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Title: Spare Hours
Author: Brown, John, 1810-1882
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                           _HORÆ SUBSECIVÆ._

    “_A lady, resident in Devonshire, going into one of her parlors,
    discovered a young ass, who had found his way into the room, and
    carefully closed the door upon himself. He had evidently not
    been long in this situation before he had nibbled a part of
    Cicero’s Orations, and eaten nearly all the index of a folio
    edition of Seneca in Latin, a large part of a volume of La
    Bruyère’s Maxims in French, and several pages of Cecilia. He
    had done no other mischief whatever, and not a vestige remained
    of the leaves that he had devoured._”—PIERCE EGAN.

    “_The treatment of the illustrious dead by the quick, often
    reminds me of the gravedigger in Hamlet, and the skull of poor
    defunct Yorick._”—W. H. B.

    “_Multi ad sapientiam pervenire potuissent, nisi se jam
    pervenisse putassent._”

    “_There’s nothing so amusing as human nature, but then you must
    have some one to laugh with._”

                              SPARE HOURS

                          BY JOHN BROWN, M. D.

    If thou be a severe sour-complexioned man, then I here disallow
    thee to be a competent judge.—IZAAK WALTON

                           TICKNOR AND FIELDS

       Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1861, by
                          TICKNOR AND FIELDS,
          In the Clerk’s Office of the District Court for the
                       District of Massachusetts

                         RIVERSIDE, CAMBRIDGE:


The author of “Rab and his Friends” scarcely needs an introduction to
American readers. By this time many have learned to agree with a writer
in the “North British Review” that “Rab” is, all things considered, the
most perfect prose narrative since Lamb’s “Rosamond Gray.”

A new world of doctors, clergymen, shepherds, and carriers is revealed
in the writings of this cheerful Edinburgh scholar, who always brings
genuine human feeling, strong sense, and fine genius to the composition
of his papers. Dogs he loves with an enthusiasm to be found nowhere else
in canine literature. He knows intimately all a cur means when he winks
his eye or wags his tail, so that the whole barking race,—terrier,
mastiff, spaniel, and the rest,—finds in him an affectionate and
interested friend. His genial motto seems to run thus—“I cannot
understand that morality which excludes animals from human sympathy, or
releases man from the debt and obligation he owes to them.”

With the author’s consent we have rejected from his two series of “Horæ
Subsecivæ” the articles on strictly professional subjects, and have
collected into this volume the rest of his admirable papers in that
work. The title, “Spare Hours,” is also adopted with the author’s

Dr. Brown is an eminent practising physician in Edinburgh, with small
leisure for literary composition, but no one has stronger claims to be
ranked among the purest and best writers of our day.

_BOSTON, December 1861._


  “OH, I’M WAT, WAT!”


In that delightful and provoking book, “THE DOCTOR, &c.,” Southey says:
“‘Prefaces,’ said Charles Blount, Gent., ‘Prefaces,’ according to this
flippant, ill-opinioned, and unhappy man, ‘ever were, and still are, but
of two sorts, let the mode and fashions vary as they please,—let the
long peruke succeed the godly cropt hair; the cravat, the ruff;
presbytery, popery; and popery, presbytery again,—yet still the author
keeps to his old and wonted method of prefacing; when at the beginning
of his book he enters, either with a halter round his neck, submitting
himself to his readers’ mercy whether he shall be hanged or no, or else,
in a huffing manner, he appears with the halter in his hand, and
threatens to hang his reader, if he gives him not his good word. This,
with the excitement of friends to his undertaking, and some few
apologies for the want of time, books, and the like, are the constant
and usual shams of all scribblers, ancient and modern.’ This was not
true then,” says Southey, “nor is it now.” I differ from Southey, in
thinking there is some truth in both ways of wearing the halter. For
though it be neither manly nor honest to affect a voluntary humility
(which is after all, a sneaking vanity, and would soon show itself if
taken at its word), any more than it is well-bred, or seemly to put on
(for it generally is put on) the “huffing manner,” both such being truly
“shams,”—there is general truth in Mr. Blount’s flippancies.

Every man should know and lament (to himself) his own
shortcomings—should mourn over and mend, as he best can, the
“confusions of his wasted youth;” he should feel how ill he has put out
to usury the talent given him by the Great Taskmaster—how far he is
from being “a good and faithful servant;” and he should make this rather
understood than expressed by his manner as a writer; while at the same
time, every man should deny himself the luxury of taking his hat off to
the public, unless he has something to say, and has done his best to say
it aright; and every man should pay not less attention to the dress in
which his thoughts present themselves, than he would to that of his
person on going into company.

Bishop Butler, in his “Preface to his Sermons,” in which there is
perhaps more solid living sense than in the same number of words
anywhere else after making the distinction between “obscurity” and
“perplexity and confusion of thought,”—the first being in the subject,
the others in its expression, says,—“confusion and perplexity are, in
writing, indeed without excuse, because any one may, if he pleases, know
whether he understands or sees through what he is about, and it is
unpardonable in a man to lay his thoughts before others, when he is
conscious that he himself does not know whereabouts he is, or how the
matter before him stands. _It is coming abroad in disorder, which he
ought to be dissatisfied to find himself in at home._”

There should therefore be in his Preface, as in the writer himself, two
elements. A writer should have some assurance that he has something to
say, and this assurance should, in the true sense, not the Milesian, be

       *       *       *       *       *

I have to apologize for bringing in “Rab and his Friends.” I did so,
remembering well the good I got then, as a man and as a doctor. It let
me see down into the depths of our common nature, and feel the strong
and gentle touch that we all need, and never forget, which makes the
world kin; and it gave me an opportunity of introducing, in a way which
he cannot dislike, for he knows it is simply true, my old master and
friend, Professor Syme, whose indenture I am thankful I possess, and
whose first wheels I delight in thinking my apprentice-fee purchased,
thirty years ago. I remember as if it were yesterday, his giving me the
first drive across the west shoulder of Corstorphine Hill. On starting,
he said, “John, we’ll do one thing at a time, and there will be no
talk.” I sat silent and rejoicing, and can remember the very complexion
and clouds of that day and that matchless view: _Damyat_ and _Benledi_
resting couchant at the gate of the Highlands, with the huge Grampians,
_immane pecus_, crowding down into the plain.

This short and simple story shows, that here, as everywhere else,
personally, professionally, and publicly, reality is his aim and his
attainment. He is one of the men—they are all too few—who desire to be
on the side of truth more than to have truth on their side; and whose
personal and private worth are always better understood than expressed.
It has been happily said of him, that he never wastes a word, or a drop
of ink, or a drop of blood; and his is the strongest, exactest, truest,
immediatest, safest intellect, dedicated by its possessor to the
surgical cure of mankind, I have ever yet met with. He will, I firmly
believe, leave an inheritance of good done, and mischief destroyed, of
truth in theory and in practice established, and of error in the same
exposed and ended, such as no one since John Hunter has been gifted to
bequeath to his fellow-men. As an instrument for discovering truth, I
have never seen his perspicacity equalled; his mental eye is
_achromatic_, and admits into the judging mind a pure white light, and
records an undisturbed, uncolored image, undiminished and unenlarged in
its passage; and he has the moral power, courage, and conscience, to use
and devote such an inestimable instrument aright. I need hardly add,
that the story of “Rab and his Friends” is in all essentials strictly
matter of fact.

There is an odd sort of point, if it can be called a point, on which I
would fain say something—and that is an occasional outbreak of sudden,
and it may be felt, untimely humorousness. I plead guilty to this,
sensible of the tendency in me of the merely ludicrous to intrude, and
to insist on being attended to, and expressed: it is perhaps too much
the way with all of us now-a-days, to be forever joking. _Mr. Punch_, to
whom we take off our hats, grateful for his innocent and honest fun,
especially in his Leech, leads the way; and our two great novelists,
Thackeray and Dickens, the first especially, are, in the deepest and
highest sense, essentially humorists,—the best, nay, indeed the almost
only good thing in the latter, being his broad and wild fun; Swiveller,
and the Dodger, and Sam Weller, and Miggs, are more impressive far to my
taste than the melo-dramatic, utterly unreal Dombey, or his strumous and
hysterical son, or than all the later dreary trash of “Bleak House,” &c.

My excuse is, that these papers are really what they profess to be, done
at bye-hours. _Dulce est desipere_, when in its fit place and time.
Moreover, let me tell my young doctor friends, that a cheerful face, and
step, and neckcloth, and button-hole, and an occasional hearty and
kindly joke, a power of executing and setting agoing a good laugh, are
stock in our trade not to be despised. The merry heart does good like a
medicine. Your pompous man, and your selfish man, don’t laugh much, or
care for laughter; it discomposes the fixed grandeur of the one, and has
little room in the heart of the other, who is literally self-contained.
My Edinburgh readers will recall many excellent jokes of their
doctors—“Lang Sandie Wood,” Dr. Henry Davidson our _Guy Patin_ and
better, &c.

I may give an instance, when a joke was more and better than itself. A
comely young wife, the “cynosure” of her circle, was in bed, apparently
dying from swelling and inflammation of the throat, an inaccessible
abscess stopping the way; she could swallow nothing; everything had been
tried. Her friends were standing round her bed in misery and
helplessness. “_Try her wi’ a compliment_,” said her husband, in a not
uncomic despair. She had genuine humor, as well as he; and as
physiologists know, there is a sort of mental tickling which is beyond
and above control, being under the reflex system, and instinctive as
well as sighing. She laughed with her whole body and soul, and burst the
abscess, and was well.

Humor, if genuine (and if not, it is not humor), is the very flavor of
the spirit, its rich and fragrant _ozmazome_—having in its aroma
something of everything in the man, his expressed juice; wit is but the
laughing flower of the intellect or the turn of speech, and is often
what we call a “gum-flower,” and looks well when dry. Humor is, in a
certain sense, involuntary in its origin in one man, and in its effect
upon another; it is systemic, and not local.

Sydney Smith, in his delightful and valuable _Sketches of Lectures on
Moral Philosophy_, to which I have referred, makes a touching and
impressive confession of the evil to the rest of a man’s nature from the
predominant power and cultivation of the ludicrous. I believe Charles
Lamb could have told a like, and as true, but sadder story. He started
on life with all the endowments of a great, ample, and serious nature,
and he ended in being little else than the incomparable joker and
humorist, and was in the true sense, “of large discourse.”[1]

    [1] Many good and fine things have been said of this wonderful
        and unique genius, but I know none better or finer than
        these lines by my friend John Hunter of Craigcrook. They are
        too little known, and no one will be anything but pleased to
        read them, except their author. The third line might have
        been Elia’s own:—

                       “… Humor, wild wit,
          Quips, cranks, puns, sneers,—with clear sweet thought profound;—
          _And stinging jests, with honey for the wound_,”—
          The subtlest lines of ALL fine powers, split
          To their last films, then marvellously spun
          In magic web, whose million hues are ONE!”

