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Title: Sartor Resartus, and  On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History
Author: Carlyle, Thomas, 1795-1881
Language: English
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                          EVERYMAN'S LIBRARY

                 Founded 1906 by J. M. Dent (d. 1926)
                   Edited by Ernest Rhys (d. 1946)

                       ESSAYS & BELLES-LETTRES

                   SARTOR RESARTUS _and_ ON HEROES


                      BY PROFESSOR W. H. HUDSON

    THOMAS CARLYLE, born in 1795 at Ecclefechan, the son of a
    stonemason. Educated at Edinburgh University. Schoolmaster for
    a short time, but decided on a literary career, visiting Paris
    and London. Retired in 1828 to Dumfriesshire to write. In 1834
    moved to Cheyne Row, Chelsea, and died there in 1881.

                           SARTOR RESARTUS

                              ON HEROES

                             HERO WORSHIP

                            THOMAS CARLYLE

                    LONDON: J. M. DENT & SONS LTD.
                  NEW YORK: E. P. DUTTON & CO. INC.

                         _All rights reserved
                        Made in Great Britain
                    at The Temple Press Letchworth
                        J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd.
                   Aldine House Bedford St. London
                 First published in this edition 1908
                         Last reprinted 1948_


One of the most vital and pregnant books in our modern literature,
"Sartor Resartus" is also, in structure and form, one of the most
daringly original. It defies exact classification. It is not a
philosophic treatise. It is not an autobiography. It is not a romance.
Yet in a sense it is all these combined. Its underlying purpose is to
expound in broad outline certain ideas which lay at the root of
Carlyle's whole reading of life. But he does not elect to set these
forth in regular methodic fashion, after the manner of one writing a
systematic essay. He presents his philosophy in dramatic form and in a
picturesque human setting. He invents a certain Herr Diogenes
Teufelsdröckh, an erudite German professor of "Allerley-Wissenschaft,"
or Things in General, in the University of Weissnichtwo, of whose
colossal work, "Die Kleider, Ihr Werden und Wirken" (On Clothes: Their
Origin and Influence), he represents himself as being only the student
and interpreter. With infinite humour he explains how this prodigious
volume came into his hands; how he was struck with amazement by its
encyclopædic learning, and the depth and suggestiveness of its
thought; and how he determined that it was his special mission to
introduce its ideas to the British public. But how was this to be
done? As a mere bald abstract of the original would never do, the
would-be apostle was for a time in despair. But at length the happy
thought occurred to him of combining a condensed statement of the main
principles of the new philosophy with some account of the
philosopher's life and character. Thus the work took the form of a
"Life and Opinions of Herr Teufelsdröckh," and as such it was offered
to the world. Here, of course, we reach the explanation of its
fantastic title--"Sartor Resartus," or the Tailor Patched: the tailor
being the great German "Clothes-philosopher," and the patching being
done by Carlyle as his English editor.

As a piece of literary mystification, Teufelsdröckh and his treatise
enjoyed a measure of the success which nearly twenty years before had
been scored by Dietrich Knickerbocker and his "History of New York."
The question of the professor's existence was solemnly discussed in at
least one important review; Carlyle was gravely taken to task for
attempting to mislead the public; a certain interested reader actually
wrote to inquire where the original German work was to be obtained.
All this seems to us surprising; the more so as we are now able to
understand the purposes which Carlyle had in view in devising his
dramatic scheme. In the first place, by associating the
clothes-philosophy with the personality of its alleged author (himself
one of Carlyle's splendidly living pieces of characterisation), and by
presenting it as the product and expression of his spiritual
experiences, he made the mystical creed intensely human. Stated in the
abstract, it would have been a mere blank _-ism_; developed in its
intimate relations with Teufelsdröckh's character and career, it is
filled with the hot life-blood of natural thought and feeling.
Secondly, by fathering his own philosophy upon a German professor
Carlyle indicates his own indebtedness to German idealism, the
ultimate source of much of his own teaching. Yet, deep as that
indebtedness was, and anxious as he might be to acknowledge it, he was
as a humourist keenly alive to certain glaring defects of the great
German writers; to their frequent tendency to lose themselves among
the mere minutiæ of erudition, and thus to confuse the unimportant and
the important; to their habit of rising at times into the clouds
rather than above the clouds, and of there disporting themselves in
regions "close-bordering on the impalpable inane;" to their too
conspicuous want of order, system, perspective. The dramatic machinery
of "Sartor Resartus" is therefore turned to a third service. It is
made the vehicle of much good-humoured satire upon these and similar
characteristics of Teutonic scholarship and speculation; as in the
many amusing criticisms which are passed upon Teufelsdröckh's volume
as a sort of "mad banquet wherein all courses have been confounded;"
in the burlesque parade of the professor's "omniverous reading"
(_e.g._, Book I, Chap. V); and in the whole amazing episode of the
"six considerable paper bags," out of the chaotic contents of which
the distracted editor in search of "biographic documents" has to make
what he can. Nor is this quite all. Teufelsdröckh is further utilised
as the mouthpiece of some of Carlyle's more extravagant speculations
and of such ideas as he wished to throw out as it were tentatively,
and without himself being necessarily held responsible for them. There
is thus much point as well as humour in those sudden turns of the
argument, when, after some exceptionally wild outburst on his
_eidolon's_ part, Carlyle sedately reproves him for the fantastic
character or dangerous tendency of his opinions.

It is in connection with the dramatic scheme of the book that the
third element, that of autobiography, enters into its texture, for the
story of Teufelsdröckh is very largely a transfigured version of the
story of Carlyle himself. In saying this, I am not of course thinking
mainly of Carlyle's outer life. This, indeed, is in places freely
drawn upon, as the outer lives of Dickens, George Eliot, Tolstoi are
drawn upon in "David Copperfield," "The Mill on the Floss," "Anna
Karénina." Entepfuhl is only another name for Ecclefechan; the picture
of little Diogenes eating his supper out-of-doors on fine summer
evenings, and meanwhile watching the sun sink behind the western
hills, is clearly a loving transcript from memory; even the idyllic
episode of Blumine may be safely traced back to a romance of Carlyle's
youth. But to investigate the connection at these and other points
between the mere externals of the two careers is a matter of little
more than curious interest. It is because it incorporates and
reproduces so much of Carlyle's inner history that the story of
Teufelsdröckh is really important. Spiritually considered, the whole
narrative is, in fact, a "symbolic myth," in which the writer's
personal trials and conflicts are depicted with little change save in
setting and accessories. Like Teufelsdröckh, Carlyle while still a
young man had broken away from the old religious creed in which he had
been bred; like Teufelsdröckh, he had thereupon passed into the
"howling desert of infidelity;" like Teufelsdröckh, he had known all
the agonies and anguish of a long period of blank scepticism and
insurgent despair, during which, turn whither he would, life responded
with nothing but negations to every question and appeal. And as to
Teufelsdröckh in the Rue Saint-Thomas de l'Enfer in Paris, so to
Carlyle in Leith Walk, Edinburgh, there had come a moment of sudden
and marvellous illumination, a mystical crisis from which he had
emerged a different man. The parallelism is so obvious and so close as
to leave no room for doubt that the story of Teufelsdröckh is
substantially a piece of spiritual autobiography.

This admitted, the question arises whether Carlyle had any purpose,
beyond that of self-expression, in thus utilising his own experiences
for the human setting of his philosophy. It seems evident that he had.
As he conceived them, these experiences possessed far more than a
merely personal interest and meaning. He wrote of himself because he
saw in himself a type of his restless and much-troubled epoch; because
he knew that in a broad sense his history was the history of thousands
of other young men in the generation to which he belonged. The age
which followed upon the vast upheaval of the Revolution was one of
widespread turmoil and perplexity. Men felt themselves to be wandering
aimlessly "between two worlds, one dead, the other powerless to be
born." The old order had collapsed in shapeless ruin; but the promised
Utopia had not been realised to take its place. In many directions the
forces of reaction were at work. Religion, striving to maintain itself
upon the dogmatic creeds of the past, was rapidly petrifying into a
mere "dead Letter of Religion," from which all the living spirit had
fled; and those who could not nourish themselves on hearsay and
inherited formula knew not where to look for the renewal of faith and
hope. The generous ardour and the splendid humanitarian enthusiasms
which had been stirred by the opening phases of the revolutionary
movement, had now ebbed away; revulsion had followed, and with it the
mood of disillusion and despair. The spirit of doubt and denial was
felt as a paralysing power in every department of life and thought,
and the shadow of unbelief lay heavy on many hearts.

It was for the men of this "sad time" that Carlyle wrote
Teufelsdröckh's story; and he wrote it not merely to depict the
far-reaching consequences of their pessimism but also to make plain to
them their true path out of it. He desired to exhibit to his age the
real nature of the strange malady from which it was suffering in order
that he might thereupon proclaim the remedy.

What, then, is the moral significance of Carlyle's "symbolic myth"?
What are the supreme lessons which he uses it to convey?

We must begin by understanding his diagnosis. For him, all the evils
of the time could ultimately be traced back to their common source in
what may be briefly described as its want of real religion. Of churches
and creeds there were plenty; of living faith little or nothing was
left. Men had lost all vital sense of God in the world; and because of
this, they had taken up a fatally wrong attitude to life. They looked
at it wholly from the mechanical point of view, and judged it by
merely utilitarian standards. The "body-politic" was no longer
inspired by any "soul-politic." Men, individually and in the mass,
cared only for material prosperity, sought only outward success, made
the pursuit of happiness the end and aim of their being. The divine
meaning of virtue, the infinite nature of duty, had been forgotten,
and morality had been turned into a sort of ledger-philosophy, based
upon calculations of profit and loss.

It was thus that Carlyle read the signs of the times. In such
circumstances what was needed? Nothing less than a spiritual rebirth.
Men must abandon their wrong attitude to life, and take up the right
attitude. Everything hinged on that. And that they might take up this
right attitude it was necessary first that they should be convinced of
life's essential spirituality, and cease in consequence to seek its
meaning and test its value on the plane of merely material things.

Carlyle thus throws passionate emphasis upon religion as the only
saving power. But it must be noted that he does not suggest a return
to any of the dogmatic creeds of the past. Though once the expression
of a living faith, these were now for him mere lifeless formulas. Nor
has he any new dogmatic creed to offer in their place. That mystical
crisis which had broken the spell of the Everlasting No was in a
strict sense--he uses the word himself--a conversion. But it was not a
conversion in the theological sense, for it did not involve the
acceptance of any specific articles of faith. It was simply a complete
change of front; the protest of his whole nature, in a suddenly
aroused mood of indignation and defiance, against the "spirit which
denies;" the assertion of his manhood against the cowardice which had
so long kept him trembling and whimpering before the facts of
existence. But from that change of front came presently the vivid
apprehension of certain great truths which his former mood had thus
far concealed from him; and in these truths he found the secret of
that right attitude to life in the discovery of which lay men's only
hope of salvation from the unrest and melancholy of their time.

From this point of view the burden of Carlyle's message to his
generation will be readily understood. Men were going wrong because
they started with the thought of self, and made satisfaction of self
the law of their lives; because, in consequence, they regarded
happiness as the chief object of pursuit and the one thing worth
striving for; because, under the influence of the current rationalism,
they tried to escape from their spiritual perplexities through logic
and speculation. They had, therefore, to set themselves right upon all
these matters. They had to learn that not self-satisfaction but
self-renunciation is the key to life and its true law; that we have no
prescriptive claim to happiness and no business to quarrel with the
universe if it withholds it from us; that the way out of pessimism
lies, not through reason, but through honest work, steady adherence to
the simple duty which each day brings, fidelity to the right as we
know it. Such, in broad statement, is the substance of Carlyle's
religious convictions and moral teaching. Like Kant he takes his stand
on the principles of ethical idealism. God is to be sought, not
through speculation, or syllogism, or the learning of the schools, but
through the moral nature. It is the soul in action that alone finds
God. And the finding of God means, not happiness as the world
conceives it, but blessedness, or the inward peace which passes

The connection between the transfigured autobiography which serves to
introduce the directly didactic element of the book and that element
itself, will now be clear. Stripped of its whimsicalities of
phraseology and its humorous extravagances, Carlyle's philosophy
stands revealed as essentially idealistic in character. Spirit is the
only reality. Visible things are but the manifestations, emblems, or
clothings of spirit. The material universe itself is only the vesture
or symbol of God; man is a spirit, though he wears the wrappings of
the flesh; and in everything that man creates for himself he merely
attempts to give body or expression to thought. The science of
Carlyle's time was busy proclaiming that, since the universe is
governed by natural laws, miracles are impossible and the supernatural
is a myth. Carlyle replies that the natural laws are themselves only
the manifestation of Spiritual Force, and that thus miracle is
everywhere and all nature supernatural. We, who are the creatures of
time and space, can indeed apprehend the Absolute only when He weaves
about Him the visible garments of time and space. Thus God reveals
Himself to sense through symbols. But it is as we regard these symbols
in one or other of two possible ways that we class ourselves with the
foolish man or with the wise. The foolish man sees only the symbol,
thinks it exists for itself, takes it for the ultimate fact, and
therefore rests in it. The wise man sees the symbol, knows that it is
only a symbol, and penetrates into it for the ultimate fact or
spiritual reality which it symbolises.

Remote as such a doctrine may at first sight seem to be from the
questions with which men are commonly concerned, it has none the less
many important practical bearings. Since "all Forms whereby Spirit
manifests itself to sense, whether outwardly or in the imagination,
are Clothes," civilisation and everything belonging to it--our
languages, literatures and arts, our governments, social machinery and
institutions, our philosophies, creeds and rituals--are but so many
vestments woven for itself by the shaping spirit of man. Indispensable
these vestments are; for without them society would collapse in
anarchy, and humanity sink to the level of the brute. Yet here again
we must emphasise the difference, already noted, between the foolish
man and the wise. The foolish man once more assumes that the vestments
exist for themselves, as ultimate facts, and that they have a value of
their own. He, therefore, confuses the life with its clothing; is even
willing to sacrifice the life for the sake of the clothing. The wise
man, while he, too, recognises the necessity of the vestments, and
indeed insists upon it, knows that they have no independent
importance, that they derive all their potency and value from the
inner reality which they were fashioned to represent and embody, but
which they often misrepresent and obscure. He therefore never confuses
the life with the clothing, and well understands how often the
clothing has to be sacrificed for the sake of the life. Thus, while
the utility of clothes has to be recognised to the full, it is still
of the essence of wisdom to press hard upon the vital distinction
between the outer wrappings of man's life and that inner reality which
they more or less adequately enfold.

The use which Carlyle makes of this doctrine in his interpretation of
the religious history of the world and of the crisis in thought of his
own day, will be anticipated. All dogmas, forms and ceremonials, he
teaches, are but religious vestments--symbols expressing man's deepest
sense of the divine mystery of the universe and the hunger and thirst
of his soul for God. It is in response to the imperative necessities
of his nature that he moulds for himself these outward emblems of his
ideas and aspirations. Yet they are only emblems; and since, like all
other human things, they partake of the ignorance and weakness of the
times in which they were framed, it is inevitable that with the growth
of knowledge and the expansion of thought they must presently be
outgrown. When this happens, there follows what Carlyle calls the
"superannuation of symbols." Men wake to the fact that the creeds and
formulas which have come down to them from the past are no longer
living for them, no longer what they need for the embodiment of their
spiritual life. Two mistakes are now possible, and these are, indeed,
commonly made together. On the one hand, men may try to ignore the
growth of knowledge and the expansion of thought, and to cling to the
outgrown symbols as things having in themselves some mysterious
sanctity and power. On the other hand, they may recklessly endeavour
to cast aside the reality symbolised along with the discredited symbol
itself. Given such a condition of things, and we shall find religion
degenerating into formalism and the worship of the dead letter, and,
side by side with this, the impatient rejection of all religion, and
the spread of a crude and debasing materialism. Religious symbols,
then, must be renewed. But their renewal can come only from within.
Form, to have any real value, must grow out of life and be fed by it.

The revolutionary quality in the philosophy of "Sartor Resartus"
cannot, of course, be overlooked. Everything that man has woven for
himself must in time become merely "old clothes"; the work of his
thought, like that of his hands, is perishable; his very highest
symbols have no permanence or finality. Carlyle cuts down to the
essential reality beneath all shows and forms and emblems: witness his
amazing vision of a naked House of Lords. Under his penetrating gaze
the "earthly hulls and garnitures" of existence melt away. Men's habit
is to rest in symbols. But to rest in symbols is fatal, since they are
at best but the "adventitious wrappages" of life. Clothes "have made
men of us"--true; but now, so great has their influence become that
"they are threatening to make clothes-screens of us." Hence "the
beginning of all wisdom is to look fixedly on clothes ... till they
become transparent." The logical tendency of such teaching may seem to
be towards utter nihilism. But that tendency is checked and qualified
by the strong conservative element which is everywhere prominent in
Carlyle's thought. Upon the absolute need of "clothes" the stress is
again and again thrown. They "have made men of us." By symbols alone
man lives and works. By symbols alone can he make life and work
effective. Thus even the world's "old clothes"--its discarded forms
and creeds--should be treated with the reverence due to whatever has
once played a part in human development. Thus, moreover, we must be on
our guard against the impetuosity of the revolutionary spirit and all
rash rupture with the past. To cast old clothes aside before new
clothes are ready--this does not mean progress, but sansculottism, or
a lapse into nakedness and anarchy.

       *       *       *       *       *

The lectures "On Heroes and Hero-Worship," here printed with "Sartor
Resartus," contain little more than an amplification, through a series
of brilliant character-studies, of those fundamental ideas of history
which had already figured among Teufelsdröckh's social speculations.
Simple in statement and clear in doctrine, this second work needs no
formal introduction. It may, however, be of service just to indicate
one or two points at which, apart from its set theses, it expresses or
implies certain underlying principles of all Carlyle's thought.

In the first place, his philosophy of history rests entirely on "the
great man theory." "Universal History, the history of what man has
accomplished in the world," is for him "at bottom the History of the
Great Men who have worked here." This conception, of course, brings
him into sharp conflict with that scientific view of history which was
already gaining ground when "Heroes and Hero-Worship" was written, and
which since then has become even more popular under the powerful
influence of the modern doctrine of evolution. A scientific historian,
like Buckle or Taine, seeks to explain all changes in thought, all
movements in politics and society, in terms of general laws; his habit
is, therefore, to subordinate, if not quite to eliminate, the
individual; the greatest man is treated as in a large measure the
product and expression of the "spirit of the time." For Carlyle,
individuality is everything. While, as he is bound to admit, "no one
works save under conditions," external circumstances and influences
count little. The Great Man is supreme. He is not the creature of his
age, but its creator; not its servant, but its master. "The History of
the World is but the Biography of Great Men."

Anti-scientific in his reading of history, Carlyle is also
anti-democratic in the practical lessons he deduces from it. He
teaches that our right relations with the Hero are discipular
relations; that we should honestly acknowledge his superiority, look
up to him, reverence him. Thus on the personal side he challenges that
tendency to "level down" which he believed to be one alarming result
of the fast-spreading spirit of the new democracy. But more than this.
He insists that the one hope for our distracted world of to-day lies
in the strength and wisdom of the few, not in the organised unwisdom
of the many. The masses of the people can never be safely trusted to
solve for themselves the intricate problems of their own welfare. They
need to be guided, disciplined, at times even driven, by those great
leaders of men, who see more deeply than they see into the reality of
things, and know much better than they can ever know what is good for
them, and how that good is to be attained. Political machinery, in
which the modern world had come to put so much faith, is only another
delusion of a mechanical age. The burden of history is for him always
the need of the Able Man. "I say, Find me the true _Könning_, King,
Able Man, and he _has_ a divine right over me." Carlyle thus throws
down the gauntlet at once to the scientific and to the democratic
movements of his time. His pronounced antagonism to the modern spirit
in these two most important manifestations must be kept steadily in
mind in our study of him.

Finally, we have to remember that in the whole tone and temper of his
teaching Carlyle is fundamentally the Puritan. The dogmas of
Puritanism he had indeed outgrown; but he never outgrew its ethics.
His thought was dominated and pervaded to the end, as Froude rightly
says, by the spirit of the creed he had dismissed. By reference to
this one fact we may account for much of his strength, and also for
most of his limitations in outlook and sympathy. Those limitations the
reader will not fail to notice for himself. But whatever allowance has
to be made for them, the strength remains. It is, perhaps, the secret
of Carlyle's imperishable greatness as a stimulating and uplifting
power that, beyond any other modern writer, he makes us feel with him
the supreme claims of the moral life, the meaning of our own
responsibilities, the essential spirituality of things, the
indestructible reality of religion. If he had thus a special message
for his own generation, that message has surely not lost any of its
value for ours. "Put Carlyle in your pocket," says Dr. Hal to Paul
Kelver on his starting out in life. "He is not all the voices, but he
is the best maker of men I know." And as a maker of men, Carlyle's
appeal to us is as great as ever.


    _Life of Schiller_ (_Lond. Mag._, 1823-4), 1825, 1845.
    (Supplement published in the People's Edition, 1873). _Wilhelm
    Meister Apprenticeship_, 1824. _Elements of Geometry and
    Trigonometry_ (from the French of Legendre), 1824. _German
    Romance_, 1827. _Sartor Resartus_ (_Fraser's Mag._, 1833-4),
    1835 (Boston), 1838. _French Revolution_, 1837, 1839.
    _Critical and Miscellaneous Essays_, 1839, 1840, 1847, 1857.
    (In these were reprinted Articles from _Edinburgh Review_,
    _Foreign Review_, _Foreign Quarterly Review_, _Fraser's
    Magazine_, _Westminster Review_, _New Monthly Magazine_,
    _London and Westminster Review_, _Keepsake Proceedings of the
    Society of Antiquaries of Scotland_, _Times_). _Chartism_,
    1840. _Heroes, Hero-worship, and the Heroic in History_, 1841.
    _Past and Present_, 1843. _Oliver Cromwell's Letters and
    Speeches: with Elucidations_, 1845. _Thirty-five Unpublished
    Letters of Oliver Cromwell_, 1847 (Fraser). _Original
    Discourses on the Negro Question_ (Fraser, 1849), 1853.
    _Latter-day Pamphlets_, 1850. _Life of John Sterling_, 1851.
    _History of Friedrich II. of Prussia_, 1858-65. _Inaugural
    Address at Edinburgh_, 1866. _Shooting Niagara: and After?_
    1867 (from "Macmillan"). _The Early Kings of Norway; also an
    Essay on the Portraits of John Knox_, 1875.

    There were also contributions to Brewster's _Edinburgh
    Encyclopædia_, vols. xiv., xv., and xvi.; to _New Edinburgh
    Review_, 1821, 1822; _Fraser's Magazine_, 1830, 1831; _The
    Times_, 19 June, 1844 ("Mazzini"); 28 November, 1876; 5 May,
    1877; _Examiner_, 1848; _Spectator_, 1848.

    First Collected Edition of Works, 1857-58 (16 vols.).

    _Reminiscences_, ed. by Froude in 1881, but superseded by C.
    E. Norton's edition of 1887. Norton has also edited two
    volumes of _Letters_ (1888), and Carlyle's correspondence with
    Emerson (1883) and with Goethe (1887). Other volumes of
    correspondence are _New Letters_ (1904), _Carlyle Intime_
    (1907), _Love Letters_ (1909), _Letters to Mill, Sterling, and
    Browning_ (1923), all ed. by Alexander Carlyle. See also _Last
    Words of Carlyle_, 1892.

    The fullest _Life_ is that by D. A. Wilson. The first of six
    volumes appeared in 1923, and by 1934 only one remained to be




  CHAP.                                                     PAGE
     I. PRELIMINARY                                            1
    II. EDITORIAL DIFFICULTIES                                 5
   III. REMINISCENCES                                          9
    IV. CHARACTERISTICS                                       20
     V. THE WORLD IN CLOTHES                                  25
    VI. APRONS                                                31
   VII. MISCELLANEOUS-HISTORICAL                              34
  VIII. THE WORLD OUT OF CLOTHES                              37
    IX. ADAMITISM                                             43
     X. PURE REASON                                           47
    XI. PROSPECTIVE                                           52


     I. GENESIS                                               61
    II. IDYLLIC                                               68
   III. PEDAGOGY                                              76
    IV. GETTING UNDER WAY                                     90
     V. ROMANCE                                              101
    VI. SORROWS OF TEUFELSDRÖCKH                             112
   VII. THE EVERLASTING NO                                   121
  VIII. CENTRE OF INDIFFERENCE                               128
    IX. THE EVERLASTING YEA                                  138
     X. PAUSE                                                149


     I. INCIDENT IN MODERN HISTORY                           156
    II. CHURCH-CLOTHES                                       161
   III. SYMBOLS                                              163
    IV. HELOTAGE                                             170
     V. THE PHOENIX                                          174
    VI. OLD CLOTHES                                          179
   VII. ORGANIC FILAMENTS                                    183
  VIII. NATURAL SUPERNATURALISM                              191
    IX. CIRCUMSPECTIVE                                       201
     X. THE DANDIACAL BODY                                   204
    XI. TAILORS                                              216
   XII. FAREWELL                                             219

APPENDIX--TESTIMONIES OF AUTHORS                             225

SUMMARY                                                      231


THE HERO AS DIVINITY. Odin. Paganism: Scandinavian
Mythology                                                    239

THE HERO AS PROPHET. Mahomet: Islam                          277

THE HERO AS POET. Dante; Shakspeare                          311

THE HERO AS PRIEST. Luther; Reformation: Knox; Puritanism    346

THE HERO AS MAN OF LETTERS. Johnson, Rousseau, Burns         383

THE HERO AS KING. Cromwell, Napoleon: Modern Revolutionism   422

INDEX                                                        469





Considering our present advanced state of culture, and how the Torch
of Science has now been brandished and borne about, with more or less
effect, for five-thousand years and upwards; how, in these times
especially, not only the Torch still burns, and perhaps more fiercely
than ever, but innumerable Rush-lights, and Sulphur-matches, kindled
thereat, are also glancing in every direction, so that not the smallest
cranny or doghole in Nature or Art can remain unilluminated,--it might
strike the reflective mind with some surprise that hitherto little or
nothing of a fundamental character, whether in the way of Philosophy
or History, has been written on the subject of Clothes.

Our Theory of Gravitation is as good as perfect: Lagrange, it is well
known, has proved that the Planetary System, on this scheme, will
endure forever; Laplace, still more cunningly, even guesses that it
could not have been made on any other scheme. Whereby, at least, our
nautical Logbooks can be better kept; and water-transport of all kinds
has grown more commodious. Of Geology and Geognosy we know enough:
what with the labours of our Werners and Huttons, what with the ardent
genius of their disciples, it has come about that now, to many a Royal
Society, the Creation of a World is little more mysterious than the
cooking of a dumpling; concerning which last, indeed, there have been
minds to whom the question, _How the apples were got in_, presented
difficulties. Why mention our disquisitions on the Social Contract, on
the Standard of Taste, on the Migrations of the Herring? Then, have we
not a Doctrine of Rent, a Theory of Value; Philosophies of Language,
of History, of Pottery, of Apparitions, of Intoxicating Liquors? Man's
whole life and environment have been laid open and elucidated;
scarcely a fragment or fibre of his Soul, Body, and Possessions, but
has been probed, dissected, distilled, desiccated, and scientifically
decomposed: our spiritual Faculties, of which it appears there are not
a few, have their Stewarts, Cousins, Royer Collards: every cellular,
vascular, muscular Tissue glories in its Lawrences, Majendies,

How, then, comes it, may the reflective mind repeat, that the grand
Tissue of all Tissues, the only real Tissue, should have been quite
overlooked by Science,--the vestural Tissue, namely, of woollen or
other cloth; which Man's Soul wears as its outmost wrappage and
overall; wherein his whole other Tissues are included and screened,
his whole Faculties work, his whole Self lives, moves, and has its
being? For if, now and then, some straggling, broken-winged thinker
has cast an owl's-glance into this obscure region, the most have
soared over it altogether heedless; regarding Clothes as a property,
not an accident, as quite natural and spontaneous, like the leaves of
trees, like the plumage of birds. In all speculations they have
tacitly figured man as a _Clothed Animal_; whereas he is by nature a
_Naked Animal_; and only in certain circumstances, by purpose and
device, masks himself in Clothes. Shakespeare says, we are creatures
that look before and after: the more surprising that we do not look
round a little, and see what is passing under our very eyes.

But here, as in so many other cases, Germany, learned, indefatigable,
deep-thinking Germany comes to our aid. It is, after all, a blessing
that, in these revolutionary times, there should be one country where
abstract Thought can still take shelter; that while the din and frenzy
of Catholic Emancipations, and Rotten Boroughs, and Revolts of Paris,
deafen every French and every English ear, the German can stand
peaceful on his scientific watch-tower; and, to the raging, struggling
multitude here and elsewhere, solemnly, from hour to hour, with
preparatory blast of cowhorn, emit his _Höret ihr Herren und lasset's
Euch sagen_; in other words, tell the Universe, which so often forgets
that fact, what o'clock it really is. Not unfrequently the Germans
have been blamed for an unprofitable diligence; as if they struck into
devious courses, where nothing was to be had but the toil of a rough
journey; as if, forsaking the gold-mines of finance and that political
slaughter of fat oxen whereby a man himself grows fat, they were apt
to run goose-hunting into regions of bilberries and crowberries, and
be swallowed up at last in remote peat-bogs. Of that unwise science,
which, as our Humorist expresses it,--

                'By geometric scale
  Doth take the size of pots of ale;'

still more, of that altogether misdirected industry, which is seen
vigorously thrashing mere straw, there can nothing defensive be said.
In so far as the Germans are chargeable with such, let them take the
consequence. Nevertheless, be it remarked, that even a Russian steppe
has tumuli and gold ornaments; also many a scene that looks desert and
rock-bound from the distance, will unfold itself, when visited, into
rare valleys. Nay, in any case, would Criticism erect not only
finger-posts and turnpikes, but spiked gates and impassable barriers,
for the mind of man? It is written, 'Many shall run to and fro, and
knowledge shall be increased.' Surely the plain rule is, Let each
considerate person have his way, and see what it will lead to. For not
this man and that man, but all men make up mankind, and their united
tasks the task of mankind. How often have we seen some such
adventurous, and perhaps much-censured wanderer light on some
out-lying, neglected, yet vitally-momentous province; the hidden
treasures of which he first discovered, and kept proclaiming till the
general eye and effort were directed thither, and the conquest was
completed;--thereby, in these his seemingly so aimless rambles,
planting new standards, founding new habitable colonies, in the
immeasurable circumambient realm of Nothingness and Night! Wise man
was he who counselled that Speculation should have free course, and
look fearlessly towards all the thirty-two points of the compass,
whithersoever and howsoever it listed.

Perhaps it is proof of the stunted condition in which pure Science,
especially pure moral Science, languishes among us English; and how
our mercantile greatness, and invaluable Constitution, impressing a
political or other immediately practical tendency on all English
culture and endeavour, cramps the free flight of Thought,--that this,
not Philosophy of Clothes, but recognition even that we have no such
Philosophy, stands here for the first time published in our language.
What English intellect could have chosen such a topic, or by chance
stumbled on it? But for that same unshackled, and even sequestered
condition of the German Learned, which permits and induces them to
fish in all manner of waters, with all manner of nets, it seems
probable enough, this abstruse Inquiry might, in spite of the results
it leads to, have continued dormant for indefinite periods. The Editor
of these sheets, though otherwise boasting himself a man of confirmed
speculative habits, and perhaps discursive enough, is free to confess,
that never, till these last months, did the above very plain
considerations, on our total want of a Philosophy of Clothes, occur to
him; and then, by quite foreign suggestion. By the arrival, namely, of
a new Book from Professor Teufelsdröckh of Weissnichtwo; treating
expressly of this subject, and in a style which, whether understood or
not, could not even by the blindest be overlooked. In the present
Editor's way of thought, this remarkable Treatise, with its Doctrines,
whether as judicially acceded to, or judicially denied, has not
remained without effect.

'_Die Kleider, ihr Werden und Wirken_ (Clothes, their Origin and
Influence): _von Diog. Teufelsdröckh, J.U.D. etc._ _Stillschweigen und
Co^{gnie}._ _Weissnichtwo_, 1831.

'Here,' says the _Weissnichtwo'sche Anzeiger_, 'comes a Volume of that
extensive, close-printed, close-meditated sort, which, be it spoken
with pride, is seen only in Germany, perhaps only in Weissnichtwo.
Issuing from the hitherto irreproachable Firm of Stillschweigen and
Company, with every external furtherance, it is of such internal
quality as to set Neglect at defiance.' * * * * 'A work,' concludes
the wellnigh enthusiastic Reviewer, 'interesting alike to the
antiquary, the historian, and the philosophic thinker; a masterpiece
of boldness, lynx-eyed acuteness, and rugged independent Germanism and
Philanthropy (_derber Kerndeutschheit und Menschenliebe_); which will
not, assuredly, pass current without opposition in high places; but
must and will exalt the almost new name of Teufelsdröckh to the first
ranks of Philosophy, in our German Temple of Honour.'

Mindful of old friendship, the distinguished Professor, in this the
first blaze of his fame, which however does not dazzle him, sends
hither a Presentation-copy of his Book; with compliments and encomiums
which modesty forbids the present Editor to rehearse; yet without
indicated wish or hope of any kind, except what may be implied in the
concluding phrase: _Möchte es_ (this remarkable Treatise) _auch im
Brittischen Boden gedeihen_!



If for a speculative man, 'whose seedfield,' in the sublime words of
the Poet, 'is Time,' no conquest is important but that of new ideas,
then might the arrival of Professor Teufelsdröckh's Book be marked
with chalk in the Editor's calendar. It is indeed an 'extensive
Volume,' of boundless, almost formless contents, a very Sea of
Thought; neither calm nor clear, if you will; yet wherein the toughest
pearl-diver may dive to his utmost depth, and return not only with
sea-wreck but with true orients.

Directly on the first perusal, almost on the first deliberate
inspection, it became apparent that here a quite new Branch of
Philosophy, leading to as yet undescried ulterior results, was
disclosed; farther, what seemed scarcely less interesting, a quite new
human Individuality, an almost unexampled personal character, that,
namely, of Professor Teufelsdröckh the Discloser. Of both which
novelties, as far as might be possible, we resolved to master the
significance. But as man is emphatically a proselytising creature, no
sooner was such mastery even fairly attempted, than the new question
arose: How might this acquired good be imparted to others, perhaps in
equal need thereof: how could the Philosophy of Clothes, and the
Author of such Philosophy, be brought home, in any measure, to the
business and bosoms of our own English Nation? For if new-got gold is
said to burn the pockets till it be cast forth into circulation, much
more may new truth.

Here, however, difficulties occurred. The first thought naturally was
to publish Article after Article on this remarkable Volume, in such
widely-circulating Critical Journals as the Editor might stand
connected with, or by money or love procure access to. But, on the
other hand, was it not clear that such matter as must here be revealed,
and treated of, might endanger the circulation of any Journal extant?
If, indeed, all party-divisions in the State could have been abolished,
Whig, Tory, and Radical, embracing in discrepant union; and all the
Journals of the Nation could have been jumbled into one Journal, and
the Philosophy of Clothes poured forth in incessant torrents therefrom,
the attempt had seemed possible. But, alas, what vehicle of that sort
have we, except _Fraser's Magazine_? A vehicle all strewed
(figuratively speaking) with the maddest Waterloo-Crackers, exploding
distractively and destructively, wheresoever the mystified passenger
stands or sits; nay, in any case, understood to be, of late years, a
vehicle full to overflowing, and inexorably shut! Besides, to state the
Philosophy of Clothes without the Philosopher, the ideas of
Teufelsdröckh without something of his personality, was it not to
insure both of entire misapprehension? Now for Biography, had it been
otherwise admissible, there were no adequate documents, no hope of
obtaining such, but rather, owing to circumstances, a special despair.
Thus did the Editor see himself, for the while, shut out from all
public utterance of these extraordinary Doctrines, and constrained to
revolve them, not without disquietude, in the dark depths of his own

So had it lasted for some months; and now the Volume on Clothes, read
and again read, was in several points becoming lucid and lucent; the
personality of its Author more and more surprising, but, in spite of
all that memory and conjecture could do, more and more enigmatic;
whereby the old disquietude seemed fast settling into fixed
discontent,--when altogether unexpectedly arrives a Letter from Herr
Hofrath Heuschrecke, our Professor's chief friend and associate in
Weissnichtwo, with whom we had not previously corresponded. The
Hofrath, after much quite extraneous matter, began dilating largely on
the 'agitation and attention' which the Philosophy of Clothes was
exciting in its own German Republic of Letters; on the deep
significance and tendency of his Friend's Volume; and then, at length,
with great circumlocution, hinted at the practicability of conveying
'some knowledge of it, and of him, to England, and through England to
the distant West': a work on Professor Teufelsdröckh 'were undoubtedly
welcome to the _Family_, the _National_, or any other of those
patriotic _Libraries_, at present the glory of British Literature';
might work revolutions in Thought; and so forth;--in conclusion,
intimating not obscurely, that should the present Editor feel disposed
to undertake a Biography of Teufelsdröckh, he, Hofrath Heuschrecke,
had it in his power to furnish the requisite Documents.

As in some chemical mixture, that has stood long evaporating, but
would not crystallise, instantly when the wire or other fixed
substance is introduced, crystallisation commences, and rapidly
proceeds till the whole is finished, so was it with the Editor's mind
and this offer of Heuschrecke's. Form rose out of void solution and
discontinuity; like united itself with like in definite arrangement:
and soon either in actual vision and possession, or in fixed
reasonable hope, the image of the whole Enterprise had shaped itself,
so to speak, into a solid mass. Cautiously yet courageously, through
the twopenny post, application to the famed redoubtable OLIVER YORKE
was now made: an interview, interviews with that singular man have
taken place; with more of assurance on our side, with less of satire
(at least of open satire) on his, than we anticipated;--for the rest,
with such issue as is now visible. As to those same 'patriotic
_Libraries_,' the Hofrath's counsel could only be viewed with silent
amazement; but with his offer of Documents we joyfully and almost
instantaneously closed. Thus, too, in the sure expectation of these,
we already see our task begun; and this our _Sartor Resartus_, which
is properly a 'Life and Opinions of Herr Teufelsdröckh,' hourly

       *       *       *       *       *

Of our fitness for the Enterprise, to which we have such title and
vocation, it were perhaps uninteresting to say more. Let the British
reader study and enjoy, in simplicity of heart, what is here presented
him, and with whatever metaphysical acumen and talent for meditation
he is possessed of. Let him strive to keep a free, open sense; cleared
from the mists of prejudice, above all from the paralysis of cant; and
directed rather to the Book itself than to the Editor of the Book. Who
or what such Editor may be, must remain conjectural, and even
insignificant:[1] it is a voice publishing tidings of the Philosophy
of Clothes; undoubtedly a Spirit addressing Spirits: whoso hath ears,
let him hear.

    [1] With us even he still communicates in some sort of mask,
        or muffler: and, we have reason to think, under a feigned
        name!--O. Y.

On one other point the Editor thinks it needful to give warning:
namely, that he is animated with a true though perhaps a feeble
attachment to the Institutions of our Ancestors; and minded to defend
these, according to ability, at all hazards; nay, it was partly with a
view to such defence that he engaged in this undertaking. To stem, or
if that be impossible, profitably to divert the current of Innovation,
such a Volume as Teufelsdröckh's, if cunningly planted down, were no
despicable pile, or floodgate, in the logical wear.

For the rest, be it nowise apprehended, that any personal connexion of
ours with Teufelsdröckh, Heuschrecke, or this Philosophy of Clothes
can pervert our judgment, or sway us to extenuate or exaggerate.
Powerless, we venture to promise, are those private Compliments
themselves. Grateful they may well be; as generous illusions of
friendship; as fair mementos of bygone unions, of those nights and
suppers of the gods, when, lapped in the symphonies and harmonies of
Philosophic Eloquence, though with baser accompaniments, the present
Editor revelled in that feast of reason, never since vouchsafed him in
so full measure! But what then? _Amicus Plato, magis amica veritas_;
Teufelsdröckh is our friend, Truth is our divinity. In our historical
and critical capacity, we hope we are strangers to all the world; have
feud or favour with no one,--save indeed the Devil, with whom, as with
the Prince of Lies and Darkness, we do at all times wage internecine
war. This assurance, at an epoch when puffery and quackery have
reached a height unexampled in the annals of mankind, and even English
Editors, like Chinese Shopkeepers, must write on their door-lintels
_No cheating here_,--we thought it good to premise.



To the Author's private circle the appearance of this singular Work on
Clothes must have occasioned little less surprise than it has to the
rest of the world. For ourselves, at least, few things have been more
unexpected. Professor Teufelsdröckh, at the period of our acquaintance
with him, seemed to lead a quite still and self-contained life: a man
devoted to the higher Philosophies, indeed; yet more likely, if he
published at all, to publish a refutation of Hegel and Bardili, both
of whom, strangely enough, he included under a common ban; than to
descend, as he has here done, into the angry noisy Forum, with an
Argument that cannot but exasperate and divide. Not, that we can
remember, the Philosophy of Clothes once touched upon between us. If
through the high, silent, meditative Transcendentalism of our Friend
we detected any practical tendency whatever, it was at most Political,
and towards a certain prospective, and for the present quite
speculative, Radicalism; as indeed some correspondence, on his part,
with Herr Oken of Jena was now and then suspected; though his special
contribution to the _Isis_ could never be more than surmised at. But,
at all events, nothing Moral, still less anything Didactico-Religious,
was looked for from him.

Well do we recollect the last words he spoke in our hearing; which
indeed, with the Night they were uttered in, are to be forever
remembered. Lifting his huge tumbler of _Gukguk_,[2] and for a moment
lowering his tobacco-pipe, he stood up in full Coffee-house (it was
_Zur Grünen Gans_, the largest in Weissnichtwo, where all the
Virtuosity, and nearly all the Intellect of the place assembled of an
evening); and there, with low, soul-stirring tone, and the look truly
of an angel, though whether of a white or of a black one might be
dubious, proposed this toast: _Die Sache der Armen in Gottes und
Teufels Namen_ (The Cause of the Poor, in Heaven's name and ----'s)!
One full shout, breaking the leaden silence; then a gurgle of
innumerable emptying bumpers, again followed by universal cheering,
returned him loud acclaim. It was the finale of the night: resuming
their pipes; in the highest enthusiasm, amid volumes of tobacco-smoke;
triumphant, cloud-capt without and within, the assembly broke up, each
to his thoughtful pillow. _Bleibt doch ein echter Spass- und
Galgen-vogel_, said several; meaning thereby that, one day, he would
probably be hanged for his democratic sentiments. _Wo steckt doch der
Schalk?_ added they, looking round: but Teufelsdröckh had retired by
private alleys, and the Compiler of these pages beheld him no more.

    [2] Gukguk is unhappily only an academical-beer.

In such scenes has it been our lot to live with this Philosopher, such
estimate to form of his purposes and powers. And yet, thou brave
Teufelsdröckh, who could tell what lurked in thee? Under those thick
locks of thine, so long and lank, overlapping roof-wise the gravest
face we ever in this world saw, there dwelt a most busy brain. In thy
eyes too, deep under their shaggy brows, and looking out so still and
dreamy, have we not noticed gleams of an ethereal or else a diabolic
fire, and half-fancied that their stillness was but the rest of
infinite motion, the _sleep_ of a spinning-top? Thy little figure,
there as, in loose, ill-brushed threadbare habiliments, thou sattest,
amid litter and lumber, whole days, to 'think and smoke tobacco,' held
in it a mighty heart. The secrets of man's Life were laid open to
thee; thou sawest into the mystery of the Universe, farther than
another; thou hadst _in petto_ thy remarkable Volume on Clothes. Nay,
was there not in that clear logically-founded Transcendentalism of
thine; still more, in thy meek, silent, deep-seated Sansculottism,
combined with a true princely Courtesy of inward nature, the visible
rudiments of such speculation? But great men are too often unknown, or
what is worse, misknown. Already, when we dreamed not of it, the warp
of thy remarkable Volume lay on the loom; and silently, mysterious
shuttles were putting in the woof!

       *       *       *       *       *

How the Hofrath Heuschrecke is to furnish biographical data, in this
case, may be a curious question; the answer of which, however, is
happily not our concern, but his. To us it appeared, after repeated
trial, that in Weissnichtwo, from the archives or memories of the
best-informed classes, no Biography of Teufelsdröckh was to be
gathered; not so much as a false one. He was a stranger there, wafted
thither by what is called the course of circumstances; concerning
whose parentage, birthplace, prospects, or pursuits, curiosity had
indeed made inquiries, but satisfied herself with the most indistinct
replies. For himself, he was a man so still and altogether
unparticipating, that to question him even afar off on such
particulars was a thing of more than usual delicacy: besides, in his
sly way, he had ever some quaint turn, not without its satirical edge,
wherewith to divert such intrusions, and deter you from the like. Wits
spoke of him secretly as if he were a kind of Melchizedek, without
father or mother of any kind; sometimes, with reference to his great
historic and statistic knowledge, and the vivid way he had of
expressing himself like an eye-witness of distant transactions and
scenes, they called him the _Ewige Jude_, Everlasting, or as we say,
Wandering Jew.

To the most, indeed, he had become not so much a Man as a Thing; which
Thing doubtless they were accustomed to see, and with satisfaction;
but no more thought of accounting for than for the fabrication of
their daily _Allgemeine Zeitung_, or the domestic habits of the Sun.
Both were there and welcome; the world enjoyed what good was in them,
and thought no more of the matter. The man Teufelsdröckh passed and
repassed, in his little circle, as one of those originals and
nondescripts, more frequent in German Universities than elsewhere; of
whom, though you see them alive, and feel certain enough that they
must have a History, no History seems to be discoverable; or only such
as men give of mountain rocks and antediluvian ruins: That they may
have been created by unknown agencies, are in a state of gradual
decay, and for the present reflect light and resist pressure; that is,
are visible and tangible objects in this phantasm world, where so much
other mystery is.

It was to be remarked that though, by title and diploma, _Professor
der Allerley-Wissenschaft_, or as we should say in English, 'Professor
of Things in General,' he had never delivered any Course; perhaps
never been incited thereto by any public furtherance or requisition.
To all appearance, the enlightened Government of Weissnichtwo, in
founding their New University, imagined they had done enough, if 'in
times like ours,' as the half-official Program expressed it, 'when all
things are, rapidly or slowly, resolving themselves into Chaos, a
Professorship of this kind had been established; whereby, as occasion
called, the task of bodying somewhat forth again from such Chaos might
be, even slightly, facilitated.' That actual Lectures should be held,
and Public Classes for the 'Science of Things in General,' they
doubtless considered premature; on which ground too they had only
established the Professorship, nowise endowed it; so that
Teufelsdröckh, 'recommended by the highest Names,' had been promoted
thereby to a Name merely.

Great, among the more enlightened classes, was the admiration of this
new Professorship: how an enlightened Government had seen into the
Want of the Age (_Zeitbedürfniss_); how at length, instead of Denial
and Destruction, we were to have a science of Affirmation and
Reconstruction; and Germany and Weissnichtwo were where they should
be, in the vanguard of the world. Considerable also was the wonder at
the new Professor, dropt opportunely enough into the nascent
University; so able to lecture, should occasion call; so ready to hold
his peace for indefinite periods, should an enlightened Government
consider that occasion did not call. But such admiration and such
wonder, being followed by no act to keep them living, could last only
nine days; and, long before our visit to that scene, had quite died
away. The more cunning heads thought it was all an expiring clutch at
popularity, on the part of a Minister, whom domestic embarrassments,
court intrigues, old age, and dropsy soon afterwards finally drove
from the helm.

As for Teufelsdröckh, except by his nightly appearances at the _Grüne
Gans_, Weissnichtwo saw little of him, felt little of him. Here, over
his tumbler of Gukguk, he sat reading Journals; sometimes
contemplatively looking into the clouds of his tobacco-pipe, without
other visible employment: always, from his mild ways, an agreeable
phenomenon there; more especially when he opened his lips for speech;
on which occasions the whole Coffee-house would hush itself into
silence, as if sure to hear something noteworthy. Nay, perhaps to hear
a whole series and river of the most memorable utterances; such as,
when once thawed, he would for hours indulge in, with fit audience:
and the more memorable, as issuing from a head apparently not more
interested in them, not more conscious of them, than is the sculptured
stone head of some public fountain, which through its brass mouth-tube
emits water to the worthy and the unworthy; careless whether it be for
cooking victuals or quenching conflagrations; indeed, maintains the
same earnest assiduous look, whether any water be flowing or not.

To the Editor of these sheets, as to a young enthusiastic Englishman,
however unworthy, Teufelsdröckh opened himself perhaps more than to
the most. Pity only that we could not then half guess his importance,
and scrutinise him with due power of vision! We enjoyed, what not
three men in Weissnichtwo could boast of, a certain degree of access
to the Professor's private domicile. It was the attic floor of the
highest house in the Wahngasse; and might truly be called the pinnacle
of Weissnichtwo, for it rose sheer up above the contiguous roofs,
themselves rising from elevated ground. Moreover, with its windows it
looked towards all the four _Orte_, or as the Scotch say, and we ought
to say, _Airts_: the sitting-room itself commanded three; another came
to view in the _Schlafgemach_ (bedroom) at the opposite end; to say
nothing of the kitchen, which offered two, as it were, _duplicates_,
and showing nothing new. So that it was in fact the speculum or
watch-tower of Teufelsdröckh; wherefrom, sitting at ease, he might see
the whole life-circulation of that considerable City; the streets and
lanes of which, with all their doing and driving (_Thun und Treiben_),
were for the most part visible there.

"I look down into all that wasp-nest or bee-hive," have we heard him
say, "and witness their wax-laying and honey-making, and
poison-brewing, and choking by sulphur. From the Palace esplanade,
where music plays while Serene Highness is pleased to eat his
victuals, down to the low lane, where in her door-sill the aged widow,
knitting for a thin livelihood, sits to feel the afternoon sun, I see
it all; for, except the Schlosskirche weathercock, no biped stands so
high. Couriers arrive bestrapped and bebooted, bearing Joy and Sorrow
bagged-up in pouches of leather: there, top-laden, and with four swift
horses, rolls-in the country Baron and his household; here, on
timber-leg, the lamed Soldier hops painfully along, begging alms: a
thousand carriages, and wains, and cars, come tumbling-in with Food,
with young Rusticity, and other Raw Produce, inanimate or animate, and
go tumbling out again with Produce manufactured. That living flood,
pouring through these streets, of all qualities and ages, knowest thou
whence it is coming, whither it is going? _Aus der Ewigkeit, zu der
Ewigkeit hin_: From Eternity, onwards to Eternity! These are
Apparitions: what else? Are they not Souls rendered visible: in
Bodies, that took shape and will lose it, melting into air? Their
solid Pavement is a picture of the Sense; they walk on the bosom of
Nothing, blank Time is behind them and before them. Or fanciest thou,
the red and yellow Clothes-screen yonder, with spurs on its heels and
feather in its crown, is but of Today, without a Yesterday or a
Tomorrow; and had not rather its Ancestor alive when Hengst and Horsa
overran thy Island? Friend, thou seest here a living link in that
Tissue of History, which inweaves all Being: watch well, or it will be
past thee, and seen no more."

"_Ach, mein Lieber!_" said he once, at midnight, when we had returned
from the Coffee-house in rather earnest talk, "it is a true sublimity
to dwell here. These fringes of lamplight, struggling up through smoke
and thousandfold exhalation, some fathoms into the ancient reign of
Night, what thinks Boötes of them, as he leads his Hunting-Dogs over
the Zenith in their leash of sidereal fire? That stifled hum of
Midnight, when Traffic has lain down to rest; and the chariot-wheels
of Vanity, still rolling here and there through distant streets, are
bearing her to Halls roofed-in, and lighted to the due pitch for her;
and only Vice and Misery, to prowl or to moan like nightbirds, are
abroad: that hum, I say, like the stertorous, unquiet slumber of sick
Life, is heard in Heaven! Oh, under that hideous covelet of vapours,
and putrefactions, and unimaginable gases, what a Fermenting-vat lies
simmering and hid! The joyful and the sorrowful are there; men are
dying there, men are being born; men are praying,--on the other side
of a brick partition, men are cursing; and around them all is the
vast, void Night. The proud Grandee still lingers in his perfumed
saloons, or reposes within damask curtains; Wretchedness cowers into
truckle-beds, or shivers hunger-stricken into its lair of straw: in
obscure cellars, _Rouge-et-Noir_ languidly emits its voice-of-destiny
to haggard hungry Villains; while Councillors of State sit plotting,
and playing their high chess-game, whereof the pawns are Men. The
Lover whispers his mistress that the coach is ready; and she, full of
hope and fear, glides down, to fly with him over the borders: the
Thief, still more silently, sets-to his picklocks and crowbars, or
lurks in wait till the watchmen first snore in their boxes. Gay
mansions, with supper-rooms and dancing-rooms, are full of light and
music and high-swelling hearts; but, in the Condemned Cells, the pulse
of life beats tremulous and faint, and bloodshot eyes look-out through
the darkness, which is around and within, for the light of a stern
last morning. Six men are to be hanged on the morrow: comes no
hammering from the _Rabenstein_?--their gallows must even now be o'
building. Upwards of five-hundred-thousand two-legged animals without
feathers lie round us, in horizontal positions; their heads all in
nightcaps, and full of the foolishest dreams. Riot cries aloud, and
staggers and swaggers in his rank dens of shame; and the Mother, with
streaming hair, kneels over her pallid dying infant, whose cracked
lips only her tears now moisten.--All these heaped and huddled
together, with nothing but a little carpentry and masonry between
them;--crammed in, like salted fish in their barrel;--or weltering,
shall I say, like an Egyptian pitcher of tamed vipers, each struggling
to get its _head above_ the others: _such_ work goes on under that
smoke-counterpane!--But I, _mein Werther_, sit above it all; I am
alone with the Stars."

We looked in his face to see whether, in the utterance of such
extraordinary Night-thoughts, no feeling might be traced there; but
with the light we had, which indeed was only a single tallow-light,
and far enough from the window, nothing save that old calmness and
fixedness was visible.

These were the Professor's talking seasons: most commonly he spoke in
mere monosyllables, or sat altogether silent, and smoked; while the
visitor had liberty either to say what he listed, receiving for answer
an occasional grunt; or to look round for a space, and then take
himself away. It was a strange apartment; full of books and tattered
papers, and miscellaneous shreds of all conceivable substances,
'united in a common element of dust.' Books lay on tables, and below
tables; here fluttered a sheet of manuscript, there a torn
handkerchief, or nightcap hastily thrown aside; ink-bottles alternated
with bread-crusts, coffee-pots, tobacco-boxes, Periodical Literature,
and Blücher Boots. Old Lieschen (Lisekin, 'Liza), who was his
bed-maker and stove-lighter, his washer and wringer, cook,
errand-maid, and general lion's-provider, and for the rest a very
orderly creature, had no sovereign authority in this last citadel of
Teufelsdröckh; only some once in the month she half-forcibly made her
may thither, with broom and duster, and (Teufelsdröckh hastily saving
his manuscripts) effected a partial clearance, a jail-delivery of such
lumber as was not literary. These were her _Erdbeben_ (earthquakes),
which Teufelsdröckh dreaded worse than the pestilence; nevertheless,
to such length he had been forced to comply. Glad would he have been
to sit here philosophising forever, or till the litter, by
accumulation, drove him out of doors: but Lieschen was his right-arm,
and spoon, and necessary of life, and would not be flatly gainsayed.
We can still remember the ancient woman; so silent that some thought
her dumb; deaf also you would often have supposed her; for
Teufelsdröckh, and Teufelsdröckh only, would she serve or give heed
to; and with him she seemed to communicate chiefly by signs; if it
were not rather by some secret divination that she guessed all his
wants, and supplied them. Assiduous old dame! she scoured, and sorted,
and swept, in her kitchen, with the least possible violence to the
ear; yet all was tight and right there: hot and black came the coffee
ever at the due moment; and the speechless Lieschen herself looked out
on you, from under her clean white coif with its lappets, through her
clean withered face and wrinkles, with a look of helpful intelligence,
almost of benevolence.

Few strangers, as above hinted, had admittance hither: the only one we
ever saw there, ourselves excepted, was the Hofrath Heuschrecke,
already known, by name and expectation, to the readers of these pages.
To us, at that period, Herr Heuschrecke seemed one of those
purse-mouthed, crane-necked, clean-brushed, pacific individuals,
perhaps sufficiently distinguished in society by this fact, that, in
dry weather or in wet, 'they never appear without their umbrella.' Had
we not known with what 'little wisdom' the world is governed; and how,
in Germany as elsewhere, the ninety-and-nine Public Men can for most
part be but mute train-bearers to the hundredth, perhaps but
stalking-horses and willing or unwilling dupes,--it might have seemed
wonderful how Herr Heuschrecke should be named a Rath, or Councillor,
and Counsellor, even in Weissnichtwo. What counsel to any man, or to
any woman, could this particular Hofrath give; in whose loose, zigzag
figure; in whose thin visage, as it went jerking to and fro, in minute
incessant fluctuation,--you traced rather confusion worse confounded;
at most, Timidity and physical Cold? Some indeed said withal, he was
'the very Spirit of Love embodied': blue earnest eyes, full of sadness
and kindness; purse ever open, and so forth; the whole of which, we
shall now hope, for many reasons, was not quite groundless.
Nevertheless friend Teufelsdröckh's outline, who indeed handled the
burin like few in these cases, was probably the best: _Er hat Gemüth
und Geist, hat wenigstens gehabt, doch ohne Organ, ohne
Schicksals-Gunst; ist gegenwärtig aber halb-zerrüttet, halb-erstarrt_,
"He has heart and talent, at least has had such, yet without fit mode
of utterance, or favour of Fortune; and so is now half-cracked,
half-congealed."--What the Hofrath shall think of this when he sees
it, readers may wonder: we, safe in the stronghold of Historical
Fidelity, are careless.

The main point, doubtless, for us all, is his love of Teufelsdröckh,
which indeed was also by far the most decisive feature of Heuschrecke
himself. We are enabled to assert that he hung on the Professor with
the fondness of a Boswell for his Johnson. And perhaps with the like
return; for Teufelsdröckh treated his gaunt admirer with little
outward regard, as some half-rational or altogether irrational friend,
and at best loved him out of gratitude and by habit. On the other
hand, it was curious to observe with what reverent kindness, and a
sort of fatherly protection, our Hofrath, being the elder, richer, and
as he fondly imagined far more practically influential of the two,
looked and tended on his little Sage, whom he seemed to consider as a
living oracle. Let but Teufelsdröckh open his mouth, Heuschrecke's
also unpuckered itself into a free doorway, besides his being all eye
and all ear, so that nothing might be lost: and then, at every pause
in the harangue, he gurgled-out his pursy chuckle of a cough-laugh
(for the machinery of laughter took some time to get in motion, and
seemed crank and slack), or else his twanging nasal, _Bravo! Das
glaub' ich_; in either case, by way of heartiest approval. In short,
if Teufelsdröckh was Dalai-Lama, of which, except perhaps in his
self-seclusion, and god-like indifference, there was no symptom, then
might Heuschrecke pass for his chief Talapoin, to whom no dough-pill
he could knead and publish was other than medicinal and sacred.

In such environment, social, domestic, physical, did Teufelsdröckh, at
the time of our acquaintance, and most likely does he still, live and
meditate. Here, perched-up in his high Wahngasse watch-tower, and
often, in solitude, outwatching the Bear, it was that the indomitable
Inquirer fought all his battles with Dulness and Darkness; here, in
all probability, that he wrote this surprising Volume on _Clothes_.
Additional particulars: of his age, which was of that standing middle
sort you could only guess at; of his wide surtout; the colour of his
trousers, fashion of his broad-brimmed steeple-hat, and so forth, we
might report, but do not. The Wisest truly is, in these times, the
Greatest; so that an enlightened curiosity, leaving Kings and suchlike
to rest very much on their own basis, turns more and more to the
Philosophic Class: nevertheless, what reader expects that, with all
our writing and reporting, Teufelsdröckh could be brought home to him,
till once the Documents arrive? His Life, Fortunes, and Bodily
Presence, are as yet hidden from us, or matter only of faint
conjecture. But, on the other hand, does not his Soul lie enclosed in
this remarkable Volume, much more truly than Pedro Garcia's did in the
buried Bag of Doubloons? To the soul of Diogenes Teufelsdröckh, to his
opinions, namely, on the 'Origin and Influence of Clothes,' we for the
present gladly return.



It were a piece of vain flattery to pretend that this Work on Clothes
entirely contents us; that it is not, like all works of genius, like
the very Sun, which, though the highest published creation, or work of
genius, has nevertheless black spots and troubled nebulosities amid
its effulgence,--a mixture of insight, inspiration, with dulness,
double-vision, and even utter blindness.

Without committing ourselves to those enthusiastic praises and
prophesyings of the _Weissnichtwo'sche Anzeiger_, we admitted that the
Book had in a high degree excited us to self-activity, which is the
best effect of any book; that it had even operated changes in our way
of thought; nay, that it promised to prove, as it were, the opening of
a new mine-shaft, wherein the whole world of Speculation might
henceforth dig to unknown depths. More especially it may now be
declared that Professor Teufelsdröckh's acquirements, patience of
research, philosophic and even poetic vigour, are here made
indisputably manifest; and unhappily no less his prolixity and
tortuosity and manifold ineptitude; that, on the whole, as in opening
new mine-shafts is not unreasonable, there is much rubbish in his
Book, though likewise specimens of almost invaluable ore. A paramount
popularity in England we cannot promise him. Apart from the choice of
such a topic as Clothes, too often the manner of treating it betokens
in the Author a rusticity and academic seclusion, unblamable, indeed
inevitable in a German, but fatal to his success with our public.

Of good society Teufelsdröckh appears to have seen little, or has
mostly forgotten what he saw. He speaks-out with a strange plainness;
calls many things by their mere dictionary names. To him the
Upholsterer is no Pontiff, neither is any Drawing-room a Temple, were
it never so begilt and overhung: 'a whole immensity of Brussels
carpets, and pier-glasses, and or-molu,' as he himself expresses it,
'cannot hide from me that such Drawing-room is simply a section of
Infinite Space, where so many God-created Souls do for the time meet
together.' To Teufelsdröckh the highest Duchess is respectable, is
venerable; but nowise for her pearl bracelets and Malines laces: in
his eyes, the star of a Lord is little less and little more than the
broad button of Birmingham spelter in a Clown's smock; 'each is an
implement,' he says, 'in its kind; a tag for _hooking-together_; and,
for the rest, was dug from the earth, and hammered on a smithy before
smith's fingers.' Thus does the Professor look in men's faces with a
strange impartiality, a strange scientific freedom; like a man
unversed in the higher circles, like a man dropped thither from the
Moon. Rightly considered, it is in this peculiarity, running through
his whole system of thought, that all these short-comings,
over-shootings, and multiform perversities, take rise: if indeed they
have not a second source, also natural enough, in his Transcendental
Philosophies, and humour of looking at all Matter and Material things
as Spirit; whereby truly his case were but the more hopeless, the more

To the Thinkers of this nation, however, of which class it is firmly
believed there are individuals yet extant, we can safely recommend the
Work: nay, who knows but among the fashionable ranks too, if it be
true, as Teufelsdröckh maintains, that 'within the most starched
cravat there passes a windpipe and weasand, and under the thickliest
embroidered waistcoat beats a heart,'--the force of that rapt
earnestness may be felt, and here and there an arrow of the soul
pierce through? In our wild Seer, shaggy, unkempt, like a Baptist
living on locusts and wild honey, there is an untutored energy, a
silent, as it were unconscious, strength, which, except in the higher
walks of Literature, must be rare. Many a deep glance, and often with
unspeakable precision, has he cast into mysterious Nature, and the
still more mysterious Life of Man. Wonderful it is with what cutting
words, now and then, he severs asunder the confusion; shears down,
were it furlongs deep, into the true centre of the matter; and there
not only hits the nail on the head, but with crushing force smites it
home, and buries it.--On the other hand, let us be free to admit, he
is the most unequal writer breathing. Often after some such feat, he
will play truant for long pages, and go dawdling and dreaming, and
mumbling and maundering the merest commonplaces, as if he were asleep
with eyes open, which indeed he is.

Of his boundless Learning, and how all reading and literature in most
known tongues, from _Sanchoniathon_ to _Dr Lingard_, from your
Oriental _Shasters_, and _Talmuds_, and _Korans_, with Cassini's
_Siamese Tables_, and Laplace's _Mécanique Céleste_, down to _Robinson
Crusoe_ and the _Belfast Town and Country Almanack_, are familiar to
him,--we shall say nothing: for unexampled as it is with us, to the
Germans such universality of study passes without wonder, as a thing
commendable, indeed, but natural, indispensable, and there of course.
A man that devotes his life to learning, shall he not be learned?

In respect of style our Author manifests the same genial capability,
marred too often by the same rudeness, inequality, and apparent want
of intercourse with the higher classes. Occasionally, as above hinted,
we find consummate vigour, a true inspiration; his burning thoughts
step forth in fit burning words, like so many full-formed Minervas,
issuing amid flame and splendour from Jove's head; a rich, idiomatic
diction, picturesque allusions, fiery poetic emphasis, or quaint
tricksy turns; all the graces and terrors of a wild Imagination,
wedded to the clearest Intellect, alternate in beautiful vicissitude.
Were it not that sheer sleeping and soporific passages;
circumlocutions, repetitions, touches even of pure doting jargon, so
often intervene! On the whole, Professor Teufelsdröckh is not a
cultivated writer. Of his sentences perhaps not more than nine-tenths
stand straight on their legs; the remainder are in quite angular
attitudes, buttressed-up by props (of parentheses and dashes), and
ever with this or the other tagrag hanging from them; a few even
sprawl-out helplessly on all sides, quite broken-backed and
dismembered. Nevertheless, in almost his very worst moods, there lies
in him a singular attraction. A wild tone pervades the whole utterance
of the man, like its keynote and regulator; now screwing itself aloft
as into the Song of Spirits, or else the shrill mockery of Fiends; now
sinking in cadences, not without melodious heartiness, though
sometimes abrupt enough, into the common pitch, when we hear it only
as a monotonous hum; of which hum the true character is extremely
difficult to fix. Up to this hour we have never fully satisfied
ourselves whether it is a tone and hum of real Humour, which we reckon
among the very highest qualities of genius, or some echo of mere
Insanity and Inanity, which doubtless ranks below the very lowest.

Under a like difficulty, in spite even of our personal intercourse, do
we still lie with regard to the Professor's moral feeling. Gleams of
an ethereal Love burst forth from him, soft wailings of infinite pity;
he could clasp the whole Universe into his bosom, and keep it warm; it
seems as if under that rude exterior there dwelt a very seraph. Then
again he is so sly and still, so imperturbably saturnine; shows such
indifference, malign coolness towards all that men strive after; and
ever with some half-visible wrinkle of a bitter sardonic humour, if
indeed it be not mere stolid callousness,--that you look on him almost
with a shudder, as on some incarnate Mephistopheles, to whom this
great terrestrial and celestial Round, after all, were but some huge
foolish Whirligig, where kings and beggars, and angels and demons, and
stars and street-sweepings, were chaotically whirled, in which only
children could take interest. His look, as we mentioned, is probably
the gravest ever seen: yet it is not of that cast-iron gravity
frequent enough among our own Chancery suitors; but rather the gravity
as of some silent, high-encircled mountain-pool, perhaps the crater of
an extinct volcano; into whose black deeps you fear to gaze: those
eyes, those lights that sparkle in it, may indeed be reflexes of the
heavenly Stars, but perhaps also glances from the region of Nether

Certainly a most involved, self-secluded, altogether enigmatic nature,
this of Teufelsdröckh! Here, however, we gladly recall to mind that
once we saw him _laugh_; once only, perhaps it was the first and last
time in his life; but then such a peal of laughter, enough to have
awakened the Seven Sleepers! It was of Jean Paul's doing: some single
billow in that vast World-Mahlstrom of Humour, with its heaven-kissing
coruscations, which is now, alas, all congealed in the frost of death!
The large-bodied Poet and the small, both large enough in soul, sat
talking miscellaneously together, the present Editor being privileged
to listen; and now Paul, in his serious way, was giving one of those
inimitable 'Extra-harangues'; and, as it chanced, On the Proposal for
a _Cast-metal King_: gradually a light kindled in our Professor's eyes
and face, a beaming, mantling, loveliest light; through those murky
features, a radiant, ever-young Apollo looked; and he burst forth like
the neighing of all Tattersall's,--tears streaming down his cheeks,
pipe held aloft, foot clutched into the air,--loud, long-continuing,
uncontrollable; a laugh not of the face and diaphragm only, but of the
whole man from head to heel. The present Editor, who laughed indeed,
yet with measure, began to fear all was not right: however,
Teufelsdröckh composed himself, and sank into his old stillness; on
his inscrutable countenance there was, if anything, a slight look of
shame; and Richter himself could not rouse him again. Readers who have
any tincture of Psychology know how much is to be inferred from this;
and that no man who has once heartily and wholly laughed can be
altogether irreclaimably bad. How much lies in Laughter: the
cipher-key, wherewith we decipher the whole man! Some men wear an
everlasting barren simper; in the smile of others lies a cold glitter
as of ice: the fewest are able to laugh, what can be called laughing,
but only sniff and titter and snigger from the throat outwards; or at
best, produce some whiffling husky cachinnation, as if they were
laughing through wool: of none such comes good. The man who cannot
laugh is not only fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils; but his
whole life is already a treason and a stratagem.

Considered as an Author, Herr Teufelsdröckh has one scarcely
pardonable fault, doubtless his worst: an almost total want of
arrangement. In this remarkable Volume, it is true, his adherence to
the mere course of Time produces, through the Narrative portions, a
certain show of outward method; but of true logical method and
sequence there is too little. Apart from its multifarious sections and
subdivisions, the Work naturally falls into two Parts; a
Historical-Descriptive, and a Philosophical-Speculative: but falls,
unhappily, by no firm line of demarcation; in that labyrinthic
combination, each Part overlaps, and indents, and indeed runs quite
through the other. Many sections are of a debatable rubric or even
quite nondescript and unnameable; whereby the Book not only loses in
accessibility, but too often distresses us like some mad banquet,
wherein all courses had been confounded, and fish and flesh, soup and
solid, oyster-sauce, lettuces, Rhine-wine and French mustard, were
hurled into one huge tureen or trough, and the hungry Public invited
to help itself. To bring what order we can out of this Chaos shall be
part of our endeavour.



'As Montesquieu wrote a _Spirit of Laws_,' observes our Professor, 'so
could I write a _Spirit of Clothes_; thus, with an _Esprit des Lois_,
properly an _Esprit de Coutumes_, we should have an _Esprit de
Costumes_. For neither in tailoring nor in legislating does man
proceed by mere Accident, but the hand is ever guided on by mysterious
operations of the mind. In all his Modes, and habilatory endeavours,
an Architectural Idea will be found lurking; his Body and the Cloth
are the site and materials whereon and whereby his beautified edifice,
of a Person, is to be built. Whether he flow gracefully out in folded
mantles, based on light sandals; tower-up in high headgear, from amid
peaks, spangles and bell-girdles; swell-out in starched ruffs, buckram
stuffings, and monstrous tuberosities; or girth himself into separate
sections, and front the world an Agglomeration of four limbs,--will
depend on the nature of such Architectural Idea: whether Grecian,
Gothic, Later-Gothic, or altogether Modern, and Parisian or
Anglo-Dandiacal. Again, what meaning lies in Colour! From the soberest
drab to the high-flaming scarlet, spiritual idiosyncrasies unfold
themselves in choice of Colour: if the Cut betoken Intellect and
Talent, so does the Colour betoken Temper and Heart. In all which,
among nations as among individuals, there is an incessant,
indubitable, though infinitely complex working of Cause and Effect:
every snip of the Scissors has been regulated and prescribed by
ever-active Influences, which doubtless to Intelligences of a superior
order are neither invisible nor illegible.

'For such superior Intelligences a Cause-and-Effect Philosophy of
Clothes, as of Laws, were probably a comfortable winter-evening
entertainment: nevertheless, for inferior Intelligences, like men,
such Philosophies have always seemed to me uninstructive enough. Nay,
what is your Montesquieu himself but a clever infant spelling Letters
from a hieroglyphical prophetic Book, the lexicon of which lies in
Eternity, in Heaven?--Let any Cause-and-Effect Philosopher explain,
not why I wear such and such a Garment, obey such and such a Law; but
even why _I_ am _here_, to wear and obey anything!--Much, therefore,
if not the whole, of that same _Spirit of Clothes_ I shall suppress,
as hypothetical, ineffectual, and even impertinent: naked Facts, and
Deductions drawn therefrom in quite another than that omniscient
style, are my humbler and proper province.'

Acting on which prudent restriction, Teufelsdröckh has nevertheless
contrived to take-in a well-nigh boundless extent of field; at least,
the boundaries too often lie quite beyond our horizon. Selection being
indispensable, we shall here glance-over his First Part only in the
most cursory manner. This First Part is, no doubt, distinguished by
omnivorous learning, and utmost patience and fairness: at the same
time, in its results and delineations, it is much more likely to
interest the Compilers of some _Library_ of General, Entertaining,
Useful, or even Useless Knowledge than the miscellaneous readers of
these pages. Was it this Part of the Book which Heuschrecke had in
view, when he recommended us to that joint-stock vehicle of
publication, 'at present the glory of British Literature'? If so, the
Library Editors are welcome to dig in it for their own behoof.

To the First Chapter, which turns on Paradise and Fig-leaves, and
leads us into interminable disquisitions of a mythological,
metaphorical, cabalistico-sartorial and quite antediluvian cast, we
shall content ourselves with giving an unconcerned approval. Still
less have we to do with 'Lilis, Adam's first wife, whom, according to
the Talmudists, he had before Eve, and who bore him, in that wedlock,
the whole progeny of aerial, aquatic, and terrestrial Devils,'--very
needlessly, we think. On this portion of the Work, with its profound
glances into the _Adam-Kadmon_, or Primeval Element, here strangely
brought into relation with the _Nifl_ and _Muspel_ (Darkness and
Light) of the antique North, it may be enough to say, that its
correctness of deduction, and depth of Talmudic and Rabbinical lore
have filled perhaps not the worst Hebraist in Britain with something
like astonishment.

But, quitting this twilight region, Teufelsdröckh hastens from the
Tower of Babel, to follow the dispersion of Mankind over the whole
habitable and habilable globe. Walking by the light of Oriental,
Pelasgic, Scandinavian, Egyptian, Otaheitean, Ancient and Modern
researches of every conceivable kind, he strives to give us in
compressed shape (as the Nürnbergers give an _Orbis Pictus_) an _Orbis
Vestitus_; or view of the costumes of all mankind, in all countries,
in all times. It is here that to the Antiquarian, to the Historian, we
can triumphantly say: Fall to! Here is learning: an irregular
Treasury, if you will; but inexhaustible as the Hoard of King
Nibelung, which twelve wagons in twelve days, at the rate of three
journeys a day, could not carry off. Sheepskin cloaks and wampum
belts; phylacteries, stoles, albs; chlamydes, togas, Chinese silks,
Afghaun shawls, trunk-hose, leather breeches, Celtic philibegs (though
breeches, as the name _Gallia Braccata_ indicates, are the more
ancient), Hussar cloaks, Vandyke tippets, ruffs, fardingales, are
brought vividly before us,--even the Kilmarnock nightcap is not
forgotten. For most part, too, we must admit that the Learning,
heterogeneous as it is, and tumbled-down quite pell-mell, is true
concentrated and purified Learning, the drossy parts smelted out and
thrown aside.

Philosophical reflections intervene, and sometimes touching pictures
of human life. Of this sort the following has surprised us. The first
purpose of Clothes, as our Professor imagines, was not warmth or
decency, but ornament. 'Miserable indeed,' says he, 'was the condition
of the Aboriginal Savage, glaring fiercely from under his fleece of
hair, which with the beard reached down to his loins, and hung round
him like a matted cloak; the rest of his body sheeted in its thick
natural fell. He loitered in the sunny glades of the forest, living on
wild-fruits; or, as the ancient Caledonian, squatted himself in
morasses, lurking for his bestial or human prey; without implements,
without arms, save the ball of heavy Flint, to which, that his sole
possession and defence might not be lost, he had attached a long cord
of plaited thongs; thereby recovering as well as hurling it with
deadly unerring skill. Nevertheless, the pains of Hunger and Revenge
once satisfied, his next care was not Comfort but Decoration (_Putz_).
Warmth he found in the toils of the chase; or amid dried leaves, in
his hollow tree, in his bark shed, or natural grotto: but for
Decoration he must have Clothes. Nay, among wild people we find
tattooing and painting even prior to Clothes. The first spiritual want
of a barbarous man is Decoration, as indeed we still see among the
barbarous classes in civilised countries.

'Reader, the heaven-inspired melodious Singer; loftiest Serene
Highness; nay thy own amber-locked, snow-and-rose-bloom Maiden, worthy
to glide sylphlike almost on air, whom thou lovest, worshippest as a
divine Presence, which, indeed, symbolically taken, she is,--has
descended, like thyself, from that same hair-mantled, flint-hurling
Aboriginal Anthropophagus! Out of the eater cometh forth meat; out of
the strong cometh forth sweetness. What changes are wrought, not by
time, yet in Time! For not Mankind only, but all that Mankind does or
beholds, is in continual growth, regenesis and self-perfecting
vitality. Cast forth thy Act, thy Word, into the ever-living,
ever-working Universe: it is a seed-grain that cannot die; unnoticed
to-day (says one), it will be found flourishing as a Banyan-grove
(perhaps, alas, as a Hemlock-forest!) after a thousand years.

'He who first shortened the labour of Copyists by device of _Movable
Types_ was disbanding hired Armies, and cashiering most Kings and
Senates, and creating a whole new Democratic world: he had invented
the Art of Printing. The first ground handful of Nitre, Sulphur, and
Charcoal drove Monk Schwartz's pestle through the ceiling: what will
the last do? Achieve the final undisputed prostration of Force under
Thought, of Animal courage under Spiritual. A simple invention it was
in the old-world Grazier,--sick of lugging his slow Ox about the
country till he got it bartered for corn or oil,--to take a piece of
Leather, and thereon scratch or stamp the mere Figure of an Ox (or
_Pecus_); put it in his pocket, and call it _Pecunia_, Money. Yet
hereby did Barter grow Sale, the Leather Money is now Golden and
Paper, and all miracles have been out-miracled: for there are
Rothschilds and English National Debts; and whoso has sixpence is
sovereign (to the length of sixpence) over all men; commands cooks to
feed him, philosophers to teach him, kings to mount guard over
him,--to the length of sixpence.--Clothes too, which began in
foolishest love of Ornament, what have they not become! Increased
Security and pleasurable Heat soon followed: but what of these? Shame,
divine Shame (_Schaam_, Modesty), as yet a stranger to the
Anthropophagous bosom, arose there mysteriously under Clothes; a
mystic grove-encircled shrine for the Holy in man. Clothes gave us
individuality, distinctions, social polity; Clothes have made Men of
us; they are threatening to make Clothes-screens of us.

'But, on the whole,' continues our eloquent Professor, 'Man is a
Tool-using Animal (_Handthierendes Thier_). Weak in himself, and of
small stature, he stands on a basis, at most for the flattest-soled,
of some half-square foot, insecurely enough; has to straddle out his
legs, lest the very wind supplant him. Feeblest of bipeds! Three
quintals are a crushing load for him; the steer of the meadow tosses
him aloft, like a waste rag. Nevertheless he can use Tools, can devise
Tools: with these the granite mountain melts into light dust before
him; he kneads glowing iron, as if it were soft paste; seas are his
smooth highway, winds and fire his unwearying steeds. Nowhere do you
find him without Tools; without Tools he is nothing, with Tools he is

Here may we not, for a moment, interrupt the stream of Oratory with a
remark, that this Definition of the Tool-using Animal, appears to us,
of all that Animal-sort, considerably the precisest and best? Man is
called a Laughing Animal: but do not the apes also laugh, or attempt
to do it; and is the manliest man the greatest and oftenest laugher?
Teufelsdröckh himself, as we said, laughed only once. Still less do we
make of that other French Definition of the Cooking Animal; which,
indeed, for rigorous scientific purposes, is as good as useless. Can a
Tartar be said to cook, when he only readies his steak by riding on
it? Again, what Cookery does the Greenlander use, beyond stowing-up
his whale-blubber, as a marmot, in the like case, might do? Or how
would Monsieur Ude prosper among those Orinocco Indians, who,
according to Humboldt, lodge in crow-nests, on the branches of trees;
and, for half the year, have no victuals but pipe-clay, the whole
country being under water? But, on the other hand, show us the human
being, of any period or climate, without his Tools: those very
Caledonians, as we saw, had their Flint-ball, and Thong to it, such as
no brute has or can have.

'Man is a Tool-using Animal,' concludes Teufelsdröckh in his abrupt
way; 'of which truth Clothes are but one example: and surely if we
consider the interval between the first wooden Dibble fashioned by
man, and those Liverpool Steam-carriages, or the British House of
Commons, we shall note what progress he has made. He digs up certain
black stones from the bosom of the earth, and says to them, _Transport
me and this luggage at the rate of five-and-thirty miles an hour_; and
they do it: he collects, apparently by lot, six-hundred and
fifty-eight miscellaneous individuals, and says to them, _Make this
nation toil for us, bleed for us, hunger and sorrow and sin for us_;
and they do it.'



One of the most unsatisfactory Sections in the whole Volume is that on
_Aprons_. What though stout old Gao, the Persian Blacksmith, 'whose
Apron, now indeed hidden under jewels, because raised in revolt which
proved successful, is still the royal standard of that country'; what
though John Knox's Daughter, 'who threatened Sovereign Majesty that
she would catch her husband's head in her Apron, rather than he should
lie and be a bishop'; what though the Landgravine Elizabeth, with many
other Apron worthies,--figure here? An idle wire-drawing spirit,
sometimes even a tone of levity, approaching to conventional satire,
is too clearly discernible. What, for example, are we to make of such
sentences as the following?

'Aprons are Defences; against injury to cleanliness, to safety, to
modesty, sometimes to roguery. From the thin slip of notched silk (as
it were, the Emblem and beatified Ghost of an Apron), which some
highest-bred housewife, sitting at Nürnberg Workboxes and Toyboxes,
has gracefully fastened on; to the thick-tanned hide, girt round him
with thongs, wherein the Builder builds, and at evening sticks his
trowel; or to those jingling sheet-iron Aprons, wherein your otherwise
half-naked Vulcans hammer and smelt in their smelt-furnace,--is there
not range enough in the fashion and uses of this Vestment? How much
has been concealed, how much has been defended in Aprons! Nay, rightly
considered, what is your whole Military and Police Establishment,
charged at uncalculated millions, but a huge scarlet-coloured,
iron-fastened Apron, wherein Society works (uneasily enough); guarding
itself from some soil and stithy-sparks, in this Devil's-smithy
(_Teufelsschmiede_) of a world? But of all Aprons the most puzzling to
me hitherto has been the Episcopal or Cassock. Wherein consists the
usefulness of this Apron? The Overseer (_Episcopus_) of Souls, I
notice, has tucked-in the corner of it, as if his day's work were
done: what does he shadow forth thereby?' &c. &c.

Or again, has it often been the lot of our readers to read such stuff
as we shall now quote?

'I consider those printed Paper Aprons, worn by the Parisian Cooks, as
a new vent, though a slight one, for Typography; therefore as an
encouragement to modern Literature, and deserving of approval: nor is
it without satisfaction that I hear of a celebrated London Firm having
in view to introduce the same fashion, with important extensions, in
England.'--We who are on the spot hear of no such thing; and indeed
have reason to be thankful that hitherto there are other vents for our
Literature, exuberant as it is.--Teufelsdröckh continues: 'If such
supply of printed Paper should rise so far as to choke-up the highways
and public thoroughfares, new means must of necessity be had recourse
to. In a world existing by Industry, we grudge to employ fire as a
destroying element, and not as a creating one. However, Heaven is
omnipotent, and will find us an outlet. In the mean while, is it not
beautiful to see five-million quintals of Rags picked annually from
the Laystall; and annually, after being macerated, hot-pressed,
printed-on, and sold,--returned thither; filling so many hungry mouths
by the way? Thus is the Laystall, especially with its Rags or
Clothes-rubbish, the grand Electric Battery, and Fountain-of-motion,
from which and to which the Social Activities (like vitreous and
resinous Electricities) circulate, in larger or smaller circles,
through the mighty, billowy, storm-tost Chaos of Life, which they keep
alive!'--Such passages fill us, who love the man, and partly esteem
him, with a very mixed feeling.

Farther down we meet with this: 'The Journalists are now the true
Kings and Clergy: henceforth Historians, unless they are fools, must
write not of Bourbon Dynasties, and Tudors and Hapsburgs; but of
Stamped Broad-sheet Dynasties, and quite new successive Names,
according as this or the other Able Editor, or Combination of Able
Editors, gains the world's ear. Of the British Newspaper Press,
perhaps the most important of all, and wonderful enough in its secret
constitution and procedure, a valuable descriptive History already
exists, in that language, under the title of _Satan's Invisible World
Displayed_; which, however, by search in all the Weissnichtwo
Libraries, I have not yet succeeded in procuring (_vermöchte nicht

Thus does the good Homer not only nod, but snore. Thus does
Teufelsdröckh, wandering in regions where he had little business,
confound the old authentic Presbyterian Witchfinder with a new,
spurious, imaginary Historian of the _Brittische Journalistik_; and so
stumble on perhaps the most egregious blunder in Modern Literature!



Happier is our Professor, and more purely scientific and historic,
when he reaches the Middle Ages in Europe, and down to the end of the
Seventeenth Century; the true era of extravagance in Costume. It is
here that the Antiquary and Student of Modes comes upon his richest
harvest. Fantastic garbs, beggaring all fancy of a Teniers or a
Callot, succeed each other, like monster devouring monster in a Dream.
The whole too in brief authentic strokes, and touched not seldom with
that breath of genius which makes even old raiment live. Indeed, so
learned, precise, graphical, and everyway interesting have we found
these Chapters, that it may be thrown-out as a pertinent question for
parties concerned, Whether or not a good English Translation thereof
might henceforth be profitably incorporated with Mr. Merrick's
valuable Work _On Ancient Armour_? Take, by way of example, the
following sketch; as authority for which Paulinus's _Zeitkürzende
Lust_ (ii. 678) is, with seeming confidence, referred to:

'Did we behold the German fashionable dress of the Fifteenth Century,
we might smile; as perhaps those bygone Germans, were they to rise
again, and see our haberdashery, would cross themselves, and invoke
the Virgin. But happily no bygone German, or man, rises again; thus
the Present is not needlessly trammelled with the Past; and only grows
out of it, like a Tree, whose roots are not intertangled with its
branches, but lie peaceably underground. Nay it is very mournful, yet
not useless, to see and know, how the Greatest and Dearest, in a short
while, would find his place quite filled-up here, and no room for him;
the very Napoleon, the very Byron, in some seven years, has become
obsolete, and were now a foreigner to his Europe. Thus is the Law of
Progress secured; and in Clothes, as in all other external things
whatsoever, no fashion will continue.

'Of the military classes in those old times, whose buff-belts,
complicated chains and gorgets, huge churn-boots, and other riding and
fighting gear have been bepainted in modern Romance, till the whole
has acquired somewhat of a sign-post character,--I shall here say
nothing: the civil and pacific classes, less touched upon, are
wonderful enough for us.

'Rich men, I find, have _Teusinke_' (a perhaps untranslateable
article); 'also a silver girdle, whereat hang little bells; so that
when a man walks, it is with continual jingling. Some few, of musical
turn, have a whole chime of bells (_Glockenspiel_) fastened there;
which, especially in sudden whirls, and the other accidents of
walking, has a grateful effect. Observe too how fond they are of
peaks, and Gothic-arch intersections. The male world wears peaked
caps, an ell long, which hang bobbing over the side (_schief_): their
shoes are peaked in front, also to the length of an ell, and laced on
the side with tags; even the wooden shoes have their ell-long noses:
some also clap bells on the peak. Further, according to my authority,
the men have breeches without seat (_ohne Gesäss_): these they fasten
peakwise to their shirts; and the long round doublet must overlap

'Rich maidens, again, flit abroad in gowns scolloped out behind and
before, so that back and breast are almost bare. Wives of quality, on
the other hand, have train-gowns four or five ells in length; which
trains there are boys to carry. Brave Cleopatras, sailing in their
silk-cloth Galley, with a Cupid for steersman! Consider their welts, a
handbreadth thick, which waver round them by way of hem; the long
flood of silver buttons, or rather silver shells, from throat to shoe,
wherewith these same welt-gowns are buttoned. The maidens have bound
silver snoods about their hair, with gold spangles, and pendent flames
(_Flammen_), that is, sparkling hair-drops: but of their mother's
headgear who shall speak? Neither in love of grace is comfort
forgotten. In winter weather you behold the whole fair creation (that
can afford it) in long mantles, with skirts wide below, and, for hem,
not one but two sufficient hand-broad welts; all ending atop in a
thick well-starched Ruff, some twenty inches broad: these are their
Ruff-mantles (_Kragenmäntel_).

'As yet among the womankind hoop-petticoats are not; but the men have
doublets of fustian, under which lie multiple ruffs of cloth, pasted
together with batter (_mit Teig zusammengekleistert_), which create
protuberance enough. Thus do the two sexes vie with each other in the
art of Decoration; and as usual the stronger carries it.'

Our Professor, whether he hath humour himself or not, manifests a
certain feeling of the Ludicrous, a sly observance of it, which, could
emotion of any kind be confidently predicated of so still a man, we
might call a real love. None of those bell-girdles, bushel-breeches,
cornuted shoes, or other the like phenomena, of which the History of
Dress offers so many, escape him: more especially the mischances, or
striking adventures, incident to the wearers of such, are noticed with
due fidelity. Sir Walter Raleigh's fine mantle, which he spread in the
mud under Queen Elizabeth's feet, appears to provoke little enthusiasm
in him; he merely asks, Whether at that period the Maiden Queen 'was
red-painted on the nose, and white-painted on the cheeks, as her
tire-women, when from spleen and wrinkles she would no longer look in
any glass, were wont to serve her?' We can answer that Sir Walter knew
well what he was doing, and had the Maiden Queen been stuffed
parchment dyed in verdigris, would have done the same.

Thus too, treating of those enormous habiliments, that were not only
slashed and galooned, but artificially swollen-out on the broader
parts of the body, by introduction of Bran,--our Professor fails not
to comment on that luckless Courtier, who having seated himself on a
chair with some projecting nail on it, and therefrom rising, to pay
his _devoir_ on the entrance of Majesty, instantaneously emitted
several pecks of dry wheat-dust: and stood there diminished to a
spindle, his galoons and slashes dangling sorrowful and flabby round
him. Whereupon the Professor publishes this reflection:

'By what strange chances do we live in History? Erostratus by a torch;
Milo by a bullock; Henry Darnley, an unfledged booby and bustard, by
his limbs; most Kings and Queens by being born under such and such a
bed-tester; Boileau Despréaux (according to Helvetius) by the peck of
a turkey; and this ill-starred individual by a rent in his
breeches,--for no Memoirist of Kaiser Otto's Court omits him. Vain was
the prayer of Themistocles for a talent of Forgetting: my Friends,
yield cheerfully to Destiny, and read since it is written.'--Has
Teufelsdröckh to be put in mind that, nearly related to the impossible
talent of Forgetting, stands that talent of Silence, which even
travelling Englishmen manifest?

'The simplest costume,' observes our Professor, 'which I anywhere find
alluded to in History, is that used as regimental, by Bolivar's
Cavalry, in the late Columbian wars. A square Blanket, twelve feet in
diagonal, is provided (some were wont to cut-off the corners, and make
it circular): in the centre a slit is effected eighteen inches long;
through this the mother-naked Trooper introduces his head and neck:
and so rides shielded from all weather, and in battle from many
strokes (for he rolls it about his left arm); and not only dressed,
but harnessed and draperied.'

With which picture of a State of Nature, affecting by its singularity,
and Old-Roman contempt of the superfluous, we shall quit this part of
our subject.



If in the Descriptive-Historical portion of this Volume,
Teufelsdröckh, discussing merely the _Werden_ (Origin and successive
Improvement) of Clothes, has astonished many a reader, much more will
he in the Speculative-Philosophical portion, which treats of their
_Wirken_, or Influences. It is here that the present Editor first
feels the pressure of his task; for here properly the higher and new
Philosophy of Clothes commences: an untried, almost inconceivable
region, or chaos; in venturing upon which, how difficult, yet how
unspeakably important is it to know what course, of survey and
conquest, is the true one; where the footing is firm substance and
will bear us, where it is hollow, or mere cloud, and may engulf us!
Teufelsdröckh undertakes no less than to expound the moral, political,
even religious Influences of Clothes; he undertakes to make manifest,
in its thousandfold bearings, this grand Proposition, that Man's
earthly interests 'are all hooked and buttoned together, and held up,
by Clothes.' He says in so many words, 'Society is founded upon
Cloth'; and again, 'Society sails through the Infinitude on Cloth, as
on a Faust's Mantle, or rather like the Sheet of clean and unclean
beasts in the Apostle's Dream; and without such Sheet or Mantle, would
sink to endless depths, or mount to inane limboes, and in either case
be no more.'

By what chains, or indeed infinitely complected tissues, of Meditation
this grand Theorem is here unfolded, and innumerable practical
Corollaries are drawn therefrom, it were perhaps a mad ambition to
attempt exhibiting. Our Professor's method is not, in any case, that
of common school Logic, where the truths all stand in a row, each
holding by the skirts of the other; but at best that of practical
Reason, proceeding by large Intuition over whole systematic groups and
kingdoms; whereby, we might say, a noble complexity, almost like that
of Nature, reigns in his Philosophy, or spiritual Picture of Nature: a
mighty maze, yet, as faith whispers, not without a plan. Nay we
complained above, that a certain ignoble complexity, what we must call
mere confusion, was also discernible. Often, also, we have to exclaim:
Would to Heaven those same Biographical Documents were come! For it
seems as if the demonstration lay much in the Author's individuality;
as if it were not Argument that had taught him, but Experience. At
present it is only in local glimpses, and by significant fragments,
picked often at wide-enough intervals from the original Volume, and
carefully collated, that we can hope to impart some outline or
foreshadow of this Doctrine. Readers of any intelligence are once more
invited to favour us with their most concentrated attention: let
these, after intense consideration, and not till then, pronounce,
Whether on the utmost verge of our actual horizon there is not a
looming as of Land; a promise of new Fortunate Islands, perhaps whole
undiscovered Americas, for such as have canvas to sail thither?--As
exordium to the whole, stand here the following long citation:

'With men of a speculative turn,' writes Teufelsdröckh, 'there come
seasons, meditative, sweet, yet awful hours, when in wonder and fear
you ask yourself that unanswerable question: Who am _I_; the thing
that can say "I" (_das Wesen das sich_ ICH _nennt_)? The world, with
its loud trafficking, retires into the distance; and, through the
paper-hangings, and stone-walls, and thick-plied tissues of Commerce
and Polity, and all the living and lifeless integuments (of Society
and a Body), wherewith your Existence sits surrounded,--the sight
reaches forth into the void Deep, and you are alone with the Universe,
and silently commune with it, as one mysterious Presence with another.

'Who am I; what is this ME? A Voice, a Motion, an Appearance;--some
embodied, visualised Idea in the Eternal Mind? _Cogito, ergo sum._
Alas, poor Cogitator, this takes us but a little way. Sure enough, I
am; and lately was not: but Whence? How? Whereto? The answer lies
around, written in all colours and motions, uttered in all tones of
jubilee and wail, in thousand-figured, thousand-voiced, harmonious
Nature: but where is the cunning eye and ear to whom that God-written
Apocalypse will yield articulate meaning? We sit as in a boundless
Phantasmagoria and Dream-grotto; boundless, for the faintest star, the
remotest century, lies not even nearer the verge thereof: sounds and
many-coloured visions flit round our sense; but Him, the Unslumbering,
whose work both Dream and Dreamer are, we see not; except in rare
half-waking moments, suspect not. Creation, says one, lies before us,
like a glorious Rainbow; but the Sun that made it lies behind us,
hidden from us. Then, in that strange Dream, how we clutch at shadows
as if they were substances; and sleep deepest while fancying ourselves
most awake! Which of your Philosophical Systems is other than a
dream-theorem; a net quotient, confidently given out, where divisor
and dividend are both unknown? What are all your national Wars, with
their Moscow Retreats, and sanguinary hate-filled Revolutions, but the
Somnambulism of uneasy Sleepers? This Dreaming, this Somnambulism is
what we on Earth call Life; wherein the most indeed undoubtingly
wander, as if they knew right hand from left; yet they only are wise
who know that they know nothing.

'Pity that all Metaphysics had hitherto proved so inexpressibly
unproductive! The secret of Man's Being is still like the Sphinx's
secret: a riddle that he cannot rede; and for ignorance of which he
suffers death, the worst death, a spiritual. What are your Axioms, and
Categories, and Systems, and Aphorisms? Words, words. High Air-castles
are cunningly built of Words, the Words well bedded also in good
Logic-mortar, wherein, however, no Knowledge will come to lodge. _The
whole is greater than the part_: how exceedingly true! _Nature abhors
a vacuum_: how exceedingly false and calumnious! Again, _Nothing can
act but where it is_: with all my heart; only, WHERE is it? Be not the
slave of Words: is not the Distant, the Dead, while I love it, and
long for it, and mourn for it, Here, in the genuine sense, as truly as
the floor I stand on? But that same WHERE, with its brother WHEN, are
from the first the master-colours of our Dream-grotto; say rather, the
Canvas (the warp and woof thereof) whereon all our Dreams and
Life-visions are painted! Nevertheless, has not a deeper meditation
taught certain of every climate and age, that the WHERE and WHEN, so
mysteriously inseparable from all our thoughts, are but superficial
terrestrial adhesions to thought; that the Seer may discern them where
they mount up out of the celestial EVERYWHERE and FOREVER: have not
all nations conceived their God as Omnipresent and Eternal; as
existing in a universal HERE, an everlasting NOW? Think well, thou too
wilt find that Space is but a mode of our human Sense, so likewise
Time; there _is_ no Space and no Time: WE are--we know not
what;--light-sparkles floating in the æther of Deity!

'So that this so solid-seeming World, after all, were but an
air-image, our ME the only reality: and Nature, with its thousandfold
production and destruction, but the reflex of our own inward Force,
the "phantasy of our Dream"; or what the Earth-Spirit in _Faust_ names
it, _the living visible Garment of God_:

  "In Being's floods, in Action's storm,
  I walk and work, above, beneath,
  Work and weave in endless motion!
        Birth and Death,
        An infinite ocean;
        A seizing and giving
        The fire of Living:
  'Tis thus at the roaring Loom of Time I ply,
  And weave for God the Garment thou seest Him by."

Of twenty millions that have read and spouted this thunder-speech of
the _Erdgeist_, are there yet twenty units of us that have learned the
meaning thereof?

'It was in some such mood, when wearied and fordone with these high
speculations, that I first came upon the question of Clothes. Strange
enough, it strikes me, is this same fact of there being Tailors and
Tailored. The Horse I ride has his own whole fell: strip him of the
girths and flaps and extraneous tags I have fastened round him, and
the noble creature is his own sempster and weaver and spinner; nay his
own bootmaker, jeweller, and man-milliner; he bounds free through the
valleys, with a perennial rain-proof court-suit on his body; wherein
warmth and easiness of fit have reached perfection; nay, the graces
also have been considered, and frills and fringes, with gay variety of
colour, featly appended, and ever in the right place, are not wanting.
While I--good Heaven!--have thatched myself over with the dead fleeces
of sheep, the bark of vegetables, the entrails of worms, the hides of
oxen or seals, the felt of furred beasts; and walk abroad a moving
Rag-screen, overheaped with shreds and tatters raked from the
Charnel-house of Nature, where they would have rotted, to rot on me
more slowly! Day after day, I must thatch myself anew; day after day,
this despicable thatch must lose some film of its thickness; some film
of it, frayed away by tear and wear, must be brushed-off into the
Ashpit, into the Laystall; till by degrees the whole has been brushed
thither, and I, the dust-making, patent Rag-grinder, get new material
to grind down. O subter-brutish! vile! most vile! For have not I too a
compact all-enclosing Skin, whiter or dingier? Am I a botched mass of
tailors' and cobblers' shreds, then; or a tightly-articulated,
homogeneous little Figure, automatic, nay alive?

'Strange enough how creatures of the human-kind shut their eyes to
plainest facts; and by the mere inertia of Oblivion and Stupidity,
live at ease in the midst of Wonders and Terrors. But indeed man is,
and was always, a blockhead and dullard; much readier to feel and
digest, than to think and consider. Prejudice, which he pretends to
hate, is his absolute lawgiver; mere use-and-wont everywhere leads him
by the nose; thus let but a Rising of the Sun, let but a Creation of
the World happen _twice_, and it ceases to be marvellous, to be
noteworthy, or noticeable. Perhaps not once in a lifetime does it
occur to your ordinary biped, of any country or generation, be he
gold-mantled Prince or russet-jerkined Peasant, that his Vestments and
his Self are not one and indivisible; that _he_ is naked, without
vestments, till he buy or steal such, and by forethought sew and
button them.

'For my own part, these considerations, of our Clothes-thatch, and
how, reaching inwards even to our heart of hearts, it tailorises and
demoralises us, fill me with a certain horror at myself and mankind;
almost as one feels at those Dutch Cows, which, during the wet season,
you see grazing deliberately with jackets and petticoats (of striped
sacking), in the meadows of Gouda. Nevertheless there is something
great in the moment when a man first strips himself of adventitious
wrappages; and sees indeed that he is naked, and, as Swift has it, "a
forked straddling animal with bandy legs"; yet also a Spirit, and
unutterable Mystery of Mysteries.'



Let no courteous reader take offence at the opinions broached in the
conclusion of the last Chapter. The Editor himself, on first glancing
over that singular passage, was inclined to exclaim: What, have we got
not only a Sansculottist, but an enemy to Clothes in the abstract? A
new Adamite, in this century, which flatters itself that it is the
Nineteenth, and destructive both to Superstition and Enthusiasm?

Consider, thou foolish Teufelsdröckh, what benefits unspeakable all
ages and sexes derive from Clothes. For example, when thou thyself, a
watery, pulpy, slobbery freshman and new-comer in this Planet, sattest
muling and puking in thy nurse's arms; sucking thy coral, and looking
forth into the world in the blankest manner, what hadst thou been
without thy blankets, and bibs, and other nameless hulls? A terror to
thyself and mankind! Or hast thou forgotten the day when thou first
receivedst breeches, and thy long clothes became short? The village
where thou livedst was all apprised of the fact; and neighbour after
neighbour kissed thy pudding-cheek, and gave thee, as handsel, silver
or copper coins, on that the first gala-day of thy existence. Again,
wert not thou, at one period of life, a Buck, or Blood, or Macaroni,
or Incroyable, or Dandy, or by whatever name, according to year and
place, such phenomenon is distinguished? In that one word lie included
mysterious volumes. Nay, now when the reign of folly is over, or
altered, and thy clothes are not for triumph but for defence, hast
thou always worn them perforce, and as a consequence of Man's Fall;
never rejoiced in them as in a warm movable House, a Body round thy
Body, wherein that strange THEE of thine sat snug, defying all
variations of Climate? Girt with thick double-milled kerseys;
half-buried under shawls and broad-brims, and overalls and mud-boots,
thy very fingers cased in doeskin and mittens, thou hast bestrode that
'Horse I ride'; and, though it were in wild winter, dashed through the
world, glorying in it as if thou wert its lord. In vain did the sleet
beat round thy temples; it lighted only on thy impenetrable, felted or
woven, case of wool. In vain did the winds howl,--forests sounding and
creaking, deep calling unto deep,--and the storms heap themselves
together into one huge Arctic whirlpool: thou flewest through the
middle thereof, striking fire from the highway; wild music hummed in
thy ears, thou too wert as a 'sailor of the air'; the wreck of matter
and the crash of worlds was thy element and propitiously wafting tide.
Without Clothes, without bit or saddle, what hadst thou been; what had
thy fleet quadruped been?--Nature is good, but she is not the best:
here truly was the victory of Art over Nature. A thunderbolt indeed
might have pierced thee; all short of this thou couldst defy.

Or, cries the courteous reader, has your Teufelsdröckh forgotten what
he said lately about 'Aboriginal Savages,' and their 'condition
miserable indeed'? Would he have all this unsaid; and us betake
ourselves again to the 'matted cloak,' and go sheeted in a 'thick
natural fell'?

Nowise, courteous reader! The Professor knows full well what he is
saying; and both thou and we, in our haste, do him wrong. If Clothes,
in these times, 'so tailorise and demoralise us,' have they no
redeeming value; can they not be altered to serve better; must they of
necessity be thrown to the dogs? The truth is, Teufelsdröckh, though a
Sansculottist, is no Adamite; and much perhaps as he might wish to go
forth before this degenerate age 'as a Sign,' would nowise wish to do
it, as those old Adamites did, in a state of Nakedness. The utility of
Clothes is altogether apparent to him: nay perhaps he has an insight
into their more recondite, and almost mystic qualities, what we might
call the omnipotent virtue of Clothes, such as was never before
vouchsafed to any man. For example:

'You see two individuals,' he writes, 'one dressed in fine Red, the
other in coarse threadbare Blue: Red says to Blue, "Be hanged and
anatomised"; Blue hears with a shudder, and (O wonder of wonders!)
marches sorrowfully to the gallows; is there noosed-up, vibrates his
hour, and the surgeons dissect him, and fit his bones into a skeleton
for medical purposes. How is this; or what make ye of your _Nothing
can act but where it is_? Red has no physical hold of Blue, no
_clutch_ of him, is nowise in _contact_ with him: neither are those
ministering Sheriffs and Lord-Lieutenants and Hangmen and Tipstaves so
related to commanding Red, that he can tug them hither and thither;
but each stands distinct within his own skin. Nevertheless, as it is
spoken, so is it done: the articulated Word sets all hands in Action;
and Rope and Improved-drop perform their work.

'Thinking reader, the reason seems to me twofold: First, that _Man is
a Spirit_, and bound by invisible bonds to _All Men_; secondly, that
_he wears Clothes_, which are the visible emblems of that fact. Has
not your Red hanging-individual a horsehair wig, squirrel-skins, and a
plush-gown; whereby all mortals know that he is a JUDGE?--Society,
which the more I think of it astonishes me the more, is founded upon

'Often in my atrabiliar-moods, when I read of pompous ceremonials,
Frankfort Coronations, Royal Drawing-rooms, Levees, Couchees; and how
the ushers and macers and pursuivants are all in waiting; how Duke
this is presented by Archduke that, and Colonel A by General B, and
innumerable Bishops, Admirals, and miscellaneous Functionaries, are
advancing gallantly to the Anointed Presence; and I strive, in my
remote privacy, to form a clear picture of that solemnity,--on a
sudden, as by some enchanter's wand, the--shall I speak it?--the
Clothes fly-off the whole dramatic corps; and Dukes, Grandees,
Bishops, Generals, Anointed Presence itself, every mother's son of
them, stand straddling there, not a shirt on them; and I know not
whether to laugh or weep. This physical or psychical infirmity, in
which perhaps I am not singular, I have, after hesitation, thought
right to publish, for the solace of those afflicted with the like.'

Would to Heaven, say we, thou hadst thought right to keep it secret!
Who is there now that can read the five columns of Presentations in
his Morning Newspaper without a shudder? Hypochondriac men, and all
men are to a certain extent hypochondriac, should be more gently
treated. With what readiness our fancy, in this shattered state of the
nerves, follows out the consequences which Teufelsdröckh, with a
devilish coolness, goes on to draw:

'What would Majesty do, could such an accident befall in reality;
should the buttons all simultaneously start, and the solid wool
evaporate, in very Deed, as here in Dream? _Ach Gott!_ How each skulks
into the nearest hiding-place; their high State Tragedy (_Haupt- und
Staats-Action_) becomes a Pickleherring-Farce to weep at, which is the
worst kind of Farce; _the tables_ (according to Horace), and with
them, the whole fabric of Government, Legislation, Property, Police,
and Civilised Society, _are dissolved_, in wails and howls.'

Lives the man that can figure a naked Duke of Windlestraw addressing a
naked House of Lords? Imagination, choked as in mephitic air, recoils
on itself, and will not forward with the picture. The Woolsack, the
Ministerial, the Opposition Benches--_infandum! infandum!_ And yet why
is the thing impossible? Was not every soul, or rather every body, of
these Guardians of our Liberties, naked, or nearly so, last night; 'a
forked Radish with a head fantastically carved'? And why might he not,
did our stern fate so order it, walk out to St Stephen's, as well as
into bed, in that no-fashion; and there, with other similar Radishes,
hold a Bed of Justice? 'Solace of those afflicted with the like!'
Unhappy Teufelsdröckh, had man ever such a 'physical or psychical
infirmity' before? And now how many, perhaps, may thy unparalleled
confession (which we, even to the sounder British world, and goaded-on
by Critical and Biographical duty, grudge to re-impart) incurably
infect therewith! Art thou the malignest of Sansculottists, or only
the maddest?

