to flit continually is
indispensable for them. Alas, in how many ways, does our humour, in
this swift-rolling, self-abrading Time, show itself nomadic, apelike;
mournful enough to him that looks on it with eyes! This humour will
have to abate; it is the first element of all fertility in human
things, that such 'liberty' of apes and nomads do by freewill or
constraint abridge itself, give place to a better. The civilised man
lives not in wheeled houses. He builds stone castles, plants lands,
makes lifelong marriage-contracts;--has long-dated hundred-fold
possessions, not to be valued in the money-market; has pedigrees,
libraries, law-codes; has memories and hopes, even for this Earth,
that reach over thousands of years. Lifelong marriage-contracts: how
much preferable were year-long or month-long--to the nomad or ape!

Month-long contracts please me little, in any province where there can
by possibility be found virtue enough for more. Month-long contracts
do not answer well even with your house-servants; the liberty on both
sides to change every month is growing very apelike, nomadic;--and I
hear philosophers predict that it will alter, or that strange results
will follow: that wise men, pestered with nomads, with unattached
ever-shifting spies and enemies rather than friends and servants, will
gradually, weighing substance against semblance, with indignation,
dismiss such, down almost to the very shoeblack, and say, "Begone; I
will serve myself rather, and have peace!" Gurth was hired for life to
Cedric, and Cedric to Gurth. O Anti-Slavery Convention, loud-sounding
long-eared Exeter-Hall--But in thee too is a kind of instinct towards
justice, and I will complain of nothing. Only black Quashee over the
seas being once sufficiently attended to, wilt thou not perhaps open
thy dull sodden eyes to the 'sixty-thousand valets in London itself
who are yearly dismissed to the streets, to be what they can, when the
season ends;'--or to the hunger-stricken, pallid, _yellow_-coloured
'Free Labourers' in Lancashire, Yorkshire, Buckinghamshire, and all
other shires! These Yellow-coloured, for the present, absorb all my
sympathies: if I had a Twenty Millions, with Model-Farms and Niger
Expeditions, it is to these that I would give it! Quashee has already
victuals, clothing; Quashee is not dying of such despair as the
yellow-coloured pale man's. Quashee, it must be owned, is hitherto a
kind of blockhead. The Haiti Duke of Marmalade, educated now for
almost half a century, seems to have next to no sense in him. Why, in
one of those Lancashire Weavers, dying of hunger, there is more
thought and heart, a greater arithmetical amount of misery and
desperation, than in whole gangs of Quashees. It must be owned, thy
eyes are of the sodden sort; and with thy emancipations, and thy
twenty-millionings and long-eared clamourings, thou, like Robespierre
with his pasteboard _Être Suprême_, threatenest to become a bore to
us: _Avec ton Être Suprême tu commences m'embêter!_--

       *       *       *       *       *

In a Printed Sheet of the assiduous, much-abused, and truly useful Mr.
Chadwick's, containing queries and responses from far and near as to
this great question, 'What is the effect of education on working-men,
in respect of their value as mere workers?' the present Editor,
reading with satisfaction a decisive unanimous verdict as to
Education, reads with inexpressible interest this special remark, put
in by way of marginal incidental note, from a practical manufacturing
Quaker, whom, as he is anonymous, we will call Friend Prudence.
Prudence keeps a thousand workmen; has striven in all ways to attach
them to him; has provided conversational soirées; play-grounds, bands
of music for the young ones; went even 'the length of buying them a
drum:' all which has turned out to be an excellent investment. For a
certain person, marked here by a black stroke, whom we shall name
Blank, living over the way,--he also keeps somewhere about a thousand
men; but has done none of these things for them, nor any other thing,
except due payment of the wages by supply-and-demand. Blank's workers
are perpetually getting into mutiny, into broils and coils: every six
months, we suppose, Blank has a strike; every one month, every day and
every hour, they are fretting and obstructing the shortsighted Blank;
pilfering from him, wasting and idling for him, omitting and
committing for him. "I would not," says Friend Prudence, "exchange my
workers for his _with seven thousand pounds to boot_."[29]

Right, O honourable Prudence; thou art wholly in the right: Seven
thousand pounds even as a matter of profit for this world, nay for the
mere cash-market of this world! And as a matter of profit not for this
world only, but for the other world and all worlds, it outweighs the
Bank of England!--Can the sagacious reader descry here, as it were the
outmost inconsiderable rock-ledge of a universal rock-foundation, deep
once more as the Centre of the World, emerging so, in the experience
of this good Quaker, through the Stygian mud-vortexes and general
Mother of Dead Dogs, whereon, for the present, all swags and
insecurely hovers, as if ready to be swallowed?

       *       *       *       *       *

Some Permanence of Contract is already almost possible; the principle
of Permanence, year by year, better seen into and elaborated, may
enlarge itself, expand gradually on every side into a system. This
once secured, the basis of all good results were laid. Once permanent,
you do not quarrel with the first difficulty on your path, and quit it
in weak disgust; you reflect that it cannot be quitted, that it must
be conquered, a wise arrangement fallen on with regard to it. Ye
foolish Wedded Two, who have quarrelled, between whom the Evil Spirit
has stirred-up transient strife and bitterness, so that
'incompatibility' seems almost nigh, ye are nevertheless the Two who,
by long habit, were it by nothing more, do best of all others suit
each other: it is expedient for your own two foolish selves, to say
nothing of the infants, pedigrees and public in general, that ye agree
again; that ye put away the Evil Spirit, and wisely on both hands
struggle for the guidance of a Good Spirit!

The very horse that is permanent, how much kindlier do his rider and
he work, than the temporary one, hired on any hack principle yet
known! I am for permanence in all things, at the earliest possible
moment, and to the latest possible. Blessed is he that continueth
where he is. Here let us rest, and lay-out seedfields; here let us
learn to dwell. Here, even here, the orchards that we plant will yield
us fruit; the acorns will be wood and pleasant umbrage, if we wait.
How much grows everywhere, if we do but wait! Through the swamps we
will shape causeways, force purifying drains; we will learn to thread
the rocky inaccessibilities; and beaten tracks, worn smooth by mere
travelling of human feet, will form themselves. Not a difficulty but
can transfigure itself into a triumph; not even a deformity but, if
our own soul have imprinted worth on it, will grow dear to us. The
sunny plains and deep indigo transparent skies of Italy are all
indifferent to the great sick heart of a Sir Walter Scott: on the back
of the Apennines, in wild spring weather, the sight of bleak Scotch
firs, and snow-spotted heath and desolation, brings tears into his
eyes.[30]

O unwise mortals that forever change and shift, and say, Yonder, not
Here! Wealth richer than both the Indies lies everywhere for man, if
he will endure. Not his oaks only and his fruit-trees, his very heart
roots itself wherever he will abide;--roots itself, draws nourishment
from the deep fountains of Universal Being! Vagrant Sam-Slicks, who
rove over the Earth doing 'strokes of trade,' what wealth have they?
Horseloads, shiploads of white or yellow metal: in very sooth, what
_are_ these? Slick rests nowhere, he is homeless. He can build stone
or marble houses; but to continue in them is denied him. The wealth of
a man is the number of things which he loves and blesses, which he is
loved and blessed by! The herdsman in his poor clay shealing, where
his very cow and dog are friends to him, and not a cataract but
carries memories for him, and not a mountain-top but nods old
recognition: his life, all encircled as in blessed mother's-arms, is
it poorer than Slick's with the ass-loads of yellow metal on his back?
Unhappy Slick! Alas, there has so much grown nomadic, apelike, with
us: so much will have, with whatever pain, repugnance and
'impossibility,' to alter itself, to fix itself again,--in some wise
way, in any not delirious way!

       *       *       *       *       *

A question arises here: Whether, in some ulterior, perhaps some not
far-distant stage of this 'Chivalry of Labour,' your Master-Worker may
not find it possible, and needful, to grant his Workers permanent
_interest_ in his enterprise and theirs? So that it become, in
practical result, what in essential fact and justice it ever is, a
joint enterprise; all men, from the Chief Master down to the lowest
Overseer and Operative, economically as well as loyally concerned for
it?--Which question I do not answer. The answer, near or else far, is
perhaps, Yes;--and yet one knows the difficulties. Despotism is
essential in most enterprises; I am told, they do not tolerate
'freedom of debate' on board a Seventy-four! Republican senate and
_plebiscita_ would not answer well in Cotton-Mills. And yet observe
there too: Freedom, not nomad's or ape's Freedom, but man's Freedom;
this is indispensable. We must have it, and will have it! To reconcile
Despotism with Freedom:--well, is that such a mystery? Do you not
already know the way? It is to make your Despotism _just_. Rigorous as
Destiny; but just too, as Destiny and its Laws. The Laws of God: all
men obey these, and have no 'Freedom' at all but in obeying them. The
way is already known, part of the way;--and courage and some qualities
are needed for walking on it!

FOOTNOTES:

[29] _Report on the Training of Pauper Children_ (1841), p. 18.

[30] Lockhart's _Life of Scott_.



CHAPTER VI.

THE LANDED.


A man with fifty, with five hundred, with a thousand pounds a day,
given him freely, without condition at all,--on condition, as it now
runs, that he will sit with his hands in his pockets and do no
mischief, pass no Corn-Laws or the like,--he too, you would say, is or
might be a rather strong Worker! He is a Worker with such tools as no
man in this world ever before had. But in practice, very astonishing,
very ominous to look at, he proves not a strong Worker;--you are too
happy if he will prove but a No-worker, do nothing, and not be a
Wrong-worker.

You ask him, at the year's end: "Where is your three-hundred thousand
pound; what have you realised to us with that?" He answers, in
indignant surprise: "Done with it? Who are you that ask? I have eaten
it; I and my flunkies, and parasites, and slaves two-footed and
four-footed, in an ornamental manner; and I am here alive by it; _I_
am realised by it to you!"--It is, as we have often said, such an
answer as was never before given under this Sun. An answer that fills
me with boding apprehension, with foreshadows of despair. O stolid
Use-and-wont of an atheistic Half-century, O Ignavia, Tailor-godhood,
soul-killing Cant, to what passes art thou bringing us!--Out of the
loud-piping whirlwind, audibly to him that has ears, the Highest God
is again announcing in these days: "Idleness shall not be." God has
said it, man cannot gainsay.