        I knew one man who was almost altogether and absolutely
        comic, and yet a man of sense, fidelity, courage, and worth,
        but over his entire nature the comic ruled supreme—the late
        Sir Adam Ferguson, whose very face was a breach of
        solemnity; I dare say, even in sleep he looked a wag. This
        was the way in which everything appeared to him first, and
        often last too, with a serious enough middle saw him not
        long before his death, when he was of great age and knew he
        was dying; there was no levity in his manner, or
        thoughtlessness about his state; he was kind, and shrewd as
        ever; but how he flashed out with utter merriment when he
        got hold of a joke, or rather when it got hold of him, and
        shook him, not an inch of his body was free of its power—it
        possessed him, not he it. The first attack was on showing me
        a calotype of himself by the late Adamson (of Hill and
        Adamson; the Vandyke and Raeburn of photography), in the
        corner of which he had written, with a hand trembling with
        age and fun, “Adam’s-sun _fecit_”—it came back upon him and
        tore him without mercy.

        Then, his blood being up, he told me a story of his uncle,
        the great Dr. Black the chemist; no one will grudge the
        reading of it in my imperfect record, though it is to the
        reality what reading music is to hearing it.

        Dr. Black, when Professor of Chemistry in Edinburgh
        University, had a gruff old man as his porter, a James
        Alston. James was one of the old school of chemistry, and
        held by phlogiston, but for no better reason than the
        endless trouble the new-fangled discoveries brought upon him
        in the way of apparatus.

        The Professor was lecturing on Hydrogen Gas, and had made
        arrangements for showing its lightness, what our preceptor,
        Dr. Charles Hope, called, in his lofty way, its “principle
        of absolute levity.” He was greatly excited, the good old
        man of genius. James was standing behind his chair, ready
        and sulky. His master told his young friends that the
        bladder he had filled with the gas must, on principle,
        ascend; but that they would see practically if it did, and
        he cut the string. Up it rushed, amid the shouts and
        upturned faces of the boys, and the quiet joy of their
        master; James regarding it with a glum curiosity.

        Young Adam Ferguson was there, and left at the end of the
        hour with the rest, but finding he had forgotten his stick,
        went back; in the empty room, he found James perched upon a
        lofty and shaky ladder, trying, amid much perspiration, and
        blasphemy, and want of breath, to hit down his enemy, who
        rose at each stroke—the old battling with the new. Sir
        Adam’s reproduction of this scene, his voice and screams of
        rapture, I shall never forget.

        Let me give another pleasant story of Dr. Black and Sir
        Adam, which our Principal (Dr. Lee) delights to tell; it is
        merely its bones. The doctor sent him to the bank for
        £5—four in notes, and one in silver; then told him that he
        must be paid for his trouble with a shilling, and next
        proceeded to give him good advice about the management of
        money, particularly recommending a careful record of every
        penny spent, holding the shilling up before him all the
        time. During this address, Sir Adam was turning over in his
        mind all the trash he would be able to purchase with the
        shilling, and his feeling may be imagined when the doctor
        finally returned it to his own pocket.

It only remains now for me to thank my cousin and life-long friend, John
Taylor Brown, the author of the tract on “St. Paul’s Thorn in the
Flesh.” I am sure my readers will thank me not less heartily than I now
do him. The theory that the thorn of the great apostle was an affection
of the eyes is not new; it will be found in “Hannah More’s Life,” and in
“Conybeare and Howson;” but his argument and his whole treatment, I have
reason to believe, from my father and other competent judges, is
thoroughly original; it is an exquisite monograph, and to me most
instructive and striking. Every one will ask why such a man has not
written more—a question my fastidious friend will find is easier asked
than answered.

       *       *       *       *       *

This Preface was written, and I had a proof ready for his pencil, when I
was summoned to the death of him to whom I owe my life. He had been
dying for months, but he and I hoped to have got and to have given into
his hands a copy of these _Horæ_, the correction of which had often
whiled away his long hours of languor and pain. God thought otherwise. I
shall miss his great knowledge, his loving and keen eye—his _ne quid
nimis_—his sympathy—himself. Let me be thankful that it was given to
me _assidere valetudini, fovere deficientem, satiari vultu, complexu_.

 _Si quis piorum manibus locus; si, ut sapientibus placet, non cum
corpore extinguuntur magnæ animæ; placide quiescas!_

Or, in more sacred and hopeful words, which, put there at my father’s
request, may be found at the close of the paper on young Hallam: “O man
greatly beloved, go thou thy way till the end; for thou shalt rest, and
stand in thy lot at the end of the days.”

It is not for a son to speak what he thinks of his father so soon after
his death. I leave him now with a portrait of his spiritual lineaments,
by Dr. Cairns,—which is to them what a painting by Velasquez and Da
Vinci combined would have been to his bodily presence.

    “As he was of the Pauline type of mind, his
    Christianity ran into the same mould. A strong,
    intense, and vehement nature, with masculine
    intellect and unyielding will, he accepted the Bible
    in its literal simplicity as an absolute revelation,
    and then showed the strength of his character in
    subjugating his whole being to this decisive
    influence, and in projecting the same convictions
    into other minds. He was a believer in the sense of
    the old Puritans, and, amid the doubt and skepticism
    of the nineteenth century, held as firmly as any of
    them by the doctrines of atonement and grace. He had
    most of the idiosyncrasy of Baxter, though not
    without the contemplation of Howe. The doctrines of
    Calvinism, mitigated but not renounced, and received
    simply as dictates of Heaven, without any effort or
    hope to bridge over their inscrutable depths by
    philosophical theories, he translated into a
    fervent, humble, and resolutely active life.

    “There was a fountain of tenderness in his nature as
    well as a sweep of impetuous indignation; and the
    one drawn out, and the other controlled by his
    Christian faith, made him at once a philanthropist
    and a reformer, and both in the highest departments
    of human interest. The union of these ardent
    elements, and of a highly devotional temperament,
    not untouched with melancholy, with the patience of
    the scholar, and the sobriety of the critic, formed
    the singularity and almost the anomaly of his
    personal character. These contrasts were tempered by
    the discipline of experience; and his life, both as
    a man and a Christian, seemed to become more rich,
    genial, and harmonious as it approached its
    close.”—_Scotsman_, October 20th.

                                                               J. B.

    23, RUTLAND STREET, _October 30, 1858_.


I have to thank the public and my own special craft cordially and much
for their reception of these Idle Hours—Brown Studies, as a friendly
wag calls them—and above all, for their taking to their hearts that
great old dog and his dead friends,—for all which the one friend who
survives thanks them. There is no harm and some good in letting our
sympathy and affection go forth without stint on such objects, dead and
homely though they be.

When I think of that noble head, with its look and eye of boundless
affection and pluck, simplicity and single-heartedness, I feel what it
would be for us, who call ourselves the higher animals, to be in our
ways as simple, affectionate, and true, as that old mastiff; and in the
highest of all senses, I often think of what Robert Burns says
somewhere, “Man is the god of the dog.” It would be well for man if his
worship were as immediate and instinctive—as absolute as the dog’s. Did
we serve our God with half the zeal Rab served his, we might trust to
sleep as peacefully in our graves as he does in his. When James turned
his angry eye and raised his quick voice and foot, his worshipper slunk
away, humbled and afraid, angry with himself for making _him_ angry;
anxious by any means to crouch back into his favor, and a kind look or
word. Is that the way we take His displeasure, even when we can’t think,
as Rab couldn’t, we were immediately to blame? It is, as the old worthy
says, something to trust our God in the dark, as the dog does his.

A dear and wise and exquisite child, drew a plan for a headstone on the
grave of a favorite terrier, and she had in it the words “WHO died” on
such a day; the older and more worldly-minded painter put in “WHICH;”
and my friend and “Bossy’s” said to me, with some displeasure, as we
were examining the monuments, “Wasn’t he a Who as much as they?” and
wasn’t she righter than they? and

  “Quis desiderio sit aut pudor aut modus
  Tam cari capitis”—

as that of “Rab.”

With regard to the quotations—and the much Latin and some Greek, the
world of men, and especially of women, is dead against me. I am sorry
for it. As he said, who was reminded in an argument that the facts were
against him, “So much the worse for them,” and I may add for me. Latin
and Greek are not dead—in one sense, they are happily immortal; but the
present age is doing its worst to kill them, and much of their own best
good and pleasure.

      _October 13, 1859_.


                           _To MY TWO FRIENDS
                        at Busby, Renfrewshire,
          In Remembrance of a Journey from Carstairs Junction
                          to Toledo and back,
           The Story of “Rab and his Friends” is inscribed._

Four-and-thirty years ago, Bob Ainslie and I were coming up Infirmary
Street from the Edinburgh High School, our heads together, and our arms
intertwisted, as only lovers and boys know how, or why.

When we got to the top of the street, and turned north, we espied a
crowd at the Tron Church. “A dog-fight!” shouted Bob, and was off; and
so was I, both of us all but praying that it might not be over before we
got up! And is not this boy-nature? and human nature too? and don’t we
all wish a house on fire not to be out before we see it? Dogs like
fighting; old Isaac says they “delight” in it, and for the best of all
reasons; and boys are not cruel because they like to see the fight. They
see three of the great cardinal virtues of dog or man—courage,
endurance, and skill—in intense action. This is very different from a
love of making dogs fight, and enjoying, and aggravating, and making
gain by their pluck. A boy—be he ever so fond himself of fighting, if
he be a good boy, hates and despises all this, but he would have run off
with Bob and me fast enough: it is a natural, and a not wicked interest,
that all boys and men have in witnessing intense energy in action.

Does any curious and finely-ignorant woman wish to know how Bob’s eye at
a glance announced a dog-fight to his brain? He did not, he could not
see the dogs fighting; it was a flash of an inference, a rapid
induction. The crowd round a couple of dogs fighting, is a crowd
masculine mainly, with an occasional active, compassionate woman,
fluttering wildly round the outside, and using her tongue and her hands
freely upon the men, as so many “brutes;” it is a crowd annular,
compact, and mobile; a crowd centripetal, having its eyes and its heads
all bent downwards and inwards, to one common focus.

Well, Bob and I are up, and find it is not over: a small thoroughbred,
white bull-terrier, is busy throttling a large shepherd’s dog,
unaccustomed to war, but not to be trifled with. They are hard at it;
the scientific little fellow doing his work in great style, his pastoral
enemy fighting wildly, but with the sharpest of teeth and a great
courage. Science and breeding, however, soon had their own; the Game
Chicken, as the premature Bob called him, working his way up, took his
final grip of poor Yarrow’s throat,—and he lay gasping and done for.
His master, a brown, handsome, big young shepherd from Tweedsmuir, would
have liked to have knocked down any man, would “drink up Esil, or eat a
crocodile,” for that part, if he had a chance: it was no use kicking the
little dog; that would only make him hold the closer. Many were the
means shouted out in mouthfuls, of the best possible ways of ending it.
“Water!” but there was none near, and many cried for it who might have
got it from the well at Blackfriars Wynd. “Bite the tail!” and a large,
vague, benevolent, middle-aged man, more desirous than wise, with some
struggle got the bushy end of _Yarrow’s_ tail into his ample mouth, and
bit it with all his might. This was more than enough for the
much-enduring, much-perspiring shepherd, who, with a gleam of joy over
his broad visage, delivered a terrific facer upon our large, vague,
benevolent, middle-aged friend,—who went down like a shot.

Still the Chicken holds; death not far _off_. “Snuff! a pinch of snuff!”
observed a calm, highly-dressed young buck, with an eye-glass in his
eye. “Snuff, indeed!” growled the angry crowd, affronted and glaring.
“Snuff! a pinch of snuff!” again observes the buck but with more
urgency; whereon were produced several open boxes, and from a mull which
may have been at Culloden, he took a pinch, knelt down, and presented it
to the nose of the Chicken. The laws of physiology and of snuff take
their course; the Chicken sneezes, and Yarrow is free!