'It will remain to be examined,' adds the inexorable Teufelsdröckh,
'in how far the SCARECROW, as a Clothed Person, is not also entitled
to benefit of clergy, and English trial by jury: nay perhaps,
considering his high function (for is not he too a Defender of
Property, and Sovereign armed with the _terrors_ of the Law?), to a
certain royal Immunity and Inviolability; which, however, misers and
the meaner class of persons are not always voluntarily disposed to
grant him.' * * *

* * * 'O my Friends, we are (in Yorick Sterne's words) but as "turkeys
driven with a stick and red clout, to the market": or if some drivers,
as they do in Norfolk, take a dried bladder and put peas in it, the
rattle thereof terrifies the boldest!'



It must now be apparent enough that our Professor, as above hinted, is
a speculative Radical, and of the very darkest tinge; acknowledging,
for most part, in the solemnities and paraphernalia of civilised Life,
which we make so much of, nothing but so many Cloth-rags,
turkey-poles, and 'bladders with dried peas.' To linger among such
speculations, longer than mere Science requires, a discerning public
can have no wish. For our purposes the simple fact that such a _Naked
World_ is possible, nay actually exists (under the Clothed one), will
be sufficient. Much, therefore, we omit about 'Kings wrestling naked
on the green with Carmen,' and the Kings being thrown: 'dissect them
with scalpels,' says Teufelsdröckh; 'the same viscera, tissues,
livers, lights, and other life-tackle are there: examine their
spiritual mechanism; the same great Need, great Greed, and little
Faculty; nay ten to one but the Carman, who understands
draught-cattle, the rimming of wheels, something of the laws of
unstable and stable equilibrium, with other branches of wagon-science,
and has actually put forth his hand and operated on Nature, is the
more cunningly gifted of the two. Whence, then, their so unspeakable
difference? From Clothes.' Much also we shall omit about confusion of
Ranks, and Joan and My Lady, and how it would be everywhere 'Hail
fellow well met,' and Chaos were come again: all which to any one that
has once fairly pictured-out the grand mother-idea, _Society in a
state of nakedness_, will spontaneously suggest itself. Should some
sceptical individual still entertain doubts whether in a world without
Clothes, the smallest Politeness, Polity, or even Police, could exist,
let him turn to the original Volume, and view there the boundless
Serbonian Bog of Sansculottism, stretching sour and pestilential: over
which we have lightly flown; where not only whole armies but whole
nations might sink! If indeed the following argument, in its brief
riveting emphasis, be not of itself incontrovertible and final:

'Are we Opossums; have we natural Pouches, like the Kangaroo? Or how,
without Clothes, could we possess the master-organ, soul's seat, and
true pineal gland of the Body Social: I mean, a PURSE?'

Nevertheless, it is impossible to hate Professor Teufelsdröckh; at
worst, one knows not whether to hate or to love him. For though, in
looking at the fair tapestry of human Life, with its royal and even
sacred figures, he dwells not on the obverse alone, but here chiefly
on the reverse; and indeed turns out the rough seams, tatters, and
manifold thrums of that unsightly wrong-side, with an almost diabolic
patience and indifference, which must have sunk him in the estimation
of most readers,--there is that within which unspeakably distinguishes
him from all other past and present Sansculottists. The grand
unparalleled peculiarity of Teufelsdröckh is, that with all this
Descendentalism, he combines a Transcendentalism, no less superlative;
whereby if on the one hand he degrade man below most animals, except
those jacketed Gouda Cows, he, on the other, exalts him beyond the
visible Heavens, almost to an equality with the Gods.

'To the eye of vulgar Logic,' says he, 'what is man? An omnivorous
Biped that wears Breeches. To the eye of Pure Reason what is he? A
Soul, a Spirit, and divine Apparition. Round his mysterious ME, there
lies, under all those wool-rags, a Garment of Flesh (or of Senses),
contextured in the Loom of Heaven; whereby he is revealed to his like,
and dwells with them in UNION and DIVISION; and sees and fashions for
himself a Universe, with azure Starry Spaces, and long Thousands of
Years. Deep-hidden is he under that strange Garment; amid Sounds and
Colours and Forms, as it were, swathed-in, and inextricably
over-shrouded: yet it is sky-woven, and worthy of a God. Stands he not
thereby in the centre of Immensities, in the conflux of Eternities? He
feels; power has been given him to know, to believe; nay does not the
spirit of Love, free in its celestial primeval brightness, even here,
though but for moments, look through? Well said Saint Chrysostom, with
his lips of gold, "the true SHEKINAH is Man": where else is the
GOD'S-PRESENCE manifested not to our eyes only, but to our hearts, as
in our fellow-man?'

In such passages, unhappily too rare, the high Platonic Mysticism of
our Author, which is perhaps the fundamental element of his nature,
bursts forth, as it were, in full flood: and, through all the vapour
and tarnish of what is often so perverse, so mean in his exterior and
environment, we seem to look into a whole inward Sea of Light and
Love;--though, alas, the grim coppery clouds soon roll together again,
and hide it from view.

Such tendency to Mysticism is everywhere traceable in this man; and
indeed, to attentive readers, must have been long ago apparent. Nothing
that he sees but has more than a common meaning, but has two meanings:
thus, if in the highest Imperial Sceptre and Charlemagne-Mantle, as
well as in the poorest Ox-goad and Gipsy-Blanket, he finds Prose,
Decay, Contemptibility; there is in each sort Poetry also, and a
reverend Worth. For Matter, were it never so despicable, is Spirit,
the manifestation of Spirit: were it never so honourable, can it be
more? The thing Visible, nay the thing Imagined, the thing in any way
conceived as Visible, what is it but a Garment, a Clothing of the
higher, celestial Invisible, 'unimaginable, formless, dark with excess
of bright'? Under which point of view the following passage, so
strange in purport, so strange in phrase, seems characteristic enough:

'The beginning of all Wisdom is to look fixedly on Clothes, or even
with armed eyesight, till they become _transparent_. "The
Philosopher," says the wisest of this age, "must station himself in
the middle": how true! The Philosopher is he to whom the Highest has
descended, and the Lowest has mounted up; who is the equal and kindly
brother of all.

'Shall we tremble before clothwebs and cobwebs, whether woven in
Arkwright looms, or by the silent Arachnes that weave unrestingly in
our imagination? Or, on the other hand, what is there that we cannot
love; since all was created by God?

'Happy he who can look through the Clothes of a Man (the woollen, and
fleshly, and official Bank-paper and State-paper Clothes) into the Man
himself; and discern, it may be, in this or the other Dread Potentate,
a more or less incompetent Digestive-apparatus; yet also an
inscrutable venerable Mystery, in the meanest Tinker that sees with

For the rest, as is natural to a man of this kind, he deals much in
the feeling of Wonder; insists on the necessity and high worth of
universal Wonder; which he holds to be the only reasonable temper for
the denizen of so singular a Planet as ours. 'Wonder,' says he, 'is
the basis of Worship: the reign of wonder is perennial, indestructible
in Man; only at certain stages (as the present), it is, for some short
season, a reign _in partibus infidelium_.' That progress of Science,
which is to destroy Wonder, and in its stead substitute Mensuration
and Numeration, finds small favour with Teufelsdröckh, much as he
otherwise venerates these two latter processes.

'Shall your Science,' exclaims he, 'proceed in the small
chink-lighted, or even oil-lighted, underground workshop of Logic
alone; and man's mind become an Arithmetical Mill, whereof Memory is
the Hopper, and mere Tables of Sines and Tangents, Codification, and
Treatises of what you call Political Economy, are the Meal? And what
is that Science, which the scientific head alone, were it screwed off,
and (like the Doctor's in the Arabian Tale) set in a basin to keep it
alive, could prosecute without shadow of a heart,--but one other of
the mechanical and menial handicrafts, for which the Scientific Head
(having a Soul in it) is too noble an organ? I mean that Thought
without Reverence is barren, perhaps poisonous; at best, dies like
cookery with the day that called it forth; does not live, like sowing,
in successive tilths and wider-spreading harvests, bringing food and
plenteous increase to all Time.'

In such wise does Teufelsdröckh deal hits, harder or softer, according
to ability; yet ever, as we would fain persuade ourselves, with
charitable intent. Above all, that class of 'Logic-choppers, and
treble-pipe Scoffers, and professed Enemies to Wonder; who, in these
days, so numerously patrol as night-constables about the Mechanics'
Institute of Science, and cackle, like true Old-Roman geese and
goslings round their Capitol, on any alarm, or on none; nay who often,
as illuminated Sceptics, walk abroad into peaceable society, in full
day-light, with rattle and lantern, and insist on guiding you and
guarding you therewith, though the Sun is shining, and the street
populous with mere justice-loving men': that whole class is
inexpressibly wearisome to him. Hear with what uncommon animation he

'The man who cannot wonder, who does not habitually wonder (and
worship) were he President of innumerable Royal Societies, and carried
the whole _Mécanique Céleste_ and _Hegel's Philosophy_, and the
epitome of all Laboratories and Observatories with their results, in
his single head,--is but a Pair of Spectacles behind which there is no
Eye. Let those who have Eyes look through him, then he may be useful.

'Thou wilt have no Mystery and Mysticism; wilt walk through thy world
by the sunshine of what thou callest Truth, or even by the hand-lamp
of what I call Attorney-Logic; and "explain" all, "account" for all,
or believe nothing of it? Nay, thou wilt attempt laughter; whoso
recognises the unfathomable, all-pervading domain of Mystery, which is
everywhere under our feet and among our hands; to whom the Universe is
an Oracle and Temple, as well as a Kitchen and Cattlestall,--he shall
be a delirious Mystic; to him thou, with sniffing charity, wilt
protrusively proffer thy hand-lamp, and shriek, as one injured, when
he kicks his foot through it?--_Armer Teufel!_ Doth not thy cow calve,
doth not thy bull gender? Thou thyself, wert thou not born, wilt thou
not die? "Explain" me all this, or do one of two things: Retire into
private places with thy foolish cackle; or, what were better, give it
up, and weep, not that the reign of wonder is done, and God's world
all disembellished and prosaic, but that thou hitherto art a
Dilettante and sandblind Pedant.'



The Philosophy of Clothes is now to all readers, as we predicted it
would do, unfolding itself into new boundless expansions, of a
cloudclapt, almost chimerical aspect, yet not without azure loomings
in the far distance, and streaks as of an Elysian brightness; the
highly questionable purport and promise of which it is becoming more
and more important for us to ascertain. Is that a real Elysian
brightness, cries many a timid wayfarer, or the reflex of Pandemonian
lava? Is it of a truth leading us into beatific Asphodel meadows, or
the yellow-burning marl of a Hell-on-Earth?

Our Professor, like other Mystics, whether delirious or inspired,
gives an Editor enough to do. Ever higher and dizzier are the heights
he leads us to; more piercing, all-comprehending, all-confounding are
his views and glances. For example, this of Nature being not an
Aggregate but a Whole:

'Well sang the Hebrew Psalmist: "If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the universe, God is there." Thou
thyself, O cultivated reader, who too probably art no Psalmist, but a
Prosaist, knowing GOD only by tradition, knowest thou any corner of
the world where at least FORCE is not? The drop which thou shakest
from thy wet hand, rests not where it falls, but to-morrow thou
findest it swept away; already on the wings of the Northwind, it is
nearing the Tropic of Cancer. How came it to evaporate, and not lie
motionless? Thinkest thou there is aught motionless; without Force,
and utterly dead?

'As I rode through the Schwarzwald, I said to myself: That little fire
which grows star-like across the dark-growing (_nachtende_) moor,
where the sooty smith bends over his anvil, and thou hopest to replace
thy lost horse-shoe,--is it a detached, separated speck, cut-off from
the whole Universe; or indissolubly joined to the whole? Thou fool,
that smithy-fire was (primarily) kindled at the Sun; is fed by air
that circulates from before Noah's Deluge, from beyond the Dogstar;
therein, with Iron Force, and Coal Force, and the far stranger Force
of Man, are cunning affinities and battles and victories of Force
brought about; it is a little ganglion, or nervous centre, in the
great vital system of Immensity. Call it, if thou wilt, an unconscious
Altar, kindled on the bosom of the All; whose iron sacrifice, whose
iron smoke and influence reach quite through the All; whose dingy
Priest, not by word, yet by brain and sinew, preaches forth the
mystery of Force; nay preaches forth (exoterically enough) one little
textlet from the Gospel of Freedom, the Gospel of Man's Force,
commanding, and one day to be all-commanding.

'Detached, separated! I say there is no such separation: nothing
hitherto was ever stranded, cast aside; but all, were it only a
withered leaf, works together with all; is borne forward on the
bottomless, shoreless flood of Action, and lives through perpetual
metamorphoses. The withered leaf is not dead and lost, there are
Forces in it and around it, though working in inverse order; else how
could it _rot_? Despise not the rag from which man makes Paper, or the
litter from which the earth makes Corn. Rightly viewed no meanest
object is insignificant; all objects are as windows, through which the
philosophic eye looks into Infinitude itself.'

Again, leaving that wondrous Schwarzwald Smithy-Altar, what vacant,
high-sailing air-ships are these, and whither will they sail with us?

'All visible things are emblems; what thou seest is not there on its
own account; strictly taken, is not there at all: Matter exists only
spiritually, and to represent some Idea, and _body_ it forth. Hence
Clothes, as despicable as we think them, are so unspeakably significant.
Clothes, from the King's mantle downwards, are emblematic not of want
only, but of a manifold cunning Victory over Want. On the other hand,
all Emblematic things are properly Clothes, thought-woven or
hand-woven: must not the Imagination weave Garments, visible Bodies,
wherein the else invisible creations and inspirations of our Reason
are, like Spirits, revealed, and first become all-powerful;--the
rather if, as we often see, the Hand too aid her, and (by wool Clothes
or otherwise) reveal such even to the outward eye?

'Men are properly said to be clothed with Authority, clothed with
Beauty, with Curses, and the like. Nay, if you consider it, what is
Man himself, and his whole terrestrial Life, but an Emblem; a Clothing
or visible Garment for that divine ME of his, cast hither, like a
light-particle, down from Heaven? Thus is he said also to be clothed
with a Body.

'Language is called the Garment of Thought: however, it should rather
be, Language is the Flesh-Garment, the Body, of thought. I said that
Imagination wove this Flesh-Garment; and does not she? Metaphors are
her stuff: examine Language; what, if you except some few primitive
elements (of natural sound), what is it all but Metaphors, recognised
as such, or no longer recognised; still fluid and florid, or now
solid-grown and colourless? If those same primitive elements are the
osseous fixtures in the Flesh-Garment, Language,--then are Metaphors
its muscles and tissues and living integuments. An unmetaphorical
style you shall in vain seek for: is not your very _Attention_ a
_Stretching-to_? The difference lies here: some styles are lean,
adust, wiry, the muscle itself seems osseous; some are even quite
pallid, hunger-bitten and dead-looking; while others again glow in the
flush of health and vigorous self-growth, sometimes (as in my own
case) not without an apoplectic tendency. Moreover, there are sham
Metaphors, which overhanging that same Thought's-Body (best naked),
and deceptively bedizening, or bolstering it out, may be called its
false stuffings, superfluous show-cloaks (_Putz-Mäntel_), and tawdry
woollen rags: whereof he that runs and reads may gather whole
hampers,--and burn them.'

Than which paragraph on Metaphors did the reader ever chance to see a
more surprisingly metaphorical? However, that is not our chief
grievance; the Professor continues:

'Why multiply instances? It is written, the Heavens and the Earth
shall fade away like a Vesture; which indeed they are: the
Time-vesture of the Eternal. Whatsoever sensibly exists, whatsoever
represents Spirit to Spirit, is properly a Clothing, a suit of
Raiment, put on for a season, and to be laid off. Thus in this one
pregnant subject of CLOTHES, rightly understood, is included all that
men have thought, dreamed, done, and been: the whole External Universe
and what it holds is but Clothing; and the essence of all Science lies

Towards these dim infinitely-expanded regions, close-bordering on the
impalpable Inane, it is not without apprehension, and perpetual
difficulties, that the Editor sees himself journeying and struggling.
Till lately a cheerful daystar of hope hung before him, in the
expected Aid of Hofrath Heuschrecke; which daystar, however, melts
now, not into the red of morning, but into a vague, gray half-light,
uncertain whether dawn of day or dusk of utter darkness. For the last
week, these so-called Biographical Documents are in his hand. By the
kindness of a Scottish Hamburg Merchant, whose name, known to the
whole mercantile world, he must not mention; but whose honourable
courtesy, now and often before spontaneously manifested to him, a mere
literary stranger, he cannot soon forget,--the bulky Weissnichtwo
Packet, with all its Custom-house seals, foreign hieroglyphs, and
miscellaneous tokens of Travel, arrived here in perfect safety, and
free of cost. The reader shall now fancy with what hot haste it was
broken up, with what breathless expectation glanced over; and, alas,
with what unquiet disappointment it has, since then, been often thrown
down, and again taken up.

Hofrath Heuschrecke, in a too long-winded Letter, full of compliments,
Weissnichtwo politics, dinners, dining repartees, and other ephemeral
trivialities, proceeds to remind us of what we know well already: that
however it may be with Metaphysics, and other abstract Science
originating in the Head (_Verstand_) alone, no Life-Philosophy
(_Lebensphilosophie_), such as this of Clothes pretends to be, which
originates equally in the Character (_Gemüth_), and equally speaks
thereto, can attain its significance till the Character itself is
known and seen; 'till the Author's View of the World (_Weltansicht_),
and how he actively and passively came by such view, are clear: in
short till a Biography of him has been philosophico-poetically
written, and philosophico-poetically read.' 'Nay,' adds he, 'were the
speculative scientific Truth even known, you still, in this inquiring
age, ask yourself, Whence came it, and Why, and How?--and rest not,
till, if no better may be, Fancy have shaped-out an answer; and either
in the authentic lineaments of Fact, or the forged ones of Fiction, a
complete picture and Genetical History of the Man and his spiritual
Endeavour lies before you. But why,' says the Hofrath, and indeed say
we, 'do I dilate on the uses of our Teufelsdröckh's Biography? The
great Herr Minister von Goethe has penetratingly remarked that "Man is
properly the _only_ object that interests man": thus I too have noted,
that in Weissnichtwo our whole conversation is little or nothing else
but Biography or Auto-Biography; ever humano-anecdotical
(_menschlich-anekdotisch_). Biography is by nature the most
universally profitable, universally pleasant of all things: especially
Biography of distinguished individuals.

'By this time, _mein Verehrtester_ (my Most Esteemed),' continues he,
with an eloquence which, unless the words be purloined from
Teufelsdröckh, or some trick of his, as we suspect, is well-nigh
unaccountable, 'by this time you are fairly plunged (_vertieft_) in
that mighty forest of Clothes-Philosophy; and looking round, as all
readers do, with astonishment enough. Such portions and passages as
you have already mastered, and brought to paper, could not but awaken
a strange curiosity touching the mind they issued from; the perhaps
unparalleled psychical mechanism, which manufactured such matter, and
emitted it to the light of day. Had Teufelsdröckh also a father and
mother; did he, at one time, wear drivel-bibs, and live on spoon-meat?
Did he ever, in rapture and tears, clasp a friend's bosom to his;
looks he also wistfully into the long burial-aisle of the Past, where
only winds, and their low harsh moan, give inarticulate answer? Has he
fought duels;--good Heaven! how did he comport himself when in Love?
By what singular stair-steps, in short, and subterranean passages, and
sloughs of Despair, and steep Pisgah hills, has he reached this
wonderful prophetic Hebron (a true Old-Clothes Jewry) where he now

'To all these natural questions the voice of public History is as yet
silent. Certain only that he has been, and is, a Pilgrim, and
Traveller from a far Country; more or less footsore and travel-soiled;
has parted with road-companions; fallen among thieves, been poisoned
by bad cookery, blistered with bug-bites; nevertheless at every stage
(for they have let him pass), has had the Bill to discharge. But the
whole particulars of his Route, his Weather-observations, the
picturesque Sketches he took, though all regularly jotted down (in
indelible sympathetic-ink by an invisible interior Penman), are these
nowhere forthcoming? Perhaps quite lost: one other leaf of that mighty
Volume (of human Memory) left to fly abroad, unprinted, unpublished,
unbound up, as waste paper; and to rot, the sport of rainy winds?

'No, _verehrtester Herr Herausgeber_, in no wise! I here, by the
unexampled favour you stand in with our Sage, send not a Biography
only, but an Autobiography: at least the materials for such;
wherefrom, if I misreckon not, your perspicacity will draw fullest
insight: and so the whole Philosophy and Philosopher of Clothes will
stand clear to the wondering eyes of England, nay thence, through
America, through Hindostan, and the antipodal New Holland, finally
conquer (_einnehmen_) great part of this terrestrial Planet!'

And now let the sympathising reader judge of our feeling when, in
place of this same Autobiography with 'fullest insight,' we find--Six
considerable PAPER-BAGS, carefully sealed, and marked successively, in
gilt China-ink, with the symbols of the Six southern Zodiacal Signs,
beginning at Libra; in the inside of which sealed Bags lie
miscellaneous masses of Sheets, and oftener Shreds and Snips, written
in Professor Teufelsdröckh's scarce legible _cursiv-schrift_; and
treating of all imaginable things under the Zodiac and above it, but
of his own personal history only at rare intervals, and then in the
most enigmatic manner.

Whole fascicles there are, wherein the Professor, or, as he here,
speaking in the third person, calls himself, 'the Wanderer,' is not once
named. Then again, amidst what seems to be a Metaphysico-theological
Disquisition, 'Detached Thoughts on the Steam-engine,' or, 'The
continued Possibility of Prophecy,' we shall meet with some quite
private, not unimportant Biographical fact. On certain sheets stand
Dreams, authentic or not, while the circumjacent waking Actions are
omitted. Anecdotes, oftenest without date of place or time, fly
loosely on separate slips, like Sibylline leaves. Interspersed also
are long purely Autobiographical delineations; yet without connexion,
without recognisable coherence; so unimportant, so superfluously
minute, they almost remind us of 'P.P. Clerk of this Parish.' Thus
does famine of intelligence alternate with waste. Selection, order,
appears to be unknown to the Professor. In all Bags the same
imbroglio; only perhaps in the Bag _Capricorn_, and those near it, the
confusion a little worse confounded. Close by a rather eloquent Oration,
'On receiving the Doctor's-Hat,' lie washbills, marked _bezahlt_
(settled). His Travels are indicated by the Street-Advertisements of
the various cities he has visited; of which Street-Advertisements, in
most living tongues, here is perhaps the completest collection extant.

So that if the Clothes-Volume itself was too like a Chaos, we have now
instead of the solar Luminary that should still it, the airy Limbo
which by intermixture will farther volatilise and discompose it! As we
shall perhaps see it our duty ultimately to deposit these Six
Paper-Bags in the British Museum, farther description, and all
vituperation of them, may be spared. Biography or Autobiography of
Teufelsdröckh there is, clearly enough, none to be gleaned here: at
most some sketchy, shadowy fugitive likeness of him may, by unheard-of
efforts, partly of intellect, partly of imagination, on the side of
Editor and of Reader; rise up between them. Only as a gaseous-chaotic
Appendix to that aqueous-chaotic Volume can the contents of the Six
Bags hover round us, and portions thereof be incorporated with our
delineation of it.

Daily and nightly does the Editor sit (with green spectacles)
deciphering these unimaginable Documents from their perplexed
_cursiv-schrift_; collating them with the almost equally unimaginable
Volume, which stands in legible print. Over such a universal medley of
high and low, of hot, cold, moist and dry, is he here struggling (by
union of like with like, which is Method) to build a firm Bridge for
British travellers. Never perhaps since our first Bridge-builders, Sin
and Death, built that stupendous Arch from Hell-gate to the Earth, did
any Pontifex, or Pontiff, undertake such a task as the present Editor.
For in this Arch too, leading, as we humbly presume, far otherwards
than that grand primeval one, the materials are to be fished-up from
the weltering deep, and down from the simmering air, here one mass,
there another, and cunningly cemented, while the elements boil
beneath: nor is there any supernatural force to do it with; but simply
the Diligence and feeble thinking Faculty of an English Editor,
endeavouring to evolve printed Creation out of a German printed and
written Chaos, wherein, as he shoots to and fro in it, gathering,
clutching, piercing the Why to the far-distant Wherefore, his whole
Faculty and Self are like to be swallowed up.

Patiently, under these incessant toils and agitations, does the
Editor, dismissing all anger, see his otherwise robust health
declining; some fraction of his allotted natural sleep nightly leaving
him, and little but an inflamed nervous-system to be looked for. What
is the use of health, or of life, if not to do some work therewith?
And what work nobler than transplanting foreign Thought into the
barren domestic soil; except indeed planting Thought of your own,
which the fewest are privileged to do? Wild as it looks, this
Philosophy of Clothes, can we ever reach its real meaning, promises to
reveal new-coming Eras, the first dim rudiments and already-budding
germs of a nobler Era, in Universal History. Is not such a prize worth
some striving? Forward with us, courageous reader; be it towards
failure, or towards success! The latter thou sharest with us; the
former also is not all our own.




In a psychological point of view, it is perhaps questionable whether
from birth and genealogy, how closely scrutinised soever, much insight
is to be gained. Nevertheless, as in every phenomenon the Beginning
remains always the most notable moment; so, with regard to any great
man, we rest not till, for our scientific profit or not, the whole
circumstances of his first appearance in this Planet, and what manner
of Public Entry he made, are with utmost completeness rendered
manifest. To the Genesis of our Clothes-Philosopher, then, be this
First Chapter consecrated. Unhappily, indeed, he seems to be of quite
obscure extraction; uncertain, we might almost say, whether of any: so
that this Genesis of his can properly be nothing but an Exodus (or
transit out of Invisibility into Visibility); whereof the preliminary
portion is nowhere forthcoming.

'In the village of Entepfuhl,' thus writes he, in the Bag _Libra_, on
various Papers, which we arrange with difficulty, 'dwelt Andreas
Futteral and his wife; childless, in still seclusion, and cheerful
though now verging towards old age. Andreas had been grenadier
Sergeant, and even regimental Schoolmaster under Frederick the Great;
but now, quitting the halbert and ferule for the spade and
pruning-hook, cultivated a little Orchard, on the produce of which he,
Cincinnatus-like, lived not without dignity. Fruits, the peach, the
apple, the grape, with other varieties came in their season; all which
Andreas knew how to sell: on evenings he smoked largely, or read (as
beseemed a regimental Schoolmaster), and talked to neighbours that
would listen about the Victory of Rossbach; and how Fritz the Only
(_der Einzige_) had once with his own royal lips spoken to him, had
been pleased to say, when Andreas as camp-sentinel demanded the
pass-word, "_Schweig Hund_ (Peace, hound)!" before any of his
staff-adjutants could answer. "_Das nenn' ich mir einen König_, There
is what I call a King," would Andreas exclaim: "but the smoke of
Kunersdorf was still smarting his eyes."

'Gretchen, the housewife, won like Desdemona by the deeds rather than
the looks of her now veteran Othello, lived not in altogether military
subordination; for, as Andreas said, "the womankind will not drill
(_wer kann die Weiberchen dressiren_)": nevertheless she at heart
loved him both for valour and wisdom; to her a Prussian grenadier
Sergeant and Regiment's Schoolmaster was little other than a Cicero
and Cid: what you see, yet cannot see over, is as good as infinite.
Nay, was not Andreas in very deed a man of order, courage,
downrightness (_Geradheit_); that understood Büsching's _Geography_,
had been in the victory of Rossbach, and left for dead in the camisade
of Hochkirch? The good Gretchen, for all her fretting, watched over
him and hovered round him as only a true housemother can: assiduously
she cooked and sewed and scoured for him; so that not only his old
regimental sword and grenadier-cap, but the whole habitation and
environment, where on pegs of honour they hung, looked ever trim and
gay: a roomy painted Cottage, embowered in fruit-trees and
forest-trees, evergreens and honeysuckles; rising many-coloured from
amid shaven grass-plots, flowers struggling-in through the very
windows; under its long projecting eaves nothing but garden-tools in
methodic piles (to screen them from rain), and seats where, especially
on summer nights, a King might have wished to sit and smoke, and call
it his. Such a _Bauergut_ (Copyhold) had Gretchen given her veteran;
whose sinewy arms, and long-disused gardening talent, had made it what
you saw.

'Into this umbrageous Man's-nest, one meek yellow evening or dusk,
when the Sun, hidden indeed from terrestrial Entepfuhl, did
nevertheless journey visible and radiant along the celestial Balance
(_Libra_), it was that a Stranger of reverend aspect entered; and,
with grave salutation, stood before the two rather astonished
housemates. He was close-muffled in a wide mantle; which without
further parley unfolding, he deposited therefrom what seemed some
Basket, overhung with green Persian silk; saying only: _Ihr lieben
Leute, hier bringe ein unschätzbares Verleihen; nehmt es in aller
Acht, sorgfältigst benützt es: mit hohem Lohn, oder wohl mit schweren
Zinsen, wird's einst zurückgefordert._ "Good Christian people, here
lies for you an invaluable Loan; take all heed thereof, in all
carefulness employ it: with high recompense, or else with heavy
penalty, will it one day be required back." Uttering which singular
words, in a clear, bell-like, forever memorable tone, the Stranger
gracefully withdrew; and before Andreas or his wife, gazing in
expectant wonder, had time to fashion either question or answer, was
clean gone. Neither out of doors could aught of him be seen or heard;
he had vanished in the thickets, in the dusk; the Orchard-gate stood
quietly closed: the Stranger was gone once and always. So sudden had
the whole transaction been, in the autumn stillness and twilight, so
gentle, noiseless, that the Futterals could have fancied it all a
trick of Imagination, or some visit from an authentic Spirit. Only
that the green-silk Basket, such as neither Imagination nor authentic
Spirits are wont to carry, still stood visible and tangible on their
little parlour-table. Towards this the astonished couple, now with lit
candle, hastily turned their attention. Lifting the green veil, to see
what invaluable it hid, they descried there, amid down and rich white
wrappages, no Pitt Diamond or Hapsburg Regalia, but, in the softest
sleep, a little red-coloured Infant! Beside it, lay a roll of gold
Friedrichs, the exact amount of which was never publicly known; also a
_Taufschein_ (baptismal certificate), wherein unfortunately nothing
but the Name was decipherable; other document or indication none

'To wonder and conjecture was unavailing, then and always thenceforth.
Nowhere in Entepfuhl, on the morrow or next day, did tidings transpire
of any such figure as the Stranger; nor could the Traveller, who had
passed through the neighbouring Town in coach-and-four, be connected
with this Apparition, except in the way of gratuitous surmise.
Meanwhile, for Andreas and his wife, the grand practical problem was:
What to do with this little sleeping red-coloured Infant? Amid
amazements and curiosities, which had to die away without external
satisfying, they resolved, as in such circumstances charitable prudent
people needs must, on nursing it, though with spoon-meat, into
whiteness, and if possible into manhood. The Heavens smiled on their
endeavour: thus has that same mysterious Individual ever since had a
status for himself in this visible Universe, some modicum of victual
and lodging and parade-ground; and now expanded in bulk, faculty and
knowledge of good and evil, he, as HERR DIOGENES TEUFELSDRÖCKH,
professes or is ready to profess, perhaps not altogether without
effect, in the new University of Weissnichtwo, the new Science of
Things in General.'

Our Philosopher declares here, as indeed we should think he well
might, that these facts, first communicated, by the good Gretchen
Futteral, in his twelfth year, 'produced on the boyish heart and fancy
a quite indelible impression. Who this Reverend Personage,' he says,
'that glided into the Orchard Cottage when the Sun was in Libra, and
then, as on spirit's wings, glided out again, might be? An
inexpressible desire, full of love and of sadness, has often since
struggled within me to shape an answer. Ever, in my distresses and my
loneliness, has Fantasy turned, full of longing (_sehnsuchtsvoll_), to
that unknown Father, who perhaps far from me, perhaps near, either way
invisible, might have taken me to his paternal bosom, there to lie
screened from many a woe. Thou beloved Father, dost thou still, shut
out from me only by thin penetrable curtains of earthly Space, wend to
and fro among the crowd of the living? Or art thou hidden by those far
thicker curtains of the Everlasting Night, or rather of the
Everlasting Day, through which my mortal eye and outstretched arms
need not strive to reach? Alas, I know not, and in vain vex myself to
know. More than once, heart-deluded, have I taken for thee this and
the other noble-looking Stranger; and approached him wistfully, with
infinite regard; but he too had to repel me; he too was not thou.

'And yet, O Man born of Woman,' cries the Autobiographer, with one of
his sudden whirls, 'wherein is my case peculiar? Hadst thou, any more
than I, a Father whom thou knowest? The Andreas and Gretchen, or the
Adam and Eve, who led thee into Life, and for a time suckled and
pap-fed thee there, whom thou namest Father and Mother; these were,
like mine, but thy nursing-father and nursing-mother: thy true
Beginning and Father is in Heaven, whom with the bodily eye thou shalt
never behold, but only with the spiritual.'

'The little green veil,' adds he, among much similar moralising, and
embroiled discoursing, 'I yet keep; still more inseparably the Name,
Diogenes Teufelsdröckh. From the veil can nothing be inferred: a piece
of now quite faded Persian silk, like thousands of others. On the Name
I have many times meditated and conjectured; but neither in this lay
there any clue. That it was my unknown Father's name I must hesitate
to believe. To no purpose have I searched through all the Herald's
Books, in and without the German Empire, and through all manner of
Subscriber-Lists (_Pränumeranten_), Militia-Rolls, and other
Name-catalogues; extraordinary names as we have in Germany, the name
Teufelsdröckh, except as appended to my own person, nowhere occurs.
Again, what may the unchristian rather than Christian "Diogenes" mean?
Did that reverend Basket-bearer intend, by such designation, to
shadow-forth my future destiny, or his own present malign humour?
Perhaps the latter, perhaps both. Thou ill-starred Parent, who like an
Ostrich hadst to leave thy ill-starred offspring to be hatched into
self-support by the mere sky-influences of Chance, can thy pilgrimage
have been a smooth one? Beset by Misfortune thou doubtless hast been;
or indeed by the worst figure of Misfortune, by Misconduct. Often have
I fancied how, in thy hard life-battle, thou wert shot at, and slung
at, wounded, hand-fettered, hamstrung, browbeaten and bedevilled by
the Time-Spirit (_Zeitgeist_) in thyself and others, till the good
soul first given thee was seared into grim rage; and thou hadst
nothing for it but to leave in me an indignant appeal to the Future,
and living speaking Protest against the Devil, as that same Spirit not
of the Time only, but of Time itself, is well named! Which Appeal and
Protest, may I now modestly add, was not perhaps quite lost in air.

'For indeed, as Walter Shandy often insisted, there is much, nay
almost all, in Names. The Name is the earliest Garment you wrap round
the earth-visiting ME; to which it thenceforth cleaves, more
tenaciously (for there are Names that have lasted nigh thirty
centuries) than the very skin. And now from without, what mystic
influences does it not send inwards, even to the centre; especially in
those plastic first-times, when the whole soul is yet infantine, soft,
and the invisible seedgrain will grow to be an all overshadowing tree!
Names? Could I unfold the influence of Names, which are the most
important of all Clothings, I were a second greater Trismegistus. Not
only all common Speech, but Science, Poetry itself is no other, if
thou consider it, than a right _Naming_. Adam's first task was giving
names to natural Appearances: what is ours still but a continuation of
the same; be the Appearances exotic-vegetable, organic, mechanic,
stars or starry movements (as in Science); or (as in Poetry) passions,
virtues, calamities, God-attributes, Gods?--In a very plain sense the
Proverb says, _Call one a thief, and he will steal_; in an almost
similar sense may we not perhaps say, _Call one Diogenes
Teufelsdröckh, and he will open the Philosophy of Clothes?_'

       *       *       *       *       *

'Meanwhile the incipient Diogenes, like others, all ignorant of his
Why, his How or Whereabout, was opening his eyes to the kind Light;
sprawling-out his ten fingers and toes; listening, tasting, feeling;
in a word, by all his Five Senses, still more by his Sixth Sense of
Hunger, and a whole infinitude of inward, spiritual, half-awakened
Senses, endeavouring daily to acquire for himself some knowledge of
this strange Universe where he had arrived, be his task therein what
it might. Infinite was his progress; thus in some fifteen months, he
could perform the miracle of--Speech! To breed a fresh Soul, is it not
like brooding a fresh (celestial) Egg; wherein as yet all is formless,
powerless; yet by degrees organic elements and fibres shoot through
the watery albumen; and out of vague Sensation grows Thought, grows
Fantasy and Force, and we have Philosophies, Dynasties, nay Poetries
and Religions!

'Young Diogenes, or rather young Gneschen, for by such diminutive had
they in their fondness named him, travelled forward to those high
consummations, by quick yet easy stages. The Futterals, to avoid vain
talk, and moreover keep the roll of gold Friedrichs safe, gave-out
that he was a grand-nephew; the orphan of some sister's daughter,
suddenly deceased, in Andreas's distant Prussian birthland; of whom,
as of her indigent sorrowing widower, little enough was known at
Entepfuhl. Heedless of all which, the Nurseling took to his
spoon-meat, and throve. I have heard him noted as a still infant, that
kept his mind much to himself; above all, that seldom or never cried.
He already felt that time was precious; that he had other work cut-out
for him than whimpering.'

       *       *       *       *       *

Such, after utmost painful search and collation among these
miscellaneous Paper-masses, is all the notice we can gather of Herr
Teufelsdröckh's genealogy. More imperfect, more enigmatic it can seem
to few readers than to us. The Professor, in whom truly we more and
more discern a certain satirical turn, and deep undercurrents of
roguish whim, for the present stands pledged in honour, so we will not
doubt him: but seems it not conceivable that, by the 'good Gretchen
Futteral,' or some other perhaps interested party, he has himself been
deceived? Should these sheets, translated or not, ever reach the
Entepfuhl Circulating Library, some cultivated native of that district
might feel called to afford explanation. Nay, since Books, like
invisible scouts, permeate the whole habitable globe, and Timbuctoo
itself is not safe from British Literature, may not some Copy find out
even the mysterious basket-bearing Stranger, who in a state of extreme
senility perhaps still exists; and gently force even him to disclose
himself; to claim openly a son, in whom any father may feel pride?



'Happy season of Childhood!' exclaims Teufelsdröckh: 'Kind Nature,
that art to all a bountiful mother; that visitest the poor man's hut
with auroral radiance; and for thy Nurseling hast provided, a soft
swathing of Love, and infinite Hope, wherein he waxes and slumbers,
danced-round (_umgaukelt_) by sweetest Dreams! If the paternal Cottage
still shuts us in, its roof still screens us; with a Father we have as
yet a prophet, priest and king, and an Obedience that makes us free.
The young spirit has awakened out of Eternity, and knows not what we
mean by Time; as yet Time is no fast-hurrying stream, but a sportful
sunlit ocean; years to the child are as ages: ah! the secret of
Vicissitude, of that slower or quicker decay and ceaseless
down-rushing of the universal World-fabric, from the granite mountain
to the man or day-moth, is yet unknown; and in a motionless Universe,
we taste, what afterwards in this quick-whirling Universe is forever
denied us, the balm of Rest. Sleep on, thou fair Child, for thy long
rough journey is at hand! A little while, and thou too shalt sleep no
more, but thy very dreams shall be mimic battles; thou too, with old
Arnauld, wilt have to say in stern patience: "Rest? Rest? Shall I not
have all Eternity to rest in?" Celestial Nepenthe! though a Pyrrhus
conquer empires, and an Alexander sack the world, he finds thee not;
and thou hast once fallen gently, of thy own accord, on the eyelids,
on the heart of every mother's child. For as yet, sleep and waking are
one: the fair Life-garden rustles infinite around, and everywhere is
dewy fragrance, and the budding of Hope; which budding, if in youth,
too frostnipt, it grow to flowers, will in manhood yield no fruit, but
a prickly, bitter-rinded stone-fruit, of which the fewest can find the

In such rose-coloured light does our Professor, as Poets are wont,
look back on his childhood; the historical details of which (to say
nothing of much other vague oratorical matter) he accordingly dwells
on with an almost wearisome minuteness. We hear of Entepfuhl standing
'in trustful derangement' among the woody slopes; the paternal Orchard
flanking it as extreme out-post from below; the little Kuhbach gushing
kindly by, among beech-rows, through river after river, into the
Donau, into the Black Sea, into the Atmosphere and Universe; and how
'the brave old Linden,' stretching like a parasol of twenty ells in
radius, overtopping all other rows and clumps, towered-up from the
central _Agora_ and _Campus Martius_ of the Village, like its Sacred
Tree; and how the old men sat talking under its shadow (Gneschen often
greedily listening), and the wearied labourers reclined, and the
unwearied children sported, and the young men and maidens often danced
to flute-music. 'Glorious summer twilights,' cries Teufelsdröckh,
'when the Sun, like a proud Conqueror and Imperial Taskmaster, turned
his back, with his gold-purple emblazonry, and all his fireclad
body-guard (of Prismatic Colours); and the tired brickmakers of this
clay Earth might steal a little frolic, and those few meek Stars would
not tell of them!'

Then we have long details of the _Weinlesen_ (Vintage), the
Harvest-Home, Christmas, and so forth; with a whole cycle of the
Entepfuhl Children's-games, differing apparently by mere superficial
shades from those of other countries. Concerning all which, we shall
here, for obvious reasons, say nothing. What cares the world for our
as yet miniature Philosopher's achievements under that 'brave old
Linden'? Or even where is the use of such practical reflections as the
following? 'In all the sports of Children, were it only in their
wanton breakages and defacements, you shall discern a creative
instinct (_schaffenden Trieb_): the Mankin feels that he is a born
Man, that his vocation is to work. The choicest present you can make
him is a Tool; be it knife or pen-gun, for construction or for
destruction; either way it is for Work, for Change. In gregarious
sports of skill or strength, the Boy trains himself to Coöperation,
for war or peace, as governor or governed: the little Maid again,
provident of her domestic destiny, takes with preference to Dolls.'

Perhaps, however, we may give this anecdote, considering who it is
that relates it: 'My first short-clothes were of yellow serge; or
rather, I should say, my first short-cloth, for the vesture was one
and indivisible, reaching from neck to ankle, a mere body with four
limbs: of which fashion how little could I then divine the
architectural, how much less the moral significance!'

More graceful is the following little picture: 'On fine evenings I was
wont to carry-forth my supper (bread-crumb boiled in milk), and eat it
out-of-doors. On the coping of the Orchard-wall, which I could reach
by climbing, or still more easily if Father Andreas would set-up the
pruning-ladder, my porringer was placed: there, many a sunset, have I,
looking at the distant western Mountains, consumed, not without
relish, my evening meal. Those hues of gold and azure, that hush of
World's expectation as Day died, were still a Hebrew Speech for me;
nevertheless I was looking at the fair illuminated Letters, and had an
eye for their gilding.'

With 'the little one's friendship for cattle and poultry' we shall not
much intermeddle. It may be that hereby he acquired a 'certain deeper
sympathy with animated Nature': but when, we would ask, saw any man,
in a collection of Biographical Documents, such a piece as this:
'Impressive enough (_bedeutungsvoll_) was it to hear, in early
morning, the Swineherd's horn; and know that so many hungry happy
quadrupeds were, on all sides, starting in hot haste to join him, for
breakfast on the Heath. Or to see them at eventide, all marching-in
again, with short squeak, almost in military order; and each,
topographically correct, trotting-off in succession to the right or
left, through its own lane, to its own dwelling; till old Kunz, at the
Village-head, now left alone, blew his last blast, and retired for the
night. We are wont to love the Hog chiefly in the form of Ham; yet did
not these bristly thick-skinned beings here manifest intelligence,
perhaps humour of character; at any rate, a touching, trustful
submissiveness to Man,--who, were he but a Swineherd, in darned
gabardine, and leather breeches more resembling slate or
discoloured-tin breeches, is still the Hierarch of this lower world?'

It is maintained, by Helvetius and his set, that an infant of genius
is quite the same as any other infant, only that certain surprisingly
favourable influences accompany him through life, especially through
childhood, and expand him, while others lie closefolded and continue
dunces. Herein, say they, consists the whole difference between an
inspired Prophet and a double-barrelled Game-preserver: the inner man
of the one has been fostered into generous development; that of the
other, crushed-down perhaps by vigour of animal digestion, and the
like, has exuded and evaporated, or at best sleeps now irresuscitably
stagnant at the bottom of his stomach. 'With which opinion,' cries
Teufelsdröckh, 'I should as soon agree as with this other, that an
acorn might, by favourable or unfavourable influences of soil and
climate, be nursed into a cabbage, or the cabbage-seed into an oak.

'Nevertheless,' continues he, 'I too acknowledge the all-but
omnipotence of early culture and nurture: hereby we have either a
doddered dwarf bush, or a high-towering, wide-shadowing tree; either a
sick yellow cabbage, or an edible luxuriant green one. Of a truth, it
is the duty of all men, especially of all philosophers, to note-down
with accuracy the characteristic circumstances of their Education,
what furthered, what hindered, what in any way modified it: to which
duty, nowadays so pressing for many a German Autobiographer, I also
zealously address myself.'--Thou rogue! Is it by short-clothes of
yellow serge, and swineherd horns, that an infant of genius is
educated? And yet, as usual, it ever remains doubtful whether he is
laughing in his sleeve at these Autobiographical times of ours, or
writing from the abundance of his own fond ineptitude. For he
continues: 'If among the ever-streaming currents of Sights, Hearings,
Feelings for Pain or Pleasure, whereby, as in a Magic Hall, young
Gneschen went about environed, I might venture to select and specify,
perhaps these following were also of the number:

'Doubtless, as childish sports call forth Intellect, Activity, so the
young creature's Imagination was stirred up, and a Historical tendency
given him by the narrative habits of Father Andreas; who, with his
battle-reminiscences, and gay austere yet hearty patriarchal aspect,
could not but appear another Ulysses and "much-enduring Man." Eagerly
I hung upon his tales, when listening neighbours enlivened the hearth;
from these perils and these travels, wild and far almost as Hades
itself, a dim world of Adventure expanded itself within me.
Incalculable also was the knowledge I acquired in standing by the Old
Men under the Linden-tree: the whole of Immensity was yet new to me;
and had not these reverend seniors, talkative enough, been employed in
partial surveys thereof for nigh fourscore years? With amazement I
began to discover that Entepfuhl stood in the middle of a Country, of
a World; that there was such a thing as History, as Biography; to
which I also, one day, by hand and tongue, might contribute.

'In a like sense worked the _Postwagen_ (Stage-coach), which,
slow-rolling under its mountains of men and luggage, wended through
our Village: northwards, truly, in the dead of night; yet southwards
visibly at eventide. Not till my eighth year did I reflect that this
Postwagen could be other than some terrestrial Moon, rising and
setting by mere Law of Nature, like the heavenly one; that it came on
made highways, from far cities towards far cities; weaving them like a
monstrous shuttle into closer and closer union. It was then that,
independently of Schiller's _Wilhelm Tell_, I made this not quite
insignificant reflection (so true also in spiritual things): _Any
road, this simple Entepfuhl road, will lead you to the end of the

'Why mention our Swallows, which, out of far Africa, as I learned,
threading their way over seas and mountains, corporate cities and
belligerent nations, yearly found themselves, with the month of May,
snug-lodged in our Cottage Lobby? The hospitable Father (for
cleanliness' sake) had fixed a little bracket plumb under their nest:
there they built, and caught flies, and twittered, and bred; and all,
I chiefly, from the heart loved them. Bright, nimble creatures, who
taught _you_ the mason-craft; nay, stranger still, gave you a masonic
incorporation, almost social police? For if, by ill chance, and when
time pressed, your House fell, have I not seen five neighbourly
Helpers appear next day; and swashing to and fro, with animated, loud,
long-drawn chirpings, and activity almost super-hirundine, complete it
again before nightfall?

'But undoubtedly the grand summary of Entepfuhl child's-culture, where
as in a funnel its manifold influences were concentrated and
simultaneously poured-down on us, was the annual Cattle-fair. Here,
assembling from all the four winds, came the elements of an
unspeakable hurly-burly. Nutbrown maids and nutbrown men, all
clear-washed, loud-laughing, bedizened and beribanded; who came for
dancing, for treating, and if possible, for happiness. Topbooted
Graziers from the North; Swiss Brokers, Italian Drovers, also
topbooted, from the South; these with their subalterns in leather
jerkins, leather skull-caps, and long oxgoads; shouting in
half-articulate speech, amid the inarticulate barking and bellowing.
Apart stood Potters from far Saxony, with their crockery in fair rows;
Nürnberg Pedlars, in booths that to me seemed richer than Ormuz
bazaars; Showmen from the Lago Maggiore; detachments of the _Wiener
Schub_ (Offscourings of Vienna) vociferously superintending games of
chance. Ballad-singers brayed, Auctioneers grew hoarse; cheap New Wine
(_heuriger_) flowed like water, still worse confounding the confusion;
and high over all, vaulted, in ground-and-lofty tumbling, a
particoloured Merry-Andrew, like the genius of the place and of Life

'Thus encircled by the mystery of Existence; under the deep heavenly
Firmament; waited-on by the four golden Seasons, with their
vicissitudes of contribution, for even grim Winter brought its
skating-matches and shooting-matches, its snow-storms and
Christmas-carols,--did the Child sit and learn. These things were the
Alphabet, whereby in aftertime he was to syllable and partly read the
grand Volume of the World; what matters it whether such Alphabet be in
large gilt letters or in small ungilt ones, so you have an eye to read
it? For Gneschen, eager to learn, the very act of looking thereon was
a blessedness that gilded all: his existence was a bright, soft
element of Joy; out of which, as in Prospero's Island, wonder after
wonder bodied itself forth, to teach by charming.

'Nevertheless, I were but a vain dreamer to say, that even then my
felicity was perfect. I had, once for all, come down from Heaven into
the Earth. Among the rainbow colours that glowed on my horizon, lay
even in childhood a dark ring of Care, as yet no thicker than a
thread, and often quite overshone; yet always it reappeared, nay ever
waxing broader and broader; till in after-years it almost
over-shadowed my whole canopy, and threatened to engulf me in final
night. It was the ring of Necessity whereby we are all begirt; happy
he for whom a kind heavenly Sun brightens it into a ring of Duty, and
plays round it with beautiful prismatic diffractions; yet ever, as
basis and as bourne for our whole being, it is there.

       *       *       *       *       *

'For the first few years of our terrestrial Apprenticeship, we have
not much work to do; but, boarded and lodged gratis, are set down
mostly to look about us over the workshop, and see others work, till
we have understood the tools a little, and can handle this and that.
If good Passivity alone, and not good Passivity and good Activity
together, were the thing wanted, then was my early position favourable
beyond the most. In all that respects openness of Sense, affectionate
Temper, ingenuous Curiosity, and the fostering of these, what more
could I have wished? On the other side, however, things went not so
well. My Active Power (_Thatkraft_) was unfavourably hemmed-in; of
which misfortune how many traces yet abide with me! In an orderly
house, where the litter of children's sports is hateful enough, your
training is too stoical; rather to bear and forbear than to make and
do. I was forbid much: wishes in any measure bold I had to renounce;
everywhere a strait bond of Obedience inflexibly held me down. Thus
already Freewill often came in painful collision with Necessity; so
that my tears flowed, and at seasons the Child itself might taste that
root of bitterness, wherewith the whole fruitage of our life is
mingled and tempered.

'In which habituation to Obedience, truly, it was beyond measure safer
to err by excess than by defect. Obedience is our universal duty and
destiny; wherein whoso will not bend must break: too early and too
thoroughly we cannot be trained to know that Would, in this world of
ours, is as mere zero to Should, and for most part as the smallest of
fractions even to Shall. Hereby was laid for me the basis of worldly
Discretion, nay, of Morality itself. Let me not quarrel with my
upbringing! It was rigorous, too frugal, compressively secluded,
everyway unscientific: yet in that very strictness and domestic
solitude might there not lie the root of deeper earnestness, of the
stem from which all noble fruit must grow? Above all, how unskilful
soever, it was loving, it was well-meant, honest; whereby every
deficiency was helped. My kind Mother, for as such I must ever love
the good Gretchen, did me one altogether invaluable service: she
taught me, less indeed by word than by act and daily reverent look and
habitude, her own simple version of the Christian Faith. Andreas too
attended Church; yet more like a parade-duty, for which he in the
other world expected pay with arrears,--as, I trust, he has received;
but my Mother, with a true woman's heart, and fine though uncultivated
sense, was in the strictest acceptation Religious. How indestructibly
the Good grows, and propagates itself, even among the weedy
entanglements of Evil! The highest whom I knew on Earth I here saw
bowed down, with awe unspeakable, before a Higher in Heaven: such
things, especially in infancy, reach inwards to the very core of your
being; mysteriously does a Holy of Holies build itself into visibility
in the mysterious deeps; and Reverence, the divinest in man, springs
forth undying from its mean envelopment of Fear. Wouldst thou rather
be a peasant's son that knew, were it never so rudely, there was a God
in Heaven and in Man; or a duke's son that only knew there were
two-and-thirty quarters on the family-coach?'

To which last question we must answer: Beware, O Teufelsdröckh, of
spiritual pride!



Hitherto we see young Gneschen, in his indivisible case of yellow
serge, borne forward mostly on the arms of kind Nature alone; seated,
indeed, and much to his mind, in the terrestrial workshop; but (except
his soft hazel eyes, which we doubt not already gleamed with a still
intelligence) called upon for little voluntary movement there.
Hitherto, accordingly, his aspect is rather generic, that of an
incipient Philosopher and Poet in the abstract; perhaps it would
trouble Herr Heuschrecke himself to say wherein the special Doctrine
of Clothes is as yet foreshadowed or betokened. For with Gneschen, as
with others, the Man may indeed stand pictured in the Boy (at least
all the pigments are there); yet only some half of the Man stands in
the Child, or young Boy, namely, his Passive endowment, not his
Active. The more impatient are we to discover what figure he cuts in
this latter capacity; how when, to use his own words, 'he understands
the tools a little, and can handle this or that,' he will proceed to
handle it.

Here, however, may be the place to state that, in much of our
Philosopher's history, there is something of an almost Hindoo
character: nay perhaps in that so well-fostered and everyway excellent
'Passivity' of his, which, with no free development of the antagonist
Activity, distinguished his childhood, we may detect the rudiments of
much that, in after days, and still in these present days, astonishes
the world. For the shallow-sighted, Teufelsdröckh is oftenest a man
without Activity of any kind, a No-man; for the deep-sighted, again, a
man with Activity almost superabundant, yet so spiritual,
close-hidden, enigmatic, that no mortal can foresee its explosions, or
even when it has exploded, so much as ascertain its significance. A
dangerous, difficult temper for the modern European; above all,
disadvantageous in the hero of a Biography! Now as heretofore it will
behove the Editor of these pages, were it never so unsuccessfully, to
do his endeavour.

Among the earliest tools of any complicacy which a man, especially a
man of letters, gets to handle, are his Class-books. On this portion
of his History, Teufelsdröckh looks down professedly as indifferent.
Reading he 'cannot remember ever to have learned'; so perhaps had it
by nature. He says generally: 'Of the insignificant portion of my
Education, which depended on Schools, there need almost no notice be
taken. I learned what others learn; and kept it stored-by in a corner
of my head, seeing as yet no manner of use in it. My Schoolmaster, a
downbent, brokenhearted, underfoot martyr, as others of that guild
are, did little for me, except discover that he could do little: he,
good soul, pronounced me a genius, fit for the learned professions;
and that I must be sent to the Gymnasium, and one day to the
University. Meanwhile, what printed thing soever I could meet with I
read. My very copper pocket-money I laid-out on stall-literature;
which, as it accumulated, I with my own hands sewed into volumes. By
this means was the young head furnished with a considerable miscellany
of things and shadows of things: History in authentic fragments lay
mingled with Fabulous chimeras, wherein also was reality; and the
whole not as dead stuff, but as living pabulum, tolerably nutritive
for a mind as yet so peptic.'

That the Entepfuhl Schoolmaster judged well, we now know. Indeed,
already in the youthful Gneschen, with all his outward stillness,
there may have been manifest an inward vivacity that promised much;
symptoms of a spirit singularly open, thoughtful, almost poetical.
Thus, to say nothing of his Suppers on the Orchard-wall, and other
phenomena of that earlier period, have many readers of these pages
stumbled, in their twelfth year, on such reflections as the following?
'It struck me much, as I sat by the Kuhbach, one silent noontide, and
watched it flowing, gurgling, to think how this same streamlet had
flowed and gurgled, through all changes of weather and of fortune,
from beyond the earliest date of History. Yes, probably on the morning
when Joshua forded Jordan; even as at the midday when Cæsar, doubtless
with difficulty, swam the Nile, yet kept his _Commentaries_ dry,--this
little Kuhbach, assiduous as Tiber, Eurotas or Siloa, was murmuring on
across the wilderness, as yet unnamed, unseen: here, too, as in the
Euphrates and the Ganges, is a vein or veinlet of the grand
World-circulation of Waters, which, with its atmospheric arteries, has
lasted and lasts simply with the World. Thou fool! Nature alone is
antique, and the oldest art a mushroom; that idle crag thou sittest on
is six-thousand years of age.' In which little thought, as in a little
fountain, may there not lie the beginning of those well-nigh
unutterable meditations on the grandeur and mystery of TIME, and its
relation to ETERNITY, which play such a part in this Philosophy of

Over his Gymnasic and Academic years the Professor by no means lingers
so lyrical and joyful as over his childhood. Green sunny tracts there
are still; but intersected by bitter rivulets of tears, here and there
stagnating into sour marshes of discontent. 'With my first view of the
Hinterschlag Gymnasium,' writes he, 'my evil days began. Well do I
still remember the red sunny Whitsuntide morning, when, trotting full
of hope by the side of Father Andreas, I entered the main street of
the place, and saw its steeple-clock (then striking Eight) and
_Schuldthurm_ (Jail), and the aproned or disaproned Burghers moving-in
to breakfast: a little dog, in mad terror, was rushing past; for some
human imps had tied a tin-kettle to its tail; thus did the agonised
creature, loud-jingling, career through the whole length of the
Borough, and become notable enough. Fit emblem of many a Conquering
Hero, to whom Fate (wedding Fantasy to Sense, as it often elsewhere
does) has malignantly appended a tin-kettle of Ambition, to chase him
on; which the faster he runs, urges him the faster, the more loudly
and more foolishly! Fit emblem also of much that awaited myself, in
that mischievous Den; as in the World, whereof it was a portion and

'Alas, the kind beech-rows of Entepfuhl were hidden in the distance: I
was among strangers, harshly, at best indifferently, disposed towards
me; the young heart felt, for the first time, quite orphaned and
alone.' His schoolfellows, as is usual, persecuted him: 'They were
Boys,' he says, 'mostly rude Boys, and obeyed the impulse of rude
Nature, which bids the deerherd fall upon any stricken hart, the
duck-flock put to death any broken-winged brother or sister, and on
all hands the strong tyrannise over the weak.' He admits, that though
'perhaps in an unusual degree morally courageous,' he succeeded ill in
battle, and would fain have avoided it; a result, as would appear,
owing less to his small personal stature (for in passionate seasons he
was 'incredibly nimble'), than to his 'virtuous principles': 'if it
was disgraceful to be beaten,' says he, 'it was only a shade less
disgraceful to have so much as fought; thus was I drawn two ways at
once, and in this important element of school-history, the
war-element, had little but sorrow.' On the whole, that same excellent
'Passivity,' so notable in Teufelsdröckh's childhood, is here visibly
enough again getting nourishment. 'He wept often; indeed to such a
degree that he was nicknamed _Der Weinende_ (the Tearful), which
epithet, till towards his thirteenth year, was indeed not quite
unmerited. Only at rare intervals did the young soul burst-forth into
fire-eyed rage, and, with a stormfulness (_Ungestüm_) under which the
boldest quailed, assert that he too had Rights of Man, or at least of
Mankin.' In all which, who does not discern a fine flower-tree and
cinnamon-tree (of genius) nigh choked among pumpkins, reed-grass and
ignoble shrubs; and forced if it would live, to struggle upwards only,
and not outwards; into a _height_ quite sickly, and disproportioned to
its _breadth_?

We find, moreover, that his Greek and Latin were 'mechanically'
taught; Hebrew scarce even mechanically; much else which they called
History, Cosmography, Philosophy, and so forth, no better than not at
all. So that, except inasmuch as Nature was still busy; and he himself
'went about, as was of old his wont, among the Craftsmen's workshops,
there learning many things'; and farther lighted on some small store
of curious reading, in Hans Wachtel the Cooper's house, where he
lodged,--his time, it would appear, was utterly wasted. Which facts
the Professor has not yet learned to look upon with any contentment.
Indeed, throughout the whole of this Bag _Scorpio_, where we now are,
and often in the following Bag, he shows himself unusually animated on
the matter of Education, and not without some touch of what we might
presume to be anger.

'My Teachers,' says he, 'were hide-bound Pedants, without knowledge of
man's nature, or of boy's; or of aught save their lexicons and
quarterly account-books. Innumerable dead Vocables (no dead Language,
for they themselves knew no Language) they crammed into us, and called
it fostering the growth of mind. How can an inanimate, mechanical
Gerund-grinder, the like of whom will, in a subsequent century, be
manufactured at Nürnberg out of wood and leather, foster the growth of
anything; much more of Mind, which grows, not like a vegetable (by
having its roots littered with etymological compost), but like a
spirit, by mysterious contact of Spirit; Thought kindling itself at
the fire of living Thought? How shall _he_ give kindling, in whose own
inward man there is no live coal, but all is burnt-out to a dead
grammatical cinder? The Hinterschlag Professors knew syntax enough;
and of the human soul thus much: that it had a faculty called Memory,
and could be acted-on through the muscular integument by appliance of

'Alas, so is it everywhere, so will it ever be; till the Hodman is
discharged, or reduced to hodbearing, and an Architect is hired, and
on all hands fitly encouraged: till communities and individuals
discover, not without surprise, that fashioning the souls of a
generation by Knowledge can rank on a level with blowing their bodies
to pieces by Gunpowder; that with Generals and Fieldmarshals for
killing, there should be world-honoured Dignitaries, and were it
possible, true God-ordained Priests, for teaching. But as yet, though
the Soldier wears openly, and even parades, his butchering-tool,
nowhere, far as I have travelled, did the Schoolmaster make show of
his instructing-tool: nay, were he to walk abroad with birch girt on
thigh, as if he therefrom expected honour, would there not, among the
idler class, perhaps a certain levity be excited?'

In the third year of this Gymnasic period, Father Andreas seems to
have died: the young Scholar, otherwise so maltreated, saw himself for
the first time clad outwardly in sables, and inwardly in quite
inexpressible melancholy. 'The dark bottomless Abyss, that lies under
our feet, had yawned open; the pale kingdoms of Death, with all their
innumerable silent nations and generations, stood before him; the
inexorable word, NEVER! now first showed its meaning. My Mother wept,
and her sorrow got vent; but in my heart there lay a whole lake of
tears, pent-up in silent desolation. Nevertheless the unworn Spirit is
strong; Life is so healthful that it even finds nourishment in Death:
these stern experiences, planted down by Memory in my Imagination,
rose there to a whole cypress-forest, sad but beautiful; waving, with
not unmelodious sighs, in dark luxuriance, in the hottest sunshine,
through long years of youth:--as in manhood also it does, and will do;
for I have now pitched my tent under a Cypress-tree; the Tomb is now
my inexpugnable Fortress, ever close by the gate of which I look upon
the hostile armaments, and pains and penalties of tyrannous Life
placidly enough, and listen to its loudest threatenings with a still
smile. O ye loved ones, that already sleep in the noiseless Bed of
Rest, whom in life I could only weep for and never help; and ye, who
wide-scattered still toil lonely in the monster-bearing Desert, dyeing
the flinty ground with your blood,--yet a little while, and we shall
all meet THERE, and our Mother's bosom will screen us all; and
Oppression's harness, and Sorrow's fire-whip, and all the Gehenna
Bailiffs that patrol and inhabit ever-vexed Time, cannot thenceforth
harm us any more!'

Close by which rather beautiful apostrophe, lies a laboured Character
of the deceased Andreas Futteral; of his natural ability, his deserts
in life (as Prussian Sergeant); with long historical inquiries into
the genealogy of the Futteral Family, here traced back as far as Henry
the Fowler: the whole of which we pass over, not without astonishment.
It only concerns us to add, that now was the time when Mother Gretchen
revealed to her foster-son that he was not at all of this kindred, or
indeed of any kindred, having come into historical existence in the
way already known to us. 'Thus was I doubly orphaned,' says he;
'bereft not only of Possession, but even of Remembrance. Sorrow and
Wonder, here suddenly united, could not but produce abundant fruit.
Such a disclosure, in such a season, struck its roots through my whole
nature: ever till the years of mature manhood, it mingled with my
whole thoughts, was as the stem whereon all my day-dreams and
night-dreams grew. A certain poetic elevation, yet also a
corresponding civic depression, it naturally imparted: _I was like no
other_; in which fixed-idea, leading sometimes to highest, and oftener
to frightfullest results, may there not lie the first spring of
Tendencies, which in my Life have become remarkable enough? As in
birth, so in action, speculation, and social position, my fellows are
perhaps not numerous.'

       *       *       *       *       *

In the Bag _Sagittarius_, as we at length discover, Teufelsdröckh has
become a University man; though, how, when, or of what quality, will
nowhere disclose itself with the smallest certainty. Few things, in
the way of confusion and capricious indistinctness, can now surprise
our readers; not even the total want of dates, almost without parallel
in a Biographical work. So enigmatic, so chaotic we have always found,
and must always look to find, these scattered Leaves. In
_Sagittarius_, however, Teufelsdröckh begins to show himself even more
than usually Sibylline: fragments of all sorts; scraps of regular
Memoir, College-Exercises, Programs, Professional Testimoniums,
Milkscores, torn Billets, sometimes to appearance of an amatory cast;
all blown together as if by merest chance, henceforth bewilder the
sane Historian. To combine any picture of these University, and the
subsequent, years; much more, to decipher therein any illustrative
primordial elements of the Clothes-Philosophy, becomes such a problem
as the reader may imagine.

So much we can see; darkly, as through the foliage of some wavering
thicket: a youth of no common endowment, who has passed happily
through Childhood, less happily yet still vigorously through Boyhood,
now at length perfect in 'dead vocables,' and set down, as he hopes,
by the living Fountain, there to superadd Ideas and Capabilities. From
such Fountain he draws, diligently, thirstily, yet never or seldom
with his whole heart, for the water nowise suits his palate;
discouragements, entanglements, aberrations are discoverable or
supposable. Nor perhaps are even pecuniary distresses wanting; for
'the good Gretchen, who in spite of advices from not disinterested
relatives has sent him hither, must after a time withdraw her willing
but too feeble hand.' Nevertheless in an atmosphere of Poverty and
manifold Chagrin, the Humour of that young Soul, what character is in
him, first decisively reveals itself; and, like strong sunshine in
weeping skies, gives out variety of colours, some of which are
prismatic. Thus, with the aid of Time and of what Time brings, has the
stripling Diogenes Teufelsdröckh waxed into manly stature; and into so
questionable an aspect, that we ask with new eagerness, How he
specially came by it, and regret anew that there is no more explicit
answer. Certain of the intelligible and partially significant
fragments, which are few in number, shall be extracted from that Limbo
of a Paper-bag, and presented with the usual preparation.

As if, in the Bag _Scorpio_, Teufelsdröckh had not already
expectorated his antipedagogic spleen; as if, from the name
_Sagittarius_, he had thought himself called upon to shoot arrows, we
here again fall-in with such matter as this: 'The University where I
was educated still stands vivid enough in my remembrance, and I know
its name well; which name, however, I, from tenderness to existing
interests and persons, shall in nowise divulge. It is my painful duty
to say that, out of England and Spain, ours was the worst of all
hitherto discovered Universities. This is indeed a time when right
Education is, as nearly as may be, impossible: however, in degrees of
wrongness there is no limit: nay, I can conceive a worse system than
that of the Nameless itself; as poisoned victual may be worse than
absolute hunger.

'It is written, When the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into
the ditch: wherefore, in such circumstances, may it not sometimes be
safer, if both leader and led simply--sit still? Had you, anywhere in
Crim Tartary; walled-in a square enclosure; furnished it with a small,
ill-chosen Library; and then turned loose into it eleven-hundred
Christian striplings, to tumble about as they listed, from three to
seven years: certain persons, under the title of Professors, being
stationed at the gates, to declare aloud that it was a University, and
exact considerable admission-fees,--you had, not indeed in mechanical
structure, yet in spirit and result, some imperfect resemblance of our
High Seminary. I say, imperfect; for if our mechanical structure was
quite other, so neither was our result altogether the same: unhappily,
we were not in Crim Tartary, but in a corrupt European city, full of
smoke and sin; moreover, in the middle of a Public, which, without far
costlier apparatus than that of the Square Enclosure, and Declaration
aloud, you could not be sure of gulling.

'Gullible, however, by fit apparatus, all Publics are; and gulled,
with the most surprising profit. Towards anything like a _Statistics
of Imposture_, indeed, little as yet has been done: with a strange
indifference, our Economists, nigh buried under Tables for minor
Branches of Industry, have altogether overlooked the grand
all-overtopping Hypocrisy Branch; as if our whole arts of Puffery, of
Quackery, Priestcraft, Kingcraft, and the innumerable other crafts and
mysteries of that genus, had not ranked in Productive Industry at all!
Can any one, for example, so much as say, What moneys, in Literature
and Shoeblacking, are realised by actual Instruction and actual jet
Polish; what by fictitious-persuasive Proclamation of such; specifying,
in distinct items, the distributions, circulations, disbursements,
incomings of said moneys, with the smallest approach to accuracy? But
to ask, How far, in all the several infinitely-complected departments
of social business, in government, education, in manual, commercial,
intellectual fabrication of every sort, man's Want is supplied by true
Ware; how far by the mere Appearance of true Ware:--in other words, To
what extent, by what methods, with what effects, in various times and
countries, Deception takes the place of wages of Performance: here
truly is an Inquiry big with results for the future time, but to which
hitherto only the vaguest answer can be given. If for the present, in
our Europe, we estimate the ratio of Ware to Appearance of Ware so
high even as at One to a Hundred (which, considering the Wages of a
Pope, Russian Autocrat, or English Game-Preserver, is probably not far
from the mark),--what almost prodigious saving may there not be
anticipated, as the _Statistics of Imposture_ advances, and so the
manufacturing of Shams (that of Realities rising into clearer and
clearer distinction therefrom) gradually declines, and at length
becomes all but wholly unnecessary!

'This for the coming golden ages. What I had to remark, for the
present brazen one, is, that in several provinces, as in Education,
Polity, Religion, where so much is wanted and indispensable, and so
little can as yet be furnished, probably Imposture is of sanative,
anodyne nature, and man's Gullibility not his worst blessing. Suppose
your sinews of war quite broken; I mean your military chest insolvent,
forage all but exhausted; and that the whole army is about to mutiny,
disband, and cut your and each other's throat,--then were it not well
could you, as if by miracle, pay them in any sort of fairy-money, feed
them on coagulated water, or mere imagination of meat; whereby, till
the real supply came up, they might be kept together and quiet? Such
perhaps was the aim of Nature, who does nothing without aim, in
furnishing her favourite, Man, with this his so omnipotent or rather
omnipatient Talent of being Gulled.

'How beautifully it works, with a little mechanism; nay, almost makes
mechanism for itself! These Professors in the Nameless lived with
ease, with safety, by a mere Reputation, constructed in past times,
and then too with no great effort, by quite another class of persons.
Which Reputation, like a strong, brisk-going undershot wheel, sunk
into the general current, bade fair, with only a little annual
repainting on their part, to hold long together, and of its own accord
assiduously grind for them. Happy that it was so, for the Millers!
They themselves needed not to work; their attempts at working, at what
they called Educating, now when I look back on it, filled me with a
certain mute admiration.

'Besides all this, we boasted ourselves a Rational University; in the
highest degree hostile to Mysticism; thus was the young vacant mind
furnished with much talk about Progress of the Species, Dark Ages,
Prejudice, and the like; so that all were quickly enough blown out
into a state of windy argumentativeness; whereby the better sort had
soon to end in sick, impotent Scepticism; the worser sort explode
(_crepiren_) in finished Self-conceit, and to all spiritual intents
become dead.--But this too is portion of mankind's lot. If our era is
the Era of Unbelief, why murmur under it; is there not a better
coming, nay come? As in long-drawn Systole and long-drawn Diastole,
must the period of Faith alternate with the period of Denial; must the
vernal growth, the summer luxuriance of all Opinions, Spiritual
Representations and Creations, be followed by, and again follow, the
autumnal decay, the winter dissolution. For man lives in Time, has his
whole earthly being, endeavour and destiny shaped for him by Time:
only in the transitory Time-Symbol is the ever-motionless Eternity we
stand on made manifest. And yet, in such winter-seasons of Denial, it
is for the nobler-minded perhaps a comparative misery to have been
born, and to be awake and work; and for the duller a felicity, if,
like hibernating animals, safe-lodged in some Salamanca University, or
Sybaris City, or other superstitious or voluptuous Castle of
Indolence, they can slumber-through, in stupid dreams, and only awaken
when the loud-roaring hailstorms have all done their work, and to our
prayers and martyrdoms the new Spring has been vouchsafed.'

That in the environment, here mysteriously enough shadowed forth,
Teufelsdröckh must have felt ill at ease, cannot be doubtful. 'The
hungry young,' he says, 'looked up to their spiritual Nurses; and, for
food, were bidden eat the east-wind. What vain jargon of controversial
Metaphysic, Etymology, and mechanical Manipulation falsely named
Science, was current there, I indeed learned, better perhaps than the
most. Among eleven-hundred Christian youths, there will not be wanting
some eleven eager to learn. By collision with such, a certain warmth,
a certain polish was communicated; by instinct and happy accident, I
took less to rioting (_renommiren_), than to thinking and reading,
which latter also I was free to do. Nay from the chaos of that
Library, I succeeded in fishing-up more books perhaps than had been
known to the very keepers thereof. The foundation of a Literary Life
was hereby laid : I learned, on my own strength, to read fluently in
almost all cultivated languages, on almost all subjects and sciences;
farther, as man is ever the prime object to man, already it was my
favourite employment to read character in speculation, and from the
Writing to construe the Writer. A certain groundplan of Human Nature
and Life began to fashion itself in me; wondrous enough, now when I
look back on it; for my whole Universe, physical and spiritual, was as
yet a Machine! However, such a conscious, recognised groundplan, the
truest I had, _was_ beginning to be there, and by additional
experiments might be corrected and indefinitely extended.'

Thus from poverty does the strong educe nobler wealth; thus in the
destitution of the wild desert does our young Ishmael acquire for
himself the highest of all possessions, that of Self-help.
Nevertheless a desert this was, waste, and howling with savage
monsters. Teufelsdröckh gives us long details of his 'fever-paroxysms
of Doubt'; his Inquiries concerning Miracles, and the Evidences of
religious Faith; and how 'in the silent night-watches, still darker in
his heart than over sky and earth, he has cast himself before the
All-seeing, and with audible prayers cried vehemently for Light, for
deliverance from Death and the Grave. Not till after long years, and
unspeakable agonies, did the believing heart surrender; sink into
spell-bound sleep, under the night-mare, Unbelief; and, in this
hag-ridden dream, mistake God's fair living world for a pallid, vacant
Hades and extinct Pandemonium. But through such Purgatory pain,'
continues he, 'it is appointed us to pass; first must the dead Letter
of Religion own itself dead, and drop piecemeal into dust, if the
living Spirit of Religion, freed from this its charnel-house, is to
arise on us, newborn of Heaven, and with new healing under its wings.'

To which Purgatory pains, seemingly severe enough, if we add a liberal
measure of Earthly distresses, want of practical guidance, want of
sympathy, want of money, want of hope; and all this in the fervid
season of youth, so exaggerated in imagining, so boundless in desires,
yet here so poor in means,--do we not see a strong incipient spirit
oppressed and overloaded from without and from within; the fire of
genius struggling-up among fuel-wood of the greenest, and as yet with
more of bitter vapour than of clear flame?

From various fragments of Letters and other documentary scraps, it is
to be inferred that Teufelsdröckh, isolated, shy, retiring as he was,
had not altogether escaped notice: certain established men are aware
of his existence; and, if stretching-out no helpful hand, have at
least their eyes on him. He appears, though in dreary enough humour,
to be addressing himself to the Profession of Law;--whereof, indeed,
the world has since seen him a public graduate. But omitting these
broken, unsatisfactory thrums of Economical relation, let us present
rather the following small thread of Moral relation; and therewith,
the reader for himself weaving it in at the right place, conclude our
dim arras-picture of these University years.

'Here also it was that I formed acquaintance with Herr Towgood, or, as
it is perhaps better written, Herr Toughgut; a young person of quality
(_von Adel_), from the interior parts of England. He stood connected,
by blood and hospitality, with the Counts von Zähdarm, in this quarter
of Germany; to which noble Family I likewise was, by his means, with
all friendliness, brought near. Towgood had a fair talent, unspeakably
ill-cultivated; with considerable humour of character: and, bating his
total ignorance, for he knew nothing except Boxing and a little
Grammar, showed less of that aristocratic impassivity, and silent
fury, than for most part belongs to Travellers of his nation. To him I
owe my first practical knowledge of the English and their ways;
perhaps also something of the partiality with which I have ever since
regarded that singular people. Towgood was not without an eye, could
he have come at any light. Invited doubtless by the presence of the
Zähdarm Family, he had travelled hither, in the almost frantic hope of
perfecting his studies; he, whose studies had as yet been those of
infancy, hither to a University where so much as the notion of
perfection, not to say the effort after it, no longer existed! Often
we would condole over the hard destiny of the Young in this era: how,
after all our toil, we were to be turned-out into the world, with
beards on our chins indeed, but with few other attributes of manhood;
no existing thing that we were trained to Act on, nothing that we
could so much as Believe. "How has our head on the outside a polished
Hat," would Towgood exclaim, "and in the inside Vacancy, or a froth of
Vocables and Attorney-Logic! At a small cost men are educated to make
leather into shoes; but at a great cost, what am I educated to make?
By Heaven, Brother! what I have already eaten and worn, as I came thus
far, would endow a considerable Hospital of Incurables."--"Man,
indeed," I would answer, "has a Digestive Faculty, which must be kept
working, were it even partly by stealth. But as for our Mis-education,
make not bad worse; waste not the time yet ours, in trampling on
thistles because they have yielded us no figs. _Frisch zu, Bruder!_
Here are Books, and we have brains to read them; here is a whole Earth
and a whole Heaven, and we have eyes to look on them: _Frisch zu!_"

'Often also our talk was gay; not without brilliancy, and even fire.
We looked-out on Life, with its strange scaffolding, where all at once
harlequins dance, and men are beheaded and quartered: motley, not
unterrific was the aspect; but we looked on it like brave youths. For
myself, these were perhaps my most genial hours. Towards this young
warmhearted, strongheaded and wrongheaded Herr Towgood I was even near
experiencing the now obsolete sentiment of Friendship. Yes, foolish
Heathen that I was, I felt that, under certain conditions, I could
have loved this man, and taken him to my bosom, and been his brother
once and always. By degrees, however, I understood the new time, and
its wants. If man's _Soul_ is indeed, as in the Finnish Language, and
Utilitarian Philosophy, a kind of _Stomach_, what else is the true
meaning of Spiritual Union but an Eating together? Thus we, instead of
Friends, are Dinner-guests; and here as elsewhere have cast away

So ends, abruptly as is usual, and enigmatically, this little
incipient romance. What henceforth becomes of the brave Herr Towgood,
or Toughgut? He has dived-under, in the Autobiographical Chaos, and
swims we see not where. Does any reader 'in the interior parts of
England' know of such a man?



'Thus, nevertheless,' writes our autobiographer, apparently as
quitting College, 'was there realised Somewhat; namely, I, Diogenes
Teufelsdröckh: a visible Temporary Figure (_Zeitbild_), occupying some
cubic feet of Space, and containing within it Forces both physical and
spiritual; hopes, passions, thoughts; the whole wondrous furniture, in
more or less perfection, belonging to that mystery, a Man.
Capabilities there were in me to give battle, in some small degree,
against the great Empire of Darkness: does not the very Ditcher and
Delver, with his spade, extinguish many a thistle and puddle; and so
leave a little Order, where he found the opposite? Nay your very
Daymoth has capabilities in this kind; and ever organises something
(into its own Body, if no otherwise), which was before Inorganic; and
of mute dead air makes living music, though only of the faintest, by

'How much more, one whose capabilities are spiritual; who has learned,
or begun learning, the grand thaumaturgic art of Thought! Thaumaturgic
I name it; for hitherto all Miracles have been wrought thereby, and
henceforth innumerable will be wrought; whereof we, even in these
days, witness some. Of the Poet's and Prophet's inspired Message, and
how it makes and unmakes whole worlds, I shall forbear mention: but
cannot the dullest hear Steam-engines clanking around him? Has he not
seen the Scottish Brassmith's IDEA (and this but a mechanical one)
travelling on fire-wings round the Cape, and across two Oceans; and
stronger than any other Enchanter's Familiar, on all hands unweariedly
fetching and carrying: at home, not only weaving Cloth, but rapidly
enough overturning the whole old system of Society; and, for Feudalism
and Preservation of the Game, preparing us, by indirect but sure
methods, Industrialism and the Government of the Wisest? Truly a
Thinking Man is the worst enemy the Prince of Darkness can have; every
time such a one announces himself, I doubt not, there runs a shudder
through the Nether Empire; and new Emissaries are trained, with new
tactics, to, if possible, entrap him, and hoodwink and handcuff him.

'With such high vocation had I too, as denizen of the Universe, been
called. Unhappy it is, however, that though born to the amplest
Sovereignty, in this way, with no less than sovereign right of Peace
and War against the Time-Prince (_Zeitfürst_), or Devil, and all his
Dominions, your coronation-ceremony costs such trouble, your sceptre
is so difficult to get at, or even to get eye on!'

By which last wiredrawn similitude does Teufelsdröckh mean no more
than that young men find obstacles in what we call 'getting under
way'? 'Not what I Have,' continues he, 'but what I Do is my Kingdom.
To each is given a certain inward Talent, a certain outward
Environment of Fortune; to each, by wisest combination of these two, a
certain maximum of Capability. But the hardest problem were ever this
first: To find by study of yourself, and of the ground you stand on,
what your combined inward and outward Capability specially is. For,
alas, our young soul is all budding with Capabilities, and we see not
yet which is the main and true one. Always too the new man is in a new
time, under new conditions; his course can be the _fac-simile_ of no
prior one, but is by its nature original. And then how seldom will the
outward Capability fit the inward: though talented wonderfully enough,
we are poor, unfriended, dyspeptical, bashful; nay what is worse than
all, we are foolish. Thus, in a whole imbroglio of Capabilities, we go
stupidly groping about, to grope which is ours, and often clutch the
wrong one: in this mad work must several years of our small term be
spent, till the purblind Youth, by practice, acquire notions of
distance, and become a seeing Man. Nay, many so spend their whole
term, and in ever-new expectation, ever-new disappointment, shift from
enterprise to enterprise, and from side to side: till at length, as
exasperated striplings of threescore-and-ten, they shift into their
last enterprise, that of getting buried.

'Such, since the most of us are too ophthalmic, would be the general
fate; were it not that one thing saves us: our Hunger. For on this
ground, as the prompt nature of Hunger is well known, must a prompt
choice be made: hence have we, with wise foresight, Indentures and
Apprenticeships for our irrational young; whereby, in due season, the
vague universality of a Man shall find himself ready-moulded into a
specific Craftsman; and so thenceforth work, with much or with little
waste of Capability as it may be; yet not with the worst waste, that
of time. Nay even in matters spiritual, since the spiritual artist too
is born blind, and does not, like certain other creatures, receive
sight in nine days, but far later, sometimes never,--is it not well
that there should be what we call Professions, or Bread-studies
(_Brodzwecke_), pre-appointed us? Here, circling like the gin-horse,
for whom partial or total blindness is no evil, the Bread-artist can
travel contentedly round and round, still fancying that it is forward
and forward; and realise much: for himself victual; for the world an
additional horse's power in the grand corn-mill or hemp-mill of
Economic Society. For me too had such a leading-string been provided;
only that it proved a neck-halter, and had nigh throttled me, till I
broke it off. Then, in the words of Ancient Pistol, did the world
generally become mine oyster, which I, by strength or cunning, was to
open, as I would and could. Almost had I deceased (_fast wär ich
umgekommen_), so obstinately did it continue shut.'

We see here, significantly foreshadowed, the spirit of much that was
to befall our Autobiographer; the historical embodiment of which, as
it painfully takes shape in his Life, lies scattered, in dim
disastrous details, through this Bag _Pisces_, and those that follow.
A young man of high talent, and high though still temper, like a young
mettled colt, 'breaks-off his neck-halter,' and bounds forth, from his
peculiar manger, into the wide world; which, alas, he finds all
rigorously fenced-in. Richest clover-fields tempt his eye; but to him
they are forbidden pasture: either pining in progressive starvation,
he must stand; or, in mad exasperation, must rush to and fro, leaping
against sheer stone-walls, which he cannot leap over, which only
lacerate and lame him; till at last, after thousand attempts and
endurances, he, as if by miracle, clears his way; not indeed into
luxuriant and luxurious clover, yet into a certain bosky wilderness
where existence is still possible, and Freedom, though waited on by
Scarcity, is not without sweetness. In a word, Teufelsdröckh having
thrown-up his legal Profession, finds himself without landmark of
outward guidance; whereby his previous want of decided Belief, or
inward guidance, is frightfully aggravated. Necessity urges him on;
Time will not stop, neither can he, a Son of Time; wild passions
without solacement, wild faculties without employment, ever vex and
agitate him. He too must enact that stern Monodrama, _No Object and no
Rest_; must front its successive destinies, work through to its
catastrophe, and deduce therefrom what moral he can.

Yet let us be just to him, let us admit that his 'neck-halter' sat
nowise easy on him; that he was in some degree forced to break it off.
If we look at the young man's civic position, in this Nameless
capital, as he emerges from its Nameless University, we can discern
well that it was far from enviable. His first Law-Examination he has
come through triumphantly; and can even boast that the _Examen
Rigorosum_ need not have frightened him: but though he is hereby 'an
_Auscultator_ of respectability,' what avails it? There is next to no
employment to be had. Neither, for a youth without connexions, is the
process of Expectation very hopeful in itself; nor for one of his
disposition much cheered from without. 'My fellow Auscultators,' he
says, 'were Auscultators: they dressed, and digested, and talked
articulate words; other vitality showed they almost none. Small
speculation in those eyes, that they did glare withal! Sense neither
for the high nor for the deep, nor for aught human or divine, save
only for the faintest scent of coming Preferment.' In which words,
indicating a total estrangement on the part of Teufelsdröckh, may
there not also lurk traces of a bitterness as from wounded vanity?
Doubtless these prosaic Auscultators may have sniffed at him, with his
strange ways; and tried to hate, and what was much more impossible, to
despise him. Friendly communion, in any case, there could not be:
already has the young Teufelsdröckh left the other young geese; and
swims apart, though as yet uncertain whether he himself is cygnet or

Perhaps, too, what little employment he had was performed ill, at best
unpleasantly. 'Great practical method and expertness' he may brag of;
but is there not also great practical pride, though deep-hidden, only
the deeper-seated? So shy a man can never have been popular. We figure
to ourselves, how in those days he may have played strange freaks with
his independence, and so forth: do not his own words betoken as much?
'Like a very young person, I imagined it was with Work alone, and not
also with Folly and Sin, in myself and others, that I had been
appointed to struggle.' Be this as it may, his progress from the
passive Auscultatorship, towards any active Assessorship, is evidently
of the slowest. By degrees, those same established men, once partially
inclined to patronise him, seem to withdraw their countenance, and
give him up as 'a man of genius': against which procedure he, in these
Papers, loudly protests. 'As if,' says he, 'the higher did not
presuppose the lower; as if he who can fly into heaven, could not also
walk post if he resolved on it! But the world is an old woman, and
mistakes any gilt farthing for a gold coin; whereby being often
cheated, she will thenceforth trust nothing but the common copper.'

How our winged sky-messenger, unaccepted as a terrestrial runner,
contrived, in the mean while, to keep himself from flying skyward
without return, is not too clear from these Documents. Good old
Gretchen seems to have vanished from the scene, perhaps from the
Earth; other Horn of Plenty, or even of Parsimony, nowhere flows for
him; so that 'the prompt nature of Hunger being well known,' we are
not without our anxiety. From private Tuition, in never so many
languages and sciences, the aid derivable is small; neither, to use
his own words, 'does the young Adventurer hitherto suspect in himself
any literary gift; but at best earns bread-and-water wages, by his
wide faculty of Translation. Nevertheless,' continues he, 'that I
subsisted is clear, for you find me even now alive.' Which fact,
however, except upon the principle of our true-hearted, kind old
Proverb, that 'there is always life for a living one,' we must profess
ourselves unable to explain.

Certain Landlords' Bills, and other economic Documents, bearing the
mark of Settlement, indicate that he was not without money; but, like
an independent Hearth-holder, if not House-holder, paid his way. Here
also occur, among many others, two little mutilated Notes, which
perhaps throw light on his condition. The first has now no date, or
writer's name, but a huge Blot; and runs to this effect: 'The
(_Inkblot_), tied-down by previous promise, cannot, except by best
wishes, forward the Herr Teufelsdröckh's views on the Assessorship in
question; and sees himself under the cruel necessity of forbearing,
for the present, what were otherwise his duty and joy, to assist in
opening the career for a man of genius, on whom far higher triumphs
are yet waiting.' The other is on gilt paper; and interests us like a
sort of epistolary mummy now dead, yet which once lived and
beneficently worked. We give it in the original: '_Herr Teufelsdröckh
wird von der Frau Gräfinn, auf Donnerstag, zum_ ÆSTHETISCHEN THEE
_schönstens eingeladen._'

Thus, in answer to a cry for solid pudding, whereof there is the most
urgent need, comes, epigrammatically enough, the invitation to a wash
of quite fluid _Æsthetic Tea!_ How Teufelsdröckh, now at actual
handgrips with Destiny herself, may have comported himself among these
Musical and Literary Dilettanti of both sexes, like a hungry lion
invited to a feast of chickenweed, we can only conjecture. Perhaps in
expressive silence, and abstinence: otherwise if the lion, in such
case, is to feast at all, it cannot be on the chickenweed, but only on
the chickens. For the rest, as this Frau Gräfinn dates from the
_Zähdarm House_, she can be no other than the Countess and mistress of
the same; whose intellectual tendencies, and good-will to
Teufelsdröckh, whether on the footing of Herr Towgood, or on his own
footing, are hereby manifest. That some sort of relation, indeed,
continued, for a time, to connect our Autobiographer, though perhaps
feebly enough, with this noble House, we have elsewhere express
evidence. Doubtless, if he expected patronage, it was in vain; enough
for him if he here obtained occasional glimpses of the great world,
from which we at one time fancied him to have been always excluded.
'The Zähdarms,' says he, 'lived in the soft, sumptuous garniture of
Aristocracy; whereto Literature and Art, attracted and attached from
without, were to serve as the handsomest fringing. It was to the
_Gnädigen Frau_ (her Ladyship) that this latter improvement was due:
assiduously she gathered, dextrously she fitted-on, what fringing was
to be had; lace or cobweb, as the place yielded.' Was Teufelsdröckh
also a fringe, of lace or cobweb; or promising to be such? 'With his
_Excellenz_ (the Count),' continues he, 'I have more than once had the
honour to converse; chiefly on general affairs, and the aspect of the
world, which he, though now past middle life, viewed in no
unfavourable light; finding indeed, except the Outrooting of
Journalism (_die auszurottende Journalistik_), little to desiderate
therein. On some points, as his _Excellenz_ was not uncholeric, I
found it more pleasant to keep silence. Besides, his occupation being
that of Owning Land, there might be faculties enough, which, as
superfluous for such use, were little developed in him.'

That to Teufelsdröckh the aspect of the world was nowise so faultless,
and many things besides 'the Outrooting of Journalism' might have
seemed improvements, we can readily conjecture. With nothing but a
barren Auscultatorship from without, and so many mutinous thoughts and
wishes from within, his position was no easy one. 'The Universe,' he
says, 'was as a mighty Sphinx-riddle, which I knew so little of, yet
must rede, or be devoured. In red streaks of unspeakable grandeur, yet
also in the blackness of darkness, was Life, to my too-unfurnished
Thought, unfolding itself. A strange contradiction lay in me; and I as
yet knew not the solution of it; knew not that spiritual music can
spring only from discords set in harmony; that but for Evil there were
no Good, as victory is only possible by battle.'

'I have heard affirmed (surely in jest),' observes he elsewhere, 'by
not unphilanthropic persons, that it were a real increase of human
happiness, could all young men from the age of nineteen be covered
under barrels, or rendered otherwise invisible; and there left to
follow their lawful studies and callings, till they emerged, sadder
and wiser, at the age of twenty-five. With which suggestion, at least
as considered in the light of a practical scheme, I need scarcely say
that I nowise coincide. Nevertheless it is plausibly urged that, as
young ladies (_Mädchen_) are, to mankind, precisely the most
delightful in those years; so young gentlemen (_Bübchen_) do then
attain their maximum of detestability. Such gawks (_Gecken_) are they;
and foolish peacocks, and yet with such a vulturous hunger for
self-indulgence; so obstinate, obstreperous, vainglorious; in all
senses, so froward and so forward. No mortal's endeavour or attainment
will, in the smallest, content the as yet unendeavouring, unattaining
young gentleman; but he could make it all infinitely better, were it
worthy of him. Life everywhere is the most manageable matter, simple
as a question in the Rule-of-Three: multiply your second and third
term together, divide the product by the first, and your quotient will
be the answer,--which you are but an ass if you cannot come at. The
booby has not yet found-out, by any trial, that, do what one will,
there is ever a cursed fraction, oftenest a decimal repeater, and no
net integer quotient so much as to be thought of.'

In which passage does not there lie an implied confession that
Teufelsdröckh himself, besides his outward obstructions, had an
inward, still greater, to contend with; namely, a certain temporary,
youthful, yet still afflictive derangement of head? Alas, on the
former side alone, his case was hard enough. 'It continues ever true,'
says he, 'that Saturn, or Chronos, or what we call TIME, devours all
his Children: only by incessant Running, by incessant Working, may you
(for some threescore-and-ten years) escape him; and you too he devours
at last. Can any Sovereign, or Holy Alliance of Sovereigns, bid Time
stand still; even in thought, shake themselves free of Time? Our whole
terrestrial being is based on Time, and built of Time; it is wholly a
Movement, a Time-impulse; Time is the author of it, the material of
it. Hence also our Whole Duty, which is to move, to work,--in the
right direction. Are not our Bodies and our Souls in continual
movement, whether we will or not; in a continual Waste, requiring a
continual Repair? Utmost satisfaction of our whole outward and inward
Wants were but satisfaction for a space of Time; thus, whatso we have
done, is done, and for us annihilated, and ever must we go and do
anew. O Time-Spirit, how hast thou environed and imprisoned us, and
sunk us so deep in thy troublous dim Time-Element, that only in lucid
moments can so much as glimpses of our upper Azure Home be revealed to
us! Me, however, as a Son of Time, unhappier than some others, was
Time threatening to eat quite prematurely; for, strive as I might,
there was no good Running, so obstructed was the path, so gyved were
the feet.' That is to say, we presume, speaking in the dialect of this
lower world, that Teufelsdröckh's whole duty and necessity was, like
other men's, 'to work,--in the right direction,' and that no work was
to be had; whereby he became wretched enough. As was natural: with
haggard Scarcity threatening him in the distance; and so vehement a
soul languishing in restless inaction, and forced thereby, like Sir
Hudibras's sword by rust,

  To eat into itself for lack
  Of something else to hew and hack!

But on the whole, that same 'excellent Passivity,' as it has all along
done, is here again vigorously flourishing; in which circumstance may
we not trace the beginnings of much that now characterises our
Professor; and perhaps, in faint rudiments, the origin of the
Clothes-Philosophy itself? Already the attitude he has assumed towards
the World is too defensive; not, as would have been desirable, a bold
attitude of attack. 'So far hitherto,' he says, 'as I had mingled with
mankind, I was notable, if for anything, for a certain stillness of
manner, which, as my friends often rebukingly declared, did but ill
express the keen ardour of my feelings. I, in truth, regarded men with
an excess both of love and of fear. The mystery of a Person, indeed,
is ever divine to him that has a sense for the God-like. Often,
notwithstanding, was I blamed, and by half-strangers hated, for my
so-called Hardness (_Härte_), my Indifferentism towards men; and the
seemingly ironic tone I had adopted, as my favourite dialect in
conversation. Alas, the panoply of Sarcasm was but as a buckram case,
wherein I had striven to envelop myself; that so my own poor Person
might live safe there, and in all friendliness, being no longer
exasperated by wounds. Sarcasm I now see to be, in general, the
language of the Devil; for which reason I have long since as good as
renounced it. But how many individuals did I, in those days, provoke
into some degree of hostility thereby! An ironic man, with his sly
stillness, and ambuscading ways, more especially an ironic young man,
from whom it is least expected, may be viewed as a pest to society.
Have we not seen persons of weight and name coming forward, with
gentlest indifference, to tread such a one out of sight, as an
insignificancy and worm, start ceiling-high (_balkenhoch_), and thence
fall shattered and supine, to be borne home on shutters, not without
indignation, when he proved electric and a torpedo!'

Alas, how can a man with this devilishness of temper make way for
himself in Life; where the first problem, as Teufelsdröckh too admits,
is 'to unite yourself with some one and with somewhat (_sich
anzuschliessen_)'? Division, not union, is written on most part of his
procedure. Let us add too that, in no great length of time, the only
important connexion he had ever succeeded in forming, his connexion
with the Zähdarm Family, seems to have been paralysed, for all
practical uses, by the death of the 'not uncholeric' old Count. This
fact stands recorded, quite incidentally, in a certain _Discourse on
Epitaphs_, huddled into the present Bag, among so much else; of which
Essay the learning and curious penetration are more to be approved of
than the spirit. His grand principle is, that lapidary inscriptions, of
what sort soever, should be Historical rather than Lyrical. 'By request
of that worthy Nobleman's survivors,' says he, 'I undertook to compose
his Epitaph; and not unmindful of my own rules, produced the following;
which however, for an alleged defect of Latinity, a defect never yet
fully visible to myself, still remains unengraven';--wherein, we may
predict, there is more than the Latinity that will surprise an English

                             HIC JACET


                          ZAEHDARMI COMES,
                        EX IMPERII CONCILIO,

                      QUI DUM SUB LUNA AGEBAT,

                      QUINQUIES MILLE PERDICES

                          PLUMBO CONFECIT:

                             VARII CIBI

                    HAUD SINE TUMULTU DEVOLVENS,

                             IN STERCUS

                          PALAM CONVERTIT.

                          OPERA SEQUUNTUR.

                       SI MONUMENTUM QUÆRIS,
                          FIMETUM ADSPICE.

    PRIMUM IN ORBE DEJECIT [_sub dato_]; POSTREMUM [_sub dato_].



'For long years,' writes Teufelsdröckh, 'had the poor Hebrew, in this
Egypt of an Auscultatorship, painfully toiled, baking bricks without
stubble, before ever the question once struck him with entire force:
For what?--_Beym Himmel!_ For Food and Warmth! And are Food and Warmth
nowhere else, in the whole wide Universe, discoverable?--Come of it
what might, I resolved to try.'

Thus then are we to see him in a new independent capacity, though
perhaps far from an improved one. Teufelsdröckh is now a man without
Profession. Quitting the common Fleet of herring-busses and whalers,
where indeed his leeward, laggard condition was painful enough, he
desperately steers-off, on a course of his own, by sextant and compass
of his own. Unhappy Teufelsdröckh! Though neither Fleet, nor Traffic,
nor Commodores pleased thee, still was it not _a Fleet_, sailing in
prescribed track, for fixed objects; above all, in combination,
wherein, by mutual guidance, by all manner of loans and borrowings,
each could manifoldly aid the other? How wilt thou sail in unknown
seas; and for thyself find that shorter North-west Passage to thy fair
Spice-country of a Nowhere?--A solitary rover, on such a voyage, with
such nautical tactics, will meet with adventures. Nay, as we forthwith
discover, a certain Calypso-Island detains him at the very outset; and
as it were falsifies and oversets his whole reckoning.

'If in youth,' writes he once, 'the Universe is majestically
unveiling, and everywhere Heaven revealing itself on Earth, nowhere to
the Young Man does this Heaven on Earth so immediately reveal itself
as in the Young Maiden. Strangely enough, in this strange life of
ours, it has been so appointed. On the whole, as I have often said, a
Person (_Persönlichkeit_) is ever holy to us: a certain orthodox
Anthropomorphism connects my _Me_ with all _Thees_ in bonds of Love:
but it is in this approximation of the Like and Unlike, that such
heavenly attraction, as between Negative and Positive, first burns-out
into a flame. Is the pitifullest mortal Person, think you, indifferent
to us? Is it not rather our heartfelt wish to be made one with him; to
unite him to us, by gratitude, by admiration, even by fear; or failing
all these, unite ourselves to him? But how much more, in this case of
the Like-Unlike! Here is conceded us the higher mystic possibility of
such a union, the highest in our Earth; thus, in the conducting medium
of Fantasy, flames-forth that _fire_-development of the universal
Spiritual Electricity, which, as unfolded between man and woman, we
first emphatically denominate LOVE.

'In every well-conditioned stripling, as I conjecture, there already
blooms a certain prospective Paradise, cheered by some fairest Eve;
nor, in the stately vistas, and flowerage and foliage of that Garden,
is a Tree of Knowledge, beautiful and awful in the midst thereof,
wanting. Perhaps too the whole is but the lovelier, if Cherubim and a
Flaming Sword divide it from all footsteps of men; and grant him, the
imaginative stripling, only the view, not the entrance. Happy season
of virtuous youth, when shame is still an impassable celestial
barrier; and the sacred air-cities of Hope have not shrunk into the
mean clay-hamlets of Reality; and man, by his nature, is yet infinite
and free!

'As for our young Forlorn,' continues Teufelsdröckh, evidently meaning
himself, 'in his secluded way of life, and with his glowing Fantasy,
the more fiery that it burnt under cover, as in a reverberating
furnace, his feeling towards the Queens of this Earth was, and indeed
is, altogether unspeakable. A visible Divinity dwelt in them; to our
young Friend all women were holy, were heavenly. As yet he but saw
them flitting past, in their many-coloured angel-plumage; or hovering
mute and inaccessible on the outskirts of _Æsthetic Tea_: all of air
they were, all Soul and Form; so lovely, like mysterious priestesses,
in whose hand was the invisible Jacob's-ladder, whereby man might
mount into very Heaven. That he, our poor Friend, should ever win for
himself one of these Gracefuls (_Holden_)--_Ach Gott!_ how could he
hope it; should he not have died under it? There was a certain
delirious vertigo in the thought.

'Thus was the young man, if all-sceptical of Demons and Angels such as
the vulgar had once believed in, nevertheless not unvisited by hosts
of true Sky-born, who visibly and audibly hovered round him whereso he
went; and they had that religious worship in his thought, though as
yet it was by their mere earthly and trivial name that he named them.
But now, if on a soul so circumstanced, some actual Air-maiden,
incorporated into tangibility and reality, should cast any electric
glance of kind eyes, saying thereby, "Thou too mayest love and be
loved"; and so kindle him,--good Heaven, what a volcanic,
earthquake-bringing, all-consuming fire were probably kindled!'

Such a fire, it afterwards appears, did actually burst-forth, with
explosions more or less Vesuvian, in the inner man of Herr Diogenes;
as indeed how could it fail? A nature, which, in his own figurative
style, we might say, had now not a little carbonised tinder, of
Irritability; with so much nitre of latent Passion, and sulphurous
Humour enough; the whole lying in such hot neighbourhood, close by 'a
reverberating furnace of Fantasy': have we not here the components of
driest Gunpowder, ready, on occasion of the smallest spark, to
blaze-up? Neither, in this our Life-element, are sparks anywhere
wanting. Without doubt, some Angel, whereof so many hovered round,
would one day, leaving 'the outskirts of _Æsthetic Tea_,' flit nigher;
and, by electric Promethean glance, kindle no despicable firework.
Happy, if it indeed proved a Firework, and flamed-off rocketwise, in
successive beautiful bursts of splendour, each growing naturally from
the other, through the several stages of a happy Youthful Love; till
the whole were safely burnt-out; and the young soul relieved with
little damage! Happy, if it did not rather prove a Conflagration and
mad Explosion; painfully lacerating the heart itself; nay perhaps
bursting the heart in pieces (which were Death); or at best, bursting
the thin walls of your 'reverberating furnace,' so that it rage
thenceforth all unchecked among the contiguous combustibles (which
were Madness): till of the so fair and manifold internal world of our
Diogenes, there remained Nothing, or only the 'crater of an extinct

From multifarious Documents in this Bag _Capricornus_, and in the
adjacent ones on both sides thereof, it becomes manifest that our
philosopher, as stoical and cynical as he now looks, was heartily and
even frantically in Love: here therefore may our old doubts whether
his heart were of stone or of flesh give way. He loved once; not
wisely but too well. And once only: for as your Congreve needs a new
case or wrappage for every new rocket, so each human heart can
properly exhibit but one Love, if even one; the 'First Love which is
infinite' can be followed by no second like unto it. In more recent
years, accordingly, the Editor of these Sheets was led to regard
Teufelsdröckh as a man not only who would never wed, but who would
never even flirt; whom the grand-climacteric itself, and _St. Martin's
Summer_ of incipient Dotage, would crown with no new myrtle-garland.
To the Professor, women are henceforth Pieces of Art; of Celestial
Art, indeed; which celestial pieces he glories to survey in galleries,
but has lost thought of purchasing.

Psychological readers are not without curiosity to see how
Teufelsdröckh, in this for him unexampled predicament, demeans
himself; with what specialties of successive configuration, splendour
and colour, his Firework blazes-off. Small, as usual, is the
satisfaction that such can meet with here. From amid these confused
masses of Eulogy and Elegy, with their mad Petrarchan and Werterean
ware lying madly scattered among all sorts of quite extraneous matter,
not so much as the fair one's name can be deciphered. For, without
doubt, the title _Blumine_, whereby she is here designated, and which
means simply Goddess of Flowers, must be fictitious. Was her real name
Flora, then? But what was her surname, or had she none? Of what
station in Life was she; of what parentage, fortune, aspect?
Specially, by what Pre-established Harmony of occurrences did the
Lover and the Loved meet one another in so wide a world; how did they
behave in such meeting? To all which questions, not unessential in a
Biographic work, mere Conjecture must for most part return answer. 'It
was appointed,' says our Philosopher, 'that the high celestial orbit
of Blumine should intersect the low sublunary one of our Forlorn; that
he, looking in her empyrean eyes, should fancy the upper Sphere of
Light was come down into this nether sphere of Shadows; and finding
himself mistaken, make noise enough.'

We seem to gather that she was young, hazel-eyed, beautiful, and some
one's Cousin; highborn, and of high spirit; but unhappily dependent
and insolvent; living, perhaps, on the not-too-gracious bounty of
monied relatives. But how came 'the Wanderer' into her circle? Was it
by the humid vehicle of _Æsthetic Tea_, or by the arid one of mere
Business? Was it on the hand of Herr Towgood; or of the Gnädige Frau,
who, as ornamental Artist, might sometimes like to promote flirtation,
especially for young cynical Nondescripts? To all appearance, it was
chiefly by Accident, and the grace of Nature.

'Thou fair Waldschloss,' writes our Autobiographer, 'what stranger
ever saw thee, were it even an absolved Auscultator, officially
bearing in his pocket the last _Relatio ex Actis_ he would ever write,
but must have paused to wonder! Noble Mansion! There stoodest thou, in
deep Mountain Amphitheatre, on umbrageous lawns, in thy serene
solitude; stately, massive, all of granite; glittering in the western
sunbeams, like a palace of El Dorado, overlaid with precious metal.
Beautiful rose up, in wavy curvature, the slope of thy guardian Hills;
of the greenest was their sward, embossed with its dark-brown frets of
crag, or spotted by some spreading solitary Tree and its shadow. To
the unconscious Wayfarer thou wert also as an Ammon's Temple, in the
Libyan Waste; where, for joy and woe, the tablet of his Destiny lay
written. Well might he pause and gaze; in that glance of his were
prophecy and nameless forebodings.'