Ah, how happy were it, if he this Aristocrat Worker would, in like
manner, see _his_ work and do it! It is frightful seeking another to
do it for him. Guillotines, Meudon Tanneries, and half-a-million men
shot dead, have already been expended in that business; and it is yet
far from done. This man too is something; nay he is a great thing.
Look on him there: a man of manful aspect; something of the
'cheerfulness of pride' still lingering in him. A free air of graceful
stoicism, of easy silent dignity sits well on him; in his heart, could
we reach it, lie elements of generosity, self-sacrificing justice,
true human valour. Why should he, with such appliances, stand an
incumbrance in the Present; perish disastrously out of the Future!
From no section of the Future would we lose these noble courtesies,
impalpable yet all-controlling; these dignified reticences, these
kingly simplicities;--lose aught of what the fruitful Past still gives
us token of, memento of, in this man. Can we not save him:--can he not
help us to save him! A brave man, he too; had not undivine Ignavia,
Hearsay, Speech without meaning,--had not Cant, thousandfold Cant
within him and around him, enveloping him like choke-damp, like thick
Egyptian darkness, thrown his soul into asphyxia, as it were
extinguished his soul; so that he sees not, hears not, and Moses and
all the Prophets address him in vain.

Will he awaken, be alive again, and have a soul; or is this death-fit
very 'death? It is a question of questions, for himself and for us
all! Alas, is there no noble work for this man too? Has not he
thickheaded ignorant boors; lazy, enslaved farmers, weedy lands?
Lands! Has not he weary heavy-laden ploughers of land; immortal souls
of men, ploughing, ditching, day-drudging; bare of back, empty of
stomach, nigh desperate of heart; and none peaceably to help them but
he, under Heaven? Does he find, with his three-hundred thousand
pounds, no noble thing trodden down in the thoroughfares, which it
were godlike to help up? Can he do nothing for his Burns but make a
Gauger of him; lionise him, bedinner him, for a foolish while; then
whistle him down the wind, to desperation and bitter death?--His work
too is difficult, in these modern, far-dislocated ages. But it may be
done; it may be tried;--it must be done.

A modern Duke of Weimar, not a god he either, but a human duke,
levied, as I reckon, in rents and taxes and all incomings whatsoever,
less than several of our English Dukes do in rent alone. The Duke of
Weimar, with these incomings, had to govern, judge, defend, everyway
administer _his_ Dukedom. He does all this as few others did: and he
improves lands besides all this, makes river-embankments, maintains
not soldiers only but Universities and Institutions;--and in his Court
were these four men: Wieland, Herder, Schiller, Goethe. Not as
parasites, which was impossible; not as table-wits and poetic
Katerfeltoes; but as noble Spiritual Men working under a noble
Practical Man. Shielded by him from many miseries; perhaps from many
shortcomings, destructive aberrations. Heaven had sent, once more,
heavenly Light into the world; and this man's honour was that he gave
it welcome. A new noble kind of Clergy, under an old but still noble
kind of King! I reckon that this one Duke of Weimar did more for the
Culture of his Nation than all the English Dukes and _Duces_ now
extant, or that were extant since Henry the Eighth gave them the
Church Lands to eat, have done for theirs!--I am ashamed, I am alarmed
for my English Dukes: what word have I to say?

_If_ our Actual Aristocracy, appointed 'Best-and-Bravest,' will be
wise, how inexpressibly happy for us! If not,--the voice of God from
the whirlwind is very audible to me. Nay, I will thank the Great God,
that He has said, in whatever fearful ways, and just wrath against us,
"Idleness shall be no more!" Idleness? The awakened soul of man, all
but the asphyxied soul of man, turns from it as from worse than death.
It is the life-in-death of Poet Coleridge. That fable of the Dead-Sea
Apes ceases to be a fable. The poor Worker starved to death is not the
saddest of sights. He lies there, dead on his shield; fallen down into
the bosom of his old Mother; with haggard pale face, sorrow-worn, but
stilled now into divine peace, silently appeals to the Eternal God and
all the Universe,--the most silent, the most eloquent of men.

Exceptions,--ah yes, thank Heaven, we know there are exceptions. Our
case were too hard, were there not exceptions, and partial exceptions
not a few, whom we know, and whom we do not know. Honour to the name
of Ashley,--honour to this and the other valiant Abdiel, found
faithful still; who would fain, by work and by word, admonish their
Order not to rush upon destruction! These are they who will, if not
save their Order, postpone the wreck of it;--by whom, under blessing
of the Upper Powers, 'a quiet euthanasia spread over generations,
instead of a swift torture-death concentred into years,' may be
brought about for many things. All honour and success to these. The
noble man can still strive nobly to save and serve his Order;--at
lowest, he can remember the precept of the Prophet: "Come out of her,
my people; come out of her!"

       *       *       *       *       *

To sit idle aloft, like living statues, like absurd Epicurus'-gods, in
pampered isolation, in exclusion from the glorious fateful battlefield
of this God's-World: it is a poor life for a man, when all
Upholsterers and French-Cooks have done their utmost for it!--Nay
what a shallow delusion is this we have all got into, That any man
should or can keep himself apart from men, have 'no business' with
them, except a cash-account 'business'! It is the silliest tale a
distressed generation of men ever took to telling one another. Men
cannot live isolated: we _are_ all bound together, for mutual good or
else for mutual misery, as living nerves in the same body. No highest
man can disunite himself from any lowest. Consider it. Your poor
'Werter blowing out his distracted existence because Charlotte will
not have the keeping thereof:' this is no peculiar phasis; it is
simply the highest expression of a phasis traceable wherever one human
creature meets another! Let the meanest crookbacked Thersites teach
the supremest Agamemnon that he actually does not reverence him, the
supremest Agamemnon's eyes flash fire responsive; a real pain and
partial insanity has seized Agamemnon. Strange enough: a
many-counselled Ulysses is set in motion by a scoundrel-blockhead;
plays tunes, like a barrel-organ, at the scoundrel-blockhead's
touch,--has to snatch, namely, his sceptre-cudgel, and weal the
crooked back with bumps and thumps! Let a chief of men reflect well on
it. Not in having 'no business' with men, but in having no unjust
business with them, and in _having_ all manner of true and just
business, can either his or their blessedness be found possible, and
this waste world become, for both parties, a home and peopled garden.

Men do reverence men. Men do worship in that 'one temple of the
world,' as Novalis calls it, the Presence of a Man! Hero-worship, true
and blessed, or else mistaken, false and accursed, goes on everywhere
and everywhen. In this world there is one godlike thing, the essence
of all that was or ever will be of godlike in this world: the
veneration done to Human Worth by the hearts of men. Hero-worship, in
the souls of the heroic, of the clear and wise,--it is the perpetual
presence of Heaven in our poor Earth: when it is not there, Heaven is
veiled from us; and all is under Heaven's ban and interdict, and there
is no worship, or worth-ship, or worth or blessedness in the Earth any
more!--

       *       *       *       *       *

Independence, 'lord of the lion-heart and eagle-eye,'--alas, yes, he
is one we have got acquainted with in these late times: a very
indispensable one, for spurning-off with due energy innumerable
sham-superiors, Tailor-made: honour to him, entire success to him!
Entire success is sure to him. But he must not stop there, at that
small success, with his eagle-eye. He has now a second far greater
success to gain: to seek out his real superiors, whom not the Tailor
but the Almighty God has made superior to him, and see a little what
he will do with these! Rebel against these also? Pass by with minatory
eagle-glance, with calm-sniffing mockery, or even without any mockery
or sniff, when these present themselves? The lion-hearted will never
dream of such a thing. Forever far be it from him! His minatory
eagle-glance will veil itself in softness of the dove: his lion-heart
will become a lamb's; all its just indignation changed into just
reverence, dissolved in blessed floods of noble humble love, how much
heavenlier than any pride, nay, if you will, how much prouder! I know
him, this lion-hearted, eagle-eyed one; have met him, rushing on,
'with bosom bare,' in a very distracted dishevelled manner, the times
being hard;--and can say, and guarantee on my life, That in him is no
rebellion; that in him is the reverse of rebellion, the needful
preparation for obedience. For if you do mean to obey God-made
superiors, your first step is to sweep out the Tailor-made ones;
order them, under penalties, to vanish, to make ready for vanishing!

Nay, what is best of all, he cannot rebel, if he would. Superiors whom
God has made for us we cannot order to withdraw! Not in the least. No
Grand-Turk himself, thickest-quilted tailor-made Brother of the Sun
and Moon can do it: but an Arab Man, in cloak of his own clouting;
with black beaming eyes, with flaming sovereign-heart direct from the
centre of the Universe; and also, I am told, with terrible 'horse-shoe
vein' of swelling wrath in his brow, and lightning (if you will not
have it as light) tingling through every vein of him,--he rises; says
authoritatively: "Thickest-quilted Grand-Turk, tailor-made Brother of
the Sun and Moon, No:--_I_ withdraw not; thou shalt obey me or
withdraw!" And so accordingly it is: thickest-quilted Grand-Turks and
all their progeny, to this hour, obey that man in the remarkablest
manner; preferring _not_ to withdraw.

O brother, it is an endless consolation to me, in this disorganic, as
yet so quack-ridden, what you may well call hag-ridden and hell-ridden
world, to find that disobedience to the Heavens, when they send any
messenger whatever, is and remains impossible. It cannot be done; no
Turk grand or small can do it. 'Show the dullest clodpole,' says my
invaluable German friend, 'show the haughtiest featherhead, that a
soul higher than himself is here; were his knees stiffened into brass,
he must down and worship.'



CHAPTER VII.

THE GIFTED.


Yes, in what tumultuous huge anarchy soever a Noble human Principle
may dwell and strive, such tumult is in the way of being calmed into a
fruitful sovereignty. It is inevitable. No Chaos can continue chaotic
with a soul in it. Besouled with earnest human Nobleness, did not
slaughter, violence and fire-eyed fury, grow into a Chivalry; into a
blessed Loyalty of Governor and Governed? And in Work, which is of
itself noble, and the only true fighting, there shall be no such
possibility? Believe it not; it is incredible; the whole Universe
contradicts it. Here too the Chactaw Principle will be subordinated;
the Man Principle will, by degrees, become superior, become supreme.

I know Mammon too; Banks-of-England, Credit-Systems, world-wide
possibilities of work and traffic; and applaud and admire them. Mammon
is like Fire; the usefulest of all servants, if the frightfulest of
all masters! The Cliffords, Fitzadelms and Chivalry Fighters 'wished
to gain victory,' never doubt it: but victory, unless gained in a
certain spirit, was no victory; defeat, sustained in a certain spirit,
was itself victory. I say again and again, had they counted the scalps
alone, they had continued Chactaws, and no Chivalry or lasting victory
had been. And in Industrial Fighters and Captains is there no
nobleness discoverable? To them, alone of men, there shall forever be
no blessedness but in swollen coffers? To see beauty, order,
gratitude, loyal human hearts around them, shall be of no moment; to
see fuliginous deformity, mutiny, hatred and despair, with the
addition of half-a-million guineas, shall be better? Heaven's
blessedness not there; Hell's cursedness, and your half-million bits
of metal, a substitute for that! Is there no profit in diffusing
Heaven's blessedness, but only in gaining gold?--If so, I apprise the
Mill-owner and Millionaire, that he too must prepare for vanishing;
that neither is _he_ born to be of the sovereigns of this world; that
he will have to be trampled and chained down in whatever terrible
ways, and brass-collared safe, among the born thralls of this world!
We cannot have _Canailles_ and Doggeries that will not make some
Chivalry of themselves: our noble Planet is impatient of such; in the
end, totally intolerant of such!