The young pastoral giant stalks off with Yarrow in his arms,—comforting

But the Bull Terrier’s blood is up, and his soul unsatisfied; he grips
the first dog he meets, and discovering she is not a dog, in Homeric
phrase, he makes a brief sort of _amende_, and is off. The boys, with
Bob and me at their head, are after him: down Niddry Street he goes,
bent on mischief; up the Cowgate like an arrow—Bob and I, and our small
men, panting behind.

There, under the single arch of the South Bridge, is a huge mastiff,
sauntering down the middle of the causeway, as if with his hands in his
pockets: he is old, gray, brindled, as big as a little Highland bull,
and has the Shaksperian dewlaps shaking as he goes.

The Chicken makes straight at him, and fastens on his throat. To our
astonishment, the great creature does nothing but stand still, hold
himself up, and roar—yes, roar; a long, serious, remonstrative roar.
How is this? Bob and I are up to them. _He is muzzled!_ The bailies had
proclaimed a general muzzling, and his master, studying strength and
economy mainly, had encompassed his huge jaws in a home-made apparatus,
constructed out of the leather of some ancient _breechin_. His mouth was
open as far as it could; his lips curled up in rage—a sort of terrible
grin; his teeth gleaming, ready, from out the darkness; the strap across
his mouth tense as a bowstring; his whole frame stiff with indignation
and surprise; his roar asking us all round; “Did you ever see the like
of this?” He looked a statue of anger and astonishment, done in Aberdeen

We soon had a crowd: the Chicken held on. “A knife!” cried Bob; and a
cobbler gave him his knife: you know the kind of knife, worn away
obliquely to a point, and always keen. I put its edge to the tense
leather; it ran before it; and then!—one sudden jerk of that enormous
head, a sort of dirty mist about his mouth, no noise,—and the bright
and fierce little fellow is dropped, limp, and dead. A solemn pause:
this was more than any of us had bargained for. I turned the little
fellow over, and saw he was quite dead; the mastiff had taken him by the
small of the back like a rat, and broken it.

He looked down at his victim appeased, ashamed, and amazed; snuffed him
all over, stared at him, and taking a sudden thought, turned round and
trotted off. Bob took the dead dog up, and said, “John, we’ll bury him
after tea.” “Yes,” said I, and was off after the mastiff. He made up the
Cowgate at a rapid swing; he had forgotten some engagement. He turned up
the Candlemaker Row, and stopped at the Harrow Inn.

There was a carrier’s cart ready to start, and a keen, thin, impatient,
black-a-vised little man, his hand at his gray horse’s head, looking
about angrily for something. “Rab, ye thief!” said he, aiming a kick at
my great friend, who drew cringing up, and avoiding the heavy shoe with
more agility than dignity, and watching his master’s eye, slunk dismayed
under the cart,—his ears down, and as much as he had of tail down too.

What a man this must be—thought I—to whom my tremendous hero turns
tail! The carrier saw the muzzle hanging, cut and useless, from his
neck, and I eagerly told him the story, which Bob and I always thought,
and still think, Homer, or King David, or Sir Walter alone were worthy
to rehearse. The severe little man was mitigated, and condescended to
say, “Rab, my man, puir Rabbie,”—whereupon the stump of a tail rose up,
the ears were cocked, the eyes filled, and were comforted; the two
friends were reconciled. “Hupp!” and a stroke of the whip were given to
Jess; and off went the three.

       *       *       *       *       *

Bob and I buried the Game Chicken that night (we had not much of a tea)
in the back-green of his house in Melville Street, No. 17, with
considerable gravity and silence; and being at the time in the Iliad,
and, like all boys, Trojans, we called him Hector of course.

       *       *       *       *       *

Six years have passed,—a long time for a boy and a dog: Bob Ainslie is
off to the wars; I am a medical student, and clerk at Minto House

Rab I saw almost every week, on the Wednesday; and we had much pleasant
intimacy. I found the way to his heart by frequent scratching of his
huge head, and an occasional bone. When I did not notice him he would
plant himself straight before me, and stand wagging that bud of a tail,
and looking up, with his head a little to the one side. His master I
occasionally saw; he used to call me “Maister John,” but was laconic as
any Spartan.

One fine October afternoon, I was leaving the hospital, when I saw the
large gate open, and in walked Rab, with that great and easy saunter of
his. He looked as if taking general possession of the place; like the
Duke of Wellington entering a subdued city, satiated with victory and
peace. After him came Jess, now white from age, with her cart; and in it
a woman, carefully wrapped up,—the carrier leading the horse anxiously,
and looking back. When he saw me, James (for his name was James Noble)
made a curt and grotesque “boo,” and said, “Maister John, this is the
mistress; she’s got a trouble in her breest—some kind o’ an income
we’re thinking’.”

By this time I saw the woman’s face; she was sitting on a sack filled
with straw, her husband’s plaid round her, and his big-coat with its
large white metal buttons, over her feet.

I never saw a more unforgettable face—pale, serious, _lonely_,[2]
delicate, sweet, without being at all what we call fine. She looked
sixty, and had on a mutch, white as snow, with its black ribbon; her
silvery, smooth hair setting off her dark-gray eyes—eyes such as one
sees only twice or thrice in a lifetime, full of suffering, full also of
the overcoming of it: her eyebrows black and delicate, and her mouth
firm, patient, and contented, which few mouths ever are.

    [2] It is not easy giving this look by one word; it was
        expressive of her being so much of her life alone.

As I have said, I never saw a more beautiful countenance, or one more
subdued to settled quiet. “Ailie,” said James, “this is Maister John,
the young doctor; Rab’s freend, ye ken. We often speak aboot you,
doctor.” She smiled, and made a movement, but said nothing; and prepared
to come down, putting her plaid aside and rising. Had Solomon, in all
his glory, been handing down the Queen of Sheba at his palace gate, he
could not have done it more daintily, more tenderly, more like a
gentleman, than did James the Howgate carrier, when he lifted down Ailie
his wife. The contrast of his small, swarthy, weather-beaten, keen,
worldly face to hers—pale, subdued, and beautiful—was something
wonderful. Rab looked on concerned and puzzled, but ready for anything
that might turn up,—were it to strangle the nurse, the porter, or even
me. Ailie and he seemed great friends.

“As I was sayin’ she’s got a kind o’ trouble in her breest, doctor; wull
ye tak’ a look at it?” We walked into the consulting-room, all four; Rab
grim and comic, willing to be happy and confidential if cause could be
shown, willing also to be the reverse, on the same terms. Ailie sat
down, undid her open gown and her lawn handkerchief round her neck, and
without a word, showed me her right breast. I looked at and examined it
carefully,-she and James watching me, and Rab eying all three. What
could I say? there it was, that had once been so soft, so shapely, so
white, so gracious and bountiful, so “full of all blessed
conditions,”—hard as a stone, a centre of horrid pain, making that pale
face, with its gray, lucid, reasonable eyes, and its sweet resolved
mouth, express the full measure of suffering overcome. Why was that
gentle, modest, sweet woman, clean and lovable, condemned by God to bear
such a burden?

I got her away to bed. “May Rab and me bide?” said James. “_You_ may;
and Rab, if he will behave himself.” “I’se warrant he’s do that,
doctor;” and in slank the faithful beast. I wish you could have seen
him. There are no such dogs now. He belonged to a lost tribe. As I have
said, he was brindled and gray like Rubislaw granite; his hair short,
hard, and close, like a lion’s; his body thick set, like a little
bull—a sort of compressed Hercules of a dog. He must have been ninety
pounds’ weight, at the least; he had a large blunt head; his muzzle
black as night, his mouth blacker than any night, a tooth or two—being
all he had—gleaming out of his jaws of darkness. His head was scarred
with the records of old wounds, a sort of series of fields of battle all
over it; one eye out, one ear cropped as close as was Archbishop
Leighton’s father’s; the remaining eye had the power of two; and above
it, and in constant communication with it, was a tattered rag of an ear,
which was forever unfurling itself, like an old flag; and then that bud
of a tail, about one inch long, if it could in any sense be said to be
long, being as broad as long—the mobility, the instantaneousness of
that bud were very funny and surprising, and its expressive twinklings
and winkings, the intercommunications between the eye, the ear, and it,
were of the oddest and swiftest.

Rab had the dignity and simplicity of great size; and having fought his
way all along the road to absolute supremacy, he was as mighty in his
own line as Julius Cæsar or the Duke of Wellington, and had the
gravity[3] of all great fighters.

    [3] A Highland game-keeper, when asked why a certain terrier, of
        singular pluck, was so much more solemn than the other dogs,
        said, “Oh, Sir, life’s full o’ sairiousness to him—he just
        never can get enuff o’ fechtin’.”

You must have often observed the likeness of certain men to certain
animals, and of certain dogs to men. Now, I never looked at Rab without
thinking of the great Baptist preacher, Andrew Fuller.[4] The same
large, heavy, menacing, combative, sombre, honest countenance, the same
deep inevitable eye, the same look,—as of thunder asleep, but
ready,—neither a dog nor a man to be trifled with.

    [4] Fuller was, in early life, when a farmer lad at Soham, famous
        as a boxer; not quarrelsome, but not without “the stern
        delight” a man of strength and courage feels in their
        exercise. Dr. Charles Stewart, of Dunearn, whose rare gifts
        and graces as a physician, a divine, a scholar, and a
        gentleman, live only in the memory of those few who knew and
        survive him, liked to tell how Mr. Fuller used to say, that
        when he was in the pulpit, and saw a _buirdly_ man come
        along the passage, he would instinctively draw himself up,
        measure his imaginary antagonist, and forecast how he would
        deal with him, his hands meanwhile condensing into fists,
        and tending to “square.” He must have been a hard hitter if
        he boxed as he preached—what “The Fancy” would call “an
        ugly customer.”

Next day, my master, the surgeon, examined Ailie. There was no doubt it
must kill her, and soon. It could be removed—it might never return—it
would give her speedy relief—she should have it done. She curtsied,
looked at James, and said, “When?” “To-morrow,” said the kind surgeon—a
man of few words. She and James and Rab and I retired. I noticed that he
and she spoke little, but seemed to anticipate everything in each other.
The following day, at noon, the students came in, hurrying up the great
stair. At the first landing-place, on a small well-known blackboard, was
a bit of paper fastened by wafers, and many remains of old wafers beside
it. On the paper were the words,—“An operation to-day. J. B. _Clerk_.”

Up ran the youths, eager to secure good places: in they crowded, full of
interest and talk. “What’s the case?” “Which side is it?”

Don’t think them heartless; they are neither better nor worse than you
or I; they get over their professional horrors, and into their proper
work—and in them pity—as an _emotion_, ending in itself or at best in
tears and a long-drawn breath, lessens, while pity as a _motive_, is
quickened, and gains power and purpose. It is well for poor human nature
that it is so.

The operating theatre is crowded; much talk and fun, and all the
cordiality and stir of youth. The surgeon with his staff of assistants
is there. In comes Ailie: one look at her quiets and abates the eager
students. That beautiful old woman is too much for them; they sit down,
and are dumb, and gaze at her. These rough boys feel the power of her
presence. She walks in quickly, but without haste; dressed in her mutch,
her neckerchief, her white dimity short-gown, her black bombazine
petticoat, showing her white worsted stockings and her carpet-shoes.
Behind her was James with Rab. James sat down in the distance, and took
that huge and noble head between his knees. Rab looked perplexed and
dangerous; forever cocking his ear and dropping it as fast.