But now let us conjecture that the so presentient Auscultator has
handed-in his _Relatio ex Actis_; been invited to a glass of
Rhine-wine; and so, instead of returning dispirited and athirst to his
dusty Town-home, is ushered into the Gardenhouse, where sit the
choicest party of dames and cavaliers: if not engaged in Æsthetic Tea,
yet in trustful evening conversation, and perhaps Musical Coffee, for
we hear of 'harps and pure voices making the stillness live.'
Scarcely, it would seem, is the Gardenhouse inferior in respectability
to the noble Mansion itself. 'Embowered amid rich foliage,
rose-clusters, and the hues and odours of thousand flowers, here sat
that brave company; in front, from the wide-opened doors, fair outlook
over blossom and bush, over grove and velvet green, stretching,
undulating onwards to the remote Mountain peaks: so bright, so mild,
and everywhere the melody of birds and happy creatures: it was all as
if man had stolen a shelter from the Sun in the bosom-vesture of
Summer herself. How came it that the Wanderer advanced thither with
such forecasting heart (_ahndungsvoll_), by the side of his gay host?
Did he feel that to these soft influences his hard bosom ought to be
shut; that here, once more, Fate had it in view to try him; to mock
him, and see whether there were Humour in him?

'Next moment he finds himself presented to the party; and especially
by name to--Blumine! Peculiar among all dames and damosels glanced
Blumine, there in her modesty, like a star among earthly lights.
Noblest maiden! whom he bent to, in body and in soul; yet scarcely
dared look at, for the presence filled him with painful yet sweetest

'Blumine's was a name well known to him; far and wide was the fair one
heard of, for her gifts, her graces, her caprices: from all which
vague colourings of Rumour, from the censures no less than from the
praises, had our friend painted for himself a certain imperious Queen
of Hearts, and blooming warm Earth-angel, much more enchanting than
your mere white Heaven-angels of women, in whose placid veins
circulates too little naphtha-fire. Herself also he had seen in public
places; that light yet so stately form; those dark tresses, shading a
face where smiles and sunlight played over earnest deeps: but all this
he had seen only as a magic vision, for him inaccessible, almost
without reality. Her sphere was too far from his; how should she ever
think of him; O Heaven! how should they so much as once meet together?
And now that Rose-goddess sits in the same circle with him; the light
of _her_ eyes has smiled on him; if he speak, she will hear it! Nay,
who knows, since the heavenly Sun looks into lowest valleys, but
Blumine herself might have aforetime noted the so unnotable; perhaps,
from his very gainsayers, as he had from hers, gathered wonder,
gathered favour for him? Was the attraction, the agitation mutual,
then; pole and pole trembling towards contact, when once brought into
neighbourhood? Say rather, heart swelling in presence of the Queen of
Hearts; like the Sea swelling when once near its Moon! With the
Wanderer it was even so: as in heavenward gravitation, suddenly as at
the touch of a Seraph's wand, his whole soul is roused from its
deepest recesses; and all that was painful and that was blissful
there, dim images, vague feelings of a whole Past and a whole Future,
are heaving in unquiet eddies within him.

'Often, in far less agitating scenes, had our still Friend shrunk
forcibly together; and shrouded-up his tremors and flutterings, of
what sort soever, in a safe cover of Silence, and perhaps of seeming
Stolidity. How was it, then, that here, when trembling to the core of
his heart, he did not sink into swoons, but rose into strength, into
fearlessness and clearness? It was his guiding Genius (_Dämon_) that
inspired him; he must go forth and meet his Destiny. Show thyself now,
whispered it, or be forever hid. Thus sometimes it is even when your
anxiety becomes transcendental, that the soul first feels herself able
to transcend it; that she rises above it, in fiery victory; and borne
on new-found wings of victory, moves so calmly, even because so
rapidly, so irresistibly. Always must the Wanderer remember, with a
certain satisfaction and surprise, how in this case he sat not silent,
but struck adroitly into the stream of conversation; which
thenceforth, to speak with an apparent not a real vanity, he may say
that he continued to lead. Surely, in those hours, a certain
inspiration was imparted him, such inspiration as is still possible in
our late era. The self-secluded unfolds himself in noble thoughts, in
free, glowing words; his soul is as one sea of light, the peculiar
home of Truth and Intellect; wherein also Fantasy bodies-forth form
after form, radiant with all prismatic hues.'

It appears, in this otherwise so happy meeting, there talked one
'Philistine'; who even now, to the general weariness, was dominantly
pouring-forth Philistinism (_Philistriositäten_); little witting what
hero was here entering to demolish him! We omit the series of
Socratic, or rather Diogenic utterances, not unhappy in their way,
whereby the monster, 'persuaded into silence,' seems soon after to
have withdrawn for the night. 'Of which dialectic marauder,' writes
our hero, 'the discomfiture was visibly felt as a benefit by most: but
what were all applauses to the glad smile, threatening every moment to
become a laugh, wherewith Blumine herself repaid the victor? He
ventured to address her, she answered with attention: nay what if
there were a slight tremor in that silver voice; what if the red glow
of evening were hiding a transient blush!

'The conversation took a higher tone, one fine thought called forth
another: it was one of those rare seasons, when the soul expands with
full freedom, and man feels himself brought near to man. Gaily in
light, graceful abandonment, the friendly talk played round that
circle; for the burden was rolled from every heart; the barriers of
Ceremony, which are indeed the laws of polite living, had melted as
into vapour; and the poor claims of _Me_ and _Thee_, no longer parted
by rigid fences, now flowed softly into one another; and Life lay all
harmonious, many-tinted, like some fair royal champaign, the sovereign
and owner of which were Love only. Such music springs from kind
hearts, in a kind environment of place and time. And yet as the light
grew more aërial on the mountain-tops, and the shadows fell longer
over the valley, some faint tone of sadness may have breathed through
the heart; and, in whispers more or less audible, reminded every one
that as this bright day was drawing towards its close, so likewise
must the Day of Man's Existence decline into dust and darkness; and
with all its sick toilings, and joyful and mournful noises sink in the
still Eternity.

'To our Friend the hours seemed moments; holy was he and happy: the
words from those sweetest lips came over him like dew on thirsty
grass; all better feelings in his soul seemed to whisper: It is good
for us to be here. At parting, the Blumine's hand was in his: in the
balmy twilight, with the kind stars above them, he spoke something of
meeting again, which was not contradicted; he pressed gently those
small soft fingers, and it seemed as if they were not hastily, not
angrily withdrawn.'

Poor Teufelsdröckh! it is clear to demonstration thou art smit: the
Queen of Hearts would see a 'man of genius' also sigh for her; and
there, by art-magic, in that preternatural hour, has she bound and
spell-bound thee. 'Love is not altogether a Delirium,' says he elsewhere;
'yet has it many points in common therewith. I call it rather a
discerning of the Infinite in the Finite, of the Idea made Real; which
discerning again may be either true or false, either seraphic or
demoniac, Inspiration or Insanity. But in the former case too, as in
common Madness, it is Fantasy that superadds itself to sight; on the
so petty domain of the Actual plants its Archimedes-lever, whereby to
move at will the infinite Spiritual. Fantasy I might call the true
Heaven-gate and Hell-gate of man: his sensuous life is but the small
temporary stage (_Zeitbühne_), whereon thick-streaming influences from
both these far yet near regions meet visibly, and act tragedy and
melodrama. Sense can support herself handsomely, in most countries, for
some eighteenpence a day; but for Fantasy planets and solar-systems
will not suffice. Witness your Pyrrhus conquering the world, yet
drinking no better red wine than he had before.' Alas! witness also
your Diogenes, flame-clad, scaling the upper Heaven, and verging
towards Insanity, for prize of a 'high-souled Brunette,' as if the
earth held but one and not several of these!

He says that, in Town, they met again: 'day after day, like his
heart's sun, the blooming Blumine shone on him. Ah! a little while
ago, and he was yet in all darkness; him what Graceful (_Holde_) would
ever love? Disbelieving all things, the poor youth had never learned
to believe in himself. Withdrawn, in proud timidity, within his own
fastnesses; solitary from men, yet baited by night-spectres enough, he
saw himself, with a sad indignation, constrained to renounce the
fairest hopes of existence. And now, O now! "She looks on thee," cried
he: "she the fairest, noblest; do not her dark eyes tell thee, thou
art not despised? The Heaven's-Messenger! All Heaven's blessings be
hers!" Thus did soft melodies flow through his heart; tones of an
infinite gratitude; sweetest intimations that he also was a man, that
for him also unutterable joys had been provided.

'In free speech, earnest or gay, amid lambent glances, laughter,
tears, and often with the inarticulate mystic speech of Music: such
was the element they now lived in; in such a many-tinted, radiant
Aurora, and by this fairest of Orient Light-bringers must our Friend
be blandished, and the new Apocalypse of Nature unrolled to him.
Fairest Blumine! And, even as a Star, all Fire and humid Softness, a
very Light-ray incarnate! Was there so much as a fault, a "caprice,"
he could have dispensed with? Was she not to him in very deed a
Morning-Star; did not her presence bring with it airs from Heaven? As
from Æolian Harps in the breath of dawn, as from the Memnon's Statue
struck by the rosy finger of Aurora, unearthly music was around him,
and lapped him into untried balmy Rest. Pale Doubt fled away to the
distance; Life bloomed-up with happiness and hope. The past, then, was
all a haggard dream; he had been in the Garden of Eden, then, and
could not discern it! But lo now! the black walls of his prison melt
away; the captive is alive, is free. If he loved his Disenchantress?
_Ach Gott!_ His whole heart and soul and life were hers, but never had
he named it Love: existence was all a Feeling, not yet shaped into a

Nevertheless, into a Thought, nay into an Action, it must be shaped;
for neither Disenchanter nor Disenchantress, mere 'Children of Time,'
can abide by Feeling alone. The Professor knows not, to this day, 'how
in her soft, fervid bosom the Lovely found determination, even on hest
of Necessity, to cut-asunder these so blissful bonds.' He even appears
surprised at the 'Duenna Cousin,' whoever she may have been, 'in whose
meagre, hunger-bitten philosophy, the religion of young hearts was,
from the first, faintly approved of.' We, even at such distance, can
explain it without necromancy. Let the Philosopher answer this one
question: What figure, at that period, was a Mrs. Teufelsdröckh likely
to make in polished society? Could she have driven so much as a
brass-bound Gig, or even a simple iron-spring one? Thou foolish
'absolved Auscultator,' before whom lies no prospect of capital, will
any yet known 'religion of young hearts' keep the human kitchen warm?
Pshaw! thy divine Blumine when she 'resigned herself to wed some
richer,' shows more philosophy, though but 'a woman of genius,' than
thou, a pretended man.

Our readers have witnessed the origin of this Love-mania, and with
what royal splendour it waxes, and rises. Let no one ask us to unfold
the glories of its dominant state; much less the horrors of its almost
instantaneous dissolution. How from such inorganic masses, henceforth
madder than ever, as lie in these Bags, can even fragments of a living
delineation be organised? Besides, of what profit were it? We view,
with a lively pleasure, the gay silk Montgolfier start from the
ground, and shoot upwards, cleaving the liquid deeps, till it dwindle
to a luminous star: but what is there to look longer on, when once, by
natural elasticity, or accident of fire, it has exploded? A hapless
air-navigator, plunging amid torn parachutes, sand-bags, and confused
wreck, fast enough into the jaws of the Devil! Suffice it to know that
Teufelsdröckh rose into the highest regions of the Empyrean, by a
natural parabolic track, and returned thence in a quick perpendicular
one. For the rest, let any feeling reader, who has been unhappy enough
to do the like, paint it out for himself: considering only that if he,
for his perhaps comparatively insignificant mistress, underwent such
agonies and frenzies, what must Teufelsdröckh's have been, with a
fire-heart, and for a nonpareil Blumine! We glance merely at the final

'One morning, he found his Morning-Star all dimmed and dusky-red; the
fair creature was silent, absent, she seemed to have been weeping.
Alas, no longer a Morning-star, but a troublous skyey Portent,
announcing that the Doomsday had dawned! She said, in a tremulous
voice, They were to meet no more.' The thunder-struck Air-sailor is
not wanting to himself in this dread hour: but what avails it? We omit
the passionate expostulations, entreaties, indignations, since all was
vain, and not even an explanation was conceded him; and hasten to the
catastrophe. '"Farewell, then, Madam!" said he, not without sternness,
for his stung pride helped him. She put her hand in his, she looked in
his face, tears started to her eyes: in wild audacity he clasped her
to his bosom; their lips were joined, their two souls, like two
dew-drops, rushed into one,--for the first time, and for the last!'
Thus was Teufelsdröckh made immortal by a kiss. And then? Why,
then--'thick curtains of Night rushed over his soul, as rose the
immeasurable Crash of Doom; and through the ruins as of a shivered
Universe was he falling, falling, towards the Abyss.'



We have long felt that, with a man like our Professor, matters must
often be expected to take a course of their own; that in so multiplex,
intricate a nature, there might be channels, both for admitting and
emitting, such as the Psychologist had seldom noted; in short, that on
no grand occasion and convulsion, neither in the joy-storm nor in the
woe-storm, could you predict his demeanour.

To our less philosophical readers, for example, it is now clear that
the so passionate Teufelsdröckh, precipitated through 'a shivered
Universe' in this extraordinary way, has only one of three things
which he can next do: Establish himself in Bedlam; begin writing
Satanic Poetry; or blow-out his brains. In the progress towards any of
which consummations, do not such readers anticipate extravagance
enough; breast-beating, brow-beating (against walls), lion-bellowings
of blasphemy and the like, stampings, smitings, breakages of
furniture, if not arson itself?

Nowise so does Teufelsdröckh deport him. He quietly lifts his
_Pilgerstab_ (Pilgrim-staff), 'old business being soon wound-up'; and
begins a perambulation and circumambulation of the terraqueous Globe!
Curious it is, indeed, how with such vivacity of conception, such
intensity of feeling, above all, with these unconscionable habits of
Exaggeration in speech, he combines that wonderful stillness of his,
that stoicism in external procedure. Thus, if his sudden bereavement,
in this matter of the Flower-goddess, is talked of as a real Doomsday
and Dissolution of Nature, in which light doubtless it partly appeared
to himself, his own nature is nowise dissolved thereby; but rather is
compressed closer. For once, as we might say, a Blumine by magic
appliances has unlocked that shut heart of his, and its hidden things
rush-out tumultuous, boundless, like genii enfranchised from their
glass phial: but no sooner are your magic appliances withdrawn, than
the strange casket of a heart springs-to again; and perhaps there is
now no key extant that will open it; for a Teufelsdröckh, as we
remarked, will not love a second time. Singular Diogenes! No sooner
has that heart-rending occurrence fairly taken place, than he affects
to regard it as a thing natural, of which there is nothing more to be
said. 'One highest hope, seemingly legible in the eyes of an Angel,
had recalled him as out of Death-shadows into celestial Life: but a
gleam of Tophet passed-over the face of his Angel; he was rapt away in
whirlwinds, and heard the laughter of Demons. It was a Calenture,'
adds he, 'whereby the Youth saw green Paradise-groves in the waste
Ocean-waters: a lying vision, yet not wholly a lie, for _he_ saw it.'
But what things soever passed in him, when he ceased to see it; what
ragings and despairings soever Teufelsdröckh's soul was the scene of,
he has the goodness to conceal under a quite opaque cover of Silence.
We know it well; the first mad paroxysm past, our brave Gneschen
collected his dismembered philosophies, and buttoned himself together;
he was meek, silent, or spoke of the weather and the Journals: only by
a transient knitting of those shaggy brows, by some deep flash of
those eyes, glancing one knew not whether with tear-dew or with fierce
fire,--might you have guessed what a Gehenna was within; that a whole
Satanic School were spouting, though inaudibly, there. To consume your
own choler, as some chimneys consume their own smoke; to keep a whole
Satanic School spouting, if it must spout, inaudibly, is a negative
yet no slight virtue, nor one of the commonest in these times.

Nevertheless, we will not take upon us to say, that in the strange
measure he fell upon, there was not a touch of latent Insanity;
whereof indeed the actual condition of these Documents in
_Capricornus_ and _Aquarius_ is no bad emblem. His so unlimited
Wanderings, toilsome enough, are without assigned or perhaps
assignable aim; internal Unrest seems his sole guidance; he wanders,
wanders, as if that curse of the Prophet had fallen on him, and he
were 'made like unto a wheel.' Doubtless, too, the chaotic nature of
these Paper-bags aggravates our obscurity. Quite without note of
preparation, for example, we come upon the following slip: 'A peculiar
feeling it is that will rise in the Traveller, when turning some
hill-range in his desert road, he descries lying far below, embosomed
among its groves and green natural bulwarks, and all diminished to a
toybox, the fair Town, where so many souls, as it were seen and yet
unseen, are driving their multifarious traffic. Its white steeple is
then truly a starward-pointing finger; the canopy of blue smoke seems
like a sort of Life-breath: for always, of its own unity, the soul
gives unity to whatsoever it looks on with love; thus does the little
Dwelling place of men, in itself a congeries of houses and huts,
become for us an individual, almost a person. But what thousand other
thoughts unite thereto, if the place has to ourselves been the arena
of joyous or mournful experiences; if perhaps the cradle we were
rocked in still stands there, if our Loving ones still dwell there, if
our Buried ones there slumber!' Does Teufelsdröckh, as the wounded
eagle is said to make for its own eyrie, and indeed military
deserters, and all hunted outcast creatures, turn as if by instinct in
the direction of their birthland,--fly first, in this extremity,
towards his native Entepfuhl; but reflecting that there no help awaits
him, take but one wistful look from the distance, and then wend

Little happier seems to be his next flight: into the wilds of Nature;
as if in her mother-bosom he would seek healing. So at least we
incline to interpret the following Notice, separated from the former
by some considerable space, wherein, however, is nothing noteworthy:

'Mountains were not new to him; but rarely are Mountains seen in such
combined majesty and grace as here. The rocks are of that sort called
Primitive by the mineralogists, which always arrange themselves in
masses of a rugged, gigantic character; which ruggedness, however, is
here tempered by a singular airiness of form, and softness of
environment: in a climate favourable to vegetation, the gray cliff,
itself covered with lichens, shoots-up through a garment of foliage or
verdure; and white, bright cottages, tree-shaded, cluster round the
everlasting granite. In fine vicissitude, Beauty alternates with
Grandeur: you ride through stony hollows, along straight passes,
traversed by torrents, overhung by high walls of rock; now winding
amid broken shaggy chasms, and huge fragments; now suddenly emerging
into some emerald valley, where the streamlet collects itself into a
Lake, and man has again found a fair dwelling, and it seems as if
Peace had established herself in the bosom of Strength.

'To Peace, however, in this vortex of existence, can the Son of Time
not pretend: still less if some Spectre haunt him from the Past; and
the future is wholly a Stygian Darkness, spectre-bearing. Reasonably
might the Wanderer exclaim to himself: Are not the gates of this
world's happiness inexorably shut against thee; hast thou a hope that
is not mad? Nevertheless, one may still murmur audibly, or in the
original Greek if that suit better: "Whoso can look on Death will
start at no shadows."

'From such meditations is the Wanderer's attention called outwards;
for now the Valley closes-in abruptly, intersected by a huge mountain
mass, the stony water-worn ascent of which is not to be accomplished
on horseback. Arrived aloft, he finds himself again lifted into the
evening sunset light; and cannot but pause, and gaze round him, some
moments there. An upland irregular expanse of wold, where valleys in
complex branchings are suddenly or slowly arranging their descent
towards every quarter of the sky. The mountain-ranges are beneath your
feet, and folded together: only the loftier summits look down here and
there as on a second plain; lakes also lie clear and earnest in their
solitude. No trace of man now visible; unless indeed it were he who
fashioned that little visible link of Highway, here, as would seem,
scaling the inaccessible, to unite Province with Province. But
sunwards, lo you! how it towers sheer up, a world of Mountains, the
diadem and centre of the mountain region! A hundred and a hundred
savage peaks, in the last light of Day; all glowing, of gold and
amethyst, like giant spirits of the wilderness; there in their
silence, in their solitude, even as on the night when Noah's Deluge
first dried! Beautiful, nay solemn, was the sudden aspect to our
Wanderer. He gazed over those stupendous masses with wonder, almost
with longing desire; never till this hour had he known Nature, that
she was One, that she was his Mother, and divine. And as the ruddy
glow was fading into clearness in the sky, and the Sun had now
departed, a murmur of Eternity and Immensity, of Death and of Life,
stole through his soul; and he felt as if Death and Life were one, as
if the Earth were not dead, as if the Spirit of the Earth had its
throne in that splendour, and his own spirit were therewith holding

'The spell was broken by a sound of carriage-wheels. Emerging from the
hidden Northward, to sink soon into the hidden Southward, came a gay
Barouche-and-four: it was open; servants and postillions wore
wedding-favours: that happy pair, then, had found each other, it was
their marriage evening! Few moments brought them near: _Du Himmel!_ It
was Herr Towgood and--Blumine! With slight unrecognising salutation
they passed me; plunged down amid the neighbouring thickets, onwards,
to Heaven, and to England; and I, in my friend Richter's words, _I
remained alone, behind them, with the Night_.'

Were it not cruel in these circumstances, here might be the place to
insert an observation, gleaned long ago from the great _Clothes-Volume_,
where it stands with quite other intent: 'Some time before Small-pox
was extirpated,' says the Professor, 'there came a new malady of the
spiritual sort on Europe: I mean the epidemic, now endemical, of
View-hunting. Poets of old date, being privileged with Senses, had
also enjoyed external Nature; but chiefly as we enjoy the crystal cup
which holds good or bad liquor for us; that is to say, in silence, or
with slight incidental commentary: never, as I compute, till after the
_Sorrows of Werter_, was there man found who would say: Come let us
make a Description! Having drunk the liquor, come let us eat the
glass! Of which endemic the Jenner is unhappily still to seek.' Too

We reckon it more important to remark that the Professor's Wanderings,
so far as his stoical and cynical envelopment admits us to clear
insight, here first take their permanent character, fatuous or not.
That Basilisk-glance of the Barouche-and-four seems to have
withered-up what little remnant of a purpose may have still lurked in
him: Life has become wholly a dark labyrinth; wherein, through long
years, our Friend, flying from spectres, has to stumble about at
random, and naturally with more haste than progress.

Foolish were it in us to attempt following him, even from afar, in
this extraordinary world-pilgrimage of his; the simplest record of
which, were clear record possible, would fill volumes. Hopeless is the
obscurity, unspeakable the confusion. He glides from country to
country, from condition to condition; vanishing and reappearing, no
man can calculate how or where. Through all quarters of the world he
wanders, and apparently through all circles of society. If in any
scene, perhaps difficult to fix geographically, he settles for a time,
and forms connexions, be sure he will snap them abruptly asunder. Let
him sink out of sight as Private Scholar (_Privatisirender_), living
by the grace of God in some European capital, you may next find him as
Hadjee in the neighbourhood of Mecca. It is an inexplicable
Phantasmagoria, capricious, quick-changing; as if our Traveller,
instead of limbs and high-ways, had transported himself by some
wishing-carpet, or Fortunatus' Hat. The whole, too, imparted
emblematically, in dim multifarious tokens (as that collection of
Street-Advertisements); with only some touch of direct historical
notice sparingly interspersed: little light-islets in the world of
haze! So that, from this point, the Professor is more of an enigma
than ever. In figurative language, we might say he becomes, not indeed
a spirit, yet spiritualised, vaporised Fact unparalleled in Biography:
The river of his History, which we have traced from its tiniest
fountains, and hoped to see flow onward, with increasing current, into
the ocean, here dashes itself over that terrific Lover's Leap; and, as
a mad-foaming cataract, flies wholly into tumultuous clouds of spray!
Low down it indeed collects again into pools and plashes; yet only at
a great distance, and with difficulty, if at all, into a general
stream. To cast a glance into certain of those pools and plashes, and
trace whither they run, must, for a chapter or two, form the limit of
our endeavour.

For which end doubtless those direct historical Notices, where they
can be met with, are the best. Nevertheless, of this sort too there
occurs much, which, with our present light, it were questionable to
emit. Teufelsdröckh, vibrating everywhere between the highest and the
lowest levels, comes into contact with public History itself. For
example, those conversations and relations with illustrious Persons,
as Sultan Mahmoud, the Emperor Napoleon, and others, are they not as
yet rather of a diplomatic character than of a biographic? The Editor,
appreciating the sacredness of crowned heads, nay perhaps suspecting
the possible trickeries of a Clothes-Philosopher, will eschew this
province for the present; a new time may bring new insight and a
different duty.

If we ask now, not indeed with what ulterior Purpose, for there was none,
yet with what immediate outlooks; at all events, in what mood of mind,
the Professor undertook and prosecuted this world-pilgrimage,--the
answer is more distinct than favourable. 'A nameless Unrest,' says he,
'urged me forward; to which the outward motion was some momentary
lying solace. Whither should I go? My Loadstars were blotted out; in
that canopy of grim fire shone no star. Yet forward must I; the ground
burnt under me; there was no rest for the sole of my foot. I was
alone, alone! Ever too the strong inward longing shaped Fantasms for
itself: towards these, one after the other, must I fruitlessly wander.
A feeling I had, that for my fever-thirst there was and must be
somewhere a healing Fountain. To many fondly imagined Fountains, the
Saints' Wells of these days, did I pilgrim; to great Men, to great
Cities, to great Events: but found there no healing. In strange
countries, as in the well-known; in savage deserts, as in the press of
corrupt civilisation, it was ever the same: how could your Wanderer
escape from--_his own Shadow_? Nevertheless still Forward! I felt as
if in great haste; to do I saw not what. From the depths of my own
heart, it called to me, Forwards! The winds and the streams, and all
Nature sounded to me, Forwards! _Ach Gott_, I was even, once for all,
a Son of Time.'

From which is it not clear that the internal Satanic School was still
active enough? He says elsewhere: 'The _Enchiridion of Epictetus_ I
had ever with me, often as my sole rational companion; and regret to
mention that the nourishment it yielded was trifling.' Thou foolish
Teufelsdröckh! How could it else? Hadst thou not Greek enough to
understand thus much: _The end of Man is an Action, and not a
Thought_, though it were the noblest?

'How I lived?' writes he once: 'Friend, hast thou considered the
"rugged all-nourishing Earth," as Sophocles well names her; how she
feeds the sparrow on the house-top, much more her darling, man? While
thou stirrest and livest, thou hast a probability of victual. My
breakfast of tea has been cooked by a Tartar woman, with water of the
Amur, who wiped her earthen kettle with a horse-tail. I have roasted
wild-eggs in the sand of Sahara; I have awakened in Paris _Estrapades_
and Vienna _Malzleins_, with no prospect of breakfast beyond elemental
liquid. That I had my Living to seek saved me from Dying,--by suicide.
In our busy Europe, is there not an everlasting demand for Intellect,
in the chemical, mechanical, political, religious, educational,
commercial departments? In Pagan countries, cannot one write Fetishes?
Living! Little knowest thou what alchemy is in an inventive Soul; how,
as with its little finger, it can create provision enough for the body
(of a Philosopher); and then, as with both hands, create quite other
than provision; namely, spectres to torment itself withal.'

Poor Teufelsdröckh! Flying with Hunger always parallel to him; and a
whole Infernal Chase in his rear; so that the countenance of Hunger is
comparatively a friend's! Thus must he, in the temper of ancient Cain,
or of the modern Wandering Jew,--save only that he feels himself not
guilty and but suffering the pains of guilt,--wend to and fro with
aimless speed. Thus must he, over the whole surface of the Earth (by
footprints), write his _Sorrows of Teufelsdröckh_; even as the great
Goethe, in passionate words, had to write his _Sorrows of Werter_,
before the spirit freed herself, and he could become a Man. Vain truly
is the hope of your swiftest Runner to escape 'from his own Shadow'!
Nevertheless, in these sick days, when the Born of Heaven first
descries himself (about the age of twenty) in a world such as ours,
richer than usual in two things, in Truths grown obsolete, and Trades
grown obsolete,--what can the fool think but that it is all a Den of
Lies, wherein whoso will not speak Lies and act Lies, must stand idle
and despair? Whereby it happens that, for your nobler minds, the
publishing of some such Work of Art, in one or the other dialect,
becomes almost a necessity. For what is it properly but an Altercation
with the Devil, before you begin honestly Fighting him? Your Byron
publishes his _Sorrows of Lord George_, in verse and in prose, and
copiously otherwise: your Bonaparte represents his _Sorrows of
Napoleon_ Opera, in an all-too stupendous style; with music of
cannon-volleys, and murder-shrieks of a world; his stage-lights are
the fires of Conflagration; his rhyme and recitative are the tramp of
embattled Hosts and the sound of falling Cities.--Happier is he who,
like our Clothes-Philosopher, can write such matter, since it must be
written, on the insensible Earth, with his shoe-soles only; and also
survive the writing thereof!



Under the strange nebulous envelopment, wherein our Professor has now
shrouded himself, no doubt but his spiritual nature is nevertheless
progressive, and growing: for how can the 'Son of Time,' in any case,
stand still? We behold him, through those dim years, in a state of
crisis, of transition: his mad Pilgrimings, and general solution into
aimless Discontinuity, what is all this but a mad Fermentation;
wherefrom, the fiercer it is, the clearer product will one day evolve

Such transitions are ever full of pain: thus the Eagle when he moults
is sickly; and, to attain his new beak, must harshly dash-off the old
one upon rocks. What Stoicism soever our Wanderer, in his individual
acts and motions, may affect, it is clear that there is a hot fever of
anarchy and misery raging within; coruscations of which flash out: as,
indeed, how could there be other? Have we not seen him disappointed,
bemocked of Destiny, through long years? All that the young heart
might desire and pray for has been denied; nay, as in the last worst
instance, offered and then snatched away. Ever an 'excellent
Passivity'; but of useful, reasonable Activity, essential to the
former as Food to Hunger, nothing granted: till at length, in this
wild Pilgrimage, he must forcibly seize for himself an Activity,
though useless, unreasonable. Alas, his cup of bitterness, which had
been filling drop by drop, ever since that first 'ruddy morning' in
the Hinterschlag Gymnasium, was at the very lip; and then with that
poison-drop, of the Towgood-and-Blumine business, it runs over, and
even hisses over in a deluge of foam.

He himself says once, with more justice than originality: 'Man is,
properly speaking, based upon Hope, he has no other possession but
Hope; this world of his is emphatically the Place of Hope.' What,
then, was our Professor's possession? We see him, for the present,
quite shut-out from Hope; looking not into the golden orient, but
vaguely all round into a dim copper firmament, pregnant with
earthquake and tornado.

Alas, shut-out from Hope, in a deeper sense than we yet dream of! For,
as he wanders wearisomely through this world, he has now lost all
tidings of another and higher. Full of religion, or at least of
religiosity, as our Friend has since exhibited himself, he hides not
that, in those days, he was wholly irreligious: 'Doubt had darkened
into Unbelief,' says he; 'shade after shade goes grimly over your
soul, till you have the fixed, starless, Tartarean black.' To such
readers as have reflected, what can be called reflecting, on man's
life, and happily discovered, in contradiction to much Profit-and-loss
Philosophy, speculative and practical, that Soul is _not_ synonymous
with Stomach; who understand, therefore, in our Friend's words, 'that,
for man's well-being, Faith is properly the one thing needful; how,
with it, Martyrs, otherwise weak, can cheerfully endure the shame and
the cross; and without it, worldlings puke-up their sick existence, by
suicide, in the midst of luxury': to such it will be clear that, for a
pure moral nature, the loss of his religious Belief was the loss of
everything. Unhappy young man! All wounds, the crush of long-continued
Destitution, the stab of false Friendship and of false Love, all
wounds in thy so genial heart, would have healed again, had not its
life-warmth been withdrawn. Well might he exclaim, in his wild way:
'Is there no God, then; but at best an absentee God, sitting idle,
ever since the first Sabbath, at the outside of his Universe, and
_see_ing it go? Has the word Duty no meaning; is what we call Duty no
divine Messenger and Guide, but a false earthly Fantasm, made-up of
Desire and Fear, of emanations from the Gallows and from Dr. Graham's
Celestial-Bed? Happiness of an approving Conscience! Did not Paul of
Tarsus, whom admiring men have since named Saint, feel that _he_ was
"the chief of sinners"; and Nero of Rome, jocund in spirit
(_wohlgemuth_), spend much of his time in fiddling? Foolish
Word-monger and Motive-grinder, who in thy Logic-mill hast an earthly
mechanism for the Godlike itself, and wouldst fain grind me out Virtue
from the husks of Pleasure,--I tell thee, Nay! To the unregenerate
Prometheus Vinctus of a man, it is ever the bitterest aggravation of
his wretchedness that he is conscious of Virtue, that he feels himself
the victim not of suffering only, but of injustice. What then? Is the
heroic inspiration we name Virtue but some Passion; some bubble of the
blood, bubbling in the direction others _profit_ by? I know not: only
this I know, If what thou namest Happiness be our true aim, then are
we all astray. With Stupidity and sound Digestion man may front much.
But what, in these dull unimaginative days, are the terrors of
Conscience to the diseases of the Liver! Not on Morality, but on
Cookery, let us build our stronghold: there brandishing our
frying-pan, as censer, let us offer sweet incense to the Devil, and
live at ease on the fat things _he_ has provided for his Elect!'

Thus has the bewildered Wanderer to stand, as so many have done,
shouting question after question into the Sibyl-cave of Destiny, and
receive no Answer but an Echo. It is all a grim Desert, this once-fair
world of his; wherein is heard only the howling of wild-beasts, or the
shrieks of despairing, hate-filled men; and no Pillar of Cloud by day,
and no Pillar of Fire by night, any longer guides the Pilgrim. To such
length has the spirit of Inquiry carried him. 'But what boots it (_was
thut's_)?' cries he: 'it is but the common lot in this era. Not having
come to spiritual majority prior to the _Siècle de Louis Quinze_, and
not being born purely a Loghead (_Dummkopf_), thou hadst no other
outlook. The whole world is, like thee, sold to Unbelief; their old
Temples of the Godhead, which for long have not been rainproof,
crumble down; and men ask now: Where is the Godhead; our eyes never
saw him?'

Pitiful enough were it, for all these wild utterances, to call our
Diogenes wicked. Unprofitable servants as we all are, perhaps at no
era of his life was he more decisively the Servant of Goodness, the
Servant of God, than even now when doubting God's existence. 'One
circumstance I note,' says he: 'after all the nameless woe that
Inquiry, which for me, what it is not always, was genuine Love of
Truth, had wrought me, I nevertheless still loved Truth, and would
bate no jot of my allegiance to her. "Truth"! I cried, "though the
Heavens crush me for following her: no Falsehood! though a whole
celestial Lubberland were the price of Apostasy." In conduct it was
the same. Had a divine Messenger from the clouds, or miraculous
Handwriting on the wall, convincingly proclaimed to me _This thou
shalt do_, with what passionate readiness, as I often thought, would I
have done it, had it been leaping into the infernal Fire. Thus, in
spite of all Motive-grinders, and Mechanical Profit-and-Loss
Philosophies, with the sick ophthalmia and hallucination they had
brought on, was the Infinite nature of Duty still dimly present to me:
living without God in the world, of God's light I was not utterly
bereft; if my as yet sealed eyes, with their unspeakable longing,
could nowhere see Him, nevertheless in my heart He was present, and
His heaven-written Law still stood legible and sacred there.'

Meanwhile, under all these tribulations, and temporal and spiritual
destitutions, what must the Wanderer, in his silent soul, have endured!
'The painfullest feeling,' writes he, 'is that of your own Feebleness
(_Unkraft_); ever, as the English Milton says, to be weak is the true
misery. And yet of your Strength there is and can be no clear feeling,
save by what you have prospered in, by what you have done. Between
vague wavering Capability and fixed indubitable Performance, what a
difference! A certain inarticulate Self-consciousness dwells dimly in
us; which only our Works can render articulate and decisively
discernible. Our Works are the mirror wherein the spirit first sees
its natural lineaments. Hence, too, the folly of that impossible
Precept, _Know thyself_; till it be translated into this partially
possible one, _Know what thou canst work-at_.

'But for me, so strangely unprosperous had I been, the net-result of
my Workings amounted as yet simply to--Nothing. How then could I
believe in my Strength, when there was as yet no mirror to see it in?
Ever did this agitating, yet, as I now perceive, quite frivolous
question, remain to me insoluble: Hast thou a certain Faculty, a
certain Worth, such even as the most have not; or art thou the
completest Dullard of these modern times? Alas! the fearful Unbelief
is unbelief in yourself; and how could I believe? Had not my first,
last Faith in myself, when even to me the Heavens seemed laid open,
and I dared to love, been all-too cruelly belied? The speculative
Mystery of Life grew ever more mysterious to me: neither in the
practical Mystery had I made the slightest progress, but been
everywhere buffeted, foiled, and contemptuously cast-out. A feeble
unit in the middle of a threatening Infinitude, I seemed to have
nothing given me but eyes, whereby to discern my own wretchedness.
Invisible yet impenetrable walls, as of Enchantment, divided me from
all living: was there, in the wide world, any true bosom I could press
trustfully to mine? O Heaven, No, there was none! I kept a lock upon
my lips: why should I speak much with that shifting variety of
so-called Friends, in whose withered, vain and too-hungry souls
Friendship was but an incredible tradition? In such cases, your
resource is to talk little, and that little mostly from the
Newspapers. Now when I look back, it was a strange isolation I then
lived in. The men and women around me, even speaking with me, were but
Figures; I had, practically, forgotten that they were alive, that they
were not merely automatic. In midst of their crowded streets and
assemblages, I walked solitary; and (except as it was my own heart,
not another's, that I kept devouring) savage also, as the tiger in his
jungle. Some comfort it would have been, could I, like a Faust, have
fancied myself tempted and tormented of the Devil; for a Hell, as I
imagine, without Life, though only diabolic Life, were more frightful:
but in our age of Down-pulling and Disbelief, the very Devil has been
pulled down, you cannot so much as believe in a Devil. To me the
Universe was all void of Life, of Purpose, of Volition, even of
Hostility: it was one huge, dead, immeasurable Steam-engine, rolling
on, in its dead indifference, to grind me limb from limb. O, the vast,
gloomy, solitary Golgotha, and Mill of Death! Why was the Living
banished thither companionless, conscious? Why, if there is no Devil;
nay, unless the Devil is your God'?

A prey incessantly to such corrosions, might not, moreover, as the
worst aggravation to them, the iron constitution even of a
Teufelsdröckh threaten to fail? We conjecture that he has known
sickness; and, in spite of his locomotive habits, perhaps sickness of
the chronic sort. Hear this, for example: 'How beautiful to die of
broken-heart, on Paper! Quite another thing in practice; every window
of your Feeling, even of your Intellect, as it were, begrimed and
mud-bespattered, so that no pure ray can enter; a whole Drugshop in
your inwards; the fordone soul drowning slowly in quagmires of

Putting all which external and internal miseries together, may we not
find in the following sentences, quite in our Professor's still vein,
significance enough? 'From Suicide a certain aftershine (_Nachschein_)
of Christianity withheld me: perhaps also a certain indolence of
character; for, was not that a remedy I had at any time within reach?
Often, however, was there a question present to me: Should some one
now, at the turning of that corner, blow thee suddenly out of Space,
into the other World, or other No-World, by pistol-shot,--how were it?
On which ground, too, I have often, in sea-storms and sieged cities
and other death-scenes, exhibited an imperturbability, which passed,
falsely enough, for courage.'

'So had it lasted,' concludes the Wanderer, 'so had it lasted, as in
bitter protracted Death-agony, through long years. The heart within
me, unvisited by any heavenly dewdrop, was smouldering in sulphurous,
slow-consuming fire. Almost since earliest memory I had shed no tear;
or once only when I, murmuring half-audibly, recited Faust's
Deathsong, that wild _Selig der den er im Siegesglanze findet_ (Happy
whom _he_ finds in Battle's splendour), and thought that of this last
Friend even I was not forsaken, that Destiny itself could not doom me
not to die. Having no hope, neither had I any definite fear, were it
of Man or of Devil: nay, I often felt as if it might be solacing,
could the Arch-Devil himself, though in Tartarean terrors, but rise to
me, that I might tell him a little of my mind. And yet, strangely
enough, I lived in a continual, indefinite, pining fear; tremulous,
pusillanimous, apprehensive of I knew not what: it seemed as if all
things in the Heavens above and the Earth beneath would hurt me; as if
the Heavens and the Earth were but boundless jaws of a devouring
monster, wherein I, palpitating, waited to be devoured.

'Full of such humour, and perhaps the miserablest man in the whole
French Capital or Suburbs, was I, one sultry Dog-day, after much
perambulation, toiling along the dirty little _Rue Saint-Thomas de
l'Enfer_, among civic rubbish enough, in a close atmosphere, and over
pavements hot as Nebuchadnezzar's Furnace; whereby doubtless my
spirits were little cheered; when, all at once, there rose a Thought
in me, and I asked myself: "What _art_ thou afraid of? Wherefore, like
a coward, dost thou forever pip and whimper, and go cowering and
trembling? Despicable biped! what is the sum-total of the worst that
lies before thee? Death? Well, Death; and say the pangs of Tophet too,
and all that the Devil and Man may, will or can do against thee! Hast
thou not a heart; canst thou not suffer whatsoever it be; and, as a
Child of Freedom, though outcast, trample Tophet itself under thy
feet, while it consumes thee? Let it come, then; I will meet it and
defy it!" And as I so thought, there rushed like a stream of fire over
my whole soul; and I shook base Fear away from me forever. I was
strong, of unknown strength; a spirit, almost a god. Ever from that
time, the temper of my misery was changed: not Fear or whining Sorrow
was it, but Indignation and grim fire-eyed Defiance.

'Thus had the EVERLASTING NO (_das ewige Nein_) pealed authoritatively
through all the recesses of my Being, of my ME; and then was it that
my whole ME stood up, in native God-created majesty, and with emphasis
recorded its Protest. Such a Protest, the most important transaction
in Life, may that same Indignation and Defiance, in a psychological
point of view, be fitly called. The Everlasting No had said: "Behold,
thou are fatherless, outcast, and the Universe is mine (the Devil's)";
to which my whole Me now made answer: "_I_ am not thine, but Free, and
forever hate thee!"

'It is from this hour that I incline to date my Spiritual New-birth,
or Baphometic Fire-baptism; perhaps I directly thereupon began to be a



Though, after this 'Baphometic Fire-baptism' of his, our Wanderer
signifies that his Unrest was but increased; as, indeed, 'Indignation
and Defiance,' especially against things in general, are not the most
peaceable inmates; yet can the Psychologist surmise that it was no
longer a quite hopeless Unrest; that henceforth it had at least a
fixed centre to revolve round. For the fire-baptised soul, long so
scathed and thunder-riven, here feels its own Freedom, which feeling
is its Baphometic Baptism: the citadel of its whole kingdom it has
thus gained by assault, and will keep inexpugnable; outwards from
which the remaining dominions, not indeed without hard battling, will
doubtless by degrees be conquered and pacificated. Under another
figure, we might say, if in that great moment, in the _Rue
Saint-Thomas de l'Enfer_, the old inward Satanic School was not yet
thrown out of doors, it received peremptory judicial notice to
quit;--whereby, for the rest, its howl-chantings, Ernulphus-cursings,
and rebellious gnashings of teeth, might, in the meanwhile, become
only the more tumultuous, and difficult to keep secret.

Accordingly, if we scrutinise these Pilgrimings well, there is perhaps
discernible henceforth a certain incipient method in their madness.
Not wholly as a Spectre does Teufelsdröckh now storm through the
world; at worst as a spectre-fighting Man, nay who will one day be a
Spectre-queller. If pilgriming restlessly to so many 'Saints' Wells,'
and ever without quenching of his thirst, he nevertheless finds little
secular wells, whereby from time to time some alleviation is
ministered. In a word, he is now, if not ceasing, yet intermitting to
'eat his own heart'; and clutches round him outwardly on the NOT-ME
for wholesomer food. Does not the following glimpse exhibit him in a
much more natural state?

'Towns also and Cities, especially the ancient, I failed not to look
upon with interest. How beautiful to see thereby, as through a long
vista, into the remote Time; to have, as it were, an actual section of
almost the earliest Past brought safe into the Present, and set before
your eyes! There, in that old City, was a live ember of Culinary Fire
put down, say only two thousand years ago; and there, burning more or
less triumphantly, with such fuel as the region yielded, it has burnt,
and still burns, and thou thyself seest the very smoke thereof. Ah!
and the far more mysterious live ember of Vital Fire was then also put
down there; and still miraculously burns and spreads; and the smoke
and ashes thereof (in these Judgment-Halls and Churchyards), and its
bellows-engines (in these Churches), thou still seest; and its flame,
looking out from every kind countenance, and every hateful one, still
warms thee or scorches thee.

'Of Man's Activity and Attainment the chief results are aeriform,
mystic, and preserved in Tradition only: such are his Forms of
Government, with the Authority they rest on; his Customs, or Fashions
both of Cloth-habits and of Soul-habits; much more his collective
stock of Handicrafts, the whole Faculty he has acquired of
manipulating Nature: all these things, as indispensable and priceless
as they are, cannot in any way be fixed under lock and key, but must
flit, spirit-like, on impalpable vehicles, from Father to Son; if you
demand sight of them, they are nowhere to be met with. Visible
Ploughmen and Hammermen there have been, ever from Cain and Tubalcain
downwards: but where does your accumulated Agricultural, Metallurgic,
and other Manufacturing SKILL lie warehoused? It transmits itself on
the atmospheric air, on the sun's rays (by Hearing and by Vision); it
is a thing aeriform, impalpable, of quite spiritual sort. In like
manner, ask me not, Where are the LAWS; where is the GOVERNMENT? In
vain wilt thou go to Schönbrunn, to Downing Street, to the Palais
Bourbon: thou findest nothing there but brick or stone houses, and
some bundles of Papers tied with tape. Where, then, is that same
cunningly-devised almighty GOVERNMENT of theirs to be laid hands on?
Everywhere, yet nowhere: seen only in its works, this too is a thing
aeriform, invisible; or if you will, mystic and miraculous. So
spiritual (_geistig_) is our whole daily Life: all that we do springs
out of Mystery, Spirit, invisible Force; only like a little
Cloud-image, or Armida's Palace, air-built, does the Actual body
itself forth from the great mystic Deep.

'Visible and tangible products of the Past, again, I reckon-up to the
extent of three: Cities, with their Cabinets and Arsenals; then tilled
Fields, to either or to both of which divisions Roads with their
Bridges may belong; and thirdly----Books. In which third truly, the
last invented, lies a worth far surpassing that of the two others.
Wondrous indeed is the virtue of a true Book. Not like a dead city of
stones, yearly crumbling, yearly needing repair; more like a tilled
field, but then a spiritual field: like a spiritual tree, let me
rather say, it stands from year to year, and from age to age (we have
Books that already number some hundred-and-fifty human ages); and
yearly comes its new produce of leaves (Commentaries, Deductions,
Philosophical, Political Systems; or were it only Sermons, Pamphlets,
Journalistic Essays), every one of which is talismanic and
thaumaturgic, for it can persuade men. O thou who art able to write a
Book, which once in the two centuries or oftener there is a man gifted
to do, envy not him whom they name City-builder, and inexpressibly
pity him whom they name Conqueror or City-burner! Thou too art a
Conqueror and Victor: but of the true sort, namely over the Devil:
thou too hast built what will outlast all marble and metal, and be a
wonder-bringing City of the Mind, a Temple and Seminary and Prophetic
Mount, whereto all kindreds of the Earth will pilgrim.--Fool! why
journeyest thou wearisomely, in thy antiquarian fervour, to gaze on
the stone pyramids of Geeza, or the clay ones of Sacchara? These stand
there, as I can tell thee, idle and inert, looking over the Desert,
foolishly enough, for the last three-thousand years: but canst thou
not open thy Hebrew BIBLE, then, or even Luther's Version thereof?'

No less satisfactory is his sudden appearance not in Battle, yet on
some Battle-field; which, we soon gather, must be that of Wagram; so
that here, for once, is a certain approximation to distinctness of
date. Omitting much, let us impart what follows:

'Horrible enough! A whole Marchfeld strewed with shell-splinters,
cannon-shot, ruined tumbrils, and dead men and horses; stragglers
still remaining not so much as buried. And those red mould heaps: ay,
there lie the Shells of Men, out of which all the Life and Virtue has
been blown; and now are they swept together, and crammed-down out of
sight, like blown Egg-shells!--Did Nature, when she bade the Donau
bring down his mould-cargoes from the Carinthian and Carpathian
Heights, and spread them out here into the softest, richest
level,--intend thee, O Marchfeld, for a corn-bearing Nursery, whereon
her children might be nursed; or for a Cockpit, wherein they might the
more commodiously be throttled and tattered? Were thy three broad
Highways, meeting here from the ends of Europe, made for
Ammunition-wagons, then? Were thy Wagrams and Stillfrieds but so many
ready-built Casemates, wherein the house of Hapsburg might batter with
artillery, and with artillery be battered? König Ottokar, amid yonder
hillocks, dies under Rodolf's truncheon; here Kaiser Franz falls
a-swoon under Napoleon's: within which five centuries, to omit the
others, how has thy breast, fair Plain, been defaced and defiled! The
greensward is torn-up and trampled-down; man's fond care of it, his
fruit-trees, hedgerows, and pleasant dwellings, blown-away with
gunpowder; and the kind seedfield lies a desolate, hideous Place of
Sculls.--Nevertheless, Nature is at work; neither shall these
Powder-Devilkins with their utmost devilry gainsay her: but all that
gore and carnage will be shrouded-in, absorbed into manure; and next
year the Marchfeld will be green, nay greener. Thrifty unwearied
Nature, ever out of our great waste educing some little profit of thy
own,--how dost thou, from the very carcass of the Killer, bring Life
for the Living!

'What, speaking in quite unofficial language, is the net-purport and
upshot of war? To my own knowledge, for example, there dwell and toil,
in the British village of Dumdrudge, usually some five-hundred souls.
From these, by certain "Natural Enemies" of the French, there are
successively selected, during the French war, say thirty able-bodied
men: Dumdrudge, at her own expense, has suckled and nursed them: she
has, not without difficulty and sorrow, fed them up to manhood, and
even trained them to crafts, so that one can weave, another build,
another hammer, and the weakest can stand under thirty stone
avoirdupois. Nevertheless, amid much weeping and swearing, they are
selected; all dressed in red; and shipped away, at the public charges,
some two-thousand miles, or say only to the south of Spain; and fed
there till wanted. And now to that same spot, in the south of Spain,
are thirty similar French artisans, from a French Dumdrudge, in like
manner wending: till at length, after infinite effort, the two parties
come into actual juxtaposition; and Thirty stands fronting Thirty,
each with a gun in his hand. Straightway the word "Fire!" is given:
and they blow the souls out of one another; and in place of sixty
brisk useful craftsmen, the world has sixty dead carcasses, which it
must bury, and anew shed tears for. Had these men any quarrel? Busy as
the Devil is, not the smallest! They lived far enough apart; were the
entirest strangers; nay, in so wide a Universe, there was even,
unconsciously, by Commerce, some mutual helpfulness between them. How
then? Simpleton! their Governors had fallen-out; and, instead of
shooting one another, had the cunning to make these poor blockheads
shoot.--Alas, so is it in Deutschland, and hitherto in all other
lands; still as of old, "what devilry soever Kings do, the Greeks must
pay the piper!"--In that fiction of the English Smollet, it is true,
the final Cessation of War is perhaps prophetically shadowed forth;
where the two Natural Enemies, in person, take each a Tobacco-pipe,
filled with Brimstone; light the same, and smoke in one another's
faces, till the weaker gives in: but from such predicted Peace-Era,
what blood-filled trenches, and contentious centuries, may still
divide us!'

Thus can the Professor, at least in lucid intervals, look away from
his own sorrows, over the many-coloured world, and pertinently enough
note what is passing there. We may remark, indeed, that for the matter
of spiritual culture, if for nothing else, perhaps few periods of his
life were richer than this. Internally, there is the most momentous
instructive Course of Practical Philosophy, with Experiments, going
on; towards the right comprehension of which his Peripatetic habits,
favourable to Meditation, might help him rather than hinder.
Externally, again, as he wanders to and fro, there are, if for the
longing heart little substance, yet for the seeing eye sights enough:
in these so boundless Travels of his, granting that the Satanic School
was even partially kept down, what an incredible knowledge of our
Planet, and its Inhabitants and their Works, that is to say, of all
knowable things, might not Teufelsdröckh acquire!

'I have read in most Public Libraries,' says he, 'including those of
Constantinople and Samarcand: in most Colleges, except the Chinese
Mandarin ones, I have studied, or seen that there was no studying.
Unknown Languages have I oftenest gathered from their natural
repertory, the Air, by my organ of Hearing; Statistics, Geographics,
Topographics came, through the Eye, almost of their own accord. The
ways of Man, how he seeks food, and warmth, and protection for
himself, in most regions, are ocularly known to me. Like the great
Hadrian, I meted-out much of the terraqueous Globe with a pair of
Compasses that belonged to myself only.

'Of great Scenes why speak? Three summer days, I lingered reflecting,
and even composing (_dichtete_), by the Pinechasms of Vaucluse; and in
that clear Lakelet moistened my bread. I have sat under the Palm-trees
of Tadmor; smoked a pipe among the ruins of Babylon. The great Wall of
China I have seen; and can testify that it is of gray brick, coped and
covered with granite, and shows only second-rate masonry.--Great Events,
also, have not I witnessed? Kings sweated-down (_ausgemergelt_) into
Berlin-and-Milan Customhouse-Officers; the World well won, and the
World well lost; oftener than once a hundred-thousand individuals shot
(by each other) in one day. All kindreds and peoples and nations
dashed together, and shifted and shovelled into heaps, that they might
ferment there, and in time unite. The birth-pangs of Democracy,
wherewith convulsed Europe was groaning in cries that reached Heaven,
could not escape me.

'For great Men I have ever had the warmest predilection; and can
perhaps boast that few such in this era have wholly escaped me. Great
Men are the inspired (speaking and acting) Texts of that divine BOOK
OF REVELATIONS, whereof a Chapter is completed from epoch to epoch,
and by some named HISTORY; to which inspired Texts your numerous
talented men, and your innumerable untalented men, are the better or
worse exegetic Commentaries, and wagonload of too-stupid, heretical or
orthodox, weekly Sermons. For my study the inspired Texts themselves!
Thus did not I, in very early days, having disguised me as
tavern-waiter, stand behind the field-chairs, under that shady Tree at
Treisnitz by the Jena Highway; waiting upon the great Schiller and
greater Goethe; and hearing what I have not forgotten. For----'

----But at this point the Editor recalls his principle of caution,
some time ago laid down, and must suppress much. Let not the
sacredness of Laurelled, still more, of Crowned Heads, be tampered
with. Should we, at a future day, find circumstances altered, and the
time come for Publication, then may these glimpses into the privacy of
the Illustrious be conceded; which for the present were little better
than treacherous, perhaps traitorous Eavesdroppings. Of Lord Byron,
therefore, of Pope Pius, Emperor Tarakwang, and the 'White
Water-roses' (Chinese Carbonari) with their mysteries, no notice here!
Of Napoleon himself we shall only, glancing from afar, remark that
Teufelsdröckh's relation to him seems to have been of very varied
character. At first we find our poor Professor on the point of being
shot as a spy; then taken into private conversation, even pinched on
the ear, yet presented with no money; at last indignantly dismissed,
almost thrown out of doors, as an 'Ideologist.' 'He himself,' says the
Professor, 'was among the completest Ideologists, at least
Ideopraxists: in the Idea (_in der Idee_) he lived, moved and fought.
The man was a Divine Missionary, though unconscious of it; and
preached, through the cannon's throat, that great doctrine, _La
carrière ouverte aux talens_ (The Tools to him that can handle them),
which is our ultimate Political Evangel, wherein alone can liberty
lie. Madly enough he preached, it is true, as Enthusiasts and first
Missionaries are wont, with imperfect utterance, amid much frothy
rant; yet as articulately perhaps as the case admitted. Or call him,
if you will, an American Backwoodsman, who had to fell unpenetrated
forests, and battle with innumerable wolves, and did not entirely
forbear strong liquor, rioting, and even theft; whom, notwithstanding,
the peaceful Sower will follow, and, as he cuts the boundless harvest,

More legitimate and decisively authentic is Teufelsdröckh's appearance
and emergence (we know not well whence) in the solitude of the North
Cape, on that June Midnight. He has 'a light-blue Spanish cloak'
hanging round him, as his 'most commodious, principal, indeed sole
upper garment'; and stands there, on the World-promontory, looking
over the infinite Brine, like a little blue Belfry (as we figure), now
motionless indeed, yet ready, if stirred, to ring quaintest changes.

'Silence as of death,' writes he; 'for Midnight, even in the Arctic
latitudes, has its character: nothing but the granite cliffs
ruddy-tinged, the peaceable gurgle of that slow-heaving Polar Ocean,
over which in the utmost North the great Sun hangs low and lazy, as if
he too were slumbering. Yet is his cloud-couch wrought of crimson and
cloth-of-gold; yet does his light stream over the mirror of waters,
like a tremulous fire-pillar, shooting downwards to the abyss, and
hide itself under my feet. In such moments, Solitude also is
invaluable; for who would speak, or be looked on, when behind him lies
all Europe and Africa, fast asleep, except the watchmen; and before
him the silent Immensity, and Palace of the Eternal, whereof our Sun
is but a porch-lamp?

'Nevertheless, in this solemn moment comes a man, or monster,
scrambling from among the rock-hollows; and, shaggy, huge as the
Hyperborean Bear, hails me in Russian speech: most probably,
therefore, a Russian Smuggler. With courteous brevity, I signify my
indifference to contraband trade, my humane intentions, yet strong
wish to be private. In vain: the monster, counting doubtless on his
superior stature, and minded to make sport for himself, or perhaps
profit, were it with murder, continues to advance; ever assailing me
with his importunate train-oil breath; and now has advanced, till we
stand both on the verge of the rock, the deep Sea rippling greedily
down below. What argument will avail? On the thick Hyperborean,
cherubic reasoning, seraphic eloquence were lost. Prepared for such
extremity, I, deftly enough, whisk aside one step; draw out, from my
interior reservoirs, a sufficient Birmingham Horse-pistol, and say,
"Be so obliging as retire, Friend (_Er ziehe sich zurück, Freund_),
and with promptitude!" This logic even the Hyperborean understands;
fast enough, with apologetic, petitionary growl, he sidles off; and,
except for suicidal as well as homicidal purposes, need not return.

'Such I hold to be the genuine use of Gunpowder: that it makes all men
alike tall. Nay, if thou be cooler, cleverer than I, if thou have more
_Mind_, though all but no Body whatever, then canst thou kill me
first, and art the taller. Hereby, at last, is the Goliath powerless,
and the David resistless; savage Animalism is nothing, inventive
Spiritualism is all.

'With respect to Duels, indeed, I have my own ideas. Few things, in
this so surprising world, strike me with more surprise. Two little
visual Spectra of men, hovering with insecure enough cohesion in the
midst of the UNFATHOMABLE, and to dissolve therein, at any rate, very
soon,--make pause at the distance of twelve paces asunder; whirl
round; and, simultaneously by the cunningest mechanism, explode one
another into Dissolution; and off-hand become Air, and Non-extant!
Deuce on it (_verdammt_), the little spitfires!--Nay, I think with old
Hugo von Trimberg: "God must needs laugh outright, could such a thing
be, to see his wondrous Manikins here below."'

       *       *       *       *       *

But amid these specialties, let us not forget the great generality,
which is our chief quest here: How prospered the inner man of
Teufelsdröckh under so much outward shifting? Does Legion still lurk
in him, though repressed; or has he exorcised that Devil's Brood? We
can answer that the symptoms continue promising. Experience is the
grand spiritual Doctor; and with him Teufelsdröckh has now been long a
patient, swallowing many a bitter bolus. Unless our poor Friend belong
to the numerous class of Incurables, which seems not likely, some cure
will doubtless be effected. We should rather say that Legion, or the
Satanic School, was now pretty well extirpated and cast out, but next
to nothing introduced in its room; whereby the heart remains, for the
while, in a quiet but no comfortable state.

'At length, after so much roasting,' thus writes our Autobiographer,
'I was what you might name calcined. Pray only that it be not rather,
as is the more frequent issue, reduced to a _caput-mortuum_! But in
any case, by mere dint of practice, I had grown familiar with many
things. Wretchedness was still wretched; but I could now partly see
through it, and despise it. Which highest mortal, in this inane
Existence, had I not found a Shadow-hunter, or Shadow-hunted; and,
when I looked through his brave garnitures, miserable enough? Thy
wishes have all been sniffed aside, thought I: but what, had they even
been all granted! Did not the Boy Alexander weep because he had not
two Planets to conquer; or a whole Solar System; or after that, a
whole Universe? _Ach Gott_, when I gazed into these Stars, have they
not looked down on me as if with pity, from their serene spaces; like
Eyes glistening with heavenly tears over the little lot of man!
Thousands of human generations, all as noisy as our own, have been
swallowed-up of Time, and there remains no wreck of them any more; and
Arcturus and Orion and Sirius and the Pleiades are still shining in
their courses, clear and young, as when the Shepherd first noted them
in the plain of Shinar. Pshaw! what is this paltry little Dog-cage of
an Earth; what art thou that sittest whining there? Thou art still
Nothing, Nobody: true; but who, then, is Something, Somebody? For thee
the Family of Man has no use; it rejects thee; thou art wholly as a
dissevered limb: so be it; perhaps it is better so!'

Too-heavy-laden Teufelsdröckh! Yet surely his bands are loosening; one
day he will hurl the burden far from him, and bound forth free and
with a second youth.

'This,' says our Professor, 'was the CENTRE OF INDIFFERENCE I had now
reached; through which whoso travels from the Negative Pole to the
Positive must necessarily pass.'



'Temptations in the Wilderness!' exclaims Teufelsdröckh: 'Have we not
all to be tried with such? Not so easily can the old Adam, lodged in
us by birth, be dispossessed. Our Life is compassed round with
Necessity; yet is the meaning of Life itself no other than Freedom,
than Voluntary Force: thus have we a warfare; in the beginning,
especially, a hard-fought battle. For the God-given mandate, _Work
thou in Welldoing_, lies mysteriously written, in Promethean Prophetic
Characters, in our hearts; and leaves us no rest, night or day, till
it be deciphered and obeyed; till it burn forth, in our conduct, a
visible, acted Gospel of Freedom. And as the clay-given mandate, _Eat
thou and be filled_, at the same time persuasively proclaims itself
through every nerve,--must not there be a confusion, a contest, before
the better Influence can become the upper?

'To me nothing seems more natural than that the Son of Man, when such
God-given mandate first prophetically stirs within him, and the Clay
must now be vanquished, or vanquish,--should be carried of the spirit
into grim Solitudes, and there fronting the Tempter do grimmest battle
with him; defiantly setting him at naught, till he yield and fly. Name
it as we choose: with or without visible Devil, whether in the natural
Desert of rocks and sands, or in the populous moral Desert of
selfishness and baseness,--to such Temptation are we all called.
Unhappy if we are not! Unhappy if we are but Half-men, in whom that
divine handwriting has never blazed forth, all-subduing, in true
sun-splendour; but quivers dubiously amid meaner lights: or smoulders,
in dull pain, in darkness, under earthly vapours!--Our Wilderness is
the wide World in an Atheistic Century; our Forty Days are long years
of suffering and fasting: nevertheless, to these also comes an end.
Yes, to me also was given, if not Victory, yet the consciousness of
Battle, and the resolve to persevere therein while life or faculty is
left. To me also, entangled in the enchanted forests, demon-peopled,
doleful of sight and of sound, it was given, after weariest
wanderings, to work out my way into the higher sunlit slopes--of that
Mountain which has no summit, or whose summit is in Heaven only!'

He says elsewhere, under a less ambitious figure; as figures are, once
for all, natural to him: 'Has not thy Life been that of most
sufficient men (_tüchtigen Männer_) thou hast known in this
generation? An out-flush of foolish young Enthusiasm, like the first
fallow-crop, wherein are as many weeds as valuable herbs: this all
parched away, under the Droughts of practical and spiritual Unbelief,
as Disappointment, in thought and act, often-repeated gave rise to
Doubt, and Doubt gradually settled into Denial! If I have had a
second-crop, and now see the perennial greensward, and sit under
umbrageous cedars, which defy all Drought (and Doubt); herein too, be
the Heavens praised, I am not without examples, and even exemplars.'

So that, for Teufelsdröckh also, there has been a 'glorious
revolution': these mad shadow-hunting and shadow-hunted Pilgrimings of
his were but some purifying 'Temptation in the Wilderness,' before his
Apostolic work (such as it was) could begin; which Temptation is now
happily over, and the Devil once more worsted! Was 'that high moment
in the _Rue de l'Enfer_,' then, properly the turning-point of the
battle; when the Fiend said, _Worship me or be torn in shreds_; and
was answered valiantly with an _Apage Satana_?--Singular
Teufelsdröckh, would thou hadst told thy singular story in plain
words! But it is fruitless to look there, in those Paper-bags, for
such. Nothing but innuendoes, figurative crotchets: a typical Shadow,
fitfully wavering, prophetico-satiric; no clear logical Picture. 'How
paint to the sensual eye,' asks he once, 'what passes in the
Holy-of-Holies of Man's Soul; in what words, known to these profane
times, speak even afar-off of the unspeakable?' We ask in turn: Why
perplex these times, profane as they are, with needless obscurity, by
omission and by commission? Not mystical only is our Professor, but
whimsical; and involves himself, now more than ever, in
eye-bewildering _chiaroscuro_. Successive glimpses, here faithfully
imparted, our more gifted readers must endeavour to combine for their
own behoof.

He says: 'The hot Harmattan wind had raged itself out; its howl went
silent within me; and the long-deafened soul could now hear. I paused
in my wild wanderings; and sat me down to wait, and consider; for it
was as if the hour of change drew nigh. I seemed to surrender, to
renounce utterly, and say: Fly, then, false shadows of Hope; I will
chase you no more, I will believe you no more. And ye too, haggard
spectres of Fear, I care not for you; ye too are all shadows and a
lie. Let me rest here: for I am way-weary and life-weary; I will rest
here, were it but to die: to die or to live is alike to me; alike
insignificant.'--And again: 'Here, then, as I lay in that CENTRE OF
INDIFFERENCE; cast, doubtless by benignant upper Influence, into a
healing sleep, the heavy dreams rolled gradually away, and I awoke to
a new Heaven and a new Earth. The first preliminary moral Act,
Annihilation of Self (_Selbst-tödtung_), had been happily
accomplished; and my mind's eyes were now unsealed, and its hands

Might we not also conjecture that the following passage refers to his
Locality, during this same 'healing sleep'; that his Pilgrim-staff
lies cast aside here, on 'the high table-land'; and indeed that the
repose is already taking wholesome effect on him? If it were not that
the tone, in some parts, has more of riancy, even of levity, than we
could have expected! However, in Teufelsdröckh, there is always the
strangest Dualism: light dancing, with guitar-music, will be going on
in the fore-court, while by fits from within comes the faint
whimpering of woe and wail. We transcribe the piece entire:

'Beautiful it was to sit there, as in my skyey Tent, musing and
meditating; on the high table-land, in front of the Mountains; over
me, as roof, the azure Dome, and around me, for walls, four
azure-flowing curtains,--namely, of the Four azure winds, on whose
bottom-fringes also I have seen gilding. And then to fancy the fair
Castles that stood sheltered in these Mountain hollows; with their
green flower-lawns, and white dames and damosels, lovely enough: or
better still, the straw-roofed Cottages, wherein stood many a Mother
baking bread, with her children round her:--all hidden and
protectingly folded-up in the valley-folds; yet there and alive, as
sure as if I beheld them. Or to see, as well as fancy, the nine Towns
and Villages, that lay round my mountain-seat, which, in still
weather, were wont to speak to me (by their steeple-bells) with metal
tongue; and, in almost all weather, proclaimed their vitality by
repeated Smoke-clouds; whereon, as on a culinary horologe, I might
read the hour of the day. For it was the smoke of cookery, as kind
housewives at morning, midday, eventide, were boiling their husbands'
kettles; and ever a blue pillar rose up into the air, successively or
simultaneously, from each of the nine, saying, as plainly as smoke
could say: Such and such a meal is getting ready here. Not
uninteresting! For you have the whole Borough, with all its
love-makings and scandal-mongeries, contentions and contentments, as
in miniature, and could cover it all with your hat.--If, in my wide
Wayfarings, I had learned to look into the business of the World in
its details, here perhaps was the place for combining it into general
propositions, and deducing inferences therefrom.

'Often also could I see the black Tempest marching in anger through
the Distance: round some Schreckhorn, as yet grim-blue, would the
eddying vapour gather, and there tumultuously eddy, and flow down like
a mad witch's hair; till, after a space, it vanished, and, in the
clear sunbeam, your Schreckhorn stood smiling grim-white, for the
vapour had held snow. How thou fermentest and elaboratest, in thy
great fermenting-vat and laboratory of an Atmosphere, of a World, O
Nature!--Or what is Nature? Ha! why do I not name thee GOD? Art not
thou the "Living Garment of God"? O Heavens, is it, in very deed, HE,
then, that ever speaks through thee; that lives and loves in thee,
that lives and loves in me?

'Fore-shadows, call them rather fore-splendours, of that Truth, and
Beginning of Truths, fell mysteriously over my soul. Sweeter than
Dayspring to the Shipwrecked in Nova Zembla; ah, like the mother's
voice to her little child that strays bewildered, weeping, in unknown
tumults; like soft streamings of celestial music to my too-exasperated
heart, came that Evangel. The Universe is not dead and demoniacal, a
charnel-house with spectres; but godlike, and my Father's!

'With other eyes, too, could I now look upon my fellow man; with an
infinite Love, an infinite Pity. Poor, wandering, wayward man! Art
thou not tired, and beaten with stripes, even as I am? Ever, whether
thou bear the royal mantle or the beggar's gabardine, art thou not so
weary, so heavy-laden; and thy Bed of Rest is but a Grave. O my
Brother, my Brother, why cannot I shelter thee in my bosom, and wipe
away all tears from thy eyes! Truly, the din of many-voiced Life,
which, in this solitude, with the mind's organ, I could hear, was no
longer a maddening discord, but a melting one; like inarticulate
cries, and sobbings of a dumb creature, which in the ear of Heaven are
prayers. The poor Earth, with her poor joys, was now my needy Mother,
not my cruel Stepdame; Man, with his so mad Wants and so mean
Endeavours, had become the dearer to me; and even for his sufferings
and his sins, I now first named him Brother. Thus was I standing in
the porch of that "_Sanctuary of Sorrow_;" by strange, steep ways had
I too been guided thither; and ere long its sacred gates would open,
and the "_Divine Depth of Sorrow_" lie disclosed to me.'

The Professor says, he here first got eye on the Knot that had been
strangling him, and straightway could unfasten it, and was free. 'A
vain interminable controversy,' writes he, 'touching what is at
present called Origin of Evil, or some such thing, arises in every
soul, since the beginning of the world; and in every soul, that would
pass from idle Suffering into actual Endeavouring, must first be put
an end to. The most, in our time, have to go content with a simple,
incomplete enough Suppression of this controversy; to a few some
Solution of it is indispensable. In every new era, too, such Solution
comes-out in different terms; and ever the Solution of the last era
has become obsolete, and is found unserviceable. For it is man's
nature to change his Dialect from century to century; he cannot help
it though he would. The authentic _Church-Catechism_ of our present
century has not yet fallen into my hands: meanwhile, for my own
private behoof, I attempt to elucidate the matter so. Man's
Unhappiness, as I construe, comes of his Greatness; it is because
there is an Infinite in him, which with all his cunning he cannot
quite bury under the Finite. Will the whole Finance Ministers and
Upholsterers and Confectioners of modern Europe undertake, in
jointstock company, to make one Shoeblack HAPPY? They cannot
accomplish it, above an hour or two; for the Shoeblack also has a Soul
quite other than his Stomach; and would require, if you consider it,
for his permanent satisfaction and saturation, simply this allotment,
no more, and no less: _God's infinite Universe altogether to himself_,
therein to enjoy infinitely, and fill every wish as fast as it rose.
Oceans of Hochheimer, a Throat like that of Ophiuchus: speak not of
them; to the infinite Shoeblack they are as nothing. No sooner is your
ocean filled, than he grumbles that it might have been of better
vintage. Try him with half of a Universe, of an Omnipotence, he sets
to quarrelling with the proprietor of the other half, and declares
himself the most maltreated of men.--Always there is a black spot in
our sunshine: it is even as I said, the _Shadow of Ourselves_.

'But the whim we have of Happiness is somewhat thus. By certain
valuations, and averages, of our own striking, we come upon some sort
of average terrestrial lot; this we fancy belongs to us by nature, and
of indefeasible right. It is simple payment of our wages, of our
deserts; requires neither thanks nor complaint; only such _overplus_
as there may be do we account Happiness; any _deficit_ again is
Misery. Now consider that we have the valuation of our own deserts
ourselves, and what a fund of Self-conceit there is in each of us,--do
you wonder that the balance should so often dip the wrong way, and
many a Blockhead cry: See there, what a payment; was ever worthy
gentleman so used!--I tell thee, Blockhead, it all comes of thy
Vanity; of what thou _fanciest_ those same deserts of thine to be.
Fancy that thou deservest to be hanged (as is most likely), thou wilt
feel it happiness to be only shot: fancy that thou deservest to be
hanged in a hair-halter, it will be a luxury to die in hemp.

'So true is it, what I then say, that _the Fraction of Life can be
increased in value not so much by increasing your Numerator as by
lessening your Denominator_. Nay, unless my Algebra deceive me,
_Unity_ itself divided by _Zero_ will give _Infinity_. Make thy claim
of wages a zero, then; thou hast the world under thy feet. Well did
the Wisest of our time write: "It is only with Renunciation
(_Entsagen_) that Life, properly speaking, can be said to begin."

'I asked myself: What is this that, ever since earliest years, thou
hast been fretting and fuming, and lamenting and self-tormenting, on
account of? Say it in a word: is it not because thou art not HAPPY?
Because the THOU (sweet gentleman) is not sufficiently honoured,
nourished, soft-bedded, and lovingly cared for? Foolish soul! What Act
of Legislature was there that _thou_ shouldst be Happy? A little while
ago thou hadst no right to _be_ at all. What if thou wert born and
predestined not to be Happy, but to be Unhappy! Art thou nothing other
than a Vulture, then, that fliest through the Universe seeking after
somewhat to _eat_; and shrieking dolefully because carrion enough is
not given thee? Close thy _Byron_; open thy _Goethe_.'

'_Es leuchtet mir ein_, I see a glimpse of it!' cries he elsewhere:
'there is in man a HIGHER than Love of Happiness: he can do without
Happiness, and instead thereof find Blessedness! Was it not to
preach-forth this same HIGHER that sages and martyrs, the Poet and the
Priest, in all times, have spoken and suffered; bearing testimony,
through life and through death, of the Godlike that is in Man, and how
in the Godlike only has he Strength and Freedom? Which God-inspired
Doctrine art thou also honoured to be taught; O Heavens! and broken
with manifold merciful Afflictions, even till thou become contrite,
and learn it! O, thank thy Destiny for these; thankfully bear what yet
remain: thou hadst need of them; the Self in thee needed to be
annihilated. By benignant fever-paroxysms is Life rooting out the
deep-seated chronic Disease, and triumphs over Death. On the roaring
billows of Time, thou art not engulfed, but borne aloft into the azure
of Eternity. Love not Pleasure; love God. This is the EVERLASTING YEA,
wherein all contradiction is solved: wherein whoso walks and works, it
is well with him.'

And again: 'Small is it that thou canst trample the Earth with its
injuries under thy feet, as old Greek Zeno trained thee: thou canst
love the Earth while it injures thee, and even because it injures
thee; for this a Greater than Zeno was needed, and he too was sent.
Knowest thou that "_Worship of Sorrow_"? The Temple thereof, founded
some eighteen centuries ago, now lies in ruins, overgrown with jungle,
the habitation of doleful creatures: nevertheless, venture forward; in
a low crypt, arched out of falling fragments, thou findest the Altar
still there, and its sacred Lamp perennially burning.'

Without pretending to comment on which strange utterances, the Editor
will only remark, that there lies beside them much of a still more
questionable character; unsuited to the general apprehension; nay
wherein he himself does not see his way. Nebulous disquisitions on
Religion, yet not without bursts of splendour; on the 'perennial
continuance of Inspiration;' on Prophecy; that there are 'true
Priests, as well as Baal-Priests, in our own day:' with more of the
like sort. We select some fractions, by way of finish to this farrago.

'Cease, my much-respected Herr von Voltaire,' thus apostrophises the
Professor: 'shut thy sweet voice; for the task appointed thee seems
finished. Sufficiently hast thou demonstrated this proposition,
considerable or otherwise: That the Mythus of the Christian Religion
looks not in the eighteenth century as it did in the eighth. Alas,
were thy six-and-thirty quartos, and the six-and-thirty thousand other
quartos and folios, and flying sheets or reams, printed before and
since on the same subject, all needed to convince us of so little! But
what next? Wilt thou help us to embody the divine Spirit of that
Religion in a new Mythus, in a new vehicle and vesture, that our
Souls, otherwise too like perishing, may live? What! thou hast no
faculty in that kind? Only a torch for burning, no hammer for
building? Take our thanks, then, and--thyself away.

'Meanwhile what are antiquated Mythuses to me? Or is the God present,
felt in my own heart, a thing which Herr von Voltaire will dispute out
of me; or dispute into me? To the "_Worship of Sorrow_" ascribe what
origin and genesis thou pleasest, _has_ not that Worship originated,
and been generated; is it not _here_? Feel it in thy heart, and then
say whether it is of God! This is Belief; all else is Opinion,--for
which latter whoso will let him worry and be worried.'

'Neither,' observes he elsewhere, 'shall ye tear-out one another's
eyes, struggling over "Plenary Inspiration," and suchlike: try rather
to get a little even Partial Inspiration, each of you for himself. One
BIBLE I know, of whose Plenary Inspiration doubt is not so much as
possible; nay with my own eyes I saw the God's-Hand writing it:
thereof all other Bibles are but leaves,--say, in Picture-Writing to
assist the weaker faculty.'

Or, to give the wearied reader relief, and bring it to an end, let him
take the following perhaps more intelligible passage:

'To me, in this our life,' says the Professor, 'which is an
internecine warfare with the Time-spirit, other warfare seems
questionable. Hast thou in any way a Contention with thy brother, I
advise thee, think well what the meaning thereof is. If thou gauge it
to the bottom, it is simply this: "Fellow, see! thou art taking more
than thy share of Happiness in the world, something from _my_ share:
which, by the Heavens, thou shall not; nay I will fight thee
rather."--Alas, and the whole lot to be divided is such a beggarly
matter, truly a "feast of shells," for the substance has been spilled
out: not enough to quench one Appetite; and the collective human
species clutching at them!--Can we not, in all such cases, rather say:
"Take it, thou too-ravenous individual; take that pitiful additional
fraction of a share, which I reckoned mine, but which thou so wantest;
take it with a blessing: would to Heaven I had enough for thee!"--If
Fichte's _Wissenschaftslehre_ be, "to a certain extent, Applied
Christianity," surely to a still greater extent, so is this. We have
here not a Whole Duty of Man, yet a Half Duty, namely the Passive
half: could we but do it, as we can demonstrate it!

'But indeed Conviction, were it never so excellent, is worthless till
it convert itself into Conduct. Nay properly Conviction is not
possible till then; inasmuch as all Speculation is by nature endless,
formless, a vortex amid vortices: only by a felt indubitable certainty
of Experience does it find any centre to revolve round, and so fashion
itself into a system. Most true is it, as a wise man teaches us, that
"Doubt of any sort cannot be removed except by Action." On which
ground, too, let him who gropes painfully in darkness or uncertain
light, and prays vehemently that the dawn may ripen into day, lay this
other precept well to heart, which to me was of invaluable service:
"_Do the Duty which lies nearest thee_," which thou knowest to be a
Duty! Thy second Duty will already have become clearer.

'May we not say, however, that the hour of Spiritual Enfranchisement
is even this: When your Ideal World, wherein the whole man has been
dimly struggling and inexpressibly languishing to work, becomes
revealed, and thrown open; and you discover, with amazement enough,
like the Lothario in _Wilhelm Meister_, that your "America is here or
nowhere"? The Situation that has not its Duty, its Ideal, was never
yet occupied by man. Yes here, in this poor, miserable, hampered,
despicable Actual, wherein thou even now standest, here or nowhere is
thy Ideal: work it out therefrom; and working, believe, live, be free.
Fool! the Ideal is in thyself, the impediment too is in thyself: thy
Condition is but the stuff thou art to shape that same Ideal out of:
what matters whether such stuff be of this sort or that, so the Form
thou give it be heroic, be poetic? O thou that pinest in the
imprisonment of the Actual, and criest bitterly to the gods for a
kingdom wherein to rule and create, know this of a truth: the thing
thou seekest is already with thee, "here or nowhere," couldst thou
only see!

'But it is with man's Soul as it was with Nature: the beginning of
Creation is--Light. Till the eye have vision, the whole members are in
bonds. Divine moment, when over the tempest-tost Soul, as once over
the wild-weltering Chaos, it is spoken: Let there be Light! Ever to
the greatest that has felt such moment, is it not miraculous and
God-announcing; even as, under simpler figures, to the simplest and
least. The mad primeval Discord is hushed; the rudely-jumbled
conflicting elements bind themselves into separate Firmaments: deep
silent rock-foundations are built beneath; and the skyey vault with
its everlasting Luminaries above: instead of a dark wasteful Chaos, we
have a blooming, fertile, heaven-encompassed World.

'I too could now say to myself: Be no longer a Chaos, but a World, or
even Worldkin. Produce! Produce! Were it but the pitifullest
infinitesimal fraction of a Product, produce it, in God's name! 'Tis
the utmost thou hast in thee: out with it, then. Up, up! Whatsoever
thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy whole might. Work while it is
called Today; for the Night cometh, wherein no man can work.'



Thus have we, as closely and perhaps satisfactorily as, in such
circumstances, might be, followed Teufelsdröckh through the various
successive states and stages of Growth, Entanglement, Unbelief, and
almost Reprobation, into a certain clearer state of what he himself
seems to consider as Conversion. 'Blame not the word,' says he;
'rejoice rather that such a word, signifying such a thing, has come to
light in our modern Era, though hidden from the wisest Ancients. The
Old World knew nothing of Conversion; instead of an _Ecce Homo_, they
had only some _Choice of Hercules_. It was a new-attained progress in
the Moral Development of man: hereby has the Highest come home to the
bosoms of the most Limited; what to Plato was but a hallucination, and
to Socrates a chimera, is now clear and certain to your Zinzendorfs,
your Wesleys, and the poorest of their Pietists and Methodists.'

It is here, then, that the spiritual majority of Teufelsdröckh
commences: we are henceforth to see him 'work in well-doing,' with the
spirit and clear aims of a Man. He has discovered that the Ideal
Workshop he so panted for is even this same Actual ill-furnished
Workshop he has so long been stumbling in. He can say to himself:
'Tools? Thou hast no Tools? Why, there is not a Man, or a Thing, now
alive but has tools. The basest of created animalcules, the Spider
itself, has a spinning-jenny, and warping-mill, and power-loom within
its head: the stupidest of Oysters has a Papin's-Digester, with
stone-and-lime house to hold it in: every being that can live can do
something: this let him _do_.--Tools? Hast thou not a Brain,
furnished, furnishable with some glimmerings of Light; and three
fingers to hold a Pen withal? Never since Aaron's Rod went out of
practice, or even before it, was there such a wonder-working Tool:
greater than all recorded miracles have been performed by Pens. For
strangely in this so solid-seeming World, which nevertheless is in
continual restless flux, it is appointed that _Sound_, to appearance
the most fleeting, should be the most continuing of all things. The
WORD is well said to be omnipotent in this world; man, thereby divine,
can create as by a _Fiat_. Awake, arise! Speak forth what is in thee;
what God has given thee, what the Devil shall not take away. Higher
task than that of Priesthood was allotted to no man: wert thou but the
meanest in that sacred Hierarchy, is it not honour enough therein to
spend and be spent?

'By this Art, which whoso will may sacrilegiously degrade into a
handicraft,' adds Teufelsdröckh, 'have I thenceforth abidden. Writings
of mine, not indeed known as mine (for what am _I_?), have fallen,
perhaps not altogether void, into the mighty seed-field of Opinion;
fruits of my unseen sowing gratifyingly meet me here and there. I
thank the Heavens that I have now found my Calling; wherein, with or
without perceptible result, I am minded diligently to persevere.

'Nay how knowest thou,' cries he, 'but this and the other pregnant
Device, now grown to be a world-renowned far-working Institution; like
a grain of right mustard-seed once cast into the right soil, and now
stretching-out strong boughs to the four winds, for the birds of the
air to lodge in,--may have been properly my doing? Some one's doing,
it without doubt was; from some Idea, in some single Head, it did
first of all take beginning: why not from some Idea in mine?' Does
Teufelsdröckh here glance at that 'SOCIETY FOR THE CONSERVATION OF
PROPERTY (_Eigenthums-conservirende Gesellschaft_),' of which so many
ambiguous notices glide spectre-like through these inexpressible
Paper-bags? 'An Institution,' hints he, 'not unsuitable to the wants
of the time; as indeed such sudden extension proves: for already can
the Society number, among its office-bearers or corresponding members,
the highest Names, if not the highest Persons, in Germany, England,
France; and contributions, both of money and of meditation, pour-in
from all quarters; to, if possible, enlist the remaining Integrity of
the world, and, defensively and with forethought, marshal it round
this Palladium.' Does Teufelsdröckh mean, then, to give himself out as
the originator of that so notable _Eigenthums-conservirende_
('Owndom-conserving') _Gesellschaft_; and if so, what, in the Devil's
name, is it? He again hints: 'At a time when the divine Commandment,
_Thou shalt not steal_, wherein truly, if well understood, is
comprised the whole Hebrew Decalogue, with Solon's and Lycurgus's
Constitutions, Justinian's Pandects, the Code Napoléon, and all Codes,
Catechisms, Divinities, Moralities whatsoever, that man has hitherto
devised (and enforced with Altar-fire and Gallows-ropes) for his
social guidance: at a time, I say, when this divine Commandment has
all-but faded away from the general remembrance; and, with little
disguise, a new opposite Commandment, _Thou shalt steal_, is
everywhere promulgated,--it perhaps behooved, in this universal dotage
and deliration, the sound portion of mankind to bestir themselves and
rally. When the widest and wildest violations of that divine right of
Property, the only divine right now extant or conceivable, are
sanctioned and recommended by a vicious Press, and the world has lived
to hear it asserted that _we have no Property in our very Bodies, but
only an accidental Possession and Life-rent_, what is the issue to be
looked for? Hangmen and Catchpoles may, by their noose-gins and baited
fall-traps, keep-down the smaller sort of vermin; but what, except
perhaps some such Universal Association, can protect us against whole
meat-devouring and man-devouring hosts of Boa-constrictors? If,
therefore, the more sequestered Thinker have wondered, in his privacy,
from what hand that perhaps not ill-written _Program_ in the Public
Journals, with its high _Prize-Questions_ and so liberal _Prizes_,
could have proceeded,--let him now cease such wonder; and, with
undivided faculty, betake himself to the _Concurrenz_ (Competition).'

We ask: Has this same 'perhaps not ill-written _Program_,' or any
other authentic Transaction of that Property-conserving Society,
fallen under the eye of the British Reader, in any Journal foreign or
domestic? If so, what are those _Prize-Questions_; what are the terms
of Competition, and when and where? No printed Newspaper-leaf, no
farther light of any sort, to be met with in these Paper-bags! Or is
the whole business one other of those whimsicalities and perverse
inexplicabilities, whereby Herr Teufelsdröckh, meaning much or
nothing, is pleased so often to play fast-and-loose with us?

       *       *       *       *       *

Here, indeed, at length, must the Editor give utterance to a painful
suspicion, which, through late Chapters, has begun to haunt him;
paralysing any little enthusiasm that might still have rendered his
thorny Biographical task a labour of love. It is a suspicion grounded
perhaps on trifles, yet confirmed almost into certainty by the more
and more discernible humoristico-satirical tendency of Teufelsdröckh,
in whom underground humours and intricate sardonic rogueries, wheel
within wheel, defy all reckoning: a suspicion, in one word, that these
Autobiographical Documents are partly a mystification! What if many a
so-called Fact were little better than a Fiction; if here we had no
direct Camera-obscura Picture of the Professor's History; but only
some more or less fantastic Adumbration, symbolically, perhaps
significantly enough, shadowing-forth the same! Our theory begins to
be that, in receiving as literally authentic what was but
hieroglyphically so, Hofrath Heuschrecke, whom in that case we scruple
not to name Hofrath Nose-of-Wax, was made a fool of, and set adrift to
make fools of others. Could it be expected, indeed, that a man so
known for impenetrable reticence as Teufelsdröckh, would all at once
frankly unlock his private citadel to an English Editor and a German
Hofrath; and not rather deceptively _in_lock both Editor and Hofrath
in the labyrinthic tortuosities and covered-ways of said citadel
(having enticed them thither), to see, in his half-devilish way, how
the fools would look?

Of one fool, however, the Herr Professor will perhaps find himself
short. On a small slip, formerly thrown aside as blank, the ink being
all-but invisible, we lately notice, and with effort decipher, the
following: 'What are your historical Facts; still more your
biographical? Wilt thou know a Man, above all a Mankind, by
stringing-together beadrolls of what thou namest Facts? The Man is the
spirit he worked in; not what he did, but what he became. Facts are
engraved Hierograms, for which the fewest have the key. And then how
your Blockhead (_Dummkopf_) studies not their Meaning; but simply
whether they are well or ill cut, what he calls Moral or Immoral!
Still worse is it with your Bungler (_Pfuscher_): such I have seen
reading some Rousseau, with pretences of interpretation; and mistaking
the ill-cut Serpent-of-Eternity for a common poisonous reptile.' Was
the Professor apprehensive lest an Editor, selected as the present
boasts himself, might mistake the Teufelsdröckh Serpent-of-Eternity in
like manner? For which reason it was to be altered, not without
underhand satire, into a plainer Symbol? Or is this merely one of his
half-sophisms, half-truisms, which if he can but set on the back of a
Figure, he cares not whither it gallop? We say not with certainty; and
indeed, so strange is the Professor, can never say. If our suspicion
be wholly unfounded, let his own questionable ways, not our necessary
circumspectness, bear the blame.

But be this as it will, the somewhat exasperated and indeed exhausted
Editor determines here to shut these Paper-bags for the present. Let
it suffice that we know of Teufelsdröckh, so far, if 'not what he did,
yet what he became:' the rather, as his character has now taken its
ultimate bent, and no new revolution, of importance, is to be looked
for. The imprisoned Chrysalis is now a winged Psyche: and such,
wheresoever be its flight, it will continue. To trace by what complex
gyrations (flights or involuntary waftings) through the mere external
Life element, Teufelsdröckh reaches his University Professorship, and
the Psyche clothes herself in civic Titles, without altering her now
fixed nature,--would be comparatively an unproductive task, were we
even unsuspicious of its being, for us at least, a false and
impossible one. His outward Biography, therefore, which, at the
Blumine Lover's-Leap, we saw churned utterly into spray-vapour, may
hover in that condition, for aught that concerns us here. Enough that
by survey of certain 'pools and plashes,' we have ascertained its
general direction; do we not already know that, by one way and other,
it _has_ long since rained-down again into a stream; and even now, at
Weissnichtwo, flows deep and still, fraught with the _Philosophy of
Clothes_, and visible to whoso will cast eye thereon? Over much
invaluable matter, that lies scattered, like jewels among
quarry-rubbish, in those Paper-catacombs we may have occasion to
glance back, and somewhat will demand insertion at the right place:
meanwhile be our tiresome diggings therein suspended.

If now, before reopening the great _Clothes-Volume_, we ask what our
degree of progress, during these Ten Chapters, has been, towards right
understanding of the _Clothes-Philosophy_, let not our discouragement
become total. To speak in that old figure of the Hell-gate Bridge over
Chaos, a few flying pontoons have perhaps been added, though as yet
they drift straggling on the Flood; how far they will reach, when once
the chains are straightened and fastened, can, at present, only be
matter of conjecture.

So much we already calculate: Through many a little loop-hole, we have
had glimpses into the internal world of Teufelsdröckh; his strange
mystic, almost magic Diagram of the Universe, and how it was gradually
drawn, is not henceforth altogether dark to us. Those mysterious ideas
on TIME, which merit consideration, and are not wholly unintelligible
with such, may by and by prove significant. Still more may his
somewhat peculiar view of Nature, the decisive Oneness he ascribes to
Nature. How all Nature and Life are but one _Garment_, a 'Living
Garment,' woven and ever a-weaving in the 'Loom of Time;' is not here,
indeed, the outline of a whole _Clothes-Philosophy_; at least the
arena it is to work in? Remark, too, that the Character of the Man,
nowise without meaning in such a matter, becomes less enigmatic: amid
so much tumultuous obscurity, almost like diluted madness, do not a
certain indomitable Defiance and yet a boundless Reverence seem to
loom-forth, as the two mountain-summits, on whose rock-strata all the
rest were based and built?

Nay further, may we not say that Teufelsdröckh's Biography, allowing
it even, as suspected, only a hieroglyphical truth, exhibits a man, as
it were preappointed for Clothes-Philosophy? To look through the Shows
of things into Things themselves he is led and compelled. The
'Passivity' given him by birth is fostered by all turns of his
fortune. Everywhere cast out, like oil out of water, from mingling in
any Employment, in any public Communion, he has no portion but
Solitude, and a life of Meditation. The whole energy of his existence
is directed, through long years, on one task: that of enduring pain,
if he cannot cure it. Thus everywhere do the Shows of things oppress
him, withstand him, threaten him with fearfullest destruction: only by
victoriously penetrating into Things themselves can he find peace and
a stronghold. But is not this same looking through the Shows, or
Vestures, into the Things, even the first preliminary to a _Philosophy
of Clothes_? Do we not, in all this, discern some beckonings towards
the true higher purport of such a Philosophy; and what shape it must
assume with such a man, in such an era?

Perhaps in entering on Book Third, the courteous Reader is not utterly
without guess whither he is bound: nor, let us hope, for all the
fantastic Dream-Grottoes through which, as is our lot with
Teufelsdröckh, he must wander, will there be wanting between whiles
some twinkling of a steady Polar Star.




As a wonder-loving and wonder-seeking man, Teufelsdröckh, from an
early part of this Clothes-Volume, has more and more exhibited
himself. Striking it was, amid all his perverse cloudiness, with what
force of vision and of heart he pierced into the mystery of the World;
recognising in the highest sensible phenomena, so far as Sense went,
only fresh or faded Raiment; yet ever, under this, a celestial Essence
thereby rendered visible: and while, on the one hand, he trod the old
rags of Matter, with their tinsels, into the mire, he on the other
everywhere exalted Spirit above all earthly principalities and powers,
and worshipped it, though under the meanest shapes, with a true
Platonic Mysticism. What the man ultimately purposed by thus casting
his Greek-fire into the general Wardrobe of the Universe; what such,
more or less complete, rending and burning of Garments throughout the
whole compass of Civilized Life and Speculation, should lead to; the
rather as he was no Adamite, in any sense, and could not, like
Rousseau, recommend either bodily or intellectual Nudity, and a return
to the savage state: all this our readers are now bent to discover;
this is, in fact, properly the gist and purport of Professor
Teufelsdröckh's Philosophy of Clothes.

Be it remembered, however, that such purport is here not so much
evolved, as detected to lie ready for evolving. We are to guide our
British Friends into the new Gold-country, and show them the mines;
nowise to dig-out and exhaust its wealth, which indeed remains for all
time inexhaustible. Once there, let each dig for his own behoof, and
enrich himself.

Neither, in so capricious inexpressible a Work as this of the
Professor's can our course now more than formerly be straightforward,
step by step, but at best leap by leap. Significant Indications
stand-out here and there; which for the critical eye, that looks both
widely and narrowly, shape themselves into some ground-scheme of a
Whole: to select these with judgment, so that a leap from one to the
other be possible, and (in our old figure) by chaining them together,
a passable Bridge be effected: this, as heretofore, continues our only
method. Among such light-spots, the following, floating in much wild
matter about _Perfectibility_, has seemed worth clutching at:

'Perhaps the most remarkable incident in Modern History,' says
Teufelsdröckh, 'is not the Diet of Worms, still less the Battle of
Austerlitz, Waterloo, Peterloo, or any other Battle; but an incident
passed carelessly over by most Historians, and treated with some
degree of ridicule by others: namely, George Fox's making to himself a
suit of Leather. This man, the first of the Quakers, and by trade a
Shoemaker, was one of those, to whom, under ruder or purer form, the
Divine Idea of the Universe is pleased to manifest itself; and, across
all the hulls of Ignorance and earthly Degradation, shine through, in
unspeakable Awfulness, unspeakable Beauty, on their souls: who
therefore are rightly accounted Prophets, God-possessed; or even Gods,
as in some periods it has chanced. Sitting in his stall; working on
tanned hides, amid pincers, paste-horns, rosin, swine-bristles, and a
nameless flood of rubbish, this youth had, nevertheless, a Living
Spirit belonging to him; also an antique Inspired Volume, through
which, as through a window, it could look upwards, and discern its
celestial Home. The task of a daily pair of shoes, coupled even with
some prospect of victuals, and an honourable Mastership in
Cordwainery, and perhaps the post of Thirdborough in his hundred, as
the crown of long faithful sewing,--was nowise satisfaction enough to
such a mind: but ever amid the boring and hammering came tones from
that far country, came Splendours and Terrors; for this poor
Cordwainer, as we said, was a Man; and the Temple of Immensity,
wherein as Man he had been sent to minister, was full of holy mystery
to him.

'The Clergy of the neighbourhood, the ordained Watchers and
Interpreters of that same holy mystery, listened with unaffected
tedium to his consultations, and advised him, as the solution of such
doubts, to "drink beer and dance with the girls." Blind leaders of the
blind! For what end were their tithes levied and eaten; for what were
their shovel-hats scooped-out, and their surplices and cassock-aprons
girt-on; and such a church-repairing, and chaffering, and organing,
and other racketing, held over that spot of God's Earth,--if Man were
but a Patent Digester, and the Belly with its adjuncts the grand
Reality? Fox turned from them, with tears and a sacred scorn, back to
his Leather-parings and his Bible. Mountains of encumbrance, higher
than Ætna, had been heaped over that Spirit: but it was a Spirit, and
would not lie buried there. Through long days and nights of silent
agony, it struggled and wrestled, with a man's force, to be free: how
its prison-mountains heaved and swayed tumultuously, as the giant
spirit shook them to this hand and that, and emerged into the light of
Heaven! That Leicester shoe-shop, had men known it, was a holier place
than any Vatican or Loretto-shrine.--"So bandaged, and hampered, and
hemmed in," groaned he, "with thousand requisitions, obligations,
straps, tatters, and tagrags, I can neither see nor move: not my own
am I, but the World's; and Time flies fast, and Heaven is high, and
Hell is deep: Man! bethink thee, if thou hast power of Thought! Why
not; what binds me here? Want, want!--Ha, of what? Will all the
shoe-wages under the Moon ferry me across into that far Land of Light?
Only Meditation can, and devout Prayer to God. I will to the woods:
the hollow of a tree will lodge me, wild-berries feed me; and for
Clothes, cannot I stitch myself one perennial suit of Leather!"

'Historical Oil-painting,' continues Teufelsdröckh, 'is one of the
Arts I never practised; therefore shall I not decide whether this
subject were easy of execution on the canvas. Yet often has it seemed
to me as if such first outflashing of man's Freewill, to lighten, more
and more into Day, the Chaotic Night that threatened to engulf him in
its hindrances and its horrors, were properly the only grandeur there
is in History. Let some living Angelo or Rosa, with seeing eye and
understanding heart, picture George Fox on that morning, when he
spreads-out his cutting-board for the last time, and cuts cowhides by
unwonted patterns, and stitches them together into one continuous
all-including Case, the farewell service of his awl! Stitch away, thou
noble Fox: every prick of that little instrument is pricking into the
heart of Slavery, and World-worship, and the Mammon-god. Thy elbows
jerk, and in strong swimmer-strokes, and every stroke is bearing thee
across the Prison-ditch, within which Vanity holds her Workhouse and
Ragfair, into lands of true Liberty; were the work done, there is in
broad Europe one Free Man, and thou art he!

'Thus from the lowest depth there is a path to the loftiest height;
and for the Poor also a Gospel has been published. Surely if, as
D'Alembert asserts, my illustrious namesake, Diogenes, was the
greatest man of Antiquity, only that he wanted Decency, then by
stronger reason is George Fox the greatest of the Moderns; and greater
than Diogenes himself: for he too stands on the adamantine basis of
his Manhood, casting aside all props and shoars; yet not, in
half-savage Pride, undervaluing the Earth; valuing it rather, as a
place to yield him warmth and food, he looks Heavenward from his
Earth, and dwells in an element of Mercy and Worship, with a still
Strength, such as the Cynic's Tub did nowise witness. Great, truly,
was that Tub; a temple from which man's dignity and divinity was
scornfully preached abroad: but greater is the Leather Hull, for the
same sermon was preached there, and not in Scorn but in Love.'

       *       *       *       *       *

George Fox's 'perennial suit,' with all that it held, has been worn
quite into ashes for nigh two centuries: why, in a discussion on the
_Perfectibility of Society_, reproduce it now? Not out of blind
sectarian partisanship: Teufelsdröckh himself is no Quaker; with all
his pacific tendencies, did not we see him, in that scene at the North
Cape, with the Archangel Smuggler, exhibit fire-arms?

For us, aware of his deep Sansculottism, there is more meant in this
passage than meets the ear. At the same time, who can avoid smiling at
the earnestness and Boeotian simplicity (if indeed there be not an
underhand satire in it), with which that 'Incident' is here brought
forward; and, in the Professor's ambiguous way, as clearly perhaps as
he durst in Weissnichtwo, recommended to imitation! Does Teufelsdröckh
anticipate that, in this age of refinement, any considerable class of
the community, by way of testifying against the 'Mammon-god,' and
escaping from what he calls 'Vanity's Workhouse and Ragfair,' where
doubtless some of them are toiled and whipped and hoodwinked
sufficiently,--will sheathe themselves in close-fitting cases of
Leather? The idea is ridiculous in the extreme. Will Majesty lay aside
its robes of state, and Beauty its frills and train-gowns, for a
second-skin of tanned hide? By which change Huddersfield and
Manchester, and Coventry and Paisley, and the Fancy-Bazaar, were
reduced to hungry solitudes; and only Day and Martin could profit. For
neither would Teufelsdröckh's mad daydream, here as we presume
covertly intended, of levelling Society (_levelling_ it indeed with a
vengeance, into one huge drowned marsh!), and so attaining the
political effects of Nudity without its frigorific or other
consequences,--be thereby realised. Would not the rich man purchase a
waterproof suit of Russia Leather; and the high-born Belle step-forth
in red or azure morocco, lined with shamoy: the black cowhide being
left to the Drudges and Gibeonites of the world; and so all the old
Distinctions be re-established?

Or has the Professor his own deeper intention; and laughs in his
sleeve at our strictures and glosses, which indeed are but a part



Not less questionable is his Chapter on _Church-Clothes_, which has
the farther distinction of being the shortest in the Volume. We here
translate it entire:

'By Church-Clothes, it need not be premised that I mean infinitely
more than Cassocks and Surplices; and do not at all mean the mere
haberdasher Sunday Clothes that men go to Church in. Far from it!
Church-Clothes are, in our vocabulary, the Forms, the _Vestures_,
under which men have at various periods embodied and represented for
themselves the Religious Principle; that is to say, invested The
Divine Idea of the World with a sensible and practically active Body,
so that it might dwell among them as a living and life-giving WORD.

'These are unspeakably the most important of all the vestures and
garnitures of Human Existence. They are first spun and woven, I may
say, by that wonder of wonders, SOCIETY; for it is still only when
"two or three are gathered together," that Religion, spiritually
existent, and indeed indestructible, however latent, in each, first
outwardly manifests itself (as with "cloven tongues of fire"), and
seeks to be embodied in a visible Communion and Church Militant.
Mystical, more than magical, is that Communing of Soul with Soul, both
looking heavenward: here properly Soul first speaks with Soul; for
only in looking heavenward, take it in what sense you may, not in
looking earthward, does what we can call Union, mutual Love, Society,
begin to be possible. How true is that of Novalis: "It is certain my
Belief gains quite _infinitely_ the moment I can convince another mind
thereof"! Gaze thou in the face of thy Brother, in those eyes where
plays the lambent fire of Kindness, or in those where rages the lurid
conflagration of Anger; feel how thy own so quiet Soul is straightway
involuntarily kindled with the like, and ye blaze and reverberate on
each other, till it is all one limitless confluent flame (of embracing
Love, or of deadly-grappling Hate); and then say what miraculous
virtue goes out of man into man. But if so, through all the
thick-plied hulls of our Earthly Life; how much more when it is of the
Divine Life we speak, and inmost ME is, as it were, brought into
contact with inmost ME!

'Thus was it that I said, the Church-Clothes are first spun and woven
by Society; outward Religion originates by Society, Society becomes
possible by Religion. Nay, perhaps, every conceivable Society, past
and present, may well be figured as properly and wholly a Church, in
one or other of these three predicaments: an audibly preaching and
prophesying Church, which is the best; second, a Church that struggles
to preach and prophesy, but cannot as yet, till its Pentecost come;
and third and worst, a Church gone dumb with old age, or which only
mumbles delirium prior to dissolution. Whoso fancies that by Church is
here meant Chapterhouses and Cathedrals, or by preaching and
prophesying, mere speech and chanting, let him,' says the oracular
Professor, 'read on, light of heart (_getrosten Muthes_).

'But with regard to your Church proper, and the Church-Clothes
specially recognised as Church-Clothes, I remark, fearlessly enough,
that without such Vestures and sacred Tissues Society has not existed,
and will not exist. For if Government is, so to speak, the outward SKIN
of the Body Politic, holding the whole together and protecting it; and
all your Craft-Guilds, and Associations for Industry, of hand or of
head, are the Fleshly Clothes, the muscular and osseous Tissues (lying
_under_ such SKIN), whereby Society stands and works;--then is Religion
the inmost Pericardial and Nervous Tissue, which ministers Life and
warm Circulation to the whole. Without which Pericardial Tissue the
Bones and Muscles (of Industry) were inert, or animated only by a
Galvanic vitality; the SKIN would become a shrivelled pelt, or
fast-rotting raw-hide; and Society itself a dead carcass,--deserving to
be buried. Men were no longer Social, but Gregarious; which latter
state also could not continue, but must gradually issue in universal
selfish discord, hatred, savage isolation, and dispersion;--whereby, as
we might continue to say, the very dust and dead body of Society would
have evaporated and become abolished. Such, and so all-important,
all-sustaining, are the Church-Clothes to civilised or even to rational

'Meanwhile, in our era of the World, those same Church-Clothes have
gone sorrowfully out-at-elbows; nay, far worse, many of them have
become mere hollow Shapes, or Masks, under which no living Figure or
Spirit any longer dwells; but only spiders and unclean beetles, in
horrid accumulation, drive their trade; and the mask still glares on
you with its glass-eyes, in ghastly affectation of Life,--some
generation-and-half after Religion has quite withdrawn from it, and in
unnoticed nooks is weaving for herself new Vestures, wherewith to
reappear, and bless us, or our sons or grandsons. As a Priest, or
Interpreter of the Holy, is the noblest and highest of all men, so is
a Sham-priest (_Schein-priester_) the falsest and basest; neither is
it doubtful that his Canonicals, were they Popes' Tiaras, will one day
be torn from him, to make bandages for the wounds of mankind; or even
to burn into tinder, for general scientific or culinary purposes.

'All which, as out of place here, falls to be handled in my Second
Volume, _On the Palingenesia, or Newbirth of Society_; which volume,
as treating practically of the Wear, Destruction, and Retexture of
Spiritual Tissues, or Garments, forms, properly speaking, the
Transcendental or ultimate Portion of this my work _on Clothes_, and
is already in a state of forwardness.'

And herewith, no farther exposition, note, or commentary being added,
does Teufelsdröckh, and must his Editor now, terminate the singular
chapter on Church-Clothes!



Probably it will elucidate the drift of these foregoing obscure
utterances, if we here insert somewhat of our Professor's speculations
on _Symbols_. To state his whole doctrine, indeed, were beyond our
compass: nowhere is he more mysterious, impalpable, than in this of
'Fantasy being the organ of the God-like;' and how 'Man thereby,
though based, to all seeming, on the small Visible, does nevertheless
extend down into the infinite deeps of the Invisible, of which
Invisible, indeed, his Life is properly the bodying forth.' Let us,
omitting these high transcendental aspects of the matter, study to
glean (whether from the Paper-bags or the Printed Volume) what little
seems logical and practical, and cunningly arrange it into such degree
of coherence as it will assume. By way of proem, take the following
not injudicious remarks:

'The benignant efficacies of Concealment,' cries our Professor, 'who
shall speak or sing? SILENCE and SECRECY! Altars might still be raised
to them (were this an altar-building time) for universal worship.
Silence is the element in which great things fashion themselves
together; that at length they may emerge, full-formed and majestic,
into the daylight of Life, which they are thenceforth to rule. Not
William the Silent only, but all the considerable men I have known,
and the most undiplomatic and unstrategic of these, forbore to babble
of what they were creating and projecting. Nay, in thy own mean
perplexities, do thou thyself but _hold thy tongue for one day_: on
the morrow, how much clearer are thy purposes and duties; what wreck
and rubbish have those mute workmen within thee swept away, when
intrusive noises were shut out! Speech is too often not, as the
Frenchman defined it, the art of concealing Thought; but of quite
stifling and suspending Thought, so that there is none to conceal.
Speech too is great, but not the greatest. As the Swiss Inscription
says: _Sprechen ist silbern, Schweigen ist golden_ (Speech is silvern,
Silence is golden); or as I might rather express it: Speech is of
Time, Silence is of Eternity.