For the Heavens, unwearying in their bounty, do send other souls into
this world, to whom yet, as to their forerunners, in Old Roman, in Old
Hebrew and all noble times, the omnipotent guinea is, on the whole, an
impotent guinea. Has your half-dead avaricious Corn-Law Lord, your
half-alive avaricious Cotton-Law Lord, never seen one such? Such are,
not one, but several; are, and will be, unless the gods have doomed
this world to swift dire ruin. These are they, the elect of the world;
the born champions, strong men, and liberatory Samsons of this poor
world: whom the poor Delilah-world will not always shear of their
strength and eyesight, and set to grind in darkness at _its_ poor
gin-wheel! Such souls are, in these days, getting somewhat out of
humour with the world. Your very Byron, in these days, is at least
driven mad; flatly refuses fealty to the world. The world with its
injustices, its golden brutalities, and dull yellow guineas, is a
disgust to such souls: the ray of Heaven that is in them does at least
predoom them to be very miserable here. Yes:--and yet all misery is
faculty misdirected, strength that has not yet found its way. The
black whirlwind is mother of the lightning. No _smoke_, in any sense,
but can become flame and radiance! Such soul, once graduated in
Heaven's stern University, steps out superior to your guinea.

Dost thou know, O sumptuous Corn-Lord, Cotton-Lord, O mutinous
Trades-Unionist, gin-vanquished, undeliverable; O much-enslaved
World,--this man is not a slave with thee! None of thy promotions is
necessary for him. His place is with the stars of Heaven: to thee it
may be momentous, to thee it may be life or death, to him it is
indifferent, whether thou place him in the lowest hut, or forty feet
higher at the top of thy stupendous high tower, while here on Earth.
The joys of Earth that are precious, they depend not on thee and thy
promotions. Food and raiment, and, round a social hearth, souls who
love him, whom he loves: these are already his. He wants none of thy
rewards; behold also, he fears none of thy penalties. Thou canst not
answer even by killing him: the case of Anaxarchus thou canst kill;
but the self of Anaxarchus, the word or act of Anaxarchus, in no wise
whatever. To this man death is not a bugbear; to this man life is
already as earnest and awful, and beautiful and terrible, as death.

Not a May-game is this man's life; but a battle and a march, a warfare
with principalities and powers. No idle promenade through fragrant
orange-groves and green flowery spaces, waited on by the choral Muses
and the rosy Hours: it is a stern pilgrimage through burning sandy
solitudes, through regions of thick-ribbed ice. He walks among men;
loves men, with inexpressible soft pity,--as they _cannot_ love him:
but his soul dwells in solitude, in the uttermost parts of Creation.
In green oases by the palm-tree wells, he rests a space; but anon he
has to journey forward, escorted by the Terrors and the Splendours,
the Archdemons and Archangels. All Heaven, all Pandemonium are his
escort. The stars keen-glancing, from the Immensities, send tidings to
him; the graves, silent with their dead, from the Eternities. Deep
calls for him unto Deep.

Thou, O World, how wilt thou secure thyself against this man? Thou
canst not hire him by thy guineas; nor by thy gibbets and
law-penalties restrain him. He eludes thee like a Spirit. Thou canst
not forward him, thou canst not hinder him. Thy penalties, thy
poverties, neglects, contumelies: behold, all these are good for him.
Come to him as an enemy; turn from him as an unfriend; only do not
this one thing,--infect him not with thy own delusion: the benign
Genius, were it by very death, shall guard him against this!--What
wilt thou do with him? He is above thee, like a god. Thou, in thy
stupendous three-inch pattens, art under him. He is thy born king, thy
conqueror and supreme lawgiver: not all the guineas and cannons, and
leather and prunella, under the sky can save thee from him. Hardest
thick-skinned Mammon-world, ruggedest Caliban shall obey him, or
become not Caliban but a cramp. Oh, if in this man, whose eyes can
flash Heaven's lightning, and make all Calibans into a cramp, there
dwelt not, as the essence of his very being, a God's justice, human
Nobleness, Veracity and Mercy,--I should tremble for the world. But
his strength, let us rejoice to understand, is even this: The quantity
of Justice, of Valour and Pity that is in him. To hypocrites and
tailored quacks in high places his eyes are lightning; but they melt
in dewy pity softer than a mother's to the downpressed, maltreated; in
his heart, in his great thought, is a sanctuary for all the wretched.
This world's improvement is forever sure.

'Man of Genius?' Thou hast small notion, meseems, O Mæcenas
Twiddledee, of what a Man of Genius is. Read in thy New Testament and
elsewhere,--if, with floods of mealymouthed inanity; with miserable
froth-vortices of Cant now several centuries old, thy New Testament is
not all bedimmed for thee. _Canst_ thou read in thy New Testament at
all? The Highest Man of Genius, knowest thou him; Godlike and a God to
this hour? His crown a Crown of Thorns? Thou fool, with _thy_ empty
Godhoods, Apotheoses _edgegilt_; the Crown of Thorns made into a poor
jewel-room crown, fit for the head of blockheads; the bearing of the
Cross changed to a riding in the Long-Acre Gig! Pause in thy
mass-chantings, in thy litanyings, and Calmuck prayings by machinery;
and pray, if noisily, at least in a more human manner. How with thy
rubrics and dalmatics, and clothwebs and cobwebs, and with thy
stupidities and grovelling baseheartedness, hast thou hidden the
Holiest into all but invisibility!--

'Man of Genius:' O Mæcenas Twiddledee, hast thou any notion what a Man
of Genius is? Genius is 'the inspired gift of God.' It is the clearer
presence of God Most High in a man. Dim, potential in all men; in this
man it has become clear, actual. So says John Milton, who ought to be
a judge; so answer him the Voices of all Ages and all Worlds. Wouldst
thou commune with such a one? _Be_ his real peer, then: does that lie
in thee? Know thyself and thy real and thy apparent place, and know
him and his real and his apparent place, and act in some noble
conformity with all that. What! The star-fire of the Empyrean shall
eclipse itself, and illuminate magic-lanterns to amuse grown children?
He, the god-inspired, is to twang harps for thee, and blow through
scrannel-pipes, to soothe thy sated soul with visions of new, still
wider Eldorados, Houri Paradises, richer Lands of Cockaigne? Brother,
this is not he; this is a counterfeit, this twangling, jangling,
vain, acrid, scrannel-piping man. Thou dost well to say with sick
Saul, "It is nought, such harping!"--and in sudden rage, to grasp thy
spear, and try if thou canst pin such a one to the wall. King Saul was
mistaken in his man, but thou art right in thine. It is the due of
such a one: nail him to the wall, and leave him there. So ought copper
shillings to be nailed on counters; copper geniuses on walls, and left
there for a sign!--

I conclude that the Men of Letters too may become a 'Chivalry,' an
actual instead of a virtual Priesthood, with result immeasurable,--so
soon as there is nobleness in themselves for that. And, to a
certainty, not sooner! Of intrinsic Valetisms you cannot, with whole
Parliaments to help you, make a Heroism. Doggeries never so
gold-plated, Doggeries never so escutcheoned, Doggeries never so
diplomaed, bepuffed, gas-lighted, continue Doggeries, and must take
the fate of such.



CHAPTER VIII.

THE DIDACTIC.


Certainly it were a fond imagination to expect that any preaching of
mine could abate Mammonism; that Bobus of Houndsditch will love his
guineas less, or his poor soul more, for any preaching of mine! But
there is one Preacher who does preach with effect, and gradually
persuade all persons: his name is Destiny, is Divine Providence, and
his Sermon the inflexible Course of Things. Experience does take
dreadfully high school-wages; but he teaches like no other!

I revert to Friend Prudence the good Quaker's refusal of 'seven
thousand pounds to boot.' Friend Prudence's practical conclusion will,
by degrees, become that of all rational practical men whatsoever. On
the present scheme and principle, Work cannot continue. Trades'
Strikes, Trades' Unions, Chartisms; mutiny, squalor, rage and
desperate revolt, growing ever more desperate, will go on their way.
As dark misery settles down on us, and our refuges of lies fall in
pieces one after one, the hearts of men, now at last serious, will
turn to refuges of truth. The eternal stars shine out again, so soon
as it is dark _enough_.

Begirt with desperate Trades' Unionism and Anarchic Mutiny, many an
Industrial _Law-ward_, by and by, who has neglected to make laws and
keep them, will be heard saying to himself: "Why have I realised five
hundred thousand pounds? I rose early and sat late, I toiled and
moiled, and in the sweat of my brow and of my soul I strove to gain
this money, that I might become conspicuous, and have some honour
among my fellow-creatures. I wanted them to honour me, to love me. The
money is here, earned with my best lifeblood: but the honour? I am
encircled with squalor, with hunger, rage, and sooty desperation. Not
honoured, hardly even envied; only fools and the flunky-species so
much as envy me. I am conspicuous,--as a mark for curses and
brickbats. What good is it? My five hundred scalps hang here in my
wigwam: would to Heaven I had sought something else than the scalps;
would to Heaven I had been a Christian Fighter, not a Chactaw one! To
have ruled and fought not in a Mammonish but in a Godlike spirit; to
have had the hearts of the people bless me, as a true ruler and
captain of my people; to have felt my own heart bless me, and that God
above instead of Mammon below was blessing me,--this had been
something. Out of my sight, ye beggarly five hundred scalps of
banker's-thousands: I will try for something other, or account my life
a tragical futility!"

Friend Prudence's 'rock-ledge,' as we called it, will gradually
disclose itself to many a man; to all men. Gradually, assaulted from
beneath and from above, the Stygian mud-deluge of Laissez-faire,
Supply-and-demand, Cash-payment the one Duty, will abate on all hands;
and the everlasting mountain-tops, and secure rock-foundations that
reach to the centre of the world, and rest on Nature's self, will
again emerge, to found on, and to build on. When Mammon-worshippers
here and there begin to be God-worshippers, and bipeds-of-prey become
men, and there is a Soul felt once more in the huge-pulsing
elephantine mechanic Animalism of this Earth, it will be again a
blessed Earth.