Ailie stepped up on a seat, and laid herself on the table, as her friend
the surgeon told her; arranged herself, gave a rapid look at James, shut
her eyes, rested herself on me, and took my hand. The operation was at
once begun; it was necessarily slow; and chloroform—one of God’s best
gifts to his suffering children—was then unknown. The surgeon did his
work. The pale face showed its pain, but was still and silent. Rab’s
soul was working within him; he saw that something strange was going
on,—blood flowing from his mistress, and she suffering; his ragged ear
was up, and importunate; he growled and gave now and then a sharp
impatient yelp; he would have liked to have done something to that man.
But James had him firm, and gave him a _glower_ from time to time, and
an intimation of a possible kick;—all the better for James, it kept his
eye and his mind off Ailie.

It is over: she is dressed, steps gently and decently down from the
table, looks for James; then, turning to the surgeon and the students,
she curtsies,—and in a low, clear voice, begs their pardon if she has
behaved ill. The students—all of us—wept like children; the surgeon
happed her up carefully,—and, resting on James and me, Ailie went to
her room, Rab following. We put her to bed. James took off his heavy
shoes, crammed with tackets, heel-capt and toe-capt, and put them
carefully under the table, saying, “Maister John, I’m for nane o’ yer
strynge nurse bodies for Ailie. I’ll be her nurse, and I’ll gang aboot
on my stockin’ soles as canny as pussy.” And so he did; and handy and
clever, and swift and tender as any woman, was that horny-handed, snell,
peremptory little man. Everything she got he gave her: he seldom slept;
and often I saw his small shrewd eyes out of the darkness, fixed on her.
As before, they spoke little.

Rab behaved well, never moving, showing us how meek and gentle he could
be, and occasionally, in his sleep, letting us know that he was
demolishing some adversary. He took a walk with me every day, generally
to the Candlemaker Row; but he was sombre and mild; declined doing
battle, though some fit cases offered, and indeed submitted to sundry
indignities; and was always very ready to turn, and came faster back,
and trotted up the stair with much lightness, and went straight to that

Jess, the mare, had been sent, with her weatherworn cart, to Howgate,
and had doubtless her own dim and placid meditations and confusions, on
the absence of her master and Rab, and her unnatural freedom from the
road and her cart.

For some days Ailie did well. The wound healed “by the first intention;”
for as James said, “Oor Ailie’s skin’s ower clean to beil.” The students
came in quiet and anxious, and surrounded her bed. She said she liked to
see their young, honest faces. The surgeon dressed her, and spoke to her
in his own short kind way, pitying her through his eyes, Rab and James
outside the circle,—Rab being now reconciled, and even cordial, and
having made up his mind that as yet nobody required worrying, but, as
you may suppose, _semper paratus_.

So far well: but, four days after the operation, my patient had a sudden
and long shivering, a “groosin’,” as she called it. I saw her soon
after; her eyes were too bright, her cheek colored; she was restless,
and ashamed of being so; the balance was lost; mischief had begun. On
looking at the wound, a blush of red told the secret: her pulse was
rapid, her breathing anxious and quick, she wasn’t herself, as she said,
and was vexed at her restlessness. We tried what we could. James did
everything, was everywhere; never in the way, never out of it; Rab
subsided under the table into a dark place, and was motionless, all but
his eye, which followed every one. Ailie got worse; began to wander in
her mind, gently; was more demonstrative in her ways to James, rapid in
her questions, and sharp at times. He was vexed, and said, “She was
never that way afore; no, never.” For a time she knew her head was
wrong, and was always asking our pardon—the dear, gentle old woman:
then delirium set in strong, without pause. Her brain gave way, and then
came that terrible spectacle,—

  “The intellectual power, through words and things,
  Went sounding on its dim and perilous way;”

she sang bits of old songs and Psalms, stopping suddenly, mingling the
Psalms of David and the diviner words of his Son and Lord, with homely
odds and ends and scraps of ballads.

Nothing more touching, or in a sense more strangely beautiful, did I
ever witness. Her tremulous, rapid, affectionate, eager, Scotch
voice,—the swift, aimless, bewildered mind, the baffled utterance, the
bright and perilous eye; some wild words, some household cares,
something for James, the names of the dead, Rab called rapidly and in a
“fremyt” voice, and he starting up surprised, and slinking off as if he
were to blame somehow, or had been dreaming he heard; many eager
questions and beseechings which James and I could make nothing of, and
on which she seemed to set her all, and then sink back ununderstood. It
was very sad, but better than many things that are not called sad. James
hovered about, put out and miserable, but active and exact as ever; read
to her when there was a lull, short bits from the Psalms, prose and
metre, chanting the latter in his own rude and serious way, showing
great knowledge of the fit words, bearing up like a man, and dealing
over her as his “ain Ailie.” “Ailie, ma woman!” “Ma ain bonnie wee

The end was drawing on: the golden bowl was breaking; the silver cord
was fast being loosed—that _animula blandula_, _vagula_, _hospes_,
_comesque_, was about to flee. The body and the soul—companions for
sixty years—were being sundered, and taking leave. She was walking
alone, through the valley of that shadow, into which one day we must all
enter,—and yet she was not alone, for we know whose rod and staff were
comforting her.

One night she had fallen quiet, and as we hoped, asleep; her eyes were
shut. We put down the gas, and sat watching her. Suddenly she sat up in
bed, and taking a bed-gown which was lying on it rolled up, she held it
eagerly to her breast,—to the right side. We could see her eyes bright
with a surprising tenderness and joy, bending over this bundle of
clothes. She held it as a woman holds her sucking child; opening out her
night-gown impatiently, and holding it close, and brooding over it, and
murmuring foolish little words, as over one whom his mother comforteth,
and who sucks and is satisfied. It was pitiful and strange to see her
wasted dying look, keen and yet vague—her immense love.

“Preserve me!” groaned James, giving way. And then she rocked back and
forward, as if to make it sleep, hushing it, and wasting on it her
infinite fondness. “Wae’s me, doctor; I declare she’s thinkin’ it’s that
bairn.” “What bairn?” “The only bairn we ever had; our wee Mysie, and
she’s in the Kingdom, forty years and mair.” It was plainly true: the
pain in the breast, telling its urgent story to a bewildered, ruined
brain, was misread and mistaken; it suggested to her the uneasiness of a
breast full of milk, and then the child; and so again once more they
were together, and she had her ain wee Mysie in her bosom.

This was the close. She sank rapidly: the delirium left her; but, as she
whispered, she was “clean silly;” it was the lightening before the final
darkness. After having for some time lain still—her eyes shut, she said
“James!” He came close to her, and lifting up her calm, clear, beautiful
eyes, she gave him a long look, turned to me kindly but shortly, looked
for Rab but could not see him, then turned to her husband again, as if
she would never leave off looking, shut her eyes, and composed herself.
She lay for some time breathing quick, and passed away so gently, that
when we thought she was gone, James, in his old-fashioned way, held the
mirror to her face. After a long pause, one small spot of dimness was
breathed out; it vanished away, and never returned, leaving the blank
clear darkness of the mirror without a stain. “What is our life? it is
even a vapor, which appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth

Rab all this time had been full awake and motionless; he came forward
beside us: Ailie’s hand, which James had held, was hanging down; it was
soaked with his tears; Rab licked it all over carefully, looked at her,
and returned to his place under the table.

James and I sat, I don’t know how long, but for some time,—saying
nothing: he started up abruptly, and with some noise went to the table,
and putting his right fore and middle fingers each into a shoe, pulled
them out, and put them on, breaking one of the leather latchets, and
muttering in anger, “I never did the like o’ that afore!”

I believe he never did; nor after either. “Rab!” he said roughly, and
pointing with his thumb to the bottom of the bed. Rab leapt up, and
settled himself; his head and eye to the dead face. “Maister John, ye’ll
wait for me,” said the carrier; and disappeared in the darkness,
thundering down-stairs in his heavy shoes. I ran to a front window;
there he was, already round the house, and out at the gate, fleeing like
a shadow.

I was afraid about him, and yet not afraid; so I sat down beside Rab,
and being wearied, fell asleep. I awoke from a sudden noise outside. It
was November, and there had been a heavy fall of snow. Rab was _in statu
quo_; he heard the noise too, and plainly knew it, but never moved. I
looked out; and there, at the gate, in the dim morning—for the sun was
not up—was Jess and the cart,—a cloud of steam rising from the old
mare. I did not see James; he was already at the door, and came up the
stairs, and met me. It was less than three hours since he left, and he
must have posted out—who knows how?—to Howgate, full nine miles off;
yoked Jess, and driven her astonished into town. He had an armful of
blankets, and was streaming with perspiration. He nodded to me, spread
out on the floor two pairs of clean old blankets having at their
corners, “A. G., 1794,” in large letters in red worsted. These were the
initials of Alison Graeme, and James may have looked in at her from
without—himself unseen but not unthought of—when he was “wat, wat, and
weary,” and after having walked many a mile over the hills, may have
seen her sitting, while “a’ the lave were sleepin’;” and by the
firelight working her name on the blankets, for her ain James’s bed.

He motioned Rab down, and taking his wife in his arms, laid her in the
blankets, and happed her carefully and firmly up, leaving the face
uncovered; and then lifting her, he nodded again sharply to me, and with
a resolved but utterly miserable face, strode along the passage, and
down-stairs, followed by Rab. I followed with a light; but he didn’t
need it. I went out, holding stupidly the candle in my hand in the calm
frosty air; we were soon at the gate. I could have helped him, but I saw
he was not to be meddled with, and he was strong, and did not need it.
He laid her down as tenderly, as safely, as he had lifted her out ten
days before—as tenderly as when he had her first in his arms when she
was only “A. G.,”—sorted her, leaving that beautiful sealed face open
to the heavens; and then taking Jess by the head, he moved away. He did
not notice me, neither did Rab, who presided behind the cart.

I stood till they passed through the long shadow of the College, and
turned up Nicolson Street. I heard the solitary cart sound through the
streets, and die away and come again; and I returned, thinking of that
company going up Libberton Brae, then along Roslin Muir, the morning
light touching the Pentlands and making them like on-looking ghosts;
then down the hill through Auchindinny woods, past “haunted
Woodhouselee;” and as daybreak came sweeping up the bleak Lammermuirs,
and fell on his own door, the company would stop, and James would take
the key, and lift Ailie up again, laying her on her own bed, and, having
put Jess up, would return with Rab and shut the door.

James buried his wife, with his neighbors mourning, Rab inspecting the
solemnity from a distance. It was snow, and that black ragged hole would
look strange in the midst of the swelling spotless cushion of white.
James looked after everything; then rather suddenly fell ill, and took
to bed; was insensible when the doctor came, and soon died. A sort of
low fever was prevailing in the village, and his want of sleep, his
exhaustion, and his misery, made him apt to take it. The grave was not
difficult to reopen. A fresh fall of snow had again made all things
white and smooth; Rab once more looked on, and slunk home to the stable.