'Bees will not work except in darkness; Thought will not work except
in Silence; neither will Virtue work except in Secrecy. Let not thy
left hand know what thy right hand doeth! Neither shalt thou prate
even to thy own heart of "those secrets known to all." Is not Shame
(_Schaam_) the soil of all Virtue, of all good manners and good
morals? Like other plants, Virtue will not grow unless its root be
hidden, buried from the eye of the sun. Let the sun shine on it, nay
do but look at it privily thyself, the root withers, and no flower
will glad thee. O my Friends, when we view the fair clustering flowers
that over-wreathe, for example, the Marriage-bower, and encircle man's
life with the fragrance and hues of Heaven, what hand will not smite
the foul plunderer that grubs them up by the roots, and with grinning,
grunting satisfaction, shows us the dung they flourish in! Men speak
much of the Printing-Press with its Newspapers: _du Himmel!_ what are
these to Clothes and the Tailor's Goose?'

'Of kin to the so incalculable influences of Concealment, and
connected with still greater things, is the wondrous agency of
_Symbols_. In a Symbol there is concealment and yet revelation: here
therefore, by Silence and by Speech acting together, comes a double
significance. And if both the Speech be itself high, and the Silence
fit and noble, how expressive will their union be! Thus in many a
painted Device, or simple Seal-emblem, the commonest Truth stands-out
to us proclaimed with quite new emphasis.

'For it is here that Fantasy with her mystic wonderland plays into the
small prose domain of Sense, and becomes incorporated therewith. In
the Symbol proper, what we can call a Symbol, there is ever, more or
less distinctly and directly, some embodiment and revelation of the
Infinite; the Infinite is made to blend itself with the Finite, to
stand visible, and as it were, attainable there. By Symbols,
accordingly, is man guided and commanded, made happy, made wretched.
He everywhere finds himself encompassed with Symbols, recognised as
such or not recognised: the Universe is but one vast Symbol of God;
nay if thou wilt have it, what is man himself but a Symbol of God; is
not all that he does symbolical; a revelation to Sense of the mystic
god-given force that is in him; a "Gospel of Freedom," which he, the
"Messias of Nature," preaches, as he can, by act and word? Not a Hut
he builds but is the visible embodiment of a Thought; but bears
visible record of invisible things; but is, in the transcendental
sense, symbolical as well as real.'

'Man,' says the Professor elsewhere, in quite antipodal contrast with
these high-soaring delineations, which we have here cut short on the
verge of the inane, 'Man is by birth somewhat of an owl. Perhaps, too,
of all the owleries that ever possessed him, the most owlish, if we
consider it, is that of your actually existing Motive-Millwrights.
Fantastic tricks enough man has played, in his time; has fancied
himself to be most things, down even to an animated heap of Glass; but
to fancy himself a dead Iron-Balance for weighing Pains and Pleasures
on, was reserved for this his latter era. There stands he, his
Universe one huge Manger, filled with hay and thistles to be weighed
against each other; and looks long-eared enough. Alas, poor devil!
spectres are appointed to haunt him: one age he is hag-ridden,
bewitched; the next, priestridden, befooled; in all ages, bedevilled.
And now the Genius of Mechanism smothers him worse than any Nightmare
did; till the Soul is nigh choked out of him, and only a kind of
Digestive, Mechanic life remains. In Earth and in Heaven he can see
nothing but Mechanism; has fear for nothing else, hope in nothing
else: the world would indeed grind him to pieces; but cannot he fathom
the Doctrine of Motives, and cunningly compute these, and mechanise
them to grind the other way?

'Were he not, as has been said, purblinded by enchantment, you had but
to bid him open his eyes and look. In which country, in which time,
was it hitherto that man's history, or the history of any man, went on
by calculated or calculable "Motives"? What make ye of your
Christianities, and Chivalries, and Reformations, and Marseillese
Hymns, and Reigns of Terror? Nay, has not perhaps the Motive-grinder
himself been _in Love_? Did he never stand so much as a contested
Election? Leave him to Time, and the medicating virtue of Nature.'

'Yes, Friends,' elsewhere observes the Professor, 'not our Logical,
Mensurative faculty, but our Imaginative one is King over us; I might
say, Priest and Prophet to lead us heavenward; our Magician and Wizard
to lead us hellward. Nay, even for the basest Sensualist, what is
Sense but the implement of Fantasy; the vessel it drinks out of? Ever
in the dullest existence there is a sheen either of Inspiration or of
Madness (thou partly hast it in thy choice, which of the two), that
gleams-in from the circumambient Eternity, and colours with its own
hues our little islet of Time. The Understanding is indeed thy window,
too clear thou canst not make it; but Fantasy is thy eye, with its
colour-giving retina, healthy or diseased. Have not I myself known
five-hundred living soldiers sabred into crows'-meat for a piece of
glazed cotton, which they called their Flag; which, had you sold it at
any market-cross, would not have brought above three groschen? Did not
the whole Hungarian Nation rise, like some tumultuous moon-stirred
Atlantic, when Kaiser Joseph pocketed their Iron Crown; an Implement,
as was sagaciously observed, in size and commercial value little
differing from a horse-shoe? It is in and through _Symbols_ that man,
consciously or unconsciously, lives, works, and has his being: those
ages, moreover, are accounted the noblest which can the best recognise
symbolical worth, and prize it the highest. For is not a Symbol ever,
to him who has eyes for it, some dimmer or clearer revelation of the

'Of Symbols, however, I remark farther, that they have both an
extrinsic and intrinsic value; oftenest the former only. What, for
instance, was in that clouted Shoe, which the Peasants bore aloft with
them as ensign in their _Bauernkrieg_ (Peasants' War)? Or in the
Wallet-and-staff round which the Netherland _Gueux_, glorying in that
nickname of Beggars, heroically rallied and prevailed, though against
King Philip himself? Intrinsic significance these had none: only
extrinsic; as the accidental Standards of multitudes more or less
sacredly uniting together; in which union itself, as above noted,
there is ever something mystical and borrowing of the Godlike. Under a
like category, too, stand, or stood, the stupidest heraldic
Coats-of-arms; military Banners everywhere; and generally all national
or other Sectarian Costumes and Customs: they have no intrinsic,
necessary divineness, or even worth; but have acquired an extrinsic
one. Nevertheless through all these there glimmers something of a
Divine Idea; as through military Banners themselves, the Divine Idea
of Duty, of heroic Daring; in some instances of Freedom, of Right.
Nay, the highest ensign that men ever met and embraced under, the
Cross itself, had no meaning save an accidental extrinsic one.

'Another matter it is, however, when your Symbol has intrinsic
meaning, and is of itself _fit_ that men should unite round it. Let
but the Godlike manifest itself to Sense; let but Eternity look, more
or less visibly, through the Time-Figure (_Zeitbild_)! Then is it fit
that men unite there; and worship together before such Symbol; and so
from day to day, and from age to age, superadd to it new divineness.

'Of this latter sort are all true works of Art: in them (if thou know
a Work of Art from a Daub of Artifice) wilt thou discern Eternity
looking through Time; the Godlike rendered visible. Here too may an
extrinsic value gradually superadd itself: thus certain _Iliads_, and
the like, have, in three-thousand years, attained quite new
significance. But nobler than all in this kind, are the Lives of
heroic god-inspired Men; for what other Work of Art is so divine? In
Death too, in the Death of the Just, as the last perfection of a Work
of Art, may we not discern symbolic meaning? In that divinely
transfigured Sleep, as of Victory, resting over the beloved face which
now knows thee no more, read (if thou canst for tears) the confluence
of Time with Eternity, and some gleam of the latter peering through.

'Highest of all Symbols are those wherein the Artist or Poet has risen
into Prophet, and all men can recognise a present God, and worship the
same: I mean religious Symbols. Various enough have been such
religious Symbols, what we call _Religions_; as men stood in this
stage of culture or the other, and could worse or better body-forth
the Godlike: some Symbols with a transient intrinsic worth; many with
only an extrinsic. If thou ask to what height man has carried it in
this manner, look on our divinest Symbol: on Jesus of Nazareth, and
his Life, and his Biography, and what followed therefrom. Higher has
the human Thought not yet reached: this is Christianity and
Christendom; a Symbol of quite perennial, infinite character: whose
significance will ever demand to be anew inquired into, and anew made

'But, on the whole, as time adds much to the sacredness of Symbols, so
likewise in his progress he at length defaces or even desecrates them;
and Symbols, like all terrestrial Garments, wax old. Homer's Epos has
not ceased to be true; yet it is no longer _our_ Epos, but shines in
the distance, if clearer and clearer, yet also smaller and smaller,
like a receding Star. It needs a scientific telescope, it needs to be
reinterpreted and artificially brought near us, before we can so much
as know that it _was_ a Sun. So likewise a day comes when the Runic
Thor, with his Eddas, must withdraw into dimness; and many an African
Mumbo-Jumbo and Indian Pawaw be utterly abolished. For all things,
even Celestial Luminaries, much more atmospheric meteors, have their
rise, their culmination, their decline.'

'Small is this which thou tellest me, that the Royal Sceptre is but a
piece of gilt-wood; that the Pyx has become a most foolish box, and
truly, as Ancient Pistol thought, "of little price." A right Conjuror
might I name thee, couldst thou conjure back into these wooden tools
the divine virtue they once held.'

'Of this thing, however, be certain: wouldst thou plant for Eternity,
then plant into the deep infinite faculties of man, his Fantasy and
Heart; wouldst thou plant for Year and Day, then plant into his
shallow superficial faculties, his Self-love and Arithmetical
Understanding, what will grow there. A Hierarch, therefore, and
Pontiff of the World will we call him, the Poet and inspired Maker;
who, Prometheus-like, can shape new Symbols, and bring new Fire from
Heaven to fix it there. Such too will not always be wanting; neither
perhaps now are. Meanwhile, as the average of matters goes, we account
him Legislator and wise who can so much as tell when a Symbol has
grown old, and gently remove it.

'When, as the last English Coronation[3] was preparing,' concludes
this wonderful Professor, 'I read in their Newspapers that the
"Champion of England," he who has to offer battle to the Universe for
his new King, had brought it so far that he could now "mount his horse
with little assistance," I said to myself: Here also we have a Symbol
well-nigh superannuated. Alas, move whithersoever you may, are not the
tatters and rags of superannuated worn-out symbols (in this Ragfair of
a World) dropping off everywhere, to hoodwink, to halter, to tether
you; nay, if you shake them not aside, threatening to accumulate, and
perhaps produce suffocation?'

    [3] That of George IV.--ED.



At this point we determine on adverting shortly, or rather reverting,
to a certain Tract of Hofrath Heuschrecke's, entitled _Institute for
the Repression of Population_; which lies, dishonourable enough (with
torn leaves, and a perceptible smell of aloetic drugs), stuffed into
the Bag _Pisces_. Not indeed for the sake of the Tract itself, which
we admire little; but of the marginal Notes, evidently in
Teufelsdröckh's hand, which rather copiously fringe it. A few of these
may be in their right place here.

Into the Hofrath's _Institute_, with its extraordinary schemes, and
machinery of Corresponding Boards and the like, we shall not so much
as glance. Enough for us to understand that Heuschrecke is a disciple
of Malthus; and so zealous for the doctrine, that his zeal almost
literally eats him up. A deadly fear of Population possesses the
Hofrath; something like a fixed-idea; undoubtedly akin to the more
diluted forms of Madness. Nowhere, in that quarter of his intellectual
world, is there light; nothing but a grim shadow of Hunger; open
mouths opening wider and wider; a world to terminate by the
frightfullest consummation: by its too dense inhabitants, famished
into delirium, universally eating one another. To make air for himself
in which strangulation, choking enough to a benevolent heart, the
Hofrath founds, or proposes to found, this _Institute_ of his, as the
best he can do. It is only with our Professor's comments thereon that
we concern ourselves.

First, then, remark that Teufelsdröckh, as a speculative Radical, has
his own notions about human dignity; that the Zähdarm palaces and
courtesies have not made him forgetful of the Futteral cottages. On
the blank cover of Heuschrecke's Tract we find the following
indistinctly engrossed:

'Two men I honour, and no third. First, the toil-worn Craftsman that
with earth-made Implement laboriously conquers the Earth, and makes
her man's. Venerable to me is the hard Hand; crooked, coarse; wherein
notwithstanding lies a cunning virtue, indefeasibly royal, as of the
Sceptre of this Planet. Venerable too is the rugged face, all
weather-tanned, besoiled, with its rude intelligence; for it is the
face of a Man living manlike. O, but the more venerable for thy
rudeness, and even because we must pity as well as love thee!
Hardly-entreated Brother! For us was thy back so bent, for us were thy
straight limbs and fingers so deformed: thou wert our Conscript, on
whom the lot fell, and fighting our battles wert so marred. For in
thee too lay a god-created Form, but it was not to be unfolded;
encrusted must it stand with the thick adhesions and defacements of
Labour: and thy body, like thy soul, was not to know freedom. Yet toil
on, toil on: _thou_ art in thy duty, be out of it who may; thou
toilest for the altogether indispensable, for daily bread.

'A second man I honour, and still more highly: Him who is seen toiling
for the spiritually indispensable; not daily bread, but the bread of
Life. Is not he too in his duty; endeavouring towards inward Harmony;
revealing this, by act or by word, through all his outward endeavours,
be they high or low? Highest of all, when his outward and his inward
endeavour are one: when we can name him Artist; not earthly Craftsman
only, but inspired Thinker, who with heaven-made Implement conquers
Heaven for us! If the poor and humble toil that we have Food, must not
the high and glorious toil for him in return, that he have Light, have
Guidance, Freedom, Immortality?--These two, in all their degrees, I
honour: all else is chaff and dust, which let the wind blow whither it

'Unspeakably touching is it, however, when I find both dignities
united; and he that must toil outwardly for the lowest of man's wants,
is also toiling inwardly for the highest. Sublimer in this world know
I nothing than a Peasant Saint, could such now anywhere be met with.
Such a one will take thee back to Nazareth itself; thou wilt see the
splendour of Heaven spring forth from the humblest depths of Earth,
like a light shining in great darkness.'

And again: 'It is not because of his toils that I lament for the poor:
we must all toil, or steal (howsoever we name our stealing), which is
worse; no faithful workman finds his task a pastime. The poor is
hungry and a-thirst; but for him also there is food and drink: he is
heavy-laden and weary; but for him also the Heavens send Sleep, and of
the deepest; in his smoky cribs, a clear dewy heaven of Rest envelops
him, and fitful glitterings of cloud-skirted Dreams. But what I do
mourn over is, that the lamp of his soul should go out; that no ray of
heavenly, or even of earthly knowledge, should visit him; but only, in
the haggard darkness, like two spectres, Fear and Indignation bear him
company. Alas, while the Body stands so broad and brawny, must the
soul lie blinded, dwarfed, stupefied, almost annihilated! Alas, was
this too a Breath of God; bestowed in Heaven, but on earth never to be
unfolded!--That there should one Man die ignorant who had capacity for
Knowledge, this I call a tragedy, were it to happen more than twenty
times in the minute, as by some computations it does. The miserable
fraction of Science which our united Mankind, in a wide Universe of
Nescience, has acquired, why is not this, with all diligence, imparted
to all?'

Quite in an opposite strain is the following: 'The old Spartans had a
wiser method; and went out and hunted-down their Helots, and speared
and spitted them, when they grew too numerous. With our improved
fashions of hunting, Herr Hofrath, now after the invention of
fire-arms, and standing-armies, how much easier were such a hunt!
Perhaps in the most thickly-peopled country, some three days annually
might suffice to shoot all the able-bodied Paupers that had
accumulated within the year. Let Governments think of this. The
expense were trifling: nay the very carcasses would pay it. Have them
salted and barrelled; could not you victual therewith, if not Army and
Navy, yet richly such infirm Paupers, in workhouses and elsewhere, as
enlightened Charity, dreading no evil of them, might see good to keep

'And yet,' writes he farther on, 'there must be something wrong. A
full-formed Horse will, in any market, bring from twenty to as high as
two-hundred Friedrichs d'or: such is his worth to the world. A
full-formed Man is not only worth nothing to the world, but the world
could afford him a round sum would he simply engage to go and hang
himself. Nevertheless, which of the two was the more cunningly-devised
article, even as an Engine? Good Heavens! A white European Man,
standing on his two Legs, with his two five-fingered Hands at his
shackle-bones, and miraculous Head on his shoulders, is worth, I
should say, from fifty to a hundred Horses!'

'True, thou Gold-Hofrath,' cries the Professor elsewhere: 'too crowded
indeed! Meanwhile, what portion of this inconsiderable terraqueous
Globe have ye actually tilled and delved, till it will grow no more?
How thick stands your Population in the Pampas and Savannas of
America; round ancient Carthage, and in the interior of Africa; on
both slopes of the Altaic chain, in the central Platform of Asia; in
Spain, Greece, Turkey, Crim Tartary, the Curragh of Kildare? One man,
in one year, as I have understood it, if you lend him Earth, will feed
himself and nine others. Alas, where now are the Hengsts and Alarics
of our still-glowing, still-expanding Europe; who, when their home is
grown too narrow, will enlist, and, like Fire-pillars, guide onwards
those superfluous masses of indomitable living Valour; equipped, not
now with the battle-axe and war-chariot, but with the steam-engine and
ploughshare? Where are they?--Preserving their Game!'



Putting which four singular Chapters together, and alongside of them
numerous hints, and even direct utterances, scattered over these
Writings of his, we come upon the startling yet not quite unlooked-for
conclusion, that Teufelsdröckh is one of those who consider Society,
properly so called, to be as good as extinct; and that only the
gregarious feelings, and old inherited habitudes, at this juncture,
hold us from Dispersion, and universal national, civil, domestic and
personal war! He says expressly: 'For the last three centuries, above
all for the last three quarters of a century, that same Pericardial
Nervous Tissue (as we named it) of Religion, where lies the
Life-essence of Society, has been smote-at and perforated, needfully
and needlessly; till now it is quite rent into shreds; and Society,
long pining, diabetic, consumptive, can be regarded as defunct; for
those spasmodic, galvanic sprawlings are not life; neither indeed will
they endure, galvanise as you may, beyond two days.'

'Call ye that a Society,' cries he again, 'where there is no longer
any Social Idea extant; not so much as the Idea of a common Home, but
only of a common over-crowded Lodging-house? Where each, isolated,
regardless of his neighbour, turned against his neighbour, clutches
what he can get, and cries "Mine!" and calls it Peace, because, in the
cut-purse and cut-throat Scramble, no steel knives, but only a far
cunninger sort, can be employed? Where Friendship, Communion, has
become an incredible tradition; and your holiest Sacramental Supper is
a smoking Tavern Dinner, with Cook for Evangelist? Where your Priest
has no tongue but for plate-licking: and your high Guides and
Governors cannot guide; but on all hands hear it passionately
proclaimed: _Laissez faire_; Leave us alone of _your_ guidance, such
light is darker than darkness; eat you your wages, and sleep!

'Thus, too,' continues he, 'does an observant eye discern everywhere
that saddest spectacle: The Poor perishing, like neglected, foundered
Draught-Cattle, of Hunger and Over-work; the Rich, still more
wretchedly, of Idleness, Satiety, and Over-growth. The Highest in
rank, at length, without honour from the Lowest; scarcely, with a
little mouth-honour, as from tavern-waiters who expect to put it in
the bill. Once-sacred Symbols fluttering as empty Pageants, whereof
men grudge even the expense; a World becoming dismantled: in one word,
the CHURCH fallen speechless, from obesity and apoplexy; the STATE
shrunken into a Police-Office, straitened to get its pay!'

We might ask, are there many 'observant eyes,' belonging to practical
men in England or elsewhere, which have descried these phenomena; or is
it only from the mystic elevation of a German _Wahngasse_ that such
wonders are visible? Teufelsdröckh contends that the aspect of a
'deceased or expiring Society' fronts us everywhere, so that whoso runs
may read. 'What, for example,' says he, 'is the universally-arrogated
Virtue, almost the sole remaining Catholic Virtue, of these days? For
some half century, it has been the thing you name "Independence."
Suspicion of "Servility," of reverence for Superiors, the very dogleech
is anxious to disavow. Fools! Were your Superiors worthy to govern, and
you worthy to obey, reverence for them were even your only possible
freedom. Independence, in all kinds, is rebellion; if unjust rebellion,
why parade it, and everywhere prescribe it?'

But what then? Are we returning, as Rousseau prayed, to the state of
Nature? 'The Soul Politic having departed,' says Teufelsdröckh, 'what
can follow but that the Body Politic be decently interred, to avoid
putrescence! Liberals, Economists, Utilitarians enough I see marching
with its bier, and chanting loud pæans, towards the funeral-pile,
where, amid wailings from some, and saturnalian revelries from the
most, the venerable Corpse is to be burnt. Or, in plain words, that
these men, Liberals, Utilitarians, or whatsoever they are called, will
ultimately carry their point, and dissever and destroy most existing
Institutions of Society, seems a thing which has some time ago ceased
to be doubtful.

'Do we not see a little subdivision of the grand Utilitarian Armament
come to light even in insulated England? A living nucleus, that will
attract and grow, does at length appear there also; and under curious
phasis; properly as the inconsiderable fag-end, and so far in the rear
of the others as to fancy itself the van. Our European Mechanisers are
a sect of boundless diffusion, activity, and co-operative spirit: has
not Utilitarianism flourished in high places of Thought, here among
ourselves, and in every European country, at some time or other,
within the last fifty years? If now in all countries, except perhaps
England, it has ceased to flourish, or indeed to exist, among
Thinkers, and sunk to Journalists and the popular mass,--who sees not
that, as hereby it no longer preaches, so the reason is, it now needs
no Preaching, but is in full universal Action, the doctrine everywhere
known, and enthusiastically laid to heart? The fit pabulum, in these
times, for a certain rugged workshop intellect and heart, nowise
without their corresponding workshop strength and ferocity, it
requires but to be stated in such scenes to make proselytes
enough.--Admirably calculated for destroying, only not for rebuilding!
It spreads like a sort of Dog-madness; till the whole World-kennel
will be rabid: then woe to the Huntsmen, with or without their whips!
They should have given the quadrupeds water,' adds he; 'the water,
namely, of Knowledge and of Life, while it was yet time.'

Thus, if Professor Teufelsdröckh can be relied on, we are at this hour
in a most critical condition; beleaguered by that boundless 'Armament
of Mechanisers' and Unbelievers, threatening to strip us bare! 'The
world,' says he, 'as it needs must, is under a process of devastation
and waste, which, whether by silent assiduous corrosion, or open
quicker combustion, as the case chances, will effectually enough
annihilate the past Forms of Society; replace them with what it may.
For the present, it is contemplated that when man's whole Spiritual
Interests are once _divested_, these innumerable stript-off Garments
shall mostly be burnt; but the sounder Rags among them be quilted
together into one huge Irish watchcoat for the defence of the Body
only!'--This, we think, is but Job's-news to the humane reader.

'Nevertheless,' cries Teufelsdröckh, 'who can hinder it; who is there
that can clutch into the wheel-spokes of Destiny, and say to the
Spirit of the Time: Turn back, I command thee?--Wiser were it that we
yielded to the Inevitable and Inexorable, and accounted even this the

Nay, might not an attentive Editor, drawing his own inferences from
what stands written, conjecture that Teufelsdröckh individually had
yielded to this same 'Inevitable and Inexorable' heartily enough; and
now sat waiting the issue, with his natural diabolico-angelical
Indifference, if not even Placidity? Did we not hear him complain that
the World was a 'huge Ragfair,' and the 'rags and tatters of old
Symbols' were raining-down everywhere, like to drift him in, and
suffocate him? What with those 'unhunted Helots' of his; and the
uneven _sic-vos-non-vobis_ pressure and hard-crashing collision he is
pleased to discern in existing things; what with the so hateful 'empty
Masks,' full of beetles and spiders, yet glaring out on him, from
their glass eyes, 'with a ghastly affectation of life,'--we feel
entitled to conclude him even willing that much should be thrown to
the Devil, so it were but done gently! Safe himself in that 'Pinnacle
of Weissnichtwo,' he would consent, with a tragic solemnity, that the
monster UTILITARIA, held back, indeed, and moderated by nose-rings,
halters, foot-shackles, and every conceivable modification of rope,
should go forth to do her work;--to tread down old ruinous Palaces
and Temples with her broad hoof, till the whole were trodden down,
that new and better might be built! Remarkable in this point of view
are the following sentences.

'Society,' says he, 'is not dead: that Carcass, which you call dead
Society, is but her mortal coil which she has shuffled off, to assume
a nobler; she herself, through perpetual metamorphoses, in fairer and
fairer development, has to live till Time also merge in Eternity.
Wheresoever two or three Living Men are gathered together, there is
Society; or there it will be, with its cunning mechanisms and
stupendous structures, overspreading this little Globe, and reaching
upwards to Heaven and downwards to Gehenna: for always, under one or
the other figure, it has two authentic Revelations, of a God and of a
Devil; the Pulpit, namely, and the Gallows.'

Indeed, we already heard him speak of 'Religion, in unnoticed nooks,
weaving for herself new Vestures';--Teufelsdröckh himself being one of
the loom-treadles? Elsewhere he quotes without censure that strange
aphorism of Saint-Simon's, concerning which and whom so much were to
be said: _L'âge d'or, qu'une aveugle tradition a placé jusqu'ici dans
le passé, est devant nous_; The golden age, which a blind tradition
has hitherto placed in the Past, is Before us.'--But listen again:

'When the Phoenix is fanning her funeral pyre, will there not be
sparks flying! Alas, some millions of men, and among them such as a
Napoleon, have already been licked into that high-eddying Flame, and
like moths consumed there. Still also have we to fear that incautious
beards will get singed.

'For the rest, in what year of grace such Phoenix-cremation will be
completed, you need not ask. The law of Perseverance is among the
deepest in man: by nature he hates change; seldom will he quit his old
house till it has actually fallen about his ears. Thus have I seen
Solemnities linger as Ceremonies, sacred Symbols as idle-Pageants, to
the extent of three-hundred years and more after all life and
sacredness had evaporated out of them. And then, finally, what time
the Phoenix Death-Birth itself will require, depends on unseen
contingencies.--Meanwhile, would Destiny offer Mankind, that after,
say two centuries of convulsion and conflagration, more or less vivid,
the fire-creation should be accomplished, and we too find ourselves
again in a Living Society, and no longer fighting but working,--were
it not perhaps prudent in Mankind to strike the bargain?'

Thus is Teufelsdröckh content that old sick Society should be
deliberately burnt (alas! with quite other fuel than spicewood); in
the faith that she is a Phoenix; and that a new heaven-born young one
will rise out of her ashes! We ourselves, restricted to the duty of
Indicator, shall forbear commentary. Meanwhile, will not the judicious
reader shake his head, and reproachfully, yet more in sorrow than in
anger, say or think: From a _Doctor utriusque Juris_, titular
Professor in a University, and man to whom hitherto, for his services,
Society, bad as she is, has given not only food and raiment (of a
kind), but books, tobacco and gukguk, we expected more gratitude to
his benefactress; and less of a blind trust in the future, which
resembles that rather of a philosophical Fatalist and Enthusiast, than
of a solid householder paying scot-and-lot in a Christian country.



As mentioned above, Teufelsdröckh, though a sansculottist, is in
practice probably the politest man extant: his whole heart and life
are penetrated and informed with the spirit of politeness; a noble
natural Courtesy shines through him, beautifying his vagaries; like
sunlight, making a rosy-fingered, rainbow-dyed Aurora out of mere
aqueous clouds; nay brightening London-smoke itself into gold vapour,
as from the crucible of an alchemist. Hear in what earnest though
fantastic wise he expresses himself on this head:

'Shall Courtesy be done only to the rich, and only by the rich? In
Good-breeding, which differs, if at all, from High-breeding, only as
it gracefully remembers the rights of others, rather than gracefully
insists on its own rights, I discern no special connexion with wealth
or birth: but rather that it lies in human nature itself, and is due
from all men towards all men. Of a truth, were your Schoolmaster at
his post, and worth anything when there, this, with so much else,
would be reformed. Nay, each man were then also his neighbour's
schoolmaster; till at length a rude-visaged, unmannered Peasant could
no more be met with, than a Peasant unacquainted with botanical
Physiology, or who felt not that the clod he broke was created in

'For whether thou bear a sceptre or a sledgehammer, art thou not
ALIVE; is not this thy brother ALIVE? "There is but one temple in the
world," says Novalis, "and that temple is the Body of Man. Nothing is
holier than this high Form. Bending before men is a reverence done to
this Revelation in the Flesh. We touch Heaven, when we lay our hands
on a human Body."

'On which ground, I would fain carry it farther than most do; and
whereas the English Johnson only bowed to every Clergyman, or man with
a shovel-hat, I would bow to every Man with any sort of hat, or with
no hat whatever. Is not he a Temple, then; the visible Manifestation
and Impersonation of the Divinity? And yet, alas, such indiscriminate
bowing serves not. For there is a Devil dwells in man, as well as a
Divinity; and too often the bow is but pocketed by the _former_. It
would go to the pocket of Vanity (which is your clearest phasis of the
Devil, in these times); therefore must we withhold it.

'The gladder am I, on the other hand, to do reverence to those Shells
and outer Husks of the Body, wherein no devilish passion any longer
lodges, but only the pure emblem and effigies of Man: I mean, to
Empty, or even to Cast Clothes. Nay, is it not to Clothes that most
men do reverence: to the fine frogged broadcloth, nowise to the
"straddling animal with bandy legs" which it holds, and makes a
Dignitary of? Who ever saw any Lord my-lorded in tattered blanket
fastened with wooden skewer? Nevertheless, I say, there is in such
worship a shade of hypocrisy, a practical deception: for how often
does the Body appropriate what was meant for the Cloth only! Whoso
would avoid falsehood, which is the essence of all Sin, will perhaps
see good to take a different course. That reverence which cannot act
without obstruction and perversion when the Clothes are full, may have
free course when they are empty. Even as, for Hindoo Worshippers, the
Pagoda is not less sacred than the God; so do I too worship the hollow
cloth Garment with equal fervour, as when it contained the Man: nay,
with more, for I now fear no deception, of myself or of others.

'Did not King _Toomtabard_, or, in other words, John Baliol, reign
long over Scotland; the man John Baliol being quite gone, and only the
"Toom Tabard" (Empty Gown) remaining? What still dignity dwells in a
suit of Cast Clothes! How meekly it bears its honours! No haughty
looks, no scornful gesture: silent and serene, it fronts the world;
neither demanding worship, nor afraid to miss it. The Hat still
carries the physiognomy of its Head: but the vanity and the stupidity,
and goose-speech which was the sign of these two, are gone. The
Coat-arm is stretched out, but not to strike; the Breeches, in modest
simplicity, depend at ease, and now at last have a graceful flow; the
Waistcoat hides no evil passion, no riotous desire; hunger or thirst
now dwells not in it. Thus all is purged from the grossness of sense,
from the carking cares and foul vices of the World; and rides there,
on its Clothes-horse; as, on a Pegasus, might some skyey Messenger, or
purified Apparition, visiting our low Earth.

'Often, while I sojourned in that monstrous tuberosity of Civilised
Life, the Capital of England; and meditated, and questioned Destiny,
under that ink-sea of vapour, black, thick, and multifarious as
Spartan broth; and was one lone soul amid those grinding
millions;--often have I turned into their Old-Clothes Market to
worship. With awe-struck heart I walk through that Monmouth Street,
with its empty Suits, as through a Sanhedrim of stainless Ghosts.
Silent are they, but expressive in their silence: the past witnesses
and instruments of Woe and Joy, of Passions, Virtues, Crimes, and all
the fathomless tumult of Good and Evil in "the Prison men call Life."
Friends! trust not the heart of that man for whom Old Clothes are not
venerable. Watch, too, with reverence, that bearded Jewish
High-priest, who with hoarse voice, like some Angel of Doom, summons
them from the four winds! On his head, like the Pope, he has three
Hats,--a real triple tiara; on either hand are the similitude of
wings, whereon the summoned Garments come to alight; and ever, as he
slowly cleaves the air, sounds forth his deep fateful note, as if
through a trumpet he were proclaiming: "Ghosts of Life, come to
Judgment!" Reck not, ye fluttering Ghosts: he will purify you in his
Purgatory, with fire and with water; and, one day, new-created ye
shall reappear. O, let him in whom the flame of Devotion is ready to
go out, who has never worshipped, and knows not what to worship, pace
and repace, with austerest thought, the pavement of Monmouth Street,
and say whether his heart and his eyes still continue dry. If Field
Lane, with its long fluttering rows of yellow handkerchiefs, be a
Dionysius' Ear, where, in stifled jarring hubbub, we hear the
Indictment which Poverty and Vice bring against lazy Wealth, that it
has left them there cast-out and trodden under foot of Want, Darkness
and the Devil,--then is Monmouth Street a Mirza's Hill, where, in
motley vision, the whole Pageant of Existence passes awfully before
us; with its wail and jubilee, mad loves and mad hatreds, church-bells
and gallows-ropes, farce-tragedy, beast-godhood,--the Bedlam of

       *       *       *       *       *

To most men, as it does to ourselves, all this will seem overcharged.
We too have walked through Monmouth Street; but with little feeling of
'Devotion': probably in part because the contemplative process is so
fatally broken in upon by the brood of money-changers who nestle in that
Church, and importune the worshipper with merely secular proposals.
Whereas Teufelsdröckh might be in that happy middle state, which
leaves to the Clothes-broker no hope either of sale or of purchase,
and so be allowed to linger there without molestation.--Something we
would have given to see the little philosophical figure, with its
steeple-hat and loose flowing skirts, and eyes in a fine frenzy,
'pacing and repacing in austerest thought' that foolish Street; which
to him was a true Delphic avenue, and supernatural Whispering-gallery,
where the 'Ghosts of Life' rounded strange secrets in his ear. O thou
philosophic Teufelsdröckh, that listenest while others only gabble,
and with thy quick tympanum hearest the grass grow!

At the same time, is it not strange that, in Paper-bag Documents
destined for an English work, there exists nothing like an authentic
diary of this his sojourn in London; and of his Meditations among the
Clothes-shops only the obscurest emblematic shadows? Neither, in
conversation (for, indeed, he was not a man to pester you with his
Travels), have we heard him more than allude to the subject.

For the rest, however, it cannot be uninteresting that we here find
how early the significance of Clothes had dawned on the now so
distinguished Clothes-Professor. Might we but fancy it to have been
even in Monmouth Street, at the bottom of our own English 'ink-sea,'
that this remarkable Volume first took being, and shot forth its
salient point in his soul,--as in Chaos did the Egg of Eros, one day
to be hatched into a Universe!



For us, who happen to live while the World-Phoenix is burning herself,
and burning so slowly that, as Teufelsdröckh calculates, it were a
handsome bargain would she engage to have done 'within two centuries,'
there seems to lie but an ashy prospect. Not altogether so, however,
does the Professor figure it. 'In the living subject,' says he,
'change is wont to be gradual: thus, while the serpent sheds its old
skin, the new is already formed beneath. Little knowest thou of the
burning of a World-Phoenix, who fanciest that she must first burn-out,
and lie as a dead cinereous heap; and therefrom the young one start-up
by miracle, and fly heavenward. Far otherwise! In that Fire-whirlwind,
Creation and Destruction proceed together; ever as the ashes of the
Old are blown about, do organic filaments of the New mysteriously spin
themselves: and amid the rushing and the waving of the
Whirlwind-Element come tones of a melodious Deathsong, which end not
but in tones of a more melodious Birthsong. Nay, look into the
Fire-whirlwind with thy own eyes, and thou wilt see.' Let us actually
look, then: to poor individuals, who cannot expect to live two
centuries, those same organic filaments, mysteriously spinning
themselves, will be the best part of the spectacle. First, therefore,
this of Mankind in general:

'In vain thou deniest it,' says the Professor; 'thou _art_ my Brother.
Thy very Hatred, thy very Envy, those foolish lies thou tellest of me
in thy splenetic humour: what is all this but an inverted Sympathy?
Were I a Steam-engine, wouldst thou take the trouble to tell lies of
me? Not thou! I should grind all unheeded, whether badly or well.

'Wondrous truly are the bonds that unite us one and all; whether by
the soft binding of Love, or the iron chaining of Necessity, as we
like to choose it. More than once have I said to myself, of some
perhaps whimsically strutting Figure, such as provokes whimsical
thoughts: "Wert thou, my little Brotherkin, suddenly covered-up within
the largest imaginable Glass-bell,--what a thing it were, not for
thyself only, but for the world! Post Letters, more or fewer, from all
the four winds, impinge against thy Glass walls, but have to drop
unread: neither from within comes there question or response into any
Postbag; thy Thoughts fall into no friendly ear or heart, thy
Manufacture into no purchasing hand: thou art no longer a circulating
venous-arterial Heart, that, taking and giving, circulatest through
all Space and all Time: there has a Hole fallen-out in the
immeasurable, universal World-tissue, which must be darned-up again!"

'Such venous-arterial circulation, of Letters, verbal Messages, paper
and other Packages, going out from him and coming in, are a
blood-circulation, visible to the eye: but the finer nervous
circulation, by which all things, the minutest that he does, minutely
influence all men, and the very look of his face blesses or curses
whomso it lights on, and so generates ever new blessing or new
cursing: all this you cannot see, but only imagine. I say, there is
not a red Indian, hunting by Lake Winnipic, can quarrel with his
squaw, but the whole world must smart for it: will not the price of
beaver rise? It is a mathematical fact that the casting of this pebble
from my hand alters the centre of gravity of the Universe.

'If now an existing generation of men stand so woven together, not
less indissolubly does generation with generation. Hast thou ever
meditated on that word, Tradition: how we inherit not Life only, but
all the garniture and form of Life; and work, and speak, and even
think and feel, as our Fathers, and primeval grandfathers, from the
beginning, have given it us?--Who printed thee, for example, this
unpretending Volume on the Philosophy of Clothes? Not the Herren
Stillschweigen and Company; but Cadmus of Thebes, Faust of Mentz, and
innumerable others whom thou knowest not. Had there been no
Moesogothic Ulfila, there had been no English Shakspeare, or a
different one. Simpleton! it was Tubalcain that made thy very Tailor's
needle, and sewed that court-suit of thine.

'Yes, truly; if Nature is one, and a living indivisible whole, much
more is Mankind, the Image that reflects and creates Nature, without
which Nature were not. As palpable life-streams in that wondrous
Individual Mankind, among so many life-streams that are not palpable,
flow on those main-currents of what we call Opinion; as preserved in
Institutions, Polities, Churches, above all in Books. Beautiful it is
to understand and know that a Thought did never yet die; that as thou,
the originator thereof, hast gathered it and created it from the whole
Past, so thou wilt transmit it to the whole Future. It is thus that
the heroic heart, the seeing eye of the first times, still feels and
sees in us of the latest; that the Wise Man stands ever encompassed,
and spiritually embraced, by a cloud of witnesses and brothers; and
there is a living, literal _Communion of Saints_, wide as the World
itself, and as the History of the World.

'Noteworthy also, and serviceable for the progress of this same
Individual, wilt thou find his subdivision into Generations.
Generations are as the Days of toilsome Mankind: Death and Birth are
the vesper and the matin bells, that summon Mankind to sleep, and to
rise refreshed for new advancement. What the Father has made, the Son
can make and enjoy; but has also work of his own appointed him. Thus
all things wax, and roll onwards; Arts, Establishments, Opinions,
nothing is completed, but ever completing. Newton has learned to see
what Kepler saw; but there is also a fresh heaven-derived force in
Newton; he must mount to still higher points of vision. So too the
Hebrew Lawgiver is, in due time, followed by an Apostle of the
Gentiles. In the business of Destruction, as this also is from time to
time a necessary work, thou findest a like sequence and perseverance:
for Luther it was as yet hot enough to stand by that burning of the
Pope's Bull; Voltaire could not warm himself at the glimmering ashes,
but required quite other fuel. Thus likewise, I note, the English Whig
has, in the second generation, become an English Radical; who, in the
third again, it is to be hoped, will become an English Rebuilder. Find
Mankind where thou wilt, thou findest it in living movement, in
progress faster or slower: the Phoenix soars aloft, hovers with
outstretched wings, filling Earth with her music; or, as now, she
sinks, and with spheral swan-song immolates herself in flame, that she
may soar the higher and sing the clearer.'

Let the friends of social order, in such a disastrous period, lay this
to heart, and derive from it any little comfort they can. We subjoin
another passage, concerning Titles:

'Remark, not without surprise,' says Teufelsdröckh, 'how all high
Titles of Honour come hitherto from fighting. Your _Herzog_ (Duke,
_Dux_) is Leader of Armies; your Earl (_Jarl_) is Strong Man; your
Marshal cavalry Horse-shoer. A Millennium, or reign of Peace and
Wisdom, having from of old been prophesied, and becoming now daily
more and more indubitable, may it not be apprehended that such
Fighting-titles will cease to be palatable, and new and higher need to
be devised?

'The only Title wherein I, with confidence, trace eternity, is that of
King. _König_ (King), anciently _Könning_, means Ken-ning (Cunning),
or which is the same thing, Can-ning. Ever must the Sovereign of
Mankind be fitly entitled King.'

'Well, also,' says he elsewhere, 'was it written by Theologians: a
King rules by divine right. He carries in him an authority from God,
or man will never give it him. Can I choose my own King? I can choose
my own King Popinjay, and play what farce or tragedy I may with him:
but he who is to be my Ruler, whose will is to be higher than my will,
was chosen for me in Heaven. Neither except in such Obedience to the
Heaven-chosen is Freedom so much as conceivable.'

       *       *       *       *       *

The Editor will here admit that, among all the wondrous provinces of
Teufelsdröckh's spiritual world, there is none he walks in with such
astonishment, hesitation, and even pain, as in the Political. How,
with our English love of Ministry and Opposition, and that generous
conflict of Parties, mind warming itself against mind in their mutual
wrestle for the Public Good, by which wrestle, indeed, is our
invaluable Constitution kept warm and alive; how shall we domesticate
ourselves in this spectral Necropolis, or rather City both of the Dead
and of the Unborn, where the Present seems little other than an
inconsiderable Film dividing the Past and the Future? In those dim
longdrawn expanses, all is so immeasurable; much so disastrous,
ghastly; your very radiances and straggling light-beams have a
supernatural character. And then with such an indifference, such a
prophetic peacefulness (accounting the inevitably coming as already
here, to him all one whether it be distant by centuries or only by
days), does he sit;--and live, you would say, rather in any other age
than in his own! It is our painful duty to announce, or repeat, that,
looking into this man, we discern a deep, silent, slow-burning,
inextinguishable Radicalism, such as fills us with shuddering

Thus, for example, he appears to make little even of the Elective
Franchise; at least so we interpret the following: 'Satisfy
yourselves,' he says, 'by universal, indubitable experiment, even as
ye are now doing or will do, whether FREEDOM, heavenborn and leading
heavenward, and so vitally essential for us all, cannot peradventure
be mechanically hatched and brought to light in that same Ballot-Box
of yours; or at worst, in some other discoverable or devisable Box,
Edifice, or Steam-mechanism. It were a mighty convenience; and beyond
all feats of manufacture witnessed hitherto.' Is Teufelsdröckh
acquainted with the British Constitution, even slightly?--He says,
under another figure: 'But after all, were the problem, as indeed it
now everywhere is, To rebuild your old House from the top downwards
(since you must live in it the while), what better, what other, than
the Representative Machine will serve your turn? Meanwhile, however,
mock me not with the name of Free, "when you have but knit-up my
chains into ornamental festoons."'--Or what will any member of the
Peace Society make of such an assertion as this: 'The lower people
everywhere desire War. Not so unwisely; there is then a demand for
lower people--to be shot!'

Gladly, therefore, do we emerge from those soul-confusing labyrinths
of speculative Radicalism, into somewhat clearer regions. Here,
looking round, as was our hest, for 'organic filaments,' we ask, may
not this, touching 'Hero-worship,' be of the number? It seems of a
cheerful character; yet so quaint, so mystical, one knows not what, or
how little, may lie under it. Our readers shall look with their own

'True is it that, in these days, man can do almost all things, only
not obey. True likewise that whoso cannot obey cannot be free, still
less bear rule; he that is the inferior of nothing, can be the
superior of nothing, the equal of nothing. Nevertheless, believe not
that man has lost his faculty of Reverence; that if it slumber in him,
it has gone dead. Painful for man is that same rebellious
Independence, when it has become inevitable; only in loving
companionship with his fellows does he feel safe; only in reverently
bowing down before the Higher does he feel himself exalted.

'Or what if the character of our so troublous Era lay even in this:
that man had forever cast away Fear, which is the lower; but not yet
risen into perennial Reverence, which is the higher and highest?

'Meanwhile, observe with joy, so cunningly has Nature ordered it, that
whatsoever man ought to obey, he cannot but obey. Before no faintest
revelation of the Godlike did he ever stand irreverent; least of all,
when the Godlike showed itself revealed in his fellow-man. Thus is
there a true religious Loyalty forever rooted in his heart; nay in all
ages, even in ours, it manifests itself as a more or less orthodox
_Hero-worship_. In which fact, that Hero-worship exists, has existed,
and will forever exist, universally among Mankind, mayest thou discern
the corner-stone of living-rock, whereon all Polities for the remotest
time may stand secure.'

Do our readers discern any such corner-stone, or even so much as what
Teufelsdröckh is looking at? He exclaims, 'Or hast thou forgotten
Paris and Voltaire? How the aged, withered man, though but a Sceptic,
Mocker, and millinery Court-poet, yet because even he seemed the
Wisest, Best, could drag mankind at his chariot-wheels, so that
princes coveted a smile from him, and the loveliest of France would
have laid their hair beneath his feet! All Paris was one vast Temple
of Hero-worship; though their Divinity, moreover, was of feature too

'But if such things,' continues he, 'were done in the dry tree, what
will be done in the green? If, in the most parched season of Man's
History, in the most parched spot of Europe, when Parisian life was at
best but a scientific _Hortus Siccus_, bedizened with some Italian
Gumflowers, such virtue could come out of it; what is to be looked for
when Life again waves leafy and bloomy, and your Hero-Divinity shall
have nothing apelike, but be wholly human? Know that there is in man a
quite indestructible Reverence for whatsoever holds of Heaven, or even
plausibly counterfeits such holding. Show the dullest clodpole, show
the haughtiest featherhead, that a soul higher than himself is
actually here; were his knees stiffened into brass, he must down and

Organic filaments, of a more authentic sort, mysteriously spinning
themselves, some will perhaps discover in the following passage:

'There is no Church, sayest thou? The voice of Prophecy has gone dumb?
This is even what I dispute: but in any case, hast thou not still
Preaching enough? A Preaching Friar settles himself in every village;
and builds a pulpit, which he calls Newspaper. Therefrom he preaches
what most momentous doctrine is in him, for man's salvation; and dost
not thou listen, and believe? Look well, thou seest everywhere a new
Clergy of the Mendicant Orders, some bare-footed, some almost
bare-backed, fashion itself into shape, and teach and preach,
zealously enough, for copper alms and the love of God. These break in
pieces the ancient idols; and, though themselves too often reprobate,
as idol-breakers are wont to be, mark out the sites of new Churches,
where the true God-ordained, that are to follow, may find audience,
and minister. Said I not, Before the old skin was shed, the new had
formed itself beneath it?'

Perhaps also in the following; wherewith we now hasten to knit-up this
ravelled sleeve:

'But there is no Religion?' reiterates the Professor. 'Fool! I tell
thee, there is. Hast thou well considered all that lies in this
immeasurable froth-ocean we name LITERATURE? Fragments of a genuine
Church-_Homiletic_ lie scattered there, which Time will assort: nay
fractions even of a _Liturgy_ could I point out. And knowest thou no
Prophet, even in the vesture, environment, and dialect of this age?
None to whom the God-like had revealed itself, through all meanest and
highest forms of the Common; and by him been again prophetically
revealed: in whose inspired melody, even in these rag-gathering and
rag-burning days, Man's Life again begins, were it but afar off, to be
divine? Knowest thou none such? I know him, and name him--Goethe.

'But thou as yet standest in no Temple; joinest in no Psalm-worship;
feelest well that, where there is no ministering Priest, the people
perish? Be of comfort! Thou art not alone, if thou have Faith. Spake
we not of a Communion of Saints, unseen, yet not unreal, accompanying
and brother-like embracing thee, so thou be worthy? Their heroic
Sufferings rise up melodiously together to Heaven, out of all lands,
and out of all times, as a sacred _Miserere_; their heroic Actions
also, as a boundless everlasting Psalm of Triumph. Neither say that
thou hast now no Symbol of the Godlike. Is not God's Universe a Symbol
of the Godlike; is not Immensity a Temple; is not Man's History, and
Men's History, a perpetual Evangel? Listen, and for organ-music thou
wilt ever, as of old, hear the Morning Stars sing together.'



It is in his stupendous Section, headed _Natural Supernaturalism_,
that the Professor first becomes a Seer; and, after long effort, such
as we have witnessed, finally subdues under his feet this refractory
Clothes-Philosophy, and takes victorious possession thereof. Phantasms
enough he has had to struggle with; 'Cloth-webs and Cob-webs,' of
Imperial Mantles, Superannuated Symbols, and what not: yet still did
he courageously pierce through. Nay, worst of all, two quite
mysterious, world-embracing Phantasms, TIME and SPACE, have ever
hovered round him, perplexing and bewildering: but with these also he
now resolutely grapples, these also he victoriously rends asunder. In
a word, he has looked fixedly on Existence, till, one after the other,
its earthly hulls and garnitures have all melted away; and now, to his
rapt vision, the interior celestial Holy of Holies lies disclosed.

Here, therefore, properly it is that the Philosophy of Clothes attains
to Transcendentalism; this last leap, can we but clear it, takes us
safe into the promised land, where _Palingenesia_, in all senses, may
be considered as beginning. 'Courage, then!' may our Diogenes exclaim,
with better right than Diogenes the First once did. This stupendous
Section we, after long painful meditation, have found not to be
unintelligible; but, on the contrary, to grow clear, nay radiant, and
all-illuminating. Let the reader, turning on it what utmost force of
speculative intellect is in him, do his part; as we, by judicious
selection and adjustment, shall study to do ours:

'Deep has been, and is, the significance of Miracles,' thus quietly
begins the Professor; 'far deeper perhaps than we imagine. Meanwhile,
the question of questions were: What specially is a Miracle? To that
Dutch King of Siam, an icicle had been a miracle; whoso had carried
with him an air-pump, and vial of vitriolic ether, might have worked a
miracle. To my Horse, again, who unhappily is still more unscientific,
do not I work a miracle, and magical "_Open sesame!_" every time I
please to pay twopence, and open for him an impassable _Schlagbaum_,
or shut Turnpike?

'"But is not a real Miracle simply a violation of the Laws of Nature?"
ask several. Whom I answer by this new question: What are the Laws of
Nature? To me perhaps the rising of one from the dead were no
violation of these Laws, but a confirmation; were some far deeper Law,
now first penetrated into, and by Spiritual Force, even as the rest
have all been, brought to bear on us with its Material Force.

'Here too may some inquire, not without astonishment: On what ground
shall one, that can make Iron swim, come and declare that therefore he
can teach Religion? To us, truly, of the Nineteenth Century, such
declaration were inept enough; which nevertheless to our fathers, of
the First Century, was full of meaning.

'"But is it not the deepest Law of Nature that she be constant?" cries
an illuminated class: "Is not the Machine of the Universe fixed to
move by unalterable rules?" Probable enough, good friends: nay I, too,
must believe that the God, whom ancient inspired men assert to be
"without variableness or shadow of turning," does indeed never change;
that Nature, that the Universe, which no one whom it so pleases can be
prevented from calling a Machine, does move by the most unalterable
rules. And now of you, too, I make the old inquiry: What those same
unalterable rules, forming the complete Statute-Book of Nature, may
possibly be?

'They stand written in our Works of Science, say you; in the
accumulated records of Man's Experience?--Was Man with his Experience
present at the Creation, then, to see how it all went on? Have any
deepest scientific individuals yet dived-down to the foundations of the
Universe, and gauged everything there? Did the Maker take them into His
counsel; that they read His groundplan of the incomprehensible All; and
can say, This stands marked therein, and no more than this? Alas, not
in anywise! These scientific individuals have been nowhere but where we
also are; have seen some handbreadths deeper than we see into the Deep
that is infinite, without bottom as without shore.

'Laplace's Book on the Stars, wherein he exhibits that certain
Planets, with their Satellites, gyrate round our worthy Sun, at a rate
and in a course, which, by greatest good fortune, he and the like of
him have succeeded in detecting,--is to me as precious as to another.
But is this what thou namest "Mechanism of the Heavens," and "System
of the World"; this, wherein Sirius and the Pleiades, and all
Herschel's Fifteen-thousand Suns per minute, being left out, some
paltry handful of Moons, and inert Balls, had been--looked at,
nicknamed, and marked in the Zodiacal Way-bill; so that we can now
prate of their Whereabout; their How, their Why, their What, being hid
from us, as in the signless Inane?

'System of Nature! To the wisest man, wide as is his vision, Nature
remains of quite _infinite_ depth, of quite infinite expansion; and
all Experience thereof limits itself to some few computed centuries
and measured square-miles. The course of Nature's phases, on this our
little fraction of a Planet, is partially known to us: but who knows
what deeper courses these depend on; what infinitely larger Cycle (of
causes) our little Epicycle revolves on? To the Minnow every cranny
and pebble, and quality and accident, of its little native Creek may
have become familiar: but does the Minnow understand the Ocean Tides
and periodic Currents, the Trade-winds, and Monsoons, and Moon's
Eclipses; by all which the condition of its little Creek is regulated,
and may, from time to time (_un_miraculously enough), be quite overset
and reversed? Such a Minnow is Man; his Creek this Planet Earth; his
Ocean the immeasurable All; his Monsoons and periodic Currents the
mysterious Course of Providence through Æons of Æons.

'We speak of the Volume of Nature: and truly a Volume it is,--whose
Author and Writer is God. To read it! Dost thou, does man, so much as
well know the Alphabet thereof? With its Words, Sentences, and grand
descriptive Pages, poetical and philosophical, spread out through
Solar Systems, and Thousands of Years, we shall not try thee. It is a
Volume written in celestial hieroglyphs, in the true Sacred-writing;
of which even Prophets are happy that they can read here a line and
there a line. As for your Institutes, and Academies of Science, they
strive bravely; and, from amid the thick-crowded, inextricably
intertwisted hieroglyphic writing, pick-out, by dextrous combination,
some Letters in the vulgar Character, and therefrom put together this
and the other economic Recipe, of high avail in Practice. That Nature
is more than some boundless Volume of such Recipes, or huge, well-nigh
inexhaustible Domestic-Cookery Book, of which the whole secret will in
this manner one day evolve itself, the fewest dream.

       *       *       *       *       *

'Custom,' continues the Professor, 'doth make dotards of us all.
Consider well, thou wilt find that Custom is the greatest of Weavers;
and weaves air-raiment for all the Spirits of the Universe; whereby
indeed these dwell with us visibly, as ministering servants, in our
houses and workshops; but their spiritual nature becomes, to the most,
forever hidden. Philosophy complains that Custom has hoodwinked us,
from the first; that we do everything by Custom, even Believe by it;
that our very Axioms, let us boast of Free-thinking as we may, are
oftenest simply such Beliefs as we have never heard questioned. Nay,
what is Philosophy throughout but a continual battle against Custom;
an ever-renewed effort to _transcend_ the sphere of blind Custom, and
so become Transcendental?

'Innumerable are the illusions and legerdemain-tricks of Custom: but
of all these, perhaps the cleverest is her knack of persuading us that
the Miraculous, by simple repetition, ceases to be Miraculous. True,
it is by this means we live; for man must work as well as wonder: and
herein is Custom so far a kind nurse, guiding him to his true benefit.
But she is a fond foolish nurse, or rather we are false foolish
nurslings, when, in our resting and reflecting hours, we prolong the
same deception. Am I to view the Stupendous with stupid indifference,
because I have seen it twice, or two-hundred, or two-million times?
There is no reason in Nature or in Art why I should: unless, indeed, I
am a mere Work-Machine, for whom the divine gift of Thought were no
other than the terrestrial gift of Steam is to the Steam-engine; a
power whereby Cotton might be spun, and money and money's worth

'Notable enough too, here as elsewhere, wilt thou find the potency of
Names; which indeed are but one kind of such custom-woven,
wonder-hiding Garments. Witchcraft, and all manner of Spectre-work,
and Demonology, we have now named Madness and Diseases of the Nerves.
Seldom reflecting that still the new question comes upon us: What is
Madness, what are Nerves? Ever, as before, does Madness remain a
mysterious-terrific, altogether _infernal_ boiling-up of the Nether
Chaotic Deep, through this fair-painted Vision of Creation, which
swims thereon, which we name the Real. Was Luther's Picture of the
Devil less a Reality, whether it were formed within the bodily eye, or
without it? In every the wisest Soul lies a whole world of internal
Madness, an authentic Demon Empire; out of which, indeed, his world of
Wisdom has been creatively built together, and now rests there, as on
its dark foundations does a habitable flowery Earth-rind.

       *       *       *       *       *

'But deepest of all illusory Appearances, for hiding Wonder, as for
many other ends, are your two grand fundamental world-enveloping
Appearances, SPACE and TIME. These, as spun and woven for us from
before Birth itself, to clothe our celestial ME for dwelling here, and
yet to blind it,--lie all embracing, as the universal canvas, or warp
and woof, whereby all minor Illusions, in this Phantasm Existence,
weave and paint themselves. In vain, while here on Earth, shall you
endeavour to strip them off; you can, at best, but rend them asunder
for moments, and look through.

'Fortunatus had a wishing Hat, which when he put on, and wished
himself Anywhere, behold he was There. By this means had Fortunatus
triumphed over Space, he had annihilated Space; for him there was no
Where, but all was Here. Were a Hatter to establish himself, in the
Wahngasse of Weissnichtwo, and make felts of this sort for all
mankind, what a world we should have of it! Still stranger, should, on
the opposite side of the street, another Hatter establish himself; and
as his fellow-craftsman made Space-annihilating Hats, make
Time-annihilating! Of both would I purchase, were it with my last
groschen; but chiefly of this latter. To clap-on your felt, and,
simply by wishing that you were Any_where_, straightway to be _There_!
Next to clap-on your other felt, and, simply by wishing that you were
Any_when_, straightway to be _Then_! This were indeed the grander:
shooting at will from the Fire-Creation of the World to its
Fire-Consummation; here historically present in the First Century,
conversing face to face with Paul and Seneca; there prophetically in
the Thirty-first, conversing also face to face with other Pauls and
Senecas, who as yet stand hidden in the depth of that late Time!

'Or thinkest thou it were impossible, unimaginable? Is the Past
annihilated, then, or only past; is the Future non-extant, or only
future? Those mystic faculties of thine, Memory and Hope, already
answer: already through those mystic avenues, thou the Earth-blinded
summonest both Past and Future, and communest with them, though as yet
darkly, and with mute beckonings. The curtains of Yesterday drop down,
the curtains of Tomorrow roll up; but Yesterday and Tomorrow both
_are_. Pierce through the Time-element, glance into the Eternal.
Believe what thou findest written in the sanctuaries of Man's Soul,
even as all Thinkers, in all ages, have devoutly read it there: that
Time and Space are not God, but creations of God: that with God as it
is a universal HERE, so is it an everlasting NOW.

'And seest thou therein any glimpse of IMMORTALITY?--O Heaven! Is the
white Tomb of our Loved One, who died from our arms, and had to be
left behind us there, which rises in the distance, like a pale,
mournfully receding Milestone, to tell how many toilsome uncheered
miles we have journeyed on alone,--but a pale spectral Illusion! Is
the lost Friend still mysteriously Here, even as we are Here
mysteriously, with God!--Know of a truth that only the Time-shadows
have perished, or are perishable; that the real Being of whatever was,
and whatever is, and whatever will be, _is_ even now and forever.
This, should it unhappily seem new, thou mayest ponder at thy leisure;
for the next twenty years, or the next twenty centuries: believe it
thou must; understand it thou canst not.

'That the Thought-forms, Space and Time, wherein, once for all, we are
sent into this Earth to live, should condition and determine our whole
Practical reasonings, conceptions, and imagines or imaginings,--seems
altogether fit, just, and unavoidable. But that they should,
furthermore, usurp such sway over pure spiritual Meditation, and blind
us to the wonder everywhere lying close on us, seems nowise so. Admit
Space and Time to their due rank as Forms of Thought; nay even, if
thou wilt, to their quite undue rank of Realities: and consider, then,
with thyself how their thin disguises hide from us the brightest
God-effulgences! Thus, were it not miraculous, could I stretch forth
my hand and clutch the Sun? Yet thou seest me daily stretch forth my
hand and therewith clutch many a thing, and swing it hither and
thither. Art thou a grown baby, then, to fancy that the Miracle lies
in miles of distance, or in pounds avoirdupois of weight; and not to
see that the true inexplicable God-revealing Miracle lies in this,
that I can stretch forth my hand at all; that I have free Force to
clutch aught therewith? Innumerable other of this sort are the
deceptions, and wonder-hiding stupefactions, which Space practises on

'Still worse is it with regard to Time. Your grand anti-magician, and
universal wonder-hider, is this same lying Time. Had we but the
Time-annihilating Hat, to put on for once only, we should see
ourselves in a World of Miracles, wherein all fabled or authentic
Thaumaturgy, and feats of Magic, were outdone. But unhappily we have
not such a Hat; and man, poor fool that he is, can seldom and scantily
help himself without one.

'Were it not wonderful, for instance, had Orpheus, or Amphion, built
the walls of Thebes by the mere sound of his Lyre? Yet tell me, Who
built these walls of Weissnichtwo; summoning-out all the sandstone
rocks, to dance along from the _Steinbruch_ (now a huge Troglodyte
Chasm, with frightful green-mantled pools); and shape themselves into
Doric and Ionic pillars, squared ashlar houses and noble streets? Was
it not the still higher Orpheus, or Orpheuses, who, in past centuries,
by the divine Music of Wisdom, succeeded in civilising Man? Our
highest Orpheus walked in Judea, eighteen hundred years ago: his
sphere-melody, flowing in wild native tones, took captive the ravished
souls of men; and, being of a truth sphere-melody, still flows and
sounds, though now with thousandfold accompaniments, and rich
symphonies, through all our hearts; and modulates, and divinely leads
them. Is that a wonder, which happens in two hours; and does it cease
to be wonderful if happening in two million? Not only was Thebes built
by the music of an Orpheus; but without the music of some inspired
Orpheus was no city ever built, no work that man glories-in ever done.

'Sweep away the Illusion of Time; glance, if thou hast eyes, from the
near moving-cause to its far-distant Mover: The stroke that came
transmitted through a whole galaxy of elastic balls, was it less a
stroke than if the last ball only had been struck, and sent flying? O,
could I (with the Time-annihilating Hat) transport thee direct from
the Beginnings to the Endings, how were thy eyesight unsealed, and thy
heart set flaming in the Light-sea of celestial wonder! Then sawest
thou that this fair Universe, were it in the meanest province thereof,
is in very deed the star-domed City of God; that through every star,
through every grass-blade, and most through every Living Soul, the
glory of a present God still beams. But Nature, which is the
Time-vesture of God, and reveals Him to the wise, hides Him from the

'Again, could anything be more miraculous than an actual authentic
Ghost? The English Johnson longed, all his life, to see one; but could
not, though he went to Cock Lane, and thence to the church-vaults, and
tapped on coffins. Foolish Doctor! Did he never, with the mind's eye
as well as with the body's, look round him into that full tide of
human Life he so loved; did he never so much as look into Himself? The
good Doctor was a Ghost, as actual and authentic as heart could wish;
well-nigh a million of Ghosts were travelling the streets by his side.
Once more I say, sweep away the illusion of Time; compress the
threescore years into three minutes: what else was he, what else are
we? Are we not Spirits, that are shaped into a body, into an
Appearance; and that fade-away again into air and Invisibility? This
is no metaphor, it is a simple scientific _fact_: we start out of
Nothingness, take figure, and are Apparitions; round us, as round the
veriest spectre, is Eternity; and to Eternity minutes are as years and
æons. Come there not tones of Love and Faith, as from celestial
harp-strings, like the Song of beautified Souls? And again, do not we
squeak and jibber (in our discordant, screech-owlish debatings and
recriminatings); and glide bodeful, and feeble, and fearful; or uproar
(_poltern_), and revel in our mad Dance of the Dead,--till the scent
of the morning air summons us to our still Home; and dreamy Night
becomes awake and Day? Where now is Alexander of Macedon: does the
steel Host, that yelled in fierce battle-shouts at Issus and Arbela,
remain behind him; or have they all vanished utterly, even as
perturbed Goblins must? Napoleon too, and his Moscow Retreats and
Austerlitz Campaigns! Was it all other than the veriest Spectre-hunt;
which has now, with its howling tumult that made Night hideous,
flitted away?--Ghosts! There are nigh a thousand-million walking the
Earth openly at noontide; some half-hundred have vanished from it,
some half-hundred have arisen in it, ere thy watch ticks once.

'O Heaven, it is mysterious, it is awful to consider that we not only
carry each a future Ghost within him; but are, in very deed, Ghosts!
These Limbs, whence had we them; this stormy Force; this life-blood
with its burning Passion? They are dust and shadow; a Shadow-system
gathered round our ME; wherein, through some moments or years, the
Divine Essence is to be revealed in the Flesh. That warrior on his
strong war-horse, fire flashes through his eyes; force dwells in his
arm and heart: but warrior and war-horse are a vision; a revealed
Force, nothing more. Stately they tread the Earth, as if it were a
firm substance: fool! the earth is but a film; it cracks in twain, and
warrior and war-horse sink beyond plummet's sounding. Plummet's?
Fantasy herself will not follow them. A little while ago, they were
not; a little while, and they are not, their very ashes are not.

'So has it been from the beginning, so will it be to the end.
Generation after generation takes to itself the Form of a Body; and
forth-issuing from Cimmerian Night, on Heaven's mission APPEARS. What
Force and Fire is in each he expends: one grinding in the mill of
Industry; one hunter-like climbing the giddy Alpine heights of
Science; one madly dashed in pieces on the rocks of Strife, in war
with his fellow:--and then the Heaven-sent is recalled; his earthly
Vesture falls away, and soon even to Sense becomes a vanished Shadow.
Thus, like some wild-flaming, wild-thundering train of Heaven's
Artillery, does this mysterious MANKIND thunder and flame, in
long-drawn, quick-succeeding grandeur, through the unknown Deep. Thus,
like a God-created, fire-breathing Spirit-host, we emerge from the
Inane; haste stormfully across the astonished Earth; then plunge again
into the Inane. Earth's mountains are levelled, and her seas filled
up, in our passage: can the Earth, which is but dead and a vision,
resist Spirits which have reality and are alive? On the hardest
adamant some footprint of us is stamped-in; the last Rear of the host
will read traces of the earliest Van. But whence?--O Heaven, whither?
Sense knows not; Faith knows not; only that it is through Mystery to
Mystery, from God and to God.

            "We _are such stuff_
  As Dreams are made of, and our little Life
  Is rounded with a sleep!"'



Here, then, arises the so momentous question: Have many British
Readers actually arrived with us at the new promised country; is the
Philosophy of Clothes now at last opening around them? Long and
adventurous has the journey been: from those outmost vulgar, palpable
Woollen-Hulls of Man; through his wondrous Flesh-Garments, and his
wondrous Social Garnitures; inwards to the Garments of his very Soul's
Soul, to Time and Space themselves! And now does the Spiritual,
eternal Essence of Man, and of Mankind, bared of such wrappages, begin
in any measure to reveal itself? Can many readers discern, as through
a glass darkly, in huge wavering outlines, some primeval rudiments of
Man's Being, what is changeable divided from what is unchangeable?
Does that Earth-Spirit's speech in _Faust_,--

  ''Tis thus at the roaring Loom of Time I ply,
  And weave for God the Garment thou see'st Him by';

or that other thousand-times repeated speech of the Magician,

  'And like the baseless fabric of this vision,
  The cloudcapt Towers, the gorgeous Palaces,
  The solemn Temples, the great Globe itself,
  And all which it inherit, shall dissolve;
  And like this unsubstantial pageant faded,
  Leave not a wrack behind';

begin to have some meaning for us? In a word, do we at length stand
safe in the far region of Poetic Creation and Palingenesia, where that
Phoenix Death-Birth of Human Society, and of all Human Things, appears
possible, is seen to be inevitable?

Along this most insufficient, unheard-of Bridge, which the Editor, by
Heaven's blessing, has now seen himself enabled to conclude if not
complete, it cannot be his sober calculation, but only his fond hope,
that many have travelled without accident. No firm arch, overspanning
the Impassable with paved highway, could the Editor construct; only,
as was said, some zigzag series of rafts floating tumultuously
thereon. Alas, and the leaps from raft to raft were too often of a
breakneck character; the darkness, the nature of the element, all was
against us!

Nevertheless, may not here and there one of a thousand, provided with
a discursiveness of intellect rare in our day, have cleared the
passage, in spite of all? Happy few! little band of Friends! be
welcome, be of courage. By degrees, the eye grows accustomed to its
new Whereabout; the hand can stretch itself forth to work there: it is
in this grand and indeed highest work of Palingenesia that ye shall
labour, each according to ability. New labourers will arrive; new
Bridges will be built; nay, may not our own poor rope-and-raft Bridge,
in your passings and repassings, be mended in many a point, till it
grow quite firm, passable even for the halt?

Meanwhile, of the innumerable multitude that started with us, joyous
and full of hope, where now is the innumerable remainder, whom we see
no longer by our side? The most have recoiled, and stand gazing afar
off, in unsympathetic astonishment, at our career: not a few, pressing
forward with more courage, have missed footing, or leaped short; and
now swim weltering in the Chaos-flood, some towards this shore, some
towards that. To these also a helping hand should be held out; at
least some word of encouragement be said.

Or, to speak without metaphor, with which mode of utterance
Teufelsdröckh unhappily has somewhat infected us,--can it be hidden
from the Editor that many a British Reader sits reading quite
bewildered in head, and afflicted rather than instructed by the
present Work? Yes, long ago has many a British Reader been, as now,
demanding with something like a snarl: Whereto does all this lead; or
what use is in it?

In the way of replenishing thy purse, or otherwise aiding thy
digestive faculty, O British Reader, it leads to nothing, and there is
no use in it; but rather the reverse, for it costs thee somewhat.
Nevertheless, if through this unpromising Horn-gate, Teufelsdröckh,
and we by means of him, have led thee into the true Land of Dreams;
and through the Clothes-screen, as through a magical _Pierre-Pertuis_,
thou lookest, even for moments, into the region of the Wonderful, and
seest and feelest that thy daily life is girt with Wonder, and based
on Wonder, and thy very blankets and breeches are Miracles,--then art
thou profited beyond money's worth; and hast a thankfulness towards
our Professor; nay, perhaps in many a literary Tea-circle wilt open
thy kind lips, and audibly express that same.

Nay farther, art not thou too perhaps by this time made aware that all
Symbols are properly Clothes; that all Forms whereby Spirit manifests
itself to sense, whether outwardly or in the imagination, are Clothes;
and thus not only the parchment Magna Charta, which a Tailor was nigh
cutting into measures, but the Pomp and Authority of Law, the
sacredness of Majesty, and all inferior Worships (Worthships) are
properly a Vesture and Raiment; and the Thirty-nine Articles
themselves are articles of wearing-apparel (for the Religious Idea)?
In which case, must it not also be admitted that this Science of
Clothes is a high one, and may with infinitely deeper study on thy
part yield richer fruit: that it takes scientific rank beside
Codification, and Political Economy, and the Theory of the British
Constitution; nay rather, from its prophetic height looks down on all
these, as on so many weaving-shops and spinning-mills, where the
Vestures which _it_ has to fashion, and consecrate and distribute,
are, too often by haggard hungry operatives who see no farther than
their nose, mechanically woven and spun?

But omitting all this, much more all that concerns Natural
Supernaturalism, and indeed whatever has reference to the Ulterior or
Transcendental portion of the Science, or bears never so remotely on
that promised Volume of the _Palingenesie der menschlichen
Gesellschaft_ (Newbirth of Society),--we humbly suggest that no
province of Clothes-Philosophy, even the lowest, is without its direct
value, but that innumerable inferences of a practical nature may be
drawn therefrom. To say nothing of those pregnant considerations,
ethical, political, symbolical, which crowd on the Clothes-Philosopher
from the very threshold of his Science; nothing even of those
'architectural ideas,' which, as we have seen, lurk at the bottom of
all Modes, and will one day, better unfolding themselves, lead to
important revolutions,--let us glance for a moment, and with the
faintest light of Clothes-Philosophy, on what may be called the
Habilatory Class of our fellow-men. Here too overlooking, where so
much were to be looked on, the million spinners, weavers, fullers,
dyers, washers, and wringers, that puddle and muddle in their dark
recesses, to make us Clothes, and die that we may live,--let us but
turn the reader's attention upon two small divisions of mankind, who,
like moths, may be regarded as Cloth-animals, creatures that live,
move and have their being in Cloth: we mean, Dandies and Tailors.

In regard to both which small divisions it may be asserted without
scruple, that the public feeling, unenlightened by Philosophy, is at
fault; and even that the dictates of humanity are violated. As will
perhaps abundantly appear to readers of the two following chapters.



First, touching Dandies, let us consider, with some scientific
strictness, what a Dandy specially is. A Dandy is a Clothes-wearing
Man, a Man whose trade, office and existence consists in the wearing
of Clothes. Every faculty of his soul, spirit, purse and person is
heroically consecrated to this one object, the wearing of Clothes
wisely and well: so that as others dress to live, he lives to dress.
The all-importance of Clothes, which a German Professor of unequalled
learning and acumen, writes his enormous Volume to demonstrate, has
sprung up in the intellect of the Dandy without effort, like an
instinct of genius; he is inspired with Cloth, a Poet of Cloth. What
Teufelsdröckh would call a 'Divine Idea of Cloth' is born with him;
and this, like other such Ideas, will express itself outwardly, or
wring his heart asunder with unutterable throes.

But, like a generous, creative enthusiast, he fearlessly makes his
Idea an Action; shows himself in peculiar guise to mankind; walks
forth, a witness and living Martyr to the eternal worth of Clothes. We
called him a Poet: is not his body the (stuffed) parchment-skin
whereon he writes, with cunning Huddersfield dyes, a Sonnet to his
mistress' eyebrow? Say, rather, an Epos, and _Clotha Virumque cano_,
to the whole world, in Macaronic verses, which he that runs may read.
Nay, if you grant, what seems to be admissible, that the Dandy has a
Thinking-principle in him, and some notions of Time and Space, is
there not in this Life-devotedness to Cloth, in this so willing
sacrifice of the Immortal to the Perishable, something (though in
reverse order) of that blending and identification of Eternity with
Time, which, as we have seen, constitutes the Prophetic character?

And now, for all this perennial Martyrdom, and Poesy, and even
Prophecy, what is it that the Dandy asks in return? Solely, we may
say, that you would recognise his existence; would admit him to be a
living object; or even failing this, a visual object, or thing that
will reflect rays of light. Your silver or your gold (beyond what the
niggardly Law has already secured him) he solicits not; simply the
glance of your eyes. Understand his mystic significance, or altogether
miss and misinterpret it; do but look at him, and he is contented. May
we not well cry shame on an ungrateful world, which refuses even this
poor boon; which will waste its optic faculty on dried Crocodiles, and
Siamese Twins; and over the domestic wonderful wonder of wonders, a
live Dandy, glance with hasty indifference, and a scarcely concealed
contempt! Him no Zoologist classes among the Mammalia, no Anatomist
dissects with care: when did we see any injected Preparation of the
Dandy in our Museums; any specimen of him preserved in spirits? Lord
Herringbone may dress himself in a snuff-brown suit, with snuff-brown
shirt and shoes: it skills not; the undiscerning public, occupied with
grosser wants, passes by regardless on the other side.

The age of Curiosity, like that of Chivalry, is indeed, properly
speaking, gone. Yet perhaps only gone to sleep: for here arises the
Clothes-Philosophy to resuscitate, strangely enough, both the one and
the other! Should sound views of this Science come to prevail, the
essential nature of the British Dandy, and the mystic significance
that lies in him, cannot always remain hidden under laughable and
lamentable hallucination. The following long Extract from Professor
Teufelsdröckh may set the matter, if not in its true light, yet in the
way towards such. It is to be regretted, however, that here, as so
often elsewhere, the Professor's keen philosophic perspicacity is
somewhat marred by a certain mixture of almost owlish purblindness, or
else of some perverse, ineffectual, ironic tendency; our readers shall
judge which:

       *       *       *       *       *

'In these distracted times,' writes he, 'when the Religious Principle,
driven-out of most Churches, either lies unseen in the hearts of good
men, looking and longing and silently working there towards some new
Revelation; or else wanders homeless over the world, like a
disembodied soul seeking its terrestrial organisation,--into how many
strange shapes, of Superstition and Fanaticism, does it not
tentatively and errantly cast itself! The higher Enthusiasm of man's
nature is for the while without Exponent; yet does it continue
indestructible, unweariedly active, and work blindly in the great
chaotic deep: thus Sect after Sect, and Church after Church, bodies
itself forth, and melts again into new metamorphosis.

'Chiefly is this observable in England, which, as the wealthiest and
worst-instructed of European nations, offers precisely the elements
(of Heat, namely, and of Darkness), in which such moon-calves and
monstrosities are best generated. Among the newer Sects of that
country, one of the most notable, and closely connected with our
present subject, is that of the _Dandies_; concerning which, what
little information I have been able to procure may fitly stand here.

'It is true, certain of the English Journalists, men generally without
sense for the Religious Principle, or judgment for its manifestations,
speak, in their brief enigmatic notices, as if this were perhaps
rather a Secular Sect, and not a Religious one; nevertheless, to the
psychologic eye its devotional and even sacrificial character plainly
enough reveals itself. Whether it belongs to the class of
Fetish-worships, or of Hero-worships or Polytheisms, or to what other
class, may in the present state of our intelligence remain undecided
(_schweben_). A certain touch of Manicheism, not indeed in the Gnostic
shape, is discernible enough: also (for human Error walks in a cycle,
and reappears at intervals) a not-inconsiderable resemblance to that
Superstition of the Athos Monks, who by fasting from all nourishment,
and looking intensely for a length of time into their own navels, came
to discern therein the true Apocalypse of Nature, and Heaven Unveiled.
To my own surmise, it appears as if this Dandiacal Sect were but a new
modification, adapted to the new time, of that primeval Superstition,
_Self-worship_; which Zerdusht, Quangfoutchee, Mohamed, and others,
strove rather to subordinate and restrain than to eradicate; and which
only in the purer forms of Religion has been altogether rejected.
Wherefore, if any one chooses to name it revived Ahrimanism, or a new
figure of Demon-Worship, I have, so far as is yet visible, no

'For the rest, these people, animated with the zeal of a new Sect,
display courage and perseverance, and what force there is in man's
nature, though never so enslaved. They affect great purity and
separatism; distinguish themselves by a particular costume (whereof
some notices were given in the earlier part of this Volume); likewise,
so far as possible, by a particular speech (apparently some broken
_Lingua-franca_, or English-French); and, on the whole, strive to
maintain a true Nazarene deportment, and keep themselves unspotted
from the world.

'They have their Temples, whereof the chief, as the Jewish Temple did,
stands in their metropolis; and is named _Almack's_, a word of
uncertain etymology. They worship principally by night; and have their
Highpriests and Highpriestesses, who, however, do not continue for
life. The rites, by some supposed to be of the Menadic sort, or
perhaps with an Eleusinian or Cabiric character, are held strictly
secret. Nor are Sacred Books wanting to the Sect; these they call
_Fashionable Novels_: however, the Canon is not completed, and some
are canonical and others not.

'Of such Sacred Books I, not without expense, procured myself some
samples; and in hope of true insight, and with the zeal which beseems
an Inquirer into Clothes, set to interpret and study them. But wholly
to no purpose: that tough faculty of reading, for which the world will
not refuse me credit, was here for the first time foiled and set at
naught. In vain that I summoned my whole energies (_mich weidlich
anstrengte_), and did my very utmost; at the end of some short space,
I was uniformly seized with not so much what I can call a drumming in
my ears, as a kind of infinite, unsufferable, Jews-harping and
scrannel-piping there; to which the frightfullest species of Magnetic
Sleep soon supervened. And if I strove to shake this away, and
absolutely would not yield, there came a hitherto unfelt sensation, as
of _Delirium Tremens_, and a melting into total deliquium: till at
last, by order of the Doctor, dreading ruin to my whole intellectual
and bodily faculties, and a general breaking-up of the constitution, I
reluctantly but determinedly forbore. Was there some miracle at work
here; like those Fire-balls, and supernal and infernal prodigies,
which, in the case of the Jewish Mysteries, have also more than once
scared-back the Alien? Be this as it may, such failure on my part,
after best efforts, must excuse the imperfection of this sketch;
altogether incomplete, yet the completest I could give of a Sect too
singular to be omitted.

'Loving my own life and senses as I do, no power shall induce me, as a
private individual, to open another _Fashionable Novel_. But luckily,
in this dilemma, comes a hand from the clouds; whereby if not victory,
deliverance is held out to me. Round one of those Book-packages, which
the _Stillschweigen'sche Buchhandlung_ is in the habit of importing
from England, come, as is usual, various waste printed-sheets
(_Maculatur blätter_), by way of interior wrappage: into these the
Clothes-Philosopher, with a certain Mohamedan reverence even for
waste-paper, where curious knowledge will sometimes hover, disdains
not to cast his eye. Readers may judge of his astonishment when on
such a defaced stray-sheet, probably the outcast fraction of some
English Periodical, such as they name _Magazine_, appears something
like a Dissertation on this very subject of _Fashionable Novels_! It
sets out, indeed, chiefly from a Secular point of view; directing
itself, not without asperity, against some to me unknown individual
named _Pelham_, who seems to be a Mystagogue, and leading Teacher and
Preacher of the Sect; so that, what indeed otherwise was not to be
expected in such a fugitive fragmentary sheet, the true secret, the
Religious physiognomy and physiology of the Dandiacal Body, is nowise
laid fully open there. Nevertheless, scattered lights do from time to
time sparkle out, whereby I have endeavoured to profit. Nay, in one
passage selected from the Prophecies, or Mythic Theogonies, or
whatever they are (for the style seems very mixed) of this Mystagogue,
I find what appears to be a Confession of Faith, or Whole Duty of Man,
according to the tenets of that Sect. Which Confession or Whole Duty,
therefore, as proceeding from a source so authentic, I shall here
arrange under Seven distinct Articles, and in very abridged shape lay
before the German world; therewith taking leave of this matter.
Observe also, that to avoid possibility of error, I, as far as may be,
quote literally from the Original:


'"1. Coats should have nothing of the triangle about them; at the same
time, wrinkles behind should be carefully avoided.

'"2. The collar is a very important point: it should be low behind,
and slightly rolled.

'"3. No license of fashion can allow a man of delicate taste to adopt
the posterial luxuriance of a Hottentot.

'"4. There is safety in a swallow-tail.

'"5. The good sense of a gentleman is nowhere more finely developed
than in his rings.

'"6. It is permitted to mankind, under certain restrictions, to wear
white waistcoats.

'"7. The trousers must be exceedingly tight across the hips."

'All which Propositions I, for the present, content myself with
modestly but peremptorily and irrevocably denying.

'In strange contrast with this Dandiacal Body stands another British
Sect, originally, as I understand, of Ireland, where its chief seat
still is; but known also in the main Island, and indeed everywhere
rapidly spreading. As this Sect has hitherto emitted no Canonical
Books, it remains to me in the same state of obscurity as the
Dandiacal, which has published Books that the unassisted human
faculties are inadequate to read. The members appear to be designated
by a considerable diversity of names, according to their various
places of establishment: in England they are generally called the
_Drudge_ Sect; also, unphilosophically enough, the _White Negroes_;
and, chiefly in scorn by those of other communions, the
_Ragged-Beggar_ Sect. In Scotland, again, I find them entitled
_Hallanshakers_, or the _Stook of Duds_ Sect; any individual
communicant is named _Stook of Duds_ (that is, Shock of Rags), in
allusion, doubtless, to their professional Costume. While in Ireland,
which, as mentioned, is their grand parent hive, they go by a
perplexing multiplicity of designations, such as _Bogtrotters_,
_Redshanks_, _Ribbonmen_, _Cottiers_, _Peep-of-Day Boys_, _Babes of
the Wood_, _Rockites_, _Poor-Slaves_; which last, however, seems to be
the primary and generic name; whereto, probably enough, the others are
only subsidiary species, or slight varieties; or, at most, propagated
offsets from the parent stem, whose minute subdivisions, and shades of
difference, it were here loss of time to dwell on. Enough for us to
understand, what seems indubitable, that the original Sect is that of
the _Poor-Slaves_; whose doctrines, practices, and fundamental
characteristics pervade and animate the whole Body, howsoever
denominated or outwardly diversified.

'The precise speculative tenets of this Brotherhood: how the Universe,
and Man, and Man's Life, picture themselves to the mind of an Irish
Poor-Slave; with what feelings and opinions he looks forward on the
Future, round on the Present, back on the Past, it were extremely
difficult to specify. Something Monastic there appears to be in their
Constitution: we find them bound by the two Monastic Vows, of Poverty
and Obedience; which Vows, especially the former, it is said, they
observe with great strictness; nay, as I have understood it, they are
pledged, and be it by any solemn Nazarene ordination or not,
irrevocably consecrated thereto, even _before_ birth. That the third
Monastic Vow, of Chastity, is rigidly enforced among them, I find no
ground to conjecture.

'Furthermore, they appear to imitate the Dandiacal Sect in their grand
principle of wearing a peculiar Costume. Of which Irish Poor-Slave
Costume no description will indeed be found in the present Volume; for
this reason, that by the imperfect organ of Language it did not seem
describable. Their raiment consists of innumerable skirts, lappets and
irregular wings, of all cloths and of all colours; through the
labyrinthic intricacies of which their bodies are introduced by some
unknown process. It is fastened together by a multiplex combination of
buttons, thrums and skewers; to which frequently is added a girdle of
leather, of hempen or even of straw rope, round the loins. To straw
rope, indeed, they seem partial, and often wear it by way of sandals.
In head-dress they affect a certain freedom: hats with partial brim,
without crown, or with only a loose, hinged, or valve crown; in the
former case, they sometimes invert the hat, and wear it brim
uppermost, like a University-cap, with what view is unknown.

'The name Poor-Slaves seems to indicate a Slavonic, Polish, or Russian
origin: not so, however, the interior essence and spirit of their
Superstition, which rather displays a Teutonic or Druidical character.
One might fancy them worshippers of Hertha, or the Earth: for they dig
and affectionately work continually in her bosom; or else, shut-up in
private Oratories, meditate and manipulate the substances derived from
her; seldom looking-up towards the Heavenly Luminaries, and then with
comparative indifference. Like the Druids, on the other hand, they
live in dark dwellings; often even breaking their glass-windows, where
they find such, and stuffing them up with pieces of raiment, or other
opaque substances, till the fit obscurity is restored. Again, like all
followers of Nature-Worship, they are liable to outbreakings of an
enthusiasm rising to ferocity; and burn men, if not in wicker idols,
yet in sod cottages.

'In respect of diet, they have also their observances. All Poor-Slaves
are Rhizophagous (or Root-eaters); a few are Ichthyophagous, and use
Salted Herrings: other animal food they abstain from; except indeed,
with perhaps some strange inverted fragment of a Brahminical feeling,
such animals as die a natural death. Their universal sustenance is the
root named Potato, cooked by fire alone; and generally without
condiment or relish of any kind, save an unknown condiment named
_Point_, into the meaning of which I have vainly inquired; the victual
_Potatoes-and-Point_ not appearing, at least not with specific
accuracy of description, in any European Cookery-Book whatever. For
drink, they use, with an almost epigrammatic counterpoise of taste,
Milk, which is the mildest of liquors, and _Potheen_, which is the
fiercest. This latter I have tasted, as well as the English
_Blue-Ruin_, and the Scotch _Whisky_, analogous fluids used by the
Sect in those countries: it evidently contains some form of alcohol,
in the highest state of concentration, though disguised with acrid
oils; and is, on the whole, the most pungent substance known to
me,--indeed, a perfect liquid fire. In all their Religious
Solemnities, Potheen is said to be an indispensable requisite, and
largely consumed.

'An Irish Traveller, of perhaps common veracity, who presents himself
under the to me unmeaning title of _The late John Bernard_, offers the
following sketch of a domestic establishment, the inmates whereof,
though such is not stated expressly, appear to have been of that
Faith. Thereby shall my German readers now behold an Irish Poor-Slave,
as it were with their own eyes; and even see him at meat. Moreover, in
the so-precious waste-paper sheet above mentioned, I have found some
corresponding picture of a Dandiacal Household, painted by that same
Dandiacal Mystagogue, or Theogonist: this also, by way of counterpart
and contrast, the world shall look into.

'First, therefore, of the Poor-Slave, who appears likewise to have
been a species of Innkeeper. I quote from the original:

_Poor-Slave Household_

'"The furniture of this Caravansera consisted of a large iron Pot, two
oaken Tables, two Benches, two Chairs, and a Potheen Noggin. There was
a Loft above (attainable by a ladder), upon which the inmates slept;
and the space below was divided by a hurdle into two Apartments; the
one for their cow and pig, the other for themselves and guests. On
entering the house we discovered the family, eleven in number, at
dinner: the father sitting at the top, the mother at the bottom, the
children on each side, of a large oaken Board, which was scooped-out
in the middle, like a trough, to receive the contents of their Pot of
Potatoes. Little holes were cut at equal distances to contain Salt;
and a bowl of Milk stood on the table: all the luxuries of meat and
beer, bread, knives and dishes were dispensed with." The Poor-Slave
himself our Traveller found, as he says, broad-backed, black-browed,
of great personal strength, and mouth from ear to ear. His Wife was a
sun-browned but well-featured woman; and his young ones, bare and
chubby, had the appetite of ravens. Of their Philosophical or
Religious tenets or observances, no notice or hint.

'But now, secondly, of the Dandiacal Household; in which, truly, that
often-mentioned Mystagogue and inspired Penman himself has his abode:

_Dandiacal Household_

'"A Dressing-room splendidly furnished; violet-coloured curtains,
chairs and ottomans of the same hue. Two full-length Mirrors are
placed, one on each side of a table, which supports the luxuries of
the Toilet. Several Bottles of Perfumes, arranged in a peculiar
fashion, stand upon a smaller table of mother-of-pearl: opposite to
these are placed the appurtenances of Lavation richly wrought in
frosted silver. A wardrobe of Buhl is on the left; the doors of which,
being partly open, discover a profusion of Clothes; Shoes of a
singularly small size monopolise the lower shelves. Fronting the
wardrobe a door ajar gives some slight glimpse of a Bathroom.
Folding-doors in the background.--Enter the Author," our Theogonist in
person, "obsequiously preceded by a French Valet, in white silk Jacket
and cambric Apron."

       *       *       *       *       *

'Such are the two Sects which, at this moment, divide the more
unsettled portion of the British People; and agitate that ever-vexed
country. To the eye of the political Seer, their mutual relation,
pregnant with the elements of discord and hostility, is far from
consoling. These two principals of Dandiacal Self-worship or
Demon-worship, and Poor-Slavish or Drudgical Earth-worship, or
whatever that same Drudgism may be, do as yet indeed manifest
themselves under distant and nowise considerable shapes: nevertheless,
in their roots and subterranean ramifications, they extend through the
entire structure of Society, and work unweariedly in the secret depths
of English national Existence; striving to separate and isolate it
into two contradictory, uncommunicating masses.

'In numbers, and even individual strength, the Poor-Slaves or Drudges,
it would seem, are hourly increasing. The Dandiacal, again, is by
nature no proselytising Sect; but it boasts of great hereditary
resources, and is strong by union; whereas the Drudges, split into
parties, have as yet no rallying-point; or at best only co-operate by
means of partial secret affiliations. If, indeed, there were to arise
a _Communion of Drudges_, as there is already a Communion of Saints,
what strangest effects would follow therefrom! Dandyism as yet affects
to look-down on Drudgism: but perhaps the hour of trial, when it will
be practically seen which ought to look down, and which up, is not so

'To me it seems probable that the two Sects will one day part England
between them; each recruiting itself from the intermediate ranks, till
there be none left to enlist on either side. Those Dandiacal
Manicheans, with the host of Dandyising Christians, will form one
body: the Drudges, gathering round them whosoever is Drudgical, be he
Christian or Infidel Pagan; sweeping-up likewise all manner of
Utilitarians, Radicals, refractory Potwallopers, and so forth, into
their general mass, will form another. I could liken Dandyism and
Drudgism to two bottomless boiling Whirlpools that had broken-out on
opposite quarters of the firm land: as yet they appear only
disquieted, foolishly bubbling wells, which man's art might cover-in;
yet mark them, their diameter is daily widening: they are hollow Cones
that boil-up from the infinite Deep, over which your firm land is but
a thin crust or rind! Thus daily is the intermediate land
crumbling-in, daily the empire of the two Buchan-Bullers extending;
till now there is but a foot-plank, a mere film of Land between them;
this too is washed away: and then--we have the true Hell of Waters,
and Noah's Deluge is outdeluged!

'Or better, I might call them two boundless, and indeed unexampled
Electric Machines (turned by the "Machinery of Society"), with
batteries of opposite quality; Drudgism the Negative, Dandyism the
Positive: one attracts hourly towards it and appropriates all the
Positive Electricity of the nation (namely, the Money thereof); the
other is equally busy with the Negative (that is to say the Hunger),
which is equally potent. Hitherto you see only partial transient
sparkles and sputters: but wait a little, till the entire nation is in
an electric state; till your whole vital Electricity, no longer
healthfully Neutral, is cut into two isolated portions of Positive and
Negative (of Money and of Hunger); and stands there bottled-up in two
World-Batteries! The stirring of a child's finger brings the two
together; and then--What then? The Earth is but shivered into
impalpable smoke by that Doom's-thunderpeal; the Sun misses one of his
Planets in Space, and thenceforth there are no eclipses of the
Moon.--Or better still, I might liken'--

Oh! enough, enough of likenings and similitudes; in excess of which,
truly, it is hard to say whether Teufelsdröckh or ourselves sin the

We have often blamed him for a habit of wire-drawing and over-refining;
from of old we have been familiar with his tendency to Mysticism and
Religiosity, whereby in everything he was still scenting-out Religion:
but never perhaps did these amaurosis-suffusions so cloud and distort
his otherwise most piercing vision, as in this of the _Dandiacal Body_!
Or was there something of intended satire; is the Professor and Seer
not quite the blinkard he affects to be? Of an ordinary mortal we
should have decisively answered in the affirmative; but with a
Teufelsdröckh there ever hovers some shade of doubt. In the mean
while, if satire were actually intended, the case is little better.
There are not wanting men who will answer: Does your Professor take us
for simpletons? His irony has overshot itself; we see through it, and
perhaps through him.



Thus, however, has our first Practical Inference from the
Clothes-Philosophy, that which respects Dandies, been sufficiently
drawn; and we come now to the second, concerning Tailors. On this
latter our opinion happily quite coincides with that of Teufelsdröckh
himself, as expressed in the concluding page of his Volume, to whom,
therefore, we willingly give place. Let him speak his own last words,
in his own way:

       *       *       *       *       *

'Upwards of a century,' says he, 'must elapse, and still the bleeding
fight of Freedom be fought, whoso is noblest perishing in the van, and
thrones be hurled on altars like Pelion on Ossa, and the Moloch of
Iniquity have his victims, and the Michael of Justice his martyrs,
before Tailors can be admitted to their true prerogatives of manhood,
and this last wound of suffering Humanity be closed.

'If aught in the history of the world's blindness could surprise us,
here might we indeed pause and wonder. An idea has gone abroad, and
fixed itself down into a wide-spreading rooted error, that Tailors are
a distinct species in Physiology, not Men, but fractional Parts of a
Man. Call any one a _Schneider_ (Cutter, Tailor), is it not, in our
dislocated, hood-winked, and indeed delirious condition of Society,
equivalent to defying his perpetual fellest enmity? The epithet
_schneider-mässig_ (tailor-like) betokens an otherwise unapproachable
degree of pusillanimity: we introduce a _Tailor's-Melancholy_, more
opprobrious than any Leprosy, into our Books of Medicine; and fable I
know not what of his generating it by living on Cabbage. Why should I
speak of Hans Sachs (himself a Shoemaker, or kind of Leather-Tailor),
with his _Schneider mit dem Panier_? Why of Shakspeare, in his _Taming
of the Shrew_, and elsewhere? Does it not stand on record that the
English Queen Elizabeth, receiving a deputation of Eighteen Tailors,
addressed them with a "Good morning, gentlemen both!" Did not the same
virago boast that she had a Cavalry Regiment, whereof neither horse
nor man could be injured; her Regiment, namely, of Tailors on Mares?
Thus everywhere is the falsehood taken for granted, and acted-on as an
indisputable fact.

'Nevertheless, need I put the question to any Physiologist, whether it
is disputable or not? Seems it not at least presumable, that, under
his Clothes, the Tailor has bones and viscera, and other muscles than
the sartorious? Which function of manhood is the Tailor not
conjectured to perform? Can he not arrest for debt? Is he not in most
countries a tax-paying animal?

'To no reader of this Volume can it be doubtful which conviction is
mine. Nay if the fruit of these long vigils, and almost preternatural
Inquiries, is not to perish utterly, the world will have approximated
towards a higher Truth; and the doctrine, which Swift, with the keen
forecast of genius, dimly anticipated, will stand revealed in clear
light: that the Tailor is not only a Man, but something of a Creator
or Divinity. Of Franklin it was said, that "he snatched the Thunder
from Heaven and the Sceptre from Kings": but which is greater, I would
ask, he that lends, or he that snatches? For, looking away from
individual cases, and how a Man is by the Tailor new-created into a
Nobleman, and clothed not only with Wool but with Dignity and a Mystic
Dominion,--is not the fair fabric of Society itself, with all its
royal mantles and pontifical stoles, whereby, from nakedness and
dismemberment, we are organised into Polities, into nations, and a
whole co-operating Mankind, the creation, as has here been often
irrefragably evinced, of the Tailor alone?--What too are all Poets and
moral Teachers, but a species of Metaphorical Tailors? Touching which
high Guild the greatest living Guild-brother has triumphantly asked
us: "Nay if thou wilt have it, who but the Poet first made Gods for
men; brought them down to us; and raised us up to them?"

'And this is he, whom sitting downcast, on the hard basis of his
Shopboard, the world treats with contumely, as the ninth part of a
man! Look up, thou much-injured one, look up with the kindling eye of
hope, and prophetic bodings of a noble better time. Too long hast thou
sat there, on crossed legs, wearing thy ankle-joints to horn; like
some sacred Anchorite, or Catholic Fakir, doing penance, drawing down
Heaven's richest blessings, for a world that scoffed at thee. Be of
hope! Already streaks of blue peer through our clouds; the thick gloom
of Ignorance is rolling asunder, and it will be Day. Mankind will
repay with interest their long-accumulated debt: the Anchorite that
was scoffed at will be worshipped; the Fraction will become not an
Integer only, but a Square and Cube. With astonishment the world will
recognise that the Tailor is its Hierophant and Hierarch, or even its

'As I stood in the Mosque of St. Sophia, and looked upon these
Four-and-Twenty Tailors, sewing and embroidering that rich Cloth,
which the Sultan sends yearly for the Caaba of Mecca, I thought within
myself: How many other Unholies has your covering Art made holy,
besides this Arabian Whinstone!

'Still more touching was it when, turning the corner of a lane, in the
Scottish Town of Edinburgh, I came upon a Signpost, whereon stood
written that such and such a one was "Breeches-Maker to his Majesty";
and stood painted the Effigies of a Pair of Leather Breeches, and
between the knees these memorable words, SIC ITUR AD ASTRA. Was not
this the martyr prison-speech of a Tailor sighing indeed in bonds, yet
sighing towards deliverance, and prophetically appealing to a better
day? A day of justice, when the worth of Breeches would be revealed to
man, and the Scissors become forever venerable.

'Neither, perhaps, may I now say, has his appeal been altogether in
vain. It was in this high moment, when the soul, rent, as it were, and
shed asunder, is open to inspiring influence, that I first conceived
this Work on Clothes: the greatest I can ever hope to do; which has
already, after long retardations, occupied, and will yet occupy, so
large a section of my Life; and of which the Primary and simpler
Portion may here find its conclusion.'



So have we endeavoured, from the enormous, amorphous Plum-pudding,
more like a Scottish Haggis, which Herr Teufelsdröckh had kneaded for
his fellow mortals, to pick-out the choicest Plums, and present them
separately on a cover of our own. A laborious, perhaps a thankless
enterprise; in which, however, something of hope has occasionally
cheered us, and of which we can now wash our hands not altogether
without satisfaction. If hereby, though in barbaric wise, some morsel
of spiritual nourishment have been added to the scanty ration of our
beloved British world, what nobler recompense could the Editor desire?
If it prove otherwise, why should he murmur? Was not this a Task which
Destiny, in any case, had appointed him; which having now done with,
he sees his general Day's-work so much the lighter, so much the

Of Professor Teufelsdröckh it seems impossible to take leave without a
mingled feeling of astonishment, gratitude and disapproval. Who will
not regret that talents, which might have profited in the higher walks
of Philosophy, or in Art itself, have been so much devoted to a
rummaging among lumber-rooms; nay too often to a scraping in kennels,
where lost rings and diamond-necklaces are nowise the sole conquests?
Regret is unavoidable; yet censure were loss of time. To cure him of
his mad humours British Criticism would essay in vain: enough for her
if she can, by vigilance, prevent the spreading of such among
ourselves. What a result, should this piebald, entangled,
hyper-metaphorical style of writing, not to say of thinking, become
general among our Literary men! As it might so easily do. Thus has not
the Editor himself, working over Teufelsdröckh's German, lost much of
his own English purity? Even as the smaller whirlpool is sucked into
the larger, and made to whirl along with it, so has the lesser mind,
in this instance, been forced to become portion of the greater, and
like it, see all things figuratively: which habit time and assiduous
effort will be needed to eradicate.

Nevertheless, wayward as our Professor shows himself, is there any
reader that can part with him in declared enmity? Let us confess,
there is that in the wild, much-suffering, much-inflicting man, which
almost attaches us. His attitude, we will hope and believe, is that of
a man who had said to Cant, Begone; and to Dilettantism, Here thou
canst not be; and to Truth, Be thou in place of all to me: a man who
had manfully defied the 'Time-prince,' or Devil, to his face; nay
perhaps, Hannibal-like, was mysteriously consecrated from birth to
that warfare, and now stood minded to wage the same, by all weapons,
in all places, at all times. In such a cause, any soldier, were he but
a Polack Scythe-man, shall be welcome.

Still the question returns on us: How could a man occasionally of keen
insight, not without keen sense of propriety, who had real Thoughts to
communicate, resolve to emit them in a shape bordering so closely on
the absurd? Which question he were wiser than the present Editor who
should satisfactorily answer. Our conjecture has sometimes been, that
perhaps Necessity as well as Choice was concerned in it. Seems it not
conceivable that, in a Life like our Professor's, where so much
bountifully given by Nature had in Practice failed and misgone,
Literature also would never rightly prosper: that striving with his
characteristic vehemence to paint this and the other Picture, and ever
without success, he at last desperately dashes his sponge, full of all
colours, against the canvas, to try whether it will paint Foam? With
all his stillness, there were perhaps in Teufelsdröckh desperation
enough for this.

A second conjecture we hazard with even less warranty. It is, that
Teufelsdröckh is not without some touch of the universal feeling, a
wish to proselytise. How often already have we paused, uncertain
whether the basis of this so enigmatic nature were really Stoicism and
Despair, or Love and Hope only seared into the figure of these!
Remarkable, moreover, is this saying of his: 'How were Friendship
possible? In mutual devotedness to the Good and True: otherwise
impossible; except as Armed Neutrality, or hollow Commercial League. A
man, be the Heavens ever praised, is sufficient for himself; yet were
ten men, united in Love, capable of being and of doing what ten
thousand singly would fail in. Infinite is the help man can yield to
man.' And now in conjunction therewith consider this other: 'It is the
Night of the World, and still long till it be Day: we wander amid the
glimmer of smoking ruins, and the Sun and the Stars of Heaven are as
if blotted out for a season; and two immeasurable Phantoms, HYPOCRISY
and ATHEISM, with the Gowl, SENSUALITY, stalk abroad over the Earth,
and call it theirs: well at ease are the Sleepers for whom Existence
is a shallow Dream.'

But what of the awestruck Wakeful who find it a Reality? Should not
these unite; since even an authentic Spectre is not visible to
Two?--In which case were this enormous Clothes-Volume properly an
enormous Pitchpan, which our Teufelsdröckh in his lone watch-tower had
kindled, that it might flame far and wide through the Night, and many
a disconsolately wandering spirit be guided thither to a Brother's
bosom!--We say as before, with all his malign Indifference, who knows
what mad Hopes this man may harbour?

Meanwhile there is one fact to be stated here, which harmonises ill
with such conjecture; and, indeed, were Teufelsdröckh made like other
men, might as good as altogether subvert it. Namely, that while the
Beacon-fire blazed its brightest, the Watchman had quitted it; that no
pilgrim could now ask him: Watchman, what of the Night? Professor
Teufelsdröckh, be it known is no longer visibly present at
Weissnichtwo, but again to all appearance lost in space! Some time
ago, the Hofrath Heuschrecke was pleased to favour us with another
copious Epistle; wherein much is said about the
'Population-Institute'; much repeated in praise of the Paper-bag
Documents, the hieroglyphic nature of which our Hofrath still seems
not to have surmised; and, lastly, the strangest occurrence
communicated, to us for the first time, in the following paragraph:

'_Ew. Wohlgeboren_ will have seen from the public Prints, with what
affectionate and hitherto fruitless solicitude Weissnichtwo regards
the disappearance of her Sage. Might but the united voice of Germany
prevail on him to return; nay, could we but so much as elucidate for
ourselves by what mystery he went away! But, alas, old Lieschen
experiences or affects the profoundest deafness, the profoundest
ignorance: in the Wahngasse all lies swept, silent, sealed up; the
Privy Council itself can hitherto elicit no answer.

'It had been remarked that while the agitating news of those Parisian
Three Days flew from mouth to mouth, and dinned every ear in
Weissnichtwo, Herr Teufelsdröckh was not known, at the _Gans_ or
elsewhere, to have spoken, for a whole week, any syllable except once
these three: _Es geht an_ (It is beginning). Shortly after, as _Ew.
Wohlgeboren_ knows, was the public tranquillity here, as in Berlin,
threatened by a Sedition of the Tailors. Nor did there want
Evil-wishers, or perhaps mere desperate Alarmists, who asserted that
the closing Chapter of the Clothes-Volume was to blame. In this
appalling crisis, the serenity of our Philosopher was indescribable;
nay, perhaps through one humble individual, something thereof might
pass into the _Rath_ (Council) itself, and so contribute to the
country's deliverance. The Tailors are now entirely pacificated.--

'To neither of these two incidents can I attribute our loss: yet still
comes there the shadow of a suspicion out of Paris and its Politics.
For example, when the _Saint-Simonian Society_ transmitted its
Propositions hither, and the whole _Gans_ was one vast cackle of
laughter, lamentation and astonishment, our Sage sat mute; and at the
end of the third evening said merely: "Here also are men who have
discovered, not without amazement, that Man is still Man; of which
high, long-forgotten Truth you already see them make a false
application." Since then, as has been ascertained by examination of
the Post-Director, there passed at least one Letter with its Answer
between the Messieurs Bazard-Enfantin and our Professor himself; of
what tenor can now only be conjectured. On the fifth night following,
he was seen for the last time!

'Has this invaluable man, so obnoxious to most of the hostile Sects
that convulse our Era, been spirited away by certain of their
emissaries; or did he go forth voluntarily to their head-quarters to
confer with them and confront them? Reason we have, at least of a
negative sort, to believe the Lost still living; our widowed heart
also whispers that ere long he will himself give a sign. Otherwise,
indeed, his archives must, one day, be opened by Authority; where
much, perhaps the _Palingenesie_ itself, is thought to be reposited.'