"Men cease to regard money?" cries Bobus of Houndsditch: "What else
do all men strive for? The very Bishop informs me that Christianity
cannot get on without a minimum of Four thousand five hundred in its
pocket. Cease to regard money? That will be at Doomsday in the
afternoon!"--O Bobus, my opinion is somewhat different. My opinion is,
that the Upper Powers have not yet determined on destroying this Lower
World. A respectable, ever-increasing minority, who do strive for
something higher than money, I with confidence anticipate;
ever-increasing, till there be a sprinkling of them found in all
quarters, as salt of the Earth once more. The Christianity that cannot
get on without a minimum of Four thousand five hundred, will give
place to something better that can. Thou wilt not join our small
minority, thou? Not till Doomsday in the afternoon? Well; _then_, at
least, thou wilt join it, thou and the majority in mass!

But truly it is beautiful to see the brutish empire of Mammon cracking
everywhere; giving sure promise of dying, or of being changed. A
strange, chill, almost ghastly dayspring strikes up in Yankeeland
itself: my Transcendental friends announce there, in a distinct,
though somewhat lankhaired, ungainly manner, that the Demiurgus Dollar
is dethroned; that new unheard-of Demiurgusships, Priesthoods,
Aristocracies, Growths and Destructions, are already visible in the
gray of coming Time. Chronos is dethroned by Jove; Odin by St. Olaf:
the Dollar cannot rule in Heaven forever. No; I reckon, not. Socinian
Preachers quit their pulpits in Yankeeland, saying, "Friends, this is
all gone to coloured cobweb, we regret to say!"--and retire into the
fields to cultivate onion-beds, and live frugally on vegetables. It is
very notable. Old godlike Calvinism declares that its old body is now
fallen to tatters, and done; and its mournful ghost, disembodied,
seeking new embodiment, pipes again in the winds;--a ghost and spirit
as yet, but heralding new Spirit-worlds, and better Dynasties than the
Dollar one.

Yes, here as there, light is coming into the world; men love not
darkness, they do love light. A deep feeling of the eternal nature of
Justice looks out among us everywhere,--even through the dull eyes of
Exeter Hall; an unspeakable religiousness struggles, in the most
helpless manner, to speak itself, in Puseyisms and the like. Of our
Cant, all condemnable, how much is not condemnable without pity; we
had almost said, without respect! The _in_articulate worth and truth
that is in England goes down yet to the Foundations.

Some 'Chivalry of Labour,' some noble Humanity and practical
Divineness of Labour, will yet be realised on this Earth. Or why
_will_; why do we pray to Heaven, without setting our own shoulder to
the wheel? The Present, if it will have the Future accomplish, shall
itself commence. Thou who prophesiest, who believest, begin thou to
fulfil. Here or nowhere, now equally as at any time! That outcast
help-needing thing or person, trampled down under vulgar feet or
hoofs, no help 'possible' for it, no prize offered for the saving of
it,--canst not thou save it, then, without prize? Put forth thy hand,
in God's name; know that 'impossible,' where Truth and Mercy and the
everlasting Voice of Nature order, has no place in the brave man's
dictionary. That when all men have said "Impossible," and tumbled
noisily elsewhither, and thou alone art left, then first thy time and
possibility have come. It is for thee now; do thou that, and ask no
man's counsel, but thy own only, and God's. Brother, thou hast
possibility in thee for much: the possibility of writing on the
eternal skies the record of a heroic life. That noble downfallen or
yet unborn 'Impossibility,' thou canst lift it up, thou canst, by thy
soul's travail, bring it into clear being. That loud inane Actuality,
with millions in its pocket, too 'possible' that, which rolls along
there, with quilted trumpeters blaring round it, and all the world
escorting it as mute or vocal flunky,--escort it not thou; say to it,
either nothing, or else deeply in thy heart: "Loud-blaring Nonentity,
no force of trumpets, cash, Long-acre art, or universal flunkyhood of
men, makes thee an Entity; thou art a _Non_entity, and deceptive
Simulacrum, more accursed than thou seemest. Pass on in the Devil's
name, unworshipped by at least one man, and leave the thoroughfare
clear!"

Not on Ilion's or Latium's plains; on far other plains and places
henceforth can noble deeds be now done. Not on Ilion's plains; how
much less in Mayfair's drawingrooms! Not in victory over poor brother
French or Phrygians; but in victory over Frost-jötuns, Marsh-giants,
over demons of Discord, Idleness, Injustice, Unreason, and Chaos come
again. None of the old Epics is longer possible. The Epic of French
and Phrygians was comparatively a small Epic: but that of Flirts and
Fribbles, what is that? A thing that vanishes at cock-crowing,--that
already begins to scent the morning air! Game-preserving
Aristocracies, let them 'bush' never so effectually, cannot escape the
Subtle Fowler. Game seasons will be excellent, and again will be
indifferent, and by and by they will not be at all. The Last Partridge
of England, of an England where millions of men can get no corn to
eat, will be shot and ended. Aristocracies with beards on their chins
will find other work to do than amuse themselves with trundling-hoops.

       *       *       *       *       *

But it is to you, ye Workers, who do already work, and are as grown
men, noble and honourable in a sort, that the whole world calls for
new work and nobleness. Subdue mutiny, discord, wide-spread despair,
by manfulness, justice, mercy and wisdom. Chaos is dark, deep as Hell;
let light be, and there is instead a green flowery World. Oh, it is
great, and there is no other greatness. To make some nook of God's
Creation a little fruitfuller, better, more worthy of God; to make
some human hearts a little wiser, manfuler, happier,--more blessed,
less accursed! It is work for a God. Sooty Hell of mutiny and savagery
and despair can, by man's energy, be made a kind of Heaven; cleared of
its soot, of its mutiny, of its need to mutiny; the everlasting arch
of Heaven's azure overspanning _it_ too, and its cunning mechanisms
and tall chimney-steeples, as a birth of Heaven; God and all men
looking on it well pleased.

Unstained by wasteful deformities, by wasted tears or heart's-blood of
men, or any defacement of the Pit, noble fruitful Labour, growing ever
nobler, will come forth,--the grand sole miracle of Man; whereby Man
has risen from the low places of this Earth, very literally, into
divine Heavens. Ploughers, Spinners, Builders; Prophets, Poets, Kings;
Brindleys and Goethes, Odins and Arkwrights; all martyrs, and noble
men, and gods are of one grand Host; immeasurable; marching ever
forward since the beginnings of the World. The enormous,
all-conquering, flame-crowned Host, noble every soldier in it; sacred,
and alone noble. Let him who is not of it hide himself; let him
tremble for himself. Stars at every button cannot make him noble;
sheaves of Bath-garters, nor bushels of Georges; nor any other
contrivance but manfully enlisting in it, valiantly taking place and
step in it. O Heavens, will he not bethink himself; he too is so
needed in the Host! It were so blessed, thrice-blessed, for himself
and for us all! In hope of the Last Partridge, and some Duke of Weimar
among our English Dukes, we will be patient yet a while.

    'The Future hides in it
    Gladness and sorrow;
    We press still thorow,
    Nought that abides in it
    Daunting us,--onward.'



SUMMARY AND INDEX.



SUMMARY.


BOOK I.--PROEM.


Chap. I. _Midas._

The condition of England one of the most ominous ever seen in this
world: Full of wealth in every kind, yet dying of inanition.
Workhouses, in which no work can be done. Destitution in Scotland.
Stockport Assizes. (p. 3.)--England's unprofitable success: Human
faces glooming discordantly on one another. Midas longed for gold, and
the gods gave it him. (7.)


Chap. II. _The Sphinx._

The grand unnamable Sphinx-riddle, which each man is called upon to
solve. Notions of the foolish concerning justice and judgment. Courts
of Westminster, and the general High Court of the Universe. The one
strong thing, the just thing, the true thing. (p. 10.)--A noble
Conservatism, as well as an ignoble. In all battles of men each
fighter, in the end, prospers according to his right: Wallace of
Scotland. (15.)--Fact and Semblance. What is Justice? As many men as
there are in a Nation who can _see_ Heaven's Justice, so many are
there who stand between it and perdition. (17.)


Chap. III. _Manchester Insurrection._

Peterloo not an unsuccessful Insurrection. Governors who wait for
Insurrection to instruct them, getting into the fatalest courses.
Unspeakable County Yeomanry. Poor Manchester operatives, and their
huge inarticulate question: Unhappy Workers, unhappier Idlers, of this
actual England! (p. 19.)--Fair day's-wages for fair day's-work:
Milton's 'wages,' Cromwell's. Pay to each man what he has earned and
done and deserved; what more have we to ask?--Some not _in_supportable
approximation indispensable and inevitable. (24.)


Chap. IV. _Morrisons Pill._

A state of mind worth reflecting on. No Morrison's Pill for curing the
maladies of Society: Universal alteration of regimen and way of life:
Vain jargon giving place to some genuine Speech again. (p. 29.)--If we
walk according to the Law of this Universe, the Law-Maker will
befriend us; if not, not. Quacks, sham heroes, the one bane of the
world. Quack and Dupe, upper side and under of the selfsame substance.
(31.)


Chap. V. _Aristocracy of Talent._

All misery the fruit of unwisdom: Neither with individuals nor with
Nations is it fundamentally otherwise. Nature in late centuries
universally supposed to be dead; but now everywhere asserting herself
to be alive and miraculous. The guidance of this country not
sufficiently wise. (p. 34.)--Aristocracy of talent, or government by
the Wisest, a dreadfully difficult affair to get started. The true
_eye_ for talent; and the flunky eye for respectabilities, warm
garnitures and larders dropping fatness: Bobus and Bobissimus. (37.)


Chap VI. _Hero-worship._

Enlightened Egoism, never so luminous, not the rule by which man's
life can be led. A _soul_, different from a stomach in any sense of
the word. Hero-worship done differently in every different epoch of
the world. Reform, like Charity, must begin at home. 'Arrestment of
the knaves and dastards,' beginning by arresting our own poor selves
out of that fraternity. (p. 41.)--The present Editor's purpose to
himself full of hope. A Loadstar in the eternal sky: A glimmering of
light, for here and there a human soul. (45.)



BOOK II.--THE ANCIENT MONK.


Chap. I. _Jocelin of Brakelond._

How the Centuries stand lineally related to each other. The one Book
not permissible, the kind that has nothing in it. Jocelin's
'Chronicle,' a private Boswellean Notebook, now seven centuries old.
How Jocelin, from under his monk's cowl, looked out on that narrow
section of the world in a really _human_ manner: A wise simplicity in
him; a _veracity_ that goes deeper than words. Jocelin's Monk-Latin;
and Mr. Rokewood's editorial helpfulness and fidelity. (p. 51.)--A
veritable Monk of old Bury St. Edmunds worth attending to. This
England of ours, of the year 1200: Coeur-de-Lion: King Lackland, and
his thirteenpenny mass. The poorest historical Fact, and the grandest
imaginative Fiction. (55.)