       *       *       *       *       *

And what of Rab? I asked for him next week at the new carrier who got
the goodwill of James’s business, and was now master of Jess and her
cart. “How’s Rab?” He put me off, and said rather rudely, “What’s _your_
business wi’ the dowg?” I was not to be so put off. “Where’s Rab?” He,
getting confused and red, and intermeddling with his hair, said, “‘Deed,
sir, Rab’s deid.” “Dead! what did he die of?” “Weel, sir,” said he,
getting redder, “he didna exactly dee; he was killed. I had to brain him
wi’ a rack-pin; there was nae doin’ wi’ him. He lay in the treviss wi’
the mear, and wadna come oot. I tempit him wi’ kail and meat, but he wad
tak naething, and keepit me frae feedin’ the beast, and he was aye gur
gurrin’, and grup gruppin’ me by the legs. I was laith to make awa wi’
the auld dowg, his like wasna atween this and Thornhill,—but, ’deed,
sir, I could do naething else.” I believed him. Fit end for Rab, quick
and complete. His teeth and his friends gone, why should he keep the
peace, and be civil?

“_With BRAINS, Sir._”

    “_Multi multa sciunt, pauci multum._”

    “_It is one thing to_ wish to have truth on our side, _and
    another thing to wish to be_ on the side of truth.”—WHATELY.

    “Ἀταλαίπωρος τοῖς πολλοῖς ἡ ζητησις τῆς ἀληφείας, καὶ ἐπὶ
    τὰ ἔτοιμα μᾶλλον τρέπονται.”—THUCYDIDES.

    “_The most perfect philosophy of the_ natural _kind, only staves
    off our_ IGNORANCE _a little longer; as, perhaps, the most
    perfect philosophy of the_ moral or metaphysical _kind, serves
    only to discover larger portions of it._”—DAVID HUME.

“Pray, Mr. Opie, may I ask what you mix your colors with?” said a brisk
dilettante student to the great painter. “With _Brains_, sir,” was the
gruff reply—and the right one. It did not give much of what we call
information; it did not expound the principles and rules of the art;
but, if the inquirer had the commodity referred to, it would awaken him;
it would set him a-going, a-thinking, and a-painting to good purpose. If
he had not the wherewithal, as was likely enough, the less he had to do
with colors and their mixture the better. Many other artists, when asked
such a question, would have either set about detailing the mechanical
composition of such and such colors, in such and such proportions,
rubbed up so and so; or perhaps they would (and so much the better, but
not the best) have shown him how they laid them on; but even this would
leave him at the critical point. Opie preferred going to the quick and
the heart of the matter: “With _Brains_, sir.”

Sir Joshua Reynolds was taken by a friend to see a picture. He was
anxious to admire it, and he looked it over with a keen and careful but
favorable eye. “Capital composition; correct drawing; the color, tone,
chiaroscuro excellent; but—but—it wants, hang it, it wants—_That!_”
snapping his fingers; and, wanting “that,” though it had everything
else, it was worth nothing.

Again, Etty was appointed teacher of the students of the Royal Academy,
having been preceded by a clever, talkative, scientific expounder of
æsthetics, who delighted to tell the young men _how_ everything was
done, how to copy this, and how to express that. A student came up to
the new master, “How should I do this, sir?” “Suppose you try.” Another,
“What does this mean, Mr. Etty?” “Suppose you look.” “But I have
looked.” “Suppose you look again.” And they did try, and they did look,
and looked again; and they saw and achieved what they never could have
done, had the how or the what (supposing this possible, which it is not
in its full and highest meaning) been told them, or done for them; in
the one case, sight and action were immediate, exact, intense, and
secure; in the other mediate, feeble, and lost as soon as gained. But
what are “_Brains_”? what did Opie mean? and what is Sir Joshua’s
“_That_”? What is included in it? and what is the use, or the need of
trying and trying, of missing often before you hit, when you can be told
at once and be done with it; or of looking when you may be shown?
Everything in medicine and in painting—practical arts—as means to
ends, let their scientific enlargement be ever so rapid and immense,
depends upon the right answers to these questions.

First of all, “brains,” in the painter, are not diligence, knowledge,
skill, sensibility, a strong will, or a high aim,—he may have all
these, and never paint anything so truly good and effective as the
rugged woodcut we must all remember, of Apollyon bestriding the whole
breadth of the way, and Christian girding at him like a man, in the old
sixpenny _Pilgrim’s Progress_; and a young medical student may have
zeal, knowledge, ingenuity, attention, a good eye and a steady hand—he
may be an accomplished anatomist, stethoscopist, histologist, and
analyst; and yet, with all this, and all the lectures, and all the
books, and all the sayings, and all the preparations, drawings, tables,
and other helps of his teachers, crowded into his memory or his
note-books, he may be beaten in treating a whitlow or a colic, by the
nurse in the wards where he was clerk, or by the old country doctor who
brought him into the world, and who listens with such humble wonder to
his young friend’s account, on his coming home after each session, of
all he had seen and done,—of all the last astonishing discoveries and
operations of the day. What the painter wants, in addition to, and as
the complement of, the other elements, is _genius and sense_; what the
doctor needs to crown and give worth and safety to his accomplishments,
is _sense and genius_: in the first case, more of this, than of that; in
the second, more of that, than of this. These are the “_Brains_” and the

And what is genius? and what is sense? Genius is a peculiar native
aptitude, or tendency, to any one calling or pursuit over all others. A
man may have a genius for governing, for killing, or for curing the
greatest number of men, and in the best possible manner: a man may have
a genius for the fiddle, or his mission may be for the tight-rope, or
the Jew’s harp; or it may be a natural turn for seeking, and finding,
and teaching truth, and for doing the greatest possible good to mankind;
or it may be a turn equally natural for seeking, and finding, and
teaching a lie, and doing the _maximum_ of mischief. It was as natural,
as inevitable, for Wilkie to develop himself into a painter, and such a
painter as we know him to have been, as it is for an acorn when planted
to grow up into an oak, a specific _quercus robur_. But _genius_, and
nothing else, is not enough, even for a painter; he must likewise have
_sense_; and what is sense? _Sense_ drives, or ought to drive, the
coach; sense regulates, combines, restrains, commands, all the
rest—even the genius; and sense implies exactness and soundness, power
and promptitude of mind.

Then for the young doctor, he must have as his main, his master faculty,
SENSE—Brains—νοῦς, justness of mind, because his subject-matter is
one in which principle works, rather than impulse, as in painting; the
understanding has first to do with it, however much it is worthy of the
full exercise of the feelings, and the affections. But all will not do,
if GENIUS is not there,—a real turn for the profession. It may not be a
liking for it—some of the best of its practitioners never really liked
it, at least liked other things better; but there must be a fitness of
faculty of body and mind for its full, constant, exact pursuit. This
sense and this genius, such a special therapeutic gift, had Hippocrates,
Sydenham, Pott, Pinel, John Hunter, Delpech, Dupuytren, Kellie, Cheyne,
Baillie, and Abercrombie. We might, to pursue the subject, pick out
painters who had much genius and little or no sense, and _vice versâ_;
and physicians and surgeons, who had sense without genius, and genius
without sense, and some perhaps who had neither, and yet were
noticeable, and, in their own sideways, useful men.

But our great object will be gained if we have given our young readers
(and these remarks are addressed exclusively to students) any idea of
what we mean, if we have made them think, and look inwards. The noble
and sacred science you have entered on is large, difficult, and deep,
beyond most others; it is every day becoming larger, deeper, and in many
senses more difficult, more complicated and involved. It requires _more
than the average_ intellect, energy, attention, patience, and courage,
and that singular but imperial quality, at once a gift and an
acquirement, _presence of mind_—ἀγχινοία, or nearness of the νοῦς,
as the subtle Greeks called it—than almost any other department of
human thought and action, except perhaps that of ruling men. Therefore
it is, that we hold it to be of paramount importance that the parents,
teachers, and friends of youths intended for medicine, and above all,
that those who examine them on their entering on their studies, should
at least (we might safely go much farther) satisfy themselves as far as
they can, that they are not below _par_ in intelligence; they may be
deficient and unapt, _quâ medici_, and yet, if taken in time, may make
excellent men in other useful and honorable callings.

But suppose we have got the requisite amount and specific kind of
capacity, how are we to fill it with its means; how are we to make it
effectual for its end? On this point we say nothing, except that the
fear now-a-days, is rather that the mind gets too much of too many
things, than too little or too few. But this means of turning knowledge
to action, making it what Bacon meant when he said it was power,
invigorating the thinking substance—giving tone, and you may call it
muscle and nerve, blood and bone, to the mind—a firm gripe, and a keen
and sure eye; _that_ we think, is far too little considered or cared for
at present, as if the mere act of filling in everything forever into a
poor lad’s brain, would give him the ability to make anything of it, and
above all, the power to appropriate the small portions of true
nutriment, and reject the dregs.

One comfort we have, that in the main, and in the last resort, there is
really very little that _can_ be done for any man by another. Begin with
the sense and the genius—the keen appetite and the good digestion—and,
amid all obstacles and hardships, the work goes on merrily and well;
without these, we all know what a laborious affair, and a dismal, it is
to make an incapable youth apply. Did any of you ever set yourselves to
keep up artificial respiration, or to trudge about for a whole night
with a narcotized victim of opium, or transfuse blood (your own perhaps)
into a poor, fainting exanimate wretch? If so, you will have some idea
of the heartless attempt, and its generally vain and miserable result,
to make a dull student apprehend—a debauched, interested, knowing, or
active in anything beyond the base of his brain—a weak, etiolated
intellect hearty, and worth anything; and yet how many such are dragged
through their dreary _curricula_, and by some miraculous process of
cramming, and equally miraculous power of turning their insides out, get
through their examinations: and then—what then? providentially, in most
cases, they find their level; the broad daylight of the world—its
shrewd and keen eye, its strong instinct of what can, and what cannot
serve _its_ purpose—puts all, except the poor object himself, to
rights; happy is it for him if he turns to some new and more congenial
pursuit in time.

But it may be asked, how are the brains to be strengthened, the sense
quickened, the genius awakened, the affections raised—the whole man
turned to the best account for the cure of his fellow-men? How are you,
when physics and physiology are increasing so marvellously, and when the
burden of knowledge, the quantity of transferable information, of
registered facts, of current names—and such names!—is so infinite: how
are you to enable a student to take all in, bear up under all, and use
it as not abusing it, or being abused by it? You must invigorate the
containing and sustaining mind, you must strengthen him from within, as
well as fill him from without; you must discipline, nourish, edify,
relieve, and refresh his entire nature; and how? We have no time to go
at large into this, but we will indicate what we mean:—encourage
languages, especially French and German, at the early part of their
studies; encourage not merely the book knowledge, but the personal
pursuit of natural history, of field botany, of geology, of zoology;
give the young, fresh, unforgetting eye, exercise and free scope upon
the infinite diversity and combination of natural colors, forms,
substances, surfaces, weights, and sizes—everything, in a word, that
will educate their eye or ear, their touch, taste, and smell, their
sense of muscular resistance; encourage them by prizes, to make
skeletons, preparations, and collections of any natural objects; and,
above all, try and get hold of their affections, and make them put their
hearts into their work. Let them, if possible, have the advantage of a
regulated _tutorial_, as well as the ordinary professorial system. Let
there be no excess in the number of classes and frequency of lectures.
Let them be drilled in composition; by this we mean the writing and
spelling of correct, plain English (a matter not of every-day
occurrence, and not on the increase),—let them be directed to the best
books of the old masters in medicine, and _examined in them_,—let them
be encouraged in the use of a wholesome and manly literature. We do not
mean popular or even modern literature—such as Emerson, Bulwer, or
Alison, or the trash of inferior periodicals or novels—fashion, vanity,
and the spirit of the age, will attract them readily enough to all
these; we refer to the treasures of our elder and better authors. If our
young medical student would take our advice, and for an hour or two
twice a week take up a volume of Shakspeare, Cervantes, Milton, Dryden,
Pope, Cowper, Montaigne, Addison, Defoe, Goldsmith, Fielding, Scott,
Charles Lamb, Macaulay, Jeffrey, Sydney Smith, Helps, Thackeray, &c.,
not to mention authors on deeper and more sacred subjects—they would
have happier and healthier minds, and make none the worse doctors. If
they, by good fortune—for the tide has set in strong against the
_literæ humaniores_—have come off with some Greek or Latin, we would
supplicate for an ode of Horace, a couple of pages of Cicero or of Pliny
once a month, and a page of Xenophon. French and German should be
mastered either before or during the first years of study. They will
never afterwards be acquired so easily or so thoroughly, and the want of
them may be bitterly felt when too late.