       *       *       *       *       *

Thus far the Hofrath; who vanishes, as is his wont, too like an Ignis
Fatuus, leaving the dark still darker.

So that Teufelsdröckh's public History were not done, then, or reduced
to an even, unromantic tenor; nay, perhaps the better part thereof
were only beginning? We stand in a region of conjectures, where
substance has melted into shadow, and one cannot be distinguished from
the other. May Time, which solves or suppresses all problems, throw
glad light on this also! Our own private conjecture, now amounting
almost to certainty, is that, safe-moored in some stillest obscurity,
not to lie always still, Teufelsdröckh is actually in London!

Here, however, can the present Editor, with an ambrosial joy as of
over-weariness falling into sleep, lay down his pen. Well does he
know, if human testimony be worth aught, that to innumerable British
readers likewise, this is a satisfying consummation; that innumerable
British readers consider him, during these current months, but as an
uneasy interruption to their ways of thought and digestion; and
indicate so much, not without a certain irritancy and even spoken
invective. For which, as for other mercies, ought not he to thank the
Upper Powers? To one and all of you, O irritated readers, he, with
outstretched arms and open heart, will wave a kind farewell. Thou too,
miraculous Entity, who namest thyself YORKE and OLIVER, and with thy
vivacities and genialities, with thy all-too Irish mirth and madness,
and odour of palled punch, makest such strange work, farewell; long as
thou canst, fare-_well!_ Have we not, in the course of Eternity,
travelled some months of our Life-journey in partial sight of one
another; have we not existed together, though in a state of quarrel?



    This questionable little Book was undoubtedly written among
    the mountain solitudes, in 1831; but, owing to impediments
    natural and accidental, could not, for seven years more,
    appear as a Volume in England;--and had at last to clip itself
    in pieces, and be content to struggle out, bit by bit, in some
    courageous _Magazine_ that offered. Whereby now, to certain
    idly curious readers, and even to myself till I make study,
    the insignificant but at last irritating question, What its
    real history and chronology are, is, if not insoluble,
    considerably involved in haze.

    To the first English Edition, 1838, which an American, or two
    American had now opened the way for, there was slightingly
    prefixed, under the title '_Testimonies of Authors_,' some
    straggle of real documents, which, now that I find it again,
    sets the matter into clear light and sequence;--and shall
    here, for removal of idle stumbling-blocks and nugatory
    guessings from the path of every reader, be reprinted as it
    stood. (_Author's Note of 1868._)



_Taster to Bookseller._--"The Author of _Teufelsdröckh_ is a person of
talent; his work displays here and there some felicity of thought and
expression, considerable fancy and knowledge: but whether or not it
would take with the public seems doubtful. For a _jeu d'esprit_ of
that kind it is too long; it would have suited better as an essay or
article than as a volume. The Author has no great tact; his wit is
frequently heavy; and reminds one of the German Baron who took to
leaping on tables, and answered that he was learning to be lively.
_Is_ the work a translation?"

_Bookseller to Editor._--"Allow me to say that such a writer requires
only a little more tact to produce a popular as well as an able work.
Directly on receiving your permission, I sent your _MS._ to a
gentleman in the highest class of men of letters, and an accomplished
German scholar: I now inclose you his opinion, which, you may rely
upon it, is a just one; and I have too high an opinion of your good
sense to" &c. &c.--_MS._ (_penes nos_), _London, 17th September 1831_.


"_Fraser's Magazine_ exhibits the usual brilliancy, and also the" &c.
"_Sartor Resartus_ is what old Dennis used to call 'a heap of clotted
nonsense,' mixed however, here and there, with passages marked by
thought and striking poetic vigour. But what does the writer mean by
'Baphometic fire-baptism'? Why cannot he lay aside his pedantry, and
write so as to make himself generally intelligible? We quote by way of
curiosity a sentence from the _Sartor Resartus_; which may be read
either backwards or forwards, for it is equally intelligible either
way. Indeed, by beginning at the tail, and so working up to the head,
we think the reader will stand the fairest chance of getting at its
meaning: 'The fire-baptised soul, long so scathed and thunder-riven,
here feels its own freedom; which feeling is its Baphometic baptism:
the citadel of its whole kingdom it has thus gained by assault, and
will keep inexpugnable; outwards from which the remaining dominions,
not indeed without hard battering, will doubtless by degrees be
conquered and pacificated.' Here is a"--....--_Sun Newspaper_, _1st
April 1834_.


... "After a careful survey of the whole ground, our belief is that no
such persons as Professor Teufelsdröckh or Counsellor Heuschrecke ever
existed; that the six Paper-bags, with their China-ink inscriptions
and multifarious contents, are a mere figment of the brain; that the
'present Editor' is the only person who has ever written upon the
Philosophy of Clothes; and that the _Sartor Resartus_ is the only
treatise that has yet appeared upon that subject;--in short, that the
whole account of the origin of the work before us, which the supposed
Editor relates with so much gravity, and of which we have given a
brief abstract, is, in plain English, a _hum_.

"Without troubling our readers at any great length with our reasons
for entertaining these suspicions, we may remark, that the absence of
all other information on the subject, except what is contained in the
work, is itself a fact of a most significant character. The whole
German press, as well as the particular one where the work purports to
have been printed, seems to be under the control of _Stillschweigen
and Co._,--Silence and Company. If the Clothes-Philosophy and its
author are making so great a sensation throughout Germany as is
pretended, how happens it that the only notice we have of the fact is
contained in a few numbers of a monthly Magazine published at London?
How happens it that no intelligence about the matter has come out
directly to this country? We pique ourselves here in New England upon
knowing at least as much of what is going on in the literary way in
the old Dutch Mother-land as our brethren of the fast-anchored Isle;
but thus far we have no tidings whatever of the 'extensive
close-printed close-meditated volume,' which forms the subject of this
pretended commentary. Again, we would respectfully inquire of the
'present Editor' upon what part of the map of Germany we are to look
for the city of _Weissnichtwo_,--'Know-not-where,'--at which place the
work is supposed to have been printed, and the Author to have resided.
It has been our fortune to visit several portions of the German
territory, and to examine pretty carefully, at different times and for
various purposes, maps of the whole; but we have no recollection of
any such place. We suspect that the city of _Know-not-where_ might be
called, with at least as much propriety, _Nobody-knows-where_, and is
to be found in the kingdom of _Nowhere_. Again, the village of
_Entepfuhl_--'Duck-pond,' where the supposed Author of the work is
said to have passed his youth, and that of _Hinterschlag_, where he
had his education, are equally foreign to our geography. Duck-ponds
enough there undoubtedly are in almost every village in Germany, as
the traveller in that country knows too well to his cost, but any
particular village denominated Duck-pond is to us altogether _terra
incognita_. The names of the personages are not less singular than
those of the places. Who can refrain from a smile at the yoking
together of such a pair of appellatives as Diogenes Teufelsdröckh? The
supposed bearer of this strange title is represented as admitting, in his
pretended autobiography, that 'he had searched to no purpose through all
the Heralds' books in and without the German empire, and through all
manner of Subscribers'-lists, Militia-rolls, and other Name-catalogues,'
but had nowhere been able to find the 'name Teufelsdröckh, except as
appended to his own person.' We can readily believe this, and we doubt
very much whether any Christian parent would think of condemning a son to
carry through life the burden of so unpleasant a title. That of Counsellor
Heuschrecke--'Grasshopper,' though not offensive, looks much more like a
piece of fancy work than a 'fair business transaction.' The same may be
said of _Blumine_--'Flower-Goddess'--the heroine of the fable; and so
of the rest.

"In short, our private opinion is, as we have remarked, that the whole
story of a correspondence with Germany, a university of
Nobody-knows-where, a Professor of Things in General, a Counsellor
Grasshopper, a Flower-Goddess Blumine, and so forth, has about as much
foundation in truth as the late entertaining account of Sir John
Herschel's discoveries in the moon. Fictions of this kind are,
however, not uncommon, and ought not, perhaps, to be condemned with
too much severity; but we are not sure that we can exercise the same
indulgence in regard to the attempt, which seems to be made to mislead
the public as to the substance of the work before us, and its
pretended German original. Both purport, as we have seen, to be upon
the subject of Clothes, or dress. _Clothes, their Origin and
Influence_, is the title of the supposed German treatise of Professor
Teufelsdröckh, and the rather odd name of _Sartor Resartus_--the
Tailor Patched,--which the present Editor has affixed to his pretended
commentary, seems to look the same way. But though there is a good
deal of remark throughout the work in a half-serious, half-comic style
upon dress, it seems to be in reality a treatise upon the great
science of Things in General, which Teufelsdröckh is supposed to have
professed at the university of Nobody-knows-where. Now, without
intending to adopt a too rigid standard of morals, we own that we
doubt a little the propriety of offering to the public a treatise on
Things in General, under the name and in the form of an Essay on
Dress. For ourselves, advanced as we unfortunately are in the journey
of life, far beyond the period when dress is practically a matter of
interest, we have no hesitation in saying, that the real subject of
the work is to us more attractive than the ostensible one. But this is
probably not the case with the mass of readers. To the younger portion
of the community, which constitutes everywhere the very great
majority, the subject of dress is one of intense and paramount
importance. An author who treats it appeals, like the poet, to the
young men and maidens--_virginibus puerisque_,--and calls upon them,
by all the motives which habitually operate most strongly upon their
feelings, to buy his book. When, after opening their purses for this
purpose, they have carried home the work in triumph, expecting to find
in it some particular instruction in regard to the tying of their
neckcloths, or the cut of their corsets, and meet with nothing better
than a dissertation on Things in General, they will,--to use the
mildest term--not be in very good humour. If the last improvements in
legislation, which we have made in this country, should have found
their way to England, the author, we think, would stand some chance of
being _Lynched_. Whether his object in this piece of _supercherie_ be
merely pecuniary profit, or whether he takes a malicious pleasure in
quizzing the Dandies, we shall not undertake to say. In the latter
part of the work, he devotes a separate chapter to this class of
persons, from the tenour of which we should be disposed to conclude,
that he would consider any mode of divesting them of their property
very much in the nature of a spoiling of the Egyptians.

"The only thing about the work, tending to prove that it is what it
purports to be, a commentary on a real German treatise, is the style,
which is a sort of Babylonish dialect, not destitute, it is true, of
richness, vigour, and at times a sort of singular felicity of expression,
but very strongly tinged throughout with the peculiar idiom of the German
language. This quality in the style, however, may be a mere result of
a great familiarity with German literature, and we cannot, therefore,
look upon it as in itself decisive, still less as outweighing so much
evidence of an opposite character."--_North-American Review_, _No. 89_,
_October 1835_.


"The Editors have been induced, by the express desire of many persons,
to collect the following sheets out of the ephemeral pamphlets[4] in
which they first appeared, under the conviction that they contain in
themselves the assurance of a longer date.

    [4] _Fraser's_ (London) _Magazine_, 1833-4.

"The Editors have no expectation that this little Work will have a
sudden and general popularity. They will not undertake, as there is no
need, to justify the gay costume in which the Author delights to dress
his thoughts, or the German idioms with which he has sportively
sprinkled his pages. It is his humour to advance the gravest
speculations upon the gravest topics in a quaint and burlesque style.
If his masquerade offend any of his audience, to that degree that they
will not hear what he has to say, it may chance to draw others to
listen to his wisdom; and what work of imagination can hope to please
all? But we will venture to remark that the distaste excited by these
peculiarities in some readers is greatest at first, and is soon
forgotten; and that the foreign dress and aspect of the Work are quite
superficial, and cover a genuine Saxon heart. We believe, no book has
been published for many years, written in a more sincere style of
idiomatic English, or which discovers an equal mastery over all the
riches of the language. The Author makes ample amends for the
occasional eccentricity of his genius, not only by frequent bursts of
pure splendour, but by the wit and sense which never fail him.

"But what will chiefly commend the Book to the discerning reader is
the manifest design of the work, which is, a Criticism upon the Spirit
of the Age,--we had almost said, of the hour,--in which we live;
exhibiting in the most just and novel light the present aspects of
Religion, Politics, Literature, Arts, and Social Life. Under all his
gaiety the Writer has an earnest meaning, and discovers an insight
into the manifold wants and tendencies of human nature, which is very
rare among our popular authors. The philanthropy and the purity of
moral sentiment, which inspire the work, will find their way to the
heart of every lover of virtue."--_Preface to Sartor Resartus_:
_Boston_, 1836, 1837.

                      SUNT, FUERUNT VEL FUERE.

LONDON, _30th June 1838_.



CHAP. I. _Preliminary_

    No Philosophy of Clothes yet, notwithstanding all our Science.
    Strangely forgotten that Man is by nature a _naked_ animal.
    The English mind all-too practically absorbed for any such
    inquiry. Not so, deep-thinking Germany. Advantage of
    Speculation having free course. Editor receives from Professor
    Teufelsdröckh his new Work on Clothes (p. 1).

CHAP. II. _Editorial Difficulties_

    How to make known Teufelsdröckh and his Book to English
    readers; especially _such_ a book? Editor receives from the
    Hofrath Heuschrecke a letter promising Biographic Documents.
    Negotiations with Oliver Yorke. _Sartor Resartus_ conceived.
    Editor's assurances and advice to his British reader (p. 5).

CHAP. III. _Reminiscences_

    Teufelsdröckh at Weissnichtwo. Professor of Things in General
    at the University there: Outward aspect and character;
    memorable coffee-house utterances; domicile and watch-tower:
    Sights thence of City-life by day and by night; with
    reflections thereon. Old 'Liza and her ways. Character of
    Hofrath Heuschrecke, and his relation to Teufelsdröckh (p. 9).

CHAP. IV. _Characteristics_

    Teufelsdröckh and his Work on Clothes: Strange freedom of
    speech: transcendentalism; force of insight and expression;
    multifarious learning: Style poetic, uncouth:
    Comprehensiveness of his humour and moral feeling. How the
    Editor once saw him laugh. Different kinds of Laughter and
    their significance (p. 20).

CHAP. V. _The World in Clothes_

    Futile cause-and-effect Philosophies. Teufelsdröckh's Orbis
    Vestitus. Clothes first invented for the sake of Ornament.
    Picture of our progenitor, the Aboriginal Savage. Wonders of
    growth and progress in mankind's history. Man defined as a
    Tool-using Animal (p. 25).

CHAP. VI. _Aprons_

    Divers Aprons in the world with divers uses. The Military and
    Police Establishment Society's working Apron. The Episcopal
    Apron with its corner tucked in. The Laystall. Journalists now
    our only Kings and Clergy (p. 31).

CHAP. VII. _Miscellaneous-Historical_

    How Men and Fashions come and go. German Costume in the
    fifteenth century. By what strange chances do we live in
    History! The costume of Bolivar's Cavalry (p. 34).

CHAP. VIII. _The World out of Clothes_

    Teufelsdröckh's Theorem, "Society founded upon Cloth"; his
    Method, Intuition quickened by Experience.--The mysterious
    question, Who am I? Philosophic systems, all at fault: A
    deeper meditation has always taught, here and there an
    individual, that all visible things are appearances only; but
    also emblems and revelations of God. Teufelsdröckh first
    comes upon the question of Clothes: Baseness to which Clothing
    may bring us (p. 37).

CHAP. IX. _Adamatism_

    The universal utility of Clothes, and their higher mystic
    virtue, illustrated. Conception of Mankind stripped naked; and
    immediate consequent dissolution of civilised Society (p. 43).

CHAP. X. _Pure Reason_

    A Naked World possible, nay actually exists, under the clothed
    one. Man, in the eye of Pure Reason, a visible God's Presence.
    The beginning of all wisdom, to look fixedly on Clothes till
    they become transparent. Wonder, the basis of Worship:
    Perennial in man. Modern Sciolists who cannot wonder:
    Teufelsdröckh's contempt for, and advice to them (p. 47).

CHAP. XI. _Prospective_

    Nature not an Aggregate, but a Whole. All visible things are
    emblems, Clothes; and exist for a time only. The grand scope
    of the Philosophy of Clothes.--Biographic Documents arrive.
    Letter from Heuschrecke on the importance of Biography.
    Heterogeneous character of the documents: Editor sorely
    perplexed; but desperately grapples with his work (p. 52).


CHAP. I. _Genesis_

    Old Andreas Futteral and Gretchen his wife: their quiet home.
    Advent of a mysterious stranger, who deposits with them a
    young infant, the future Herr Diogenes Teufelsdröckh.
    After-yearnings of the youth for his unknown Father. Sovereign
    power of Names and Naming. Diogenes a flourishing Infant (p.

CHAP. II. _Idyllic_

    Happy Childhood! Entepfuhl: Sights, hearings and experiences
    of the boy Teufelsdröckh; their manifold teaching. Education;
    what it can do, what cannot. Obedience our universal duty and
    destiny. Gneschen sees the good Gretchen pray (p. 68).

CHAP. III. _Pedagogy_

    Teufelsdröckh's School. His Education. How the ever-flowing
    Kuhbach speaks of Time and Eternity. The Hinterschlag
    Gymnasium; rude Boys; and pedant Professors. The need of true
    Teachers, and their due recognition. Father Andreas dies: and
    Teufelsdröckh learns the secret of his birth: His reflections
    thereon. The Nameless University. Statistics of Imposture much
    wanted. Bitter fruits of Rationalism: Teufelsdröckh's
    religious difficulties. The young Englishman Herr Towgood.
    Modern Friendship (p. 76).

CHAP. IV. _Getting under Way_

    The grand thaumaturgic Art of Thought. Difficulty in fitting
    Capability to Opportunity, or of getting underway. The
    advantage of Hunger and Bread-Studies. Teufelsdröckh has to
    enact the stern mono-drama of _No object and no rest_.
    Sufferings as Auscultator. Given up as a man of genius,
    Zähdarm House. Intolerable presumption of young men. Irony
    and its consequences. Teufelsdröckh's Epitaph on Count
    Zähdarm (p. 90).

CHAP. V. _Romance_

    Teufelsdröckh gives up his Profession. The heavenly mystery
    of Love. Teufelsdröckh's feeling of worship towards women.
    First and only love. Blumine. Happy hearts and free tongues.
    The infinite nature of Fantasy. Love's joyful progress; sudden
    dissolution; and final catastrophe (p. 101).

CHAP. VI. _Sorrows of Teufelsdröckh_

    Teufelsdröckh's demeanour thereupon. Turns pilgrim. A last
    wistful look on native Entepfuhl: Sunset amongst primitive
    Mountains. Basilisk-glance of the Barouche-and-four. Thoughts
    on View-hunting. Wanderings and Sorrowings (p. 112).

CHAP. VII. _The Everlasting No_

    Loss of Hope, and of Belief. Profit-and-Loss Philosophy,
    Teufelsdröckh in his darkness and despair still clings to
    Truth and follows Duty. Inexpressible pains and fears of
    Unbelief. Fever-crisis: Protest against the Everlasting No:
    Baphometic Fire-baptism (p. 121).

CHAP. VIII. _Centre of Indifference_

    Teufelsdröckh turns now outwardly to the _Not-me_; and finds
    wholesomer food. Ancient Cities: Mystery of their origin and
    growth: Invisible inheritances and possessions. Power and
    virtue of a true Book. Wagram Battlefield: War. Great Scenes
    beheld by the Pilgrim: Great Events, and Great Men. Napoleon,
    a divine missionary, preaching _La carrière ouverte aux
    talens_. Teufelsdröckh at the North Cape: Modern means of
    self-defence. Gunpowder and duelling. The Pilgrim, despising
    his miseries, reaches the Centre of Indifference (p. 128).

CHAP. IX. _The Everlasting Yea_

    Temptations in the Wilderness: Victory over the Tempter.
    Annihilation of Self. Belief in God, and love to Man. The
    origin of Evil, a problem ever requiring to be solved anew:
    Teufelsdröckh's solution. Love of Happiness a vain whim: A
    Higher in man than Love of Happiness. The Everlasting Yea.
    Worship of Sorrow. Voltaire: his task now finished. Conviction
    worthless, impossible, without Conduct. The true Ideal, the
    Actual: Up and work! (p. 138).

CHAP. X. _Pause_

    Conversion; a spiritual attainment peculiar to the modern Era.
    Teufelsdröckh accepts Authorship as his divine calling. The
    scope of the command _Thou shalt not steal_.--Editor begins to
    suspect the authenticity of the Biographical documents; and
    abandons them for the great Clothes volume. Result of the
    preceding ten Chapters: Insight into the character of
    Teufelsdröckh: His fundamental beliefs, and how he was forced
    to seek and find them (p. 149).


CHAP. I. _Incident in Modern History_

    Story of George Fox the Quaker; and his perennial suit of
    Leather. A man God-possessed, witnessing for spiritual freedom
    and manhood (p. 156).

CHAP. II. _Church-Clothes_

    Church-Clothes defined; the Forms under which the Religious
    principle is temporarily embodied. Outward Religion originates
    by Society: Society becomes possible by Religion. The
    condition of Church-Clothes in our time (p. 161).

CHAP. III. _Symbols_

    The benignant efficacies of Silence and Secrecy. Symbols;
    revelations of the Infinite in the Finite: Man everywhere
    encompassed by them; lives and works by them. Theory of
    Motive-millwrights, a false account of human nature. Symbols
    of an extrinsic value; as Banners, Standards: Of intrinsic
    value; as Works of Art, Lives and Deaths of Heroic men.
    Religious Symbols; Christianity. Symbols hallowed by Time; but
    finally defaced and desecrated. Many superannuated Symbols in
    our time, needing removal (p. 163).

CHAP. IV. _Helotage_

    Heuschrecke's Malthusian Tract, and Teufelsdröckh's marginal
    notes thereon. The true workman, for daily bread, or spiritual
    bread, to be honoured; and no other. The real privation of the
    Poor not poverty or toil, but ignorance. Over-population: With
    a world like ours and wide as ours, can there be too many men?
    Emigration (p. 170).

CHAP. V. _The Phoenix_

    Teufelsdröckh considers Society as _dead_; its soul
    (Religion) gone, its body (existing Institutions) going.
    Utilitarianism, needing little farther preaching, is now in
    full activity of Destruction.--Teufelsdröckh would yield to
    the Inevitable, accounting that the best: Assurance of a
    fairer Living Society, arising, Phoenix-like, out of the ruins
    of the old dead one. Before that Phoenix death-birth is
    accomplished, long time, struggle, and suffering must
    intervene (p. 174).

CHAP. VI. _Old Clothes_

    Courtesy due from all men to all men: The Body of Man a
    Revelation in the Flesh. Teufelsdröckh's respect for Old
    Clothes, as the 'Ghosts of Life.' Walk in Monmouth Street, and
    meditations there (p. 179).

CHAP. VII. _Organic Filaments_

    Destruction and Creation ever proceed together; and organic
    filaments of the Future are even now spinning. Wonderful
    connection of each man with all men; and of each generation
    with all generations, before and after: Mankind is One.
    Sequence and progress of all human work, whether of creation
    or destruction, from age to age.--Titles, hitherto derived
    from Fighting, must give way to others. Kings will remain and
    their title. Political Freedom, not to be attained by any
    mechanical contrivance. Hero-worship, perennial amongst men;
    the cornerstone of polities in the Future. Organic filaments
    of the New Religion: Newspapers and Literature. Let the
    faithful soul take courage! (p. 183).

CHAP. VIII. _Natural Supernaturalism_

    Deep significance of Miracles. Littleness of human Science:
    Divine incomprehensibility of Nature. Custom blinds us to the
    miraculousness of daily-recurring miracles; so do Names. Space
    and Time, appearances only; forms of human Thought: A glimpse
    of Immortality. How Space hides from us the wondrousness of
    our commonest powers; and Time, the divinely miraculous course
    of human history (p. 191).

CHAP. IX. _Circumspective_

    Recapitulation. Editor congratulates the few British readers
    who have accompanied Teufelsdröckh through all his
    speculations. The true use of the _Sartor Resartus_, to
    exhibit the Wonder of daily life and common things; and to
    show that all Forms are but Clothes, and temporary. Practical
    inferences enough will follow (p. 201).

CHAP. X. _The Dandiacal Body_

    The Dandy defined. The Dandiacal Sect a new modification of
    the primeval superstition Self-worship: How to be
    distinguished. Their Sacred Books (Fashionable Novels)
    unreadable. Dandyism's Articles of Faith.--Brotherhood of
    Poor-Slaves: vowed to perpetual Poverty; worshippers of Earth;
    distinguished by peculiar costume and diet. Picture of a
    Poor-Slave Household; and of a Dandiacal. Teufelsdröckh fears
    these two Sects may spread, till they part all England between
    them, and then frightfully collide (p. 204).

CHAP. XI. _Tailors_

    Injustice done to Tailors, actual and metaphorical. Their rights
    and great services will one day be duly recognised (p. 216).

CHAP. XII. _Farewell_

    Teufelsdröckh's strange manner of speech, but resolute,
    truthful character: His purpose seemingly to proselytise, to
    unite the wakeful earnest in these dark times. Letter from
    Hofrath Heuschrecke announcing that Teufelsdröckh has
    disappeared from Weissnichtwo. Editor guesses he will appear
    again, Friendly Farewell (p. 219).




[_Tuesday, 5th May 1840_]

We have undertaken to discourse here for a little on Great Men, their
manner of appearance in our world's business, how they have shaped
themselves in the world's history, what ideas men formed of them, what
work they did;--on Heroes, namely, and on their reception and
performance; what I call Hero-worship and the Heroic in human affairs.
Too evidently this is a large topic; deserving quite other treatment
than we can expect to give it at present. A large topic; indeed, an
illimitable one; wide as Universal History itself. For, as I take it,
Universal History, the history of what man has accomplished in this
world, is at bottom the History of the Great Men who have worked here.
They were the leaders of men, these great ones; the modellers,
patterns, and in a wide sense creators, of whatsoever the general mass
of men contrived to do or to attain; all things that we see standing
accomplished in the world are properly the outer material result, the
practical realisation and embodiment, of Thoughts that dwelt in the
Great Men sent into the world: the soul of the whole world's history,
it may justly be considered, were the history of these. Too clearly it
is a topic we shall do no justice to in this place!

One comfort is, that Great Men, taken up in any way, are profitable
company. We cannot look, however imperfectly, upon a great man,
without gaining something by him. He is the living light-fountain,
which it is good and pleasant to be near. The light which enlightens,
which has enlightened the darkness of the world; and this not as a
kindled lamp only, but rather as a natural luminary shining by the
gift of Heaven; a flowing light-fountain, as I say, of native original
insight, of manhood and heroic nobleness;--in whose radiance all souls
feel that it is well with them. On any terms whatsoever, you will not
grudge to wander in such neighbourhood for a while. These Six classes
of Heroes, chosen out of widely-distant countries and epochs, and in
mere external figure differing altogether, ought, if we look
faithfully at them, to illustrate several things for us. Could we see
_them_ well, we should get some glimpses into the very marrow of the
world's history. How happy, could I but, in any measure, in such times
as these, make manifest to you the meanings of Heroism; the divine
relation (for I may well call it such) which in all times unites a
Great Man to other men; and thus, as it were, not exhaust my subject,
but so much as break ground on it! At all events, I must make the

It is well said, in every sense, that a man's religion is the chief
fact with regard to him. A man's, or a nation of men's. By religion I
do not mean here the church-creed which he professes, the articles of
faith which he will sign and, in words or otherwise, assert; not this
wholly, in many cases not this at all. We see men of all kinds of
professed creeds attain to almost all degrees of worth or
worthlessness under each or any of them. This is not what I call
religion, this profession and assertion; which is often only a
profession and assertion from the outworks of the man, from the mere
argumentative region of him, if even so deep as that. But the thing a
man does practically believe (and this is often enough _without_
asserting it even to himself, much less to others); the thing a man
does practically lay to heart, and know for certain, concerning his
vital relations to this mysterious Universe, and his duty and destiny
there, that is in all cases the primary thing for him, and creatively
determines all the rest. That is his _religion_; or it may be, his
mere scepticism and _no-religion_: the manner it is in which he feels
himself to be spiritually related to the Unseen World or No-World; and
I say, if you tell me what that is, you tell me to a very great extent
what the man is, what the kind of things he will do is. Of a man or of
a nation we inquire, therefore, first of all, What religion they had?
Was it Heathenism,--plurality of gods, mere sensuous representation of
this Mystery of Life, and for chief recognised element therein
Physical Force? Was it Christianism; faith in an Invisible, not as
real only, but as the only reality; Time, through every meanest moment
of it, resting on Eternity; Pagan empire of Force displaced by a
nobler supremacy, that of Holiness? Was it Scepticism, uncertainty and
inquiry whether there was an Unseen World, any Mystery of Life except
a mad one;--doubt as to all this, or perhaps unbelief and flat denial?
Answering of this question is giving us the soul of the history of the
man or nation. The thoughts they had were the parents of the actions
they did; their feelings were parents of their thoughts: it was the
unseen and spiritual in them that determined the outward and
actual;--their religion, as I say, was the great fact about them. In
these Discourses, limited as we are, it will be good to direct our
survey chiefly to that religious phasis of the matter. That once known
well, all is known. We have chosen as the first Hero in our series,
Odin the central figure of Scandinavian Paganism; an emblem to us of a
most extensive province of things. Let us look for a little at the
Hero as Divinity, the oldest primary form of Heroism.

Surely it seems a very strange-looking thing this Paganism; almost
inconceivable to us in these days. A bewildering, inextricable jungle
of delusions, confusions, falsehoods and absurdities, covering the
whole field of Life! A thing that fills us with astonishment, almost,
if it were possible, with incredulity,--for truly it is not easy to
understand that sane men could ever calmly, with their eyes open,
believe and live by such a set of doctrines. That men should have
worshipped their poor fellow-man as a God, and not him only, but
stocks and stones, and all manner of animate and inanimate objects;
and fashioned for themselves such a distracted chaos of hallucinations
by way of Theory of the Universe: all this looks like an incredible
fable. Nevertheless it is a clear fact that they did it. Such hideous
inextricable jungle of misworships, misbeliefs, men, made as we are,
did actually hold by, and live at home in. This is strange. Yes, we
may pause in sorrow and silence over the depths of darkness that are
in man; if we rejoice in the heights of purer vision he has attained
to. Such things were and are in man; in all men; in us too.

Some speculators have a short way of accounting for the Pagan
religion: mere quackery, priestcraft, and dupery, say they; no sane
man ever did believe it,--merely contrived to persuade other men, not
worthy of the name of sane, to believe it! It will be often our duty
to protest against this sort of hypothesis about men's doings and
history; and I here, on the very threshold, protest against it in
reference to Paganism, and to all other _isms_ by which man has ever
for a length of time striven to walk in this world. They have all had
a truth in them, or men would not have taken them up. Quackery and
dupery do abound; in religions, above all in the more advanced
decaying stages of religions, they have fearfully abounded: but
quackery was never the originating influence in such things; it was
not the health and life of such things, but their disease, the sure
precursor of their being about to die! Let us never forget this. It
seems to me a most mournful hypothesis, that of quackery giving birth
to any faith even in savage men. Quackery gives birth to nothing;
gives death to all things. We shall not see into the true heart of
anything, or if we look merely at the quackeries of it; if we do not
reject the quackeries altogether; as mere diseases, corruptions, with
which our and all men's sole duty is to have done with them, to sweep
them out of our thoughts as out of our practice. Man everywhere is the
born enemy of lies. I find Grand Lamaism itself to have a kind of
truth in it. Read the candid, clear-sighted, rather sceptical Mr
Turner's _Account of his Embassy_ to that country, and see. They have
their belief, these poor Thibet people, that Providence sends down
always an Incarnation of Himself into every generation. At bottom some
belief in a kind of Pope! At bottom still better, belief that there is
a _Greatest_ Man; that _he_ is discoverable; that, once discovered, we
ought to treat him with an obedience which knows no bounds! This is
the truth of Grand Lamaism; the 'discoverability' is the only error
here. The Thibet priests have methods of their own of discovering what
Man is Greatest, fit to be supreme over them. Bad methods: but are
they so much worse than our methods,--of understanding him to be
always the eldest born of a certain genealogy? Alas, it is a difficult
thing to find good methods for!--We shall begin to have a chance of
understanding Paganism, when we first admit that to its followers it
was, at one time, earnestly true. Let us consider it very certain that
men did believe in Paganism; men with open eyes, sound senses, men
made altogether like ourselves; that we, had we been there, should
have believed in it. Ask now, What Paganism could have been?

Another theory, somewhat more respectable, attributes such things to
Allegory. It was a play of poetic minds, say these theorists; a
shadowing-forth, in allegorical fable, in personification and visual
form, of what such poetic minds had known and felt of this Universe.
Which agrees, add they, with a primary law of human nature, still
everywhere observably at work, though in less important things, That
what a man feels intensely, he struggles to speak-out of him, to see
represented before him in visual shape, and as if with a kind of life
and historical reality in it. Now doubtless there is such a law, and
it is one of the deepest in human nature; neither need we doubt that
it did operate fundamentally in this business. The hypothesis which
ascribes Paganism wholly or mostly to this agency, I call a little
more respectable; but I cannot yet call it the true hypothesis. Think,
would _we_ believe, and take with us as our life-guidance, an
allegory, a poetic sport? Not sport but earnest is what we should
require. It is a most earnest thing to be alive in this world; to die
is not sport for a man. Man's life never was a sport to him; it was a
stern reality, altogether a serious matter to be alive!

I find, therefore, that though these Allegory theorists are on the way
towards truth in this matter, they have not reached it either. Pagan
Religion is indeed an Allegory, a Symbol of what men felt and knew
about the Universe; and all Religions are Symbols of that, altering
always as that alters: but it seems to me a radical perversion, and
even _in_version, of the business, to put that forward as the origin
and moving cause, when it was rather the result and termination. To
get beautiful allegories, a perfect poetic symbol, was not the want of
men; but to know what they were to believe about this Universe, what
course they were to steer in it; what, in this mysterious Life of
theirs, they had to hope and to fear, to do and to forbear doing. The
_Pilgrim's Progress_ is an Allegory, and a beautiful, just and serious
one: but consider whether Bunyan's Allegory could have _preceded_ the
Faith it symbolises! The Faith had to be already there, standing
believed by everybody;--of which the Allegory could _then_ become a
shadow; and, with all its seriousness, we may say a _sportful_ shadow,
a mere play of the Fancy, in comparison with that awful Fact and
scientific certainty which it poetically strives to emblem. The
Allegory is the product of the certainty, not the producer of it; not
in Bunyan's, nor in any other case. For Paganism, therefore, we have
still to inquire, Whence came that scientific certainty, the parent of
such a bewildered heap of allegories, errors and confusions? How was
it, what was it?

Surely it were a foolish attempt to pretend 'explaining,' in this
place, or in any place, such a phenomenon as that far-distant
distracted cloudy imbroglio of Paganism,--more like a cloudfield than
a distant continent of firm land and facts! It is no longer a reality,
yet it was one. We ought to understand that this seeming cloudfield
was once a reality; that not poetic allegory, least of all that dupery
and deception was the origin of it. Men, I say, never did believe idle
songs, never risked their soul's life on allegories; men in all times,
especially in early earnest times, have had an instinct for detecting
quacks, for detesting quacks. Let us try if, leaving out both the
quack theory and the allegory one, and listening with affectionate
attention to that far-off confused rumour of the Pagan ages, we cannot
ascertain so much as this at least, That there was a kind of fact at
the heart of them; that they too were not mendacious and distracted,
but in their own poor way true and sane!

You remember that fancy of Plato's, of a man who had grown to maturity
in some dark distance, and was brought on a sudden into the upper air
to see the sun rise. What would his wonder be, his rapt astonishment
at the sight we daily witness with indifference! With the free open
sense of a child, yet with the ripe faculty of a man, his whole heart
would be kindled by that sight, he would discern it well to be
Godlike, his soul would fall down in worship before it. Now, just such
a childlike greatness was in the primitive nations. The first Pagan
Thinker among rude men, the first man that began to think, was
precisely this child-man of Plato's. Simple, open as a child, yet with
the depth and strength of a man. Nature had as yet no name to him; he
had not yet united under a name the infinite variety of sights,
sounds, shapes and motions, which we now collectively name Universe,
Nature, or the like,--and so with a name dismiss it from us. To the
wild deep-hearted man all was yet new, not veiled under names or
formulas; it stood naked, flashing-in on him there, beautiful, awful,
unspeakable. Nature was to this man, what to the Thinker and Prophet
it forever is, _preter_natural. This green flowery rock-built earth,
the trees, the mountains, rivers, many-sounding seas;--that great deep
sea of azure that swims overhead; the winds sweeping through it; the
black cloud fashioning itself together, now pouring out fire, now hail
and rain; what _is_ it? Ay, what? At bottom we do not yet know; we can
never know at all. It is not by our superior insight that we escape
the difficulty; it is by our superior levity, our inattention, our
_want_ of insight. It is by _not_ thinking that we cease to wonder at
it. Hardened round us, encasing wholly every notion we form, is a
wrappage of traditions, hearsays, mere _words_. We call that fire of
the black thundercloud 'electricity,' and lecture learnedly about it,
and grind the like of it out of glass and silk: but _what_ is it? What
made it? Whence comes it? Whither goes it? Science has done much for
us; but it is a poor science that would hide from us the great deep
sacred infinitude of Nescience, whither we can never penetrate, on
which all science swims as a mere superficial film. This world, after
all our science and sciences, is still a miracle; wonderful,
inscrutable, _magical_ and more, to whosoever will _think_ of it.

That great mystery of TIME, were there no other: the illimitable,
silent, never-resting thing called Time, rolling, rushing on, swift,
silent, like an all-embracing ocean-tide, on which we and all the
Universe swim like exhalations, like apparitions which _are_, and then
_are not_: this is forever very literally a miracle; a thing to strike
us dumb,--for we have no word to speak about it. This Universe, ah
me--what could the wild man know of it; what can we yet know? That it
is a Force, and thousandfold Complexity of Forces; a Force which is
_not we_. That is all; it is not we, it is altogether different from
_us_. Force, Force, everywhere Force; we ourselves a mysterious Force
in the centre of that. 'There is not a leaf rotting on the highway but
has Force in it: how else could it rot?' Nay surely, to the Atheistic
Thinker, if such a one were possible, it must be a miracle too, this
huge illimitable whirlwind of Force, which envelops us here;
never-resting whirlwind, high as Immensity, old as Eternity. What is
it? God's creation, the religious people answer; it is the Almighty
God's! Atheistic science babbles poorly of it, with scientific
nomenclatures, experiments and what-not, as if it were a poor dead
thing, to be bottled up in Leyden jars and sold over counters: but the
natural sense of man, in all times, if he will honestly apply his
sense, proclaims it to be a living thing,--ah, an unspeakable, godlike
thing; towards which the best attitude for us, after never so much
science, is awe, devout prostration and humility of soul; worship if
not in words, then in silence.

But now I remark farther: What in such a time as ours it requires a
Prophet or Poet to teach us, namely, the stripping-off of those poor
undevout wrappages, nomenclatures and scientific hearsays,---this, the
ancient earnest soul, as yet unencumbered with these things, did for
itself. The world, which is now divine only to the gifted, was then
divine to whosoever would turn his eye upon it. He stood bare before
it face to face. 'All was Godlike or God:'--Jean Paul still finds it
so; the giant Jean Paul, who has power to escape out of hearsays: but
there then were no hearsays. Canopus shining-down over the desert,
with its blue diamond brightness (that wild blue spirit-like
brightness, far brighter than we ever witness here), would pierce into
the heart of the wild Ishmaelitish man, whom it was guiding through
the solitary waste there. To his wild heart, with all feelings in it,
with no _speech_ for any feeling, it may seem a little eye, that
Canopus, glancing-out on him from the great deep Eternity; revealing
the inner Splendour to him. Cannot we understand how these men
_worshipped_ Canopus; became what we call Sabeans, worshipping the
stars? Such is to me the secret of all forms of Paganism. Worship is
transcendent wonder; wonder for which there is now no limit or
measure; that is worship. To these primeval men, all things and
everything they saw exist beside them were an emblem of the Godlike,
of some God.

And look what perennial fibre of truth was in that. To us also,
through every star, through every blade of grass, is not a God made
visible, if we will open our minds and eyes? We do not worship in that
way now: but is it not reckoned still a merit, proof of what we call a
'poetic nature,' that we recognise how every object has a divine
beauty in it; how every object still verily is 'a window through which
we may look into Infinitude itself'? He that can discern the
loveliness of things, we call him Poet, Painter, Man of Genius,
gifted, lovable. These poor Sabeans did even what he does,--in their
own fashion. That they did it, in what fashion soever, was a merit:
better than what the entirely stupid man did, what the horse and camel
did,--namely, nothing!

But now if all things whatsoever that we look upon are emblems to us
of the Highest God, I add that more so than any of them is man such an
emblem. You have heard of St. Chrysostom's celebrated saying in
reference to the Shekinah, or Ark of Testimony, visible Revelation of
God, among the Hebrews: "The true Shekinah is Man!" Yes, it is even
so: this is no vain phrase; it is veritably so. The essence of our
being, the mystery in us that calls itself "I,"--ah, what words have
we for such things?--is a breath of Heaven; the Highest Being reveals
himself in _man_. This body, these faculties, this life of ours, is it
not all as a vesture for that Unnamed? 'There is but one Temple in the
Universe,' says the devout Novalis, 'and that is the Body of Man.
Nothing is holier than that high form. Bending before men is a
reverence done to this Revelation in the Flesh. We touch Heaven when
we lay our hand on a human body!' This sounds much like a mere
flourish of rhetoric; but it is not so. If well meditated, it will
turn out to be a scientific fact; the expression, in such words as can
be had, of the actual truth of the thing. _We_ are the miracle of
miracles,--the great inscrutable mystery of God. We cannot understand
it, we know not how to speak of it; but we may feel and know, if we
like, that it is verily so.

Well; these truths were once more readily felt than now. The young
generations of the world, who had in them the freshness of young
children, and yet the depth of earnest men, who did not think that
they had finished-off all things in Heaven and Earth by merely giving
them scientific names, but had to gaze direct at them there, with awe
and wonder: they felt better what of divinity is in man and
Nature;--they, without being mad, could _worship_ Nature, and man more
than anything else in Nature. Worship, that is, as I said above,
admire without limit: this, in the full use of their faculties, with
all sincerity of heart, they could do. I consider Hero-worship to be
the grand modifying element in that ancient system of thought. What I
called the perplexed jungle of Paganism sprang, we may say, out of
many roots: every admiration, adoration of a star or natural object,
was a root or fibre of a root; but Hero-worship is the deepest root of
all; the tap-root, from which in a great degree all the rest were
nourished and grown.

And now if worship even of a star had some meaning in it, how much
more might that of a Hero! Worship of a Hero is transcendent
admiration of a Great Man. I say great men are still admirable; I say
there is, at bottom, nothing else admirable! No nobler feeling than
this of admiration for one higher than himself dwells in the breast of
man. It is to this hour, and at all hours, the vivifying influence in
man's life. Religion I find stand upon it; not Paganism only, but far
higher and truer religions,--all religion hitherto known.
Hero-worship, heartfelt prostrate admiration, submission, burning,
boundless, for a noblest godlike Form of Man,--is not that the germ of
Christianity itself? The greatest of all Heroes is One--whom we do not
name here! Let sacred silence meditate that sacred matter; you will
find it the ultimate perfection of a principle extant throughout man's
whole history on earth.

Or coming into lower, less _un_speakable provinces, is not all Loyalty
akin to religious Faith also? Faith is loyalty to some inspired
Teacher, some spiritual Hero. And what therefore is loyalty proper,
the life-breath of all society, but an effluence of Hero-worship,
submissive admiration for the truly great? Society is founded on
Hero-worship. All dignities of rank, on which human association rests,
are what we may call a _Hero_archy (Government of Heroes),--or a
Hierarchy, for it is 'sacred' enough withal! The Duke means _Dux_,
Leader; King is _Kön-ning_, _Kan-ning_, Man that _knows_ or _cans_.
Society everywhere is some representation, not _in_supportably
inaccurate, of a graduated Worship of Heroes;--reverence and obedience
done to men really great and wise. Not _in_supportably inaccurate, I
say! They are all as bank-notes, these social dignitaries, all
representing gold;--and several of them, alas, always are _forged_
notes. We can do with some forged false notes; with a good many even;
but not with all, or the most of them forged! No: there have to come
revolutions then; cries of Democracy, Liberty, and Equality, and I
know not what:--the notes being all false, and no gold to be had for
_them_, people take to crying in their despair that there is no gold,
that there never was any!--'Gold,' Hero-worship, _is_ nevertheless, as
it was always and everywhere, and cannot cease till man himself

I am well aware that in these days Hero-worship, the thing I call
Hero-worship, professes to have gone out, and finally ceased. This,
for reasons which it will be worth while some time to inquire into, is
an age that as it were denies the existence of great men; denies the
desirableness of great men. Show our critics a great man, a Luther for
example, they begin to what they call 'account' for him; not to
worship him, but take the dimensions of him,--and bring him out to be
a little kind of man! He was the 'creature of the Time,' they say; the
Time called him forth, the Time did everything, he nothing--but what
we the little critic could have done too! This seems to me but
melancholy work. The Time call forth? Alas, we have known Times _call_
loudly enough for their great man; but not find him when they called!
He was not there; Providence had not sent him; the Time, _calling_ its
loudest, had to go down to confusion and wreck because he would not
come when called.

For if we will think of it, no Time need have gone to ruin, could it
have _found_ a man great enough, a man wise and good enough: wisdom to
discern truly what the Time wanted, valour to lead it on the right
road thither; these are the salvation of any Time. But I liken common
languid Times, with their unbelief, distress, perplexity, with their
languid doubting characters and embarrassed circumstances, impotently
crumbling-down into ever worse distress towards final ruin;--all this
I liken to dry dead fuel, waiting for the lightning out of Heaven that
shall kindle it. The great man, with his free force direct out of
God's own hand, is the lightning. His word is the wise healing word
which all can believe in. All blazes round him now, when he has once
struck on it, into fire like his own. The dry mouldering sticks are
thought to have called him forth. They did want him greatly; but as to
calling him forth--!--Those are critics of small vision, I think, who
cry: "See, is it not the sticks that made the fire?" No sadder proof
can be given by a man of his own littleness than disbelief in great
men. There is no sadder symptom of a generation than such general
blindness to the spiritual lightning, with faith only in the heap of
barren dead fuel. It is the last consummation of unbelief. In all
epochs of the world's history, we shall find the Great Man to have
been the indispensable saviour of his epoch;--the lightning, without
which the fuel never would have burnt. The History of the World, I
said already, was the Biography of Great Men.

Such small critics do what they can to promote unbelief and universal
spiritual paralysis; but happily they cannot always completely
succeed. In all times it is possible for a man to arise great enough
to feel that they and their doctrines are chimeras and cobwebs. And
what is notable, in no time whatever can they entirely eradicate out
of living men's hearts a certain altogether peculiar reverence for
Great Men; genuine admiration, loyalty, adoration, however dim and
perverted it may be. Hero-worship endures for ever while man endures.
Boswell venerates his Johnson, right truly even in the Eighteenth
century. The unbelieving French believe in their Voltaire; and
burst-out round him into very curious Hero-worship, in that last act
of his life when they 'stifle him under roses.' It has always seemed
to me extremely curious this of Voltaire. Truly, if Christianity be
the highest instance of Hero-worship, then we may find here in
Voltaireism one of the lowest! He whose life was that of a kind of
Antichrist, does again on this side exhibit a curious contrast. No
people ever were so little prone to admire at all as those French of
Voltaire. _Persiflage_ was the character of their whole mind;
adoration had nowhere a place in it. Yet see! The old man of Ferney
comes up to Paris; an old, tottering, infirm man of eighty-four years.
They feel that he too is a kind of Hero; that he has spent his life in
opposing error and injustice, delivering Calases, unmasking hypocrites
in high places;--in short that _he_ too, though in a strange way, has
fought like a valiant man. They feel withal that, if _persiflage_ be
the great thing, there never was such a _persifleur_. He is the
realised ideal of every one of them; the thing they are all wanting to
be; of all Frenchmen the most French. _He_ is properly their
god,--such god as they are fit for. Accordingly all persons, from the
Queen Antoinette to the Douanier at the Porte St. Denis, do they not
worship him? People of quality disguise themselves as tavern-waiters.
The Maître de Poste, with a broad oath, orders his Postillion, "_Va
bon train_; thou art driving M. de Voltaire." At Paris his carriage is
'the nucleus of a comet, whose train fills whole streets.' The ladies
pluck a hair or two from his fur, to keep it as a sacred relic. There
was nothing highest, beautifulest, noblest in all France, that did not
feel this man to be higher, beautifuler, nobler.

Yes, from Norse Odin to English Samuel Johnson, from the divine
Founder of Christianity to the withered Pontiff of Encyclopedism, in
all times and places, the Hero has been worshipped. It will ever be
so. We all love great men; love, venerate, and bow down submissive
before great men: nay can we honestly bow down to anything else? Ah,
does not every true man feel that he is himself made higher by doing
reverence to what is really above him? No nobler or more blessed
feeling dwells in man's heart. And to me it is very cheering to
consider that no sceptical logic, or general triviality, insincerity
and aridity of any Time and its influences can destroy this noble
inborn loyalty and worship that is in man. In times of unbelief, which
soon have to become times of revolution, much down-rushing, sorrowful
decay and ruin is visible to everybody. For myself in these days, I
seem to see in this indestructibility of Hero-worship the everlasting
adamant lower than which the confused wreck of revolutionary things
cannot fall. The confused wreck of things crumbling and even crashing
and tumbling all round us in these revolutionary ages, will get down
so far; _no_ farther. It is an eternal corner-stone, from which they
can begin to build themselves up again. That man, in some sense or
other, worships Heroes; that we all of us reverence and must ever
reverence Great Men: this is, to me, the living rock amid all
rushings-down whatsoever;--the one fixed point in modern revolutionary
history, otherwise as if bottomless and shoreless.

       *       *       *       *       *

So much of truth, only under an ancient obsolete vesture, but the
spirit of it still true, do I find in the Paganism of old nations.
Nature is still divine, the revelation of the workings of God; the
Hero is still worshipable: this, under poor cramped incipient forms,
is what all Pagan religions have struggled, as they could, to set
forth. I think Scandinavian Paganism, to us here, is more interesting
than any other. It is, for one thing, the latest; it continued in
these regions of Europe till the eleventh century: eight-hundred years
ago the Norwegians were still worshippers of Odin. It is interesting
also as the creed of our fathers; the men whose blood still runs in
our veins, whom doubtless we still resemble in so many ways. Strange:
they did believe that, while we believe so differently. Let us look a
little at this poor Norse creed, for many reasons. We have tolerable
means to do it; for there is another point of interest in these
Scandinavian mythologies: that they have been preserved so well.

In that strange island Iceland,--burst-up, the geologists say, by fire
from the bottom of the sea; a wild land of barrenness and lava;
swallowed many months of every year in black tempests, yet with a wild
gleaming beauty in summer-time; towering up there, stern and grim, in
the North Ocean; with its snow jokuls, roaring geysers, sulphur-pools
and horrid volcanic chasms, like the waste chaotic battle-field of
Frost and Fire;--where of all places we least looked for Literature or
written memorials, the record of these things was written down. On the
seaboard of this wild land is a rim of grassy country, where cattle
can subsist, and men by means of them and of what the sea yields; and
it seems they were poetic men these, men who had deep thoughts in
them, and uttered musically their thoughts. Much would be lost, had
Iceland not been burst-up from the sea, not been discovered by the
Northmen! The old Norse Poets were many of them natives of Iceland.

Sæmund, one of the early Christian Priests there, who perhaps had a
lingering fondness for Paganism, collected certain of their old Pagan
songs, just about becoming obsolete then,--Poems or Chants of a
mythic, prophetic, mostly all of a religious character: that is what
Norse critics call the _Elder_ or Poetic _Edda_. _Edda_, a word of
uncertain etymology, is thought to signify _Ancestress_. Snorro
Sturleson, an Iceland gentleman, an extremely notable personage,
educated by this Sæmund's grandson, took in hand next, near a century
afterwards, to put together, among several other books he wrote, a
kind of Prose Synopsis of the whole Mythology; elucidated by new
fragments of traditionary verse. A work constructed really with great
ingenuity, native talent, what one might call unconscious art;
altogether a perspicuous clear work, pleasant reading still: this is
the _Younger_ or Prose _Edda_. By these and the numerous other
_Sagas_, mostly Icelandic, with the commentaries, Icelandic or not,
which go on zealously in the North to this day, it is possible to gain
some direct insight even yet; and see that old Norse system of Belief,
as it were, face to face. Let us forget that it is erroneous Religion;
let us look at it as old Thought, and try if we cannot sympathise with
it somewhat.

The primary characteristic of this old Northland Mythology I find to
be Impersonation of the visible workings of Nature. Earnest simple
recognition of the workings of Physical Nature, as a thing wholly
miraculous, stupendous and divine. What we now lecture of as Science,
they wondered at, and fell down in awe before, as Religion. The dark
hostile powers of Nature they figure to themselves as '_Jötuns_,'
Giants, huge shaggy beings of a demonic character. Frost, Fire,
Sea-tempest; these are Jötuns. The friendly powers again, as
Summer-heat, the Sun, are Gods. The empire of this Universe is divided
between these two; they dwell apart, in perennial internecine feud.
The Gods dwell above in Asgard, the Garden of the Asen, or Divinities;
Jötunheim, a distant dark chaotic land, is the home of the Jötuns.

Curious all this; and not idle or inane, if we will look at the
foundation of it! The power of _Fire_, or _Flame_, for instance, which
we designate by some trivial chemical name, thereby hiding from
ourselves the essential character of wonder that dwells in it as in
all things, is with these old Northmen, Loke, a most swift subtle
_Demon_, of the brood of the Jötuns. The savages of the Ladrones
Islands too (say some Spanish voyagers) thought Fire, which they never
had seen before, was a devil or god, that bit you sharply when you
touched it, and that lived upon dry wood. From us too no Chemistry, if
it had not Stupidity to help it, would hide that Flame is a wonder.
What _is_ Flame?--_Frost_ the old Norse Seer discerns to be a
monstrous hoary Jötun, the Giant _Thrym_, _Hrym_: or _Rime_, the old
word now nearly obsolete here, but still used in Scotland to signify
hoar-frost. _Rime_ was not then as now a dead chemical thing, but a
living Jötun or Devil; the monstrous Jötun _Rime_ drove home his
Horses at night, sat 'combing their manes,'--which Horses were
_Hail-Clouds_, or fleet _Frost-Winds_. His Cows--No, not his, but a
kinsman's, the Giant Hymir's Cows are _Icebergs_: this Hymir 'looks at
the rocks' with his devil-eye, and they _split_ in the glance of it.

Thunder was not then mere Electricity, vitreous or resinous; it was
the God Donner (Thunder) or Thor,--God also of beneficent Summer-heat.
The thunder was his wrath; the gathering of the black clouds is the
drawing down of Thor's angry brows; the fire-bolt bursting out of
Heaven is the all-rending Hammer flung from the hand of Thor: he urges
his loud chariot over the mountain-tops,--that is the peal: wrathful
he 'blows in his red beard,'--that is the rustling storm-blast before
the thunder begin. Balder again, the White God, the beautiful, the
just and benignant (whom the early Christian Missionaries found to
resemble Christ), is the Sun--beautifulest of visible things; wondrous
too, and divine still, after all our Astronomies and Almanacs! But
perhaps the notablest god we hear tell-of is one of whom Grimm the
German Etymologist finds trace: the God _Wünsch_, or Wish. The God
_Wish_; who could give us all that we _wished_! Is not this the
sincerest yet rudest voice of the spirit of man? The _rudest_ ideal
that man ever formed; which still shows itself in the latest forms of
our spiritual culture. Higher considerations have to teach us that the
God _Wish_ is not the true God.

Of the other Gods or Jötuns I will mention only for etymology's sake,
that Sea-tempest is the Jötun _Aegir_, a very dangerous Jötun;--and
now to this day, on our river Trent, as I learn, the Nottingham
bargemen, when the River is in a certain flooded state (a kind of
back-water, or eddying swirl it has, very dangerous to them), call it
_Eager_; they cry out, "Have a care, there is the _Eager_ coming!"
Curious; that word surviving, like the peak of a submerged world! The
_oldest_ Nottingham bargemen had believed in the God Aegir. Indeed,
our English blood too in good part is Danish, Norse; or rather, at
bottom, Danish and Norse and Saxon have no distinction, except a
superficial one,--as of Heathen and Christian, or the like. But all
over our Island we are mingled largely with Danes proper,--from the
incessant invasions there were: and this, of course, in a greater
proportion along the east coast; and greatest of all, as I find, in
the North Country. From the Humber upwards, all over Scotland, the
Speech of the common people is still in a singular degree Icelandic;
its Germanism has still a peculiar Norse tinge. They too are
'Normans,' Northmen,--if that be any great beauty!--

Of the chief god, Odin, we shall speak by and by. Mark at present so
much; what the essence of Scandinavian and indeed of all Paganism is:
a recognition of the forces of Nature as godlike, stupendous, personal
Agencies,--as Gods and Demons. Not inconceivable to us. It is the
infant Thought of man opening itself, with awe and wonder, on this
ever-stupendous Universe. To me there is in the Norse System something
very genuine, very great and manlike. A broad simplicity, rusticity,
so very different from the light gracefulness of the old Greek
Paganism, distinguishes this Scandinavian System. It is Thought; the
genuine Thought of deep, rude, earnest minds, fairly opened to the
things about them; a face-to-face and heart-to-heart inspection of the
things,--the first characteristic of all good Thought in all times.
Not graceful lightness, half-sport, as in the Greek Paganism; a
certain homely truthfulness and rustic strength, a great rude
sincerity, discloses itself here. It is strange, after our beautiful
Apollo statues and clear smiling mythuses, to come down upon the Norse
Gods 'brewing ale' to hold their feast with Aegir, the Sea-Jötun;
sending out Thor to get the caldron for them in the Jötun country;
Thor, after many adventures, clapping the Pot on his head, like a huge
hat, and walking off with it,--quite lost in it, the ears of the Pot
reaching down to his heels! A kind of vacant hugeness, large awkward
gianthood, characterises that Norse System; enormous force, as yet
altogether untutored, stalking helpless with large uncertain strides.
Consider only their primary mythus of the Creation. The Gods, having
got the Giant Ymer slain, a Giant made by 'warm wind,' and much
confused work, out of the conflict of Frost and Fire,--determined on
constructing a world with him. His blood made the sea; his flesh was
the Land, the Rocks his bones; of his eyebrows they formed Asgard
their Gods'-dwelling; his skull was the great blue vault of Immensity,
and the brains of it became the Clouds. What a Hyper-Brobdignagian
business! Untamed Thought, great, giantlike, enormous;--to be tamed in
due time into the compact greatness, not giant-like, but godlike and
stronger than gianthood, of the Shakspeares, the Goethes!--Spiritually
as well as bodily these men are our progenitors.

I like, too, that representation they have of the Tree Igdrasil. All
Life is figured by them as a Tree. Igdrasil, the Ash-tree of
Existence, has its roots deep-down in the kingdoms of Hela or Death;
its trunk reaches up heaven-high, spreads its boughs over the whole
Universe: it is the Tree of Existence. At the foot of it, in the
Death-kingdom, sit three _Nornas_, Fates,--the Past, Present, Future;
watering its roots from the Sacred Well. Its 'boughs,' with their
buddings and disleafings,--events, things suffered, things done,
catastrophes,--stretch through all lands and times. Is not every leaf
of it a biography, every fibre there an act or word? Its boughs are
Histories of Nations. The rustle of it is the noise of Human
Existence, onwards from of old. It grows there, the breath of Human
Passion rustling through it;--or stormtost, the stormwind howling
through it like the voice of all the gods. It is Igdrasil, the Tree of
Existence. It is the past, the present, and the future; what was done,
what is doing, what will be done; 'the infinite conjugation of the
verb _To do_.' Considering how human things circulate, each
inextricably in communion with all,--how the word I speak to you
to-day is borrowed, not from Ulfila the Moesogoth only, but from all
men since the first man began to speak,--I find no similitude so true
as this of a Tree. Beautiful; altogether beautiful and great. The
'_Machine_ of the Universe,'--alas, do but think of that in contrast!

       *       *       *       *       *

Well, it is strange enough this old Norse view of Nature; different
enough from what we believe of Nature. Whence it specially came, one
would not like to be compelled to say very minutely! One thing we may
say: It came from the thoughts of Norse men;--from the thought, above
all, of the _first_ Norse man who had an original power of thinking.
The First Norse 'man of genius,' as we should call him! Innumerable
men had passed by, across this Universe, with a dumb vague wonder,
such as the very animals may feel; or with a painful, fruitlessly
inquiring wonder, such as men only feel;--till the great Thinker came,
the _original_ man, the Seer; whose shaped spoken Thought awakes the
slumbering capability of all into Thought. It is ever the way with the
Thinker, the spiritual Hero. What he says, all men were not far from
saying, were longing to say. The Thoughts of all start up, as from
painful enchanted sleep, round his Thought; answering to it, Yes, even
so! Joyful to men as the dawning of day from night; _is_ it not,
indeed, the awakening for them from no-being into being, from death
into life? We still honour such a man; call him Poet, Genius, and so
forth: but to these wild men he was a very magician, a worker of
miraculous unexpected blessing for them; a Prophet, a God!--Thought
once awakened does not again slumber; unfolds itself into a System of
Thought; grows, in man after man, generation after generation,--till
its full stature is reached, and _such_ System of Thought can grow no
farther, but must give place to another.

For the Norse people, the Man now named Odin, and Chief Norse God, we
fancy, was such a man. A Teacher, and Captain of soul and of body; a
Hero, of worth _im_measurable; admiration for whom, transcending the
known bounds, became adoration. Has he not the power of articulate
Thinking; and many other powers, as yet miraculous? So, with boundless
gratitude, would the rude Norse heart feel. Has he not solved for them
the sphinx-enigma of this Universe; given assurance to them of their
own destiny there? By him they know now what they have to do here,
what to look for hereafter. Existence has become articulate, melodious
by him; he first has made Life alive!--We may call this Odin, the
origin of Norse Mythology: Odin, or whatever name the First Norse
Thinker bore while he was a man among men. His view of the Universe
once promulgated, a like view starts into being in all minds; grows,
keeps ever growing, while it continues credible there. In all minds it
lay written, but invisibly, as in sympathetic ink; at his word it
starts into visibility in all. Nay, in every epoch of the world, the
great event, parent of all others, is it not the arrival of a Thinker
in the world!--

One other thing we must not forget; it will explain, a little, the
confusion of these Norse Eddas. They are not one coherent System of
Thought; but properly the _summation_ of several successive systems.
All this of the old Norse Belief which is flung-out for us, in one
level of distance in the Edda, like a picture painted on the same
canvas, does not at all stand so in the reality. It stands rather at
all manner of distances and depths, of successive generations since
the Belief first began. All Scandinavian thinkers, since the first of
them, contributed to the Scandinavian System of Thought; in ever-new
elaboration and addition, it is the combined work of them all. What
history it had, how it changed from shape to shape, by one thinker's
contribution after another, till it got to the full final shape we see
it under in the _Edda_, no man will now ever know: _its_ Councils of
Trebisond, Councils of Trent, Athanasiuses, Dantes, Luthers, are sunk
without echo in the dark night! Only that it had such a history we can
all know. Wheresoever a thinker appeared, there in the thing he
thought-of was a contribution, accession, a change or revolution made.
Alas, the grandest 'revolution' of all, the one made by the man Odin
himself, is not this too sunk for us like the rest! Of Odin what
history? Strange rather to reflect that he _had_ a history! That this
Odin, in his wild Norse vesture, with his wild beard and eyes, his
rude Norse speech and ways, was a man like us; with our sorrows, joys,
with our limbs, features;--intrinsically all one as we: and did such a
work! But the work, much of it, has perished; the worker, all to the
name. "_Wednes_day," men will say to-morrow; Odin's day! Of Odin there
exists no history; no document of it; no guess about it worth

Snorro indeed, in the quietest manner, almost in a brief business
style, writes down, in his _Heimskringla_, how Odin was a heroic
Prince, in the Black-Sea region, with Twelve Peers, and a great people
straitened for room. How he led these _Asen_ (Asiatics) of his out of
Asia; settled them in the North parts of Europe, by warlike conquest;
invented Letters, Poetry and so forth,--and came by and by to be
worshipped as Chief God by these Scandinavians, his Twelve Peers made
into Twelve Sons of his own, Gods like himself: Snorro has no doubt of
this. Saxo Grammaticus, a very curious Northman of that same century,
is still more unhesitating; scruples not to find out a historical fact
in every individual mythus, and writes it down as a terrestrial event
in Denmark or elsewhere. Torfæus, learned and cautious, some centuries
later, assigns by calculation a _date_ for it: Odin, he says, came
into Europe about the Year 70 before Christ. Of all which, as grounded
on mere uncertainties, found to be untenable now, I need say nothing.
Far, very far beyond the Year 70! Odin's date, adventures, whole
terrestrial history, figure and environment are sunk from us forever
into unknown thousands of years.

Nay Grimm, the German Antiquary, goes so far as to deny that any man
Odin ever existed. He proves it by etymology. The word _Wuotan_, which
is the original form of _Odin_, a word spread, as name of their chief
Divinity, over all the Teutonic Nations everywhere; this word, which
connects itself, according to Grimm, with the Latin _vadere_, with the
English _wade_ and suchlike,--means primarily _Movement_, Source of
Movement, Power; and is the fit name of the highest god, not of any
man. The word signifies Divinity, he says, among the old Saxon, German
and all Teutonic Nations; the adjectives formed from it all signify
_divine_, _supreme_, or something pertaining to the chief god. Like
enough! We must bow to Grimm in matters etymological. Let us consider
it fixed that _Wuotan_ means _Wading_, force of _Movement_. And now
still, what hinders it from being the name of a Heroic Man and
_Mover_, as well as of a god? As for the adjectives, and words formed
from it,--did not the Spaniards in their universal admiration for
Lope, get into the habit of saying 'a Lope flower,' a 'Lope _dama_,'
if the flower or woman were of surpassing beauty? Had this lasted,
_Lope_ would have grown, in Spain, to be an adjective signifying
_godlike_ also. Indeed, Adam Smith, in his _Essay on Language_,
surmises that all adjectives whatsoever were formed precisely in that
way: some very green thing chiefly notable for its greenness, got the
appellative name _Green_, and then the next thing remarkable for that
quality, a tree for instance, was named the _green_ tree,--as we still
say 'the _steam coach_,' 'four-horse coach,' or the like. All primary
adjectives, according to Smith, were formed in this way; were at first
substantives and things. We cannot annihilate a man for etymologies
like that! Surely there was a First Teacher and Captain; surely there
must have been an Odin, palpable to the sense at one time; no
adjective, but a real Hero of flesh and blood! The voice of all
tradition, history or echo of history, agrees with all that thought
will teach one about it, to assure us of this.

How the man Odin came to be considered a _god_, the chief god?--that
surely is a question which nobody would wish to dogmatise upon. I have
said, his people knew no _limits_ to their admiration of him; they had
as yet no scale to measure admiration by. Fancy your own generous
heart's-love of some greatest man expanding till it _transcended_ all
bounds, till it filled and overflowed the whole field of your thought!
Or what if this man Odin,--since a great deep soul, with the afflatus
and mysterious tide of vision and impulse rushing on him he knows not
whence, is ever an enigma, a kind of terror and wonder to
himself,--should have felt that perhaps _he_ was divine; that _he_ was
some effluence of the 'Wuotan,' '_Movement_,' Supreme Power and
Divinity, of whom to his rapt vision all Nature was the awful
Flame-image; that some effluence of _Wuotan_ dwelt here in him! He was
not necessarily false; he was but mistaken, speaking the truest he
knew. A great soul, any sincere soul, knows not _what_ he
is,--alternates between the highest height and the lowest depth; can,
of all things, the least measure--Himself! What others take him for,
and what he guesses that he may be; these two items strangely act on
one another, help to determine one another. With all men reverently
admiring him; with his own wild soul full of noble ardours and
affections, of whirlwind chaotic darkness and glorious new light; a
divine Universe bursting all into godlike beauty round him, and no man
to whom the like ever had befallen, what could he think himself to be?
"Wuotan?" All men answered, "Wuotan!"--

And then consider what mere Time will do in such cases; how if a man
was great while living, he becomes tenfold greater when dead. What an
enormous _camera-obscura_ magnifier is Tradition! How a thing grows in
the human Memory, in the human Imagination, when love, worship and all
that lies in the human Heart, is there to encourage it. And in the
darkness, in the entire ignorance; without date or document, no book,
no Arundel-marble; only here and there some dumb monumental cairn.
Why, in thirty or forty years, were there no books, any great man
would grow _mythic_, the contemporaries who had once seen him, being
all dead. And in three-hundred years, and three-thousand years--!--To
attempt _theorising_ on such matters would profit little: they are
matters which refuse to be _theoremed_ and diagramed; which Logic
ought to know that she _cannot_ speak of. Enough for us to discern,
far in the uttermost distance, some gleam as of a small real light
shining in the centre of that enormous camera-obscura image; to
discern that the centre of it all was not a madness and nothing, but a
sanity and something.

This light, kindled in the great dark vortex of the Norse mind, dark
but living, waiting only for light; this is to me the centre of the
whole. How such light will then shine out, and with wondrous
thousandfold expansion spread itself, in forms and colours, depends
not on _it_, so much as on the National Mind recipient of it. The
colours and forms of your light will be those of the _cut-glass_ it
has to shine through.--Curious to think how, for every man, any the
truest fact is modelled by the nature of the man! I said, The earnest
man, speaking to his brother men, must always have stated what seemed
to him a _fact_, a real Appearance of Nature. But the way in which
such Appearance or fact shaped itself,--what sort of _fact_ it became
for him,--was and is modified by his own laws of thinking; deep,
subtle, but universal, ever-operating laws. The world of Nature, for
every man, is the Phantasy of Himself; this world is the multiplex
'Image of his own Dream.' Who knows to what unnameable subtleties of
spiritual law all these Pagan Fables owe their shape! The number
_Twelve_, divisiblest of all, which could be halved, quartered, parted
into three, into six, the most remarkable number,--this was enough to
determine the _Signs of the Zodiac_, the number of Odin's _Sons_, and
innumerable other Twelves. Any vague rumour of number had a tendency
to settle itself into Twelve. So with regard to every other matter.
And quite unconsciously too,--with no notion of building-up
'Allegories'! But the fresh clear glance of those First Ages would be
prompt in discerning the secret relations of things, and wholly open
to obey these. Schiller finds in the _Cestus of Venus_ an everlasting
æsthetic truth as to the nature of all Beauty; curious:--but he is
careful not to insinuate that the old Greek Mythists had any notion of
lecturing about the 'Philosophy of Criticism'!----On the whole we must
leave those boundless regions. Cannot we conceive that Odin was a
reality? Error indeed, error enough: but sheer falsehood, idle fables,
allegory aforethought,--we will not believe that our Fathers believed
in these.

       *       *       *       *       *

Odin's _Runes_ are a significant feature of him. Runes, and the
miracles of 'magic' he worked by them, make a great feature in
tradition. Runes are the Scandinavian Alphabet; suppose Odin to have
been the inventor of Letters, as well as 'magic,' among that people!
It is the greatest invention man has ever made, this of marking down
the unseen thought that is in him by written characters. It is a kind
of second speech, almost as miraculous as the first. You remember the
astonishment and incredulity of Atahualpa the Peruvian King; how he
made the Spanish Soldier who was guarding him scratch _Dios_ on his
thumb-nail, that he might try the next soldier with it, to ascertain
whether such a miracle was possible. If Odin brought Letters among his
people, he might work magic enough!

Writing by Runes has some air of being original among the Norsemen:
not a Phoenician Alphabet, but a native Scandinavian one. Snorro tells
us farther that Odin invented Poetry; the music of human speech, as
well as that miraculous runic marking of it. Transport yourselves into
the early childhood of nations; the first beautiful morning-light of
our Europe, when all yet lay in fresh young radiance as of a great
sunrise, and our Europe was first beginning to think, to be! Wonder,
hope; infinite radiance of hope and wonder, as of a young child's
thoughts, in the hearts of these strong men! Strong sons of Nature;
and here was not only a wild Captain and Fighter; discerning with his
wild flashing eyes what to do, with his wild lion-heart daring and
doing it; but a Poet too, all that we mean by a Poet, Prophet, great
devout Thinker and Inventor,--as the truly Great Man ever is. A Hero
is a Hero at all points; in the soul and thought of him first of all.
This Odin, in his rude semi-articulate way, had a word to speak. A
great heart laid open to take in this great Universe, and man's Life
here, and utter a great word about it. A Hero, as I say, in his own
rude manner; a wise, gifted, noble-hearted man. And now, if we still
admire such a man beyond all others, what must these wild Norse souls,
first awakened into thinking, have made of him! To them, as yet
without names for it, he was noble and noblest; Hero, Prophet, God;
_Wuotan_, the greatest of all. Thought is Thought, however it speak or
spell itself. Intrinsically, I conjecture, this Odin must have been of
the same sort of stuff as the greatest kind of men. A great thought in
the wild deep heart of him! The rough words he articulated, are they
not the rudimental roots of those English words we still use? He
worked so, in that obscure element. But he was as a _light_ kindled in
it; a light of Intellect, rude Nobleness of heart, the only kind of
lights we have yet; a Hero, as I say: and he had to shine there, and
make his obscure element a little lighter,--as is still the task of us

We will fancy him to be the Type Norseman; the finest Teuton whom that
race had yet produced. The rude Norse heart burst-up into _boundless_
admiration round him; into adoration. He is as a root of so many great
things; the fruit of him is found growing, from deep thousands of
years, over the whole field of Teutonic Life. Our own Wednesday, as I
said, is it not still Odin's Day? Wednesbury, Wansborough, Wanstead,
Wandsworth: Odin grew into England too, these are still leaves from
that root! He was the Chief God to all the Teutonic Peoples; their
Pattern Norseman;--in such way did _they_ admire their Pattern
Norseman; that was the fortune he had in the world.

Thus if the man Odin himself have vanished utterly, there is this huge
Shadow of him which still projects itself over the whole History of
his People. For this Odin once admitted to be God, we can understand
well that the whole Scandinavian Scheme of Nature, or dim No-scheme,
whatever it might before have been, would now begin to develop itself
altogether differently, and grow thenceforth in a new manner. What
this Odin saw into, and taught with his runes and his rhymes, the
whole Teutonic People laid to heart and carried forward. His way of
thought became their way of thought:--such, under new conditions, is
the history of every great thinker still. In gigantic confused
lineaments, like some enormous camera-obscura shadow thrown upwards
from the dead deeps of the Past, and covering the whole Northern
Heaven, is not that Scandinavian Mythology in some sort the
Portraiture of this man Odin? The gigantic image of _his_ natural
face, legible or not legible there, expanded and confused in that
manner! Ah, Thought, I say, is always Thought. No great man lives in
vain. The History of the world is but the Biography of great men.

To me there is something very touching in this primeval figure of
Heroism; in such artless, helpless, but hearty entire reception of a
Hero by his fellow-men. Never so helpless in shape, it is the noblest
of feelings, and a feeling in some shape or other perennial as man
himself. If I could show in any measure, what I feel deeply for a long
time now, That it is the vital element of manhood, the soul of man's
history here in our world,--it would be the chief use of this
discoursing at present. We do not now call our great men Gods, nor
admire _without_ limit; ah, no, _with_ limit enough! But if we have no
great men, or do not admire at all,--that were a still worse case.

This poor Scandinavian Hero-worship, that whole Norse way of looking
at the Universe, and adjusting oneself there, has an indestructible
merit for us. A rude childlike way of recognising the divineness of
Nature, the divineness of Man; most rude, yet heartfelt, robust,
giantlike; betokening what a giant of a man this child would grow
to!--It was a truth, and is none. Is it not as the half-dumb stifled
voice of the long-buried generations of our own Fathers, calling out
of the depths of ages to us, in whose veins their blood still runs:
"This then, this is what _we_ made of the world: this is all the image
and notion we could form to ourselves of this great mystery of a Life
and Universe. Despise it not. You are raised high above it, to large
free scope of vision; but you too are not yet at the top. No, your
notion too, so much enlarged, is but a partial, imperfect one: that
matter is a thing no man will ever, in time or out of time,
comprehend; after thousands of years of ever-new expansion, man will
find himself but struggling to comprehend again a part of it: the
thing is larger than man, not to be comprehended by him; an Infinite

       *       *       *       *       *

The essence of the Scandinavian, as indeed of all Pagan Mythologies,
we found to be recognition of the divineness of Nature; sincere
communion of man with the mysterious invisible Powers visibly seen at
work in the world round him. This, I should say, is more sincerely
done in the Scandinavian than in any Mythology I know. Sincerity is
the great characteristic of it. Superior sincerity (far superior)
consoles us for the total want of old Grecian grace. Sincerity, I
think, is better than grace. I feel that these old Northmen were
looking into Nature with open eye and soul: most earnest, honest;
childlike, and yet manlike; with a great-hearted simplicity and depth
and freshness, in a true, loving, admiring, unfearing way. A right
valiant, true old race of men. Such recognition of Nature one finds to
be the chief element of Paganism: recognition of Man, and his Moral
Duty, though this too is not wanting, comes to be the chief element
only in purer forms of religion. Here, indeed, is a great distinction
and epoch in Human Beliefs; a great landmark in the religious
development of Mankind. Man first puts himself in relation with Nature
and her Powers, wonders and worships over those; not till a later
epoch does he discern that all Power is Moral, that the grand point is
the distinction for him of Good and Evil, of _Thou shalt_ and _Thou
shalt not_.

With regard to all these fabulous delineations in the _Edda_, I will
remark, moreover, as indeed was already hinted, that most probably
they must have been of much newer date; most probably, even from the
first, were comparatively idle for the old Norsemen, and as it were a
kind of Poetic sport. Allegory and Poetic Delineation, as I said
above, cannot be religious Faith; the Faith itself must first be
there, then Allegory enough will gather round it, as the fit body
round its soul. The Norse Faith, I can well suppose, like other
Faiths, was most active while it lay mainly in the silent state, and
had not yet much to say about itself, still less to sing.

Among those shadowy _Edda_ matters, amid all that fantastic congeries
of assertions, and traditions, in their musical Mythologies, the main
practical belief a man could have was probably not much more than
this: of the _Valkyrs_ and the _Hall of Odin_; of an inflexible
_Destiny_; and that the one thing needful for a man was _to be brave_.
The _Valkyrs_ are Choosers of the Slain: a Destiny inexorable, which
it is useless trying to bend or soften, has appointed who is to be
slain; this was a fundamental point for the Norse believer;--as indeed
it is for all earnest men everywhere, for a Mahomet, a Luther, for a
Napoleon too. It lies at the basis this for every such man; it is the
woof out of which his whole system of thought is woven. The _Valkyrs_;
and then that these _Choosers_ lead the brave to a heavenly _Hall of
Odin_; only the base and slavish being thrust elsewhither, into the
realms of Hela the Death-goddess: I take this to have been the soul of
the whole Norse Belief. They understood in their heart that it was
indispensable to be brave; that Odin would have no favour for them,
but despise and thrust them out, if they were not brave. Consider too
whether there is not something in this! It is an everlasting duty,
valid in our day as in that, the duty of being brave. _Valour_ is
still _value_. The first duty of a man is still that of subduing
_Fear_. We must get rid of Fear; we cannot act at all till then. A
man's acts are slavish, not true but specious: his very thoughts are
false, he thinks too as a slave and coward, till he have got Fear
under his feet. Odin's creed, if we disentangle the real kernel of it,
is true to this hour. A man shall and must be valiant; he must march
forward, and quit himself like a man--trusting imperturbably in the
appointment and _choice_ of the upper Powers; and, on the whole, not
fear at all. Now and always, the completeness of his victory over Fear
will determine how much of a man he is.

It is doubtless very savage that kind of valour of the old Northmen.
Snorro tells us they thought it a shame and misery not to die in
battle; and if natural death seemed to be coming on, they would cut
wounds in their flesh, that Odin might receive them as warriors slain.
Old kings, about to die, had their body laid into a ship; the ship
sent forth, with sails set and slow fire burning it; that, once out at
sea, it might blaze-up in flame, and in such manner bury worthily the
old hero, at once in the sky and in the ocean! Wild bloody valour; yet
valour of its kind; better, I say, than none. In the old Sea-kings
too, what an indomitable rugged energy! Silent, with closed lips, as I
fancy them, unconscious that they were specially brave; defying the
wild ocean with its monsters, and all men and things;--progenitors of
our own Blakes and Nelsons! No Homer sang these Norse Sea-kings; but
Agamemnon's was a small audacity, and of small fruit in the world, to
some of them;--to Hrolf's of Normandy, for instance! Hrolf, or Rollo
Duke of Normandy, the wild Sea-king, has a share in governing England
at this hour.

Nor was it altogether nothing, even that wild sea-roving and battling,
through so many generations. It needed to be ascertained which was the
_strongest_ kind of men; who were to be ruler over whom. Among the
Northland Sovereigns, too, I find some who got the title
_Wood-cutter_; Forest-felling Kings. Much lies in that. I suppose at
bottom many of them were forest-fellers as well as fighters, though
the Skalds talk mainly of the latter,--misleading certain critics not
a little; for no nation of men could ever live by fighting alone;
there could not produce enough come out of that! I suppose the right
good fighter was oftenest also the right good forest-feller,--the
right good improver, discerner, doer and worker in every kind; for
true valour, different enough from ferocity, is the basis of all. A
more legitimate kind of valour that; showing itself against the
untamed Forests and dark brute Powers of Nature, to conquer Nature for
us. In the same direction have not we their descendants since carried
it far? May such valour last forever with us!

That the man Odin, speaking with a Hero's voice and heart, as with an
impressiveness out of Heaven, told his People the infinite importance
of Valour, how man thereby became a god; and that his People, feeling
a response to it in their own hearts, believed this message of his,
and thought it a message out of Heaven, and him a Divinity for telling
it them: this seems to me the primary seed-grain of the Norse
Religion, from which all manner of mythologies, symbolic practices,
speculations, allegories, songs and sagas would naturally grow.
Grow,--how strangely! I called it a small light shining and shaping in
the huge vortex of Norse darkness. Yet the darkness itself was
_alive_; consider that. It was the eager inarticulate uninstructed
Mind of the whole Norse People, longing only to become articulate, to
go on articulating ever farther! The living doctrine grows,
grows;--like a Banyan-tree; the first _seed_ is the essential thing:
any branch strikes itself down into the earth, becomes a new root; and
so, in endless complexity, we have a whole wood, a whole jungle, one
seed the parent of it all. Was not the whole Norse Religion,
accordingly, in some sense, what we called 'the enormous shadow of
this man's likeness'? Critics trace some affinity in some Norse
mythuses, of the Creation and suchlike, with those of the Hindoos. The
Cow Adumbla, 'licking the rime from the rocks,' has a kind of Hindoo
look. A Hindoo Cow, transported into frosty countries. Probably
enough; indeed we may say undoubtedly, these things will have a
kindred with the remotest lands, with the earliest times. Thought does
not die, but only is changed. The first man that began to think in
this Planet of ours, he was the beginner of all. And then the second
man, and the third man:--nay, every true Thinker to this hour is a
kind of Odin, teaches men _his_ way of thought, spreads a shadow of
his own likeness over sections of the History of the World.

       *       *       *       *       *

Of the distinctive poetic character or merit of this Norse Mythology I
have not room to speak; nor does it concern us much. Some wild
Prophecies we have, as the _Völuspa_ in the _Elder Edda_; of a rapt,
earnest, sibylline sort. But they were comparatively an idle adjunct
of the matter, men who as it were but toyed with the matter, these
later Skalds; and it is _their_ songs chiefly that survive. In later
centuries, I suppose, they would go on singing, poetically
symbolising, as our modern Painters paint, when it was no longer from
the innermost heart, or not from the heart at all. This is everywhere
to be well kept in mind.

Gray's fragments of Norse Lore, at any rate, will give one no notion
of it;--any more than Pope will of Homer. It is no square-built gloomy
palace of black ashlar marble, shrouded in awe and horror, as Gray
gives it us: no; rough as the North Rocks, as the Iceland deserts, it
is; with a heartiness, homeliness, even a tint of good humour and
robust mirth in the middle of these fearful things. The strong old
Norse heart did not go upon theatrical sublimities; they had not time
to tremble. I like much their robust simplicity; their veracity,
directness of conception. Thor 'draws down his brows' in a veritable
Norse rage; 'grasps his hammer till the _knuckles grow white_.'
Beautiful traits of pity too, an honest pity. Balder 'the white God'
dies; the beautiful, benignant; he is the Sungod. They try all Nature
for a remedy; but he is dead. Frigga, his mother, sends Hermoder to
seek or see him: nine days and nine nights he rides through gloomy
deep valleys, a labyrinth of gloom; arrives at the Bridge with its
gold roof: the Keeper says, "Yes, Balder did pass here; but the
Kingdom of the Dead is down yonder, far towards the North." Hermoder
rides on; leaps Hell-gate, Hela's gate: does see Balder, and speak
with him: Balder cannot be delivered. Inexorable! Hela will not, for
Odin or any God, give him up. The beautiful and gentle has to remain
there. His Wife had volunteered to go with him, to die with him. They
shall forever remain there. He sends his ring to Odin; Nanna his wife
sends her _thimble_ to Frigga, as a remembrance--Ah me!--

For indeed Valour is the fountain of Pity too;--of Truth, and all that
is great and good in man. The robust homely vigour of the Norse heart
attaches one much, in these delineations. Is it not a trait of right
honest strength, says Uhland, who has written a fine _Essay_ on Thor,
that the Old Norse heart finds its friend in the Thunder-god? That it
is not frightened away by his thunder; but finds that Summer-heat, the
beautiful noble summer, must and will have thunder withal! The Norse
heart _loves_ this Thor and his hammer-bolt; sports with him. Thor is
Summer-heat; the god of Peaceable Industry as well as Thunder. He is
the Peasant's friend; his true henchman and attendant is Thialfi,
_Manual Labour_. Thor himself engages in all manner of rough manual
work, scorns no business for its plebeianism; is ever and anon
travelling to the country of the Jötuns, harrying those chaotic
Frost-monsters, subduing them, at least straitening and damaging them.
There is a great broad humour in some of these things.

Thor, as we saw above, goes to Jötun-land, to seek Hymir's Caldron,
that the Gods may brew beer. Hymir the huge Giant enters, his grey
beard all full of hoar-frost; splits pillars with the very glance of
his eye; Thor, after much rough tumult, snatches the Pot, claps it on
his head; the 'handles of it reach down to his heels.' The Norse Skald
has a kind of loving sport with Thor. This is the Hymir whose cattle,
the critics have discovered, are Icebergs. Huge untutored Brobdignag
genius,--needing only to be tamed-down; into Shakspeares, Dantes,
Goethes! It is all gone now, that old Norse work,--Thor the
Thunder-god changed into Jack the Giant-killer: but the mind that made
it is here yet. How strangely things grow, and die, and do not die!
There are twigs of that great world-tree of Norse Belief still
curiously traceable. This poor Jack of the Nursery, with his
miraculous shoes of swiftness, coat of darkness, sword of sharpness,
he is one. _Hynde Etin_, and still more decisively _Red Etin of
Ireland_, in the Scottish Ballads, these are both derived from
Norseland; _Etin_ is evidently a _Jötun_. Nay, Shakspeare's _Hamlet_
is a twig too of this same world-tree; there seems no doubt of that.
Hamlet, _Amleth_, I find, is really a mythic personage; and his
Tragedy, of the poisoned Father, poisoned asleep by drops in his ear,
and the rest, is a Norse mythus! Old Saxo, as his wont was, made it a
Danish history; Shakspeare, out of Saxo, made it what we see. That is
a twig of the world-tree that has _grown_, I think;--by nature or
accident that one has grown!

In fact, these old Norse songs have a _truth_ in them, an inward
perennial truth and greatness,--as, indeed, all must have that can
very long preserve itself by tradition alone. It is a greatness not of
mere body and gigantic bulk, but a rude greatness of soul. There is a
sublime uncomplaining melancholy traceable in these old hearts. A
great free glance into the very deeps of thought. They seem to have
seen, these brave old Northmen, what Meditation has taught all men in
all ages, That this world is after all but a show,--a phenomenon or
appearance, no real thing. All deep souls see into that,--the Hindoo
Mythologist, the German Philosopher,--the Shakspeare, the earnest
Thinker, wherever he may be:

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

One of Thor's expeditions, to Utgard (the _Outer_ Garden, central seat
of Jötun-land), is remarkable in this respect. Thialfi was with him,
and Loke. After various adventures they entered upon Giant-land;
wandered over plains, wild uncultivated places, among stones and
trees. At nightfall they noticed a house; and as the door, which
indeed formed one whole side of the house, was open, they entered. It
was a simple habitation; one large hall, altogether empty. They stayed
there. Suddenly in the dead of the night loud noises alarmed them.
Thor grasped his hammer; stood in the door, prepared for fight. His
companions within ran hither and thither in their terror, seeking some
outlet in that rude hall; they found a little closet at last, and took
refuge there. Neither had Thor any battle: for, lo, in the morning it
turned-out that the noise had been only the _snoring_ of a certain
enormous but peaceable Giant, the Giant Skrymir, who lay peaceably
sleeping near by; and this that they took for a house was merely his
_Glove_, thrown aside there; the door was the Glove-wrist; the little
closet they had fled into was the Thumb! Such a glove;--I remark too
that it had not fingers as ours have, but only a thumb, and the rest
undivided: a most ancient, rustic glove!

Skrymir now carried their portmanteau all day; Thor, however, had his
own suspicions, did not like the ways of Skrymir; determined at night
to put an end to him as he slept. Raising his hammer, he struck down
into the Giant's face a right thunderbolt blow, of force to rend
rocks. The Giant merely awoke; rubbed his cheek, and said, Did a leaf
fall? Again Thor struck, so soon as Skrymir again slept; a better blow
than before: but the Giant only murmured, Was that a grain of sand?
Thor's third stroke was with both his hands (the 'knuckles white' I
suppose), and seemed to dint deep into Skrymir's visage; but he merely
checked his snore, and remarked, There must be sparrows roosting in
this tree, I think; what is that they have dropt?--At the gate of
Utgard, a place so high that you had to 'strain your neck bending back
to see the top of it,' Skrymir went his ways. Thor and his companions
were admitted; invited to take share in the games going on. To Thor,
for his part, they handed a drinking-horn; it was a common feat, they
told him, to drink this dry at one draught. Long and fiercely, three
times over, Thor drank; but made hardly any impression. He was a weak
child, they told him; could he lift that Cat he saw there? Small as
the feat seemed, Thor with his whole godlike strength could not; he
bent-up the creature's back, could not raise its feet off the ground,
could at the utmost raise one foot. Why, you are no man, said the
Utgard people; there is an Old Woman that will wrestle you! Thor,
heartily ashamed, seized this haggard Old Woman; but could not throw

And now, on their quitting Utgard, the Chief Jötun, escorting them
politely a little way, said to Thor: "You are beaten then:--yet be not
so much ashamed; there was deception of appearance in it. That Horn
you tried to drink was the _Sea_: you did make it ebb; but who could
drink that, the bottomless! The Cat you would have lifted,--why, that
is the _Midgard-snake_, the Great World-serpent, which, tail in mouth,
girds and keeps-up the whole created world; had you torn that up, the
world must have rushed to ruin! As for the Old Woman, she was _Time_,
Old Age, Duration; with her what can wrestle? No man nor no god with
her; gods or men, she prevails over all! And then those three strokes
you struck,--look at these _three valleys_; your three strokes made
these!" Thor looked at his attendant Jötun: it was Skrymir;--it was,
say Norse critics, the old chaotic rocky _Earth_ in person, and that
glove-_house_ was some Earth-cavern! But Skrymir had vanished; Utgard
with its skyhigh gates, when Thor grasped his hammer to smite them,
had gone to air; only the Giant's voice was heard mocking: "Better
come no more to Jötunheim!"--

This is of the allegoric period, as we see, and half play, not of the
prophetic and entirely devout: but as a mythus is there not real
antique Norse gold in it? More true metal, rough from the Mimerstithy,
than in many a famed Greek Mythus _shaped_ far better! A great broad
Brobdignag grin of true humour is in this Skrymir; mirth resting on
earnestness and sadness, as the rainbow on black tempest: only a right
valiant heart is capable of that. It is the grim humour of our own Ben
Jonson, rare old Ben; runs in the blood of us, I fancy; for one
catches tones of it, under a still other shape, out of the American

That is also a very striking conception, that of the _Ragnarök_,
Consummation, or _Twilight of the Gods_. It is in the _Völuspa_ Song;
seemingly a very old, prophetic idea. The Gods and Jötuns, the divine
Powers and the chaotic brute ones, after long contest and partial
victory by the former, meet at last in universal world-embracing
wrestle and duel; World-serpent against Thor, strength against
strength; mutually extinctive; and ruin, 'twilight' sinking into
darkness, swallows the created Universe. The old Universe with its
Gods is sunk; but it is not final death: there is to be a new Heaven
and a new Earth; a higher supreme God, and Justice to reign among men.
Curious: this law of mutation, which also is a law written in man's
inmost thought, had been deciphered by these old earnest Thinkers in
their rude style; and how, though all dies, and even gods die, yet all
death is but a phoenix fire-death, and new-birth into the Greater and
the Better! It is the fundamental Law of Being for a creature made of
Time, living in this Place of Hope. All earnest men have seen into it;
may still see into it.

And now, connected with this, let us glance at the _last_ mythus of
the appearance of Thor; and end there. I fancy it to be the latest in
date of all these fables; a sorrowing protest against the advance of
Christianity,--set forth reproachfully by some Conservative Pagan.
King Olaf has been harshly blamed for his over-zeal in introducing
Christianity; surely I should have blamed him far more for an
under-zeal in that! He paid dear enough for it; he died by the revolt
of his Pagan people, in battle, in the year 1033, at Stickelstad, near
that Drontheim, where the chief Cathedral of the North has now stood
for many centuries, dedicated gratefully to his memory as _Saint_
Olaf. The mythus about Thor is to this effect. King Olaf, the
Christian Reform King, is sailing with fit escort along the shore of
Norway, from haven to haven; dispensing justice, or doing other royal
work: on leaving a certain haven, it is found that a stranger, of
grave eyes and aspect, red beard, of stately robust figure, has stept
in. The courtiers address him; his answers surprise by their
pertinency and depth: at length he is brought to the King. The
stranger's conversation here is not less remarkable, as they sail
along the beautiful shore; but after some time, he addresses King Olaf
thus: "Yes, King Olaf, it is all beautiful, with the sun shining on it
there; green, fruitful, a right fair home for you, and many a sore day
had Thor, many a wild fight with the rock Jötuns, before he could make
it so. And now you seem minded to put away Thor. King Olaf, have a
care!" said the stranger, drawing-down his brows;--and when they
looked again, he was nowhere to be found.--This is the last appearance
of Thor on the stage of this world!

Do we not see well enough how the Fable might arise, without
unveracity on the part of any one? It is the way most Gods have come
to appear among men: thus, if in Pindar's time 'Neptune was seen once
at the Nemean Games,' what was this Neptune too but a 'stranger of
noble grave aspect,' _fit_ to be 'seen'! There is something pathetic,
tragic for me in this last voice of Paganism. Thor is vanished, the
whole Norse world has vanished; and will not return ever again. In
like fashion to that pass away the highest things. All things that
have been in this world, all things that are or will be in it, have to
vanish, we have our sad farewell to give them.

That Norse Religion, a rude but earnest, sternly impressive
_Consecration of Valour_ (so we may define it), sufficed for these old
valiant Northmen. Consecration of Valour is not a _bad_ thing! We will
take it for good, so far as it goes. Neither is there no use in
_knowing_ something about this old Paganism of our Fathers.
Unconsciously, and combined with higher things, it is in _us_ yet,
that old Faith withal! To know it consciously, brings us into closer
and clearer relation with the Past--with our own possessions in the
Past. For the whole Past, as I keep repeating, is the possession of
the Present; the Past had always something _true_, and is a precious
possession. In a different time, in a different place, it is always
some other _side_ of our common Human Nature that has been developing
itself. The actual True is the _sum_ of all these; not any one of them
by itself, constitutes what of Human Nature is hitherto developed.
Better to know them all than misknow them. "To which of these Three
Religions do you specially adhere?" inquires Meister of his Teacher.
"To all the Three!" answers the other: "To all the Three: for they by
their union first constitute the True Religion."



[_Friday, 8th May 1840_]

From the first rude times of Paganism among the Scandinavians in the
North, we advance to a very different epoch of religion, among a very
different people: Mahometanism among the Arabs. A great change; what a
change and progress is indicated here, in the universal condition and
thoughts of men!

The Hero is not now regarded as a God among his fellowmen; but as one
God-inspired, as a prophet. It is the second phasis of Hero-worship;
the first or oldest, we may say, has passed away without return; in
the history of the world there will not again be any man, never so
great, whom his fellowmen will take for a god. Nay we might rationally
ask, Did any set of human beings ever really think the man they _saw_
there standing beside them a god, the maker of this world? Perhaps
not: it was usually some man they remembered, or _had_ seen. But
neither can this any more be. The Great Man is not recognised
henceforth as a god any more.

It was a rude gross error, that of counting the Great Man a god. Yet
let us say that it is at all times difficult to know _what_ he is, or
how to account of him and receive him! The most significant feature in
the history of an epoch is the manner it has of welcoming a Great Man.
Ever, to the true instincts of men, there is something godlike in him.
Whether they shall take him to be a god, to be a prophet, or what they
shall take him to be? that is ever a grand question; by their way of
answering that, we shall see, as through a little window, into the
very heart of these men's spiritual condition. For at bottom the Great
Man, as he comes from the hand of nature, is ever the same kind of
thing: Odin, Luther, Johnson, Burns; I hope to make it appear that
these are all originally of one stuff; that only by the world's
reception of them, and the shapes they assume, are they so
immeasurably diverse. The worship of Odin astonishes us--to fall
prostrate before the Great Man, into _deliquium_ of love and wonder
over him, and feel in their hearts that he was a denizen of the skies,
a god! This was imperfect enough: but to welcome, for example, a Burns
as we did, was that what we can call perfect? The most precious gift
that Heaven can give to the Earth; a man of 'genius' as we call it:
the Soul of a Man actually sent down from the skies with a
God's-message to us--this we waste away as an idle artificial
firework, sent to amuse us a little, and sink it into ashes, wreck and
ineffectuality: _such_ reception of a Great Man I do not call very
perfect either! Looking into the heart of the thing, one may perhaps
call that of Burns a still uglier phenomenon, betokening still sadder
imperfections in mankind's ways, than the Scandinavian method itself!
To fall into mere unreasoning _deliquium_ of love and admiration, was
not good; but such unreasoning, nay irrational supercilious no-love at
all is perhaps still worse!--It is a thing forever changing, this of
Hero-worship: different in each age, difficult to do well in any age.
Indeed, the heart of the whole business of the age, one may say, is to
do it well.

We have chosen Mahomet not as the most eminent Prophet, but as the one
we are freest to speak of. He is by no means the truest of Prophets;
but I do esteem him a true one. Farther, as there is no danger of our
becoming, any of us, Mahometans, I mean to say all the good of him I
justly can. It is the way to get at his secret: let us try to
understand what _he_ meant with the world; what the world meant and
means with him, will then be a more answerable question. Our current
hypotheses about Mahomet, that he was a scheming Impostor, a Falsehood
incarnate, that his religion is a mere mass of quackery and fatuity,
begins really to be now untenable to any one. The lies, which
well-meaning zeal has heaped round this man, are disgraceful to
ourselves only. When Pococke inquired of Grotius, Where the proof was
of that story of the pigeon, trained to pick peas from Mahomet's ear,
and pass for an angel dictating to him? Grotius answered that there
was no proof! It is really time to dismiss all that. The word this man
spoke has been the life-guidance now of a hundred-and-eighty millions
of men these twelve-hundred years. These hundred-and-eighty millions
were made by God as well as we. A greater number of God's creatures
believe in Mahomet's word at this hour than in any other word
whatever. Are we to suppose that it was a miserable piece of spiritual
legerdemain, this which so many creatures of the Almighty have lived
by and died by? I, for my part, cannot form any such supposition. I
will believe most things sooner than that. One would be entirely at a
loss what to think of this world at all, if quackery so grew and were
sanctioned here.

Alas, such theories are very lamentable. If we would attain to
knowledge of anything in God's true Creation, let us disbelieve them
wholly! They are the product of an Age of Scepticism; they indicate
the saddest spiritual paralysis, and mere death-life of the souls of
men: more godless theory, I think, was never promulgated in this
Earth. A false man found a religion? Why, a false man cannot build a
brick house! If he do not know and follow _truly_ the properties of
mortar, burnt clay and what else he works in, it is no house that he
makes, but a rubbish-heap. It will not stand for twelve centuries, to
lodge a hundred-and-eighty millions; it will fall straightway. A man
must conform himself to Nature's laws, _be_ verily in communion with
Nature and the truth of things, or Nature will answer him, No, not at
all! Speciosities are specious--ah, me!--a Cagliostro, many
Cagliostros, prominent world-leaders, do prosper by their quackery,
for a day. It is like a forged bank-note; they get it passed out of
_their_ worthless hands: others, not they, have to smart for it.
Nature bursts-up in fire-flame, French Revolutions and suchlike,
proclaiming with terrible veracity that forged notes are forged.

But of a Great Man especially, of him I will venture to assert that it
is incredible he should have been other than true. It seems to me the
primary foundation of him, and of all that can lie in him, this. No
Mirabeau, Napoleon, Burns, Cromwell, no man adequate to do anything,
but is first of all in right earnest about it; what I call a sincere
man. I should say _sincerity_, a deep, great, genuine sincerity, is
the first characteristic of all men in any way heroic. Not the
sincerity that calls itself sincere; ah, no, that is a very poor
matter indeed;--a shallow braggart conscious sincerity; oftenest
self-conceit mainly. The Great Man's sincerity is of the kind he
cannot speak of, is not conscious of: nay, I suppose, he is conscious
rather of _in_sincerity; for what man can walk accurately by the law
of truth for one day? No, the Great Man does not boast himself
sincere, far from that; perhaps does not ask himself if he is so: I
would say rather, his sincerity does not depend on himself; he cannot
help being sincere! The great Fact of Existence is great to him. Fly
as he will, he cannot get out of the awful presence of this Reality.
His mind is so made; he is great by that, first of all. Fearful and
wonderful, real as Life, real as death, is this Universe to him.
Though all men should forget its truth, and walk in a vain show, he
cannot. At all moments the Flame-image glares-in upon him; undeniable,
there, there!--I wish you to take this as my primary definition of a
Great Man. A little man may have this, it is competent to all men that
God has made: but a Great Man cannot be without it.

Such a man is what we call an _original_ man: he comes to us at
first-hand. A messenger he, sent from the Infinite Unknown with
tidings to us. We may call him Poet, Prophet, God;--in one way or
other, we all feel that the words he utters are as no other man's
words. Direct from the Inner Fact of things;--he lives, and has to
live, in daily communion with that. Hearsays cannot hide it from him;
he is blind, homeless, miserable, following hearsays; _it_ glares-in
upon him. Really his utterances, are they not a kind of
'revelation;'--what we must call such for want of some other name? It
is from the heart of the world that he comes; he is portion of the
primal reality of things. God has made many revelations: but this man
too, has not God made him, the latest and newest of all? The
'inspiration of the Almighty giveth _him_ understanding:' we must
listen before all to him.

This Mahomet, then, we will in no wise consider as an Inanity and
Theatricality, a poor conscious ambitious schemer; we cannot conceive
him so. The rude message he delivered was a real one withal; an
earnest confused voice from the unknown Deep. The man's words were not
false, nor his workings here below; no Inanity and Simulacrum; a fiery
mass of Life cast-up from the great bosom of Nature herself. To
_kindle_ the world; the world's Maker had ordered it so. Neither can
the faults, imperfections, insincerities even, of Mahomet, if such
were never so well proved against him, shake this primary fact about

On the whole, we make too much of faults; the details of the business
hide the real centre of it. Faults? The greatest of faults, I should
say, is to be conscious of none. Readers of the Bible above all, one
would think, might know better. Who is called there 'the man according
to God's own heart'? David, the Hebrew King, had fallen into sins
enough; blackest crimes; there was no want of sins. And thereupon the
unbelievers sneer and ask, Is this your man according to God's own
heart? The sneer, I must say, seems to me but a shallow one. What are
faults, what are the outward details of a life; if the inner secret of
it, the remorse, temptations, true, often-baffled, never-ended
struggle of it, be forgotten? 'It is not in man that walketh to direct
his steps.' Of all acts, is not, for a man, _repentance_ the most
divine? The deadliest sin, I say, were that same supercilious
consciousness of no sin;--that is death; the heart so conscious is
divorced from sincerity, humility and fact; is dead: it is 'pure' as
dead dry sand is pure. David's life and history, as written for us in
those Psalms of his, I consider to be the truest emblem ever given of
a man's moral progress and warfare here below. All earnest souls will
ever discern in it the faithful struggle of an earnest human soul
towards what is good and best. Struggle often baffled, sore baffled,
down as into entire wreck; yet a struggle never ended; ever, with
tears, repentance, true unconquerable purpose, begun anew. Poor human
nature! Is not a man's walking, in truth, always that: 'a succession
of falls'? Man can do no other. In this wild element of a Life, he has
to struggle onwards; now fallen, deep-abased; and ever, with tears,
repentance, with bleeding heart, he has to rise again, struggle again
still onwards. That his struggle _be_ a faithful unconquerable one:
that is the question of questions. We will put-up with many sad
details, if the soul of it were true. Details by themselves will never
teach us what it is. I believe we misestimate Mahomet's faults even as
faults: but the secret of him will never be got by dwelling there. We
will leave all this behind us; and assuring ourselves that he did mean
some true thing, ask candidly what it was or might be.

       *       *       *       *       *

These Arabs Mahomet was born among are certainly a notable people.
Their country itself is notable; the fit habitation for such a race.
Savage inaccessible rock-mountains, great grim deserts, alternating
with beautiful strips of verdure: wherever water is, there is
greenness, beauty; odoriferous balm-shrubs, date-trees,
frankincense-trees. Consider that wide waste horizon of sand, empty,
silent, like a sand-sea, dividing habitable place from habitable. You
are all alone there, left alone with the Universe; by day a fierce sun
blazing down on it with intolerable radiance; by night the great deep
Heaven with its stars. Such a country is fit for a swift-handed,
deep-hearted race of men. There is something most agile, active, and
yet most meditative, enthusiastic in the Arab character. The Persians
are called the French of the East, we will call the Arabs Oriental
Italians. A gifted noble people; a people of wild strong feelings, and
of iron restraint over these: the characteristic of noblemindedness,
of genius. The wild Bedouin welcomes the stranger to his tent, as one
having right to all that is there; were it his worst enemy, he will
slay his foal to treat him, will serve him with sacred hospitality for
three days, will set him fairly on his way;--and then, by another law
as sacred, kill him if he can. In words too, as in action. They are
not a loquacious people, taciturn rather; but eloquent, gifted when
they do speak. An earnest truthful kind of men. They are, as we know,
of Jewish kindred: but with that deadly terrible earnestness of the
Jews they seem to combine something graceful, brilliant, which is not
Jewish. They had 'Poetic contests' among them before the time of
Mahomet. Sale says, at Ocadh, in the South of Arabia, there were
yearly fairs, and there, when the merchandising was done, Poets sang
for prizes:--the wild people gathered to hear that.