Chap. II. _St. Edmundsbury._

St. Edmund's Bury, a prosperous brisk Town: Extensive ruins of the
Abbey still visible. Assiduous Pedantry, and its rubbish-heaps called
'History.' Another world it was, when those black ruins first saw the
sun as walls. At lowest, O dilettante friend, let us know always that
it _was_ a world. No easy matter to get across the chasm of Seven
Centuries: Of all helps, a Boswell, even a small Boswell, the
welcomest. (p. 60.)


Chap. III. _Landlord Edmund._

'Battle of Fornham,' a fact, though a forgotten one. Edmund, Landlord
of the Eastern Counties: A very singular kind of 'landlord.' How he
came to be 'sainted.' Seen and felt to have done verily a man's part
in this life-pilgrimage of his. How they took up the slain body of
their Edmund, and reverently embalmed it. (p. 65.)--Pious munificence,
ever growing by new pious gifts. Certain Times do crystallise
themselves in a magnificent manner, others in a rather shabby one.
(71.)


Chap. IV. _Abbot Hugo._

All things have two faces, a light one and a dark: The Ideal has to
grow in the Real, and to seek its bed and board there, often in a very
sorry manner. Abbot Hugo, grown old and feeble. Jew debts and Jew
creditors. How approximate justice strives to accomplish itself. (p.
73.)--In the old monastic Books almost no mention whatever of
'personal religion.' A poor Lord Abbot, all stuck-over with
horse-leeches: A 'royal commission of inquiry,' to no purpose. A
monk's first duty, obedience. Magister Samson, Teacher of the Novices.
The Abbot's providential death. (76.)


Chap. V. _Twelfth Century._

Inspectors or Custodiars; the King not in any breathless haste to
appoint a new Abbot. Dim and very strange looks that monk-life to us.
Our venerable ancient spinning grandmothers, shrieking, and rushing
out with their distaffs. Lakenheath eels too slippery to be caught.
(p. 79.)--How much is alive in England, in that Twelfth Century; how
much not yet come into life. Feudal Aristocracy; Willelmus Conquæstor:
Not a steeple-chimney yet got on end from sea to sea. (82.)


Chap. VI. _Monk Samson._

Monk-Life and Monk-Religion: A great heaven-high Unquestionability,
encompassing, interpenetrating all human Duties. Our modern Arkwright
Joe-Manton ages: All human dues and reciprocities changed into one
great due of 'cash-payment.' The old monks but a limited class of
creatures, with a somewhat dull life of it. (p. 84.)--One Monk of a
taciturn nature distinguishes himself among those babbling ones. A Son
of poor Norfolk parents. Little Samson's awful dream: His poor Mother
dedicates him to St. Edmund. He grows to be a learned man, of devout
grave nature. Sent to Rome on business; and returns _too_ successful:
Method of travelling thither in those days. His tribulations at home.
Strange conditions under which Wisdom has sometimes to struggle with
folly. (86.)


Chap. VII. _The Canvassing._

A new Abbot to be elected. Even gossip, seven centuries off, has
significance. The Prior with Twelve Monks, to wait on his Majesty at
Waltham. An 'election' the one important social act. Given the Man a
People choose, the worth and worthlessness of the People itself is
given. (p. 92.)


Chap. VIII. _The Election._

Electoral methods and manipulations. Brother Samson ready oftenest
with some question, some suggestion that has wisdom in it. The
Thirteen off to Waltham, to choose their Abbot: In the solitude of the
Convent, Destiny thus big and in her birthtime, what gossiping,
babbling, dreaming of dreams! (p. 96.)--King Henry II. in his high
Presence-chamber. Samson chosen Abbot: the King's royal acceptation.
(99.)--St. Edmundsbury Monks, without express ballot-box or other
winnowing machine. In every Nation and Community there is at all times
_a fittest_, wisest, bravest, best. Human Worth and human
Worthlessness. (103.)


Chap. IX. _Abbot Samson._

The Lord Abbot's arrival at St. Edmundsbury: The selfsame Samson
yesterday a poor mendicant, this day finds himself a _Dominus Abbas_
and mitred Peer of Parliament. (p. 105.)--Depth and opulence of true
social vitality in those old barbarous ages. True Governors go about
under all manner of disguises now as then. Genius, Poet; what these
words mean George the Third, head charioteer of England; and Robert
Burns, gauger of ale in Dumfries. (106.)--How Abbot Samson found a
Convent all in dilapidation. His life-long harsh apprenticeship to
governing, namely obeying. First get your Man; all is got. Danger of
blockheads. (108.)


Chap. X. _Government._

Beautiful, how the chrysalis governing-soul, shaking off its dusty
slough and prison, starts forth winged, a true royal soul! One first
labour, to institute a strenuous review and radical reform of his
economics. Wheresoever Disorder may stand or lie, let it have a care;
here is a man that has declared war with it. (p. 112.)--In less than
four years the Convent debts are all liquidated, and the harpy Jews
banished from St. Edmundsbury. New life springs beneficent everywhere:
Spiritual rubbish as little tolerated as material. (114.)


Chap. XI. _The Abbot's Ways._

Reproaches, open and secret, of ingratitude, unsociability: Except for
'fit men' in all kinds, hard to say for whom Abbot Samson had much
favour. Remembrance of benefits. (p. 117.)--An eloquent man, but
intent more on substance than on ornament. A just clear heart the
basis of all true talent. One of the justest of judges: His invaluable
'talent of silence.' Kind of people he liked worst. Hospitality and
stoicism. (119.)--The country in those days still dark with noble wood
and umbrage: How the old trees gradually died out, no man heeding it.
Monachism itself, so rich and fruitful once, now all rotted into
_peat_. Devastations of four-footed cattle and Henry-the-Eighths.
(122.)


Chap. XII. _The Abbot's Troubles._

The troubles of Abbot Samson more than tongue can tell. Not the spoil
of victory, only the glorious toil of battle, can be theirs who really
govern. An insurrection of the Monks. Behave better, ye remiss Monks,
and thank Heaven for such an Abbot. (p. 124.)--Worn down with
incessant toil and tribulation: Gleams of hilarity too; little
snatches of encouragement granted even to a Governor. How my Lord of
Clare, coming to claim his _un_due 'debt,' gets a Roland for his
Oliver. A Life of Literature, noble and ignoble. (126.)


Chap. XIII. _In Parliament._

Confused days of Lackland's usurpation, while Coeur-de-Lion was
away: Our brave Abbot took helmet himself, excommunicating all who
should favour Lackland. King Richard a captive in Germany. (p.
131.)--St. Edmund's Shrine not meddled with: A heavenly Awe
overshadowed and encompassed, as it still ought and must, all earthly
Business whatsoever. (132.)


Chap. XIV. _Henry of Essex._

How St. Edmund punished terribly, yet with mercy: A Narrative
significant of the Time. Henry Earl of Essex, standard-bearer of
England: No right reverence for the Heavenly in Man. A traitor or a
coward. Solemn Duel, by the King's appointment. An evil Conscience
doth make cowards of us all. (p. 134.)


Chap. XV. _Practical-Devotional._

A Tournament proclaimed and held in the Abbot's domain, in spite of
him. Roystering young dogs brought to reason. The Abbot a man that
generally remains master at last: The importunate Bishop of Ely
outwitted. A man that dare abide King Richard's anger, with justice on
his side. Thou brave Richard, thou brave Samson! (p. 139.)--The basis
of Abbot Samson's life truly religion. His zealous interest in the
Crusades. The great antique heart, like a child's in its simplicity,
like a man's in its earnest solemnity and depth. His comparative
silence as to his religion precisely the healthiest sign of him and
it. Methodism, Dilettantism, Puseyism. (144.)


Chap. XVI. _St. Edmund._

Abbot Samson built many useful, many pious edifices: ALL ruinous,
incomplete things an eye-sorrow to him. Rebuilding the great Altar: A
glimpse of the glorious Martyr's very Body. What a scene; how far
vanished from us, in these unworshipping ages of ours! The manner of
men's Hero-worship, verily the innermost fact of their existence,
determining all the rest. (p. 148.)--On the whole, who knows how to
reverence the Body of Man? Abbot Samson, at the culminating point of
his existence: Our real-phantasmagory of St. Edmundsbury plunges into
the bosom of the Twelfth Century again, and all is over. (154.)


Chap. XVII. _The Beginnings._

Formulas the very skin and muscular tissue of a Man's Life: Living
Formulas and dead. Habit the deepest law of human nature. A pathway
through the pathless. Nationalities. Pulpy infancy, kneaded, baked
into any form you choose: The Man of Business; the hard-handed
Labourer; the genus Dandy. No Mortal out of the depths of Bedlam but
lives by Formulas. (p. 157.)--The hosts and generations of brave men
Oblivion has swallowed: Their crumbled dust, the soil our life-fruit
grows on. Invention of Speech, Forms of Worship; Methods of Justice.
This English Land, here and now, the summary of what was wise and
noble, and accordant with God's Truth, in all the generations of
English Men. The thing called 'Fame.' (161.)



BOOK III--THE MODERN WORKER.


Chap. I. _Phenomena._

How men have 'forgotten God;' taken the Fact of this Universe as it
_is not_, God's Laws become a Greatest-Happiness Principle, a
Parliamentary Expediency. Man has lost the _soul_ out of him, and
begins to find the want of it. (p. 171.)--The old Pope of Rome, with
his stuffed dummy to do the kneeling for him. Few men that worship by
the rotatory Calabash, do it in half so great, frank or effectual a
way. (173.)--Our Aristocracy no longer able to _do_ its work, and not
in the least conscious that it has any work to do. The Champion of
England 'lifted into his saddle.' The Hatter in the Strand, mounting a
huge lath-and-plaster Hat. Our noble ancestors have fashioned for us,
in how many thousand senses, a 'life-road;' and we their sons are
madly, literally enough, 'consuming the way.' (175.)


Chap. II. _Gospel of Mammonism._

Heaven and Hell, often as the words are on our tongue, got to be
fabulous or semi-fabulous for most of us. The real 'Hell' of the
English. Cash-payment, _not_ the sole or even chief relation of human
beings. Practical Atheism, and its despicable fruits. (p. 181.)--One
of Dr. Alison's melancholy facts: A poor Irish Widow, in the Lanes of
Edinburgh, _proving_ her sisterhood. Until we get a human _soul_
within us, all things are _im_possible: Infatuated geese, with
feathers and without. (185.)