But one main help, we are persuaded, is to be found in studying, and by
this we do not mean the mere reading, but the digging into and through,
the energizing upon, and mastering such books as we have mentioned at
the close of this paper. These are not, of course, the only works we
would recommend to those who wish to understand thoroughly, and to make
up their minds, on these great subjects as wholes; but we all know too
well that our Art is long, broad, and deep,—and Time, opportunity, and
our little hour, brief and uncertain, therefore, we would recommend
those books as a sort of game of the mind, a mental exercise—like
cricket, a gymnastic, a clearing of the eyes of their mind as with
euphrasy, a strengthening their power over particulars, a getting fresh,
strong views of worn out, old things, and, above all, a learning the
right use of their reason, and by knowing their own ignorance and
weakness, finding true knowledge and strength. Taking up a book like
Arnauld, and reading a chapter of his lively, manly sense, is like
throwing your manuals, and scalpels, and microscopes, and natural (most
unnatural) orders out of your hand and head, and taking a game with the
Grange Club, or a run to the top of Arthur Seat. Exertion quickens your
pulse, expands your lungs, makes your blood warmer and redder, fills
your mouth with the pure waters of relish, strengthens and supples your
legs; and though on your way to the top you may encounter rocks, and
baffling _débris_, and gusts of fierce winds rushing out upon you from
behind corners, just as you will find in Arnauld, and all truly serious
and honest books of the kind, difficulties and puzzles, winds of
doctrine, and deceitful mists; still you are rewarded at the top by the
wide view. You see, as from a tower, the end of all. You look into the
perfections and relations of things. You see the clouds, the bright
lights and the everlasting hills on the far horizon. You come down the
hill a happier, a better, and a hungrier man, and of a better mind. But,
as we said, you must eat the book, you must crush it, and cut it with
your teeth and swallow it; just as you must walk up, and not be carried
up the hill, much less imagine you are there, or look upon a picture of
what you would see were you up, however accurately or artistically done;
no—you yourself must _do_ both.

Philosophy—the love and the possession of wisdom—is divided into two
things, science or knowledge; and a habit, or power of mind. He who has
got the first is not truly wise unless his mind has reduced and
assimilated it, as Dr. Prout would have said, unless he appropriates and
can use it for his need.

The prime qualifications of a physician may be summed up in the words
_Capax_, _Perspicax_, _Sagax_, _Efficax_. _Capax_—there must be room to
receive, and arrange, and keep knowledge; _Perspicax_—senses and
perceptions, keen, accurate, and immediate, to bring in materials from
all sensible things; _Sagax_—a central power of knowing what is what,
and what it is worth, of choosing and rejecting, of judging; and
finally, _Efficax_—the will and the way—the power to turn all the
other three—capacity, perspicacity, sagacity, to account, in the
performance of the thing in hand, and thus rendering back to the outer
world, in a new and useful form, what you had received from it. These
are the intellectual qualities which make up the physician, without any
one of which he would be _mancus_, and would not deserve the name of a
complete artsman, any more than proteine would be itself if any one of
its four elements were amissing.

We have left ourselves no room to speak of the books we have named at
the end of this paper. We recommend them all to our young readers.
Arnauld’s excellent and entertaining _Art of Thinking_—the once famous
Port-Royal Logic—is, if only one be taken, probably the best. Thomson’s
little book is admirable, and is specially suited for a medical student,
as its illustrations are drawn with great intelligence and exactness
from chemistry and physiology. We know nothing more perfect than the
analysis, at page 348, of Sir H. Davy’s beautiful experiments to account
for the traces of an alkali, found when decomposing water by galvanism.
It is quite exquisite, the hunt after and the unearthing of “_the
residual cause_.” This book has the great advantage of a clear, lively,
and strong style. We can only give some short extracts.


    “We may define the inductive method as the process of
    discovering laws and rules from facts, and causes from effects;
    and the deductive, as the method of deriving facts from laws,
    and effects from their causes.”

There is a valuable paragraph on anticipation and its uses—there is a
power and desire of the mind to project itself from the known into the
unknown, in the expectation of finding what it is in search of.

    “This power of divination, this sagacity, which is the mother of
    all science, we may call anticipation. The intellect, with a
    dog-like instinct, will not hunt until it has found the scent.
    It must have some presage of the result before it will turn its
    energies to its attainment. The system of anatomy which has
    immortalized the name of Oken, is the consequence of a _flash of
    anticipation_, which glanced through his mind when he picked up,
    in a chance walk, the skull of a deer, bleached by the weather,
    and exclaimed—‘_It is a vertebral column!_’”

    “The man of science possesses principles—the man of art, not
    the less nobly gifted, is possessed and carried away by them.
    The principles which art _involves_, science _evolves_. The
    truths on which the success of art depends lurk in the artist’s
    mind in an undeveloped state, guiding his hand, stimulating his
    invention, balancing his judgment, but not appearing in regular
    propositions.” “An art (that of medicine for instance) will of
    course admit into its limits, everything (_and nothing else_)
    which can conduce to the performance of _its own proper work_;
    it recognizes no other principles of selection.”

    “He who reads a book on logic, probably thinks no better when he
    rises up than when he sat down, but if any of the principles
    there unfolded cleave to his memory, and he afterwards, perhaps
    unconsciously, shapes and corrects his thoughts by them, no
    doubt the whole powers of his reasoning receive benefit. In a
    word, every art, from reasoning to riding and rowing, is learned
    by assiduous practice, and if principles do any good, it is
    proportioned to the readiness with which they can be converted
    into rules, and the patient constancy with which they are
    applied in all our attempts at excellence.”

    “_A man can teach names to another man, but he cannot plant in
    another’s mind that far higher gift—the power of naming._”

    “_Language is not only the vehicle of thought, it is a great and
    efficient instrument in thinking._”

    “The whole of every _science_ may be made the subject of
    teaching. Not so with _art_; much of it is not teachable.”

Coleridge’s profound and brilliant, but unequal, and often somewhat
nebulous _Essay on Method_, is worth reading over, were it only as an
exercitation, and to impress on the mind the meaning and value of
_method_. Method is the road by which you reach, or hope to reach, a
certain end; it is a process. It is the best direction for the search
after truth. System, again, which is often confounded with it, is a
mapping out, a circumscription of knowledge, either already gained, or
theoretically laid down as probable. Aristotle had a system which did
much good, but also much mischief. Bacon was chiefly occupied in
preparing and pointing out the way—the only way—of procuring
knowledge. He left to others to systematize the knowledge after it was
got; but the pride and indolence of the human spirit lead it constantly
to build systems on imperfect knowledge. It has the trick of filling up
out of its own fancy what it has not the diligence, the humility, and
the honesty, to seek in nature; whose servant, and articulate voice, it
ought to be.

Descartes’ little tract on Method is, like everything the lively and
deep-souled Breton did, full of original and bright thought.

Sir John Herschel’s volume needs no praise. We know no work of the sort,
fuller of the best moral worth, as well as the highest philosophy. We
fear it is more talked of than read.

We would recommend the article in the _Quarterly Review_ as first-rate,
and written with great eloquence and grace.

    SYDNEY SMITH’S _Sketches of Lectures on Moral Philosophy_.
    Second Edition.

    SEDGWICK’S _Discourse on the Studies at Cambridge, with a
    Preface and Appendix_. Sixth Edition.

We have put these two worthies here, not because we had forgotten
them,—much less because we think less of them than the others,
especially Sydney. But because we bring them in at the end of our small
entertainment, as we hand round a liqueur—be it Curaçoa, Kimmel, or old
Glenlivet—after dinner, and end with the heterogeneous
plum-pudding—that most English of realized ideas. Sydney Smith’s book
is one of rare excellence, and well worthy of the study of men and
women, though perhaps not transcendental enough for our modern
philosophers, male and female. It is really astonishing how much of the
best of everything, from patriotism to nonsense, is to be found in this
volume of sketches. You may read it through, if your sides can bear such
an accumulation of laughter, with great benefit; and if you open it
anywhere, you can’t read three sentences without coming across some, it
may be common thought, and often original enough, better expressed and
_put_ than you ever before saw it. The lectures on the Affections, the
Passions and Desires, and on Study, we would have everybody to read and

Sedgwick is a different, and, as a whole, an inferior man; but a _man_
every inch of him, and an Englishman too, in his thoughts, and in his
fine mother wit and tongue. He has, in the midst of all his confusion
and passionateness, the true instinct of philosophy—the true venatic
sense of objective truth. We know nothing better in the main, than his
demolition of what is untrue, and his reduction of what is absurd, and
his taking the wind out of what is tympanitic, in the notorious
_Vestiges_; we don’t say he always does justice to what is really good
in it; his mission is to execute justice _upon it_, and that he does.
His remarks on Oken and Owen, and his quotations from Dr. Clarke’s
admirable paper on the _Development of the Foetus_, in the _Cambridge
Philosophical Transactions_, we would recommend to our medical friends.
The very confusion of Sedgwick is the free outcome of a deep and racy
nature; it puts us in mind of what happened, when an Englishman was
looking with astonishment and disgust at a Scotchman eating a singed
sheep’s head, and was asked by the eater what he thought of that dish?
“_Dish_, sir, do you call that a dish?” “Dish or no dish,” rejoined the
Caledonian, “there’s a deal o’ fine confused feedin’ aboot it, let me
tell you.”

We conclude these rambling remarks with a quotation from Arnauld, the
friend of Pascal, and the intrepid antagonist of the Vatican and the
Grand Monarque; one of the noblest, freest, most untiring and honest
intellects, our world has ever seen. “Why don’t you rest sometimes?”
said his friend Nicole to him. “Rest! why should I rest here? haven’t I
an eternity to rest in?” The following sentence from his “_Port-Royal
Logic_,” so well introduced and translated by Mr. Baynes, contains the
gist of all we have been trying to say. It should be engraven on the
tablets of every young student’s heart—for the heart has to do with
study as well as the head.

    “There is nothing more desirable than _good sense and justness
    of mind_,—all other qualities of mind are of limited use, but
    exactness of judgment is of general utility in every part and in
    all employments of life.