One Jewish quality these Arabs manifest; the outcome of many or of all
high qualities; what we may call religiosity. From of old they had
been zealous workers, according to their light. They worshipped the
stars, as Sabeans; worshipped many natural objects,--recognised them
as symbols, immediate manifestations, of the Maker of Nature. It was
wrong; and yet not wholly wrong. All God's works are still in a sense
symbols of God. Do we not, as I urged, still account it a merit to
recognise a certain inexhaustible significance, 'poetic beauty' as we
name it, in all natural objects whatsoever? A man is a poet, and
honoured, for doing that, and speaking or singing it,--a kind of
diluted worship. They had many Prophets, these Arabs; Teachers each to
his tribe, each according to the light he had. But indeed, have we not
from of old the noblest of proofs, still palpable to every one of us,
of what devoutness and noblemindedness had dwelt in these rustic
thoughtful peoples? Biblical critics seem agreed that our own _Book of
Job_ was written in that region of the world. I call that, apart from
all theories about it, one of the grandest things ever written with
pen. One feels, indeed, as if it were not Hebrew; such a noble
universality, different from noble patriotism or sectarianism, reigns
in it. A noble Book; all men's Book! It is our first, oldest statement
of the never-ending Problem,--man's destiny, and God's ways with him
here in this earth. And all in such free flowing outlines; grand in
its sincerity, in its simplicity; in its epic melody, and repose of
reconcilement. There is the seeing eye, the mildly understanding
heart. So _true_ everywhere; true eyesight and vision for all things;
material things no less than spiritual; the Horse,--'hast thou clothed
his neck with _thunder_?'--he '_laughs_ at the shaking of the spear!'
Such living likenesses were never since drawn. Sublime sorrow, sublime
reconciliation: oldest choral melody as of the heart of mankind;--so
soft, and great; as the summer midnight, as the world with its seas
and stars! There is nothing written, I think, in the Bible or out of
it, of equal literary merit.--

To the idolatrous Arabs one of the most ancient universal objects of
worship was that Black Stone, still kept in the building called Caabah
at Mecca. Diodorus Siculus mentions this Caabah in a way not to be
mistaken, as the oldest, most honoured temple in his time; that is,
some half-century before our Era. Silvestre de Sacy says there is some
likelihood that the Black Stone is an aerolite. In that case, some one
might _see_ it fall out of Heaven! It stands now beside the Well
Zemzem; the Caabah is built over both. A Well is in all places a
beautiful affecting object, gushing out like life from the hard
earth;--still more so in these hot dry countries, where it is the
first condition of being. The Well Zemzem has its name from the
bubbling sound of the waters, _zem-zem_; they think it is the Well
which Hagar found with her little Ishmael in the wilderness: the
aerolite and it have been sacred now, and had a Caabah over them, for
thousands of years. A curious object, that Caabah! There it stands at
this hour, in the black cloth-covering the Sultan sends it yearly;
'twenty-seven cubits high;' with circuit, with double circuit of
pillars, with festoon-rows of lamps and quaint ornaments: the lamps
will be lighted again _this_ night,--to glitter again under the stars.
An authentic fragment of the oldest Past. It is the _Keblah_ of all
Moslem: from Delhi all onwards to Morocco, the eyes of innumerable
praying men are turned towards _it_, five times, this day and all
days: one of the notablest centres in the Habitation of Men.

It had been from the sacredness attached to this Caabah Stone and
Hagar's Well, from the pilgrimings of all tribes of Arabs thither,
that Mecca took its rise as a Town. A great town once, though much
decayed now. It has no natural advantage for a town; stands in a sandy
hollow amid bare barren hills, at a distance from the sea; its
provisions, its very bread, have to be imported. But so many pilgrims
needed lodgings: and then all places of pilgrimage do, from the first,
become places of trade. The first day pilgrims meet, merchants have
also met: where men see themselves assembled for one object, they find
that they can accomplish other objects which depend on meeting
together. Mecca became the Fair of all Arabia. And thereby indeed the
chief staple and warehouse of whatever Commerce there was between the
Indian and Western countries, Syria, Egypt, even Italy. It had at one
time a population of 100,000; buyers, forwarders of those Eastern and
Western products; importers for their own behoof of provisions and
corn. The government was a kind of irregular aristocratic republic,
not without a touch of theocracy. Ten Men of a chief tribe, chosen in
some rough way, were Governors of Mecca, and Keepers of the Caabah.
The Koreish were the chief tribe in Mahomet's time; his own family was
of that tribe. The rest of the Nation, fractioned and cut-asunder by
deserts, lived under similar rude patriarchal governments by one or
several: herdsmen, carriers, traders, generally robbers too; being
oftenest at war one with another, or with all: held together by no
open bond, if it were not this meeting at the Caabah, where all forms
of Arab Idolatry assembled in common adoration;--held mainly by the
_inward_ indissoluble bond of a common blood and language. In this way
had the Arabs lived for long ages, unnoticed by the world: a people of
great qualities, unconsciously waiting for the day when they should
become notable to all the world. Their Idolatries appear to have been
in a tottering state; much was getting into confusion and fermentation
among them. Obscure tidings of the most important Event ever
transacted in this world, the Life and Death of the Divine Man in
Judea, at once the symptom and cause of immeasurable change to all
people in the world, had in the course of centuries reached into
Arabia too; and could not but, of itself, have produced fermentation

       *       *       *       *       *

It was among this Arab people, so circumstanced, in the year 570 of
our Era, that the man Mahomet was born. He was of the family of
Hashem, of the Koreish tribe as we said; though poor, connected with
the chief persons of his country.

Almost at his birth he lost his Father; at the age of six years his
Mother too, a woman noted for her beauty, her worth and sense: he fell
to the charge of his Grandfather, an old man, a hundred years old. A
good old man: Mahomet's Father, Abdallah, had been his youngest
favourite son. He saw in Mahomet, with his old life-worn eyes, a
century old, the lost Abdallah come back again, all that was left of
Abdallah. He loved the little orphan Boy greatly; used to say, They
must take care of that beautiful little Boy, nothing in their kindred
was more precious than he. At his death, while the boy was still but
two years old, he left him in charge to Abu Thaleb the eldest of the
Uncles, as to him that now was head of the house. By this Uncle, a
just and rational man as everything betokens, Mahomet was brought-up
in the best Arab way.

Mahomet, as he grew up, accompanied his Uncle on trading journeys and
suchlike; in his eighteenth year one finds him a fighter following his
Uncle in war. But perhaps the most significant of all his journeys is
one we find noted as of some years' earlier date: a journey to the
Fairs of Syria. The young man here first came in contact with a quite
foreign world,--with one foreign element of endless moment to him: the
Christian Religion. I know not what to make of that 'Sergius, the
Nestorian Monk,' whom Abu Thaleb and he are said to have lodged with;
or how much any monk could have taught one still so young. Probably
enough it is greatly exaggerated, this of the Nestorian Monk. Mahomet
was only fourteen; had no language but his own: much in Syria must
have been a strange unintelligible whirlpool to him. But the eyes of
the lad were open; glimpses of many things would doubtless be
taken-in, and lie very enigmatic as yet, which were to ripen in a
strange way into views, into beliefs and insights one day. These
journeys to Syria were probably the beginning of much to Mahomet.

One other circumstance we must not forget: that he had no
school-learning; of the thing we call school-learning none at all. The
art of writing was but just introduced into Arabia; it seems to be the
true opinion that Mahomet never could write! Life in the Desert, with
its experiences, was all his education. What of this infinite Universe
he, from his dim place, with his own eyes and thoughts, could take in,
so much and no more of it was he to know. Curious, if we will reflect
on it, this of having no books. Except by what he could see for
himself, or hear of by uncertain rumour of speech in the obscure
Arabian Desert, he could know nothing. The wisdom that had been before
him or at a distance from him in the world, was in a manner as good as
not there for him. Of the great brother souls, flame-beacons through
so many lands and times, no one directly communicates with this great
soul. He is alone there, deep down in the bosom of the Wilderness; has
to grow up so,--alone with Nature and his own Thoughts.

But, from an early age, he had been remarked as a thoughtful man. His
companions named him '_Al Amin_, The Faithful.' A man of truth and
fidelity; true in what he did, in what he spake and thought. They
noted that _he_ always meant something. A man rather taciturn in
speech; silent when there was nothing to be said; but pertinent, wise,
sincere, when he did speak; always throwing light on the matter. This
is the only sort of speech _worth_ speaking! Through life we find him
to have been regarded as an altogether solid, brotherly, genuine man.
A serious, sincere character; yet amiable, cordial, companionable,
jocose even;--a good laugh in him withal: there are men whose laugh is
as untrue as anything about them; who cannot laugh. One hears of
Mahomet's beauty: his fine sagacious honest face, brown florid
complexion, beaming black eyes;--I somehow like too that vein on the
brow, which swelled-up black when he was in anger: like the
'_horse-shoe_ vein' in Scott's _Redgauntlet_. It was a kind of feature
in the Hashem family, this black swelling vein in the brow; Mahomet
had it prominent, as would appear. A spontaneous, passionate, yet
just, true-meaning man! Full of wild faculty, fire and light: of wild
worth, all uncultured; working out his life-task in the depths of the
Desert there.

How he was placed with Kadijah, a rich Widow, as her Steward, and
travelled in her business, again to the Fairs of Syria; how he managed
all, as one can well understand, with fidelity, adroitness; how her
gratitude, her regard for him grew: the story of their marriage is
altogether a graceful intelligible one, as told us by the Arab
authors. He was twenty-five; she forty, though still beautiful. He
seems to have lived in a most affectionate, peaceable, wholesome way
with this wedded benefactress; loving her truly, and her alone. It
goes greatly against the impostor theory, the fact that he lived in
this entirely unexceptionable, entirely quiet and commonplace way,
till the heat of his years was done. He was forty before he talked of
any mission from Heaven. All his irregularities, real and supposed,
date from after his fiftieth year, when the good Kadijah died. All his
'ambition,' seemingly, had been, hitherto, to live an honest life; his
'fame,' the mere good opinion of neighbours that knew him, had been
sufficient hitherto. Not till he was already getting old, the prurient
heat of his life all burnt out, and _peace_ growing to be the chief
thing this world could give him, did he start on the 'career of
ambition;' and, belying all his past character and existence, set-up
as a wretched empty charlatan to acquire what he could now no longer
enjoy! For my share, I have no faith whatever in that.

Ah no: this deep-hearted Son of the Wilderness, with his beaming black
eyes and open social deep soul, had other thoughts in him than
ambition. A silent great soul; he was one of those who cannot _but_ be
in earnest; whom Nature herself has appointed to be sincere. While
others walk in formulas and hearsays, contented enough to dwell there,
this man could not screen himself in formulas; he was alone with his
own soul and the reality of things. The great Mystery of Existence, as
I said, glared-in upon him, with its terrors, with its splendours; no
hearsays could hide that unspeakable fact, "Here am I!" Such
_sincerity_, as we named it, has in very truth something of divine.
The word of such a man is a Voice direct from Nature's own Heart. Men
do and must listen to that as to nothing else;--all else is wind in
comparison. From of old, a thousand thoughts, in his pilgrimings and
wanderings, had been in this man: What am I? What _is_ this
unfathomable Thing I live in, which men name Universe? What is Life;
what is Death? What am I to believe? What am I to do? The grim rocks
of Mount Hara, of Mount Sinai, the stern sandy solitudes answered not.
The great Heaven rolling silent overhead, with its blue-glancing
stars, answered not. There was no answer. The man's own soul, and what
of God's inspiration dwelt there, had to answer!

It is the thing which all men have to ask themselves; which we too have
to ask, and answer. This wild man felt it to be of _infinite_ moment;
all other things of no moment whatever in comparison. The jargon of
argumentative Greek Sects, vague traditions of Jews, the stupid routine
of Arab Idolatry, there was no answer in these. A Hero, as I repeat,
has this first distinction, which indeed we may call first and last,
the Alpha and Omega of his whole Heroism, That he looks through the
shows of things into _things_. Use and wont, respectable hearsay,
respectable formula: all these are good, or are not good. There is
something behind and beyond all these, which all these must correspond
with, be the image of, or they are--_Idolatries_: 'bits of black wood
pretending to be God;' to the earnest soul a mockery and abomination.
Idolatries never so gilded, waited on by heads of the Koreish, will do
nothing for this man. Though all men walk by them, what good is it? The
great Reality stands glaring there upon _him_. He there has to answer
it, or perish miserably. Now, even now, or else through all Eternity
never! Answer it; _thou_ must find an answer.--Ambition? What could all
Arabia do for this man; with the crown of Greek Heraclius, of Persian
Chosroes, and all crowns in the Earth;--what could they all do for him?
It was not of the Earth he wanted to hear tell; it was of the Heaven
above and of the Hell beneath. All crowns and sovereignties whatsoever,
where would _they_ in a few brief years be? To be Sheik of Mecca or
Arabia, and have a bit of gilt wood put into your hand,--will that be
one's salvation? I decidedly think, not. We will leave it altogether,
this impostor hypothesis, as not credible; not very tolerable even,
worthy chiefly of dismissal by us.

Mahomet had been wont to retire yearly, during the month Ramadhan,
into solitude and silence; as indeed was the Arab custom; a
praiseworthy custom, which such a man, above all, would find natural
and useful. Communing with his own heart, in the silence of the
mountains; himself silent; open to the 'small still voices:' it was a
right natural custom! Mahomet was in his fortieth year, when having
withdrawn to a cavern in Mount Hara, near Mecca, during this Ramadhan,
to pass the month in prayer, and meditation on those great questions,
he one day told his wife Kadijah, who with his household was with him
or near him this year, That by the unspeakable special favour of
Heaven he had now found it all out; was in doubt and darkness no
longer, but saw it all. That all these Idols and Formulas were
nothing, miserable bits of wood; that there was One God in and over
all; and we must leave all Idols, and look to Him. That God is great;
and that there is nothing else great! He is the Reality. Wooden Idols
are not real; He is real. He made us at first, sustains us yet; we and
all things are but the shadow of Him; a transitory garment veiling the
Eternal Splendour. '_Allah akbar_, God is great;'--and then also
'_Islam_,' That we must _submit_ to God. That our whole strength lies
in resigned submission to Him, whatsoever He do to us. For this world,
and for the other! The thing He sends to us, were it death and worse
than death, shall be good, shall be best; we resign ourselves to
God.--'If this be _Islam_,' says Goethe, 'do we not all live in
_Islam_?' Yes, all of us that have any moral life; we all live so. It
has ever been held the highest wisdom for a man not merely to submit
to Necessity,--Necessity will make him submit,--but to know and
believe well that the stern thing which Necessity had ordered was the
wisest, the best, the thing wanted there. To cease his frantic
pretension of scanning this great God's-World in his small fraction of
a brain; to know that it _had_ verily, though deep beyond his
soundings, a Just Law, that the soul of it was Good;--that his part in
it was to conform to the Law of the Whole, and in devout silence
follow that; not questioning it, obeying it as unquestionable.

I say, this is yet the only true morality known. A man is right and
invincible, virtuous and on the road towards sure conquest, precisely
while he joins himself to the great deep Law of the World, in spite of
all superficial laws, temporary appearances, profit-and-loss
calculations; he is victorious while he coöperates with that great
central Law, not victorious otherwise:--and surely his first chance of
coöperating with it, or getting into the course of it, is to know with
his whole soul that it _is_; that it is good, and alone good! This is
the soul of Islam; it is properly the soul of Christianity;--for Islam
is definable as a confused form of Christianity; had Christianity not
been, neither had it been. Christianity also commands us, before all,
to be resigned to God. We are to take no counsel with flesh-and-blood;
give ear to no vain cavils, vain sorrows and wishes: to know that we
know nothing; that the worst and cruelest to our eyes is not what it
seems; that we have to receive whatsoever befalls us as sent from God
above, and say, It is good and wise, God is great! "Though He slay me,
yet will I trust in Him." Islam means in its way Denial of Self,
Annihilation of Self. This is yet the highest Wisdom that Heaven has
revealed to our Earth.

Such light had come, as it could, to illuminate the darkness of this
wild Arab soul. A confused dazzling, splendour as of life and Heaven,
in the great darkness which threatened to be death: he called it
revelation and the angel Gabriel;--who of us yet can know what to call
it? It is the 'inspiration of the Almighty that giveth us
understanding.' To _know_; to get into the truth of anything, is ever
a mystic act,--of which the best Logics can but babble on the surface.
'Is not Belief the true god-announcing Miracle?' says Novalis.--That
Mahomet's whole soul, set in flame with this grand Truth vouchsafed
him, should feel as if it were important and the only important thing,
was very natural. That Providence had unspeakably honoured _him_ by
revealing it, saving him from death and darkness; that he therefore
was bound to make known the same to all creatures: this is what was
meant by 'Mahomet is the Prophet of God;' this too is not without its
true meaning.--

The good Kadijah, we can fancy, listened to him with wonder, with
doubt: at length she answered: Yes, it was _true_ this that he said.
One can fancy too the boundless gratitude of Mahomet; and how of all
the kindnesses she had done him, this of believing the earnest
struggling word he now spoke was the greatest. 'It is certain,' says
Novalis, 'my Conviction gains infinitely, the moment another soul will
believe in it.' It is a boundless favour.--He never forgot this good
Kadijah. Long afterwards, Ayesha his young favourite wife, a woman who
indeed distinguished herself among the Moslem, by all manner of
qualities, through her whole long life; this young brilliant Ayesha
was, one day, questioning him: "Now am not I better than Kadijah? She
was a widow; old, and had lost her looks: you love me better than you
did her?"--"No, by Allah!" answered Mahomet: "No, by Allah! She
believed in me when none else would believe. In the whole world I had
but one friend, and she was that!"--Seid, his Slave, also believed in
him; these with his young Cousin Ali, Abu Thaleb's son, were his first

He spoke of his Doctrine to this man and that; but the most treated it
with ridicule, with indifference; in three years, I think, he had
gained but thirteen followers. His progress was slow enough. His
encouragement to go on, was altogether the usual encouragement that
such a man in such a case meets. After some three years of small
success, he invited forty of his chief kindred to an entertainment;
and there stood-up and told them what his pretension was: that he had
this thing to promulgate abroad to all men; that it was the highest
thing, the one thing: which of them would second him in that? Amid the
doubt and silence of all, young Ali, as yet a lad of sixteen,
impatient of the silence, started-up, and exclaimed in passionate
fierce language, That he would! The assembly, among whom was Abu
Thaleb, Ali's Father, could not be unfriendly to Mahomet; yet the
sight there, of one unlettered elderly man, with a lad of sixteen,
deciding on such an enterprise against all mankind, appeared
ridiculous to them; the assembly broke-up in laughter. Nevertheless it
proved not a laughable thing; it was a very serious thing! As for this
young Ali, one cannot but like him. A noble-minded creature, as he
shows himself, now and always afterwards; full of affection, of fiery
daring. Something chivalrous in him; brave as a lion; yet with a
grace, a truth and affection worthy of Christian knighthood. He died
by assassination in the Mosque at Bagdad; a death occasioned by his
own generous fairness, confidence in the fairness of others: he said,
If the wound proved not unto death, they must pardon the Assassin; but
if it did, then they must slay him straightway, that so they two in
the same hour might appear before God, and see which side of that
quarrel was the just one!

Mahomet naturally gave offence to the Koreish, Keepers of the Caabah,
superintendents of the Idols. One or two men of influence had joined
him: the thing spread slowly, but it was spreading. Naturally, he gave
offence to everybody: Who is this that pretends to be wiser than we
all; that rebukes us all, as mere fools and worshippers of wood! Abu
Thaleb the good Uncle spoke with him: Could he not be silent about all
that; believe it all for himself, and not trouble others, anger the
chief men, endanger himself and them all, talking of it? Mahomet
answered: If the Sun stood on his right hand and the Moon on his left,
ordering him to hold his peace, he could not obey! No: there was
something in this Truth he had got which was of Nature herself; equal
in rank to Sun, or Moon, or whatsoever thing Nature had made. It would
speak itself there, so long as the Almighty allowed it, in spite of
Sun and Moon, and all Koreish and all men and things. It must do that,
and could do no other. Mahomet answered so; and, they say, 'burst into
tears.' Burst into tears: he felt that Abu Thaleb was good to him;
that the task he had got was no soft, but a stern and great one.

He went on speaking to who would listen to him; publishing his
Doctrine among the pilgrims as they came to Mecca; gaining adherents
in this place and that. Continual contradiction, hatred, open or
secret danger attended him. His powerful relations protected Mahomet
himself; but by and by, on his own advice, all his adherents had to
quit Mecca, and seek refuge in Abyssinia over the sea. The Koreish
grew ever angrier; laid plots, and swore oaths among them, to put
Mahomet to death with their own hands. Abu Thaleb was dead, the good
Kadijah was dead. Mahomet is not solicitous of sympathy from us; but
his outlook at this time was one of the dismalest. He had to hide in
caverns, escape in disguise; fly hither and thither; homeless, in
continual peril of his life. More than once it seemed all-over with
him; more than once it turned on a straw, some rider's horse taking
fright or the like, whether Mahomet and his Doctrine had not ended
there, and not been heard of at all. But it was not to end so.

In the thirteenth year of his mission, finding his enemies all banded
against him, forty sworn men, one out of every tribe, waiting to take
his life, and no continuance possible at Mecca for him any longer,
Mahomet fled to the place then called Yathreb, where he had gained
some adherents; the place they now call Medina, or '_Medinat al Nabi_,
the City of the Prophet,' from that circumstance. It lay some 200
miles off, through rocks and deserts; not without great difficulty, in
such mood as we may fancy, he escaped thither, and found welcome. The
whole East dates its era from this Flight, _Hegira_ as they name it:
the Year 1 of this Hegira is 622 of our Era, the fifty-third of
Mahomet's life. He was now becoming an old man; his friends sinking
round him one by one: his path desolate, encompassed with danger:
unless he could find hope in his own heart, the outward face of things
was but hopeless for him. It is so with all men in the like case.
Hitherto Mahomet had professed to publish his Religion by the way of
preaching and persuasion alone. But now, driven foully out of his
native country, since unjust men had not only given no ear to his
earnest Heaven's-message, the deep cry of his heart, but would not
even let him live if he kept speaking it,--the wild Son of the Desert
resolved to defend himself, like a man and Arab. If the Koreish will
have it so, they shall have it. Tidings, felt to be of infinite moment
to them and all men, they would not listen to these; would trample
them down by sheer violence, steel and murder: well, let steel try it
then! Ten years more this Mahomet had: all of fighting, of breathless
impetuous toil and struggle; with what result we know.

Much has been said of Mahomet's propagating his Religion by the sword.
It is no doubt far nobler what we have to boast of the Christian
Religion, that it propagated itself peaceably in the way of preaching
and conviction. Yet withal, if we take this for an argument of the
truth or falsehood of a religion, there is a radical mistake in it.
The sword indeed: but where will you get your sword! Every new
opinion, at its starting, is precisely in a _minority of one_. In one
man's head alone, there it dwells as yet. One man alone of the whole
world believes it; there is one man against all men. That _he_ take a
sword, and try to propagate with that, will do little for him. You
must first get your sword! On the whole, a thing will propagate itself
as it can. We do not find, of the Christian Religion either, that it
always disdained the sword, when once it had got one. Charlemagne's
conversion of the Saxons was not by preaching. I care little about the
sword: I will allow a thing to struggle for itself in this world, with
any sword or tongue or implement it has, or can lay hold of. We will
let it preach, and pamphleteer, and fight, and to the uttermost bestir
itself, and do, beak and claws, whatsoever is in it; very sure that it
will, in the long-run, conquer nothing which does not deserve to be
conquered. What is better than itself, it cannot put away, but only
what is worse. In this great Duel, Nature herself is umpire, and can
do no wrong: the thing which is deepest-rooted in Nature, what we call
_truest_, that thing and not the other will be found growing at last.

Here however, in reference to much that there is in Mahomet and his
success, we are to remember what an umpire Nature is; what a
greatness, composure of depth and tolerance there is in her. You take
wheat to cast into the Earth's bosom: your wheat may be mixed with
chaff, chopped straw, barn-sweepings, dust and all imaginable rubbish;
no matter: you cast it into the kind just Earth; she grows the
wheat,--the whole rubbish she silently absorbs, shrouds _it_ in, says
nothing of the rubbish. The yellow wheat is growing there; the good
Earth is silent about all the rest,--has silently turned all the rest
to some benefit too, and makes no complaint about it! So everywhere in
Nature! She is true and not a lie; and yet so great, and just, and
motherly in her truth. She requires of a thing only that it _be_
genuine of heart; she will protect it if so; will not, if not so.
There is a soul of truth in all the things she ever gave harbour to.
Alas, is not this the history of all highest Truth that comes or ever
came into the world? The _body_ of them all is imperfection, an
element of light _in_ darkness: to us they have to come embodied in
mere Logic, in some merely _scientific_ Theorem of the Universe; which
_cannot_ be complete; which cannot but be found, one day, incomplete,
erroneous, and so die and disappear. The body of all Truth dies; and
yet in all, I say, there is a soul which never dies; which in new and
ever-nobler embodiment lives immortal as man himself! It is the way
with Nature. The genuine essence of Truth never dies. That it be
genuine, a voice from the great Deep of Nature, there is the point at
Nature's judgment-seat. What _we_ call pure or impure, is not with her
the final question. Not how much chaff is in you; but whether you have
any wheat. Pure? I might say to many a man: Yes, you are pure; pure
enough; but you are chaff,--insincere hypothesis, hearsay, formality;
you never were in contact with the great heart of the Universe at all;
you are properly neither pure nor impure; you _are_ nothing, Nature
has no business with you.

Mahomet's Creed we called a kind of Christianity; and really, if we
look at the wild rapt earnestness with which it was believed and laid
to heart, I should say a better kind than that of those miserable
Syrian Sects, with their vain janglings about _Homoiousion_ and
_Homoousion_, the head full of worthless noise, the heart empty and
dead! The truth of it is embedded in portentous error and falsehood;
but the truth of it makes it be believed, not the falsehood: it
succeeded by its truth. A bastard kind of Christianity, but a living
kind; with a heart-life in it: not dead, chopping barren logic merely!
Out of all that rubbish of Arab idolatries, argumentative theologies,
traditions, subtleties, rumours and hypotheses of Greeks and Jews,
with their idle wire-drawings, this wild man of the Desert, with his
wild sincere heart, earnest as death and life, with his great flashing
natural eyesight, had seen into the kernel of the matter. Idolatry is
nothing: these Wooden Idols of yours, 'ye rub them with oil and wax,
and the flies stick on them,'--these are wood, I tell you! They can do
nothing for you; they are an impotent blasphemous pretence; a horror
and abomination, if ye knew them. God alone is; God alone has power;
He made us, He can kill us and keep us alive: '_Allah akbar_, God is
great.' Understand that His will is the best for you; that howsoever
sore to flesh-and-blood, you will find it the wisest, best: you are
bound to take it so; in this world and in the next, you have no other
thing that you can do!

And now if the wild idolatrous men did believe this, and with their
fiery hearts laid hold of it to do it, in what form soever it came to
them, I say it was well worthy of being believed. In one form or the
other, I say it is still the one thing worthy of being believed by all
men. Man does hereby become the high-priest of this Temple of a World.
He is in harmony with the Decrees of the Author of this World;
coöperating with them, not vainly withstanding them: I know, to this
day, no better definition of Duty than that same. All that is _right_
includes itself in this of coöperating with the real Tendency of the
World; you succeed by this (the World's Tendency will succeed), you
are good, and in the right course there. _Homoiousion_, _Homoousion_,
vain logical jangle, then or before or at any time, may jangle itself
out, and go whither and how it likes: this is the _thing_ it all
struggles to mean, if it would mean anything. If it do not succeed in
meaning this, it means nothing. Not that Abstractions, logical
Propositions, be correctly worded or incorrectly; but that living
concrete Sons of Adam do lay this to heart: that is the important
point. Islam devoured all these vain jangling Sects; and I think had
right to do so. It was a Reality, direct from the great Heart of
Nature once more. Arab idolatries, Syrian formulas, whatsoever was not
equally real, had to go up in flame,--mere dead _fuel_, in various
senses, for this which was _fire_.

       *       *       *       *       *

It was during these wild warfarings and strugglings, especially after
the Flight to Mecca, that Mahomet dictated at intervals his Sacred
Book, which they name _Koran_, or _Reading_, 'Thing to be read.' This
is the Work he and his disciples made so much of, asking all the
world, Is not that a miracle? The Mahometans regard their Koran with a
reverence which few Christians pay even to their Bible. It is admitted
everywhere as the standard of all law and all practice; the thing to
be gone-upon in speculation and life: the message sent direct out of
Heaven, which this Earth has to conform to, and walk by; the thing to
be read. Their Judges decide by it; all Moslem are bound to study it,
seek in it for the light of their life. They have mosques where it is
all read daily; thirty relays of priests take it up in succession, get
through the whole each day. There, for twelve-hundred years, has the
voice of this Book, at all moments, kept sounding through the ears and
the hearts of so many men. We hear of Mahometan Doctors that had read
it seventy-thousand times!

Very curious: if one sought for 'discrepancies of national taste,'
here surely were the most eminent instance of that! We also can read
the Koran; our Translation of it, by Sale, is known to be a very fair
one. I must say, it is as toilsome reading as I ever undertook. A
wearisome confused jumble, crude, incondite; endless iterations,
long-windedness, entanglement; most crude, incondite;--insupportable
stupidity, in short! Nothing but a sense of duty could carry any
European through the Koran. We read in it, as we might in the
State-Paper Office, unreadable masses of lumber, that perhaps we may
get some glimpses of a remarkable man. It is true we have it under
disadvantages: the Arabs see more method in it than we. Mahomet's
followers found the Koran lying all in fractions, as it had been
written-down at first promulgation; much of it, they say, on
shoulder-blades of mutton, flung pellmell into a chest: and they
published it, without any discoverable order as to time or
otherwise;--merely trying, as would seem, and this not very strictly,
to put the longest chapters first. The real beginning of it, in that
way, lies almost at the end: for the earliest portions were the
shortest. Read in its historical sequence it perhaps would not be so
bad. Much of it, too, they say, is rhythmic; a kind of wild chanting
song, in the original. This may be a great point; much perhaps has
been lost in the Translation here. Yet with every allowance, one feels
it difficult to see how any mortal ever could consider this Koran as a
Book written in Heaven, too good for the Earth; as a well-written
book, or indeed as a _book_ at all; and not a bewildered rhapsody;
_written_, so far as writing goes, as badly as almost any book ever
was. So much for national discrepancies, and the standard of taste.

Yet I should say, it was not unintelligible how the Arabs might so
love it. When once you get this confused coil of a Koran fairly off
your hands, and have it behind you at a distance, the essential type
of it begins to disclose itself; and in this there is a merit quite
other than the literary one. If a book come from the heart, it will
contrive to reach other hearts; all art and authorcraft are of small
amount to that. One would say the primary character of the Koran is
that of its _genuineness_, of its being a _bonâ-fide_ book. Prideaux,
I know, and others have represented it as a mere bundle of juggleries;
chapter after chapter got-up to excuse and varnish the author's
successive sins, forward his ambitions and quackeries: but really it
is time to dismiss all that. I do not assert Mahomet's continual
sincerity: who is continually sincere? But I confess I can make
nothing of the critic, in these times, who would accuse him of deceit
_prepense_; of conscious deceit generally, or perhaps at all;--still
more, of living in a mere element of conscious deceit, and writing
this Koran as a forger and juggler would have done! Every candid eye,
I think, will read the Koran far otherwise than so. It is the confused
ferment of a great rude human soul; rude, untutored, that cannot even
read; but fervent, earnest, struggling vehemently to utter itself in
words. With a kind of breathless intensity he strives to utter
himself; the thoughts crowd on him pellmell: for very multitude of
things to say, he can get nothing said. The meaning that is in him
shapes itself into no form of composition, is stated in no sequence,
method, or coherence;--they are not _shaped_ at all, these thoughts of
his; flung-out unshaped, as they struggle and tumble there, in their
chaotic inarticulate state. We said 'stupid:' yet natural stupidity is
by no means the character of Mahomet's Book; it is natural
uncultivation rather. The man has not studied speaking; in the haste
and pressure of continual fighting, has not time to mature himself
into fit speech. The panting breathless haste and vehemence of a man
struggling in the thick of battle for life and salvation; this is the
mood he is in! A headlong haste; for very magnitude of meaning, he
cannot get himself articulated into words. The successive utterances
of a soul in that mood, coloured by the various vicissitudes of
three-and-twenty years; now well uttered, now worse: this is the

For we are to consider Mahomet, through these three-and-twenty years,
as the centre of a world wholly in conflict. Battles with the Koreish
and Heathen, quarrels among his own people, backslidings of his own
wild heart; all this kept him in a perpetual whirl, his soul knowing
rest no more. In wakeful nights, as one may fancy, the wild soul of
the man, tossing amid these vortices, would hail any light of a
decision for them as a veritable light from Heaven; _any_ making-up of
his mind, so blessed, indispensable for him there, would seem the
inspiration of a Gabriel. Forger and juggler? No, no! This great fiery
heart, seething, simmering like a great furnace of thoughts, was not a
juggler's. His life was a Fact to him; this God's Universe an awful
Fact and Reality. He has faults enough. The man was an uncultured
semi-barbarous Son of Nature, much of the Bedouin still clinging to
him: we must take him for that. But for a wretched Simulacrum, a
hungry Impostor without eyes or heart, practising for a mess of
pottage such blasphemous swindlery, forgery of celestial documents,
continual high-treason against his Maker and Self, we will not and
cannot take him.

Sincerity, in all senses, seems to me the merit of the Koran; what had
rendered it precious to the wild Arab men. It is, after all, the first
and last merit in a book; gives rise to merits of all kinds,--nay, at
bottom, it alone can give rise to merit of any kind. Curiously,
through these incondite masses of tradition, vituperation, complaint,
ejaculation in the Koran, a vein of true direct insight, of what we
might almost call poetry, is found straggling. The body of the Book is
made-up of mere tradition, and as it were vehement enthusiastic
extempore preaching. He returns forever to the old stories of the
Prophets as they went current in the Arab memory: how Prophet after
Prophet, the Prophet Abraham, the Prophet Hud, the Prophet Moses,
Christian and other real and fabulous Prophets, had come to this Tribe
and to that, warning men of their sin; and been received by them even
as he Mahomet was,--which is a great solace to him. These things he
repeats ten, perhaps twenty times; again and ever again with wearisome
iteration; has never done repeating them. A brave Samuel Johnson, in
his forlorn garret, might con-over the Biographies of Authors in that
way! This is the great staple of the Koran. But curiously, through all
this, comes ever and anon some glance as of the real thinker and seer.
He has actually an eye for the world, this Mahomet: with a certain
directness and rugged vigour, he brings home still, to our heart, the
thing his own heart has been opened to. I make but little of his
praises of Allah, which many praise; they are borrowed I suppose
mainly from the Hebrew, at least they are far surpassed there. But the
eye that flashes direct into the heart of things, and _sees_ the truth
of them; this is to me a highly interesting object. Great Nature's own
gift; which she bestows on all; but which only one in the thousand
does not cast sorrowfully away: it is what I call sincerity of vision;
the test of a sincere heart.

Mahomet can work no miracles; he often answers impatiently: I can work
no miracles. I? 'I am a Public Preacher;' appointed to preach this
doctrine to all creatures. Yet the world, as we can see, had really
from of old been all one great miracle to him. Look over the world,
says he; is it not wonderful, the work of Allah; wholly 'a sign to
you,' if your eyes were open! This Earth, God made it for you:
'appointed paths in it;' you can live in it, go to and fro on it.--The
clouds in the dry country of Arabia, to Mahomet they are very
wonderful: Great clouds, he says, born in the deep bosom of the Upper
Immensity, where do they come from! They hang there, the great black
monsters; pour-down their rain deluges 'to revive a dead earth,' and
grass springs, and tall leafy palm-trees with their date-clusters
hanging round. Is not that a sign?' Your cattle too,--Allah made them;
serviceable dumb creatures; they change the grass into milk; you have
your clothing from them, very strange creatures; they come ranking
home at evening-time, 'and,' adds he, 'and are a credit to you!' Ships
also,--he talks often about ships: Huge moving mountains, they
spread-out their cloth wings, go bounding through the water there,
Heaven's wind driving them; anon they lie motionless, God has
withdrawn the wind, they lie dead, and cannot stir! Miracles? cries
he; what miracle would you have? Are not you yourselves there? God
made _you_, 'shaped you out of a little clay.' Ye were small once; a
few years ago ye were not at all. Ye have beauty, strength, thoughts,
'ye have compassion on one another.' Old age comes-on you, and gray
hairs; your strength fades into feebleness; ye sink down, and again
are not. 'Ye have compassion on one another:' this struck me much:
Allah might have made you having no compassion on one another,--how
had it been then! This is a great direct thought, a glance at
first-hand into the very fact of things. Rude vestiges of poetic
genius, of whatsoever is best and truest, are visible in this man. A
strong untutored intellect: eyesight, heart; a strong wild man,--might
have shaped himself into Poet, King, Priest, any kind of Hero.

To his eyes it is forever clear that this world wholly is miraculous.
He sees what, as we said once before, all great thinkers, the rude
Scandinavians themselves, in one way or other, have contrived to see:
That this so solid-looking material world is, at bottom, in very deed,
Nothing; is a visual and tactual Manifestation of God's power and
presence,--a shadow hung-out by Him on the bosom of the void Infinite;
nothing more. The Mountains, he says, these great rock-mountains, they
shall dissipate themselves 'like clouds;' melt into the Blue as clouds
do, and not be! He figures the Earth, in the Arab fashion, Sale tells
us, as an immense Plain or flat Plate of ground, the mountains are set
on that to _steady_ it. At the Last Day they shall disappear 'like
clouds;' the whole Earth shall go spinning, whirl itself off into
wreck, and as dust and vapour vanish in the Inane. Allah withdraws his
hand from it, and it ceases to be. The universal empire of Allah,
presence everywhere of an unspeakable Power, a Splendour, and a Terror
not to be named, as the true force, essence and reality, in all things
whatsoever, was continually clear to this man. What a modern talks-of
by the name, Forces of Nature, Laws of Nature; and does not figure as
a divine thing; not even as one thing at all, but as a set of things,
undivine enough,--saleable, curious, good for propelling steamships!
With our Sciences and Cyclopædias, we are apt to forget the
_divineness_, in these laboratories of ours. We ought not to forget
it! That once well forgotten, I know not what else were worth
remembering. Most sciences, I think, were then a very dead thing;
withered, contentious, empty;--a thistle in late autumn. The best
science, without this, is but as the dead _timber_; it is not the
growing tree and forest,--which gives ever-new timber, among other
things! Man cannot _know_ either, unless he can _worship_ in some way.
His knowledge is a pedantry, and dead thistle, otherwise.

Much has been said and written about the sensuality of Mahomet's
Religion; more than was just. The indulgences, criminal to us, which
he permitted, were not of his appointment; he found them practised,
unquestioned from immemorial time in Arabia; what he did was to
curtail them, restrict them, not on one but on many sides. His
Religion is not an easy one: with rigorous fasts, lavations, strict
complex formulas, prayers five times a day, and abstinence from wine,
it did not 'succeed by being an easy religion.' As if indeed any
religion, or cause holding of religion, could succeed by that! It is a
calumny on men to say that they are roused to heroic action by ease,
hope of pleasure, recompense,--sugar-plums of any kind, in this world
or the next! In the meanest mortal there lies something nobler. The
poor swearing soldier, hired to be shot, has his 'honour of a
soldier,' different from drill-regulations and the shilling a day. It
is not to taste sweet things, but to do noble and true things, and
vindicate himself under God's Heaven as a god-made Man, that the
poorest son of Adam dimly longs. Show him the way of doing that, the
dullest daydrudge kindles into a hero. They wrong man greatly who say
he is to be seduced by ease. Difficulty, abnegation, martyrdom, death
are the _allurements_ that act on the heart of man. Kindle the inner
genial life of him, you have a flame that burns-up all lower
considerations. Not happiness, but something higher: one sees this
even in the frivolous classes, with their 'point of honour' and the
like. Not by flattering our appetites; no, by awakening the Heroic
that slumbers in every heart, can any Religion gain followers.

Mahomet himself, after all that can be said about him, was not a
sensual man. We shall err widely if we consider this man as a common
voluptuary, intent mainly on base enjoyments,--nay on enjoyments of
any kind. His household was of the frugalest; his common diet
barley-bread and water: sometimes for months there was not a fire once
lighted on his hearth. They record with just pride that he would mend
his own shoes, patch his own cloak. A poor, hard-toiling, ill-provided
man; careless of what vulgar men toil for. Not a bad man, I should
say; something better in him than _hunger_ of any sort,--or these wild
Arab men, fighting and jostling three-and-twenty years at his hand, in
close contact with him always, would not have reverenced him so! They
were wild men, bursting ever and anon into quarrel, into all kinds of
fierce sincerity; without right worth and manhood, no man could have
commanded them. They called him Prophet, you say? Why, he stood there
face to face with them; bare, not enshrined in any mystery; visibly
clouting his own cloak, cobbling his own shoes; fighting, counselling,
ordering in the midst of them: they must have seen what kind of a man
he _was_, let him be _called_ what you like! No emperor with his
tiaras was obeyed as this man in a cloak of his own clouting. During
three-and-twenty years of rough actual trial. I find something of a
veritable Hero necessary for that, of itself.

His last words are a prayer; broken ejaculations of a heart
struggling-up, in trembling hope, towards its Maker. We cannot say
that his religion made him _worse_; it made him better; good, not bad.
Generous things are recorded of him: when he lost his Daughter, the
thing he answers is, in his own dialect, everyway sincere, and yet
equivalent to that of Christians, 'The Lord giveth, and the Lord
taketh away; blessed be the name of the Lord.' He answered in like
manner of Seid, his emancipated well-beloved Slave, the second of the
believers. Seid had fallen in the War of Tabûc, the first of Mahomet's
fightings with the Greeks. Mahomet said, It was well; Seid had done
his Master's work, Seid had now gone to his Master: it was all well
with Seid. Yet Seid's daughter found him weeping over the body;--the
old gray-haired man melting in tears! "What do I see?" said she.--"You
see a friend weeping over his friend."--He went out for the last time
into the mosque, two days before his death; asked, If he had injured
any man? Let his own back bear the stripes. If he owed any man? A
voice answered, "Yes, me three drachms," borrowed on such an occasion.
Mahomet ordered them to be paid: "Better be in shame now," said he,
"than at the Day of Judgment."--You remember Kadijah, and the "No, by
Allah!" Traits of that kind show us the genuine man, the brother of us
all, brought visible through twelve centuries,--the veritable Son of
our common Mother.

Withal I like Mahomet for his total freedom from cant. He is a rough
self-helping son of the wilderness; does not pretend to be what he is
not. There is no ostentatious pride in him; but neither does he go
much upon humility: he is there as he can be, in cloak and shoes of
his own clouting; speaks plainly to all manner of Persian Kings, Greek
Emperors, what it is they are bound to do; knows well enough, about
himself, 'the respect due unto thee.' In a life-and-death war with
Bedouins, cruel things could not fail; but neither are acts of mercy,
of noble natural pity and generosity wanting. Mahomet makes no apology
for the one, no boast of the other. They were each the free dictate of
his heart; each called-for, there and then. Not a mealy-mouthed man! A
candid ferocity, if the case call for it, is in him; he does not mince
matters! The War of Tabûc is a thing he often speaks of: his men
refused, many of them, to march on that occasion: pleaded the heat of
the weather, the harvest, and so forth; he can never forget that. Your
harvest? It lasts for a day. What will become of your harvest through
all Eternity? Hot weather? Yes, it was hot; 'but Hell will be hotter!'
Sometimes a rough sarcasm turns-up: He says to the unbelievers, Ye
shall have the just measure of your deeds at that Great Day. They will
be weighed-out to you; ye shall not have short weight!--Everywhere he
fixes the matter in his eye; he _sees_ it: his heart, now and then, is
as if struck dumb by the greatness of it. 'Assuredly,' he says: that
word, in the Koran, is written-down sometimes as a sentence by itself:

No _Dilettantism_ in this Mahomet; it is a business of Reprobation and
Salvation with him, of Time and Eternity: he is in deadly earnest
about it! Dilettantism, hypothesis, speculation, a kind of
amateur-search for Truth, toying and coquetting with Truth: this is
the sorest sin. The root of all other imaginable sins. It consists in
the heart and soul of the man never having been _open_ to
Truth;--'living in a vain show.' Such a man not only utters and
produces falsehoods, but _is_ himself a falsehood. The rational moral
principle, spark of the Divinity, is sunk deep in him, in quiet
paralysis of life-death. The very falsehoods of Mahomet are truer than
the truths of such a man. He is the insincere man: smooth-polished,
respectable in some times and places: inoffensive, says nothing harsh
to anybody; most _cleanly_,--just as carbonic acid is, which is death
and poison.

We will not praise Mahomet's moral precepts as always of the
superfinest sort; yet it can be said that there is always a tendency
to good in them; that they are the true dictates of a heart aiming
towards what is just and true. The sublime forgiveness of
Christianity, turning of the other cheek when the one has been
smitten, is not here: you _are_ to revenge yourself, but it is to be
in measure, not overmuch, or beyond justice. On the other hand, Islam,
like any great Faith, and insight into the essence of man, is a
perfect equaliser of men: the soul of one believer outweighs all
earthly kingships; all men, according to Islam too, are equal. Mahomet
insists not on the propriety of giving alms, but on the necessity of
it; he marks-down by law how much you are to give, and it is at your
peril if you neglect. The tenth part of a man's annual income,
whatever that may be, is the _property_ of the poor, of those that are
afflicted and need help. Good all this: the natural voice of humanity,
of pity and equity dwelling in the heart of this wild Son of Nature
speaks _so_.

Mahomet's Paradise is sensual, his Hell sensual: true; in the one and
the other there is enough that shocks all spiritual feeling in us. But
we are to recollect that the Arabs already had it so; that Mahomet, in
whatever he changed of it, softened and diminished all this. The worst
sensualities, too, are the work of doctors, followers of his, not his
work. In the Koran there is really very little said about the joys of
Paradise; they are intimated rather than insisted on. Nor is it
forgotten that the highest joys even there shall be spiritual; the
pure Presence of the Highest, this shall infinitely transcend all
other joys. He says, 'Your salutation shall be, Peace.' _Salam_, Have
Peace!--the thing that all rational souls long for, and seek, vainly
here below, as the one blessing. 'Ye shall sit on seats, facing one
another: all grudges shall be taken away out of your hearts.' All
grudges! Ye shall love one another freely; for each of you, in the
eyes of his brothers, there will be Heaven enough!

In reference to this of the sensual Paradise and Mahomet's sensuality,
the sorest chapter of all for us, there were many things to be said;
which it is not convenient to enter upon here. Two remarks only I
shall make, and therewith leave it to your candour. The first is
furnished me by Goethe; it is a casual hint of his which seems well
worth taking note of. In one of his Delineations, in _Meister's
Travels_ it is, the hero comes-upon a Society of men with very strange
ways, one of which was this: "We require," says the Master, "that each
of our people shall restrict himself in one direction," shall go right
against his desire in one matter, and _make_ himself do the thing he
does not wish, "should we allow him the greater latitude on all other
sides." There seems to me a great justness in this. Enjoying things
which are pleasant; that is not the evil: it is the reducing of our
moral self to slavery by them that is. Let a man assert withal that he
is king over his habitudes; that he could and would shake them off, on
cause shown: this is an excellent law. The Month Ramadhan for the
Moslem, much in Mahomet's Religion, much in his own Life, bears in
that direction; if not by forethought, or clear purpose of moral
improvement on his part, then by a certain healthy manful instinct,
which is as good.

But there is another thing to be said about the Mahometan Heaven and
Hell. This namely, that, however gross and material they may be, they
are an emblem of an everlasting truth, not always so well remembered
elsewhere. That gross sensual Paradise of his; that horrible flaming
Hell; the great enormous Day of Judgment he perpetually insists on:
what is all this but a rude shadow, in the rude Bedouin imagination,
of that grand spiritual Fact, and Beginning of Facts, which it is ill
for us too if we do not all know and feel: the Infinite Nature of
Duty? That man's actions here are of _infinite_ moment to him, and
never die or end at all; that man, with his little life, reaches
upwards high as Heaven, downwards low as Hell, and in his threescore
years of Time holds an Eternity fearfully and wonderfully hidden: all
this had burnt itself, as in flame-characters, into the wild Arab
soul. As in flame and lightning, it stands written there; awful,
unspeakable, ever present to him. With bursting earnestness, with a
fierce savage sincerity, halt, articulating, not able to articulate,
he strives to speak it, bodies it forth in that Heaven and that Hell.
Bodied forth in what way you will, it is the first of all truths. It
is venerable under all embodiments. What is the chief end of man here
below? Mahomet has answered this question, in a way that might put
some of _us_ to shame! He does not, like a Bentham, a Paley, take
Right and Wrong, and calculate the profit and loss, ultimate pleasure
of the one and of the other; and summing all up by addition and
subtraction into a net result, ask you, Whether on the whole the Right
does not preponderate considerably? No, it is not _better_ to do the
one than the other; the one is to the other as life is to death,--as
Heaven is to Hell. The one must in nowise be done, the other in nowise
left undone. You shall not measure them; they are incommensurable: the
one is death eternal to a man, the other is life eternal. Benthamee
Utility, virtue by Profit and Loss; reducing this God's-world to a
dead brute Steam-engine, the infinite celestial Soul of Man to a kind
of Hay-balance for weighing hay and thistles on, pleasures and pains
on:--If you ask me which gives, Mahomet or they, the beggarlier and
falser view of Man and his Destinies in this Universe, I will answer,
It is not Mahomet!----

On the whole, we will repeat that this Religion of Mahomet's is a kind
of Christianity; has a genuine element of what is spiritually highest
looking through it, not to be hidden by all its imperfections. The
Scandinavian God _Wish_, the god of all rude men,--this has been
enlarged into a Heaven by Mahomet; but a Heaven symbolical of sacred
Duty, and to be earned by faith and welldoing, by valiant action, and
a divine patience which is still more valiant. It is Scandinavian
Paganism, and a truly celestial element superadded to that. Call it
not false; look not at the falsehood of it, look at the truth of it.
For these twelve centuries, it has been the religion and life-guidance
of the fifth part of the whole kindred of Mankind. Above all things,
it has been a religion heartily _believed_. These Arabs believe their
religion, and try to live by it! No Christians, since the early ages,
or only perhaps the English Puritans in modern times, have ever stood
by their Faith as the Moslem do by theirs,--believing it wholly,
fronting Time with it, and Eternity with it. This night the watchman
on the streets of Cairo when he cries "Who goes?" will hear from the
passenger, along with his answer, "There is no God but God." _Allah
akbar, Islam_, sounds through the souls, and whole daily existence, of
these dusky millions. Zealous missionaries preach it abroad among
Malays, black Papuans, brutal Idolaters;--displacing what is worse,
nothing that is better or good.

To the Arab Nation it was as a birth from darkness into light; Arabia
first became alive by means of it. A poor shepherd people, roaming
unnoticed in its deserts since the creation of the world: a
Hero-Prophet was sent down to them with a word they could believe:
see, the unnoticed becomes world-notable, the small has grown
world-great; within one century afterwards, Arabia is at Grenada on
this hand, at Delhi on that;--glancing in valour and splendour and the
light of genius, Arabia shines through long ages over a great section
of the world. Belief is great, life-giving. The history of a Nation
becomes fruitful, soul-elevating, great, so soon as it believes. These
Arabs, the man Mahomet, and that one century,--is it not as if a spark
had fallen, one spark, on a world of what seemed black unnoticeable
sand; but lo, the sand proves explosive powder, blazes heaven-high
from Delhi to Grenada! I said, the Great Man was always as lightning
out of Heaven; the rest of men waited for him like fuel, and then they
too would flame.



[_Tuesday, 12th May 1840_]

The Hero as Divinity, the Hero as Prophet, are productions of old
ages; not to be repeated in the new. They presuppose a certain
rudeness of conception, which the progress of mere scientific
knowledge puts an end to. There needs to be, as it were, a world
vacant, or almost vacant of scientific forms, if men in their loving
wonder are to fancy their fellow-man either a god or one speaking with
the voice of a god. Divinity and Prophet are past. We are now to see
our Hero in the less ambitious, but also less questionable, character
of Poet; a character which does not pass. The Poet is a heroic figure
belonging to all ages; whom all ages possess, when once he is
produced, whom the newest age as the oldest may produce;--and will
produce, always when Nature pleases. Let Nature send a Hero-soul; in
no age is it other than possible that he may be shaped into a Poet.

Hero, Prophet, Poet,--many different names, in different times and
places, do we give to Great Men; according to varieties we note in
them, according to the sphere in which they have displayed themselves!
We might give many more names, on this same principle. I will remark
again, however, as a fact not unimportant to be understood, that the
different _sphere_ constitutes the grand origin of such distinction;
that the Hero can be Poet, Prophet, King, Priest or what you will,
according to the kind of world he finds himself born into. I confess,
I have no notion of a truly great man that could not be _all_ sorts of
men. The Poet who could merely sit on a chair, and compose stanzas,
would never make a stanza worth much. He could not sing the Heroic
warrior, unless he himself were at least a Heroic warrior too. I fancy
there is in him the Politician, the Thinker, Legislator,
Philosopher;--in one or the other degree, he could have been, he is
all these. So too I cannot understand how a Mirabeau, with that great
glowing heart, with the fire that was in it, with the bursting tears
that were in it, could not have written verses, tragedies, poems,
touched all hearts in that way, had his course of life and education
led him thitherward. The grand fundamental character is that of Great
Man; that the man be great. Napoleon has words in him which are like
Austerlitz Battles. Louis Fourteenth's Marshals are a kind of poetical
men withal; the things Turenne says are full of sagacity and
geniality, like sayings of Samuel Johnson. The great heart, the clear
deep-seeing eye: there it lies; no man whatever, in what province
soever, can prosper at all without these. Petrarch and Boccaccio did
diplomatic messages, it seems, quite well: one can easily believe it;
they had done things a little harder than these! Burns, a gifted
song-writer, might have made a still better Mirabeau. Shakspeare,--one
knows not what _he_ could not have made, in the supreme degree.

True, there are aptitudes of Nature too. Nature does not make all
great men, more than all other men, in the self-same mould. Varieties
of aptitude doubtless; but infinitely more of circumstance; and far
oftenest it is the _latter_ only that are looked to. But it is as with
common men in the learning of trades. You take any man, as yet a vague
capability of a man, who could be any kind of craftsman; and make him
into a smith, a carpenter, a mason: he is then and thenceforth that
and nothing else. And if, as Addison complains, you sometimes see a
street-porter staggering under his load on spindle-shanks, and near at
hand a tailor with the frame of a Samson handling a bit of cloth and
small Whitechapel needle,--it cannot be considered that aptitude of
Nature alone has been consulted here either!--The Great Man also, to
what shall he be bound apprentice? Given your Hero, is he to become
Conqueror, King, Philosopher, Poet? It is an inexplicably complex
controversial-calculation between the world and him! He will read the
world and its laws; the world with its laws will be there to be read.
What the world, on _this_ matter, shall permit and bid is, as we said,
the most important fact about the world.--

 * * * * *

Poet and Prophet differ greatly in our loose modern notions of them.
In some old languages, again, the titles are synonymous; _Vates_ means
both Prophet and Poet: and indeed at all times, Prophet and Poet, well
understood, have much kindred of meaning. Fundamentally indeed they
are still the same; in this most important respect especially, That
they have penetrated both of them into the sacred mystery of the
Universe; what Goethe calls 'the open secret.' "Which is the great
secret?" asks one.--"The _open_ secret,"--open to all, seen by almost
none! That divine mystery, which lies everywhere in all Beings, 'the
Divine Idea of the World, that which lies at the bottom of
Appearance,' as Fichte styles it; of which all Appearance, from the
starry sky to the grass of the field, but especially the Appearance of
Man and his work, is but the _vesture_, the embodiment that renders it
visible. This divine mystery _is_ in all times and in all places;
veritably is. In most times and places it is greatly overlooked; and
the Universe, definable always in one or the other dialect, as the
realised Thought of God, is considered a trivial, inert, commonplace
matter,--as if, says the Satirist, it were a dead thing, which some
upholsterer had put together! It could do no good at present, to
_speak_ much about this; but it is a pity for every one of us if we do
not know it, live ever in the knowledge of it. Really a most mournful
pity;--a failure to live at all, if we live otherwise!

But now, I say, whoever may forget this divine mystery, the _Vates_,
whether Prophet or Poet, has penetrated into it; is a man sent hither
to make it more impressively known to us. That always is his message;
he is to reveal that to us,--that sacred mystery which he more than
others lives ever present with. While others forget it, he knows
it;--I might say, he has been driven to know it; without consent asked
of _him_, he finds himself living in it, bound to live in it. Once
more, here is no Hearsay, but a direct Insight and Belief; this man
too could not help being a sincere man! Whosoever may live in the
shows of things, it is for him a necessity of nature to live in the
very fact of things. A man once more, in earnest with the Universe,
though all others were but toying with it. He is a _Vates_, first of
all, in virtue of being sincere. So far Poet and Prophet,
participators in the 'open secret,' are one.

With respect to their distinction again: The _Vates_ Prophet, we might
say, has seized that sacred mystery rather on the moral side, as Good
and Evil, Duty and Prohibition; the _Vates_ Poet on what the Germans
call the æsthetic side, as Beautiful, and the like. The one we may
call a revealer of what we are to do, the other of what we are to
love. But indeed these two provinces run into one another, and cannot
be disjoined. The Prophet too has his eye on what we are to love: how
else shall he know what it is we are to do? The highest Voice ever
heard on this earth said withal, "Consider the lilies of the field;
they toil not, neither do they spin: yet Solomon in all his glory was
not arrayed like one of these." A glance, that, into the deepest deep
of Beauty. 'The lilies of the field,'--dressed finer than earthly
princes, springing-up there in the humble furrow-field; a beautiful
_eye_ looking-out on you, from the great inner Sea of Beauty! How
could the rude Earth make these, if her Essence, rugged as she looks
and is, were not inwardly Beauty? In this point of view, too, a saying
of Goethe's, which has staggered several, may have meaning: 'The
Beautiful,' he intimates, 'is higher than the Good: the Beautiful
includes in it the Good.' The _true_ Beautiful; which however, I have
said somewhere, 'differs from the _false_ as Heaven does from
Vauxhall!' So much for the distinction and identity of Poet and

In ancient and also in modern periods we find a few Poets who are
accounted perfect; whom it were a kind of treason to find fault with.
This is noteworthy; this is right: yet in strictness it is only an
illusion. At bottom, clearly enough, there is no perfect Poet! A vein
of Poetry exists in the hearts of all men; no man is made altogether
of Poetry. We are all poets when we _read_ a poem well. The
'imagination that shudders at the Hell of Dante,' is not that the same
faculty, weaker in degree, as Dante's own? No one but Shakspeare can
embody, out of _Saxo Grammaticus_, the story of _Hamlet_ as Shakspeare
did: but every one models some kind of story out of it; every one
embodies it better or worse. We need not spend time in defining. Where
there is no specific difference, as between round and square, all
definition must be more or less arbitrary. A man that has _so_ much
more of the poetic element developed in him as to have become
noticeable, will be called Poet by his neighbours. World-Poets too,
those whom we are to take for perfect Poets, are settled by critics in
the same way. One who rises _so_ far above the general level of Poets
will, to such and such critics, seem a Universal Poet; as he ought to
do. And yet it is, and must be, an arbitrary distinction. All Poets,
all men, have some touches of the Universal; no man is wholly made of
that. Most Poets are very soon forgotten: but not the noblest
Shakspeare or Homer of them can be remembered _forever_;--a day comes
when he too is not!

Nevertheless, you will say, there must be a difference between true
Poetry and true Speech not poetical: what is the difference? On this
point many things have been written, especially by late German
Critics, some of which are not very intelligible at first. They say,
for example, that the Poet has an _infinitude_ in him; communicates an
_Unendlichkeit_, a certain character of 'infinitude,' to whatsoever he
delineates. This, though not very precise, yet on so vague a matter is
worth remembering: if well meditated, some meaning will gradually be
found in it. For my own part, I find considerable meaning in the old
vulgar distinction of Poetry being _metrical_, having music in it,
being a Song. Truly, if pressed to give a definition, one might say
this as soon as anything else: If your delineation be authentically
_musical_, musical, not in word only, but in heart and substance, in
all the thoughts and utterances of it, in the whole conception of it,
then it will be poetical; if not, not.--Musical: how much lies in
that! A _musical_ thought is one spoken by a mind that has penetrated
into the inmost heart of the thing; detected the inmost mystery of it,
namely the _melody_ that lies hidden in it; the inward harmony of
coherence which is its soul, whereby it exists, and has a right to be,
here in this world. All inmost things, we may say, are melodious;
naturally utter themselves in Song. The meaning of Song goes deep. Who
is there that, in logical words, can express the effect music has on
us? A kind of inarticulate unfathomable speech, which leads us to the
edge of the Infinite, and lets us for moments gaze into that!

Nay all speech, even the commonest speech, has something of song in
it: not a parish in the world but has its parish-accent;--the rhythm
or _tune_ to which the people there _sing_ what they have to say!
Accent is a kind of chanting; all men have accent of their
own,--though they only _notice_ that of others. Observe too how all
passionate language does of itself become musical,--with a finer music
than the mere accent; the speech of a man even in zealous anger
becomes a chant, a song. All deep things are Song. It seems somehow
the very central essence of us, Song; as if all the rest were but
wrappages and hulls! The primal element of us; of us, and of all
things. The Greeks fabled of Sphere-Harmonies; it was the feeling they
had of the inner structure of Nature; that the soul of all her voices
and utterances was perfect music. Poetry, therefore, we will call
_musical Thought_. The Poet is he who _thinks_ in that manner. At
bottom, it turns still on power of intellect; it is a man's sincerity
and depth of vision that makes him a Poet. See deep enough, and you
see musically; the heart of Nature _being_ everywhere music, if you
can only reach it.

The _Vates_ Poet, with his melodious Apocalypse of Nature, seems to
hold a poor rank among us, in comparison with the _Vates_ Prophet; his
function, and our esteem of him for his function, alike slight. The
Hero taken as Divinity; the Hero taken as Prophet; then next the Hero
taken only as Poet: does it not look as if our estimate of the Great
Man, epoch after epoch, were continually diminishing? We take him
first for a god, then for one god-inspired; and now in the next stage
of it, his most miraculous word gains from us only the recognition
that he is a Poet, beautiful verse-maker, man of genius, or
suchlike!--It looks so; but I persuade myself that intrinsically it is
not so. If we consider well, it will perhaps appear that in man still
there is the _same_ altogether peculiar admiration for the Heroic
Gift, by what name soever called, that there at any time was.

I should say, if we do not now reckon a Great Man literally divine, it
is that our notions of God, of the supreme unattainable Fountain of
Splendour, Wisdom and Heroism, are ever rising _higher_; not
altogether that our reverence for these qualities, as manifested in
our like, is getting lower. This is worth taking thought of. Sceptical
Dilettantism, the curse of these ages, a curse which will not last
forever, does indeed in this the highest province of human things, as
in all provinces, make sad work; and our reverence for great men, all
crippled, blinded, paralytic as it is, comes out in poor plight,
hardly recognisable. Men worship the shows of great men; the most
disbelieve that there is any reality of great men to worship. The
dreariest, fatalest faith; believing which, one would literally
despair of human things. Nevertheless look, for example, at Napoleon!
A Corsican lieutenant of artillery; that is the show of _him_: yet is
he not obeyed, _worshipped_ after his sort, as all the Tiaraed and
Diademed of the world put together could not be? High Duchesses, and
ostlers of inns, gather round the Scottish rustic, Burns;--a strange
feeling dwelling in each that they had never heard a man like this;
that, on the whole, this is the man! In the secret heart of these
people it still dimly reveals itself, though there is no accredited
way of uttering it at present, that this rustic, with his black brows
and flashing sun-eyes, and strange words moving laughter and tears, is
of a dignity far beyond all others, incommensurable with all others.
Do not we feel it so? But now, were Dilettantism, Scepticism,
Triviality, and all that sorrowful brood, cast-out of us,--as, by
God's blessing, they shall one day be; were faith in the shows of
things entirely swept-out, replaced by clear faith in the _things_, so
that a man acted on the impulse of that only, and counted the other
non-extant; what a new livelier feeling towards this Burns were it!

Nay here in these pages, such as they are, have we not two mere Poets,
if not deified, yet we may say beatified? Shakspeare and Dante are
Saints of Poetry; really, if we will think of it, _canonised_, so that
it is impiety to meddle with them. The unguided instinct of the world,
working across all these perverse impediments, has arrived at such
result. Dante and Shakspeare are a peculiar Two. They dwell apart, in
a kind of royal solitude; none equal, none second to them: in the
general feeling of the world, a certain transcendentalism, a glory as
of complete perfection, invests these two. They _are_ canonised,
though no Pope or Cardinals took hand in doing it! Such, in spite of
every perverting influence, in the most unheroic times, is still our
indestructible reverence for heroism.--We will look a little at these
Two, the Poet Dante and the Poet Shakspeare: what little it is
permitted us to say here of the Hero as Poet will most fitly arrange
itself in that fashion.

 * * * * *

Many volumes have been written by way of commentary on Dante and his
Book; yet, on the whole, with no great result. His Biography is, as it
were, irrecoverably lost for us. An unimportant, wandering,
sorrowstricken man, not much note was taken of him while he lived; and
the most of that has vanished, in the long space that now intervenes.
It is five centuries since he ceased writing and living here. After
all commentaries, the Book itself is mainly what we know of him. The
Book;--and one might add that Portrait commonly attributed to Giotto,
which, looking on it, you cannot help inclining to think genuine,
whoever did it. To me it is a most touching face; perhaps of all faces
that I know, the most so. Lonely there, painted as on vacancy, with
the simple laurel wound round it; the deathless sorrow and pain, the
known victory which is also deathless;--significant of the whole
history of Dante! I think it is the mournfulest face that ever was
painted from reality; an altogether tragic, heart-affecting face.
There is in it, as foundation of it, the softness, tenderness, gentle
affection as of a child; but all this is as if congealed into sharp
contradiction, into abnegation, isolation, proud hopeless pain. A soft
ethereal soul looking-out so stern, implacable, grim-trenchant, as
from imprisonment of thick-ribbed ice! Withal it is a silent pain too,
a silent scornful one: the lip is curled in a kind of godlike disdain
of the thing that is eating-out his heart,--as if it were withal a
mean insignificant thing, as if he whom it had power to torture and
strangle were greater than it. The face of one wholly in protest, and
life-long unsurrendering battle, against the world. Affection all
converted into indignation: an implacable indignation; slow, equable,
silent, like that of a god! The eye too, it looks-out as in a kind of
_surprise_, a kind of inquiry, Why the world was of such a sort? This
is Dante: so he looks, this 'voice of ten silent centuries,' and sings
us 'his mystic unfathomable song.'

The little that we know of Dante's Life corresponds well enough with
this Portrait and this Book. He was born at Florence, in the upper
class of society, in the year 1265. His education was the best then
going; much school-divinity, Aristotelean logic, some Latin
classics,--no inconsiderable insight into certain provinces of things:
and Dante, with his earnest intelligent nature, we need not doubt,
learned better than most all that was learnable. He has a clear
cultivated understanding, and of great subtlety; the best fruit of
education he had contrived to realise from these scholastics. He knows
accurately and well what lies close to him; but, in such a time,
without printed books or free intercourse, he could not know well what
was distant: the small clear light, most luminous for what is near,
breaks itself into singular _chiaroscuro_ striking on what is far off.
This was Dante's learning from the schools. In life, he had gone
through the usual destinies; been twice out campaigning as a soldier
for the Florentine State, been on embassy; had in his thirty-fifth
year, by natural gradation of talent and service, become one of the
Chief Magistrates of Florence. He had met in boyhood a certain
Beatrice Portinari, a beautiful little girl of his own age and rank,
and grown-up thenceforth in partial sight of her, in some distant
intercourse with her. All readers know his graceful affecting account
of this; and then of their being parted; of her being wedded to
another, and of her death soon after. She makes a great figure in
Dante's Poem; seems to have made a great figure in his life. Of all
beings it might seem as if she, held apart from him, far apart at last
in the dim Eternity, were the only one he had ever with his whole
strength of affection loved. She died: Dante himself was wedded; but
it seems not happily, far from happily. I fancy, the rigorous earnest
man, with his keen excitabilities, was not altogether easy to make

We will not complain of Dante's miseries: had all gone right with him
as he wished it, he might have been Prior, Podestà, or whatsoever they
call it, of Florence, well accepted among neighbours,--and the world
had wanted one of the most notable words ever spoken or sung. Florence
would have had another prosperous Lord Mayor; and the ten dumb
centuries continued voiceless, and the ten other listening centuries
(for there will be ten of them and more) had no _Divina Commedia_ to
hear! We will complain of nothing. A nobler destiny was appointed for
this Dante; and he, struggling like a man led towards death and
crucifixion, could not help fulfilling it. Give _him_ the choice of
his happiness! He knew not, more than we do, what was really happy,
what was really miserable.

In Dante's Priorship, the Guelf-Ghibelline, Bianchi-Neri, or some
other confused disturbance rose to such a height, that Dante, whose
party had seemed the stronger, was with his friends cast unexpectedly
forth into banishment; doomed thenceforth to a life of woe and
wandering. His property was all confiscated and more; he had the
fiercest feeling that it was entirely unjust, nefarious in the sight
of God and man. He tried what was in him to get reinstated; tried even
by warlike surprisal, with arms in his hand: but it would not do; bad
only had become worse. There is a record, I believe, still extant in
the Florence Archives, dooming this Dante, wheresoever caught, to be
burnt alive. Burnt alive; so it stands, they say: a very curious civic
document. Another curious document, some considerable number of years
later, is a Letter of Dante's to the Florentine Magistrates, written
in answer to a milder proposal of theirs, that he should return on
condition of apologising and paying a fine. He answers, with fixed
stern pride: "If I cannot return without calling myself guilty, I will
never return, _nunquam revertar_."

For Dante there was now no home in this world. He wandered from patron
to patron, from place to place; proving in his own bitter words, 'How
hard is the path, _Come è duro calle_.' The wretched are not cheerful
company. Dante, poor and banished, with his proud earnest nature, with
his moody humours, was not a man to conciliate men. Petrarch reports
of him that being at Can della Scala's court, and blamed one day for
his gloom and taciturnity, he answered in no courtier-like way. Della
Scala stood among his courtiers, with mimes and buffoons (_nebulones
ac histriones_) making him heartily merry; when turning to Dante, he
said: "Is it not strange, now, that this poor fool should make himself
so entertaining; while you, a wise man, sit there day after day, and
have nothing to amuse us with at all?" Dante answered bitterly: "No,
not strange; your Highness is to recollect the Proverb, _Like to
Like_;"--given the amuser, the amusee must also be given! Such a man,
with his proud silent ways, with his sarcasms and sorrows, was not
made to succeed at court. By degrees, it came to be evident to him
that he had no longer any resting-place, or hope of benefit, in this
earth. The earthly world had cast him forth, to wander, wander; no
living heart to love him now; for his sore miseries there was no
solace here.

The deeper naturally would the Eternal World impress itself on him;
that awful reality over which, after all, this Time-world, with its
Florences and banishments, only flutters as an unreal shadow. Florence
thou shalt never see: but Hell and Purgatory and Heaven thou shalt
surely see! What is Florence, Can della Scala, and the World and Life
altogether? ETERNITY: thither, of a truth, not elsewhither, art thou
and all things bound! The great soul of Dante, homeless on earth, made
its home more and more in that awful other world. Naturally his
thoughts brooded on that, as on the one fact important for him. Bodied
or bodiless, it is the one fact important for all men:--but to Dante,
in that age, it was bodied in fixed certainty of scientific shape; he
no more doubted of that _Malebolge_ Pool, that it all lay there with
its gloomy circles, with its _alti guai_, and that he himself should
see it, than we doubt that we should see Constantinople if we went
thither. Dante's heart, long filled with this, brooding over it in
speechless thought and awe, bursts forth at length into 'mystic
unfathomable song;' and this his _Divine Comedy_, the most remarkable
of all modern Books, is the result.

It must have been a great solacement to Dante, and was, as we can see,
a proud thought for him at times, That he, here in exile, could do
this work; that no Florence, nor no man or men, could hinder him from
doing it, or even much help him in doing it. He knew too, partly, that
it was great; the greatest a man could do. 'If thou follow thy star,
_Se tu segui tua stella_,'--so could the Hero, in his forsakenness, in
his extreme need, still say to himself: "Follow thou thy star, thou
shalt not fail of a glorious haven!" The labour of writing, we find,
and indeed could know otherwise, was great and painful for him; he
says, This Book, 'which has made me lean for many years.' Ah yes, it
was won, all of it, with pain and sore toil,--not in sport, but in
grim earnest. His Book, as indeed most good Books are, has been
written, in many senses, with his heart's blood. It is his whole
history, this Book. He died after finishing it; not yet very old, at
the age of fifty-six;--broken-hearted rather, as is said. He lies
buried in his death-city Ravenna: _Hic claudor Dantes patriis extorris
ab oris._ The Florentines begged back his body, in a century after;
the Ravenna people would not give it. "Here am I Dante laid, shut-out
from my native shores."

I said, Dante's Poem was a Song: it is Tieck who calls it 'a mystic
unfathomable Song;' and such is literally the character of it.
Coleridge remarks very pertinently somewhere, that wherever you find a
sentence musically worded, of true rhythm and melody in the words,
there is something deep and good in the meaning too. For body and
soul, word and idea, go strangely together here as everywhere. Song:
we said before, it was the Heroic of Speech! All _old_ Poems, Homer's
and the rest, are authentically Songs. I would say, in strictness,
that all right Poems are; that whatsoever is not _sung_ is properly no
Poem, but a piece of Prose cramped into jingling lines,--to the great
injury of the grammar, to the great grief of the reader, for most
part! What we want to get at is the _thought_ the man had, if he had
any: why should he twist it into jingle, if he _could_ speak it out
plainly? It is only when the heart of him is rapt into true passion of
melody, and the very tones of him, according to Coleridge's remark,
become musical by the greatness, depth and music of his thoughts, that
we can give him right to rhyme and sing; that we call him a Poet, and
listen to him as the Heroic of Speakers,--whose speech _is_ Song.
Pretenders to this are many; and to an earnest reader, I doubt, it is
for most part a very melancholy, not to say an insupportable business,
that of reading rhyme! Rhyme that had no inward necessity to be
rhymed;--it ought to have told us plainly, without any jingle, what it
was aiming at. I would advise all men who _can_ speak their thought,
not to sing it; to understand that, in a serious time, among serious
men, there is no vocation in them for singing it. Precisely as we love
the true song, and are charmed by it as by something divine, so shall
we hate the false song, and account it a mere wooden noise, a thing
hollow, superfluous, altogether an insincere and offensive thing.

I give Dante my highest praise when I say of his _Divine Comedy_ that
it is, in all senses, genuinely a Song. In the very sound of it there
is a _canto fermo_; it proceeds as by a chant. The language, his
simple _terza rima_, doubtless helped him in this. One reads along
naturally with a sort of _lilt_. But I add, that it could not be
otherwise; for the essence and material of the work are themselves
rhythmic. Its depth, and rapt passion and sincerity, makes its
musical;--go _deep_ enough, there is music everywhere. A true inward
symmetry, what one calls an architectural harmony, reigns in it,
proportionates it all: architectural; which also partakes of the
character of music. The three kingdoms, _Inferno_, _Purgatorio_,
_Paradiso_, look-out on one another like compartments of a great
edifice; a great supernatural world-cathedral, piled-up there, stern,
solemn, awful; Dante's World of Souls! It is, at bottom, the
_sincerest_ of all Poems; sincerity, here too, we find to be the
measure of worth. It came deep out of the author's heart of hearts;
and it goes deep, and through long generations, into ours. The people
of Verona, when they saw him on the streets, used to say, "_Eccovi l'
uom ch' è stato all' Inferno_, See, there is the man that was in
Hell!" Ah, yes, he had been in Hell;--in Hell enough, in long severe
sorrow and struggle; as the like of him is pretty sure to have been.
Commedias that come-out _divine_ are not accomplished otherwise.
Thought, true labour of any kind, highest virtue itself, is it not the
daughter of Pain? Born as out of the black whirlwind;--true _effort_,
in fact, as of a captive struggling to free himself: that is Thought.
In all ways we are 'to become perfect through _suffering_.'--But, as I
say, no work known to me is so elaborated as this of Dante's. It has
all been as if molten, in the hottest furnace of his soul. It had made
him 'lean' for many years. Not the general whole only; every
compartment of it is worked-out, with intense earnestness, into truth,
into clear visuality. Each answers to the other; each fits in its
place, like a marble stone accurately hewn and polished. It is the
soul of Dante, and in this the soul of the middle ages, rendered
forever rhythmically visible there. No light task; a right intense
one: but a task which is _done_.

Perhaps one would say, _intensity_, with the much that depends on it,
is the prevailing character of Dante's genius. Dante does not come
before us as a large catholic mind; rather as a narrow and even
sectarian mind: it is partly the fruit of his age and position, but
partly too of his own nature. His greatness has, in all senses,
concentered itself into fiery emphasis and depth. He is world-great
not because he is world-wide, but because he is world-deep. Through
all objects he pierces as it were down into the heart of Being. I know
nothing so intense as Dante. Consider, for example, to begin with the
outermost development of his intensity, consider how he paints. He has
a great power of vision; seizes the very type of a thing; presents
that and nothing more. You remember that first view he gets of the
Hall of Dite: _red_ pinnacle, redhot cone of iron glowing through the
dim immensity of gloom;--so vivid, so distinct, visible at once and
forever! It is as an emblem of the whole genius of Dante. There is a
brevity, an abrupt precision in him: Tacitus is not briefer, more
condensed; and then in Dante it seems a natural condensation,
spontaneous to the man. One smiting word; and then there is silence,
nothing more said. His silence is more eloquent than words. It is
strange with what a sharp decisive grace he snatches the true likeness
of a matter: cuts into the matter as with a pen of fire. Plutus, the
blustering giant, collapses at Virgil's rebuke; it is 'as the sails
sink, the mast being suddenly broken.' Or that poor Brunetto Latini,
with the _cotto aspetto_, 'face _baked_,' parched brown and lean; and
the 'fiery snow,' that falls on them there, a 'fiery snow without
wind,' slow, deliberate, never-ending! Or the lids of those Tombs;
square sarcophaguses, in that silent dim-burning Hall, each with its
Soul in torment; the lids laid open there; they are to be shut at the
Day of Judgment, through Eternity. And how Farinata rises; and how
Cavalcante falls--at hearing of his Son, and the past tense '_fue_'!
The very movements in Dante have something brief; swift, decisive,
almost military. It is of the inmost essence of his genius this sort
of painting. The fiery, swift Italian nature of the man, so silent,
passionate, with its quick abrupt movements, its silent 'pale rages,'
speaks itself in these things.

For though this of painting is one of the outermost developments of a
man, it comes like all else from the essential faculty of him; it is
physiognomical of the whole man. Find a man whose words paint you a
likeness, you have found a man worth something; mark his manner of
doing it, as very characteristic of him. In the first place, he could
not have discerned the object at all, or seen the vital type of it,
unless he had, what we may call, _sympathised_ with it,--had sympathy
in him to bestow on objects. He must have been _sincere_ about it too;
sincere and sympathetic: a man without worth cannot give you the
likeness of any object; he dwells in vague outwardness, fallacy and
trivial hearsay, about all objects. And indeed may we not say that
intellect altogether expresses itself in this power of discerning what
an object is? Whatsoever of faculty a man's mind may have will come
out here. Is it even of business, a matter to be done? The gifted man
is he who _sees_ the essential point, and leaves all the rest aside as
surplusage: it is his faculty too, the man of business's faculty, that
he discern the true _likeness_, not the false superficial one, of the
thing he has got to work in. And how much of _morality_ is in the kind
of insight we get of anything; 'the eye seeing in all things what it
brought with it the faculty of seeing'! To the mean eye all things are
trivial, as certainly as to the jaundiced they are yellow. Raphael,
the Painters tell us, is the best of all Portrait-painters withal. No
most gifted eye can exhaust the significance of any object. In the
commonest human face there lies more than Raphael will take-away with

Dante's painting is not graphic only, brief, true, and of a vividness
as of fire in dark night; taken on the wider scale, it is everyway
noble, and the outcome of a great soul. Francesca and her Lover, what
qualities in that! A thing woven as out of rainbows, on a ground of
eternal black. A small flute-voice of infinite wail speaks there, into
our very heart of hearts. A touch of womanhood in it too; _della bella
persona, che mi fu tolta_; and how, even in the Pit of woe, it is a
solace that _he_ will never part from her! Saddest tragedy in these
_alti guai_. And the racking winds, in that _aer bruno_, whirl them
away again, to wail forever!--Strange to think: Dante was the friend
of this poor Francesca's father; Francesca herself may have sat upon
the Poet's knee, as a bright innocent little child. Infinite pity, yet
also infinite rigour of law: it is so Nature is made; it is so Dante
discerned that she was made. What a paltry notion is that of his
_Divine Comedy's_ being a poor splenetic impotent terrestrial libel;
putting those into Hell whom he could not be avenged-upon on earth! I
suppose if ever pity, tender as a mother's, was in the heart of any
man, it was in Dante's. But a man who does not know rigour cannot pity
either. His very pity will be cowardly, egoistic,--sentimentality, or
little better. I know not in the world an affection equal to that of
Dante. It is a tenderness, a trembling, longing, pitying love: like
the wail of Æolean harps, soft, soft; like a child's young heart;--and
then that stern, sore-saddened heart! These longings of his towards
his Beatrice; their meeting together in the _Paradiso_; his gazing in
her pure transfigured eyes, her that had been purified by death so
long, separated from him so far:--one likens it to the song of angels;
it is among the purest utterances of affection, perhaps the very
purest, that ever came out of a human soul.

For the _intense_ Dante is intense in all things; he has got into the
essence of all. His intellectual insight as painter, on occasion too
as reasoner, is but the result of all other sorts of intensity.
Morally great, above all, we must call him; it is the beginning of
all. His scorn, his grief are as transcendent as his love;--as indeed,
what are they but the _inverse_ or _converse_ of his love? '_A Dio
spiacenti ed a' nemici sui_, Hateful to God and to the enemies of
God:' lofty scorn, unappeasable silent reprobation and aversion; '_Non
ragionam di lor_, We will not speak of _them_, look only and pass.' Or
think of this; 'They have not the _hope_ to die, _Non han speranza di
morte_.' One day, it had risen sternly benign on the scathed heart of
Dante, that he, wretched, never-resting, worn as he was, would full
surely _die_; 'that Destiny itself could not doom him not to die.'
Such words are in this man. For rigour, earnestness and depth, he is
not to be paralleled in the modern world; to seek his parallel we must
go into the Hebrew Bible, and live with the antique Prophets there.

I do not agree with much modern criticism, in greatly preferring the
_Inferno_ to the two other parts of the Divine _Commedia_. Such
preference belongs, I imagine, to our general Byronism of taste, and
is like to be a transient feeling. The _Purgatorio_ and _Paradiso_,
especially the former, one would almost say, is even more excellent
than it. It is a noble thing that _Purgatorio_, 'Mountain of
Purification'; an emblem of the noblest conception of that age. If Sin
is so fatal, and Hell is and must be so rigorous, awful, yet in
Repentance too is man purified; Repentance is the grand Christian act.
It is beautiful how Dante works it out. The _tremolar dell' onde_ that
'trembling' of the ocean-waves, under the first pure gleam of morning,
dawning afar on the wandering Two, is as the type of an altered mood.
Hope has now dawned; never-dying Hope, if in company still with heavy
sorrow. The obscure sojourn of dæmons and reprobate is underfoot; a
soft breathing of penitence mounts higher and higher, to the Throne of
Mercy itself. "Pray for me," the denizens of that Mount of Pain all
say to him. "Tell my Giovanna to pray for me," my daughter Giovanna;
"I think her mother loves me no more!" They toil painfully up by that
winding steep, 'bent-down like corbels of a building,' some of
them,--crushed-together so 'for the sin of pride'; yet nevertheless in
years, in ages and æons, they shall have reached the top, which is
Heaven's gate, and by Mercy shall have been admitted in. The joy too
of all, when one has prevailed; the whole Mountain shakes with joy,
and a psalm of praise rises, when one soul has perfected repentance
and got its sin and misery left behind! I call all this a noble
embodiment of a true noble thought.

But indeed the Three compartments mutually support one another, are
indispensable to one another. The _Paradiso_, a kind of inarticulate
music to me, is the redeeming side of the _Inferno_; the _Inferno_
without it were untrue. All three make-up the true Unseen World, as
figured in the Christianity of the Middle Ages; a thing forever
memorable, forever true in the essence of it, to all men. It was
perhaps delineated in no human soul with such depth of veracity as in
this of Dante's; a man _sent_ to sing it, to keep it long memorable.
Very notable with what brief simplicity he passes out of the every-day
reality, into the Invisible one; and in the second or third stanza, we
find ourselves in the World of Spirits; and dwell there, as among
things palpable, indubitable! To Dante they _were_ so; the real world,
as it is called, and its facts, was but the threshold to an infinitely
higher Fact of a World. At bottom, the one was as _preter_-natural as
the other. Has not each man a soul? He will not only be a spirit, but
is one. To the earnest Dante it is all one visible Fact; he believes
it, sees it; is the Poet of it in virtue of that. Sincerity, I say
again, is the saving merit, now as always.

Dante's Hell, Purgatory, Paradise, are a symbol withal, an emblematic
representation of his Belief about this Universe:--some Critic in a
future age, like those Scandinavian ones the other day, who has ceased
altogether to think as Dante did, may find this too all an 'Allegory,'
perhaps an idle Allegory! It is a sublime embodiment, or sublimest, of
the soul of Christianity. It expresses, as in huge worldwide
architectural emblems, how the Christian Dante felt Good and Evil to
be the two polar elements of this Creation, on which it all turns;
that these two differ not by _preferability_ of one to the other, but
by incompatibility absolute and infinite; that the one is excellent
and high as light and Heaven, the other hideous, black as Gehenna and
the Pit of Hell! Everlasting Justice, yet with Penitence, with
everlasting Pity,--all Christianism, as Dante and the Middle Ages had
it, is emblemed here. Emblemed: and yet, as I urged the other day,
with what entire truth of purpose; how unconscious of any embleming!
Hell, Purgatory, Paradise: these things were not fashioned as emblems;
was there, in our Modern European Mind, any thought at all of their
being emblems? Were they not indubitable awful facts; the whole heart
of man taking them for practically true, all Nature everywhere
confirming them? So is it always in these things. Men do not believe
an Allegory. The future Critic, whatever his new thought may be, who
considers this of Dante to have been all got-up as an Allegory, will
commit one sore mistake!--Paganism we recognised as a veracious
expression of the earnest awe-struck feeling of man towards the
Universe; veracious, true once, and still not without worth for us.
But mark here the difference of Paganism and Christianism; one great
difference. Paganism emblemed chiefly the Operations of Nature; the
destinies, efforts, combinations, vicissitudes of things and men in
this world; Christianism emblemed the Law of Human Duty, the Moral Law
of Man. One was for the sensuous nature: a rude helpless utterance of
the _first_ Thought of men,--the chief recognised virtue, Courage,
Superiority to Fear. The other was not for the sensuous nature, but
for the moral. What a progress is here, if in that one respect only!--

 * * * * *

And so in this Dante, as we said, had ten silent centuries, in a very
strange way, found a voice. The _Divina Commedia_ is of Dante's
writing; yet in truth _it_ belongs to ten Christian centuries, only
the finishing of it is Dante's. So always. The craftsman there, the
smith with that metal of his, with these tools, with these cunning
methods,--how little of all he does is properly _his_ work! All past
inventive men work there with him;--as indeed with all of us, in all
things. Dante is the spokesman of the Middle Ages; the Thought they
lived by stands here in everlasting music. These sublime ideas of his,
terrible and beautiful, are the fruit of the Christian Meditation of
all the good men who had gone before him. Precious they; but also is
not he precious? Much, had not he spoken, would have been dumb; not
dead, yet living voiceless.

On the whole, is it not an utterance, this Mystic Song, at once of one
of the greatest human souls, and of the highest thing that Europe had
hitherto realised for itself? Christianism, as Dante sings it, is
another than Paganism in the rude Norse mind; another than 'Bastard
Christianism' half-articulately spoken in the Arab Desert
seven-hundred years before!--The noblest _idea_ made _real_ hitherto
among men, is sung, and emblemed-forth abidingly, by one of the
noblest men. In the one sense and in the other, are we not right glad
to possess it? As I calculate, it may last yet for long thousands of
years. For the thing that is uttered from the inmost parts of a man's
soul, differs altogether from what is uttered by the outer part. The
outer is of the day, under the empire of mode; the outer passes away,
in swift endless changes; the inmost is the same yesterday, today and
forever. True souls, in all generations of the world, who look on this
Dante, will find a brotherhood in him; the deep sincerity of his
thoughts, his woes and hopes, will speak likewise to their sincerity;
they will feel that this Dante too was a brother. Napoleon in
Saint-Helena is charmed with the genial veracity of old Homer. The
oldest Hebrew Prophet, under a vesture the most diverse from ours,
does yet, because he speaks from the heart of man, speak to all men's
hearts. It is the one sole secret of continuing long memorable. Dante,
for depth of sincerity, is like an antique Prophet too; his words,
like theirs, come from his very heart. One need not wonder if it were
predicted that his Poem might be the most enduring thing our Europe
has yet made; for nothing so endures as a truly spoken word. All
cathedrals, pontificalities, brass and stone, and outer arrangement
never so lasting, are brief in comparison to an unfathomable
heart-song like this: one feels as if it might survive, still of
importance to men, when these had all sunk into new irrecognisable
combinations, and had ceased individually to be. Europe has made much;
great cities, great empires, encyclopædias, creeds, bodies of opinion
and practice: but it has made little of the class of Dante's Thought.
Homer yet _is_, veritably present face to face with every open soul of
us; and Greece, where is _it_? Desolate for thousands of years; away,
vanished; a bewildered heap of stones and rubbish, the life and
existence of it all gone. Like a dream; like the dust of King
Agamemnon! Greece was; Greece, except in the _words_ it spoke, is not.

The uses of this Dante? We will not say much about his 'uses.' A human
soul who has once got into that primal element of _Song_, and
sung-forth fitly somewhat therefrom, has worked in the _depths_ of our
existence; feeding through long times the life-_roots_ of all
excellent human things whatsoever,--in a way that 'utilities' will not
succeed well in calculating! We will not estimate the Sun by the
quantity of gas-light it saves us; Dante shall be invaluable, or of no
value. One remark I may make: the contrast in this respect between the
Hero-Poet and the Hero-Prophet. In a hundred years, Mahomet, as we
saw, had his Arabians at Grenada and at Delhi; Dante's Italians seem
to be yet very much where they were. Shall we say, then, Dante's
effect on the world was small in comparison? Not so: his arena is far
more restricted: but also it is far nobler, clearer;--perhaps not less
but more important. Mahomet speaks to great masses of men, in the
coarse dialect adapted to such; a dialect filled with inconsistencies,
crudities, follies: on the great masses alone can he act, and there
with good and with evil strangely blended. Dante speaks to the noble,
the pure and great, in all times and places. Neither does he grow
obsolete, as the other does. Dante burns as a pure star, fixed there
in the firmament, at which the great and the high of all ages kindle
themselves: he is the possession of all the chosen of the world for
uncounted time. Dante, one calculates, may long survive Mahomet. In
this way the balance may be made straight again.

But, at any rate, it is not by what is called their effect on the
world by what _we_ can judge of their effect there, that a man and his
work are measured. Effect? Influence? Utility? Let a man _do_ his
work; the fruit of it is the care of Another than he. It will grow its
own fruit; and whether embodied in Caliph Thrones and Arabian
Conquests, so that it 'fills all Morning and Evening Newspapers,' and
all Histories, which are a kind of distilled Newspapers; or not
embodied so at all;--what matters that? That is not the real fruit of
it! The Arabian Caliph, in so far only as he did something, was
something. If the great Cause of Man, and Man's work in God's Earth,
got no furtherance from the Arabian Caliph, then no matter how many
scimetars he drew, how many gold piasters pocketed, and what uproar
and blaring he made in this world--he was but a loud-sounding inanity
and futility; at bottom, he _was_ not at all. Let us honour the great
empire of _Silence_, once more! The boundless treasury which we do
_not_ jingle in our pockets, or count up and present before men! It is
perhaps, of all things, the usefulest for each of us to do, in these
loud times.----

 * * * * *

As Dante, the Italian man, was sent into our world to embody musically
the Religion of the Middle Ages, the Religion of our Modern Europe,
its Inner Life; so Shakspeare, we may say, embodies for us the Outer
Life of our Europe as developed then, its chivalries, courtesies,
humours, ambitions, what practical way of thinking, acting, looking at
the world, men then had. As in Homer we may still construe Old Greece;
so in Shakspeare and Dante, after thousands of years, what our modern
Europe was, in Faith and in Practice, will still be legible. Dante has
given us the Faith or soul; Shakspeare, in a not less noble way, has
given us the Practice or body. This latter also we were to have: a man
was sent for it, the man Shakspeare. Just when that chivalry way of
life had reached its last finish, and was on the point of breaking
down into slow or swift dissolution, as we now see it everywhere, this
other sovereign Poet, with his seeing eye, with his perennial singing
voice, was sent to take note of it, to give long-enduring record of
it. Two fit men: Dante, deep, fierce as the central fire of the world;
Shakspeare, wide, placid, far-seeing, as the Sun, the upper light of
the world. Italy produced the one world-voice; we English had the
honour of producing the other.

Curious enough how, as it were by mere accident, this man came to us.
I think always, so great, quiet, complete and self-sufficing is this
Shakspeare, had the Warwickshire Squire not prosecuted him for
deer-stealing, we had perhaps never heard of him as a Poet! The woods
and skies, the rustic Life of Man in Stratford there, had been enough
for this man! But indeed that strange outbudding of our whole English
Existence, which we call the Elizabethan Era, did not it too come as
of its own accord? The 'Tree Igdrasil' buds and withers by its own
laws,--too deep for our scanning. Yet it does bud and wither, and
every bough and leaf of it is there, by fixed eternal laws; not a Sir
Thomas Lucy but comes at the hour fit for him. Curious, I say, and not
sufficiently considered: how everything does coöperate with all; not a
leaf rotting on the highway but is indissoluble portion of solar and
stellar systems; no thought, word or act of man but has sprung withal
out of all men, and works sooner or later, recognisably or
irrecognisably, on all men! It is all a Tree: circulation of sap and
influences, mutual communication of every minutest leaf with the
lowest talon of a root, with every other greatest and minutest portion
of the whole. The Tree Igdrasil, that has its roots down in the
Kingdoms of Hela and Death, and whose boughs overspread the highest

In some sense it may be said that this glorious Elizabethan Era with
its Shakspeare, as the outcome and flowerage of all which had preceded
it, is itself attributable to the Catholicism of the Middle Ages. The
Christian Faith, which was the theme of Dante's Song, had produced
this Practical Life which Shakspeare was to sing. For Religion then,
as it now and always is, was the soul of Practice; the primary vital
fact in men's life. And remark here, as rather curious, that
Middle-Age Catholicism was abolished, so far as Acts of Parliament
could abolish it, before Shakspeare, the noblest product of it, made
his appearance. He did make his appearance nevertheless. Nature at her
own time, with Catholicism or what else might be necessary, sent him
forth; taking small thought of Acts of Parliament. King-Henrys,
Queen-Elizabeths go their way; and Nature too goes hers. Acts of
Parliament, on the whole, are small, notwithstanding the noise they
make. What Act of Parliament, debate at St. Stephen's, on the hustings
or elsewhere, was it that brought this Shakspeare into being? No
dining at Freemasons' Tavern, opening subscription-lists, selling of
shares, and infinite other jangling and true or false endeavouring!
This Elizabethan Era, and all its nobleness and blessedness, came
without proclamation, preparation of ours. Priceless Shakspeare was
the free gift of Nature; given altogether silently;--received
altogether silently, as if it had been a thing of little account. And
yet, very literally, it is a priceless thing. One should look at that
side of matters too.

Of this Shakspeare of ours, perhaps the opinion one sometimes hears a
little idolatrously expressed is, in fact, the right one; I think the
best judgment not of this country only, but of Europe at large, is
slowly pointing to the conclusion, That Shakspeare is the chief of all
Poets hitherto; the greatest intellect who, in our recorded world, has
left record of himself in the way of Literature. On the whole, I know
not such a power of vision, such a faculty of thought, if we take all
the characters of it, in any other man. Such a calmness of depth;
placid joyous strength; all things imaged in that great soul of his so
true and clear, as in a tranquil unfathomable sea! It has been said,
that in the constructing of Shakspeare's Dramas there is, apart from
all other 'faculties' as they are called, an understanding manifested,
equal to that in Bacon's _Novum Organum_. That is true; and it is not
a truth that strikes every one. It would become more apparent if we
tried, any of us for himself, how, out of Shakspeare's dramatic
materials, _we_ could fashion such a result! The built house seems all
so fit,--everyway as it should be, as if it came there by its own law
and the nature of things,--we forget the rude disorderly quarry it was
shaped from. The very perfection of the house, as if Nature herself
had made it, hides the builder's merit. Perfect, more perfect than any
other man, we may call Shakspeare in this: he discerns, knows as by
instinct, what condition he works under, what his materials are, what
his own force and its relation to them is. It is not a transitory
glance of insight that will suffice; it is deliberate illumination of
the whole matter; it is a calmly _seeing_ eye; a great intellect, in
short. How a man, of some wide thing that he has witnessed, will
construct a narrative, what kind of picture and delineation he will
give of it,--is the best measure you could get of what intellect is in
the man. Which circumstance is vital and shall stand prominent; which
unessential, fit to be suppressed; where is the true _beginning_, the
true sequence and ending? To find out this, you task the whole force
of insight that is in the man. He must _understand_ the thing;
according to the depth of his understanding, will the fitness of his
answer be. You will try him so. Does like join itself to like; does
the spirit of method stir in that confusion, so that its embroilment
becomes order? Can the man say, _Fiat lux_, Let there be light; and
out of chaos make a world? Precisely as there is _light_ in himself,
will he accomplish this.

Or indeed we may say again, it is in what I called Portrait-painting,
delineating of men and things, especially of men, that Shakspeare is
great. All the greatness of the man comes out decisively here. It is
unexampled, I think, that calm creative perspicacity of Shakspeare.
The thing he looks at reveals not this or that face of it, but its
inmost heart, and generic secret: it dissolves itself as in light
before him, so that he discerns the perfect structure of it. Creative,
we said: poetic creation, what is this too but _seeing_ the thing
sufficiently? The _word_ that will describe the thing, follows of
itself from such clear intense sight of the thing. And is not
Shakspeare's _morality_, his valour, candour, tolerance, truthfulness;
his whole victorious strength and greatness, which can triumph over
such obstructions, visible there too? Great as the world! No
_twisted_, poor convex-concave mirror, reflecting all objects with its
own convexities and concavities; a perfectly _level_ mirror;--that is
to say withal, if we will understand it, a man justly related to all
things and men, a good man. It is truly a lordly spectacle how this
great soul takes-in all kinds of men and objects, a Falstaff, an
Othello, a Juliet, a Coriolanus; sets them all forth to us in their
round completeness; loving, just, the equal brother of all. _Novum
Organum_, and all the intellect you will find in Bacon, is of a quite
secondary order; earthly, material, poor in comparison with this.
Among modern men, one finds, in strictness, almost nothing of the same
rank. Goethe alone, since the days of Shakspeare, reminds me of it. Of
him too you say that he _saw_ the object; you may say what he himself
says of Shakspeare: 'His characters are like watches with dial-plates
of transparent crystal; they show you the hour like others, and the
inward mechanism also is all visible.'

The seeing eye! It is this that discloses the inner harmony of things;
what Nature meant, what musical idea Nature has wrapped-up in these
often rough embodiments. Something she did mean. To the seeing eye
that something were discernible. Are they base, miserable things? You
can laugh over them, you can weep over them; you can in some way or
other genially relate yourself to them;--you can, at lowest, hold your
peace about them, turn away your own and others' face from them, till
the hour come for practically exterminating and extinguishing them! At
bottom, it is the Poet's first gift, as it is all men's, that he have
intellect enough. He will be a Poet if he have: a Poet in word; or
failing that, perhaps still better, a Poet in act. Whether he write at
all; and if so, whether in prose or in verse, will depend on
accidents: who knows on what extremely trivial accidents,--perhaps on
his having had a singing-master, on his being taught to sing in his
boyhood! But the faculty which enables him to discern the inner heart
of things, and the harmony that dwells there (for whatsoever exists
has a harmony in the heart of it, or it would not hold together and
exist), is not the result of habits or accidents, but the gift of
Nature herself; the primary outfit for a Heroic Man in what sort
soever. To the Poet, as to every other, we say first of all, _See_. If
you cannot do that, it is of no use to keep stringing rhymes together,
jingling sensibilities against each other, and _name_ yourself a Poet;
there is no hope for you. If you can, there is, in prose or verse, in
action or speculation, all manner of hope. The crabbed old
Schoolmaster used to ask, when they brought him a new pupil, "But are
ye sure he's _not a dunce_?" Why, really one might ask the same thing
in regard to every man proposed for whatsoever function; and consider
it as the one inquiry needful: Are ye sure he's not a dunce? There is,
in this world, no other entirely fatal person.

For, in fact, I say the degree of vision that dwells in a man is a
correct measure of the man. If called to define Shakspeare's faculty,
I should say superiority of Intellect, and think I had included all
under that. What indeed are faculties? We talk of faculties as if they
were distinct, things separable; as if a man had intellect,
imagination, fancy, &c, as he has hands, feet and arms. That is a
capital error. Then again, we hear of a man's 'intellectual nature,'
and of his 'moral nature,' as if these again were divisible, and
existed apart. Necessities of language do perhaps prescribe such forms
of utterance; we must speak, I am aware, in that way, if we are to
speak at all. But words ought not to harden into things for us. It
seems to me, our apprehension of this matter is, for the most part,
radically falsified thereby. We ought to know withal, and to keep for
ever in mind, that these divisions are at bottom but _names_; that
man's spiritual nature, the vital Force which dwells in him, is
essentially one and indivisible; that what we call imagination, fancy,
understanding, and so forth, are but different figures of the same
Power of Insight, all indissolubly connected with each other,
physiognomically related; that if we knew one of them, we might know
all of them. Morality itself, what we call the moral quality of a man,
what is this but another _side_ of the one vital Force whereby he is
and works? All that a man does is physiognomical of him. You may see
how a man would fight, by the way in which he sings; his courage, or
want of courage, is visible in the word he utters, in the opinion he
has formed, no less than in the stroke he strikes. He is _one_; and
preaches the same Self abroad in all these ways.

Without hands a man might have feet, and could still walk: but,
consider it,--without morality, intellect were impossible for him; a
thoroughly immoral _man_ could not know anything at all! To know a
thing, what we can call knowing, a man must first _love_ the thing,
sympathise with it: that is, be _virtuously_ related to it. If he have
not the justice to put down his own selfishness at every turn, the
courage to stand by the dangerous-true at every turn, how shall he
know? His virtues, all of them, will lie recorded in his knowledge.
Nature, with her truth, remains to the bad, to the selfish and the
pusillanimous forever a sealed book: what such can know of Nature is
mean, superficial, small; for the uses of the day merely.--But does
not the very Fox know something of Nature? Exactly so: it knows where
the geese lodge! The human Reynard, very frequent everywhere in the
world, what more does he know but this and the like of this? Nay, it
should be considered, too, that if the Fox had not a certain vulpine
_morality_, he could not even know where the geese were, or get at the
geese! If he spent his time in splenetic atrabiliar reflections on his
own misery, his ill usage by Nature, Fortune and other Foxes, and so
forth; and had not courage, promptitude, practicality, and other
suitable vulpine gifts and graces, he would catch no geese. We may say
of the Fox too, that his morality and insight are of the same
dimensions; different faces of the same internal unity of vulpine
life!--These things are worth stating; for the contrary of them acts
with manifold very baleful perversion, in this time: what limitations,
modifications they require, your own candour will supply.

If I say, therefore, that Shakspeare is the greatest of Intellects, I
have said all concerning him. But there is more in Shakspeare's
intellect than we have yet seen. It is what I call an unconscious
intellect; there is more virtue in it than he himself is aware of.
Novalis beautifully remarks of him, that those Dramas of his are
Products of Nature too, deep as Nature herself. I find a great truth
in this saying. Shakspeare's Art is not Artifice; the noblest worth of
it is not there by plan or precontrivance. It grows-up from the deeps
of Nature, through this noble sincere soul, who is a voice of Nature.
The latest generations of men will find new meanings in Shakspeare,
new elucidations of their own human being; 'new harmonies with the
infinite structure of the Universe; concurrences with later ideas,
affinities with the higher powers and senses of man.' This well
deserves meditating. It is Nature's highest reward to a true simple
great soul, that he get thus to be a _part of herself_. Such a man's
works, whatsoever he with utmost conscious exertion and forethought
shall accomplish, grow up withal unconsciously, from the unknown deeps
in him;--as the oak-tree grows from the Earth's bosom, as the
mountains and waters shape themselves; with a symmetry grounded on
Nature's own laws, conformable to all Truth whatsoever. How much in
Shakspeare lies hid; his sorrows, his silent struggles known to
himself; much that was not known at all, not speakable at all; like
_roots_, like sap and forces working underground! Speech is great; but
Silence is greater.

Withal the joyful tranquillity of this man is notable. I will not
blame Dante for his misery: it is as battle without victory; but true
battle,--the first, indispensable thing. Yet I call Shakspeare greater
than Dante, in that he fought truly, and did conquer. Doubt it not, he
had his own sorrows: those _Sonnets_ of his will even testify
expressly in what deep waters he had waded, and swum struggling for
his life;--as what man like him ever failed to have to do? It seems to
me a heedless notion, our common one, that he sat like a bird on the
bough; and sang forth, free and offhand, never knowing the troubles of
other men. Not so; with no man is it so. How could a man travel
forward from rustic deer-poaching to such tragedy-writing, and not
fall-in with sorrows by the way? Or, still better, how could a man
delineate a Hamlet, a Coriolanus, a Macbeth, so many suffering heroic
hearts, if his own heroic heart had never suffered?--And now, in
contrast with all this, observe his mirthfulness, his genuine
overflowing love of laughter! You would say, in no point does he
_exaggerate_ but only in laughter. Fiery objurgations, words that
pierce and burn, are to be found in Shakspeare; yet he is always in
measure here; never what Johnson would remark as a specially 'good
hater.' But his laughter seems to pour from him in floods; he heaps
all manner of ridiculous nicknames on the butt he is bantering,
tumbles and tosses him in all sorts of horse-play; you would say, with
his whole heart laughs. And then, if not always the finest, it is
always a genial laughter. Not at mere weakness, at misery or poverty;
never. No man who _can_ laugh, what we call laughing, will laugh at
these things. It is some poor character only _desiring_ to laugh, and
have the credit of wit, that does so. Laughter means sympathy; good
laughter is not 'the crackling of thorns under the pot.' Even at
stupidity and pretension this Shakspeare does not laugh otherwise than
genially. Dogberry and Verges tickle our very hearts; and we dismiss
them covered with explosions of laughter: but we like the poor fellows
only the better for our laughing; and hope they will get on well
there, and continue Presidents of the City-watch. Such laughter, like
sunshine on the deep sea, is very beautiful to me.

 * * * * *

We have no room to speak of Shakspeare's individual works; though
perhaps there is much still waiting to be said on that head. Had we,
for instance, all his plays reviewed as _Hamlet_, in _Wilhelm
Meister_, is! A thing which might, one day, be done. August Wilhelm
Schlegel has a remark on his Historical Plays, _Henry Fifth_ and the
others, which is worth remembering. He calls them a kind of National
Epic. Marlborough, you recollect, said, he knew no English History but
what he had learned from Shakspeare. There are really, if we look to
it, few as memorable Histories. The great salient points are admirably
seized; all rounds itself off, into a kind of rhythmic coherence; it
is, as Schlegel says, _epic_;--as indeed all delineation by a great
thinker will be. There are right beautiful things in those Pieces,
which indeed together form one beautiful thing. That battle of
Agincourt strikes me as one of the most perfect things, in its sort,
we anywhere have of Shakspeare's. The description of the two hosts:
the worn-out, jaded English; the dread hour, big with destiny, when
the battle shall begin; and then that deathless valour: "Ye good
yeomen, whose limbs were made in England!" There is a noble Patriotism
in it,--far other than the 'indifference' you sometimes hear ascribed
to Shakspeare. A true English heart breathes, calm and strong, through
the whole business; not boisterous, protrusive; all the better for
that. There is a sound in it like the ring of steel. This man too had
a right stroke in him, had it come to that!

But I will say, of Shakspeare's works generally, that we have no full
impress of him there; even as full as we have of many men. His works
are so many windows, through which we see a glimpse of the world that
was in him. All his works seem, comparatively speaking, cursory,
imperfect, written under cramping circumstances; giving only here and
there a note of the full utterance of the man. Passages there are that
come upon you like splendour out of Heaven; bursts of radiance,
illuminating the very heart of the thing: you say, "That is _true_,
spoken once and forever; wheresoever and whensoever there is an open
human soul, that will be recognised as true!" Such bursts, however,
make us feel that the surrounding matter is not radiant; that it is,
in part, temporary, conventional. Alas, Shakspeare had to write for
the Globe Play-house: his great soul had to crush itself, as it could,
into that and no other mould. It was with him, then, as it is with us
all. No man works save under conditions. The sculptor cannot set his
own free Thought before us; but his Thought as he could translate it
into the stone that was given, with the tools that were given.
_Disjecta membra_ are all that we find of any Poet, or of any man.