Chap. III. _Gospel of Dilettantism._

Mammonism at least works, but 'Go gracefully idle in Mayfair,' what
does or can that mean?--Impotent, insolent Donothingism in Practice
and Saynothingism in Speech. No man now speaks a plain word: Insincere
Speech the prime material of insincere Action. (p. 188.)--Moslem
parable of Moses and the Dwellers by the Dead Sea: The Universe
_become_ a Humbug to the Apes that thought it one. (190.)


Chap. IV. _Happy._

All work noble; and every noble crown a crown of thorns. Man's pitiful
pretension to be what he calls 'happy.' His Greatest-Happiness
Principle fast becoming a rather unhappy one. Byron's large audience.
A philosophical Doctor: A disconsolate Meat-jack, gnarring and
creaking with rust and work. (p. 192.)--The only 'happiness' a brave
man ever troubled himself much about, the happiness to get his work
done. (195.)


Chap. V. _The English._

With all thy theoretic platitudes, what a depth of practical sense in
thee, great England! A dumb people, who can do great acts, but not
describe them. The noble Warhorse, and the Dog of Knowledge: The
freest utterances not by any means the best. (p. 197.)--The done Work,
much more than the spoken Word, an epitome of the man. The Man of
Practice, and the Man of Theory: Ineloquent Brindley. The English, of
all Nations the stupidest in speech, the wisest in action: Sadness and
seriousness: Unconsciously this great Universe is great to them. The
silent Romans. John Bull's admirable insensibility to Logic.
(198.)--All great Peoples conservative. Kind of Ready-Reckoner a
Solecism in Eastcheap. Berserkir rage. Truth and Justice alone
_capable_ of being 'conserved.' Bitter indignation engendered by the
Corn-Laws in every just English heart. (203.)


Chap. VI. _Two Centuries._

The 'Settlement' of the year 1660 one of the mournfulest that ever
took place in this land of ours. The true end of Government, to guide
men in the way they should go: The true good of this life, the portal
of infinite good in the life to come. Oliver Cromwell's body hung on
the Tyburn gallows, the type of Puritanism found futile, inexecutable,
execrable. The Spiritualism of England, for two godless centuries,
utterly forgettable: Her practical material Work alone memorable. (p.
208.)--Bewildering obscurations and impediments: Valiant Sons of Toil
enchanted, by the million, in their Poor-Law Bastille. Giant Labour
yet to be King of this Earth. (211.)


Chap. VII. _Over-Production._

An idle Governing Class addressing its Workers with an indictment of
'Over-production.' Duty of justly apportioning the Wages of Work
done. A game-preserving Aristocracy, guiltless of producing or
apportioning anything. Owning the soil of England. (p. 213.)--The
Working Aristocracy steeped in ignoble Mammonism: The Idle
Aristocracy, with its yellow parchments and pretentious futilities.
(216.)


Chap. VIII. _Unworking Aristocracy._

Our Land the _Mother_ of us all: No true Aristocracy but must possess
the Land. Men talk of 'selling' Land: Whom it belongs to. Our
much-consuming Aristocracy: By the law of their position bound to
furnish guidance and governance. Mad and miserable Corn-Laws. (p.
218.)--The Working Aristocracy, and its terrible New-Work: The Idle
Aristocracy, and its horoscope of despair. (222.)--A High Class
without duties to do, like a tree planted on precipices. In a valiant
suffering for others, not in a slothful making others suffer for us,
did nobleness ever lie. The Pagan Hercules; the Czar of Russia.
(223.)--Parchments, venerable and not venerable. Benedict the Jew, and
his usuries. No Chapter on the Corn-Laws: The Corn-Laws too mad to
have a Chapter. (225.)


Chap. IX. _Working Aristocracy._

Many things for the Working Aristocracy, in their extreme need, to
consider. A National Existence supposed to depend on 'selling cheaper'
than any other People. Let inventive men try to invent a little
how cotton at its present cheapness could be somewhat justlier
divided. Many 'impossibles' will have to become possible. (p.
228.)--Supply-and-demand: For what noble work was there ever yet any
audible 'demand' in that poor sense? (232.)


Chap. X. _Plugson of Undershot._

Man's philosophies usually the 'supplement of his practice:' Symptoms
of social death. Cash-Payment: The Plugson Ledger, and the Tablets of
Heaven's Chancery, discrepant exceedingly. (p. 235.)--All human things
do require to have an Ideal in them. How murderous Fighting became a
'glorious Chivalry.' Noble devout-hearted Chevaliers. Ignoble
Bucaniers and Chactaw Indians: Howel Davies. Napoleon flung out, at
last, to St. Helena; the latter end of him sternly compensating for
the beginning. (237.)--The indomitable Plugson, as yet a Bucanier and
Chactaw. William Conqueror and his Norman followers. Organisation of
Labour: Courage, there are yet many brave men in England! (240.)


Chap. XI. _Labour._

A perennial nobleness and even sacredness in Work. Significance of the
Potter's Wheel. Blessed is he who has found his Work; let him ask no
other blessedness. (p. 244.)--A brave Sir Christopher, and his Paul's
Cathedral: Every noble work at first 'impossible.' Columbus royalest
Sea-king of all: A depth of Silence, deeper than the Sea; a Silence
unsoundable; known to God only. (246.)


Chap. XII. _Reward._

Work is Worship: Labour, wide as the Earth, has its summit in Heaven.
One monster there is in the world, the idle man. (p. 250.)--'Fair
day's-wages for a fair days-work,' the most unrefusable demand. The
'wages' of every noble Work in Heaven, or else Nowhere: The brave man
has to _give_ his Life away. He that works bodies forth the form of
Things Unseen. Strange mystic affinity of Wisdom and Insanity: All
Work, in its degree, a making of Madness sane. (253.)--Labour not a
devil, even when encased in Mammonism: The unredeemed ugliness, a
slothful People. The vulgarest Plugson of a Master-Worker, not a man
to strangle by Corn-Laws and Shotbelts. (257.)


Chap. XIII. _Democracy._

Man must actually have his debts and earnings a little better paid by
man. At no time was the lot of the dumb millions of toilers so
entirely unbearable as now. Sisterhood, brotherhood often forgotten,
but never before so expressly denied. Mungo Park and his poor Black
Benefactress. (p. 260.)--Gurth, born thrall of Cedric the Saxon:
Liberty a divine thing; but 'liberty to die by starvation' not so
divine. Nature's Aristocracies. William Conqueror, a resident
House-Surgeon provided by Nature for her beloved English People.
(263.)--Democracy, the despair of finding Heroes to govern us, and
contented putting-up with the want of them. The very Tailor
unconsciously symbolising the reign of Equality. Wherever ranks do
actually exist, strict division of costumes will also be enforced.
(267.)--Freedom from oppression, an indispensable yet most
insignificant portion of Human Liberty. A _best path_ does exist for
every man; a thing which, here and now, it were of all things _wisest_
for him to do. Mock Superiors and Real Superiors. (269.)


Chap. XIV. _Sir Jabesh Windbag._

Oliver Cromwell, the remarkablest Governor we have had for the last
five centuries or so: No volunteer in Public Life, but plainly a
balloted soldier: The Government of England put into his hands. (p.
275.)--Windbag, weak in the faith of a God; strong only in the faith
that Paragraphs and Plausibilities bring votes. Five years of
popularity or unpopularity; and _after_ those five years, an Eternity.
Oliver has to appear before the Most High Judge: Windbag, appealing to
'Posterity.' (276.)


Chap. XV. _Morrison again._

New Religions: This new stage of progress, proceeding 'to invent God,'
a very strange one indeed. (p. 280.)--Religion, the Inner Light or
Moral Conscience of a man's soul. Infinite difference between a Good
man and a Bad. The great Soul of the World, just and not unjust:
Faithful, unspoken, but not ineffectual 'prayer.' Penalties: The
French Revolution, cruelest Portent that has risen into created Space
these ten centuries. Man needs no 'New Religion;' nor is like to get
it: Spiritual Dastardism, and sick folly. (281.)--One Liturgy which
does remain forever unexceptionable, that of _Praying by Working_.
Sauerteig on the symbolic influences of Washing. Chinese
Pontiff-Emperor and his significant 'punctualities.' (287.)--Goethe
and German Literature. The great event for the world, now as always,
the arrival in it of a new Wise Man. Goethe's _Mason-Lodge_. (292.)



BOOK IV.--HOROSCOPE.


Chap. I. _Aristocracies._

To predict the Future, to manage the Present, would not be so
impossible, had not the Past been so sacrilegiously mishandled: A
godless century, looking back to centuries that were godly. (p.
297.)--A new real Aristocracy and Priesthood. The noble Priest always
a noble _Aristos_ to begin with, and something more to end with.
Modern Preachers, and the _real_ Satanas that now is. Abbot-Samson and
William-Conqueror times. The mission of a Land Aristocracy a _sacred_
one, in both senses of that old word. Truly a 'Splendour of God' did
dwell in those old rude veracious ages. Old Anselm travelling to Rome,
to appeal against King Rufus. Their quarrel at bottom a great quarrel.
(299.)--The boundless Future, predestined, nay already extant though
unseen. Our Epic, not _Arms and the Man_, but _Tools and the Man_; an
infinitely wider kind of Epic. Important that our grand Reformation
were begun. (308.)


Chap. II. _Bribery Committee._

Our theory, perfect purity of Tenpound Franchise; our practice,
irremediable bribery. Bribery, indicative not only of length of purse,
but of brazen dishonesty: Proposed improvements. A Parliament,
starting with a lie in its mouth, promulgates strange horoscopes of
itself. (p. 312.)--Respect paid to those worthy of no respect:
Pandarus Dogdraught. The indigent discerning Freeman; and the kind of
men he is called upon to vote for. (315.)


Chap. III. _The one Institution._

The 'Organisation of Labour,' if well understood, the Problem of the
whole Future. Governments of various degrees of utility. Kilkenny
Cats; Spinning-Dervishes; Parliamentary Eloquence. A Prime-Minister
who would dare believe the heavenly omens. (p. 318.)--Who can despair
of Governments, that passes a Soldier's Guard-house?--Incalculable
what, by arranging, commanding and regimenting, can be made of men.
Organisms enough in the dim huge Future; and 'United Services' quite
other than the red-coat one. (321.)--Legislative interference between
Workers and Master-Workers increasingly indispensable. Sanitary
Reform: People's Parks: A right Education Bill, and effective Teaching
Service. Free bridge for Emigrants: England's sure markets among her
Colonies. London the _All-Saxon-Home_, rendezvous of all the 'Children
of the Harz-Rock.' (326.)--The English essentially conservative:
Always the invincible instinct to hold fast by the Old, to admit the
_minimum_ of New. Yet new epochs do actually come; and with them new
peremptory necessities. A certain Editor's stipulated work. (330.)