    “_We are too apt to employ reason merely as an instrument for
    acquiring the sciences, whereas we ought to avail ourselves of
    the sciences, as an instrument for perfecting our reason_;
    justness of mind being infinitely more important than all the
    speculative knowledge which we can obtain by means of sciences
    the most solid. This ought to lead wise men to make their
    sciences _the exercise and not the occupation of their mental
    powers_. Men are not born to employ all their time in measuring
    lines, in considering the various movements of matter: their
    minds are too great, and their life too short, their time too
    precious, to be so engrossed; but they are born to be just,
    equitable, and prudent, in all their thoughts, their actions,
    their business; to these things they ought especially to train
    and discipline themselves.”

So, young friends, bring _Brains_ to your work, and mix everything with
them, and them with everything. _Arma virumque_, tools and a man to use
them. Stir up, direct, and give free scope to Sir Joshua’s “_that_,” and
try again, and again; and look, _oculo intento, acie acerrimâ_. Looking
is a voluntary act,—it is the man within coming to the window; seeing
is a state,—passive and receptive, and, at the best, little more than

Since writing the above, we have read with great satisfaction Dr.
Forbes’ Lecture delivered before the Chichester Literary Society and
Mechanics’ Institute, and published at their request. Its subject is,
Happiness in its relation to Work and Knowledge. It is worthy of its
author, and is, we think, more largely and finely imbued with his
personal character, than any one other of his works that we have met
with. We could not wish a fitter present for a young man starting on the
game of life. It is a wise, cheerful manly, and warm-hearted discourse
on the words of Bacon,—“He that is wise, let him pursue some desire or
other: for he that doth not affect some one thing in chief, unto him all
things are distasteful and tedious.” We will not spoil this little
volume by giving any account of it. Let our readers get it, and read it.
The extracts from his Thesis, _De Mentis Exercitatione et Felicitate
exinde derivandâ_, are very curious—showing the native vigor and bent
of his mind, and indicating also, at once the identity and the growth of
his thoughts during the lapse of thirty-three years.

We give the last paragraph, the sense and the filial affection of which
are alike admirable. Having mentioned to his hearers that they saw in
himself a living illustration of the truth of his position, that
happiness is a necessary result of knowledge and work, he thus

    “If you would further desire to know to what besides I am
    chiefly indebted for so enviable a lot, I would say:—1st,
    Because I had the good fortune to come into the world with a
    healthful frame, and with a sanguine temperament. 2d, Because I
    had no patrimony, and was therefore obliged to trust to my own
    exertions for a livelihood. 3d, Because I was born in a land
    where instruction is greatly prized and readily accessible. 4th,
    Because I was brought up to a profession which not only
    compelled mental exercise, but supplied for its use materials of
    the most delightful and varied kind. _And lastly and
    principally, because the good man to whom I owe my existence,
    had the foresight to know what would be best for his children.
    He had the wisdom, and the courage, and the exceeding love, to
    bestow all that could be spared of his worldly means, to
    purchase for his sons, that which is beyond price_, EDUCATION;
    well judging that the means so expended, if hoarded for future
    use, would be, if not valueless, certainly evanescent, while the
    precious treasure for which they were exchanged, a cultivated
    and instructed mind, would not only last through life, but might
    be the fruitful source of treasures far more precious than
    itself. So equipped he sent them forth into the world to fight
    Life’s battle, leaving the issue in the hand of God; confident,
    however, that though they might fail to achieve renown or to
    conquer Fortune, they possessed _that_ which, if rightly used,
    could win for them the yet higher prize of HAPPINESS.”

       *       *       *       *       *

Since this was written, many good books have appeared, but we would
select three, which all young men should read and get—Hartley
Coleridge’s _Lives of Northern Worthies_, Thackeray’s _Letters of Brown
the Elder_, and _Tom Brown’s School-days_—in spirit and in expression,
we don’t know any better models for manly courage, good sense, and
feeling, and they are as well written as they are thought.

There are the works of another man, one of the greatest, not only of
our, but of any time, to which we cannot too earnestly draw our young
readers. We mean the philosophical writings of Sir William Hamilton. We
know no more invigorating, quickening, rectifying kind of exercise, than
reading with a will, anything he has written upon permanently important
subjects. There is a greatness and simplicity, a closeness of thought, a
glance keen and wide, a play of the entire nature, and a truthfulness
and downrightness, with an amount, and accuracy, and vivification of
learning, such as we know of in no one other writer, ancient or
modern—not even Leibnitz; and we know no writings which so wholesomely
at once exalt and humble the reader, make him feel what is in him, and
what he can and may, as well as what he cannot, and need never hope to
know. In this respect, Hamilton is as grand as Pascal, and more simple;
he exemplifies everywhere his own sublime adaptation of
Scripture—unless a man become a little child, he cannot enter into the
kingdom; he enters the temple stooping, but he presses on, intrepid and
alone, to the inmost _adytum_, worshipping the more the nearer he gets
to the inaccessible shrine, whose veil no mortal hand has ever rent in
twain. And we name after him, the thoughtful, candid, impressive little
volume of his pupil, his friend, and his successor, Professor Fraser.

The following passage from Sir William Hamilton’s _Dissertations_,
besides its wise thought, sounds in the ear like the pathetic and
majestic sadness of a symphony by Beethoven:—

    “There are two sorts of ignorance: we philosophize to escape
    ignorance, and the consummation of our philosophy is ignorance;
    we start from the one, we repose in the other; they are the
    goals from which, and to which, we tend; and the pursuit of
    knowledge is but a course between two ignorances, as human life
    is itself only a travelling from grave to grave.

      Τίς βίος;—Ἐκ τύμβοιο θορὼν, ἐπὶ τύμβον ὁδεύω.

    The highest reach of human science is the scientific recognition
    of human ignorance; ‘Qui nescit ignorare, ignorat scire.’ This
    ‘learned ignorance’ is the rational conviction by the human mind
    of its inability to transcend certain limits; it is the
    knowledge of ourselves,—the science of man. This is
    accomplished by a demonstration of the disproportion between
    what is to be known, and our faculties of knowing,—the
    disproportion, to wit, between the infinite and the finite. In
    fact, the recognition of human ignorance, is not only the one
    highest, but the one true, knowledge; and its first-fruit, as
    has been said, is humility. Simple nescience is not proud;
    consummated science is positively humble. For this knowledge it
    is not, which ‘puffeth up;’ but its opposite, the conceit of
    false knowledge,—the conceit, in truth, as the apostle notices,
    of an ignorance of the very nature of knowledge:—

      ‘Nam nesciens quid scire sit,
      Te scire cuncta jactitas.’

    “But as our knowledge stands to Ignorance, so stands it also to
    Doubt. Doubt is the beginning and the end of our efforts to
    know; for as it is true,—‘Alte dubitat qui altius credit,’ so
    it is likewise true,—‘Quo magis quærimus magis dubitamus.’

    “The grand result of human wisdom is thus only a consciousness
    that what we know is as nothing to what we know not, (‘Quantum
    est quod nescimus!’)—an articulate confession, in fact, by our
    natural reason, of the truth declared in revelation, that ‘_now_
    we see through a glass, darkly.’”

His pupil writes in the same spirit and to the same end:—“A discovery,
by means of reflection and mental experiment, of the _limits_ of
knowledge, is the highest and most universally applicable discovery of
all; it is the one through which our intellectual life most strikingly
blends with the moral and practical part of human nature. Progress in
knowledge is often paradoxically indicated by a diminution in the
_apparent bulk_ of what we know. Whatever helps to work off the dregs of
false opinion, and to purify the intellectual mass—whatever deepens our
conviction of our infinite ignorance—really adds to, although it
sometimes seems to diminish, the rational possessions of man. This is
the highest kind of merit that is claimed for Philosophy, by its
earliest as well as by its latest representatives. It is by this
standard that Socrates and Kant measure the chief results of their


1. Arnauld’s Port-Royal Logic; translated by T. S. Baynes.—2. Thomson’s
Outlines of the Necessary Laws of Thought.—3. Descartes on the Method
of Rightly Conducting the Reason, and Seeking Truth in the Sciences.—4.
Coleridge’s Essay on Method.—5. Whately’s Logic and Rhetoric; new and
cheap edition.—6. Mill’s Logic; new and cheap edition.—7. Dugald
Stewart’s Outlines.—8. Sir John Herschel’s Preliminary
Dissertation.—9. Quarterly Review, vol. lxviii; Article upon Whewell’s
Philosophy of Inductive Sciences.—10. Isaac Taylor’s Elements of
Thought.—11. Sir William Hamilton’s edition of Reid; Dissertations; and
Lectures.—12. Professor Fraser’s Rational Philosophy.—13. Locke on the
Conduct of the Understanding.


    “_The reader must remember that my work is concerning the_
    aspects _of things only._”—RUSKIN.

We,—the _Sine Quâ Non_, the Duchess, the Sputchard, the Dutchard, the
Ricapicticapic, Oz and Oz, the Maid of Lorn, and myself,—left Crieff
some fifteen years ago, on a bright September morning, soon after
daybreak, in a gig. It was a morning still and keen: the sun sending his
level shafts across Strathearn, and through the thin mist over its river
hollows, to the fierce Aberuchil Hills, and searching out the dark blue
shadows in the corries of Benvorlich. But who and how many are “we?” To
make you as easy as we all were, let me tell you we were four; and are
not these dumb friends of ours persons rather than things? is not their
soul ampler, as Plato would say, than their body, and contains rather
than is contained? Is not what lives and wills in them, and is
affectionate, as spiritual, as immaterial, as truly removed from mere
flesh, blood, and bones, as that soul which is the proper self of their
master? And when we look each other in the face, as I now look in
Dick’s, who is lying in his “corny” by the fireside, and he in mine, is
it not as much the dog within looking from out his eyes—the windows of
his soul—as it is the man from his?

The _Sine Quâ Non_, who will not be pleased at being spoken of, is such
an one as that vain-glorious and chivalrous Ulric von Hütten—the
Reformation’s man of wit, and of the world, and of the sword, who slew
Monkery with the wild laughter of his _Epistolæ Obscurorum Virorum_—had
in his mind when he wrote thus to his friend Fredericus Piscator (Mr.
Fred. Fisher), on the 19th May 1519, “_Da mihi uxorem, Friderice, et ut
scias qualem, venustam, adolescentulam, probe educatam, hilarem,
verecundam, patientem._” “_Qualem_,” he lets Frederic understand in the
sentence preceding, is one “_quâ cum ludam, quâ jocos conferam,
amoeniores et leviusculas fabulas misceam, ubi sollicitudinis aciem
obtundam, curarum æstus mitigem_.” And if you would know more of the
_Sine Quâ Non_, and in English, for the world is dead to Latin now, you
will find her name and nature in Shakspeare’s words, when King Henry the
Eighth says, “go thy ways.”

_The Duchess_, alias all the other names till you come to the _Maid of
Lorn_, is a rough, gnarled, incomparable little bit of a terrier, three
parts Dandie-Dinmont, and one part—chiefly in tail and hair—cocker:
her father being Lord Rutherfurd’s famous “Dandie,” and her mother the
daughter of a Skye, and a light-hearted Cocker. The Duchess is about the
size and weight of a rabbit; but has a soul as big, as fierce, and as
faithful as had Meg Merrilies, with a nose as black as Topsy’s; and is
herself every bit as game and queer as that delicious imp of darkness
and of Mrs. Stowe. Her legs set her long slim body about two inches and
a half from the ground, making her very like a huge caterpillar or hairy
_oobit_—her two eyes, dark and full, and her shining nose, being all of
her that seems anything but hair. Her tail was a sort of stump, in size
and in look very much like a spare foreleg, stuck in anywhere to be
near. Her color was black above and a rich brown below, with two dots of
tan above the eyes, which dots are among the deepest of the mysteries of
Black and Tan.