 * * * * *

Whoever looks intelligently at this Shakspeare may recognise that he
too was a _Prophet_, in his way; of an insight analogous to the
Prophetic, though he took it up in another strain. Nature seemed to
this man also divine; unspeakable, deep as Tophet, high as Heaven: 'We
are such stuff as Dreams are made of!' That scroll in Westminster
Abbey, which few read with understanding, is of the depth of any seer.
But the man sang; did not preach, except musically. We called Dante
the melodious Priest of Middle-Age Catholicism. May we not call
Shakspeare the still more melodious Priest of a _true_ Catholicism,
the 'Universal Church' of the Future and of all times? No narrow
superstition, harsh asceticism, intolerance, fanatical fierceness or
perversion: a Revelation, so far as it goes, that such a thousandfold
hidden beauty and divineness dwells in all Nature; which let all men
worship as they can! We may say without offence, that there rises a
kind of universal Psalm out of this Shakspeare too; not unfit to make
itself heard among the still more sacred Psalms. Not in disharmony
with these, if we understood them, but in harmony!--I cannot call this
Shakspeare a 'Sceptic,' as some do; his indifference to the creeds and
theological quarrels of his time misleading them. No: neither
unpatriotic, though he says little about his Patriotism; nor sceptic,
though he says little about his Faith. Such 'indifference' was the
fruit of his greatness withal: his whole heart was in his own grand
sphere of worship (we may call it such): these other controversies,
vitally important to other men, were not vital to him.

But call it worship, call it what you will, is it not a right glorious
thing, and set of things, this that Shakspeare has brought us? For
myself, I feel that there is actually a kind of sacredness in the fact
of such a man being sent into this Earth. Is he not an eye to us all;
a blessed heaven-sent Bringer of Light?--And, at bottom, was it not
perhaps far better that this Shakspeare, everyway an unconscious man,
was _conscious_ of no Heavenly message? He did not feel, like Mahomet,
because he saw into those internal Splendours, that he specially was
the 'Prophet of God:' and was he not greater than Mahomet in that?
Greater; and also, if we compute strictly, as we did in Dante's case,
more successful. It was intrinsically an error that notion of
Mahomet's, of his supreme Prophethood: and has come down to us
inextricably involved in error to this day; dragging along with it
such a coil of fables, impurities, intolerances, as makes it a
questionable step for me here and now to say, as I have done, that
Mahomet was a true Speaker at all, and not rather an ambitious
charlatan, perversity and simulacrum; no Speaker, but a Babbler! Even
in Arabia, as I compute, Mahomet will have exhausted himself and
become obsolete, while this Shakspeare, this Dante may still be
young;--while this Shakspeare may still pretend to be a Priest of
Mankind, of Arabia as of other places, for unlimited periods to come!

Compared with any speaker or singer one knows, even with Æschylus or
Homer, why should he not, for veracity and universality, last like
them? He is _sincere_ as they; reaches deep down like them, to the
universal and perennial. But as for Mahomet, I think it had been
better for him _not_ to be so conscious! Alas, poor Mahomet; all that
he was _conscious_ of was a mere error; a futility and triviality,--as
indeed such ever is. The truly great in him too was the unconscious:
that he was a wild Arab lion of the desert, and did speak-out with
that great thunder-voice of his, not by words which he _thought_ to be
great, but by actions, by feelings, by a history which _were_ great!
His Koran has become a stupid piece of prolix absurdity; we do not
believe, like him, that God wrote that! The Great Man here too, as
always, is a Force of Nature: whatsoever is truly great in him
springs-up from the inarticulate deeps.

 * * * * *

Well: this is our poor Warwickshire Peasant, who rose to be Manager of
a Playhouse, so that he could live without begging; whom the Earl of
Southampton cast some kind glances on; whom Sir Thomas Lucy, many
thanks to him, was for sending to the Treadmill! We did not account
him a god, like Odin, while he dwelt with us;--on which point there
were much to be said. But I will say rather, or repeat: In spite of
the sad state Hero-worship now lies in, consider what this Shakspeare
has actually become among us. Which Englishman we ever made, in this
land of ours, which million of Englishmen, would we not give-up rather
than the Stratford Peasant? There is no regiment of highest
Dignitaries that we would sell him for. He is the grandest thing we
have yet done. For our honour among foreign nations, as an ornament to
our English Household, what item is there that we would not surrender
rather than him? Consider now, if they asked us, Will you give-up your
Indian Empire or your Shakspeare, you English; never have had any
Indian Empire, or never have had any Shakspeare? Really it were a
grave question. Official persons would answer doubtless in official
language; but we, for our part too, should not we be forced to answer:
Indian Empire, or no Indian Empire; we cannot do without Shakspeare!
Indian Empire will go, at any rate, some day; but this Shakspeare does
not go, he lasts forever with us; we cannot give-up our Shakspeare!

Nay, apart from spiritualities; and considering him merely as a real,
marketable, tangibly-useful possession. England, before long, this
Island of ours, will hold but a small fraction of the English: in
America, in New Holland, east and west to the very Antipodes, there
will be a Saxondom covering great spaces of the Globe. And now, what
is it that can keep all these together into virtually one Nation, so
that they do not fall-out and fight, but live at peace, in brotherlike
intercourse, helping one another? This is justly regarded as the
greatest practical problem, the thing all manner of sovereignties and
governments are here to accomplish: what is it that will accomplish
this? Acts of Parliament, administrative prime-ministers cannot.
America is parted from us, so far as Parliament could part it. Call it
not fantastic, for there is much reality in it: Here, I say, is an
English King, whom no time or chance, Parliament or combination of
Parliaments, can dethrone! This King Shakspeare, does not he shine, in
crowned sovereignty, over us all, as the noblest, gentlest, yet
strongest of rallying-signs; indestructible; really more valuable in
that point of view than any other means or appliance whatsoever? We
can fancy him as radiant aloft over all the Nations of Englishmen, a
thousand years hence. From Paramatta, from New York, wheresoever,
under what sort of Parish-Constable soever, English men and women are,
they will say to one another: "Yes, this Shakspeare is ours; we
produced him, we speak and think by him; we are of one blood and kind
with him." The most common-sense politician too, if he pleases, may
think of that.

Yes, truly, it is a great thing for a Nation that it get an articulate
voice; that it produce a man who will speak-forth melodiously what the
heart of it means! Italy, for example, poor Italy lies dismembered,
scattered asunder, not appearing in any protocol or treaty as a unity
at all; yet the noble Italy is actually _one_: Italy produced its
Dante; Italy can speak! The Czar of all the Russias, he is strong,
with so many bayonets, Cossacks and cannons; and does a great feat in
keeping such a tract of Earth politically together; but he cannot yet
speak. Something great in him, but it is a dumb greatness. He has had
no voice of genius, to be heard of all men and times. He must learn to
speak. He is a great dumb monster hitherto. His cannons and Cossacks
will all have rusted into nonentity, while that Dante's voice is still
audible. The Nation that has a Dante is bound together as no dumb
Russia can be.--We must here end what we had to say of the



[_Friday, 15th May 1840_]

Our present discourse is to be of the Great Man as Priest. We have
repeatedly endeavoured to explain that all sorts of Heroes are
intrinsically of the same material; that given a great soul, open to
the Divine Significance of Life, then there is given a man fit to
speak of this, to sing of this, to fight and work for this, in a
great, victorious, enduring manner; there is given a Hero,--the
outward shape of whom will depend on the time and the environment he
finds himself in. The priest too, as I understand it, is a kind of
Prophet; in him too there is required to be a light of inspiration, as
we must name it. He presides over the worship of the people; is the
Uniter of them with the Unseen Holy. He is the spiritual Captain of
the people; as the Prophet is their spiritual King with many captains:
he guides them heavenward, by wise guidance through this Earth and its
work. The ideal of him is, that he too be what we can call a voice
from the unseen Heaven; interpreting, even as the Prophet did, and in
a more familiar manner unfolding the same to men. The unseen
Heaven,--the 'open secret of the Universe,'--which so few have an eye
for! He is the Prophet shorn of his more awful splendour; burning with
mild equable radiance, as the enlightener of daily life. This, I say,
is the ideal of a Priest. So in old times; so in these, and in all
times. One knows very well that, in reducing ideals to practice, great
latitude of tolerance is needful; very great. But a Priest who is not
this at all, who does not any longer aim or try to be this, is a
character--of whom we had rather not speak in this place.

Luther and Knox were by express vocation Priests, and did faithfully
perform that function in its common sense. Yet it will suit us better
here to consider them chiefly in their historical character, rather as
Reformers than Priests. There have been other Priests perhaps equally
notable, in calmer times, for doing faithfully the office of a Leader
of Worship; bringing down, by faithful heroism in that kind, a light
from Heaven into the daily life of their people; leading them forward,
as under God's guidance, in the way wherein they were to go. But when
this same _way_ was a rough one, of battle, confusion and danger, the
spiritual Captain, who led through that, becomes, especially to us who
live under the fruit of his leading, more notable than any other. He
is the warfaring and battling Priest; who led his people, not to quiet
faithful labour as in smooth times, but to faithful valorous conflict,
in times all violent, dismembered: a more perilous service, and a more
memorable one, be it higher or not. These two men we will account our
best Priests, inasmuch as they were our best Reformers. Nay I may ask,
Is not every true Reformer, by the nature of him, a _Priest_ first of
all? He appeals to Heaven's invisible justice against Earth's visible
force; knows that it, the invisible, is strong and alone strong. He is
a believer in the divine truth of things; a _seer_, seeing through the
shows of things; a worshipper, in one way or the other, of the divine
truth of things; a Priest, that is. If he be not first a Priest, he
will never be good for much as a Reformer.

Thus, then, as we have seen Great Men, in various situations, building
up Religions, heroic Forms of human Existence in this world, Theories
of Life worthy to be sung by a Dante, Practices of Life by a
Shakspeare,--we are now to see the reverse process; which also is
necessary, which also may be carried on in the Heroic manner. Curious
how this should be necessary; yet necessary it is. The mild shining of
the Poet's light has to give place to the fierce lightning of the
Reformer: unfortunately the Reformer too is a personage that cannot
fail in History! The Poet indeed, with his mildness, what is he but
the product and ultimate adjustment of Reform, or Prophecy with its
fierceness? No wild Saint Dominics and Thebaïd Eremites, there had
been no melodious Dante; rough Practical Endeavour, Scandinavian and
other, from Odin to Walter Raleigh, from Ulfila to Cranmer, enabled
Shakspeare to speak. Nay the finished Poet, I remark sometimes, is a
symptom that his epoch itself has reached perfection and is finished;
that before long there will be a new epoch, new Reformers needed.

Doubtless it were finer, could we go along always in the way of
_music_; be tamed and taught by our Poets, as the rude creatures were
by their Orpheus of old. Or failing this rhythmic _musical_ way, how
good were it could we get so much as into the _equable_ way; I mean,
if _peaceable_ Priests, reforming from day to day, would always
suffice us! But it is not so; even this latter has not yet been
realised. Alas, the battling Reformer too is, from time to time, a
needful and inevitable phenomenon. Obstructions are never wanting: the
very things that were once indispensable furtherances become
obstructions; and need to be shaken off, and left behind us,--a
business often of enormous difficulty. It is notable enough, surely,
how a Theorem or spiritual Representation, so we may call it, which
once took in the whole Universe, and was completely satisfactory in
all parts of it to the highly-discursive acute intellect of Dante, one
of the greatest in the world,--had in the course of another century
become dubitable to common intellects; become deniable; and is now, to
every one of us, flatly incredible, obsolete as Odin's Theorem! To
Dante, human Existence, and God's ways with men, were all well
represented by those _Malebolges_, _Purgatorios_; to Luther not well.
How was this? Why could not Dante's Catholicism continue; but Luther's
Protestantism must needs follow? Alas, nothing will _continue_.

I do not make much of 'Progress of the Species,' as handled in these
times of ours; nor do I think you would care to hear much about it.
The talk on that subject is too often of the most extravagant,
confused sort. Yet I may say, the fact itself seems certain enough;
nay we can trace out the inevitable necessity of it in the nature of
things. Every man, as I have stated somewhere, is not only a learner
but a doer: he learns with the mind given him what has been; but with
the same mind he discovers farther, he invents and devises somewhat of
his own. Absolutely without originality there is no man. No man
whatever believes, or can believe, exactly what his grandfather
believed: he enlarges somewhat, by fresh discovery, his view of the
Universe, and consequently his Theorem of the Universe,--which is an
_infinite_ Universe, and can never be embraced wholly or finally by
any view or Theorem, in any conceivable enlargement: he enlarges
somewhat, I say; finds somewhat that was credible to his grandfather
incredible to him, false to him, inconsistent with some new thing he
has discovered or observed. It is the history of every man; and in the
history of Mankind we see it summed-up into great historical
amounts,--revolutions, new epochs. Dante's Mountain of Purgatory does
_not_ stand 'in the ocean of the other Hemisphere,' when Columbus has
once sailed thither! Men find no such thing extant in the other
Hemisphere. It is not there. It must cease to be believed to be there.
So with all beliefs whatsoever in this world,--all Systems of Belief,
and Systems of Practice that spring from these.

If we add now the melancholy fact, that when Belief waxes uncertain,
Practice too becomes unsound, and errors, injustices and miseries
everywhere more and more prevail, we shall see material enough for
revolution. At all turns, a man who will _do_ faithfully, needs to
believe firmly. If he have to ask at every turn the world's suffrage;
if he cannot dispense with the world's suffrage, and make his own
suffrage serve, he is a poor eye-servant; the work committed to him
will be _mis_done. Every such man is a daily contributor to the
inevitable downfall. Whatsoever work he does, dishonestly, with an eye
to the outward look of it, is a new offence, parent of new misery to
somebody or other. Offences accumulate till they become insupportable;
and are then violently burst through, cleared off as by explosion.
Dante's sublime Catholicism, incredible now in theory, and defaced
still worse by faithless, doubting and dishonest practice, has to be
torn asunder by a Luther; Shakspeare's noble feudalism, as beautiful
as it once looked and was, has to end in a French Revolution. The
accumulation of offences is, as we say, too literally _exploded_,
blasted asunder volcanically; and there are long troublous periods
before matters come to a settlement again.

Surely it were mournful enough to look only at this face of the
matter, and find in all human opinions and arrangements merely the
fact that they were uncertain, temporary, subject to the law of death!
At bottom, it is not so: all death, here too we find, is but of the
body, not of the essence or soul; all destruction, by violent
revolution or howsoever it be, is but new creation on a wider scale.
Odinism was _Valour_; Christianism was _Humility_, a nobler kind of
Valour. No thought that ever dwelt honestly as true in the heart of
man but _was_ an honest insight into God's truth on man's part, and
_has_ an essential truth in it which endures through all changes, an
everlasting possession for us all. And, on the other hand, what a
melancholy notion is that, which has to represent all men, in all
countries and times except our own, as having spent their life in
blind condemnable error, mere lost Pagans, Scandinavians, Mahometans,
only that we might have the true ultimate knowledge! All generations
of men were lost and wrong, only that this present little section of a
generation might be saved and right. They all marched forward there,
all generations since the beginning of the world, like the Russian
soldiers into the ditch of Schweidnitz Fort, only to fill-up the ditch
with their dead bodies, that we might march-over and take the place!
It is an incredible hypothesis.

Such incredible hypothesis we have seen maintained with fierce
emphasis; and this or the other poor individual man, with his sect of
individual men, marching as over the dead bodies of all men, towards
sure victory: but when he too, with his hypothesis and ultimate
infallible credo, sank into the ditch, and became a dead body, what
was to be said?--Withal, it is an important fact in the nature of man,
that he tends to reckon his own insight as final, and goes upon it as
such. He will always do it, I suppose, in one or the other way; but it
must be in some wider, wiser way than this. Are not all true men that
live, or that ever lived, soldiers of the same army, enlisted, under
Heaven's captaincy, to do battle against the same enemy, the Empire of
Darkness and Wrong? Why should we misknow one another, fight not
against the enemy but against ourselves, from mere difference of
uniform? All uniforms shall be good, so they hold in them true valiant
men. All fashions of arms, the Arab turban and swift scimetar, Thor's
strong hammer smiting down _Jötuns_, shall be welcome. Luther's
battle-voice, Dante's march-melody, all genuine things are with us,
not against us. We are all under one Captain, soldiers of the same
host.--Let us now look a little at this Luther's fighting; what kind
of battle it was, and how he comported himself in it. Luther too was
of our spiritual Heroes; a Prophet to his country and time.

As introductory to the whole, a remark about Idolatry will perhaps be
in place here. One of Mahomet's characteristics, which indeed belongs
to all Prophets, is unlimited implacable zeal against Idolatry. It is
the grand theme of Prophets: Idolatry, the worshipping of dead Idols
as the Divinity, is a thing they cannot away-with, but have to
denounce continually, and brand with inexpiable reprobation; it is the
chief of all the sins they see done under the sun. This is worth
noting. We will not enter here into the theological question about
Idolatry. Idol is _Eidolon_, a thing seen, a symbol. It is not God,
but a Symbol of God; and perhaps one may question whether any the most
benighted mortal ever took it for more than a Symbol. I fancy, he did
not think that the poor image his own hands had made _was_ God; but
that God was emblemed by it, that God was in it some way or another.
And now in this sense, one may ask, Is not all worship whatsoever a
worship by Symbols, by _eidola_, or things seen? Whether _seen_,
rendered visible as an image or picture to the bodily eye; or visible
only to the inward eye, to the imagination, to the intellect: this
makes a superficial, but no substantial difference. It is still a
Thing Seen, significant of Godhead; an Idol. The most rigorous Puritan
has his Confession of Faith, and intellectual Representation of Divine
things, and worships thereby; thereby is worship first made possible
for him. All creeds, liturgies, religious forms, conceptions that
fitly invest religious feelings, are in this sense _eidola_, things
seen. All worship whatsoever must proceed by Symbols, by Idols:--we
may say, all Idolatry is comparative, and the worst Idolatry is only
_more_ idolatrous.

Where, then, lies the evil of it? some fatal evil must lie in it, or
earnest prophetic men would not on all hands so reprobate it. Why is
Idolatry so hateful to Prophets? It seems to me as if, in the worship
of those poor wooden symbols, the thing that had chiefly provoked the
Prophet, and filled his inmost soul with indignation and aversion, was
not exactly what suggested itself to his own thought, and came out of
him in words to others, as the thing. The rudest heathen that
worshipped Canopus, or the Caabah Black-Stone, he, as we saw, was
superior to the horse that worshipped nothing at all! Nay there was a
kind of lasting merit in that poor act of his; analogous to what is
still meritorious in Poets: recognition of a certain endless _divine_
beauty and significance in stars and all natural objects whatsoever.
Why should the Prophet so mercilessly condemn him? The poorest mortal
worshipping his Fetish, while his heart is full of it, may be an
object of pity, of contempt and avoidance, if you will; but cannot
surely be an object of hatred. Let his heart _be_ honestly full of it,
the whole space of his dark narrow mind illuminated thereby; in one
word, let him entirely _believe_ in his Fetish,--it will then be, I
should say, if not well with him, yet as well as it can readily be
made to be, and you will leave him alone, unmolested there.

But here enters the fatal circumstance of Idolatry, that, in the era
of the Prophets, no man's mind _is_ any longer honestly filled with
his Idol or Symbol. Before the Prophet can arise who, seeing through
it, knows it to be mere wood, many men must have begun dimly to doubt
that it was little more. Condemnable Idolatry is _insincere_ Idolatry.
Doubt has eaten-out the heart of it: a human soul is seen clinging
spasmodically to an Ark of the Covenant, which it half-feels now to
have become a Phantasm. This is one of the balefulest sights. Souls
are no longer _filled_ with their Fetish; but only pretend to be
filled, and would fain make themselves feel that they are filled. "You
do not believe," said Coleridge; "you only believe that you believe."
It is the final scene in all kinds of Worship and Symbolism; the sure
symptom that death is now nigh. It is equivalent to what we call
Formulism, and Worship of Formulas, in these days of ours. No more
immoral act can be done by a human creature; for it is the beginning
of all immorality, or rather it is the impossibility henceforth of any
morality whatsoever: the innermost moral soul is paralysed thereby,
cast into fatal magnetic sleep! Men are no longer _sincere_ men. I do
not wonder that the earnest man denounces this, brands it, prosecutes
it with unextinguishable aversion. He and it, all good and it, are at
death-feud. Blamable Idolatry is _Cant_, and even what one may call
Sincere-Cant. Sincere-Cant: that is worth thinking of! Every sort of
Worship ends with this phasis.

I find Luther to have been a Breaker of Idols, no less than any other
Prophet. The wooden gods of the Koreish, made of timber and bees-wax,
were not more hateful to Mahomet than Tetzel's Pardons of Sin, made of
sheepskin and ink, were to Luther. It is the property of every Hero,
in every time, in every place and situation, that he come back to
reality; that he stand upon things, and not shows of things. According
as he loves, and venerates, articulately or with deep speechless
thought, the awful realities of things, so will the hollow shows of
things, however regular, decorous, accredited by Koreishes or
Conclaves, be intolerable and detestable to him. Protestantism too is
the work of a Prophet: the prophet-work of that sixteenth century. The
first stroke of honest demolition to an ancient thing grown false and
idolatrous; preparatory afar off to a new thing, which shall be true,
and authentically divine!--

At first view it might seem as if Protestantism were entirely
destructive to this that we call Hero-worship, and represent as the
basis of all possible good, religious or social, for mankind. One
often hears it said that Protestantism introduced a new era, radically
different from any the world had ever seen before: the era of 'private
judgment,' as they call it. By this revolt against the Pope, every man
became his own Pope; and learnt, among other things, that he must
never trust any Pope, or spiritual Hero-captain, any more! Whereby, is
not spiritual union, all hierarchy and subordination among men,
henceforth an impossibility? So we hear it said.--Now I need not deny
that Protestantism was a revolt against spiritual sovereignties, Popes
and much else. Nay I will grant that English Puritanism, revolt
against earthly sovereignties, was the second act of it; that the
enormous French Revolution itself was the third act, whereby all
sovereignties earthly and spiritual were, as might seem, abolished or
made sure of abolition. Protestantism is the grand root from which our
whole subsequent European History branches out. For the spiritual will
always body itself forth in the temporal history of men; the spiritual
is the beginning of the temporal. And now, sure enough, the cry is
everywhere for Liberty and Equality, Independence and so forth:
instead of _Kings_, Ballot-boxes and Electoral suffrages; it seems
made out that any Hero-sovereign, or loyal obedience of men to a man,
in things temporal or things spiritual, has passed away forever from
the world. I should despair of the world altogether, if so. One of my
deepest convictions is, that it is not so. Without sovereigns, true
sovereigns, temporal and spiritual, I see nothing possible but an
anarchy: the hatefulest of things. But I find Protestantism, whatever
anarchic democracy it have produced, to be the beginning of new
genuine sovereignty and order. I find it to be a revolt against
_false_ sovereigns; the painful but indispensable first preparative
for _true_ sovereigns getting place among us! This is worth explaining
a little.

Let us remark, therefore, in the first place, that this of 'private
judgment' is, at bottom, not a new thing in the world, but only new at
that epoch of the world. There is nothing generically new or peculiar
in the Reformation; it was a return to Truth and Reality in opposition
to Falsehood and Semblance, as all kinds of Improvement and genuine
Teaching are and have been. Liberty of private judgment, if we will
consider it, must at all times have existed in the world. Dante had
not put-out his eyes, or tied shackles on himself; he was at home in
that Catholicism of his, a free-seeing soul in it, if many a poor
Hogstraten, Tetzel and Dr. Eck had now become slaves in it. Liberty of
judgment? No iron chain, or outward force of any kind, could ever
compel the soul of a man to believe or to disbelieve: it is his own
indefeasible light, that judgment of his; he will reign, and believe
there, by the grace of God alone! The sorriest sophistical Bellarmine,
preaching sightless faith and passive obedience, must first, by some
kind of _conviction_, have abdicated his right to be convinced. His
'private judgment' indicated that, as the advisablest step _he_ could
take. The right of private judgment will subsist, in full force,
wherever true men subsist. A true man _believes_ with his whole
judgment, with all the illumination and discernment that is in him,
and has always so believed. A false man, only struggling to 'believe
that he believes,' will naturally manage it in some other way.
Protestantism said to this latter, Woe! and to the former, Well done!
At bottom, it was no new saying; it was a return to all old sayings
that ever had been said. Be genuine, be sincere: that was, once more,
the meaning of it. Mahomet believed with his whole mind; Odin with his
whole mind,--he, and all _true_ Followers of Odinism. They, by their
private judgment, had 'judged'--_so_.

And now, I venture to assert, that the exercise of private judgment,
faithfully gone about, does by no means necessarily end in selfish
independence, isolation; but rather ends necessarily in the opposite
of that. It is not honest inquiry that makes anarchy; but it is error,
insincerity, half-belief and untruth that make it. A man protesting
against error is on the way towards uniting himself with all men that
believe in truth. There is no communion possible among men who believe
only in hearsays. The heart of each is lying dead; has no power of
sympathy even with _things_,--or he would believe _them_ and not
hearsays. No sympathy even with things; how much less with his
fellow-men! He cannot unite with men; he is an anarchic man. Only in a
world of sincere men is unity possible;--and there, in the longrun, it
is as good as _certain_.

For observe one thing, a thing too often left out of view, or rather
altogether lost sight of, in this controversy: That it is not
necessary a man should himself have _discovered_ the truth he is to
believe in, and never so _sincerely_ to believe in. A Great Man, we
said, was always sincere, as the first condition of him. But a man
need not be great in order to be sincere; that is not the necessity of
Nature and all Time, but only of certain corrupt unfortunate epochs of
Time. A man can believe, and make his own, in the most genuine way,
what he has received from another;--and with boundless gratitude to
that other! The merit of _originality_ is not novelty; it is
sincerity. The believing man is the original man; whatsoever he
believes, he believes it for himself, not for another. Every son of
Adam can become a sincere man, an original man, in this sense; no
mortal is doomed to be an insincere man. Whole ages, what we call ages
of Faith, are original; all men in them, or the most of men in them,
sincere. These are the great and fruitful ages: every worker, in all
spheres, is a worker not on semblance but on substance; every work
issues in a result: the general sum of such work is great; for all of
it, as genuine, tends towards one goal; all of it is _additive_, none
of it subtractive. There is true union, true kingship, loyalty, all
true and blessed things, so far as the poor Earth can produce
blessedness for men.

Hero-worship? Ah me, that a man be self-subsistent, original, true, or
what we call it, is surely the farthest in the world from indisposing
him to reverence and believe other men's truth! It only disposes,
necessitates and invincibly compels him to disbelieve other men's dead
formulas, hearsays and untruths. A man embraces truth with his eyes
open, and because his eyes are open: does he need to shut them before
he can love his Teacher of truth? He alone can love, with a right
gratitude and genuine loyalty of soul, the Hero-Teacher who has
delivered him out of darkness into light. Is not such a one a true
Hero and Serpent-queller; worthy of all reverence! The black monster,
Falsehood, our one enemy in this world, lies prostrate by his valour;
it was he that conquered the world for us!--See, accordingly, was not
Luther himself reverenced as a true Pope, or Spiritual Father, _being_
verily such? Napoleon, from amid boundless revolt of Sansculottism,
became a King. Hero-worship never dies, nor can die. Loyalty and
Sovereignty are everlasting in the world:--and there is this in them,
that they are grounded not on garnitures and semblances, but on
realities and sincerities. Not by shutting your eyes, your 'private
judgment;' no, but by opening them, and by having something to see!
Luther's message was deposition and abolition to all false Popes and
Potentates, but life and strength, though afar off, to new genuine

All this of Liberty and Equality, Electoral suffrages, Independence
and so forth, we will take, therefore, to be a temporary phenomenon,
by no means a final one. Though likely to last a long time, with sad
enough embroilments for us all, we must welcome it, as the penalty of
sins that are past, the pledge of inestimable benefits that are
coming. In all ways, it behoved men to quit simulacra and return to
fact; cost what it might, that did behove to be done. With spurious
Popes, and Believers having no private judgment,--quacks pretending to
command over dupes,--what can you do? Misery and mischief only. You
cannot make an association out of insincere men; you cannot build an
edifice except by plummet and level,--at _right_-angles to one
another! In all this wild revolutionary work, from Protestantism
downwards, I see the blessedest result preparing itself: not abolition
of Hero-worship, but rather what I would call a whole World of Heroes.
If Hero mean _sincere man_, why may not every one of us be a Hero? A
world all sincere, a believing world: the like has been; the like will
again be,--cannot help being. That were the right sort of Worshippers
for Heroes: never could the truly Better be so reverenced as where all
were True and Good!--But we must hasten to Luther and his Life.

       *       *       *       *       *

Luther's birthplace was Eisleben in Saxony; he came into the world
there on the 10th of November 1483. It was an accident that gave this
honour to Eisleben. His parents, poor mine-labourers in a village of
that region, named Mohra, had gone to the Eisleben Winter-Fair: in the
tumult of this scene the Frau Luther was taken with travail, found
refuge in some poor house there, and the boy she bore was named MARTIN
LUTHER. Strange enough to reflect upon it. This poor Frau Luther, she
had gone with her husband to make her small merchandisings; perhaps to
sell the lock of yarn she had been spinning, to buy the small
winter-necessaries for her narrow hut or household; in the whole
world, that day, there was not a more entirely unimportant-looking
pair of people than this Miner and his Wife. And yet what were all
Emperors, Popes and Potentates, in comparison? There was born here,
once more, a Mighty Man; whose light was to flame as the beacon over
long centuries and epochs of the world; the whole world and its
history was waiting for this man. It is strange, it is great. It leads
us back to another Birth-hour, in a still meaner environment, Eighteen
Hundred years ago,--of which it is fit that we _say_ nothing, that we
think only in silence; for what words are there! The Age of Miracles
past? The Age of Miracles is forever here!--

I find it altogether suitable to Luther's function in this Earth, and
doubtless wisely ordered to that end by the Providence presiding over
him and us and all things, that he was born poor, and brought-up poor,
one of the poorest of men. He had to beg, as the schoolchildren in
those times did; singing for alms and bread, from door to door.
Hardship, rigorous Necessity was the poor boy's companion; no man nor
no thing would put-on a false face to flatter Martin Luther. Among
things, not among the shows of things, had he to grow. A boy of rude
figure, yet with weak health, with his large greedy soul, full of all
faculty and sensibility, he suffered greatly. But it was his task to
get acquainted with _realities_, and keep acquainted with them, at
whatever cost: his task was to bring the whole world back to reality,
for it had dwelt too long with semblance! A youth nursed-up in wintry
whirlwinds, in desolate darkness and difficulty, that he may
step-forth at last from his stormy Scandinavia, strong as a true man,
as a god: a Christian Odin,--a right Thor once more, with his
thunder-hammer, to smite asunder ugly enough _Jötuns_ and

Perhaps the turning incident of his life, we may fancy, was that death
of his friend Alexis, by lightning, at the gate of Erfurt. Luther had
struggled-up through boyhood, better and worse; displaying, in spite
of all hindrances, the largest intellect, eager to learn: his father
judging doubtless that he might promote himself in the world, set him
upon the study of Law. This was the path to rise; Luther, with little
will in it either way, had consented: he was now nineteen years of
age. Alexis and he had been to see the old Luther people at Mansfeldt;
were got back again near Erfurt, when a thunderstorm came on; the bolt
struck Alexis, he fell dead at Luther's feet. What is this Life of
ours?--gone in a moment, burnt-up like a scroll, into the blank
Eternity! What are all earthly preferments, Chancellorships,
Kingships? They lie shrunk together--there! The Earth has opened on
them; in a moment they are not, and Eternity is. Luther, struck to the
heart, determined to devote himself to God and God's service alone. In
spite of all dissuasions from his father and others, he became a Monk
in the Augustine Convent at Erfurt.

This was probably the first light-point in the history of Luther, his
purer will now first decisively uttering itself; but, for the present,
it was still as one light-point in an element all of darkness. He says
he was a pious monk, _ich bin ein frommer Mönch gewesen_; faithfully,
painfully struggling to work-out the truth of this high act of his;
but it was to little purpose. His misery had not lessened; had rather,
as it were, increased into infinitude. The drudgeries he had to do, as
novice in his Convent, all sorts of slave-work, were not his
grievance: the deep earnest soul of the man had fallen into all manner
of black scruples, dubitations; he believed himself likely to die
soon, and far worse than die. One hears with a new interest for poor
Luther that, at this time, he lived in terror of the unspeakable
misery; fancied that he was doomed to eternal reprobation. Was it not
the humble sincere nature of the man? What was he, that he should be
raised to Heaven! He that had known only misery, and mean slavery: the
news was too blessed to be credible. It could not become clear to him
how, by fasts, vigils, formalities and mass-work, a man's soul could
be saved. He fell into the blackest wretchedness; had to wander
staggering as on the verge of bottomless Despair.

It must have been a most blessed discovery, that of an old Latin Bible
which he found in the Erfurt Library about this time. He had never
seen the Book before. It taught him another lesson than that of fasts
and vigils. A brother monk too, of pious experience, was helpful.
Luther learned now that a man was saved not by singing masses, but by
the infinite grace of God: a more credible hypothesis. He gradually
got himself founded, as on the rock. No wonder he should venerate the
Bible, which had brought this blessed help to him. He prized it as the
Word of the Highest must be prized by such a man. He determined to
hold by that; as through life and to death he firmly did.

This, then, is his deliverance from darkness, his final triumph over
darkness, what we call his conversion; for himself the most important
of all epochs. That he should now grow daily in peace and clearness;
that, unfolding now the great talents and virtues implanted in him, he
should rise to importance in his Convent, in his country, and be found
more and more useful in all honest business of life, is a natural
result. He was sent on missions by his Augustine Order, as a man of
talent and fidelity fit to do their business well: the Elector of
Saxony, Friedrich, named the Wise, a truly wise and just prince, had
cast his eye on him as a valuable person; made him Professor in his
new University of Wittenberg, Preacher too at Wittenberg; in both
which capacities, as in all duties he did, this Luther, in the
peaceable sphere of common life, was gaining more and more esteem with
all good men.

It was in his twenty-seventh year that he first saw Rome; being sent
thither, as I said, on mission from his Convent. Pope Julius the
Second, and what was going-on at Rome, must have filled the mind of
Luther with amazement. He had come as to the Sacred City, throne of
God's Highpriest on Earth; and he found it--what we know! Many
thoughts it must have given the man; many which we have no record of,
which perhaps he did not himself know how to utter. This Rome, this
scene of false priests, clothed not in the beauty of holiness, but in
far other vesture, is _false_: but what is it to Luther? A mean man
he, how shall he reform a world? That was far from his thoughts. A
humble, solitary man, why should he at all meddle with the world? It
was the task of quite higher men than he. His business was to guide
his own footsteps wisely through the world. Let him do his own obscure
duty in it well; the rest, horrible and dismal as it looks, is in
God's hand, not in his.

It is curious to reflect what might have been the issue, had Roman
Popery happened to pass this Luther by; to go on in its great wasteful
orbit, and not come athwart his little path, and force him to assault
it! Conceivable enough that, in this case, he might have held his
peace about the abuses of Rome; left Providence, and God on high, to
deal with them! A modest quiet man; not prompt he to attack
irreverently persons in authority. His clear task, as I say, was to do
his own duty; to walk wisely in this world of confused wickedness, and
save his own soul alive. But the Roman Highpriesthood did come athwart
him: afar off at Wittenberg he, Luther, could not get lived in honesty
for it; he remonstrated, resisted, came to extremity; was struck-at,
struck again, and so it came to wager of battle between them! This is
worth attending to in Luther's history. Perhaps no man of so humble,
peaceable a disposition ever filled the world with contention. We
cannot but see that he would have loved privacy, quiet diligence in
the shade; that it was against his will he ever became a notoriety.
Notoriety: what would that do for him? The goal of his march through
this world was the Infinite Heaven; an indubitable goal for him: in a
few years, he should either have attained that, or lost it forever! We
will say nothing at all, I think, of that sorrowfulest of theories, of
its being some mean shopkeeper grudge, of the Augustine Monk against
the Dominican, that first kindled the wrath of Luther, and produced
the Protestant Reformation. We will say to the people who maintain it,
if indeed any such exist now: Get first into the sphere of thought by
which it is so much as possible to judge of Luther, or of any man like
Luther, otherwise than distractedly; we may then begin arguing with

The Monk Tetzel, sent out carelessly in the way of trade, by Leo
Tenth,--who merely wanted to raise a little money, and for the rest
seems to have been a Pagan rather than a Christian, so far as he was
anything,--arrived at Wittenberg, and drove his scandalous trade
there. Luther's flock bought Indulgences: in the confessional of his
Church, people pleaded to him that they had already got their sins
pardoned. Luther, if he would not be found wanting at his own post, a
false sluggard and coward at the very centre of the little space of
ground that was his own and no other man's, had to step-forth against
Indulgences, and declare aloud that _they_ were a futility and
sorrowful mockery, that no man's sins could be pardoned by _them_. It
was the beginning of the whole Reformation. We know how it went;
forward from this first public challenge of Tetzel, on the last day of
October 1517, through remonstrance and argument;--spreading ever
wider, rising ever higher; till it became unquenchable, and enveloped
all the world. Luther's heart's-desire was to have this grief and
other griefs amended; his thought was still far other than that of
introducing separation in the Church, or revolting against the Pope,
Father of Christendom.--The elegant Pagan Pope cared little about this
Monk and his doctrines; wished, however, to have done with the noise
of him: in a space of some three years, having tried various softer
methods, he thought good to end it by _fire_. He dooms the Monk's
writings to be burnt by the hangman, and his body to be sent bound to
Rome,--probably for a similar purpose. It was the way they had ended
with Huss, with Jerome, the century before. A short argument, fire.
Poor Huss: he came to that Constance Council, with all imaginable
promises and safe-conducts; an earnest, not rebellious kind of man:
they laid him instantly in a stone dungeon 'three-feet wide, six-feet
high, seven-feet long;' _burnt_ the true voice of him out of this
world; choked it in smoke and fire. That was _not_ well done!

I, for one, pardon Luther for now altogether revolting against the
Pope. The elegant Pagan, by this fire-decree of his, had kindled into
noble just wrath the bravest heart then living in this world. The
bravest, if also one of the humblest, peaceablest; it was now kindled.
These words of mine, words of truth and soberness, aiming faithfully,
as human inability would allow, to promote God's truth on Earth, and
save men's souls, you, God's vicegerent on earth, answer them by the
hangman and fire? You will burn me and them, for answer to the
God's-message they strove to bring you? _You_ are not God's
vicegerent; you are another's than his, I think I take your Bull, as
an emparchmented Lie, and burn _it_. You will do what you see good
next: this is what I do.--It was on the 10th of December 1520, three
years after the beginning of the business, that Luther, 'with a great
concourse of people,' took this indignant step of burning the Pope's
fire-decree 'at the Elster-Gate of Wittenberg.' Wittenberg looked on
'with shoutings;' the whole world was looking on. The Pope should not
have provoked that 'shout'! It was the shout of the awakening of
nations. The quiet German heart, modest, patient of much, had at
length got more than it could bear. Formulism, Pagan Popeism, and
other Falsehood and corrupt Semblance had ruled long enough: and here
once more was a man found who durst tell all men that God's world
stood not on semblances but on realities; that Life was a truth, and
not a lie!

At bottom, as was said above, we are to consider Luther as a Prophet
Idol-breaker; a bringer-back of men to reality. It is the function of
great men and teachers. Mahomet said, These idols of yours are wood;
you put wax and oil on them, the flies stick on them: they are not
God, I tell you, they are black wood! Luther said to the Pope, This
thing of yours that you call a Pardon of Sins, it is a bit of
rag-paper with ink. It _is_ nothing else; it, and so much like it, is
nothing else. God alone can pardon sins. Popeship, spiritual
Fatherhood of God's Church, is that a vain semblance, of cloth and
parchment? It is an awful fact. God's Church is not a semblance,
Heaven and Hell are not semblances. I stand on this, since you drive
me to it. Standing on this, I a poor German monk am stronger than you
all. I stand solitary, friendless, but on God's Truth; you with your
tiaras, triple-hats, with your treasuries and armories, thunders
spiritual and temporal, stand on the Devil's Lie, and are not so

The Diet of Worms, Luther's appearance there on the 17th of April
1521, may be considered as the greatest scene in Modern European
History; the point, indeed, from which the whole subsequent history of
civilisation takes its rise. After multiplied negotiations,
disputations, it had come to this. The young Emperor Charles Fifth,
with all the Princes of Germany, Papal nuncios, dignitaries spiritual
and temporal, are assembled there: Luther is to appear and answer for
himself, whether he will recant or not. The world's pomp and power
sits there on this hand: on that, stands-up for God's Truth, one man,
the poor miner Hans Luther's Son. Friends had reminded him of Huss,
advised him not to go; he would not be advised. A large company of
friends rode-out to meet him, with still more earnest warnings; he
answered, "Were there as many Devils in Worms as there are roof-tiles,
I would on." The people, on the morrow, as he went to the Hall of the
Diet, crowded the windows and housetops, some of them calling out to
him, in solemn words, not to recant: "Whosoever denieth me before
men!" they cried to him,--as in a kind of solemn petition and
adjuration. Was it not in reality our petition too, the petition of
the whole world, lying in dark bondage of soul, paralysed under a
black spectral Nightmare and triple-hatted Chimera, calling itself
Father in God, and what not: "Free us; it rests with thee; desert us

Luther did not desert us. His speech, of two hours, distinguished
itself by its respectful, wise and honest tone; submissive to
whatsoever could lawfully claim submission, not submissive to any more
than that. His writings, he said, were partly his own, partly derived
from the Word of God. As to what was his own, human infirmity entered
into it; unguarded anger, blindness, many things doubtless which it
were a blessing for him could he abolish altogether. But as to what
stood on sound truth and the Word of God, he could not recant it. How
could he? "Confute me," he concluded, "by proofs of Scripture, or else
by plain just arguments: I cannot recant otherwise. For it is neither
safe nor prudent to do ought against conscience. Here stand I; I can
do no other: God assist me!"--It is, as we say, the greatest moment in
the Modern History of Men. English Puritanism, England and its
Parliaments, Americas, and vast work these two centuries; French
Revolution, Europe and its work everywhere at present: the germ of it
all lay there: had Luther in that moment done other, it had all been
otherwise! The European World was asking him: Am I to sink ever lower
into falsehood, stagnant putrescence, loathsome accursed death; or,
with whatever paroxysm, to cast the falsehoods out of me, and be cured
and live?--

       *       *       *       *       *

Great wars, contentions and disunion followed out of this Reformation;
which last down to our day, and are yet far from ended. Great talk and
crimination has been made about these. They are lamentable,
undeniable; but after all what has Luther or his cause to do with
them? It seems strange reasoning to charge the Reformation with all
this. When Hercules turned the purifying river into King Augeas's
stables, I have no doubt the confusion that resulted was considerable
all around: but I think it was not Hercules's blame; it was some
other's blame! The Reformation might bring what results it liked when
it came, but the Reformation simply could not help coming. To all
Popes and Popes' advocates, expostulating, lamenting and accusing, the
answer of the world is: Once for all, your Popehood has become untrue.
No matter how good it was, how good you say it is, we cannot believe
it; the light of our whole mind, given us to walk-by from Heaven
above, finds it henceforth a thing unbelievable. We will not believe
it, we will not try to believe it,--we dare not! The thing is
_untrue_; we were traitors against the Giver of all Truth, if we durst
pretend to think it true. Away with it; let whatsoever likes come in
the place of it: with _it_ we can have no farther trade!--Luther and
his Protestantism is not responsible for wars; the false Simulacra
that forced him to protest, they are responsible. Luther did what
every man that God has made has not only the right, but lies under the
sacred duty, to do: answered a Falsehood when it questioned him, Dost
thou believe me?--No!--At what cost soever, without counting of costs,
this thing behoved to be done. Union, organisation spiritual and
material, a far nobler than, any Popedom or Feudalism in their truest
days, I never doubt, is coming for the world; sure to come. But on
Fact alone, not on Semblance and Simulacrum, will it be able either to
come, or to stand when come. With union grounded on falsehood, and
ordering us to speak and act lies, we will not have anything to do.
Peace? A brutal lethargy is peaceable, the noisome grave is peaceable.
We hope for a living peace, not a dead one!

And yet, in prizing justly the indispensable blessings of the New, let
us not be unjust to the Old. The Old _was_ true, if it no longer is.
In Dante's days it needed no sophistry, self-blinding, or other
dishonesty, to get itself reckoned true. It was good then; nay there
is in the soul of it a deathless good. The cry of 'No Popery' is
foolish enough in these days. The speculation that Popery is on the
increase, building new chapels and so forth, may pass for one of the
idlest ever started. Very curious: to count-up a few Popish chapels,
listen to a few Protestant logic-choppings,--to much dull-droning,
drowsy inanity that still calls itself Protestant, and say: See,
Protestantism is _dead_; Popeism is more alive than it, will be alive
after it!--Drowsy inanities, not a few, that call themselves
Protestant are dead; but _Protestantism_ has not died yet, that I hear
of! Protestantism, if we will look, has in these days produced its
Goethe, its Napoleon; German Literature and the French Revolution;
rather considerable signs of life! Nay, at bottom, what else is alive
_but_ Protestantism? The life of most else that one meets is a
galvanic one merely,--not a pleasant, not a lasting sort of life!

Popery can build new chapels; welcome to do so, to all lengths. Popery
cannot come back, any more than Paganism can,--_which_ also still
lingers in some countries. But, indeed, it is with these things, as
with the ebbing of the sea: you look at the waves oscillating hither,
thither on the beach; for _minutes_ you cannot tell how it is going;
look in half an hour where it is,--look in half a century where your
Popehood is! Alas, would there were no greater danger to our Europe
than the poor old Pope's revival! Thor may as soon try to revive.--And
withal this oscillation has a meaning. The poor old Popehood will not
die away entirely, as Thor has done, for some time yet; nor ought it.
We may say, the Old never dies till this happen, Till all the soul of
good that was in it have got itself transfused into the practical New.
While a good work remains capable of being done by the Romish form;
or, what is inclusive of all, while a _pious life_ remains capable of
being led by it, just so long, if we consider, will this or the other
human soul adopt it, go about as a living witness of it. So long it
will obtrude itself on the eye of us who reject it, till we in our
practice too have appropriated whatsoever of truth was in it. Then,
but also not till then, it will have no charm more for any man. It
lasts here for a purpose. Let it last as long as it can.--

       *       *       *       *       *

Of Luther I will add now, in reference to all these wars and
bloodshed, the noticeable fact that none of them began so long as he
continued living. The controversy did not get to fighting so long as
he was there. To me it is proof of his greatness in all senses, this
fact. How seldom do we find a man that has stirred-up some vast
commotion, who does not himself perish, swept-away in it! Such is the
usual course of revolutionists. Luther continued, in a good degree,
sovereign of this greatest revolution; all Protestants, of what rank
or function soever, looking much to him for guidance: and he held it
peaceable, continued firm at the centre of it. A man to do this must
have a kingly faculty: he must have the gift to discern at all turns
where the true heart of the matter lies, and to plant himself
courageously on that, as a strong true man, that other true men may
rally round him there. He will not continue leader of men otherwise.
Luther's clear deep force of judgment, his force of all sorts, of
_silence_, of tolerance and moderation, among others, are very notable
in these circumstances.

Tolerance, I say; a very genuine kind of tolerance: he distinguishes
what is essential, and what is not; the unessential may go very much
as it will. A complaint comes to him that such and such a Reformed
Preacher, 'will not preach without a cassock.' Well, answers Luther,
what harm will a cassock do the man? 'Let him have a cassock to preach
in; let him have three cassocks if he find benefit in them!' His
conduct in the matter of Karlstadt's wild image-breaking; of the
Anabaptists; of the Peasants' War, shows a noble strength, very
different from spasmodic violence. With sure prompt insight he
discriminates what is what: a strong just man, he speaks-forth what is
the wise course, and all men follow him in that. Luther's Written
Works give similar testimony of him. The dialect of these speculations
is now grown obsolete for us; but one still reads them with a singular
attraction. And indeed the mere grammatical diction is still legible
enough; Luther's merit in literary history is of the greatest; his
dialect became the language of all writing. They are not well written,
these Four-and-twenty Quartos of his; written hastily, with quite
other than literary objects. But in no Books have I found a more
robust, genuine, I will say noble faculty of a man than in these. A
rugged honesty, homeliness, simplicity; a rugged sterling sense and
strength. He flashes-out illumination from him; his smiting idiomatic
phrases seem to cleave into the very secret of the matter. Good humour
too, nay tender affection, nobleness, and depth: this man could have
been a Poet too! He had to _work_ an Epic Poem, not write one. I call
him a great Thinker; as indeed his greatness of heart already betokens

Richter says of Luther's words, 'his words are half-battles.' They may
be called so. The essential quality of him was, that he could fight
and conquer; that he was a right piece of human Valour. No more
valiant man, no mortal heart to be called _braver_, that one has
record of, ever lived in that Teutonic Kindred, whose character is
valour. His defiance of the 'Devils' in Worms was not a mere boast, as
the like might be if now spoken. It was a faith of Luther's that there
were Devils, spiritual denizens of the Pit, continually besetting men.
Many times, in his writings, this turns-up; and a most small sneer has
been grounded on it by some. In the room of the Wartburg where he sat
translating the Bible, they still show you a black spot on the wall;
the strange memorial of one of these conflicts. Luther sat translating
one of the Psalms; he was worn-down with long labour, with sickness,
abstinence from food: there rose before him some hideous indefinable
Image, which he took for the Evil One, to forbid his work: Luther
started-up, with fiend-defiance; flung his inkstand at the spectre,
and it disappeared! The spot still remains there; a curious monument
of several things. Any apothecary's apprentice can now tell us what we
are to think of this apparition, in a scientific sense: but the man's
heart that dare rise defiant, face to face, against Hell itself, can
give no higher proof of fearlessness. The thing he will quail before
exists not on this Earth or under it.--Fearless enough! 'The Devil is
aware,' writes he on one occasion, 'that this does not proceed out of
fear in me. I have seen and defied innumerable Devils. Duke George,'
of Leipzig, a great enemy of his, 'Duke George is not equal to one
Devil,'--far short of a Devil! 'If I had business at Leipzig, I would
ride into Leipzig, though it rained Duke-Georges for nine days
running.' What a reservoir of Dukes to ride into!--

At the same time, they err greatly who imagine that this man's courage
was ferocity, mere coarse disobedient obstinacy and savagery, as many
do. Far from that. There may be an absence of fear which arises from
the absence of thought or affection, from the presence of hatred and
stupid fury. We do not value the courage of the tiger highly! With
Luther it was far otherwise; no accusation could be more unjust than
this of mere ferocious violence brought against him. A most gentle
heart withal, full of pity and love, as indeed the truly valiant heart
ever is. The tiger before a _stronger_ foe--flies: the tiger is not
what we call valiant, only fierce and cruel. I know few things more
touching than those soft breathings of affection, soft as a child's or
a mother's, in this great wild heart of Luther. So honest,
unadulterated with any cant; homely, rude in their utterance; pure as
water welling from the rock. What, in fact, was all that downpressed
mood of despair and reprobation, which we saw in his youth, but the
outcome of pre-eminent thoughtful gentleness, affections too keen and
fine? It is the course such men as the poor Poet Cowper fall into.
Luther to a slight observer might have seemed a timid, weak man;
modesty, affectionate shrinking tenderness the chief distinction of
him. It is a noble valour which is roused in a heart like this, once
stirred-up into defiance, all kindled into a heavenly blaze.

In Luther's _Table-Talk_, a posthumous Book of anecdotes and sayings
collected by his friends, the most interesting now of all the Books
proceeding from him, we have many beautiful unconscious displays of
the man, and what sort of nature he had. His behaviour at the deathbed
of his little Daughter, so still, so great and loving, is among the
most affecting things. He is resigned that his little Magdalene should
die, yet longs inexpressibly that she might live;--follows, in
awe-struck thought, the flight of her little soul through those
unknown realms. Awe-struck; most heartfelt, we can see; and
sincere,--for after all dogmatic creeds and articles, he feels what
nothing it is that we know, or can know: His little Magdalene shall be
with God, as God wills; for Luther too that is all; _Islam_ is all.

Once, he looks-out from his solitary Patmos, the Castle of Coburg, in
the middle of the night: The great vault of Immensity, long flights of
clouds sailing through it,--dumb, gaunt, huge:--who supports all that?
"None ever saw the pillars of it; yet it is supported." God supports
it. We must know that God is great, that God is good; and trust, where
we cannot see.--Returning home from Leipzig once, he is struck by the
beauty of the harvest-fields: How it stands, that golden yellow corn,
on its fair taper stem, its golden head bent, all rich and waving
there,--the meek Earth, at God's kind bidding, has produced it once
again; the bread of man!--In the garden at Wittenburg one evening at
sunset, a little bird was perched for the night: That little bird,
says Luther, above it are the stars and deep Heaven of worlds; yet it
has folded its little wings; gone trustfully to rest there as in its
home: the Maker of it has given it too a home!--Neither are mirthful
turns wanting: there is a great free human heart in this man. The
common speech of him has a rugged nobleness, idiomatic, expressive,
genuine; gleams here and there with beautiful poetic tints. One feels
him to be a great brother man. His love of Music, indeed, is not this,
as it were, the summary of all these affections in him? Many a wild
unutterability he spoke-forth from him in the tones of his flute. The
Devils fled from his flute, he says. Death-defiance on the one hand,
and such love of music on the other; I could call these the two
opposite poles of a great soul; between these two all great things had

Luther's face is to me expressive of him; in Kranach's best portraits
I find the true Luther. A rude plebeian face; with its huge crag-like
brows and bones, the emblem of rugged energy; at first, almost a
repulsive face. Yet in the eyes especially there is a wild silent
sorrow; an unnamable melancholy, the element of all gentle and fine
affections; giving to the rest the true stamp of nobleness. Laughter
was in this Luther, as we said; but tears also were there. Tears also
were appointed him; tears and hard toil. The basis of his life was
Sadness, Earnestness. In his latter days, after all triumphs and
victories, he expresses himself heartily weary of living; he considers
that God alone can and will regulate the course things are taking, and
that perhaps the Day of Judgment is not far. As for him, he longs for
one thing: that God would release him from his labour, and let him
depart and be at rest. They understand little of the man who cite this
in _dis_credit of him!--I will call this Luther a true Great Man;
great in intellect, in courage, affection and integrity; one of our
most lovable and precious men. Great, not as a hewn obelisk; but as an
Alpine mountain,--so simple, honest, spontaneous, not setting-up to be
great at all; there for quite another purpose than being great! Ah
yes, unsubduable granite, piercing far and wide into the Heavens; yet
in the clefts of it fountains, green beautiful valleys with flowers! A
right Spiritual Hero and Prophet; once more, a true Son of Nature and
Fact, for whom these centuries, and many that are to come yet, will be
thankful to Heaven.

The most interesting phasis which the Reformation anywhere assumes,
especially for us English, is that of Puritanism. In Luther's own
country Protestantism soon dwindled into a rather barren affair: not a
religion or faith, but rather now a theological jangling of argument,
the proper seat of it not the heart; the essence of it sceptical
contention: which indeed has jangled more and more, down to
Voltaireism itself,--through Gustavus-Adolphus contentions onward to
French-Revolution ones! But in our Island there arose a Puritanism,
which even got itself established as a Presbyterianism and National
Church among the Scotch; which came forth as a real business of the
heart; and has produced in the world very notable fruit. In some
senses, one may say it is the only phasis of Protestantism that ever
got to the rank of being a Faith, a true heart-communication with
Heaven, and of exhibiting itself in History as such. We must spare a
few words for Knox; himself a brave and remarkable man; but still more
important as Chief Priest and Founder, which one may consider him to
be, of the Faith that became Scotland's, New England's, Oliver
Cromwell's. History will have something to say about this, for some
time to come!

We may censure Puritanism as we please; and no one of us, I suppose,
but would find it a very rough defective thing. But we, and all men,
may understand that it was a genuine thing; for Nature has adopted it,
and it has grown, and grows. I say sometimes, that all goes by
wager-of-battle in this world; that _strength_, well understood, is
the measure of all worth. Give a thing time; if it can succeed, it is
a right thing. Look now at American Saxondom; and at that little Fact
of the sailing of the Mayflower, two hundred years ago, from Delft
Haven in Holland! Were we of open sense as the Greeks were, we had
found a Poem here; one of Nature's own Poems; such as she writes in
broad facts over great continents. For it was properly the beginning
of America: there were straggling settlers in America before, some
material as of a body was there; but the soul of it was first this.
These poor men, driven-out of their country, not able well to live in
Holland, determine on settling in the New World. Black untamed forests
are there, and wild savage creatures; but not so cruel as Starchamber
hangmen. They thought the Earth would yield them food, if they tilled
honestly; the everlasting heaven would stretch there too, overhead;
they should be left in peace, to prepare for Eternity by living well
in this world of Time; worshipping in what they thought the true, not
the idolatrous way. They clubbed their small means together; hired a
ship, the little ship Mayflower, and made ready to set sail.

In Neal's _History of the Puritans_[5] is an account of the ceremony
of their departure: solemnity, we might call it rather, for it was a
real act of worship. Their minister went down with them to the beach,
and their brethren whom they were to leave behind; all joined in
solemn prayer, That God would have pity on His poor children, and _go_
with them into that waste wilderness, for He also had made that, He
was there also as well as here.--Hah! These men, I think, had a work!
The weak thing, weaker than a child, becomes strong one day, if it be
a true thing. Puritanism was only despicable, laughable then; but
nobody can manage to laugh at it now. Puritanism has got weapons and
sinews; it has fire-arms, war-navies; it has cunning in its ten
fingers, strength in its right arm; it can steer ships, fell forests,
remove mountains;--it is one of the strongest things under the sun at

    [5] Neal (London, 1755), i. 490.

In the history of Scotland, too, I can find properly but one epoch: we
may say it contains nothing of world-interest at all but this
Reformation by Knox. A poor barren country, full of continual broils,
dissensions, massacrings; a people in the last state of rudeness and
destitution, little better perhaps than Ireland at this day. Hungry
fierce barons, not so much as able to form any arrangement with each
other _how to divide_ what they fleeced from these poor drudges; but
obliged, as the Columbian Republics are at this day, to make of every
alteration a revolution; no way of changing a ministry but by hanging
the old ministers on gibbets: this is a historical spectacle of no
very singular significance! 'Bravery' enough, I doubt not; fierce
fighting in abundance: but not braver or fiercer than that of their
old Scandinavian Sea-king ancestors; _whose_ exploits we have not
found worth dwelling on! It is a country as yet without a soul:
nothing developed in it but what is rude, external, semi-animal. And
now at the Reformation, the internal life is kindled, as it were,
under the ribs of this outward material death. A cause, the noblest of
causes kindles itself, like a beacon set on high; high as Heaven, yet
attainable from Earth;--whereby the meanest man becomes not a Citizen
only, but a Member of Christ's visible Church; a veritable Hero, if he
prove a true man!

Well; this is what I mean by a whole 'nation of heroes;' a _believing_
nation. There needs not a great soul to make a hero; there needs a
god-created soul which will be true to its origin; that will be a
great soul! The like has been seen, we find. The like will be again
seen, under wider forms than the Presbyterian: there can be no lasting
good done till then.--Impossible! say some. Possible? Has it not
_been_, in this world, as a practised fact? Did Hero-worship fail in
Knox's case? Or are we made of other clay now? Did the Westminster
Confession of Faith add some new property to the soul of man? God made
the soul of man. He did not doom any soul of man to live as a
Hypothesis and Hearsay, in a world filled with such, and with the
fatal work and fruit of such!----

But to return: This that Knox did for his Nation, I say, we may really
call a resurrection as from death. It was not a smooth business; but
it was welcome surely, and cheap at that price, had it been far
rougher. On the whole, cheap at any price;--as life is. The people
began to _live_: they needed first of all to do that, at what cost and
costs soever. Scotch Literature and Thought, Scotch Industry; James
Watt, David Hume, Walter Scott, Robert Burns: I find Knox and the
Reformation acting in the heart's core of every one of these persons
and phenomena; I find that without the Reformation they would not have
been. Or what of Scotland? The Puritanism of Scotland became that of
England, of New England. A tumult in the High Church of Edinburgh
spread into a universal battle and struggle over all these
realms;--there came out, after fifty years' struggling, what we call
the '_Glorious_ Revolution,' a _Habeas-Corpus_ Act, Free Parliaments,
and much else!--Alas, is it not too true what we said, That many men
in the van do always, like Russian soldiers, march into the ditch of
Schweidnitz, and fill it up with their dead bodies, that the rear may
pass over them dry-shod and gain the honour? How many earnest rugged
Cromwells, Knoxes, poor Peasant Covenants, wrestling, battling for
very life, in rough miry places, have to struggle, and suffer, and
fall, greatly censured, _bemired_,--before a beautiful Revolution of
Eighty-eight can step-over them in official pumps and silk-stockings,
with universal three-times-three!

It seems to me hard measure that this Scottish man, now after
three-hundred years, should have to plead like a culprit before the
world; intrinsically for having been, in such way as it was then
possible to be, the bravest of all Scotchmen! Had he been a poor
Half-and-half, he could have crouched into the corner, like so many
others; Scotland had not been delivered; and Knox had been without
blame. He is the one Scotchman to whom, of all others, his country and
the world owe a debt. He has to plead that Scotland would forgive him
for having been worth to it any million 'unblamable' Scotchmen that
need no forgiveness! He bared his breast to the battle; had to row in
French galleys, wander forlorn in exile, in clouds and storms; was
censured, shot-at through his windows; had a right sore fighting life:
if this world were his place of recompense, he had made but a bad
venture of it. I cannot apologise for Knox. To him it is very
indifferent, these two-hundred-and-fifty years or more, what men say
of him. But we, having got above all those details of his battle, and
living now in clearness on the fruits of his victory, we, for our own
sake, ought to look through the rumours and controversies enveloping
the man, into the man himself.

For one thing, I will remark that this post of Prophet to his Nation
was not of his seeking; Knox had lived forty years quietly obscure,
before he became conspicuous. He was the son of poor parents; had got
a college education; become a Priest; adopted the Reformation, and
seemed well content to guide his own steps by the light of it, nowise
unduly intruding it on others. He had lived as Tutor in gentlemen's
families; preaching when any body of persons wished to hear his
doctrine: resolute he to walk by the truth, and speak the truth when
called to do it; not ambitious of more; not fancying himself capable
of more. In this entirely obscure way he had reached the age of forty;
was with the small body of Reformers who were standing siege in St
Andrew's Castle,--when one day in their chapel, the Preacher after
finishing his exhortation to these fighters in the forlorn hope, said
suddenly, That there ought to be other speakers, that all men who had
a priest's heart and gift in them ought now to speak;--which gifts and
heart one of their own number, John Knox the name of him, had: Had he
not? said the Preacher, appealing to all the audience: what then is
_his_ duty? The people answered affirmatively; it was a criminal
forsaking of his post, if such a man held the word that was in him
silent. Poor Knox was obliged to stand-up; he attempted to reply; he
could say no word;--burst into a flood of tears, and ran out. It is
worth remembering, that scene. He was in grievous trouble for some
days. He felt what a small faculty was his for this great work. He
felt what a baptism he was called to be baptised withal. He 'burst
into tears.'

Our primary characteristic of a Hero, that he is sincere, applies
emphatically to Knox. It is not denied anywhere that this, whatever
might be his other qualities or faults, is among the truest of men.
With a singular instinct he holds to the truth and fact; the truth
alone is there for him, the rest a mere shadow and deceptive
nonentity. However feeble, forlorn the reality may seem, on that and
that only _can_ he take his stand. In the Galleys of the River Loire,
whither Knox and the others, after their Castle of St Andrew's was
taken, had been sent as Galley-slaves,--some officer or priest, one
day, presented them an Image of the Virgin Mother, requiring that
they, the blasphemous heretics, should do it reverence. Mother? Mother
of God? said Knox, when the turn came to him: This is no Mother of
God: this is 'a _pented bredd_,'--a piece of wood, I tell you, with
paint on it! She is fitter for swimming, I think, than for being
worshipped, added Knox, and flung the thing into the river. It was not
very cheap jesting there: but come of it what might, this thing to
Knox was and must continue nothing other than the real truth; it was a
_pented bredd_; worship it he would not.

He told his fellow-prisoners, in this darkest time, to be of courage;
the Cause they had was the true one, and must and would prosper; the
whole world could not put it down. Reality is of God's making; it is
alone strong. How many _pented bredds_, pretending to be real, are
fitter to swim than to be worshipped!--This Knox cannot live but by
fact: he clings to reality as the shipwrecked sailor to the cliff. He
is an instance to us how a man, by sincerity itself, becomes heroic:
it is the grand gift he has. We find in Knox a good honest
intellectual talent, no transcendent one;--a narrow, inconsiderable
man, as compared with Luther: but in heartfelt instinctive adherence
to truth, in _sincerity_, as we say, he has no superior; nay, one
might ask, What equal he has? The heart of him is of the true Prophet
cast. "He lies there," said the Earl of Morton at his grave, "who
never feared the face of man." He resembles, more than any of the
moderns, an Old-Hebrew Prophet. The same inflexibility, intolerance,
rigid narrow-looking adherence to God's truth, stern rebuke in the
name of God to all that forsake truth: an Old-Hebrew Prophet in the
guise of an Edinburgh Minister of the Sixteenth Century. We are to
take him for that; not require him to be other.

Knox's conduct to Queen Mary, the harsh visits he used to make in her
own palace, to reprove her there, have been much commented upon. Such
cruelty, such coarseness fills us with indignation. On reading the
actual narrative of the business, what Knox said, and what Knox meant,
I must say one's tragic feeling is rather disappointed. They are not
so coarse, these speeches; they seem to me about as fine as the
circumstances would permit! Knox was not there to do the courtier; he
came on another errand. Whoever, reading these colloquies of his with
the Queen, thinks they are vulgar insolences of a plebeian priest to a
delicate high lady, mistakes the purport and essence of them
altogether. It was unfortunately not possible to be polite with the
Queen of Scotland, unless one proved untrue to the Nation and Cause of
Scotland. A man who did not wish to see the land of his birth made a
hunting-field for intriguing ambitious Guises, and the Cause of God
trampled underfoot of Falsehoods, Formulas and the Devil's Cause, had
no method of making himself agreeable! "Better that women weep," said
Morton, "than that bearded men be forced to weep." Knox was the
constitutional opposition-party in Scotland: the Nobles of the
country, called by their station to take that post, were not found in
it; Knox had to go or no one. The hapless Queen;--but the still more
hapless Country, if _she_ were made happy! Mary herself was not
without sharpness enough, among her other qualities: "Who are you,"
said she once, "that presume to school the nobles and sovereign of
this realm?"--"Madam, a subject born within the same," answered he.
Reasonably answered! If the 'subject' have truth to speak, it is not
the 'subject's' footing that will fail him here.--

We blame Knox for his intolerance. Well, surely it is good that each
of us be as tolerant as possible. Yet, at bottom, after all the talk
there is and has been about it, what is tolerance? Tolerance has to
tolerate the _un_essential; and to see well what that is. Tolerance
has to be noble, measured, just in its very wrath, when it can
tolerate no longer. But, on the whole, we are not altogether here to
tolerate! We are here to resist, to control and vanquish withal. We do
not 'tolerate' Falsehoods, Thieveries, Iniquities, when they fasten on
us; we say to them, Thou art false, thou art not tolerable! We are
here to extinguish Falsehoods, and put an end to them, in some wise
way! I will not quarrel so much with the way; the doing of the thing
is our great concern. In this sense Knox was, full surely, intolerant.

A man sent to row in French Galleys, and suchlike, for teaching the
Truth in his own land, cannot always be in the mildest humour! I am
not prepared to say that Knox had a soft temper; nor do I know that he
had what we call an ill-temper. An ill nature he decidedly had not.
Kind honest affections dwell in the much-enduring, hard-worn,
ever-battling man. That he _could_ rebuke Queens, and had such weight
among those proud turbulent Nobles, proud enough whatever else they
were; and could maintain to the end a kind of virtual Presidency and
Sovereignty in that wild realm, he who was only 'a subject born within
the same:' this of itself will prove to us that he was found, close at
hand, to be no mean acrid man; but at heart a healthful, strong,
sagacious man. Such alone can bear rule in that kind. They blame him
for pulling-down cathedrals, and so forth, as if he were a seditious
rioting demagogue: precisely the reverse is seen to be the fact, in
regard to cathedrals and the rest of it, if we examine! Knox wanted no
pulling-down of stone edifices; he wanted leprosy and darkness to be
thrown out of the lives of men. Tumult was not his element; it was the
tragic feature of his life that he was forced to dwell so much in
that. Every such man is the born enemy of Disorder; hates to be in it:
but what then? Smooth Falsehood is not Order; it is the general
sum-total of _Dis_order. Order is _Truth_,--each thing standing on the
basis that belongs to it: Order and Falsehood cannot subsist together.

Withal, unexpectedly enough, this Knox has a vein of drollery in him;
which I like much, in combination with his other qualities. He has a
true eye for the ridiculous. His _History_, with its rough
earnestness, is curiously enlivened with this. When the two Prelates,
entering Glasgow Cathedral, quarrel about precedence; march rapidly
up, take to hustling one another, twitching one another's rochets, and
at last flourishing their crosiers like quarter-staves, it is a great
sight for him everyway! Not mockery, scorn, bitterness alone; though
there is enough of that too. But a true, loving, illuminating laugh
mounts-up over the earnest visage; not a loud laugh; you would say, a
laugh in the _eyes_ most of all. An honest-hearted, brotherly man;
brother to the high, brother also to the low; sincere in his sympathy
with both. He has his pipe of Bourdeaux too, we find, in that old
Edinburgh house of his; a cheery social man, with faces that loved
him! They go far wrong who think this Knox was a gloomy, spasmodic,
shrieking fanatic. Not at all: he is one of the solidest of men.
Practical, cautious-hopeful, patient; a most shrewd, observing,
quietly discerning man. In fact, he has very much the type of
character we assign to the Scotch at present: a certain sardonic
taciturnity is in him; insight enough; and a stouter heart than he
himself knows of. He has the power of holding his peace over many
things which do not vitally concern him,--"They? what are they?" But
the thing which does vitally concern him, that thing he will speak of;
and in a tone the whole world shall be made to hear: all the more
emphatic for his long silence.

This Prophet of the Scotch is to me no hateful man!--He had a sore
fight of an existence: wrestling with Popes and Principalities; in
defeat, contention, life-long struggle; rowing as a galley-slave,
wandering as an exile. A sore fight: but he won it. "Have you hope?"
they asked him in his last moment, when he could no longer speak. He
lifted his finger, 'pointed upwards with his finger,' and so died.
Honour to him! His works have not died. The letter of his work dies,
as of all men's; but the spirit of it never.

One word more as to the letter of Knox's work. The unforgivable
offence in him is, that he wished to set-up Priests over the head of
Kings. In other words he strove to make the Government of Scotland a
_Theocracy_. This indeed is properly the sum of his offences, the
essential sin; for which what pardon can there be? It is most true, he
did, at bottom, consciously or unconsciously, mean a Theocracy, or
Government of God. He did mean that Kings and Prime Ministers, and all
manner of persons, in public or private, diplomatising or whatever
else they might be doing, should walk according to the Gospel of
Christ, and understand that this was their Law, supreme over all laws.
He hoped once to see such a thing realised; and the Petition, _Thy
Kingdom come_, no longer an empty word. He was sore grieved when he
saw greedy worldly Barons clutch hold of the Church's property; when
he expostulated that it was not secular property, that it was
spiritual property, and should be turned to _true_ churchly uses,
education, schools, worship;--and the Regent Murray had to answer,
with a shrug of the shoulders, "It is a devout imagination!" This was
Knox's scheme of right and truth; this he zealously endeavoured after,
to realise it. If we think this scheme of truth was too narrow, was
not true, we may rejoice that he could not realise it; that it
remained after two centuries of effort, unrealisable, and is a 'devout
imagination' still. But how shall we blame _him_ for struggling to
realise it? Theocracy, Government of God, is precisely the thing to be
struggled for! All Prophets, zealous Priests, are there for that
purpose. Hildebrand wished a Theocracy; Cromwell wished it, fought for
it; Mahomet attained it. Nay, is it not what all zealous men, whether
called Priests, Prophets, or whatsoever else called, do essentially
wish, and must wish? That right and truth, or God's Law, reign supreme
among men, this is the Heavenly Ideal (well named in Knox's time, and
namable in all times, a revealed 'Will of God') towards which the
Reformer will insist that all be more and more approximated. All true
Reformers, as I said, are by the nature of them Priests, and strive
for a Theocracy.

How far such Ideals can ever be introduced into Practice, and at what
point our impatience with their non-introduction ought to begin, is
always a question. I think we may say safely, Let them introduce
themselves as far as they can contrive to do it! If they are the true
faith of men, all men ought to be more or less impatient always where
they are not found introduced. There will never be wanting Regent
Murrays enough to shrug their shoulders, and say, "A devout
imagination!" We will praise the Hero-priest, rather, who does what is
in _him_ to bring them in; and wears out, in toil, calumny,
contradiction, a noble life, to make a God's Kingdom of this Earth.
The Earth will not become too godlike!



[_Tuesday, 19th May 1840_]

Hero-gods, Prophets, Poets, Priests are forms of Heroism that belong
to the old ages, make their appearance in the remotest times; some of
them have ceased to be possible long since, and cannot any more show
themselves in this world. The Hero as _Man of Letters_, again, of
which class we are to speak today, is altogether a product of these
new ages; and so long as the wondrous art of _Writing_, or of
Ready-writing which we call _Printing_, subsists, he may be expected
to continue, as one of the main forms of Heroism for all future ages.
He is, in various respects, a very singular phenomenon.

He is new, I say; he has hardly lasted above a century in the world
yet. Never, till about a hundred years ago, was there seen any figure
of a Great Soul living apart in that anomalous manner; endeavouring to
speak-forth the inspiration that was in him by Printed Books, and find
place and subsistence by what the world would please to give him for
doing that. Much had been sold and bought, and left to make its own
bargain in the marketplace; but the inspired wisdom of a Heroic Soul
never till then, in that naked manner. He, with his copy-rights and
copy-wrongs, in his squalid garret, in his rusty coat; ruling (for
this is what he does), from his grave, after death, whole nations and
generations who would, or would not, give him bread while living,--is
a rather curious spectacle! Few shapes of Heroism can be more

Alas, the Hero from of old has had to cramp himself into strange
shapes: the world knows not well at any time what to do with him, so
foreign is his aspect in the world! It seemed absurd to us, that men,
in their rude admiration, should take some wise great Odin for a god,
and worship him as such, some wise great Mahomet for one god-inspired,
and religiously follow his Law for twelve centuries: but that a wise
great Johnson, a Burns, a Rousseau, should be taken for some idle
non-descript, extant in the world to amuse idleness, and have a few
coins and applauses thrown in, that he might live thereby; _this_
perhaps, as before hinted, will one day seem a still absurder phasis
of things!--Meanwhile, since it is the spiritual always that
determines the material, this same Man-of-Letters Hero must be
regarded as our most important modern person. He, such as he may be,
is the soul of all. What he teachers, the whole world will do and
make. The world's manner of dealing with him is the most significant
feature of the world's general position. Looking well at his life, we
may get a glance, as deep as is readily possible for us, into the life
of those singular centuries which have produced him, in which we
ourselves live and work.

There are genuine Men of Letters, and not genuine; as in every kind
there is a genuine and a spurious. If _Hero_ be taken to mean genuine,
then I say the Hero as Man of Letters will be found discharging a
function for us which is ever honourable, ever the highest; and was
once well known to be the highest. He is uttering-forth, in such a way
as he has, the inspired soul of him; all that a man, in any case, can
do. I say _inspired_; for what we call 'originality,' 'sincerity,'
'genius,' the heroic quality we have no good name for, signifies that.
The Hero is he who lives in the inward sphere of things, in the True,
Divine and Eternal, which exists always, unseen to most, under the
Temporary, Trivial: his being is in that; he declares that abroad, by
act or speech as it may be, in declaring himself abroad. His life, as
we said before, is a piece of the everlasting heart of Nature herself:
all men's life is,--but the weak many know not the fact, and are
untrue to it, in most times; the strong few are strong, heroic,
perennial, because it cannot be hidden from them. The Man of Letters,
like every Hero, is there to proclaim this in such sort as he can.
Intrinsically it is the same function which the old generations named
a man Prophet, Priest, Divinity for doing; which all manner of Heroes,
by speech or by act, are sent into the world to do.

Fichte the German Philosopher delivered, some forty years ago at
Erlangen, a highly remarkable Course of Lectures on this subject:
'_Ueber das Wesen des Gelehrten_, On the Nature of the Literary Man.'
Fichte, in conformity with the Transcendental Philosophy, of which he
was a distinguished teacher, declares first: That all things which we
see or work with in this Earth, especially we ourselves and all
persons, are as a kind of vesture or sensuous Appearance: that under
all there lies, as the essence of them, what he calls the 'Divine Idea
of the World;' this is the Reality which 'lies at the bottom of all
Appearance.' To the mass of men no such Divine Idea is recognisable in
the world; they live merely, says Fichte, among the superficialities,
practicalities and shows of the world, not dreaming that there is
anything divine under them. But the Man of Letters is sent hither
specially that he may discern for himself, and make manifest to us,
this same Divine Idea: in every new generation it will manifest itself
in a new dialect; and he is there for the purpose of doing that. Such
is Fichte's phraseology; with which we need not quarrel. It is his way
of naming what I here, by other words, am striving imperfectly to
name; what there is at present no name for: The unspeakable Divine
Significance, full of splendour, of wonder and terror, that lies in
the being of every man, of every thing,--the Presence of the God who
made every man and thing. Mahomet taught this in his dialect; Odin in
his: it is the thing which all thinking hearts, in one dialect or
another, are here to teach.

Fichte calls the Man of Letters, therefore, a Prophet, or as he
prefers to phrase it, a Priest, continually unfolding the Godlike to
men: Men of Letters are a perpetual Priesthood, from age to age,
teaching all men that a God is still present in their life; that all
'Appearance,' whatsoever we see in the world, is but as a vesture for
the 'Divine Idea of the World,' for 'that which lies at the bottom of
Appearance.' In the true Literary Man there is thus ever, acknowledged
or not by the world, a sacredness: he is the light of the world; the
world's Priest:--guiding it, like a sacred Pillar of Fire, in its dark
pilgrimage through the waste of Time. Fichte discriminates with sharp
zeal the _true_ Literary Man, what we here call the _Hero_ as Man of
Letters, from multitudes of false unheroic. Whoever lives not wholly
in this Divine Idea, or living partially in it, struggles not, as for
the one good, to live wholly in it,--he is, let him live where else he
like, in what pomps and prosperities he like, no Literary Man; he is,
says Fichte, a 'Bungler, _Stümper_.' Or at best, if he belong to the
prosaic provinces, he may be a 'Hodman;' Fichte even calls him
elsewhere a 'Nonentity,' and has in short no mercy for him, no wish
that _he_ should continue happy among us! This is Fichte's notion of
the Man of Letters. It means, in its own form, precisely what we here

In this point of view, I consider that, for the last hundred years, by
far the notablest of all Literary Men is Fichte's countryman, Goethe.
To that man too, in a strange way, there was given what we may call a
life in the Divine Idea of the World; vision of the inward divine
mystery: and strangely, out of his Books, the world rises imaged once
more as godlike, the workmanship and temple of a God. Illuminated all,
not in fierce impure fire-splendour as of Mahomet, but in mild
celestial radiance;--really a Prophecy in these most unprophetic
times; to my mind, by far the greatest, though one of the quietest,
among all the great things that have come to pass in them. Our chosen
specimen of the Hero as Literary Man would be this Goethe. And it were
a very pleasant plan for me here to discourse of his heroism: for I
consider him to be a true Hero; heroic in what he said and did, and
perhaps still more in what he did not say and did not do; to me a
noble spectacle: a great heroic ancient man, speaking and keeping
silence as an ancient Hero, in the guise of a most modern, high-bred,
high-cultivated Man of Letters! We have had no such spectacle; no man
capable of affording such, for the last hundred-and-fifty years.

But at present, such is the general state of knowledge about Goethe,
it were worse than useless to attempt speaking of him in this case.
Speak as I might, Goethe, to the great majority of you would remain
problematic, vague; no impression but a false one could be realised.
Him we must leave to future times. Johnson, Burns, Rousseau, three
great figures from a prior time, from a far inferior state of
circumstances, will suit us better here. Three men of the Eighteenth
Century; the conditions of their life far more resemble what those of
ours still are in England, than what Goethe's in Germany were. Alas,
these men did not conquer like him; they fought bravely, and fell.
They were not heroic bringers of the light, but heroic seekers of it.
They lived under galling conditions; struggling as under mountains of
impediment, and could not unfold themselves into clearness, or
victorious interpretation of that 'Divine Idea.' It is rather the
_Tombs_ of three Literary Heroes that I have to show you. There are
the monumental heaps, under which three spiritual giants lie buried.
Very mournful, but also great and full of interest for us. We will
linger by them for a while.

Complaint is often made, in these times, of what we call the
disorganised condition of society: how ill many arranged forces of
society fulfil their work; how many powerful forces are seen working
in a wasteful, chaotic, altogether unarranged manner. It is too just a
complaint, as we all know. But perhaps if we look at this of Books and
the Writers of Books, we shall find here, as it were, the summary of
all other disorganisation;--a sort of _heart_, from which, and to
which, all other confusion circulates in the world! Considering what
Book-writers do in the world, and what the world does with
Book-writers, I should say, It is the most anomalous thing the world
at present has to show.--We should get into a sea far beyond sounding,
did we attempt to give account of this: but we must glance at it for
the sake of our subject. The worst element in the life of these three
Literary Heroes was, that they found their business and position such
a chaos. On the beaten road there is tolerable travelling; but it is
sore work, and many have to perish, fashioning a path through the

Our pious Fathers, feeling well what importance lay in the speaking of
man to men, founded churches, made endowments, regulations; everywhere
in the civilised world there is a Pulpit, environed with all manner of
complex dignified appurtenances and furtherances, that therefrom a man
with the tongue may, to best advantage, address his fellow-men. They
felt that this was the most important thing; that without this there
was no good thing. It is a right pious work, that of theirs; beautiful
to behold! But now with the art of Writing, with the art of Printing,
a total change has come over that business. The Writer of a Book, is
not he a Preacher preaching not to this parish or that, on this day or
that, but to all men in all times and places? Surely it is of the last
importance that _he_ do his work right, whoever do it wrong;--that the
_eye_ report not falsely, for then all the other members are astray!
Well; how he may do his work, whether he do it right or wrong, or do
it at all, is a point which no man in the world has taken the pains to
think of. To a certain shopkeeper, trying to get some money for his
books, if lucky, he is of some importance; to no other man of any.
Whence he came, whither he is bound, by what ways he arrived, by what
he might be furthered on his course, no one asks. He is an accident in
society. He wanders like a wild Ishmaelite, in a world of which he is
as the spiritual light, either the guidance or the misguidance!

Certainly the art of writing is the most miraculous of all things man
has devised. Odin's _Runes_ were the first form of the work of a Hero;
_Books_, written words, are still miraculous _Runes_, of the latest
form! In Books lies the _soul_ of the whole Past Time; the articulate
audible voice of the Past, when the body and material substance of it
has altogether vanished like a dream. Mighty fleets and armies,
harbours and arsenals, vast cities, high-domed, many-engined,--they
are precious, great: but what do they become? Agamemnon, the many
Agamemnons, Pericleses, and their Greece; all is gone now to some
ruined fragments, dumb mournful wrecks and blocks: but the Books of
Greece! There Greece, to every thinker, still very literally lives;
can be called-up again into life. No magic _Rune_ is stranger than a
Book. All that Mankind has done, thought, gained or been: it is lying
as in magic preservation in the pages of Books. They are the chosen
possession of men.

Do not Books still accomplish _miracles_ as _Runes_ were fabled to do?
They persuade men. Not the wretchedest circulating-library novel,
which foolish girls thumb and con in remote villages but will help to
regulate the actual practical weddings and households of those foolish
girls. So 'Celia' felt, so 'Clifford' acted: the foolish Theorem of
Life, stamped into those young brains, comes out as a solid Practice
one day. Consider whether any _Rune_ in the wildest imagination of
Mythologist ever did such wonders as, on the actual firm Earth, some
Books have done! What built St Paul's Cathedral? Look at the heart of
the matter, it was that divine Hebrew BOOK,--the word partly of the
man Moses, an outlaw tending his Midianitish herds, four thousand
years ago, in the wildernesses of Sinai! It is the strangest of
things, yet nothing is truer. With the art of Writing, of which
Printing is a simple, an inevitable and comparatively insignificant
corollary, the true reign of miracles for mankind commenced. It
related, with a wondrous new contiguity and perpetual closeness, the
Past and Distant with the Present in time and place; all times and all
places with this our actual Here and Now. All things were altered for
men; all modes of important work of men: teaching, preaching,
governing, and all else.

To look at Teaching, for instance. Universities are a notable,
respectable product of the modern ages. Their existence too is
modified, to the very basis of it, by the existence of Books.
Universities arose while there were yet no Books procurable; while a
man, for a single Book, had to give an estate of land. That, in those
circumstances, when a man had some knowledge to communicate, he should
do it by gathering the learners round him, face to face, was a
necessity for him. If you wanted to know what Abelard knew, you must
go and listen to Abelard. Thousands, as many as thirty-thousand, went
to hear Abelard and that metaphysical theology of his. And now for any
other teacher who had something of his own to teach, there was a great
convenience opened: so many thousands eager to learn were already
assembled yonder; of all places the best place for him was that. For
any third teacher it was better still; and grew ever the better, the
more teachers there came. It only needed now that the King took notice
of this new phenomenon; combined or agglomerated the various schools
into one school; gave it edifices, privileges, encouragements, and
named it _Universitas_, or School of all Sciences: the University of
Paris, in its essential characters, was there. The model of all
subsequent Universities; which down even to these days, for six
centuries now, have gone on to found themselves. Such, I conceive, was
the origin of Universities.

It is clear, however, that with this simple circumstance, facility of
getting Books, the whole conditions of the business from top to bottom
were changed. Once invent Printing, you metamorphosed all
Universities, or superseded them! The Teacher needed not now to gather
men personally round him, that he might _speak_ to them what he knew:
print it in a Book, and all learners far and wide, for a trifle, had
it each at his own fireside, much more effectually to learn
it!--Doubtless there is still peculiar virtue in Speech; even writers
of Books may still, in some circumstances, find it convenient to speak
also,--witness our present meeting here! There _is_, one would say,
and must ever remain while man has a tongue, a distinct province for
Speech as well as for Writing and Printing. In regard to all things
this must remain; to Universities among others. But the limits of the
two have nowhere yet been pointed out, ascertained; much less put in
practice: the University which would completely take-in that great new
fact, of the existence of Printed Books, and stand on a clear footing
for the Nineteenth Century as the Paris one did for the Thirteenth,
has not yet come into existence. If we think of it, all that a
University, or final highest School can do for us, is still but what
the first School began doing,--teach us to _read_. We learn to _read_,
in various languages, in various sciences; we learn the alphabet and
letters of all manner of Books. But the place where we go to get
knowledge, even theoretic knowledge, is the Books themselves! It
depends on what we read, after all manner of Professors have done
their best for us. The true University of these days is a Collection
of Books.

But to the Church itself, as I hinted already, all is changed, in its
preaching, in its working, by the introduction of Books. The Church is
the working recognised Union of our Priests or Prophets, of those who
by wise teaching guide the souls of men. While there was no Writing,
even while there was no Easy-writing or _Printing_, the preaching of
the voice was the natural sole method of performing this. But now with
Books!--He that can write a true Book, to persuade England, is not he
the Bishop and Archbishop, the Primate of England and of All England?
I many a time say, the writers of Newspapers, Pamphlets, Poems, Books,
these _are_ the real working effective Church of a modern country. Nay
not only our preaching, but even our worship, is not it too
accomplished by means of Printed Books? The noble sentiment which a
gifted soul has clothed for us in melodious words, which brings melody
into our hearts,--is not this essentially, if we will understand it,
of the nature of worship? There are many, in all countries, who, in
this confused time, have no other method of worship. He who, in any
way, shows us better than we knew before that a lily of the fields is
beautiful, does he not show it us as an effluence of the Fountain of
all Beauty; as the _handwriting_, made visible there, of the great
Maker of the Universe? He has sung for us, made us sing with him, a
little verse of a sacred Psalm. Essentially so. How much more he who
sings, who says, or in any way brings home to our heart the noble
doings, feelings, darings and endurances of a brother man! He has
verily touched our hearts as with a live coal _from the altar_.
Perhaps there is no worship more authentic.

Literature, so far as it is Literature, is an 'apocalypse of Nature,'
a revealing of the 'open secret.' It may well enough be named, in
Fichte's style; a 'continuous revelation' of the Godlike in the
Terrestrial and Common. The Godlike does ever, in very truth, endure
there; is brought out, now in this dialect, now in that, with various
degrees of clearness: all true gifted Singers and Speakers are,
consciously or unconsciously, doing so. The dark stormful indignation
of a Byron, so wayward and perverse, may have touches of it; nay the
withered mockery of a French sceptic,--his mockery of the False, a
love and worship of the True. How much more the sphere-harmony of a
Shakspeare, of a Goethe; the cathedral-music of a Milton! They are
something too, those humble genuine lark-notes of a Burns,--skylark,
starting from the humble furrow, far overhead into the blue depths,
and singing to us so genuinely there! For all true singing is of the
nature of worship; as indeed all true _working_ may be said to
be,--whereof such _singing_ is but the record, and fit melodious
representation, to us. Fragments of a real 'Church Liturgy' and 'Body
of Homilies,' strangely disguised from the common eye, are to be found
weltering in that huge froth-ocean of Printed Speech we loosely call
Literature! Books are our Church too.

Or turning now to the Government of men. Witenagemote, old Parliament,
was a great thing. The affairs of the nation were there deliberated
and decided; what we were to _do_ as a nation. But does not, though
the name Parliament subsists, the parliamentary debate go on now,
everywhere and at all times, in a far more comprehensive way, _out_ of
Parliament altogether? Burke said there were Three Estates in
Parliament; but, in the Reporters' Gallery yonder, there sat a _Fourth
Estate_ more important far than they all. It is not a figure of
speech, or a witty saying; it is a literal fact,--very momentous to us
in these times. Literature is our Parliament too. Printing, which
comes necessarily out of Writing, I say often, is equivalent to
Democracy: invent Writing, Democracy is inevitable. Writing brings
Printing; brings universal every-day extempore Printing, as we see at
present. Whoever can speak, speaking now to the whole nation, becomes
a power, a branch of government, with inalienable weight in
law-making, in all acts of authority. It matters not what rank he has,
what revenues or garnitures: the requisite thing is, that he have a
tongue which others will listen to; this and nothing more is
requisite. The nation is governed by all that has tongue in the
nation: Democracy is virtually _there_. Add only, that whatsoever
power exists will have itself, by and by, organised; working secretly
under bandages, obscurations, obstructions, it will never rest till it
get to work free, unencumbered, visible to all. Democracy virtually
extant will insist on becoming palpably extant.--

On all sides, are we not driven to the conclusion that, of the things
which man can do or make here below, by far the most momentous,
wonderful and worthy are the things we call Books! Those poor bits of
rag-paper with black ink on them;--from the Daily Newspaper to the
sacred Hebrew BOOK, what have they not done, what are they not
doing!--For indeed, whatever be the outward form of the thing (bits of
paper, as we say, and black ink), is it not verily, at bottom, the
highest act of man's faculty that produces a Book? It is the _Thought_
of man; the true thaumaturgic virtue; by which man works all things
whatsoever. All that he does, and brings to pass, is the vesture of a
Thought. This London City, with all its houses, palaces,
steam-engines, cathedrals, and huge immeasurable traffic and tumult,
what is it but a Thought, but millions of Thoughts made into One;--a
huge immeasurable Spirit of a THOUGHT, embodied in brick, in iron,
smoke, dust, Palaces, Parliaments, Hackney Coaches, Katherine Docks,
and the rest of it! Not a brick was made but some man had to _think_
of the making of that brick.--The thing we called 'bits of paper with
traces of black ink,' is the _purest_ embodiment a Thought of man can
have. No wonder it is, in all ways, the activest and noblest.

All this, of the importance and supreme importance of the Man of
Letters in modern Society, and how the Press is to such a degree
superseding the Pulpit, the Senate, the _Senatus Academicus_ and much
else, has been admitted for a good while; and recognised often enough,
in late times, with a sort of sentimental triumph and wonderment. It
seems to me, the Sentimental by and by will have to give place to the
Practical. If Men of Letters _are_ so incalculably influential,
actually performing such work for us from age to age, and even from
day to day, then I think we may conclude that Men of Letters will not
always wander like unrecognised unregulated Ishmaelites among us!
Whatsoever thing, as I said above, has virtual unnoticed power will
castoff its wrappages, bandages, and step-forth one day with palpably
articulated, universally visible power. That one man wear the clothes,
and take the wages, of a function which is done by quite another:
there can be no profit in this; this is not right, it is wrong. And
yet, alas, the _making_ of it right,--what a business, for long times
to come! Sure enough, this that we call Organisation of the Literary
Guild is still a great way off, encumbered with all manner of
complexities. If you asked me what were the best possible organisation
for the Men of Letters in modern society; the arrangement of
furtherance and regulation, grounded the most accurately on the actual
facts of their position and of the world's position,--I should beg to
say that the problem far exceeded my faculty! It is not one man's
faculty; it is that of many successive men turned earnestly upon it,
that will bring-out even an approximate solution. What the best
arrangement were, none of us could say. But if you ask, Which is the
worst? I answer: This which we now have, that Chaos should sit umpire
in it; this is the worst. To the best, or any good one, there is yet a
long way.

One remark I must not omit, That royal or parliamentary grants of
money are by no means the chief thing wanted! To give our Men of
Letters stipends, endowments and all furtherance of cash, will do
little towards the business. On the whole, one is weary of hearing
about the omnipotence of money. I will say rather that, for a genuine
man, it is no evil to be poor; that there ought to be Literary Men
poor,--to show whether they are genuine or not! Mendicant Orders,
bodies of good men doomed to _beg_, were instituted in the Christian
Church; a most natural and even necessary development of the spirit of
Christianity. It was itself founded on Poverty, on Sorrow,
Contradiction, Crucifixion, every species of worldly Distress and
Degradation. We may say, that he who has not known those things, and
learned from them the priceless lessons they have to teach, has missed
a good opportunity of schooling. To beg, and go barefoot, in coarse
woollen cloak with a rope round your loins, and be despised of all the
world, was no beautiful business;--nor an honourable one in any eye,
till the nobleness of those who did so had made it honoured of some!

Begging is not in our course at the present time: but for the rest of
it, who will say that a Johnson is not perhaps the better for being
poor? It is needful for him, at all rates, to know that outward
profit, that success of any kind is _not_ the goal he has to aim at.
Pride, vanity, ill-conditioned egoism of all sorts, are bred in his
heart, as in every heart; need, above all, to be cast-out of his
heart,--to be, with whatever pangs, torn-out of it, cast-forth from
it, as a thing worthless. Byron, born rich and noble, made-out even
less than Burns, poor and plebeian. Who knows but, in that same 'best
possible organisation' as yet far off, Poverty may still enter as an
important element? What if our Men of Letters, Men setting-up to be
Spiritual Heroes, were still _then_, as they now are, a kind of
'involuntary monastic order;' bound still to this same ugly
Poverty,--till they had tried what was in it too, till they had
learned to make it too do for them! Money, in truth, can do much, but
it cannot do all. We must know the province of it, and confine it; and
even spurn it back, when it wishes to get farther.

Besides, were the money-furtherances, the proper season for them, the
fit assigner of them, all settled,--how is the Burns to be recognised
that merits these? He must pass through the ordeal, and prove himself.
_This_ ordeal; this wild welter of a chaos which is called Literary
Life; this too is a kind of ordeal! There is clear truth in the idea
that a struggle from the lower classes of society, towards the upper
regions and rewards of society, must ever continue. Strong men are
born there, who ought to stand elsewhere than there. The manifold,
inextricably complex, universal struggle of these constitutes, and
must constitute, what is called the progress of society. For Men of
Letters, as for all other sorts of men. How to regulate that struggle?
There is the whole question. To leave it as it is, at the mercy of
blind Chance; a whirl of distracted atoms, one cancelling the other;
one of the thousand arriving saved, nine-hundred-and-ninety-nine lost
by the way; your royal Johnson languishing inactive in garrets, or
harnessed to the yoke of Printer Cave; your Burns dying broken-hearted
as a Gauger; your Rousseau driven into mad exasperation, kindling
French Revolutions by his paradoxes: this, as we said, is clearly
enough the _worst_ regulation. The _best_, alas, is far from us!

And yet there can be no doubt but it is coming; advancing on us, as
yet hidden in the bosom of centuries: this is a prophecy one can risk.
For so soon as men get to discern the importance of a thing, they do
infallibly set about arranging it, facilitating, forwarding it; and
rest not till, in some approximate degree, they have accomplished
that. I say, of all Priesthoods, Aristocracies, Governing Classes at
present extant in the world, there is no class comparable for
importance to that Priesthood of the Writers of Books. This is a fact
which he who runs may read,--and draw inferences from. "Literature
will take care of itself," answered Mr Pitt, when applied-to for some
help for Burns. "Yes," adds Mr Southey, "it will take care of itself;
_and of you too_, if you do not look to it!"

The result to individual Men of Letters is not the momentous one; they
are but individuals, an infinitesimal fraction of the great body; they
can struggle on, and live or else die, as they have been wont. But it
deeply concerns the whole society, whether it will set its _light_ on
high places, to walk thereby; or trample it under foot, and scatter it
in all ways of wild waste (not without conflagration), as heretofore!
Light is the one thing wanted for the world. Put wisdom in the head of
the world, the world will fight its battle victoriously, and be the
best world man can make it. I call this anomaly of a disorganic
Literary Class the heart of all other anomalies, at once product and
parent; some good arrangement for that would be as the _punctum
saliens_ of a new vitality and just arrangement for all. Already, in
some European countries, in France, in Prussia, one traces some
beginnings of an arrangement for the Literary Class; indicating the
gradual possibility of such. I believe that it is possible; that it
will have to be possible.

By far the most interesting fact I hear about the Chinese is one on
which we cannot arrive at clearness, but which excites endless
curiosity even in the dim state: this namely, that they do attempt to
make their Men of Letters their Governors! It would be rash to say,
one understood how this was done, or with what degree of success it
was done. All such things must be very unsuccessful; yet a small
degree of success is precious; the very attempt how precious! There
does seem to be, all over China, a more or less active search
everywhere to discover the men of talent that grow up in the young
generation. Schools there are for every one: a foolish sort of
training, yet still a sort. The youths who distinguish themselves in
the lower school are promoted into favourable stations in the higher,
that they may still more distinguish themselves,--forward and forward:
it appears to be out of these that the Official Persons, and incipient
Governors, are taken. These are they whom they _try_ first, whether
they can govern or not. And surely with the best hope: for they are
the men that have already shown intellect. Try them: they have not
governed or administered as yet; perhaps they cannot; but there is no
doubt they _have_ some Understanding, without which no man can!
Neither is Understanding a _tool_, as we are too apt to figure; 'it is
a _hand_ which can handle any tool.' Try these men: they are of all
others the best worth trying.--Surely there is no kind of government,
constitution, revolution, social apparatus or arrangement, that I know
of in this world, so promising to one's scientific curiosity as this.
The man of intellect at the top of affairs: this is the aim of all
constitutions and revolutions, if they have any aim. For the man of
true intellect, as I assert and believe always, is the noblehearted
man withal, the true, just, humane and valiant man. Get _him_ for
governor, all is got; fail to get him, though you had Constitutions
plentiful as blackberries, and a Parliament in every village, there is
nothing yet got!--

These things look strange, truly; and are not such as we commonly
speculate upon. But we are fallen into strange times; these things
will require to be speculated upon; to be rendered practicable, to be
in some way put in practice. These and many others. On all hands of
us, there is the announcement, audible enough, that the old Empire of
Routine has ended; that to say a thing has long been, is no reason for
its continuing to be. The things which have been are fallen into
decay, are fallen into incompetence; large masses of mankind, in every
society of our Europe, are no longer capable of living at all by the
things which have been. When millions of men can no longer by their
utmost exertion gain food for themselves, and 'the third man for
thirty-six weeks each year is short of third-rate potatoes,' the
things which have been must decidedly prepare to alter themselves!--I
will now quit this of the organisation of Men of Letters.

       *       *       *       *       *

Alas, the evil that pressed heaviest on those Literary Heroes of ours
was not the want of organisation for Men of Letters, but a far deeper
one; out of which, indeed, this and so many other evils for the
Literary Man, and for all men, had, as from their fountain, taken
rise. That our Hero as Man of Letters had to travel without highway,
companionless, through an inorganic chaos,--and to leave his own life
and faculty lying there, as a partial contribution towards _pushing_
some highway through it: this, had not his faculty itself been so
perverted and paralysed, he might have put up with, might have
considered to be but the common lot of Heroes. His fatal misery was
the _spiritual paralysis_, so we may name it, of the Age in which his
life lay; whereby his life too, do what he might, was half-paralysed!
The Eighteenth was a _Sceptical_ Century; in which little word there
is a whole Pandora's Box of miseries. Scepticism means not
intellectual Doubt alone, but moral Doubt; all sorts of _in_fidelity,
insincerity, spiritual paralysis. Perhaps, in few centuries that one
could specify since the world began, was a life of Heroism more
difficult for a man. That was not an age of Faith,--an age of Heroes!
The very possibility of Heroism had been, as it were, formally
abnegated in the minds of all. Heroism was gone forever; Triviality,
Formulism and Commonplace were come forever. The 'age of miracles' had
been, or perhaps had not been; but it was not any longer. An effete
world; wherein Wonder, Greatness, Godhood could not now dwell;--in one
word, a godless world!

How mean, dwarfish are their ways of thinking, in this time,--compared
not with the Christian Shakspeares and Miltons, but with the old Pagan
Skalds, with any species of believing men! The living TREE Igdrasil,
with the melodious prophetic waving of its world-wide boughs,
deep-rooted as Hela, has died-out into the clanking of a
World-MACHINE. 'Tree' and 'Machine': contrast these two things. I, for
my share, declare the world to be no machine! I say that it does not
go by wheel-and-pinion 'motives,' self-interests, checks, balances;
that there is something far other in it than the clank of
spinning-jennies, and parliamentary majorities; and, on the whole,
that it is not a machine at all!--The old Norse Heathen had a truer
notion of God's-world than these poor Machine-Sceptics: the old
Heathen Norse were _sincere_ men. But for these poor Sceptics there
was no sincerity, no truth. Half-truth and hearsay was called truth.
Truth, for most men, meant plausibility; to be measured by the number
of votes you could get. They had lost any notion that sincerity was
possible, or of what sincerity was. How many Plausibilities asking,
with unaffected surprise and the air of offended virtue, What! am not
I sincere? Spiritual Paralysis, I say, nothing left but a Mechanical
life, was the characteristic of that century. For the common man,
unless happily he stood _below_ his century and belonged to another
prior one, it was impossible to be a Believer, a Hero; he lay buried,
unconscious, under these baleful influences. To the strongest man,
only with infinite struggle and confusion was it possible to work
himself half-loose; and lead as it were, in an enchanted, most
tragical way, a spiritual death-in-life, and be a Half-Hero!

Scepticism is the name we give to all this; as the chief symptom, as
the chief origin of all this. Concerning which so much were to be
said! It would take many Discourses, not a small fraction of one
Discourse, to state what one feels about that Eighteenth Century and
its ways. As indeed this, and the like of this, which we now call
Scepticism, is precisely the black malady and life-foe, against which
all teaching and discoursing since man's life began has directed
itself: the battle of Belief against Unbelief is the never-ending
battle! Neither is it in the way of crimination that one would wish to
speak. Scepticism, for that century, we must consider as the decay of
old ways of believing, the preparation afar off for new better and
wider ways,--an inevitable thing. We will not blame men for it; we
will lament their hard fate. We will understand that destruction of
old _forms_ is not destruction of everlasting _substances_; that
Scepticism, as sorrowful and hateful as we see it, is not an end but a

The other day speaking, without prior purpose that way, of Bentham's
theory of man and man's life, I chanced to call it a more beggarly one
than Mahomet's. I am bound to say, now when it is once uttered, that
such is my deliberate opinion. Not that one would mean offence against
the man Jeremy Bentham, or those who respect and believe him. Bentham
himself, and even the creed of Bentham, seems to me comparatively
worthy of praise. It is a determinate _being_ what all the world, in a
cowardly, half-and-half manner, was tending to be. Let us have the
crisis; we shall either have death or the cure. I call this gross,
steam-engine Utilitarianism an approach towards new Faith. It was a
laying down of cant; a saying to oneself: "Well then, this world is a
dead iron machine, the god of it Gravitation and selfish Hunger; let
us see what, by checking and balancing, and good adjustment of tooth
and pinion, can be made of it!" Benthamism has something complete,
manful, in such fearless committal of itself to what it finds true;
you may call it Heroic, though a Heroism with its _eyes_ put out! It
is the culminating point, and fearless ultimatum, of what lay in the
half-and-half state, pervading man's whole existence in that
Eighteenth Century. It seems to me, all deniers of Godhood, and all
lip-believers of it, are bound to be Benthamites, if they have courage
and honesty. Benthamism is an _eyeless_ Heroism: the Human Species,
like a hapless blinded Samson grinding in the Philistine Mill, clasps
convulsively the pillars of its Mill; brings huge ruin down, but
ultimately deliverance withal. Of Bentham I meant to say no harm.

But this I do say, and would wish all men to know and lay to heart,
that he who discerns nothing but Mechanism in the Universe has in the
fatalest way missed the secret of the Universe altogether. That all
Godhood should vanish out of men's conception of this Universe seems
to me precisely the most brutal error,--I will not disparage
Heathenism by calling it a Heathen error,--that men could fall into.
It is not true; it is false at the very heart of it. A man who thinks
so will think _wrong_ about all things in the world; this original sin
will vitiate all other conclusions he can form. One might call it the
most lamentable of delusions,--not forgetting Witchcraft itself!
Witchcraft worshipped at least a living Devil: but this worships a
dead iron Devil; no God, not even a Devil!--Whatsoever is noble,
divine, inspired, drops thereby out of life. There remains everywhere
in life a despicable _caput-mortuum_; the mechanical hull, all soul
fled out of it. How can a man act heroically? The 'Doctrine of
Motives' will teach him that it is, under more or less disguise,
nothing but a wretched love of Pleasure, fear of Pain; that Hunger, of
applause, of cash, of whatsoever victual it may be, is the ultimate
fact of man's life. Atheism, in brief;--which does indeed frightfully
punish itself. The man, I say, is become spiritually a paralytic man;
this god-like Universe a dead mechanical steam-engine, all working by
motives, checks, balances, and I know not what; wherein, as in the
detestable belly of some Phalaris'-Bull of his own contriving, he the
poor Phalaris sits miserably dying!

Belief I define to be the healthy act of a man's mind. It is a mysterious
indescribable process, that of getting to believe;--indescribable, as
all vital acts are. We have our mind given us, not that it may cavil
and argue, but that it may see into something, give us clear belief
and understanding about something, whereon we are then to proceed to
act. Doubt, truly, is not itself a crime. Certainly we do not rush
out, clutch-up the first thing we find, and straightway believe that!
All manner of doubt, inquiry, [Greek: skepsis] as it is named, about
all manner of objects, dwells in every reasonable mind. It is the
mystic working of the mind, on the object it is _getting_ to know and
believe. Belief comes out of all this, above ground, like the tree
from its hidden _roots_. But now if, even on common things, we require
that a man keep his doubts _silent_, and not babble of them till they
in some measure become affirmations or denials; how much more in
regard to the highest things, impossible to speak of in words at all!
That a man parade his doubt, and get to imagine that debating and
logic (which means at best only the manner of _telling_ us your
thought, your belief or disbelief, about a thing) is the triumph and
true work of what intellect he has: alas, this is as if you should
_overturn_ the tree, and instead of green boughs, leaves, and fruits,
show us ugly taloned roots turned-up into the air,--and no growth,
only death and misery going on!

For the Scepticism, as I said, is not intellectual only; It is moral
also; a chronic atrophy and disease of the whole soul. A man lives by
believing something; not by debating and arguing about many things. A
sad case for him when all that he can manage to believe is something
he can button in his pocket, and with one or the other organ eat and
digest! Lower than that he will not get. We call those ages in which
he gets so low the mournfulest, sickest, and meanest of all ages. The
world's heart is palsied, sick: how can any limb of it be whole?
Genuine Acting ceases in all departments of the world's work; dextrous
Similitude of Acting begins. The world's wages are pocketed, the
world's work is not done. Heroes have gone out; quacks have come in.
Accordingly, what Century, since the end of the Roman world, which
also was a time of scepticism, simulacra and universal decadence, so
abounds with Quacks as that Eighteenth! Consider them, with their
tumid sentimental vapouring about virtue, benevolence,--the wretched
Quack-squadron, Cagliostro at the head of them! Few men were without
quackery; they had got to consider it a necessary ingredient and
amalgam for truth. Chatham, our brave Chatham himself, comes down to
the House, all wrapt and bandaged; he 'has crawled out in great bodily
suffering,' and so on;--_forgets_, says Walpole, that he is acting the
sick man; in the fire of debate, snatches his arm from the sling, and
oratorically swings and brandishes it! Chatham himself lives the
strangest mimetic life, half hero, half quack, all along. For indeed
the world is full of dupes; and you have to gain the _world's_
suffrage! How the duties of the world will be done in that case, what
quantities of error, which means failure, which means sorrow and
misery, to some and to many, will gradually accumulate in all
provinces of the world's business, we need not compute.