Chap. IV. _Captains of Industry._

Government can do much, but it can in nowise do all. Fall of Mammon:
To be a noble Master among noble Workers, will again be the first
ambition with some few. (p. 333.)--The leaders of Industry, virtually
the Captains of the World: Doggeries and Chivalries. Isolation, the
sum-total of wretchedness to man. All social growths in this world
have required organising; and Work, the grandest of human interests,
does now require it. (335.)


Chap V. _Permanence._

The 'tendency to persevere,' to persist in spite of hindrances,
discouragements and 'impossibilities,' that which distinguishes the
Species Man from the Genus Ape. Month-long contracts, and Exeter-Hall
purblindness. A practical manufacturing Quaker's care for his workmen.
(p. 341.)--Blessing of Permanent Contract: Permanence in all things,
at the earliest possible moment, and to the latest possible. Vagrant
Sam-Slicks. The wealth of a man the number of things he loves and
blesses, which he is loved and blessed by. (344.) The Worker's
_interest_ in the enterprise with which he is connected. How to
reconcile Despotism with Freedom. (346.)


Chap. VI. _The Landed._

A man with fifty, with five hundred, with a thousand pounds a day,
given him freely, without condition at all, might be a rather strong
Worker: The sad reality, very ominous to look at. Will he awaken, be
alive again; or is this death-fit very death?--Goethe's Duke of
Weimar. Doom of Idleness. (p. 348.)--To sit idle aloft, like absurd
Epicurus'-gods, a poor life for a man. Independence, 'lord of the
lion-heart and eagle-eye:' Rejection of sham Superiors, the needful
preparation for obedience to _real_ Superiors. (351.)


Chap. VII. _The Gifted._

Tumultuous anarchy calmed by noble effort into fruitful sovereignty.
Mammon, like Fire, the usefulest of servants, if the frightfulest of
masters. Souls to whom the omnipotent guinea is, on the whole, an
impotent guinea: Not a May-game is this man's life, but a battle and
stern pilgrimage: God's justice, human Nobleness, Veracity and Mercy,
the essence of his very being. (p. 355.)--What a man of Genius is.
The Highest 'Man of Genius.' Genius, the clearer presence of God Most
High in a man. Of intrinsic Valetisms you cannot, with whole
Parliaments to help you, make a Heroism. (359.)


Chap. VIII. _The Didactic._

One preacher who does preach with effect, and gradually persuade
all persons. Repentant Captains of Industry: A Chactaw Fighter
become a Christian Fighter (p. 361.)--Doomsday in the afternoon.
The 'Christianity' that cannot get on without a minimum of
Four-thousand-five-hundred, will give place to something better that
can. Beautiful to see the brutish empire of Mammon cracking
everywhere: A strange, chill, almost ghastly dayspring in Yankeeland
itself. Here as there, Light is coming into the world. Whoso believes,
let him begin to fulfil: 'Impossible,' where Truth and Mercy and the
everlasting Voice of Nature order, can have no place in the brave
man's dictionary. (364.)--Not on Ilion's or Latium's plains; on far
other plains and places henceforth can noble deeds be done. The last
Partridge of England shot and ended: Aristocracies with beards on
their chins. O, it is great, and there is no other greatness: To make
some nook of God's Creation a little fruitfuler; to make some human
hearts a little wiser, manfuler, happier: It is work for a God! (365.)



INDEX.


Alison, Dr., 5, 185.

Anger, 114.

Anselm, travelling to Rome, 306.

Apes, Dead-Sea, 190, 270, 272.

Arab Poets, 107.

Aristocracy of Talent, 34;
  dreadfully difficult to attain, 37, 41, 299;
  our Phantasm-Aristocracy, 175, 215, 220, 242, 252, 270, 348, 364;
  duties of an Aristocracy, 213, 220, 240;
  Working Aristocracy, 216, 222, 335, 366;
  no true Aristocracy, but must possess the Land, 218, 304;
  Nature's Aristocracies, 264;
  a Virtual Aristocracy everywhere and everywhen, 300;
  the Feudal Aristocracy no imaginary one, 304, 338.

Army, the, 321.

Arrestment of the knaves and dastards, 43, 303.

Atheism, practical, 184, 192.


Battlefield, a, 238.
  See Fighting.

Becket, 297, 307.

Beginnings, 157.

Benefactresses, 262.

Benthamee Radicalism, 36.

Berserkir rage, 205.

Bible of Universal History, 298.

Blockheads, danger of, 111.

Bobus of Houndsditch, 38, 41, 363.

Bonaparte flung out to St. Helena, 239.

Books, 51.

Bribery, 312.

Brindley, 199.

Bucaniering, 239.

Burns, 42, 108, 254, 350.

Byron's life-weariness, 193, 356.


Cant, 76.

Canute, King, 60.

Cash-payment not the sole relation of human beings, 183, 235, 242;
  love of men cannot be bought with cash, 336.

Centuries, the, lineally related to each other, 51, 63.

Chactaw Indian, 238.

Champion of England, the, 'lifted into his saddle,' 176.

Chancery Law-Courts, 319, 322.

China, Pontiff-Emperor of, 290.

Chivalry of Labour, 237, 336, 341, 346, 355, 364.

Christianity, grave of, 174;
  the Christian Law of God found difficult and inconvenient, 208;
  the Christian Religion not accomplished by Prize-Essays, 233, 236, 251;
  or by a minimum of Four-thousand-five-hundred, 363.
  See New Testament.

Church, the English, 209, 322;
  Church Articles, 280;
  what a Church-Apparatus _might_ do, 301.

Coeur-de-Lion, 57, 131;
  King Richard, too, knew a man when he saw him, 144.

Colonies, England's sure markets among her, 329.

Columbus, royalest Sea-king of all, 248.

Competition and Devil take the hindmost, 229, 233;
  abatement of, 334.

Conscience, 137, 281.

Conservatism, noble and ignoble, 12, 15;
  John Bull a born Conservative, 203;
  Justice alone _capable_ of being 'conserved,' 205.

Corn-Laws, unimaginable arguments for the, 8, 30, 188, 203;
  bitter indignation in every just English heart, 206;
  ultimate basis of, 215;
  mischief and danger of, 220, 226, 258;
  after the Corn-Laws are ended, 231, 311, 318;
  what William Conqueror would have thought of them, 266.

Cromwell, and his terrible lifelong wrestle, 24;
  by far our remarkablest Governor, 275.

Crusades, the, 144.

Custom, reverence for, 203.


Dandy, the genus, 160.

Death, eternal, 286.
  See Life.

Debt, 113.

Democracy, 260;
  close of kin to Atheism, 267;
  walking the streets everywhere, 310.

Despotism reconciled with Freedom, 346.

Destiny, didactic, 45.

Dilettantism, 60, 146, 154, 212;
  gracefully idle in Mayfair, 188.

Dupes and Quacks, 33.

Duty, infinite nature of, 137, 145.


Economics, necessity of, 113.

Editor's, the purpose to himself full of hope, 46;
  his stipulated work, 331.

Edmund, St., 65;
  on the rim of the horizon, 136;
  opening the Shrine of, 148.

Edmundsbury, St., 60.

Education Service, an effective, possible, 328.

Election, the one important social act, 94;
  electoral winnowing-machines, 98, 106.

Emigration, 329.

England, full of wealth, yet dying of inanition, 3;
  the guidance of, not wise enough, 34, 335;
  England of the year '1200,' 57, 62, 79, 139, 303;
  disappearance of our English Forests, 122;
  this England, the practical summary of English Heroism, 165;
  now nearly eaten up by puffery and unfaithfulness, 180;
  real Hell of the English, 182;
  of all Nations, the stupidest in speech, the wisest in action, 197, 211;
  unspoken sadness, 200;
  conservatism, 203;
  Berserkir rage, 205;
  a Future, wide as the world, if we have heart and heroism for it, 330.

Essex, Henry Earl of, 134, 281.

Experience, 361.


Fact and Semblance, 17; and Fiction, 59.

Fame, the thing called, 161, 166.
  See Posterity.

Fighting, all, an ascertainment who has the right to rule over
    whom, 17, 302;
  murderous Fighting become a 'glorious Chivalry,' 237.

Flunkies, whom no Hero-King _can_ reign over, 43.
  See Valets.

Forests, disappearance of, 122.

Formulas, the very skin and muscular tissue of Man's Life, 157, 160.

Fornham, battle of, 65.

French Donothing Aristocracy, 223;
  the French Revolution a voice of God, though in wrath, 286, 337.

Funerals, Cockney, 155.

Future, the, already extant though unseen, 308;
  England's Future, 330.
  See Past.


Geese, with feathers and without, 187.

Genius, what meant by, 107, 359.

Gideon's fleece, 247.

Gifted, the, 355.

God, forgetting, 171;
  God's Justice, 238, 284;
  belief in God, 275;
  proceeding 'to invent God,' 281.

Goethe, 292, 350;
  his _Mason-Lodge_, 293.

Gossip preferable to pedantry, 63;
  seven centuries off, 92, 97.

Governing, art of, 110, 112;
  Lazy Governments, 319;
  every Government the symbol of its People, 333.

Great Man, a, 249.
  See Wisdom.

Gurth, born thrall of Cedric the Saxon, 263, 303, 310.


Habit, the deepest law of human nature, 158.

Hampden's coffin opened, 149.

Happy, pitiful pretensions to be, 192;
  happiness of getting one's work done, 195.

Hat, perambulating, seven-feet high, 177.

Healing Art, the, a sacred one, 5.

Heaven and Hell, our notions of, 181.

Heaven's Chancery, 236, 242.

Hell, real, of a man, 85;
  Hell of the English, 182, 334.

Henry II. choosing an Abbot, 99;
  his Welsh wars, 135;
  on his way to the Crusades, 144;
  our brave Plantagenet Henry, 302.

Henry VIII., 123.

Hercules, 225, 255.

Heroic Promised-Land, 45.

Hero-worship, 41, 70, 150, 153, 282, 305, 352;
  what Heroes have done for us, 165, 179.

History, Philosophical, 297, 298.

Horses, able and willing to work, 28;
  Goethe's thoughts about the Horse, 197.

Howel Davies, the Bucanier, 239.

Hugo, Abbot, old, feeble and improvident, 73;
  his death, 78;
  difficulties with Monk Samson, 90.


Ideal, the, in the Real, 73, 237.

Idleness alone without hope, 183;
  Idle Aristocracy, 216, 222, 252, 348.

Igdrasil, the Life-Tree, 47, 161, 309.

Ignorance, our Period of, 299.

Iliad, the, 163.

Impossible, 24, 28;
  without _soul_, all things impossible, 186;
  every noble
  work at first 'impossible,' 247, 255, 364.

Independence, 353.

Industry, Captains of, 240, 258, 335, 355, 362;
  our Industrial Ages, 309.

Infancy and Maturity, 159.

Injustice the one thing intolerable, 262.

Insanity, strange affinity of Wisdom and, 256.

Insurrections, 19.

Invention, 161.

Irish Widow, an, _proving_ her sisterhood, 186, 262.

Isolation the sum-total of wretchedness, 338.


Jew debts and creditors, 74, 113, 115;
  Benedict and the tooth-forceps, 225.

Jocelm of Brakelond, 51;
  his Boswellean Notebook seven centuries old, 52.

John, King, 57, 131.

Justice, the basis of all things, 12, 24, 138, 205;
  what is Justice, 17, 266;
  a just judge, 119;
  venerable Wigged-Justice began in Wild-Justice, 164;
  God's Justice alone strong, 238, 358.
  See Parchments.


Kilkenny Cats, 319.

King, the true and the sham, 103, 110, 273;
  the Ablest Man, the virtual King, 276;
  again _be_ a King, 310;
  the proper name of all Kings, Minister, Servant, 320.

'Know thyself,' 244.


Labour, to be King of this Earth, 212;
  Organisation of, 243, 260, 318;
  perennial nobleness and sacredness in, 244.
  See Chivalry, Work.

_Laissez-faire_, 229;
  general breakdown of, 232, 233.

Lakenheath eels, 81.

Landlords, past and present, 67;
  Landowning, 215;
  whom the Land belongs to, 218;
  the mission of a Land Aristocracy a _sacred_ one, 305, 348.

Laughter, 189.

Law, gradual growth of, 163;
  the Maker's Laws, 284.
  See Chancery.

Legislative interference, 326.

Liberty, true meaning of, 263, 269.

Life, the, to come, 208, 286;
  Life never a May-game for men, 261, 357.

Literature, noble and ignoble, 129.

Liturgies, 162.

Liverpool, 83.

Loadstar, a, in the eternal sky, 15.

Logical futilities, 199, 202.


Machinery, exporting, 228.

Mahomet, 351.

Mammon, not a god at all, 85;
  Gospel of Mammonism, 181, 236;
  Working Mammonism better than Idle Dilettantism, 183, 188, 257;
  getting itself strangled, 228;
  fall of Mammon, 334, 362;
  Mammon like Fire, 355.
  See Economics.

Man the Missionary of Order, 114, 285;
  sacredness of the human Body, 155;
  a born Soldier, 238;
  a God-created Soul, 285.
  See Great Man.

Manchester Insurrection, 19;
  poor Manchester operatives, 22, 62;
  Manchester in the twelfth century, 83;
  even sooty Manchester built on the infinite Abysses, 283.

Marriage-contracts, 342, 344.

Master, eye of the, 114.

Meat-jack, a disconsolate, 195.

Methodism, 76, 84, 146.

Midas, 3, 9.

Mights and Rights, 238.

Millocracy, our giant, 175.

Milton's 'wages,' 24.

Misery, all, the fruit of unwisdom, 34;
  strength, that has not yet found its way, 357.

Monks, ancient and modern, 55;
  the old monks not without secularity, 76, 84;
  insurrection of monks, 125.

Morality, 203.

Morrison's Pill, 29;
  men's 'Religion' a kind of, 282.

Moses and the Dwellers by the Dead-Sea, 190.

Mungo Park, 262.


National Misery the result of national misguidance, 34.

Nationality, 159.

Nature, not dead, but alive and miraculous, 36.

Negro Slavery and White Nomadism, 342.

New Testament, 236, 359.

Nobleness, meaning of, 224.


Obedience, 110.

Oblivion a still resting-place, 166.

Organising, what may be done by, 323, 336.

Originality, 162.
  See Path-making.

Over-production, charge of, 213, 253.


Pandarus Dogdraught, 305, 315.

Parchments, venerable and not venerable, 216, 225.

Parliament and the Courts of Westminster, 12, 319;
  a Parliament starting with a lie in its mouth, 314.

Past, Present and Future, 47, 298, 310, 331.

Path-making, 158.

Pedantry, 61.

Permanence the first condition of all fruitfulness, 341, 344.

Peterloo, 21.

Pilate, 17.

Pity, 70.

Plugson of Undershot, 235, 257.

Pope, the old, with stuffed devotional rump, 173.

Posterity, appealing to, 279.
  See Fame.

Potter's Wheel, significance of the, 245.

Practice, the Man of, 199.

Prayer, faithful unspoken, 284;
  praying _by working_, 288.

Premier, what a wise, might do, 321.
  See Windbag.

Priest, the noble, 300.

Puffery, all-deafening blast of, 177.

Puritanism, giving way to decent Formalism, 209.

Puseyism, 146, 364.


Quacks and sham-heroes, 33, 103, 177, 185, 277.

Quaker's, a manufacturing, care for his workmen, 343, 361.


Ready-Reckoner, strange state of our, 204.

Reform, like Charity, must begin at home, 43.

Religion, a great heaven-high Unquestionability, 76, 84, 145;
  our religion gone, 171;
  all true Work, Religion, 250;
  foolish craving for a 'New Religion,' 280, 287;
  inner light of a man's soul, 281.
  See Prayer, Worship.

Richard I. See Coeur-de-Lion.

Robert de Montfort, 136.

Rokewood, Mr., 55.

Roman Conquests, 201.

Rome, a tour to, in the twelfth century, 88.

Russians, the silent, worth something, 198, 201;
  the Czar of Russia, 225.


Saints and Sinners, 68.

Sam-Slicks, vagrant, 346.

Samson, Monk, teacher of the Novices, 77;
  his parentage, dream, and dedication to St. Edmund, 87;
  sent to Rome, 88;
  home-tribulations, 90;
  silence and weariness, 93;
  though a servant of servants, his words all tell, 97;
  elected Abbot, 102;
  arrival at St. Edmundsbury, 105;
  getting to work, 108, 112;
  his favour for fit men, 117;
  not unmindful of kindness, 118;
  a just clear-hearted man, 119;
  hospitality and stoicism, 121;
  troubles and triumphs, 124;
  in Parliament, 131;
  practical devotion, 139;
  Bishop of Ely outwitted, 141;
  King Richard withstood, 143;
  zealous interest in the Crusades, 144;
  a glimpse of the Body of St. Edmund, 149;
  the culminating point of his existence, 155.

Sanitary Reform, 326.

Satanas, the true, that now is, 302.

Sauerteig, on Nature, 35;
  our reverence for Death and for Life, 155;
  the real Hell of the English, 182;
  fashionable Wits, 189;
  symbolic influences of Washing, 289.

Saxon Heptarchy, 17.

Schnüspel, the distinguished Novelist, 70.

Scotch Covenanters, 278.

Scotland, destitution in, 5.

Scott, Sir W., on the Apennines, 345.

Selfishness, 36, 41.

Silence, invaluable talent of, 120, 201, 298;
  unsounded depth of, 249, 251;
  two Silences of Eternity, 283.

Sliding-Scales, 223, 231.
  See Corn-Laws.

Soldier, the, 321.

Sorrow, Worship of, 192.

Soul and conscience, need for some, 32, 98, 237, 287;
  to save the 'expense of salt,' 62;
  man has lost the _soul_ out of him, 172, 191.

Speech and jargon, difference between, 31;
  invention of articulate speech, 161;
  insincere speech, 189;
  the Speaking Man wandering terribly from the point, 301.
  See Silence.

Sphinx-riddle of Life, the, 10, 17;
  _our_ Sphinx-riddle, 22.

Spinning Dervishes, 319.

Sumptuary Laws, 269.

Supply-and-demand, 232.


Tailor-art, symbolism of the, 267.

Taxes, where to lay the new, 304.

Tears, beautifulest kind of, 70.

Teufelsdröckh on Democracy, 267.

Theory, the Man of, 199.

Thersites, 352.

Thirty-nine Articles, 280.

Tools and the Man, 308, 310.


Unanimity in folly, 179.

Unconscious, the, the alone complete, 145.

Universe, general High Court of the, 13, 31, 225;
  a great unintelligible 'Perhaps,' 171;
  _become_ the Humbug it was thought to be, 190;
  a beggarly Universe, 234;
  the Universe made by Law, 284.

Unseen, the, 255.

Unwisdom, infallible fruits of, 39.


Vacuum, and the serene Blue, 234.

Valets and Heroes, 32, 103, 185, 273, 360;
  London valets dismissed annually to the streets, 342.
  See Flunkies.


Wages, fair day's, for fair day's work, 24, 253.

Wallace, Scotland's debt to, 16.

Washing, symbolic influences of, 289.

Wealth, true, 345, 362.

Weimar, Duke of, 350.

Willelmus Conquæstor; 83, 241;
  a man of most flashing discernment and strong lion-heart, 265;
  not a vulturous Fighter, but a valorous Governor, 302.

Willelmus Sacrista, 74, 86, 91, 101, 115.

William Rufus; 302, 306;
  the quarrel of Rufus and Anselm a great quarrel, 307.

Windbag, Sir Jabesh, 166, 275.

Wisdom, how, has to struggle with Folly, 91, 92, 97, 163, 264;
  the higher the Wisdom the closer its kindred with Insanity, 256;
  a _wisest path_ for every man, 271;
  the Wise and Brave properly but one class, 300, 303, 366;
  the life of the Gifted not a May-game, but a battle and stern
    pilgrimage, 357.

Wits, fashionable, 189.

Women, born worshippers, 70.

Work, world-wide accumulated, 164;
  endless hope in work, 183, 244;
  all work noble, 192;
  and eternal, 195;
  the work he has done, an epitome of the Man, 198, 246;
  Work is Worship, 250, 288;
  all Work a making of Madness sane, 256.
  See Labour.

Workhouses, in which no work can be done, 4.

Working Aristocracy, 216, 222, 335, 366;
  getting strangled, 228.

Workmen, English, unable to find work, 4, 23;
  intolerable lot, 261.

Worship, Forms of, 162;
  Scenic Theory of, 174;
  Apelike, 190;
  the truest, 250, 288.
  See Religion.

Worth, human, and Worthlessness, 103.
  See Pandarus.


Yankee Transcendentalists, 363.


END OF PAST AND PRESENT.


Transcriber's Notes:

There are many inconsistently hyphenated words. I have left them the
way they were in the original scans.

The "w" letter in the Old English words is a wynn.





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