It seems to me, you lay your finger here on the heart of the world's
maladies, when you call it a Sceptical World. An insincere world; a
godless untruth of a world! It is out of this, as I consider, that the
whole tribe of social pestilences, French Revolutions, Chartisms, and
what not, have derived their being, their chief necessity to be. This
must alter. Till this alter, nothing can beneficially alter. My one
hope of the world, my inexpugnable consolation in looking at the
miseries of the world, is that this is altering. Here and there one
does now find a man who knows, as of old, that this world is a Truth,
and no Plausibility and Falsity; that he himself is alive, not dead or
paralytic; and that the world is alive, instinct with Godhood,
beautiful and awful, even as in the beginning of days! One man once
knowing this, many men, all men, must by and by come to know it. It
lies there clear, for whosoever will take the _spectacles_ off his
eyes and honestly look, to know! For such a man, the Unbelieving
Century, with its unblessed Products, is already past: a new century
is already come. The old unblessed Products and Performances, as solid
as they look, are Phantasms, preparing speedily to vanish. To this and
the other noisy, very great-looking Simulacrum with the whole world
huzzahing at its heels, he can say, composedly stepping aside: Thou
art not _true_; thou art not extant, only semblant; go thy way!--Yes,
hollow Formulism, gross Benthamism, and other unheroic atheistic
Insincerity is visibly and even rapidly declining. An unbelieving
Eighteenth Century is but an exception,--such as now and then occurs.
I prophesy that the world will once more become _sincere_; a believing
world: with _many_ Heroes in it, a heroic world! It will then be a
victorious world; never till then!

Or indeed what of the world and its victories? Men speak too much
about the world. Each one of us here, let the world go how it will,
and be victorious or not victorious, has he not a Life of his own to
lead? One Life; a little gleam of Time between two Eternities; no
second chance to us forevermore! It were well for _us_ to live not as
fools and simulacra, but as wise and realities. The world's being
saved will not save us; nor the world's being lost destroy us. We
should look to ourselves: there is great merit here in the 'duty of
staying at home'! And, on the whole, to say truth, I never heard of
'worlds' being 'saved' in any other way. That mania of saving worlds
is itself a piece of the Eighteenth Century with its windy
sentimentalism. Let us not follow it too far. For the saving of the
_world_ I will trust confidently to the Maker of the world; and look a
little to my own saving, which I am more competent to!--In brief, for
the world's sake, and for our own, we will rejoice greatly that
Scepticism, Insincerity, Mechanical Atheism, with all their
poison-dews, are going, and as good as gone.--

Now it was under such conditions, in those times of Johnson, that our
Men of Letters had to live. Times in which there was properly no truth
in life. Old truths had fallen nigh dumb; the new lay yet hidden, not
trying to speak. That Man's Life here below was a Sincerity and Fact,
and would forever continue such, no new intimation, in that dusk of
the world, had yet dawned. No intimation; not even any French
Revolution,--which we define to be a Truth once more, though a Truth
clad in hellfire! How different was the Luther's Pilgrimage, with its
assured goal, from the Johnson's, girt with mere traditions,
suppositions, grown now incredible, unintelligible! Mahomet's Formulas
were of 'wood waxed and oiled,' and could be _burnt_ out of one's way:
poor Johnson's were far more difficult to burn.--The strong man will
ever find _work_, which means difficulty, pain, to the full measure of
his strength. But to make-out a victory, in those circumstances of our
poor Hero as Man of Letters, was perhaps more difficult than in any.
Not obstruction, disorganisation, Bookseller Osborne and
Fourpence-halfpenny a day; not this alone; but the light of his own
soul was taken from him. No landmark on the Earth; and, alas, what is
that to having no loadstar in the Heaven! We need not wonder that none
of those Three men rose to victory. That they fought truly is the
highest praise. With a mournful sympathy we will contemplate, if not
three living victorious Heroes, as I said, the Tombs of three fallen
Heroes! They fell for us too; making a way for us. There are the
mountains which they hurled abroad in their confused War of the
Giants; under which, their strength and life spent, they now lie

       *       *       *       *       *

I have already written of these three Literary Heroes, expressly or
incidentally; what I suppose is known to most of you; what need not be
spoken or written a second time. They concern us here as the singular
_Prophets_ of that singular age; for such they virtually were; and the
aspect they and their world exhibit, under this point of view, might
lead us into reflections enough! I call them, all three, Genuine Men
more or less; faithfully, for most part unconsciously, struggling to
be genuine, and plant themselves on the everlasting truth of things.
This to a degree that eminently distinguishes them from the poor
artificial mass of their contemporaries; and renders them worthy to be
considered as Speakers, in some measure, of the everlasting truth, as
Prophets in that age of theirs. By Nature herself, a noble necessity
was laid on them to be so. They were men of such magnitude that they
could not live on unrealities,--clouds, froth and all inanity gave-way
under them: there was no footing for them but on firm earth; no rest
or regular motion for them, if they got not footing there. To a
certain extent, they were Sons of Nature once more in an age of
Artifice; once more, Original Men.

As for Johnson, I have always considered him to be, by nature, one of
our great English souls. A strong and noble man; so much left
undeveloped in him to the last: in a kindlier element what might he
not have been,--Poet, Priest, sovereign Ruler! On the whole, a man
must not complain of his 'element,' of his 'time,' or the like; it is
thriftless work doing so. His time is bad: well then, he is there to
make it better!--Johnson's youth was poor, isolated, hopeless, very
miserable. Indeed, it does not seem possible that, in any the
favourablest outward circumstances, Johnson's life could have been
other than a painful one. The world might have had more of profitable
_work_ out of him, or less; but his _effort_ against the world's work
could never have been a light one. Nature, in return for his
nobleness, had said to him, Live in an element of diseased sorrow.
Nay, perhaps the sorrow and the nobleness were intimately and even
inseparably connected with each other. At all events, poor Johnson had
to go about girt with continual hypochondria, physical and spiritual
pain. Like a Hercules with the burning Nessus'-shirt on him, which
shoots-in on him dull incurable misery: the Nessus'-shirt not to be
stript-off, which is his own natural skin! In this manner _he_ had to
live. Figure him there, with his scrofulous diseases, with his great
greedy heart, and unspeakable chaos of thoughts; stalking mournful as
a stranger in this Earth; eagerly devouring what spiritual thing he
could come at: school-languages and other merely grammatical stuff, if
there were nothing better! The largest soul that was in all England;
and provision made for it of 'fourpence-halfpenny a day.' Yet a giant
invincible soul; a true man's. One remembers always that story of the
shoes at Oxford: the rough, seamy-faced, rawboned College Servitor
stalking about, in winter-season, with his shoes worn-out; how the
charitable Gentleman Commoner secretly places a new pair at his door;
and the rawboned Servitor, lifting them, looking at them near, with
his dim eyes, with what thoughts,--pitches them out of window! Wet
feet, mud, frost, hunger or what you will; but not beggary: we cannot
stand beggary! Rude stubborn self-help here; a whole world of squalor,
rudeness, confused misery and want, yet of nobleness and manfulness
withal. It is a type of the man's life, this pitching-away of the
shoes. An original man;--not a secondhand, borrowing or begging man.
Let us stand on our own basis, at any rate! On such shoes as we
ourselves can get. On frost and mud, if you will, but honestly on
that;--on the reality and substance which Nature gives _us_, not on
the semblance, on the thing she has given another than us!--

And yet with all this rugged pride of manhood and self-help was there
ever soul more tenderly affectionate, loyally submissive to what was
really higher than he? Great souls are always loyally submissive,
reverent to what is over them; only small mean souls are otherwise. I
could not find a better proof of what I said the other day, That the
sincere man was by nature the obedient man; that only in a World of
Heroes was there loyal Obedience to the Heroic. The essence of
_originality_ is not that it be _new_: Johnson believed altogether in
the old; he found the old opinions credible for him, fit for him; and
in a right heroic manner lived under them. He is well worth study in
regard to that. For we are to say that Johnson was far other than a
mere man of words and formulas; he was a man of truths and facts. He
stood by the old formulas; the happier was it for him that he could so
stand: but in all formulas that _he_ could stand by, there needed to
be a most genuine substance. Very curious how, in that poor Paper-age,
so barren, artificial, thick-quilted with Pedantries, Hearsays, the
great Fact of this Universe glared in, forever wonderful, indubitable,
unspeakable, divine-infernal, upon this man too! How he harmonised his
Formulas with it, how he managed at all under such circumstances: that
is a thing worth seeing. A thing 'to be looked at with reverence, with
pity, with awe.' That Church of St. Clement Danes, where Johnson still
_worshipped_ in the era of Voltaire, is to me a venerable place.

It was in virtue of his _sincerity_, of his speaking still in some
sort from the heart of Nature, though in the current artificial
dialect, that Johnson was a Prophet. Are not all dialects
'artificial'? Artificial things are not all false;--nay every true
Product of Nature will infallibly _shape_ itself; we may say all
artificial things are, at the starting of them, _true_. What we call
'Formulas' are not in their origin bad; they are indispensably good.
Formula is _method_, habitude; found wherever man is found. Formulas
fashion themselves as Paths do, as beaten Highways, leading towards
some sacred or high object, whither many men are bent. Consider it.
One man, full of heartfelt earnest impulse, finds-out a way of doing
somewhat,--were it of uttering his soul's reverence for the Highest,
were it but of fitly saluting his fellow-man. An inventor was needed
to do that, a _poet_; he has articulated the dim-struggling thought
that dwelt in his own and many hearts. This is his way of doing that;
these are his footsteps, the beginning of a 'Path.' And now see: the
second man travels naturally in the footsteps of his foregoer, it is
the _easiest_ method. In the footsteps of his foregoer; yet with
improvements, with changes where such seem good; at all events with
enlargements, the Path ever _widening_ itself as more travel it;--till
at last there is a broad Highway whereon the whole world may travel
and drive. While there remains a City or Shrine, or any Reality to
drive to, at the farther end, the Highway shall be right welcome! When
the City is gone, we will forsake the Highway. In this manner all
Institutions, Practices, Regulated Things in the world have come into
existence, and gone out of existence. Formulas all begin by being
_full_ of substance; you may call them the _skin_, the articulation
into shape, into limbs and skin, of a substance that is already there:
_they_ had not been there otherwise. Idols, as we said, are not
idolatrous till they become doubtful, empty for the worshipper's
heart. Much as we talk against Formulas, I hope no one of us is
ignorant withal of the high significance of _true_ Formulas; that they
were, and will ever be, the indispensablest furniture of our
habitation in this world.----

Mark, too, how little Johnson boasts of his 'sincerity.' He has no
suspicion of his being particularly sincere,--of his being
particularly anything! A hard-struggling, weary-hearted man, or
'scholar' as he calls himself, trying hard to get some honest
livelihood in the world, not to starve, but to live--without stealing!
A noble unconsciousness is in him. He does not 'engrave _Truth_ on his
watch-seal;' no, but he stands by truth, speaks by it, works and lives
by it. Thus it ever is. Think of it once more. The man whom Nature has
appointed to do great things is, first of all, furnished with that
openness to Nature which renders him incapable of being _in_sincere!
To his large, open, deep-feeling heart Nature is a Fact: all hearsay
is hearsay; the unspeakable greatness of this Mystery of Life, let him
acknowledge it or not, nay even though he seem to forget it or deny
it, is ever present to _him_,--fearful and wonderful, on this hand and
on that. He has a basis of sincerity; unrecognised, because never
questioned or capable of question. Mirabeau, Mahomet, Cromwell,
Napoleon: all the Great Men I ever heard-of have this as the primary
material of them. Innumerable commonplace men are debating, are
talking everywhere their commonplace doctrines, which they have
learned by logic, by rote, at secondhand: to that kind of man all this
is still nothing. He must have truth; truth which _he_ feels to be
true. How shall he stand otherwise? His whole soul, at all moments, in
all ways, tells him that there is no standing. He is under the noble
necessity of being true. Johnson's way of thinking about this world is
not mine, any more than Mahomet's was: but I recognise the everlasting
element of heart-_sincerity_ in both; and see with pleasure how
neither of them remains ineffectual. Neither of them is as _chaff_
sown; in both of them is something which the seed-field will _grow_.

Johnson was a Prophet to his people; preached a Gospel to them,--as
all like him always do. The highest Gospel he preached we may describe
as a kind of Moral Prudence: 'in a world where much is to be done, and
little is to be known,' see how you will _do_ it! A thing well worth
preaching. 'A world where much is to be done, and little is to be
known:' do not sink yourselves in boundless bottomless abysses of
Doubt, of wretched god-forgetting Unbelief;--you were miserable then,
powerless, mad: how could you _do_ or work at all? Such Gospel Johnson
preached and taught;--coupled, theoretically and practically, with
this other great Gospel, 'Clear your mind of Cant!' Have no trade with
Cant: stand on the cold mud in the frosty weather, but let it be in
your own _real_ torn shoes: 'that will be better for you,' as Mahomet
says! I call this, I call these two things _joined together_, a great
Gospel, the greatest perhaps that was possible at that time.

Johnson's Writings, which once had such currency and celebrity, are
now, as it were, disowned by the young generation. It is not
wonderful; Johnson's opinions are fast becoming obsolete: but his
style of thinking and of living, we may hope, will never become
obsolete. I find in Johnson's Books the indisputablest traces of a
great intellect and great heart:--ever welcome, under what
obstructions and perversions soever. They are _sincere_ words, those
of his; he means things by them. A wondrous buckram style,--the best
he could get to then; a measured grandiloquence, stepping or rather
stalking along in a very solemn way, grown obsolete now; sometimes a
tumid _size_ of phraseology not in proportion to the contents of it:
all this you will put-up with. For the phraseology, tumid or not, has
always _something within it_. So many beautiful styles and books, with
_nothing_ in them;--a man is a _male_factor to the world who writes
such! _They_ are the avoidable kind!--Had Johnson left nothing but his
_Dictionary_, one might have traced there a great intellect, a genuine
man. Looking to its clearness of definition, its general solidity,
honesty, insight, and successful method, it may be called the best of
all Dictionaries. There is in it a kind of architectural nobleness; it
stands there like a great solid square-built edifice, finished,
symmetrically complete: you judge that a true Builder did it.

One word, in spite of our haste, must be granted to poor Bozzy. He
passes for a mean, inflated, gluttonous creature; and was so in many
senses. Yet the fact of his reverence for Johnson will ever remain
noteworthy. The foolish conceited Scotch Laird, the most conceited man
of his time, approaching in such awestruck attitude the great dusty
irascible Pedagogue in his mean garret there: it is a genuine reverence
for Excellence; a _worship_ for Heroes, at a time when neither Heroes
nor worship were surmised to exist. Heroes, it would seem exist always,
and a certain worship of them! We will also take the liberty to deny
altogether that of the witty Frenchman, that no man is a Hero to his
valet-de-chambre. Or if so, it is not the Hero's blame, but the
Valet's: that his soul, namely, is a mean _valet_-soul! He expects his
Hero to advance in royal stage-trappings, with measured step, trains
borne behind him, trumpets sounding before him. It should stand rather,
No man can be a _Grand-Monarque_ to his valet-de-chambre. Strip your
Louis Quatorze of his king-gear, and there _is_ left nothing but a poor
forked radish with a head fantastically carved;--admirable to no valet.
The Valet does not know a Hero when he sees him! Alas, no: it requires
a kind of _Hero_ to do that;--and one of the world's wants, in _this_
as in other senses, is for the most part want of such.

On the whole, shall we not say, that Boswell's admiration was well
bestowed; that he could have found no soul in all England so worthy of
bending down before? Shall we not say, of this great mournful Johnson
too, that he guided his difficult confused existence wisely; led it
_well_, like a right-valiant man? That waste chaos of Authorship by
trade; that waste chaos of Scepticism in religion and politics, in
life-theory and life-practice; in his poverty, in his dust and
dimness, with the sick body and the rusty coat: he made it do for him,
like a brave man. Not wholly without a loadstar in the Eternal; he had
still a loadstar, as the brave all need to have: with his eye set on
that, he would change his course for nothing in these confused
vortices of the lower sea of Time. 'To the Spirit of Lies, bearing
death and hunger, he would in no wise strike his flag.' Brave old
Samuel: _ultimus Romanorum_!

       *       *       *       *       *

Of Rousseau and his Heroism I cannot say so much. He is not what I
call a strong man. A morbid, excitable, spasmodic man; at best,
intense rather than strong. He had not 'the talent of Silence,' an
invaluable talent; which few Frenchmen, or indeed men of any sort in
these times, excel in! The suffering man ought really 'to consume his
own smoke;' there is no good in emitting _smoke_ till you have made it
into _fire_,--which, in the metaphorical sense too, all smoke is
capable of becoming! Rousseau has not depth or width, not calm force
for difficulty; the first characteristic of true greatness. A
fundamental mistake to call vehemence and rigidity strength! A man is
not strong who takes convulsion-fits; though six men cannot hold him
then. He that can walk under the heaviest weight without staggering,
he is the strong man. We need forever, especially in these
loud-shrieking days, to remind ourselves of that. A man who cannot
_hold his peace_, till the time come for speaking and acting, is no
right man.

Poor Rousseau's face is to me expressive of him. A high but narrow
contracted intensity in it: bony brows; deep, straight-set eyes, in
which there is something bewildered-looking,--bewildered, peering with
lynx-eagerness. A face full of misery, even ignoble misery, and also
of the antagonism against that; something mean, plebeian there,
redeemed only by _intensity_: the face of what is called a Fanatic,--a
sadly _contracted_ Hero! We name him here because, with all his
drawbacks, and they are many, he has the first and chief
characteristic of a Hero: he is heartily _in earnest_. In earnest, if
ever man was; as none of these French Philosophes were. Nay, one would
say, of an earnestness too great for his otherwise sensitive, rather
feeble nature; and which indeed in the end drove him into the
strangest incoherences, almost delirations. There had come, at last,
to be a kind of madness in him: his Ideas _possessed_ him like demons;
hurried him so about, drove him over steep places!--

The fault and misery of Rousseau was what we easily name by a single
word _Egoism_; which is indeed the source and summary of all faults
and miseries whatsoever. He had not perfected himself into victory
over mere Desire; a mean hunger, in many sorts, was still the motive
principle of him. I am afraid he was a very vain man; hungry for the
praises of men. You remember Genlis's experience of him. She took Jean
Jacques to the Theatre; he bargaining for a strict incognito,--"_He_
would not be seen there for the world!" The curtain did happen
nevertheless to be drawn aside: the Pit recognised Jean Jacques, but
took no great notice of him! He expressed the bitterest indignation;
gloomed all evening, spake no other than surly words. The glib
Countess remained entirely convinced that his anger was not at being
seen, but at not being applauded when seen. How the whole nature of
the man is poisoned; nothing but suspicion, self-isolation, fierce
moody ways! He could not live with anybody. A man of some rank from
the country, who visited him often, and used to sit with him,
expressing all reverence and affection for him, comes one day, finds
Jean Jacques full of the sourest unintelligible humour. "Monsieur,"
said Jean Jacques, with flaming eyes, "I know why you come here. You
come to see what a poor life I lead; how little is in my poor pot that
is boiling there. Well, look into the pot! There is half a pound of
meat, one carrot and three onions; that is all: go and tell the whole
world that, if you like, Monsieur!"--A man of this sort was far gone.
The whole world got itself supplied with anecdotes for light laughter,
for a certain theatrical interest, from these perversions and
contortions of poor Jean Jacques. Alas, to him they were not laughing
or theatrical; too real to him! The contortions of a dying gladiator:
the crowded amphitheatre looks-on with entertainment; but the
gladiator is in agonies and dying.

And yet this Rousseau, as we say, with his passionate appeals to
Mothers, with his _Contrat-social_, with his celebrations of Nature,
even of savage life in Nature, did once more touch upon Reality,
struggle towards Reality; was doing the function of a Prophet to his
Time. As _he_ could, and as the Time could! Strangely through all that
defacement, degradation and almost madness, there is in the inmost
heart of poor Rousseau a spark of real heavenly fire. Once more, out
of the element of that withered mocking Philosophism, Scepticism and
Persiflage, there has arisen in that man the ineradicable feeling and
knowledge that this Life of ours is _true_; not a Scepticism, Theorem,
or Persiflage, but a Fact, an awful Reality. Nature had made that
revelation to him; had ordered him to speak it out. He got it spoken
out; if not well and clearly, then ill and dimly,--as clearly as he
could. Nay what are all errors and perversities of his, even those
stealings of ribbons aimless confused miseries and vagabondisms, if we
will interpret them kindly, but the blinkard dazzlements and
staggerings to and fro of a man sent on an errand he is too weak for,
by a path he cannot yet find? Men are led by strange ways. One should
have tolerance for a man, hope of him; leave him to try yet what he
will do. While life lasts, hope lasts for every man.

Of Rousseau's literary talents, greatly celebrated still among his
countrymen, I do not say much. His Books, like himself, are what I
call unhealthy; not the good sort of Books. There is a sensuality in
Rousseau. Combined with such an intellectual gift as his, it makes
pictures of a certain gorgeous attractiveness: but they are not
genuinely poetical. Not white sunlight: something _operatic_; a kind
of rosepink, artificial bedizenment. It is frequent, or rather it is
universal, among the French since his time. Madame de Staël has
something of it; St. Pierre; and down onwards to the present
astonishing convulsionary 'Literature of Desperation,' it is
everywhere abundant. That same _rosepink_ is not the right hue. Look
at a Shakspeare, at a Goethe, even at a Walter Scott! He who has once
seen into this, has seen the difference of the True from the
Sham-True, and will discriminate them ever afterwards.

We had to observe in Johnson how much good a Prophet, under all
disadvantages and disorganisations, can accomplish for the world. In
Rousseau we are called to look rather at the fearful amount of evil
which, under such disorganisation, may accompany the good.
Historically it is a most pregnant spectacle, that of Rousseau.
Banished into Paris garrets, in the gloomy company of his own Thoughts
and Necessities there; driven from post to pillar; fretted,
exasperated till the heart of him went mad, he had grown to feel
deeply that the world was not his friend nor the world's law. It was
expedient, if anyway possible, that such a man should _not_ have been
set in flat hostility with the world. He could be cooped into garrets,
laughed at as a maniac, left to starve like a wild beast in his
cage;--but he could not be hindered from setting the world on fire.
The French Revolution found its Evangelist in Rousseau. His
semi-delirious speculations on the miseries of civilised life, the
preferability of the savage to the civilised, and suchlike, helped
well to produce a whole delirium in France generally. True, you may
well ask, What could the world, the governors of the world, do with
such a man? Difficult to say what the governors of the world could do
with him! What he could do with them is unhappily clear
enough,--_guillotine_ a great many of them! Enough now of Rousseau.

       *       *       *       *       *

It was a curious phenomenon, in the withered, unbelieving, secondhand
Eighteenth Century, that of a Hero starting up, among the artificial
pasteboard figures and productions, in the guise of a Robert Burns.
Like a little well in the rocky desert places,--like a sudden
splendour of Heaven in the artificial Vauxhall! People knew not what
to make of it. They took it for a piece of the Vauxhall fire-work;
alas, it _let_ itself be so taken, though struggling half-blindly, as
in bitterness of death, against that! Perhaps no man had such a false
reception from his fellow-men. Once more a very wasteful life-drama
was enacted under the sun.

The tragedy of Burns's life is known to all of you. Surely we may say,
if discrepancy between place held and place merited constitute
perverseness of lot for a man, no lot could be more perverse than
Burns's. Among those secondhand acting-figures, _mimes_ for most part,
of the Eighteenth Century, once more a giant Original man; one of
those men who reach down to the perennial Deeps, who take rank with
the Heroic among men: and he was born in a poor Ayrshire hut. The
largest soul of all the British lands came among us in the shape of a
hard-handed Scottish Peasant.

His Father, a poor toiling man, tried various things; did not succeed
in any; was involved in continual difficulties. The Steward, Factor as
the Scotch call him, used to send letters and threatenings, Burns says,
'which threw us all into tears.' The brave, hard-toiling,
hard-suffering Father, his brave heroine of a wife; and those children,
of whom Robert was one! In this Earth, so wide otherwise, no shelter
for _them_. The letters 'threw us all into tears:' figure it. The brave
Father, I say always;--a _silent_ Hero and Poet; without whom the son
had never been a speaking one! Burns's Schoolmaster came afterwards to
London, learnt what good society was; but declares that in no meeting
of men did he ever enjoy better discourse than at the hearth of this
peasant. And his poor 'seven acres of nursery-ground,'--not that, nor
the miserable patch of clay-farm, nor anything he tried to get a living
by, would prosper with him; he had a sore unequal battle all his days.
But he stood to it valiantly; a wise, faithful, unconquerable
man;--swallowing-down how many sore sufferings daily into silence;
fighting like an unseen Hero,--nobody publishing newspaper paragraphs
about his nobleness; voting pieces of plate to him! However, he was not
lost: nothing is lost. Robert is there; the outcome of him,--and indeed
of many generations of such as him.

This Burns appears under every disadvantage: uninstructed, poor, born
only to hard manual toil; and writing, when it came to that, in a
rustic special dialect, known only to a small province of the country
he lived in. Had he written, even what he did write, in the general
language of England, I doubt not he had already become universally
recognised as being, or capable to be, one of our greatest men. That
he should have tempted so many to penetrate through the rough husk of
that dialect of his, is proof that there lay something far from common
within it. He has gained a certain recognition, and is continuing to
do so over all quarters of our wide Saxon world: wheresoever a Saxon
dialect is spoken, it begins to be understood, by personal inspection
of this and the other, that one of the most considerable Saxon men of
the Eighteenth century was an Ayrshire Peasant named Robert Burns.
Yes, I will say, here too was a piece of the right Saxon stuff: strong
as the Harz-rock, rooted in the depths of the world;--rock, yet with
wells of living softness in it! A wild impetuous whirlwind of passion
and faculty slumbered quiet there; such heavenly _melody_ dwelling in
the heart of it. A noble rough genuineness; homely, rustic, honest;
true simplicity of strength: with its lightning-fire, with its soft
dewy pity;--like the old Norse Thor, the Peasant-god!--

Burns's Brother Gilbert, a man of much sense and worth, has told me
that Robert, in his young days, in spite of their hardship, was
usually the gayest of speech; a fellow of infinite frolic, laughter,
sense and heart; far pleasanter to hear there, stript cutting peats in
the bog, or suchlike, than he ever afterwards knew him. I can well
believe it. This basis of mirth ('_fond gaillard_,' as old Marquis
Mirabeau calls it), a primal-element of sunshine and joyfulness,
coupled with his other deep and earnest qualities, is one of the most
attractive characteristics of Burns. A large fund of Hope dwells in
him; spite of his tragical history, he is not a mourning man. He
shakes his sorrows gallantly aside; bounds forth victorious over them.
It is as the lion shaking 'dew-drops from his mane;' as the
swift-bounding horse, that _laughs_ at the shaking of the spear.--But
indeed, Hope, Mirth, of the sort like Burns's, are they not the
outcome properly of warm generous affection,--such as is the beginning
of all to every man?

You would think it strange if I called Burns the most gifted British
soul we had in all that century of his: and yet I believe the day is
coming when there will be little danger in saying so. His writings,
all that he _did_ under such obstructions, are only a poor fragment of
him. Professor Stewart remarked very justly, what indeed is true of
all Poets good for much, that his poetry was not any particular
faculty; but the general result of a naturally vigorous original mind
expressing itself in that way. Burns's gifts, expressed in
conversation, are the theme of all that ever heard him. All kinds of
gifts: from the gracefulest utterances of courtesy, to the highest
fire of passionate speech; loud floods of mirth, soft wailings of
affection, laconic emphasis, clear piercing insight; all was in him.
Witty duchesses celebrate him as a man whose speech 'led them off
their feet.' This is beautiful: but still more beautiful that which
Mr. Lockhart has recorded, which I have more than once alluded to, How
the waiters and ostlers at inns would get out of bed, and come
crowding to hear this man speak! Waiters and ostlers:--they too were
men, and here was a man! I have heard much about his speech; but one
of the best things I ever heard of it was, last year, from a venerable
gentleman long familiar with him. That it was speech distinguished by
always _having something in it_. "He spoke rather little than much,"
this old man told me; "sat rather silent in those early days, as in
the company of persons above him; and always when he did speak, it was
to throw new light on the matter." I know not why any one should ever
speak otherwise!--But if we look at his general force of soul, his
healthy _robustness_ everyway, the rugged down-rightness, penetration,
generous valour and manfulness that was in him,--where shall we
readily find a better-gifted man?

Among the great men of the Eighteenth Century, I sometimes feel as if
Burns might be found to resemble Mirabeau more than any other. They
differ widely in vesture; yet look at them intrinsically. There is the
same burly thick-necked strength of body as of soul;--built, in both
cases, on what the old Marquis calls a _fond gaillard_. By nature, by
course of breeding, indeed by nation, Mirabeau has much more of
bluster; a noisy, forward, unresting man. But the characteristic of
Mirabeau too is veracity and sense, power of true _insight_,
superiority of vision. The thing that he says is worth remembering. It
is a flash of insight into some object or other: so do both these men
speak. The same raging passions; capable too in both of manifesting
themselves as the tenderest noble affections. Wit, wild laughter,
energy, directness, sincerity: these were in both. The types of the
two men are not dissimilar. Burns too could have governed, debated in
National Assemblies; politicised, as few could. Alas, the courage
which had to exhibit itself in capture of smuggling schooners in the
Solway Frith; in keeping _silence_ over so much, where no good speech,
but only inarticulate rage was possible: this might have bellowed
forth Ushers de Brézé and the like; and made itself visible to all
men, in managing of kingdoms, in ruling of great ever-memorable
epochs! But they said to him reprovingly, his Official Superiors said,
and wrote: 'You are to work, not think.' Of your _thinking_-faculty,
the greatest in this land, we have no need; you are to gauge beer
there; for that only are _you_ wanted. Very notable;--and worth
mentioning, though we know what is to be said and answered! As if
Thought, Power of Thinking, were not, at all times, in all places and
situations of the world, precisely the thing that _was_ wanted. The
fatal man, is he not always the _un_thinking man, the man who cannot
think and _see_; but only grope, and hallucinate, and _mis_see the
nature of the thing he works with? He missees it, mis_takes_ it as we
say; takes it for one thing, and it _is_ another thing,--and leaves
him standing like a Futility there! He is the fatal man; unutterably
fatal, put in the high places of men.--"Why complain of this?" say
some: "Strength is mournfully denied its arena; that was true from of
old." Doubtless; and the worse for the _arena_, answer I!
_Complaining_ profits little; stating of the truth may profit. That a
Europe, with its French Revolution just breaking out, finds no need of
a Burns except for gauging beer,--is a thing I, for one, cannot
_rejoice_ at!--

Once more we have to say here, that the chief quality of Burns is the
_sincerity_ of him. So in his Poetry, so in his Life. The Song he
sings is not of fantasticalities; it is of a thing felt, really there;
the prime merit of this, as of all in him, and of his Life generally,
is truth. The Life of Burns is what we may call a great tragic
sincerity. A sort of savage sincerity,--not cruel, far from that; but
wild, wrestling naked with the truth of things. In that sense, there
is something of the savage in all great men.

Hero-worship,--Odin, Burns? Well; these Men of Letters too were not
without a kind of Hero-worship: but what a strange condition has that
got into now! The waiters and ostlers of Scotch inns, prying about the
door, eager to catch any word that fell from Burns, were doing
unconscious reverence to the Heroic. Johnson had his Boswell for
worshipper. Rousseau had worshippers enough; princes calling on him in
his mean garret; the great, the beautiful doing reverence to the poor
moonstruck man. For himself a most portentous contradiction; the two
ends of his life not to be brought into harmony. He sits at the tables
of grandees; and has to copy music for his own living. He cannot even
get his music copied. "By dint of dining out," says he, "I run the
risk of dying by starvation at home." For his worshippers too a most
questionable thing! If doing Hero-worship well or badly be the test of
vital wellbeing or illbeing to a generation, can we say that _these_
generations are very first-rate?--And yet our heroic Men of Letters do
teach, govern, are kings, priests, or what you like to call them;
intrinsically there is no preventing it by any means whatever. The
world _has_ to obey him who thinks and sees in the world. The world
can alter the manner of that; can either have it as blessed continuous
summer sunshine, or as unblessed black thunder and tornado,--with
unspeakable difference of profit for the world! The manner of it is
very alterable; the matter and fact of it is not alterable by any
power under the sky. Light; or, failing that, lightning: the world can
take its choice. Not whether we call an Odin god, prophet, priest, or
what we call him; but whether we believe the word he tells us: there
it all lies. If it be a true word, we shall have to believe it;
believing it, we shall have to do it. What _name_ or welcome we give
him or it, is a point that concerns ourselves mainly. _It_, the new
Truth, new deeper revealing of the Secret of this Universe, is verily
of the nature of a message from on high; and must and will have itself

My last remark is on that notablest phasis of Burns's history,--his
visit to Edinburgh. Often it seems to me as if his demeanour there
were the highest proof he gave of what a fund of worth and genuine
manhood was in him. If we think of it, few heavier burdens could be
laid on the strength of a man. So sudden; all common _Lionism_, which
ruins innumerable men, was as nothing to this. It is as if Napoleon
had been made a King of, not gradually, but at once from the Artillery
Lieutenancy in the Regiment La Fère. Burns, still only in his
twenty-seventh year, is no longer even a ploughman; he is flying to
the West Indies to escape disgrace and a jail. This month he is a
ruined peasant, his wages seven pounds a year, and these gone from
him: next month he is in the blaze of rank and beauty, handing down
jewelled Duchesses to dinner; the cynosure of all eyes! Adversity is
sometimes hard upon a man; but for one man who can stand prosperity,
there are a hundred that will stand adversity. I admire much the way
in which Burns met all this. Perhaps no man one could point out, was
ever so sorely tried, and so little forgot himself. Tranquil,
unastonished; not abashed, not inflated, neither awkwardness nor
affectation: he feels that _he_ there is the man Robert Burns; that
the 'rank is but the guinea-stamp;' that the celebrity is but the
candle-light, which will show _what_ man, not in the least make him a
better or other man! Alas, it may readily, unless he look to it, make
him a _worse_ man; a wretched inflated wind-bag,--inflated till he
_burst_ and become a _dead_ lion; for whom, as some one has said,
'there is no resurrection of the body;' worse than a living
dog!--Burns is admirable here.

And yet, alas, as I have observed elsewhere, these Lion-hunters were
the ruin and death of Burns. It was they that rendered it impossible
for him to live! They gathered round him in his Farm; hindered his
industry; no place was remote enough from them. He could not get his
Lionism forgotten, honestly as he was disposed to do so. He falls into
discontents, into miseries, faults; the world getting ever more
desolate for him; health, character, peace of mind all gone;--solitary
enough now. It is tragical to think of! These men came but to _see_
him; it was out of no sympathy with him, nor no hatred to him. They
came to get a little amusement: they got their amusement;--and the
Hero's life went for it!

Richter says, in the Island of Sumatra, there is a kind of
'Light-chafers,' large Fire-flies, which people stick upon spits, and
illuminate the ways with at night. Persons of condition can thus
travel with a pleasant radiance, which they much admire. Great honour
to the Fire-flies! But--!--



[_Friday, 22nd May 1840_]

We come now to the last form of Heroism; that which we call Kingship.
The Commander over men; he to whose will our wills are to be
subordinated, and loyally surrender themselves, and find their welfare
in doing so, may be reckoned the most important of Great Men. He is
practically the summary for us of _all_ the various figures of
Heroism; Priest, Teacher, whatsoever of earthly or of spiritual
dignity we can fancy to reside in a man, embodies itself here, to
_command_ over us, to furnish us with constant practical teaching, to
tell us for the day and hour what we are to _do_. He is called _Rex_,
Regulator, _Roi_: our own name is still better; King, _Könning_, which
means _Can_-ning, Ableman.

Numerous considerations, pointing towards deep, questionable, and
indeed unfathomable regions, present themselves here: on the most of
which we must resolutely for the present forbear to speak at all. As
Burke said that perhaps fair _Trial by Jury_ was the Soul of
Government, and that all legislation, administration, parliamentary
debating, and the rest of it, went on, in 'order to bring twelve
impartial men into a jury-box;'--so, by much stronger reason, may I
say here, that the finding of your _Ableman_ and getting him invested
with the _symbols of ability_, with dignity, worship (_worth_-ship),
royalty, kinghood, or whatever we call it, so that _he_ may actually
have room to guide according to his faculty of doing it,--is the
business, well or ill accomplished, of all social procedure whatsoever
in this world! Hustings-speeches, Parliamentary motions, Reform Bills,
French Revolutions, all mean at heart this; or else nothing. Find in
any country the Ablest Man that exists there; raise _him_ to the
supreme place, and loyally reverence him: you have a perfect
government for that country; no ballot-box, parliamentary eloquence,
voting, constitution-building, or other machinery whatsoever can
improve it a whit. It is in the perfect state: an ideal country. The
Ablest Man; he means also the truest-hearted, justest, the Noblest
Man: what he _tells us to do_ must be precisely the wisest, fittest,
that we could anywhere or anyhow learn;--the thing which it will in
all ways behove us, with right loyal thankfulness, and nothing
doubting, to do! Our _doing_ and life were then, so far as government
could regulate it, well regulated; that were the ideal of

Alas, we know very well that Ideals can never be completely embodied
in practice. Ideals must ever lie a very great way off; and we will
right thankfully content ourselves with any not intolerable
approximation thereto! Let no man, as Schiller says, too querulously
'measure by a scale of perfection the meagre product of reality' in
this poor world of ours. We will esteem him no wise man; we will
esteem him a sickly, discontented, foolish man. And yet, on the other
hand, it is never to be forgotten that Ideals do exist; that if they
be not approximated to at all, the whole matter goes to wreck!
Infallibly. No bricklayer builds a wall _perfectly_ perpendicular,
mathematically this is not possible; a certain degree of
perpendicularity suffices him; and he, like a good bricklayer, who
must have done with his job, leaves it so. And yet if he sway _too
much_ from the perpendicular; above all, if he throw plummet and level
quite away from him, and pile brick on brick heedless, just as it
comes to hand--! Such bricklayer, I think, is in a bad way. _He_ has
forgotten himself: but the Law of Gravitation does not forget to act
on him; he and his wall rush-down into confused welter of ruin!--

This is the history of all rebellions, French Revolutions, social
explosions in ancient or modern times. You have put the too _Un_able
man at the head of affairs! The too ignoble, unvaliant, fatuous man.
You have forgotten that there is any rule, or natural necessity
whatever, of putting the Able Man there. Brick must lie on brick as it
may and can. Unable Simulacrum of Ability, _quack_, in a word, must
adjust himself with quack, in all manner of administration of human
things;--which accordingly lie unadministered, fermenting into
unmeasured masses of failure, of indigent misery: in the outward, and
in the inward or spiritual, miserable millions stretch-out the hand
for their due supply, and it is not there. The 'law of gravitation'
acts; Nature's laws do none of them forget to act. The miserable
millions burst-forth into Sansculottism, or some other sort of
madness; bricks and bricklayers lie as a fatal chaos!--

Much sorry stuff, written some hundred years ago or more, about the
'Divine right of Kings,' moulders unread now in the Public Libraries
of this country. Far be it from us to disturb the calm process by
which it is disappearing harmlessly from the earth, in those
repositories! At the same time, not to let the immense rubbish go
without leaving us, as it ought, some soul of it behind--I will say
that it did mean something; something true, which it is important for
us and all men to keep in mind. To assert that in whatever man you
chose to lay hold of (by this or the other plan of clutching at him);
and clapt a round piece of metal on the head of, and called
King,--there straightway came to reside a divine virtue, so that _he_
became a kind of God, and a Divinity inspired him with faculty and
right to rule over you to all lengths: this,--what can we do with this
but leave it to rot silently in the Public Libraries? But I will say
withal, and that is what these Divine-right men meant, That in Kings,
and in all human Authorities, and relations that men god-created can
form among each other, there is verily either a Divine Right or else a
Diabolic Wrong; one or the other of these two! For it is false
altogether, what the last Sceptical Century taught us, that this world
is a steam-engine. There is a God in this world; and a God's-sanction,
or else the violation of such, does look-out from all ruling and
obedience, from all moral acts of men. There is no act more moral
between men than that of rule and obedience. Woe to him that claims
obedience when it is not due; woe to him that refuses it when it is!
God's law is in that, I say, however the Parchment-laws may run: there
is a Divine Right or else a Diabolic Wrong at the heart of every claim
that one man makes upon another.

It can do none of us harm to reflect on this: in all the relations of
life it will concern us; in Loyalty and Royalty, the highest of these.
I esteem the modern error, That all goes by self-interest and the
checking and balancing of greedy knaveries, and that, in short, there
is nothing divine whatever in the association of men, a still more
despicable error, natural as it is to an unbelieving century, than
that of a 'divine right' in people _called_ Kings. I say, Find me the
true _Könning_, King, or Able-man, and he _has_ a divine right over
me. That we knew in some tolerable measure how to find him, and that
all men were ready to acknowledge his divine right when found: this is
precisely the healing which a sick world is everywhere, in these ages,
seeking after! The true King, as guide of the practical, has ever
something of the Pontiff in him,--guide of the spiritual, from which
all practice has its rise. This too is a true saying, That the _King_
is head of the _Church_.--But we will leave the Polemic stuff of a
dead century to lie quiet on its bookshelves.

       *       *       *       *       *

Certainly it is a fearful business, that of having your Ableman to
_seek_, and not knowing in what manner to proceed about it! That is
the world's sad predicament in these times of ours. They are times of
Revolution, and have long been. The bricklayer with his bricks, no
longer heedful of plummet or the law of gravitation, have toppled,
tumbled, and it all welters as we see! But the beginning of it was not
the French Revolution; that is rather the _end_, we can hope. It were
truer to say, the _beginning_ was three centuries farther back: in the
Reformation of Luther. That the thing which still called itself
Christian Church had become a Falsehood, and brazenly went about
pretending to pardon men's sins for metallic coined money, and to do
much else which in the everlasting truth of Nature it did _not_ now
do: here lay the vital malady. The inward being wrong, all outward
went ever more and more wrong. Belief died away; all was Doubt,
Disbelief. The builder _cast away_ his plummet; said to himself, "What
is gravitation? Brick lies on brick there!" Alas, does it not still
sound strange to many of us, the assertion that there is a God's truth
in the business of god-created men; that all is not a kind of grimace,
an 'expediency,' diplomacy, one knows not what!--

From that first necessary assertion of Luther's, "You, self-styled
_Papa_, you are no Father in God at all; you are--a Chimera, whom I
know not how to name in polite language!"--from that onwards to the
shout which rose round Camille Desmoulins in the Palais-Royal, "_Aux
armes!_" when the people had burst-up against _all_ manner of
Chimeras,--I find a natural historical sequence. That shout too, so
frightful, half-infernal, was a great matter. Once more the voice of
awakened nations; starting confusedly, as out of nightmare, as out of
death-sleep, into some dim feeling that Life was real; that
God's-world was not an expediency and diplomacy! Infernal;--yes, since
they would not have it otherwise. Infernal, since not celestial or
terrestrial!--Hollowness, insincerity _has_ to cease;--sincerity of
some sort has to begin. Cost what it may, reigns of terror, horrors of
French Revolution or what else, we have to return to truth. Here is a
Truth, as I said: a Truth clad in hell-fire, since they would not but
have it so!--

A common theory among considerable parties of men in England and
elsewhere used to be, that the French Nation had, in those days, as it
were gone _mad_; that the French Revolution was a general act of
insanity, a temporary conversion of France and large sections of the
world into a kind of Bedlam. The Event had risen and raged; but was a
madness and nonentity,--gone now happily into the region of Dreams and
the Picturesque!--To such comfortable philosophers, the Three Days of
July 1830 must have been a surprising phenomenon. Here is the French
Nation risen again, in musketry and death-struggle, out shooting and
being shot, to make that same mad French Revolution good! The sons and
grandsons of those men, it would seem, persist in the enterprise: they
do not disown it; they will have it made good; will have themselves
shot, if it be not made good! To philosophers who had made-up their
life-system on that 'madness' quietus, no phenomenon could be more
alarming. Poor Niebuhr, they say, the Prussian Professor and
Historian, fell broken-hearted in consequence; sickened, if we can
believe it, and died of the Three Days! It was surely not a very
heroic death;--little better than Racine's, dying because Louis
Fourteenth looked sternly on him once. The world had stood some
considerable shocks, in its time; might have been expected to survive
the Three Days too, and be found turning on its axis after even them!
The Three Days told all mortals that the old French Revolution, mad as
it might look, was not a transitory ebullition of Bedlam, but a
genuine product of this Earth where we all live; that it was verily a
Fact, and that the world in general would do well everywhere to regard
it as such.

Truly, without the French Revolution, one would not know what to make
of an age like this at all. We will hail the French Revolution, as
shipwrecked mariners might the sternest rock, in a world otherwise all
of baseless sea and waves. A true Apocalypse, though a terrible one,
to this false withered artificial time; testifying once more that
Nature is _preter_natural; if not divine, then diabolic; that
Semblance is not reality; that it has to become reality, or the world
will take-fire under it,--burn _it_ into what it is, namely Nothing!
Plausibility has ended; empty Routine has ended; much has ended. This,
as with a Trump of Doom, has been proclaimed to all men. They are the
wisest who will learn it soonest. Long confused generations before it
be learned; peace impossible till it be! The earnest man, surrounded,
as ever, with a world of inconsistencies, can await patiently,
patiently strive to do _his_ work, in the midst of that. Sentence of
Death is written down in Heaven against all that; sentence of Death is
now proclaimed on the Earth against it: this he with his eyes may see.
And surely, I should say, considering the other side of the matter,
what enormous difficulties lie there, and how fast, fearfully fast, in
all countries, the inexorable demand for solution of them is pressing
on,--he may easily find other work to do than labouring in the
Sansculottic province at this time of day!

To me, in these circumstances, that of 'Hero-worship' becomes a fact
inexpressibly precious; the most solacing fact one sees in the world
at present. There is an everlasting hope in it for the management of
the world. Had all traditions, arrangements, creeds, societies that
men ever instituted, sunk away, this would remain. The certainty of
Heroes being sent us; our faculty, our necessity, to reverence Heroes
when sent: it shines like a polestar through smoke-clouds,
dust-clouds, and all manner of down-rushing and conflagration.

Hero-worship would have sounded very strange to those workers and
fighters in the French Revolution. Not reverence for Great Men; not
any hope or belief, or even wish, that Great Men could again appear in
the world! Nature, turned into a 'Machine,' was as if effete now;
could not any longer produce Great Men:--I can tell her, she may
give-up the trade altogether, then; we cannot do without Great
Men!--But neither have I any quarrel with that of 'Liberty and
Equality;' with the faith that, wise great men being impossible, a
level immensity of foolish small men would suffice. It was a natural
faith then and there. "Liberty and Equality; no Authority needed any
longer. Hero-worship, reverence for _such_ Authorities, has proved
false, is itself a falsehood; no more of it! We have had such
_forgeries_, we will now trust nothing. So many base plated coins
passing in the market, the belief has now become common that no gold
any longer exists,--and even that we can do very well without gold!" I
find this, among other things, in that universal cry of Liberty and
Equality; and find it very natural, as matters then stood.

And yet surely it is but the _transition_ from false to true.
Considered as the whole truth, it is false altogether;--the product of
entire sceptical blindness, as yet only _struggling_ to see.
Hero-worship exists forever, and everywhere: not Loyalty alone; it
extends from divine adoration down to the lowest practical regions of
life. 'Bending before men,' if it is not to be a mere empty grimace,
better dispensed with than practised, is Hero-worship,--a recognition
that there does dwell in that presence of our brother something
divine; that every created man, as Novalis said, is a 'revelation in
the Flesh.' They were Poets too, that devised all those graceful
courtesies which make life noble! Courtesy is not a falsehood or
grimace; it need not be such. And Loyalty, religious Worship itself,
are still possible; nay still inevitable.

May we not say, moreover, while so many of our late Heroes have worked
rather as revolutionary men, that nevertheless every Great Man, every
genuine man, is by the nature of him a son of Order, not of Disorder?
It is a tragical position for a true man to work in revolutions. He
seems an anarchist; and indeed a painful element of anarchy does
encumber him at every step,--him to whose whole soul anarchy is
hostile, hateful. His mission is Order; every man's is. He is here to
make what was disorderly, chaotic, into a thing ruled, regular. He is
the missionary of Order. Is not all work of man in this world a
_making of Order_? The carpenter finds rough trees: shapes them,
constrains them into square fitness, into purpose and use. We are all
born enemies of Disorder: it is tragical for us all to be concerned in
image-breaking and down-pulling; for the Great Man, _more_ a man than
we, it is doubly tragical.

Thus too all human things, maddest French Sansculottisms, do and must
work towards Order. I say, there is not a _man_ in them, raging in the
thickest of the madness, but is impelled withal, at all moments,
towards Order. His very life means that; Disorder is dissolution,
death. No chaos but it seeks a _centre_ to revolve round. While man is
man, some Cromwell or Napoleon is the necessary finish of a
Sansculottism.--Curious: in those days when Hero-worship was the most
incredible thing to every one, how it does come-out nevertheless, and
assert itself practically, in a way which all have to credit. Divine
_right_, take it on the great scale, is found to mean divine _might_
withal! While old false Formulas are getting trampled everywhere into
destruction, new genuine Substances unexpectedly unfold themselves
indestructible. In rebellious ages, when Kingship itself seems dead
and abolished, Cromwell, Napoleon step-forth again as Kings. The
history of these men is what we have now to look at, as our last
phasis of Heroism. The old ages are brought back to us; the manner in
which Kings were made, and Kingship itself first took rise, is again
exhibited in the history of these Two.

       *       *       *       *       *

We have had many civil-wars in England; wars of Red and White Roses,
wars of Simon de Montfort; wars enough, which are not very memorable.
But that war of the Puritans has a significance which belongs to no
one of the others. Trusting to your candour, which will suggest on the
other side what I have not room to say, I will call it a section once
more of that great universal war which alone makes-up the true History
of the World,--the war of Belief against Unbelief! The struggle of men
intent on the real essence of things, against men intent on the
semblances and forms of things. The Puritans, to many, seem mere
savage Iconoclasts, fierce destroyers of Forms; but it were more just
to call them haters of _untrue_ Forms. I hope we know how to respect
Laud and his King as well as them. Poor Laud seems to me to have been
weak and ill-starred, not dishonest; an unfortunate Pedant rather than
anything worse. His 'Dreams' and superstitions, at which they laugh
so, have an affectionate, lovable kind of character. He is like a
College-Tutor, whose whole world is forms, College-rules; whose notion
is that these are the life and safety of the world. He is placed
suddenly, with that unalterable luckless notion of his, at the head
not of a College but of a Nation, to regulate the most complex
deep-reaching interests of men. He thinks they ought to go by the old
decent regulations; nay that their salvation will lie in extending and
improving these. Like a weak man, he drives with spasmodic vehemence
towards his purpose; cramps himself to it, heeding no voice of
prudence, no cry of pity: He will have his College-rules obeyed by his
Collegians; that first; and till that, nothing. He is an ill-starred
Pedant, as I said. He would have it the world was a College of that
kind, and the world _was not_ that. Alas, was not his doom stern
enough? Whatever wrongs he did, were they not all frightfully avenged
on him?

It is meritorious to insist on forms; Religion and all else naturally
clothes itself in forms. Everywhere the _formed_ world is the only
habitable one. The naked formlessness of Puritanism is not the thing I
praise in the Puritans; it is the thing I pity,--praising only the
spirit which had rendered that inevitable! All substances clothe
themselves in forms: but there are suitable true forms, and then there
are untrue unsuitable. As the briefest definition, one might say,
Forms which _grow_ round a substance, if we rightly understand that,
will correspond to the real nature and purport of it, will be true,
good; forms which are consciously _put_ round a substance, bad. I
invite you to reflect on this. It distinguishes true from false in
Ceremonial Form, earnest solemnity from empty pageant, in all human

There must be a veracity, a natural spontaneity in forms. In the
commonest meeting of men, a person making, what we call, 'set
speeches,' is not he an offence? In the mere drawing-room, whatsoever
courtesies you see to be grimaces, prompted by no spontaneous reality
within, are a thing you wish to get away from. But suppose now it were
some matter of vital concernment, some transcendent matter (as Divine
Worship is), about which your whole soul, struck dumb with its excess
of feeling, knew not how to _form_ itself into utterance at all, and
preferred formless silence to any utterance there possible,--what
should we say of a man coming forward to represent or utter it for you
in the way of upholsterer-mummery? Such a man,--let him depart
swiftly, if he love himself! You have lost your only son; are mute,
struck down, without even tears: an importunate man importunately
offers to celebrate Funeral Games for him in the manner of the Greeks!
Such mummery is not only not to be accepted,--it is hateful,
unendurable. It is what the old Prophets called 'Idolatry,'
worshipping of hollow _shows_; what all earnest men do and will
reject. We can partly understand what those poor Puritans meant. Laud
dedicating that St. Catherine Creed's Church, in the manner we have it
described; with his multiplied ceremonial bowings, gesticulations,
exclamations: surely it is rather the rigorous formal _Pedant_, intent
on his 'College-rules,' than the earnest Prophet, intent on the
essence of the matter!

Puritanism found _such_ forms insupportable; trampled on such
forms;--we have to excuse it for saying, No form at all rather than
such! It stood preaching in its bare pulpit, with nothing but the
Bible in its hand. Nay, a man preaching from his earnest _soul_ into
the earnest _souls_ of men: is not this virtually the essence of all
Churches whatsoever? The nakedest, savagest reality, I say, is
preferable to any semblance, however dignified. Besides, it will
clothe itself with _due_ semblance by and by, if it be real. No fear
of that; actually no fear at all. Given the living _man_, there will
be found _clothes_ for him; he will find himself clothes. But the
suit-of-clothes pretending that _it_ is both clothes and man--!--We
cannot 'fight the French' by three-hundred-thousand red uniforms;
there must be _men_ in the inside of them! Semblance, I assert, must
actually _not_ divorce itself from Reality. If Semblance do,--why then
there must be men found to rebel against Semblance, for it has become
a lie! These two Antagonisms at war here, in the case of Laud and the
Puritans, are as old nearly as the world. They went to fierce battle
over England in that age; and fought-out their confused controversy to
a certain length, with many results for all of us.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the age which directly followed that of the Puritans, their cause
or themselves were little likely to have justice done them. Charles
Second and his Rochesters were not the kind of men you would set to
judge what the worth or meaning of such men might have been. That
there could be any faith or truth in the life of a man, was what these
poor Rochesters, and the age they ushered-in, had forgotten.
Puritanism was hung on gibbets,--like the bones of the leading
Puritans. Its work nevertheless went on accomplishing itself. All true
work of a man, hang the author of it on what gibbet you like, must and
will accomplish itself. We have our _Habeas-Corpus_, our free
Representation of the People; acknowledgment, wide as the world, that
all men are, or else must, shall, and will become, what we call _free_
men;--men with their life grounded on reality and justice, not on
tradition, which has become unjust and a chimera! This in part and
much besides this, was the work of the Puritans.

And indeed, as these things became gradually manifest, the character
of the Puritans began to clear itself. Their memories were, one after
another, taken _down_ from the gibbet; nay a certain portion of them
are now, in these days, as good as canonised. Eliot, Hampden, Pym, nay
Ludlow, Hutchinson, Vane himself, are admitted to be a kind of Heroes;
political Conscript Fathers, to whom in no small degree we owe what
makes us a free England: it would not be safe for anybody to designate
these men as wicked now. Few Puritans of note but find their
apologists somewhere, and have a certain reverence paid them by
earnest men. One Puritan, I think, and almost he alone, our poor
Cromwell, seems to hang yet on the gibbet, and find no hearty
apologist anywhere. Him neither saint nor sinner will acquit of great
wickedness. A man of ability, infinite talent, courage, and so forth:
but he betrayed the Cause. Selfish ambition, dishonesty, duplicity; a
fierce, coarse, hypocritical _Tartufe_; turning all that noble
Struggle for constitutional Liberty into a sorry farce played for his
own benefit: this and worse is the character they give of Cromwell.
And then there come contrasts with Washington and others; above all,
with these noble Pyms and Hampdens, whose noble work he stole for
himself, and ruined into a futility and deformity.

This view of Cromwell seems to me the not unnatural product of a
century like the Eighteenth. As we said of the Valet, so of the
Sceptic: He does not know a Hero when he sees him! The Valet expected
purple mantles, gilt sceptres, body-guards and flourishes of trumpets:
the Sceptic of the Eighteenth century looks for regulated respectable
Formulas, 'Principles,' or what else he may call them; a style of
speech and conduct which has got to seem 'respectable,' which can
plead for itself in a handsome articulate manner, and gain the
suffrages of an enlightened sceptical Eighteenth century! It is, at
bottom, the same thing that both the Valet and he expect: the
garnitures of some _acknowledged_ royalty, which _then_ they will
acknowledge! The King coming to them in the rugged _un_formulistic
state shall be no King.

For my own share, far be it from me to say or insinuate a word of
disparagement against such characters as Hampden, Eliot, Pym; whom I
believe to have been right worthy and useful men. I have read
diligently what books and documents about them I could come at;--with
the honestest wish to admire, to love and worship them like Heroes;
but I am sorry to say, if the real truth must be told, with very
indifferent success! At bottom, I found that it would not do. They are
very noble men, these; step along in their stately way, with their
measured euphemisms, philosophies, parliamentary eloquences,
Ship-moneys, _Monarchies of Man_; a most constitutional, unblamable,
dignified set of men. But the heart remains cold before them; the
fancy alone endeavours to get-up some worship of them. What man's
heart does, in reality, break-forth into any fire of brotherly love
for these men? They are become dreadfully dull men! One breaks-down
often enough in the constitutional eloquence of the admirable Pym,
with his 'seventhly and lastly.' You find that it may be the
admirablest thing in the world, but that it is heavy,--heavy as lead,
barren as brick-clay; that, in a word, for you there is little or
nothing now surviving there! One leaves all these Nobilities standing
in their niches of honour: the rugged out-cast Cromwell, he is the man
of them all in whom one still finds human stuff. The great savage
_Baresark_: he could write no euphemistic _Monarchy of Man_; did not
speak, did not work with glib regularity; had no straight story to
tell for himself anywhere. But he stood bare, not cased in euphemistic
coat-of-mail; he grappled like a giant, face to face, heart to heart,
with the naked truth of things! That, after all, is the sort of man
for one. I plead guilty to valuing such a man beyond all other sorts
of men. Smooth-shaven Respectabilities not a few one finds, that are
not good for much. Small thanks to a man for keeping his hands clean,
who would not touch the work but with gloves on!

Neither, on the whole, does this constitutional tolerance of the
Eighteenth century for the other happier Puritans seem to be a very
great matter. One might say, it is but a piece of Formulism and
Scepticism, like the rest. They tell us, It was a sorrowful thing to
consider that the foundation of our English Liberties should have been
laid by 'Superstition.' These Puritans came forward with Calvinistic
incredible Creeds, Anti-Laudisms, Westminster Confessions; demanding,
chiefly of all, that they should have liberty to _worship_ in their
own way. Liberty to _tax_ themselves: that was the thing they should
have demanded! It was Superstition, Fanaticism, disgraceful Ignorance
of Constitutional Philosophy to insist on the other thing!--Liberty to
_tax_ oneself? Not to pay-out money from your pocket except on reason
shown? No century, I think, but a rather barren one would have fixed
on that as the first right of man! I should say, on the contrary, A
just man will generally have better cause than _money_ in what shape
soever, before deciding to revolt against his Government. Ours is a
most confused world; in which a good man will be thankful to see any
kind of Government maintain itself in a not insupportable manner; and
here in England, to this hour, if he is not ready to pay a great many
taxes which _he_ can see very small reason in, it will not go well
with him, I think! He must try some other climate than this.
Taxgatherer? Money? He will say: "Take my money, since you _can_, and
it is so desirable to you; take it,--and take yourself away with it;
and leave me alone to my work here. _I_ am still here; can still work,
after all the money you have taken from me!" But if they come to him,
and say, "Acknowledge a Lie; pretend to say you are worshipping God,
when you are not doing it: believe not the thing that _you_ find true,
but the thing that I find, or pretend to find true!" He will answer:
"No; by God's help, no! You may take my purse; but I cannot have my
moral Self annihilated. The purse is any Highwayman's who might meet
me with a loaded pistol: but the Self is mine and God my Maker's; it
is not yours; and I will resist you to the death, and revolt against
you, and, on the whole, front all manner of extremities, accusations
and confusions, in defence of that!"--

Really, it seems to me the one reason which could justify revolting,
this of the Puritans. It has been the soul of all just revolts among
men. Not _Hunger_ alone produced even the French Revolution: no, but
the feeling of the insupportable all-pervading _Falsehood_ which had
now embodied itself in Hunger, in universal material Scarcity and
Nonentity, and thereby become _indisputably_ false in the eyes of all!
We will leave the Eighteenth century with its 'liberty to tax itself.'
We will not astonish ourselves that the meaning of such men as the
Puritans remained dim to it. To men who believe in no reality at all,
how shall a _real_ human soul, the intensest of all realities, as it
were the Voice of this world's Maker still speaking to _us_,--be
intelligible? What it cannot reduce into constitutional doctrines
relative to 'taxing,' or other the like material interest, gross,
palpable to the sense, such a century will needs reject as an
amorphous heap of rubbish. Hampdens, Pyms, and Ship-money will be the
theme of much constitutional eloquence, striving to be fervid;--which
will glitter, if not as fire does, then as _ice_ does: and the
irreducible Cromwell will remain a chaotic mass of 'madness,'
'hypocrisy,' and much else.

       *       *       *       *       *

From of old, I will confess, this theory of Cromwell's falsity has
been incredible to me. Nay I cannot believe the like, of any Great Man
whatever. Multitudes of Great Men figure in History as false selfish
men; but if we will consider it, they are but _figures_ for us,
unintelligible shadows; we do not see into them as men that could have
existed at all. A superficial unbelieving generation only, with no eye
but for the surfaces and semblances of things, could form such notions
of Great Men. Can a great soul be possible without a _conscience_ in
it, the essence of all _real_ souls, great or small?--No, we cannot
figure Cromwell as a Falsity and Fatuity; the longer I study him and
his career, I believe this the less. Why should we? There is no
evidence of it. Is it not strange that, after all the mountains of
calumny this man has been subject to, after being represented as the
very prince of liars, who never, or hardly ever, spoke truth, but
always some cunning counterfeit of truth, there should not yet have
been one falsehood brought clearly home to him? A prince of liars, and
no lie spoken by him. Not one that I could yet get sight of. It is
like Pococke asking Grotius, Where is your _proof_ of Mahomet's
Pigeon? No proof!--Let us leave all these calumnious chimeras, as
chimeras ought to be left. They are not portraits of the man; they are
distracted phantasms of him, the joint product of hatred and darkness.

Looking at the man's life with our own eyes, it seems to me, a very
different hypothesis suggests itself. What little we know of his
earlier obscure years, distorted as it has come down to us, does it
not all betoken an earnest, affectionate, sincere kind of man? His
nervous melancholic temperament indicates rather a seriousness too
deep for him. Of those stories of 'Spectres;' of the white Spectre in
broad daylight, predicting that he should be King of England, we are
not bound to believe much;--probably no more than of the other black
Spectre, or Devil in person, to whom the Officer _saw_ him sell
himself before Worcester Fight! But the mournful, over-sensitive,
hypochondriac humour of Oliver, in his young years, is otherwise
indisputably known. The Huntingdon Physician told Sir Philip Warwick
himself, He had often been sent for at midnight; Mr. Cromwell was full
of hypochondria, thought himself near dying, and "had fancies about
the Town-cross." These things are significant. Such an excitable
deep-feeling nature, in that rugged stubborn strength of his, is not
the symptom of falsehood; it is the symptom and promise of quite other
than falsehood!

The young Oliver is sent to study Law; falls, or is said to have
fallen, for a little period, into some of the dissipations of youth;
but if so, speedily repents, abandons all this: not much above twenty,
he is married, settled as an altogether grave and quiet man. 'He
pays-back what money he had won at gambling,' says the story;--he does
not think any gain of that kind could be really _his_. It is very
interesting, very natural, this 'conversion,' as they well name it;
this awakening of a great true soul from the worldly slough, to see
into the awful _truth_ of things;--to see that time and its shows all
rested on Eternity, and this poor Earth of ours was the threshold
either of Heaven or of Hell! Oliver's life at St Ives or Ely, as a
sober industrious Farmer, is it not altogether as that of a true and
devout man? He has renounced the world and its ways; _its_ prizes are
not the thing that can enrich him. He tills the earth; he reads his
Bible; daily assembles his servants round him to worship God. He
comforts persecuted ministers, is fond of preachers; nay can himself
preach,--exhorts his neighbours to be wise, to redeem the time. In all
this what 'hypocrisy,' 'ambition,' 'cant,' or other falsity? The man's
hopes, I do believe, were fixed on the other Higher World; his aim to
get well _thither_, by walking well through his humble course in
_this_ world. He courts no notice: what could notice here do for him?
'Ever in his great Taskmaster's eye.'

It is striking, too, how he comes-out once into public view; he, since
no other is willing to come: in resistance to a public grievance. I
mean, in that matter of the Bedford Fens. No one else will go to law
with Authority; therefore he will. That matter once settled, he
returns back into obscurity, to his Bible and his Plough. 'Gain
influence'? His influence is the most legitimate; derived from
personal knowledge of him, as a just, religious, reasonable and
determined man. In this way he has lived till past forty; old age is
now in view of him, and the earnest portal of Death and Eternity; it
was at this point that he suddenly became 'ambitious'! I do not
interpret his Parliamentary mission in that way!

His successes in Parliament, his successes through the war, are honest
successes of a brave man; who has more resolution in the heart of him,
more light in the head of him than other men. His prayers to God; his
spoken thanks to the God of Victory, who had preserved him safe, and
carried him forward so far, through the furious clash of a world all
set in conflict, through desperate-looking envelopments at Dunbar;
through the death-hail of so many battles; mercy after mercy; to the
'crowning mercy' of Worcester Fight: all this is good and genuine for
a deep-hearted Calvinistic Cromwell. Only to vain unbelieving
Cavaliers, worshipping not God but their own 'lovelocks,' frivolities
and formalities, living quite apart from contemplations of God, living
_without_ God in the world, need it seem hypocritical.

Nor will his participation in the King's death involve him in
condemnation with us. It is a stern business killing of a King! But if
you once go to war with him, it lies _there_; this and all else lies
there. Once at war, you have made wager of battle with him: it is he
to die, or else you. Reconciliation is problematic; may be possible,
or, far more likely, is impossible. It is now pretty generally
admitted that the Parliament, having vanquished Charles First, had no
way of making any tenable arrangement with him. The large Presbyterian
party, apprehensive now of the Independents, were most anxious to do
so; anxious indeed as for their own existence; but it could not be.
The unhappy Charles, in those final Hampton-Court negotiations, shows
himself as a man fatally incapable of being dealt with. A man who,
once for all, could not and would not _understand_:--whose thought did
not in any measure represent to him the real fact of the matter; nay
worse, whose _word_ did not at all represent his thought. We may say
this of him without cruelty, with deep pity rather: but it is true and
undeniable. Forsaken there of all but the _name_ of Kingship, he
still, finding himself treated with outward respect as a King, fancied
that he might play-off party against party, and smuggle himself into
his old power by deceiving both. Alas, they both _discovered_ that he
was deceiving them. A man whose _word_ will not inform you at all what
he means or will do, is not a man you can bargain with. You must get
out of that man's way, or put him out of yours! The Presbyterians, in
their despair, were still for believing Charles, though found false,
unbelievable again and again. Not so Cromwell: "For all our fighting,"
says he, "we are to have a little bit of paper?" No!--

In fact, everywhere we have to note the decisive practical _eye_ of
this man; how he drives towards the practical and practicable; has a
genuine insight into what _is_ fact. Such an intellect, I maintain,
does not belong to a false man: the false man sees false shows,
plausibilities, expediences: the true man is needed to discern even
practical truth. Cromwell's advice about the Parliament's Army, early
in the contest, How they were to dismiss their city-tapsters, flimsy
riotous persons, and choose substantial yeomen, whose heart was in the
work, to be soldiers for them: this is advice by a man who _saw_. Fact
answers, if you see into Fact. Cromwell's _Ironsides_ were the
embodiment of this insight of his; men fearing God; and without any
other fear. No more conclusively genuine set of fighters ever trod the
soil of England, or of any other land.

Neither will we blame greatly that word of Cromwell's to them; which
was so blamed: "If the King should meet me in battle, I would kill the
King." Why not? These words were spoken to men who stood as before a
Higher than Kings. They had set more than their own lives on the cast.
The Parliament may call it, in official language, a fighting '_for_
the King;' but we, for our share, cannot understand that. To us it is
no dilettante work, no sleek officiality; it is sheer rough death and
earnest. They have brought it to the calling-forth of _War_; horrid
internecine fight, man grappling with man in fire-eyed rage,--the
_infernal_ element in man called forth, to try it by that! _Do_ that
therefore; since that is the thing to be done.--The successes of
Cromwell seem to me a very natural thing! Since he was not shot in
battle, they were an inevitable thing. That such a man, with the eye
to see, with the heart to dare, should advance, from post to post,
from victory to victory, till the Huntingdon Farmer became, by
whatever name you might call him, the acknowledged Strongest Man in
England, virtually the King of England, requires no magic to explain

Truly it is a sad thing for a people, as for a man, to fall into
Scepticism, into dilettantism, insincerity; not to know a Sincerity
when they see it. For this world, and for all worlds, what curse is so
fatal? The heart lying dead, the eye cannot see. What intellect
remains is merely the _vulpine_ intellect. That a true _King_ be sent
them is of small use; they do not know him when sent. They say
scornfully, Is this your King? The Hero wastes his heroic faculty in
bootless contradiction from the unworthy; and can accomplish little.
For himself he does accomplish a heroic life, which is much, which is
all; but for the world he accomplishes comparatively nothing. The wild
rude Sincerity, direct from Nature, is not glib in answering from the
witness-box; in your small-debt _pie-powder_ court, he is scouted as a
counterfeit. The vulpine intellect 'detects' him. For being a man
worth any thousand men, the response, your Knox, your Cromwell gets,
is an argument for two centuries, whether he was a man at all. God's
greatest gift to this Earth is sneeringly flung away. The miraculous
talisman is a paltry plated coin, not fit to pass in the shops as a
common guinea.

Lamentable this! I say, this must be remedied. Till this be remedied
in some measure, there is nothing remedied. 'Detect quacks'? Yes do,
for Heaven's sake; but know withal the men that are to be trusted!
Till we know that, what is all our knowledge; how shall we even so
much as 'detect'? For the vulpine sharpness, which considers itself to
be knowledge, and 'detects' in that fashion, is far mistaken. Dupes
indeed are many: but, of all _dupes_, there is none so fatally
situated as he who lives in undue terror of being duped. The world
does exist; the world has truth in it or it would not exist! First
recognise what is true, we shall _then_ discern what is false; and
properly never till then.

'Know the men that are to be trusted:' alas, this is yet, in these
days, very far from us. The sincere alone can recognise sincerity. Not
a Hero only is needed, but a world fit for him; a world not of
_Valets_;--the Hero comes almost in vain to it otherwise! Yes, it is
far from us: but it must come; thank God, it is visibly coming. Till
it do come, what have we? Ballot-boxes, suffrages, French
Revolutions:--if we are as Valets, and do not know the Hero when we
see him, what good are all these? A heroic Cromwell comes; and for a
hundred-and-fifty years he cannot have a vote from us. Why, the
insincere, unbelieving world is the _natural property_ of the Quack,
and of the Father of quacks and quackeries! Misery, confusion,
unveracity are alone possible there. By ballot-boxes we alter the
_figure_ of our Quack; but the substance of him continues. The
Valet-World _has_ to be governed by the Sham-Hero, by the King merely
_dressed_ in King-gear. It is his; he is its! In brief, one of two
things: We shall either learn to know a Hero, a true Governor and
Captain, somewhat better, when we see him; or else go on to be forever
governed by the Unheroic;--had we ballot-boxes clattering at every
street-corner, there were no remedy in these.

Poor Cromwell,--great Cromwell! The inarticulate Prophet; Prophet who
could not _speak_. Rude, confused, struggling to utter himself, with
his savage depth, with his wild sincerity; and he looked so strange,
among the elegant Euphemisms, dainty little Falklands, didactic
Chillingworths, diplomatic Clarendons! Consider him. An outer hull of
chaotic confusion, visions of the Devil, nervous dreams, almost
semi-madness; and yet such a clear determinate man's-energy working in
the heart of that. A kind of chaotic man. The ray as of pure starlight
and fire, working in such an element of boundless hypochondria,
_un_formed black of darkness! And yet withal this hypochondria, what
was it but the very greatness of the man? The depth and tenderness of
his wild affections: the quantity of _sympathy_ he had with
things,--the quantity of insight he would yet get into the heart of
things, the mastery he would yet get over things: this was his
hypochondria. The man's misery, as man's misery always does, came of
his greatness. Samuel Johnson too is that kind of man. Sorrow-stricken,
half-distracted; the wide element of mournful _black_ enveloping
him,--wide as the world. It is the character of a prophetic man; a man
with his whole soul _seeing_, and struggling to see.

On this ground, too, I explain to myself Cromwell's reputed confusion
of speech. To himself the internal meaning was sun-clear; but the
material with which he was to clothe it in utterance was not there. He
had _lived_ silent; a great unnamed sea of Thought round him all his
days; and in his way of life little call to attempt _naming_ or
uttering that. With his sharp power of vision, resolute power of
action, I doubt not he could have learned to write Books withal, and
speak fluently enough:--he did harder things than writing of Books.
This kind of man is precisely he who is fit for doing manfully all
things you will set him on doing. Intellect is not speaking and
logicising; it is seeing and ascertaining. Virtue, _Vir-tus_, manhood,
_hero_-hood, is not fair-spoken immaculate regularity; it is first of
all, what the Germans well name it, _Tugend_ (_Taugend_, _dow_-ing or
_Dough_-tiness), Courage and the Faculty to _do_. This basis of the
matter Cromwell had in him.

One understands moreover how, though he could not speak in Parliament,
he might _preach_, rhapsodic preaching; above all, how he might be
great in extempore prayer. These are the free outpouring utterances of
what is in the heart: method is not required in them; warmth, depth,
sincerity are all that is required. Cromwell's habit of prayer is a
notable feature of him. All his great enterprises were commenced with
prayer. In dark inextricable-looking difficulties, his Officers and he
used to assemble, and pray alternately, for hours, for days, till some
definite resolution rose among them, some 'door of hope,' as they
would name it, disclosed itself. Consider that. In tears, in fervent
prayers, and cries to the great God, to have pity on them, to make His
light shine before them. They, armed Soldiers of Christ, as they felt
themselves to be; a little band of Christian Brothers, who had drawn
the sword against a great black devouring world not Christian, but
Mammonish, Devilish,--they cried to God in their straits, in their
extreme need, not to forsake the Cause that was His. The light which
now rose upon them,--how could a human soul, by any means at all, get
better light? Was not the purpose so formed like to be precisely the
best, wisest, the one to be followed without hesitation any more? To
them it was as the shining of Heaven's own Splendour in the
waste-howling darkness; the Pillar of Fire by night, that was to guide
them on their desolate perilous way. _Was_ it not such? Can a man's
soul, to this hour, get guidance by any other method than
intrinsically by that same,--devout prostration of the earnest
struggling soul before the Highest, the Giver of all Light; be such
_prayer_ a spoken, articulate, or be it a voiceless, inarticulate one?
There is no other method. 'Hypocrisy'? One begins to be weary of all
that. They who call it so, have no right to speak on such matters.
They never formed a purpose, what one can call a purpose. They went
about balancing expediences, plausibilities; gathering votes, advices;
they never were alone with the _truth_ of a thing at all.--Cromwell's
prayers were likely to be 'eloquent,' and much more than that. His was
the heart of a man who _could_ pray.

But indeed his actual Speeches, I apprehend, were not nearly so
ineloquent, incondite, as they look. We find he was, what all speakers
aim to be, an impressive speaker, even in Parliament; one who, from
the first, had weight. With that rude passionate voice of his, he was
always understood to _mean_ something, and men wished to know what. He
disregarded eloquence, nay despised and disliked it; spoke always
without premeditation of the words he was to use. The Reporters, too,
in those days seem to have been singularly candid; and to have given
the Printer precisely what they found on their own notepaper. And
withal, what a strange proof is it of Cromwell's being the
premeditative ever-calculating hypocrite, acting a play before the
world, That to the last he took no more charge of his Speeches! How
came he not to study his words a little, before flinging them out to
the public? If the words were true words, they could be left to shift
for themselves.

But with regard to Cromwell's 'lying,' we will make one remark. This,
I suppose, or something like this, to have been the nature of it. All
parties found themselves deceived in him; each party understood him to
be meaning _this_, heard him even say so, and behold he turns-out to
have been meaning _that_! He was, cry they, the chief of liars. But
now, intrinsically, is not all this the inevitable fortune, not of a
false man in such times, but simply of a superior man? Such a man must
have _reticences_ in him. If he walk wearing his heart upon his sleeve
for daws to peck at, his journey will not extend far! There is no use
for any man's taking-up his abode in a house built of glass. A man
always is to be himself the judge how much of his mind he will show to
other men; even to those he would have work along with him. There are
impertinent inquiries made: your rule is, to leave the inquirer
_un_informed on that matter; not, if you can help it, _mis_informed;
but precisely as dark as he was! This, could one hit the right phrase
of response, is what the wise and faithful man would aim to answer in
such a case.

Cromwell, no doubt of it, spoke often in the dialect of small
subaltern parties; uttered to them a _part_ of his mind. Each little
party thought him all its own. Hence their rage, one and all, to find
him not of their party, but of his own party! Was it his blame? At all
seasons of his history he must have felt, among such people, how, if
he explained to them the deeper insight he had, they must either have
shuddered aghast at it, or believing it, their own little compact
hypothesis must have gone wholly to wreck. They could not have worked
in his province any more; nay perhaps they could not now have worked
in their own province. It is the inevitable position of a great man
among small men. Small men, most active, useful, are to be seen
everywhere, whose whole activity depends on some conviction which to
you is palpably a limited one; imperfect, what we call an _error_. But
would it be a kindness always, is it a duty always or often, to
disturb them in that? Many a man, doing loud work in the world, stands
only on some thin traditionality, conventionality; to him indubitable,
to you incredible: break that beneath him, he sinks to endless depths!
"I might have my hand full of truth," said Fontenelle, "and open only
my little finger."

And if this be the fact even in matters of doctrine, how much more in
all departments of practice! He that cannot withal _keep his mind to
himself_ cannot practise any considerable thing whatever. And we call
it 'dissimulation,' all this? What would you think of calling the
general of an army a dissembler because he did not tell every corporal
and private soldier, who pleased to put the question, what his
thoughts were about everything?--Cromwell, I should rather say,
managed all this in a manner we must admire for its perfection. An
endless vortex of such questioning 'corporals' rolled confusedly round
him through his whole course; whom he did answer. It must have been as
a great true-seeing man that he managed this too. Not one proved
falsehood, as I said; not one! Of what man that ever wound himself
through such a coil of things will you say so much?--

       *       *       *       *       *

But in fact there are two errors, widely prevalent, which pervert to
the very basis our judgments formed about such men as Cromwell; about
their 'ambition,' 'falsity,' and such-like. The first is what I might
call substituting the _goal_ of their career for the course and
starting point of it. The vulgar Historian of a Cromwell fancies that
he had determined on being Protector of England, at the time when he
was ploughing the marsh lands of Cambridgeshire. His career lay all
mapped-out: a program of the whole drama; which he then step by step
dramatically unfolded, with all manner of cunning, deceptive
dramaturgy, as he went on,--the hollow, scheming [Greek: Hypokritês],
or Play-actor that he was! This is a radical perversion; all but
universal in such cases. And think for an instant how different the
fact is! How much does one of us foresee of his own life? Short way
ahead of us it is all dim; an _un_wound skein of possibilities, of
apprehensions, attemptabilities, vague-looming hopes. This Cromwell
had _not_ his life lying all in that fashion of Program, which he
needed then, with that unfathomable cunning of his, only to enact
dramatically, scene after scene! Not so. We see it so; but to him it
was in no measure so. What absurdities would fall-away of themselves,
were this one undeniable fact kept honestly in view by History!
Historians indeed will tell you that they do keep it in view;--but
look whether such is practically the fact! Vulgar History, as in this
Cromwell's case, omits it altogether; even the best kinds of History
only remember it now and then. To remember it duly with rigorous
perfection, as in the fact it _stood_, requires indeed a rare faculty;
rare, nay impossible. A very Shakspeare for faculty; or more than
Shakspeare; who could _enact_ a brother-man's biography, see with the
brother-man's eyes at all points of his course what things _he_ saw;
in short, _know_ his course and him, as few 'Historians' are like to
do. Half or more of all the thick-plied perversions which distort our
image of Cromwell, will disappear, if we honestly so much as try to
represent them so; in sequence, as they _were_; not in the lump, as
they are thrown-down before us.

But a second error, which I think the generality commit, refers to
this same 'ambition' itself. We exaggerate the ambition of Great Men;
we mistake what the nature of it is. Great Men are not ambitious in
that sense; he is a small poor man that is ambitious so. Examine the
man who lives in misery because he does not shine above other men; who
goes about producing himself, pruriently anxious about his gifts and
claims; struggling to force everybody, as it were begging everybody
for God's sake, to acknowledge him a great man, and set him over the
heads of men! Such a creature is among the wretchedest sights seen
under this sun. A _great_ man? A poor morbid prurient empty man;
fitter for the ward of a hospital, than for a throne among men. I
advise you to keep-out of his way. He cannot walk on quiet paths;
unless you will look at him, wonder at him, write paragraphs about
him, he cannot live. It is the _emptiness_ of the man, not his
greatness. Because there is nothing in himself, he hungers and thirsts
that you would find something in him. In good truth, I believe no
great man, not so much as a genuine man who had health and real
substance in him of whatever magnitude, was ever much tormented in
this way.

Your Cromwell, what good could it do him to be 'noticed' by noisy
crowds of people? God his Maker already noticed him. He, Cromwell, was
already there; no notice would make _him_ other than he already was.
Till his hair was grown gray; and Life from the downhill slope was all
seen to be limited, not infinite but finite, and all a measurable
matter _how_ it went,--he had been content to plough the ground, and
read his Bible. He in his old days could not support it any longer,
without selling himself to Falsehood, that he might ride in gilt
carriages to Whitehall, and have clerks with bundles of papers
haunting him, "Decide this, decide that," which in utmost sorrow of
heart no man can perfectly decide! What could gilt carriages do for
this man? From of old, was there not in his life a weight of meaning,
a terror and a splendour as of Heaven itself? His existence there as
man set him beyond the need of gilding. Death, Judgment and Eternity:
these already lay as the background of whatsoever he thought or did.
All his life lay begirt as in a sea of nameless Thoughts, which no
speech of a mortal could name. God's Word, as the Puritan prophets of
that time had read it: this was great, and all else was little to him.
To call such a man 'ambitious,' to figure him as the prurient windbag
described above, seems to me the poorest solecism. Such a man will
say: "Keep your gilt carriages and huzzaing mobs, keep your red-tape
clerks, your influentialities, your important businesses. Leave me
alone, leave me alone; there is _too much of life_ in me already!" Old
Samuel Johnson, the greatest soul in England in his day, was not
ambitious. 'Corsica Boswell' flaunted at public shows with printed
ribbons round his hat; but the great old Samuel stayed at home. The
world-wide soul wrapt-up in its thoughts, in its sorrows;--what could
paradings, and ribbons in the hat, do for it?

Ah yes, I will say again: The great _silent_ men! Looking round on the
noisy inanity of the world, words with little meaning, actions with
little worth, one loves to reflect on the great Empire of _Silence_.
The noble silent men, scattered here and there, each in his
department; silently thinking, silently working; whom no Morning
Newspaper makes mention of! They are the salt of the Earth. A country
that has none or few of these is in a bad way. Like a forest which had
no _roots_; which had all turned into leaves and boughs;--which must
soon wither and be no forest. Woe for us if we had nothing but what we
can _show_, or speak. Silence, the great Empire of Silence: higher
than the stars; deeper than the Kingdoms of Death! It alone is great;
all else is small.--I hope we English will long maintain our _grand
talent pour le silence_. Let others that cannot do without standing on
barrel-heads, to spout, and be seen of all the market-place, cultivate
speech exclusively,--become a most green forest without roots! Solomon
says, There is a time to speak; but also a time to keep silence. Of
some great silent Samuel, not urged to writing, as old Samuel Johnson
says he was, by _want of money_, and nothing other, one might ask,
"Why do not you too get up and speak; promulgate your system, found
your sect?" "Truly," he will answer, "I am _continent_ of my thought
hitherto; happily I have yet had the ability to keep it in me, no
compulsion strong enough to speak it. My 'system' is not for
promulgation first of all; it is for serving myself to live by. That
is the great purpose of it to me. And then the 'honour'? Alas,
yes;--but as Cato said of the statue: So many statues in that Forum of
yours, may it not be better if they ask, Where is Cato's statue?"--

But, now, by way of counterpoise to this of Silence, let me say that
there are two kinds of ambition; one wholly blamable, the other
laudable and inevitable. Nature has provided that the great silent
Samuel shall not be silent too long. The selfish wish to shine over
others, let it be accounted altogether poor and miserable. 'Seekest
thou great things, seek them not:' this is most true. And yet, I say,
there is an irrepressible tendency in every man to develop himself
according to the magnitude which Nature has made him of; to speak-out,
to act-out, what Nature has laid in him. This is proper, fit,
inevitable; nay it is a duty, and even the summary of duties for a
man. The meaning of life here on earth might be defined as consisting
in this: To unfold your _self_, to work what thing you have the
faculty for. It is a necessity for the human being, the first law of
our existence. Coleridge beautifully remarks that the infant learns to
_speak_ by this necessity it feels.--We will say therefore: To decide
about ambition, whether it is bad or not, you have two things to take
into view. Not the coveting of the place alone, but the fitness of the
man for the place withal: that is the question. Perhaps the place was
_his_; perhaps he had a natural right, and even obligation, to seek
the place! Mirabeau's ambition to be Prime Minister, how shall we
blame it, if he were 'the only man in France that could have done any
good there'? Hopefuler perhaps had he not so clearly _felt_ how much
good he could do! But a poor Necker, who could do no good, and had
even felt that he could do none, yet sitting broken-hearted because
they had flung him out, and he was now quit of it, well might Gibbon
mourn over him.--Nature, I say, has provided amply that the silent
great man shall strive to speak withal; _too_ amply, rather!

Fancy, for example, you had revealed to the brave old Samuel Johnson,
in his shrouded-up existence, that it was possible for him to do
priceless divine work for his country and the whole world. That the
perfect Heavenly Law might be made law on this earth; that the prayer
he prayed daily, 'Thy kingdom come,' was at length to be fulfilled! If
you had convinced his judgment of this; that it was possible,
practicable; that he the mournful silent Samuel was called to take a
part in it! Would not the whole soul of the man have flamed up into a
divine clearness, into noble utterance and determination to act;
casting all sorrows and misgivings under his feet, counting all
affliction and contradiction small,--the whole dark element of his
existence blazing into articulate radiance of light and lightning? It
were a true ambition this! And think now how it actually was with
Cromwell. From of old, the sufferings of God's Church, true zealous
preachers of the truth flung into dungeons, whipt, set on pillories,
their ears cropt off, God's Gospel-cause trodden under foot of the
unworthy: all this had lain heavy on his soul. Long years he had
looked upon it, in silence, in prayer; seeing no remedy on Earth;
trusting well that a remedy in Heaven's goodness would come,--that
such a course was false, unjust, and could not last forever. And now
behold the dawn of it; after twelve years silent waiting, all England
stirs itself; there is to be once more a Parliament, the Right will
get a voice for itself: inexpressible well-grounded hope has come
again into the Earth. Was not such a Parliament worth being a member
of? Cromwell threw down his ploughs and hastened thither.

He spoke there,--rugged bursts of earnestness, of a self-seen truth,
where we get a glimpse of them. He worked there; he fought and strove,
like a strong true giant of a man, through cannon-tumult and all
else,--on and on, till the Cause _triumphed_, its once so formidable
enemies all swept from before it, and the dawn of hope had become
clear light of victory and certainty. That _he_ stood there as the
strongest soul of England, the undisputed Hero of all England,--what
of this? It was possible that the law of Christ's Gospel could now
establish itself in the world! The Theocracy which John Knox in his
pulpit might dream of as a 'devout imagination,' this practical man,
experienced in the whole chaos of most rough practice, dared to
consider as capable of being _realised_. Those that were highest in
Christ's Church, the devoutest wisest men, were to rule the land: in
some considerable degree, it might be so and should be so. Was it not
_true_, God's truth? And if _true_, was it not then the very thing to
do? The strongest practical intellect in England dared to answer, Yes!
This I call a noble true purpose; is it not, In its own dialect, the
noblest that could enter into the heart of Statesman or man? For a
Knox to take it up was something; but for a Cromwell, with his great
sound sense and experience of what our world _was_,--History, I think,
shows it only this once in such a degree. I account it the culminating
point of Protestantism; the most heroic phasis that 'Faith in the
Bible' was appointed to exhibit here below. Fancy it: that it were
made manifest to one of us, how we could make the Right supremely
victorious over Wrong, and all that we had longed and prayed for, as
the highest good to England and all lands, an attainable fact!

Well, I must say, the _vulpine_ intellect, with its knowingness, its
alertness and expertness in 'detecting hypocrites,' seems to me a
rather sorry business. We have had one such Statesman in England; one
man, that I can get sight of, who ever had in the heart of him any
such purpose at all. One man, in the course of fifteen hundred years;
and this was his welcome. He had adherents by the hundred or the ten;
opponents by the million. Had England rallied all round him,--why,
then, England might have been a _Christian_ land! As it is, vulpine
knowingness sits yet at its hopeless problem, 'Given a world of
Knaves, to educe an Honesty from their united action;'--how cumbrous a
problem, you may see in Chancery Law-Courts, and some other places!
Till at length, by Heaven's just anger, but also by Heaven's great
grace, the matter begins to stagnate; and this problem is becoming to
all men a _palpably_ hopeless one.--

       *       *       *       *       *

But with regard to Cromwell and his purposes: Hume and a multitude
following him, come upon me here with an admission that Cromwell _was_
sincere at first; a sincere 'Fanatic' at first, but gradually became a
'Hypocrite' as things opened round him. This of the Fanatic-Hypocrite
is Hume's theory of it; extensively applied since,--to Mahomet and
many others. Think of it seriously, you will find something in it; not
much, not all, very far from all. Sincere hero hearts do not sink in
this miserable manner. The Sun flings forth impurities, gets balefully
incrusted with spots; but it does not quench itself, and become no Sun
at all, but a mass of Darkness! I will venture to say that such never
befell a great, deep Cromwell; I think, never. Nature's own
lion-hearted Son! Antæus-like, his strength is got by _touching the
Earth_, his Mother; lift him up from the Earth, lift him up into
Hypocrisy, Inanity, his strength is gone. We will not assert that
Cromwell was an immaculate man; that he fell into no faults, no
insincerities among the rest. He was no dilettante professor of
'perfections,' 'immaculate conducts.' He was a rugged Orson, rending
his rough way through actual true _work_,--doubtless with many a
_fall_ therein. Insincerities, faults, very many faults daily and
hourly: it was too well known to him; known to God and him! The Sun
was dimmed many a time; but the Sun had not himself grown a Dimness.
Cromwell's last words, as he lay waiting for death, are those of a
Christian heroic man. Broken prayers to God, that He would judge him
and this Cause, He since man could not, in justice yet in pity. They
are most touching words. He breathed out his wild great soul, its
toils and sins all ended now, into the presence of his Maker, in this

I, for one, will not call the man a Hypocrite! Hypocrite, mummer, the
life of him a mere theatricality; empty barren quack, hungry for the
shouts of mobs? The man had made obscurity do very well for him till
his head was gray; and now he _was_, there as he stood recognised
unblamed, the virtual King of England. Cannot a man do without King's
Coaches and Cloaks? Is it such a blessedness to have clerks forever
pestering you with bundles of papers in red tape? A simple Diocletian
prefers planting of cabbages; a George Washington, no very
immeasurable man, does the like. One would say, it is what any genuine
man could do; and would do. The instant his real work were out in the
matter of Kingship,--away with it!

Let us remark, meanwhile, how indispensable everywhere a _King_ is, in
all movements of men. It is strikingly shown, in this very War, what
becomes of men when they cannot find a Chief Man, and their enemies
can. The Scotch Nation was all but unanimous in Puritanism; zealous
and of one mind about it, as in this English end of the Island was far
from being the case. But there was no great Cromwell among them; poor
tremulous, hesitating, diplomatic Argyles and suchlike; none of them
had a heart true enough for the truth, or durst commit himself to the
truth. They had no leader; and the scattered Cavalier party in that
country had one: Montrose, the noblest of all the Cavaliers; an
accomplished, gallant-hearted, splendid man; what one may call the
Hero-Cavalier. Well, look at it; on the one hand subjects without a
King; on the other a King without subjects! The subjects without King
can do nothing; the subjectless King can do something. This Montrose,
with a handful of Irish or Highland savages, few of them so much as
guns in their hands, dashes at the drilled Puritan armies like a wild
whirlwind; sweeps them, time after time, some five times over, from
the field before him. He was at one period, for a short while, master
of all Scotland. One man; but he was a man: a million zealous men, but
_without_ the one; they against him were powerless! Perhaps of all the
persons in that Puritan struggle, from first to last, the single
indispensable one was verily Cromwell. To see and dare, and decide; to
be a fixed pillar in the welter of uncertainty;--a King among them,
whether they called him so or not.

       *       *       *       *       *

Precisely here, however, lies the rub for Cromwell. His other
proceedings have all found advocates, and stand generally justified;
but this dismissal of the Rump Parliament and assumption of the
Protectorship, is what no one can pardon him. He had fairly grown to
be King in England; Chief Man of the victorious party in England: but
it seems he could not do without the King's Cloak, and sold himself to
perdition in order to get it. Let us see a little how this was.

England, Scotland, Ireland, all lying now subdued at the feet of the
Puritan Parliament, the practical question arose, What was to be done
with it? How will you govern these Nations, which Providence in a
wondrous way has given-up to your disposal? Clearly those hundred
surviving members of the Long Parliament, who sit there as supreme
authority, cannot continue for ever to sit. What _is_ to be done?--It
was a question which theoretical constitution-builders may find easy
to answer; but to Cromwell, looking there into the real practical
facts of it, there could be none more complicated. He asked of the
Parliament, What it was they would decide upon? It was for the
Parliament to say. Yet the Soldiers too, however contrary to Formula,
they who had purchased this victory with their blood, it seemed to
them that they also should have something to say in it! We will not
"For all our fighting have nothing but a little piece of paper." We
understand that the Law of God's Gospel, to which He through us has
given the victory, shall establish itself, or try to establish itself,
in this land!

For three years, Cromwell says, this question had been sounded in the
ears of the Parliament. They could make no answer; nothing but talk,
talk. Perhaps it lies in the nature of parliamentary bodies; perhaps
no Parliament could in such case make any answer but even that of
talk, talk! Nevertheless the question must and shall be answered. You
sixty men there, becoming fast odious, even despicable, to the whole
nation, whom the nation already calls Rump Parliament, _you_ cannot
continue to sit there: who or what then is to follow? 'Free
Parliament,' right of Election, Constitutional Formulas of one sort or
the other,--the thing is a hungry Fact coming on us, which we must
answer or be devoured by it! And who are you that prate of
Constitutional Formulas, rights of Parliament? You have had to kill
your King, to make Pride's Purges, to expel and banish by the law of
the stronger whosoever would not let your Cause prosper: there are but
fifty or three-score of you left there, debating in these days. Tell
us what we shall do; not in the way of Formula, but of practicable

How they did finally answer, remains obscure to this day. The diligent
Godwin himself admits that he cannot make it out. The likeliest is,
that this poor Parliament still would not, and indeed could not
dissolve and disperse; that when it came to the point of actually
dispersing, they again, for the tenth or twentieth time, adjourned
it,--and Cromwell's patience failed him. But we will take the
favourablest hypothesis ever started for the Parliament; the
favourablest, though I believe it is not the true one, but too

According to this version: At the uttermost crisis, when Cromwell and
his Officers were met on the one hand, and the fifty or sixty Rump
Members on the other, it was suddenly told Cromwell that the Rump in
its despair _was_ answering in a very singular way; that in their
splenetic envious despair, to keep-out the army at least, these men
were hurrying through the House a kind of Reform Bill,--Parliament to
be chosen by the whole of England; equable electoral division into
districts; free suffrage, and the rest of it! A very questionable, or
indeed for _them_ an unquestionable thing. Reform Bill, free suffrage
of Englishmen? Why, the Royalists themselves, silenced indeed but not
exterminated, perhaps out_number_ us; the great numerical majority of
England was always indifferent to our Cause, merely looked at it and
submitted to it. It is in weight and force, not by counting of heads,
that we are the majority! And now with your Formulas and Reform Bills,
the whole matter, sorely won by our swords, shall again launch itself
to sea; become a mere hope, and likelihood, _small_ even as a
likelihood? And it is not a likelihood; it is a certainty, which we
have won, by God's strength and our own right hands, and do now hold
_here_. Cromwell walked down to these refractory Members; interrupted
them in that rapid speed of their Reform Bill;--ordered them to
begone, and talk there no more.--Can we not forgive him? Can we not
understand him? John Milton, who looked on it all near at hand, could
applaud him. The Reality had swept the Formulas away before it. I
fancy, most men who were realities in England might see into the
necessity of that.

The strong daring man, therefore, has set all manner of Formulas and
logical superficialities against him; has dared appeal to the genuine
fact of this England, Whether it will support him or not? It is
curious to see how he struggles to govern in some constitutional way;
find some Parliament to support him; but cannot. His first Parliament,
the one they call Barebones's Parliament, is, so to speak, a
_Convocation of the Notables_. From all quarters of England the
leading Ministers and chief Puritan Officials nominate the men most
distinguished by religious reputation, influence and attachment to the
true Cause: these are assembled to shape-out a plan. They sanctioned
what was past; shaped as they could what was to come. They were
scornfully called _Barebones's Parliament_, the man's name, it seems,
was not _Barebones_, but Barbone,--a good enough man. Nor was it a
jest, their work; it was a most serious reality,--a trial on the part
of these Puritan Notables how far the Law of Christ could become the
Law of this England. There were men of sense among them, men of some
quality; men of deep piety I suppose the most of them were. They
failed, it seems, and broke down, endeavouring to reform the Court of
Chancery! They dissolved themselves, as incompetent; delivered-up
their power again into the hands of the Lord-General Cromwell, to do
with it what he liked and could.

What _will_ he do with it? The Lord-General Cromwell, 'Commander-in
Chief of all the Forces raised and to be raised;' he hereby sees
himself, at this unexampled juncture, as it were the one available
Authority left in England, nothing between England and utter Anarchy
but him alone. Such is the undeniable Fact of his position and
England's, there and then. What will he do with it? After
deliberation, he decides that he will _accept_ it; will formally, with
public solemnity, say and vow before God and men, "Yes, the Fact is
so, and I will do the best I can with it!" Protectorship, Instrument
of Government,--these are the external forms of the thing; worked-out
and sanctioned as they could in the circumstances be, by the Judges,
by the leading Official people, 'Council of Officers and Persons of
interest in the Nation:' and as for the thing itself, undeniably
enough, at the pass matters had now come to, there _was_ no
alternative but Anarchy or that. Puritan England might accept it or
not; but Puritan England was, in real truth, saved from suicide
thereby!--I believe the Puritan People did, in an inarticulate,
grumbling, yet on the whole grateful and real way, accept this
anomalous act of Oliver's; at least, he and they together made it
good, and always better to the last. But in their Parliamentary
_articulate_ way, they had their difficulties, and never knew fully
what to say to it!--

Oliver's second Parliament, properly his _first_ regular Parliament,
chosen by the rule laid-down in the Instrument of Government, did
assemble, and worked;--but got, before long, into bottomless questions
as to the Protector's _right_, as to 'usurpation,' and so forth; and
had at the earliest legal day to be dismissed. Cromwell's concluding
Speech to these men is a remarkable one. So likewise to his third
Parliament, in similar rebuke for their pedantries and obstinacies.
Most rude, chaotic, all these Speeches are; but most earnest-looking.
You would say, it was a sincere helpless man; not used to _speak_ the
great inorganic thought of him, but to act it rather! A helplessness
of utterance, in such bursting fulness of meaning. He talks much about
'births of Providence:' All these changes, so many victories and
events, were not forethoughts, and theatrical contrivances of men, of
_me_ or of men; it is blind blasphemers that will persist in calling
them so! He insists with a heavy sulphurous wrathful emphasis on this.
As he well might. As if a Cromwell in that dark huge game he had been
playing, the world wholly thrown into chaos round him, had _foreseen_
it all, and played it all off like a precontrived puppetshow by wood
and wire! These things were foreseen by no man, he says; no man could
tell what a day would bring forth: they were 'births of Providence,'
God's finger guided us on, and we came at last to clear height of
victory, God's Cause triumphant in these Nations; and you as a
Parliament could assemble together, and say in what manner all this
could be _organised_, reduced into rational feasibility among the
affairs of men. You were to help with your wise counsel in doing that.
"You have had such an opportunity as no Parliament in England ever
had." Christ's Law, the Right and True, was to be in some measure made
the Law of this land. In place of that, you have got into your idle
pedantries, constitutionalities, bottomless cavillings and
questionings about written laws for _my_ coming here;--and would send
the whole matter into Chaos again, because I have no Notary's
parchment, but only God's voice from the battle-whirlwind, for being
President among you! That opportunity is gone; and we know not when it
will return. You have had your constitutional Logic; and Mammon's Law,
not Christ's Law, rules yet in this land. "God be judge between you
and me!" These are his final words to them: Take you your
constitution-formulas in your hand; and I my _in_formal struggles,
purposes, realities and acts; and "God be judge between you and me!"--

We said above what shapeless, involved chaotic things the printed
Speeches of Cromwell are. _Wilfully_ ambiguous, unintelligible, say
the most: a hypocrite shrouding himself in confused Jesuitic jargon!
To me they do not seem so. I will say rather, they afforded the first
glimpses I could ever get into the reality of this Cromwell, nay into
the possibility of him. Try to believe that he means something, search
lovingly what that may be: you will find a real _speech_ lying
imprisoned in these broken rude tortuous utterances; a meaning in the
great heart of this inarticulate man! You will, for the first time,
begin to see that he was a man; not an enigmatic chimera,
unintelligible to you, incredible to you. The Histories and
Biographies written of this Cromwell, written in shallow sceptical
generations that could not know or conceive of a deep believing man,
are far more _obscure_ than Cromwell's Speeches. You look through them
only into the infinite vague of Black and the Inane. 'Heats and
Jealousies,' says Lord Clarendon himself: 'heats and jealousies,' mere
crabbed whims, theories and crochets; these induced slow sober quiet
Englishmen to lay down their ploughs and work; and fly into red fury
of confused war against the best-conditioned of Kings! _Try_ if you
can find that true. Scepticism writing about Belief may have great
gifts; but it is really _ultra vires_ there. It is Blindness
laying-down the Laws of Optics.--

Cromwell's third Parliament split on the same rock as his second. Ever
the constitutional Formula: How came _you_ there? Show us some Notary
parchment! Blind pedants:--"Why, surely the same power which makes you
a Parliament, that, and something more, made me a Protector!" If my
Protectorship is nothing, what in the name of wonder is your
Parliamenteership, a reflex and creation of that?--

Parliaments having failed, there remained nothing but the way of
Despotism. Military Dictators, each with his district, to _coerce_ the
Royalists and other gainsayers, to govern them, if not by act of
Parliament, then by the sword. Formula shall _not_ carry it, while the
Reality is here! I will go on, protecting oppressed Protestants
abroad, appointing just judges, wise managers, at home, cherishing
true Gospel ministers; doing the best I can to make England a
Christian England, greater than old Rome, the Queen of Protestant
Christianity; I, since you will not help me; I while God leaves me
life!--Why did he not give it up; retire into obscurity again, since
the Law would not acknowledge him? cry several. That is where they
mistake. For him there was no giving of it up! Prime Ministers have
governed countries, Pitt, Pombal, Choiseul; and their word was a law
while it held: but this Prime Minister was one that _could not get
resigned_. Let him once resign, Charles Stuart and the Cavaliers
waited to kill him; to kill the Cause _and_ him. Once embarked, there
is no retreat, no return. This Prime Minister could _retire_ nowhither
except into his tomb.

One is sorry for Cromwell in his old days. His complaint is incessant
of the heavy burden Providence has laid on him. Heavy; which he must
bear till death. Old Colonel Hutchinson, as his wife relates it,
Hutchinson, his old battle-mate, coming to see him on some
indispensable business, much against his will,--Cromwell 'follows him
to the door,' in a most fraternal, domestic, conciliatory style; begs
that he would be reconciled to him, his old brother in arms; says how
much it grieves him to be misunderstood, deserted by true
fellow-soldiers, dear to him from of old: the rigorous Hutchinson,
cased in his republican formula, sullenly goes his way.--And the man's
head now white; his strong arm growing weary with its long work! I
think always too of his poor Mother, now very old, living in that
Palace of his; a right brave woman: as indeed they lived all an honest
God-fearing Household there: if she heard a shot go off, she thought
it was her son killed. He had to come to her at least once a day, that
she might see with her own eyes that he was yet living. The poor old
Mother!----What had this man gained; what had he gained? He had a life
of sore strife and toil, to his last day. Fame, ambition, place in
History? His dead body was hung in chains; his 'place in
History,'--place in History forsooth!--has been a place of ignominy,
accusation, blackness and disgrace; and here, this day, who knows if
it is not rash in me to be among the first that ever ventured to
pronounce him not a knave and a liar, but a genuinely honest man!
Peace to him. Did he not, in spite of all, accomplish much for us?
_We_ walk smoothly over his great rough heroic life; step-over his
body sunk in the ditch there. We need not _spurn_ it, as we step on
it!--Let the Hero rest. It was not to _men's_ judgment that he
appealed; nor have men judged him very well.

       *       *       *       *       *

Precisely a century and a year after this of Puritanism had got itself
hushed-up into decent composure, and its results made smooth in 1688,
there broke-out a far deeper explosion, much more difficult to
hush-up, known to all mortals, and like to be long known, by the name
of French Revolution. It is properly the third and final act of
Protestantism; the explosive confused return of Mankind to Reality and
Fact, now that they were perishing of Semblance and Sham. We call our
English Puritanism the second act: "Well then, the Bible is true; let
us go by the Bible!" "In Church," said Luther; "In Church and State,"
said Cromwell, "let us go by what actually is God's Truth." Men have
to return to reality; they cannot live on semblance. The French
Revolution, or third act, we may well call the final one; for lower
than that savage _Sansculottism_ men cannot go. They stand there on
the nakedest haggard Fact, undeniable in all seasons and
circumstances; and may and must begin again confidently to build-up
from that. The French explosion, like the English one, got its
King,--who had no Notary parchment to show for himself. We have still
to glance for a moment at Napoleon, our second modern King.

Napoleon does by no means seem to me so great a man as Cromwell. His
enormous victories which reached over all Europe, while Cromwell abode
mainly in our little England, are but as the high _stilts_ on which
the man is seen standing; the stature of the man is not altered
thereby. I find in him no such _sincerity_ as In Cromwell; only a far
inferior sort. No silent walking, through long years, with the Awful
Unnamable of this Universe; 'walking with God,' as he called it; and
faith and strength in that alone: _latent_ thought and valour, content
to lie latent, then burst out as in blaze of Heaven's lightning!
Napoleon lived in an age when God was no longer believed; the meaning
of all Silence, Latency, was thought to be Nonentity: he had to begin
not out of the Puritan Bible, but out of poor Sceptical
_Encyclopédies_. This was the length the man carried it. Meritorious
to get so far. His compact, prompt, everyway articulate character is
in itself perhaps small, compared with our great chaotic inarticulate
Cromwell's. Instead of '_dumb_ Prophet struggling to speak,' we have a
portentous mixture of the Quack withal! Hume's notion of the
Fanatic-Hypocrite, with such truth as it has, will apply much better
to Napoleon than it did to Cromwell, to Mahomet or the like,--where
indeed taken strictly it has hardly any truth at all. An element of
blamable ambition shows itself, from the first, in this man; gets the
victory over him at last, and involves him and his work in ruin.

'False as a bulletin' became a proverb in Napoleon's time. He makes
what excuse he could for it: that it was necess