This strange little being I had known for some years, but had only
possessed about a month. She and her pup (a young lady called _Smoot_,
which means smolt, a young salmon), were given me by the widow of an
honest and drunken—as much of the one as of the other—Edinburgh
street-porter, a native of Badenoch, as a legacy from him and a fee from
her for my attendance on the poor man’s death-bed. But my first sight of
the Duchess was years before in Broughton Street, when I saw her sitting
bolt upright, begging, imploring, with those little rough four leggies,
and those yearning, beautiful eyes, all the world, or any one, to help
her master, who was lying “mortal” in the kennel. I raised him, and with
the help of a ragged Samaritan, who was only less drunk than he, I got
Macpherson—he held from Glen Truim—home; the excited doggie trotting
off, and looking back eagerly to show us the way. I never again passed
the Porters’ Stand without speaking to her. After Malcolm’s burial I
took possession of her; she escaped to the wretched house, but as her
mistress was off to Kingussie, and the door shut, she gave a pitiful
howl or two, and was forthwith back at my door, with an impatient,
querulous bark. And so this is our second of the four; and is she not
deserving of as many names as any other Duchess, from her of Medina
Sidonia downwards?

A fierier little soul never dwelt in a queerer or stancher body; see her
huddled up, and you would think her a bundle of hair, or a bit of old
mossy wood, or a slice of heathery turf, with some red soil underneath
but speak to her, or give her a cat to deal with, be it bigger than
herself, and what an incarnation of affection, energy, and fury—what a
fell unquenchable little ruffian.

_The Maid of Lorn_ was a chestnut mare, a broken down racer,
thorough-bred as Beeswing, but less fortunate in her life, and I fear
not so happy _occasione mortis_: unlike the Duchess, her body was
greater and finer than her soul; still she was a ladylike creature,
sleek, slim, nervous, meek, willing, and fleet. She had been thrown down
by some brutal half-drunk Forfarshire laird, when he put her wildly and
with her wind gone, at the last hurdle on the North Inch at the Perth
races. She was done for and bought for ten pounds by the landlord of the
Drummond Arms, Crieff, who had been taking as much money out of her, and
putting as little corn into her as was compatible with life, purposing
to run her for the Consolation Stakes at Stirling. Poor young lady, she
was a sad sight—broken in back, in knees, in character, and wind—in
everything but temper, which was as sweet and all-enduring as Penelope’s
or our own Enid’s.

Of myself, the fourth, I decline making any account. Be it sufficient
that I am the Dutchard’s master, and drove the gig.

It was, as I said, a keen and bright morning, and the S. Q. N. feeling
chilly, and the Duchess being away after a cat up a back entry, doing a
chance stroke of business, and the mare looking only half breakfasted, I
made them give her a full feed of meal and water, and stood by and
enjoyed her enjoyment. It seemed too good to be true, and she looked up
every now and then in the midst of her feast, with a mild wonder. Away
she and I bowled down the sleeping village, all overrun with sunshine,
the dumb idiot man and the birds alone up, for the ostler was off to his
straw. There was the S. Q. N. and her small panting friend, who had lost
the cat, but had got what philosophers say is better—the chase. “_Nous
ne cherchons jamais les choses, mais la recherche des choses_,” says
Pascal. The Duchess would substitute for _les choses_—_les chats_.
Pursuit, not possession, was her passion. We all got in, and off set the
Maid, who was in excellent heart, quite gay, pricking her ears and
casting up her head, and rattling away at a great pace.

We baited at St. Fillans, and again cheered the heart of the Maid with
unaccustomed corn—the S. Q. N., Duchie, and myself, going up to the
beautiful rising ground at the back of the inn, and lying on the
fragrant heather looking at the Loch, with its mild gleams and shadows,
and its second heaven looking out from its depths, the wild, rough
mountains of Glenartney towering opposite. Duchie, I believe, was
engaged in minor business close at hand, and caught and ate several
large flies and a humble-bee; she was very fond of this small game.

There is not in all Scotland, or as far as I have seen in all else, a
more exquisite twelve miles of scenery than that between Crieff and the
head of Lochearn. Ochtertyre, and its woods; Benchonzie, the
head-quarters of the earthquakes, only lower than Benvorlich; Strowan;
Lawers, with its grand old Scotch pines; Comrie, with the wild Lednoch;
Dunira; and St. Fillans, where we are now lying, and where the poor
thoroughbred is tucking in her corn. We start after two hours of
dreaming in the half sunlight, and rumble ever and anon over an
earthquake, as the common folk call these same hollow, resounding rifts
in the rock beneath, and arriving at the old inn at Lochearnhead, have a
_tousie_ tea. In the evening, when the day was darkening into night,
Duchie and I,—the S. Q. N. remaining to read and rest,—walked up Glen
Ogle. It was then in its primeval state, the new road non-existent, and
the old one staggering up and down and across that most original and
Cyclopean valley, deep, threatening, savage, and yet beautiful—

  “Where rocks were rudely heaped, and rent
  As by a spirit turbulent;
  Where sights were rough, and sounds were wild,
  And everything unreconciled;”

with flocks of mighty boulders, straying all over it. Some far up, and
frightful to look at, others huddled down in the river, _immane pecus_,
and one huge unloosened fellow, as big as a manse, up aloft watching
them, like old Proteus with his calves, as if they had fled from the sea
by stress of weather, and had been led by their ancient herd _altos
visere montes_—a wilder, more “unreconciled” place I know not; and now
that the darkness was being poured into it, those big fellows looked
bigger, and hardly “canny.”

Just as we were turning to come home—Duchie unwillingly, as she had
much multifarious, and as usual fruitless hunting to do—she and I were
startled by seeing a dog _in_ the side of the hill, where the soil had
been broken. She barked and I stared; she trotted consequentially up and
snuffed _more canino_, and I went nearer: it never moved, and on coming
quite close I saw as it were the _image_ of a terrier, a something that
made me think of an idea unrealized; the rough, short, scrubby heather
and dead grass, made a color and a coat just like those of a good
Highland terrier—a sort of pepper and salt this one was—and below, the
broken soil, in which there was some iron and clay, with old gnarled
roots, for all the world like its odd, bandy, and sturdy legs. Duchie
seemed not so easily unbeguiled as I was, and kept staring, and
snuffing, and growling, but did not touch it,—seemed afraid. I left and
looked again, and certainly it was very odd the _growing_ resemblance to
one of the indigenous, hairy, low-legged dogs, one sees all about the
Highlands, terriers, or earthy ones.

We came home, and told the S. Q. N. our joke. I dreamt of that visionary
terrier, that son of the soil, all night; and in the very early morning,
leaving the S. Q. N. asleep, I walked up with the Duchess to the same
spot. What a morning! it was before sunrise, at least before he had got
above Benvorlich. The loch was lying in a faint mist, beautiful
exceedingly, as if half veiled and asleep, the cataract of Edinample
roaring less loudly than in the night, and the old castle of the Lords
of Lochow, in the shadow of the hills, among its trees, might be seen

  “Sole sitting by the shore of old romance.”

There was still gloom in Glen Ogle, though the beams of the morning were
shooting up into the broad fields of the sky. I was looking back and
down, when I heard the Duchess bark sharply, and then give a cry of
fear, and on turning round, there was she with as much as she had of
tail between her legs, where I never saw it before, and her small Grace,
without noticing me or my cries, making down to the inn and her
mistress, a hairy hurricane. I walked on to see what it was, and there
in the same spot as last night, in the bank, was a real dog—no mistake;
it was not, as the day before, a mere surface or _spectrum_, or ghost of
a dog; it was plainly round and substantial; it was much developed since
eight P.M. As I looked, it moved slightly, and as it were by a sort of
shiver, as if an electric shock (and why not?) was being administered by
a law of nature; it had then no tail, or rather had an odd amorphous
look in that region; its eye, for it had one—it was seen in
profile—looked to my profane vision like (why not actually?) a huge
blaeberry (_vaccinium Myrtillus_, it is well to be scientific) black and
full; and I thought,—but dare not be sure, and had no time or courage
to be minute,—that where the nose should be, there was a small shining
black snail, probably the _Limax niger_ of M. de Férussac, curled up,
and if you look at any dog’s nose you will be struck with the typical
resemblance, in the corrugations and moistness and jetty blackness of
the one to the other, and of the other to the one. He was a
strongly-built, wiry, bandy, and short-legged dog. As I was staring upon
him, a beam—Oh, first creative beam!—sent from the sun—

  “Like as an arrow from a bow,
  Shot by an archer strong”—

as he looked over Benvorlich’s shoulder, and piercing a cloudlet of mist
which clung close to him, and filling it with whitest radiance, struck
upon that eye or berry, and lit up that nose or snail: in an instant he
sneezed (the _nisus (sneezus?) formativus_ of the ancients); that eye
quivered and was quickened, and with a shudder—such as a horse executes
with that curious muscle of the skin, of which we have a mere fragment
in our neck, the _Platysma Myoides_, and which doubtless has been
lessened as we lost our distance from the horse-type—which dislodged
some dirt and stones and dead heather, and doubtless endless beetles,
and, it may be, made some near weasel open his other eye, up went his
tail, and out he came, lively, entire, consummate, _warm_, wagging his
tail, I was going to say like a Christian, I mean like an ordinary dog.
Then flashed upon me the solution of the _Mystery of Black and Tan_ in
all its varieties: the body, its upper part gray or black or yellow
according to the upper soil and herbs, heather, bent, moss, &c.; the
belly and feet, red or tan or light fawn, according to the nature of the
deep soil, be it ochrey, ferruginous, light clay, or comminuted mica
slate. And wonderfullest of all, the DOTS of TAN above the eyes—and who
has not noticed and wondered as to the philosophy of them?—_I saw made_
by the two fore feet, wet and clayey, being put briskly up to his eyes
as he sneezed that genetic, vivifying sneeze, and leaving their mark,

He took to me quite pleasantly, by virtue of “natural selection,” and
has accompanied me thus far in our “struggle for life,” and he, and the
S. Q. N., and the Duchess, and the Maid, returned that day to Crieff,
and were friends all our days. I was a little timid when he was crossing
a burn lest he should wash away his feet, but he merely colored the
water, and every day less and less, till in a fortnight I could wash him
without fear of his becoming a _solution_, or fluid extract of dog, and
thus resolving the mystery back into itself.

The mare’s days were short. She won the Consolation Stakes at Stirling,
and was found dead next morning in Gibb’s stables. The Duchess died in a
good old age, as may be seen in the history of “Our Dogs.” The S. Q. N.,
and the parthenogenesic earth-born, the _Cespes Vivus_—whom we
sometimes called Joshua, because he was the Son of None (Nun), and even
Melchisedec has been whispered, but only that, and Fitz-Memnon, as being
as it were a son of the Sun, sometimes the Autochthon αὐτόχθονος;
(indeed, if the relation of the _coup de soleil_ and the blaeberry had
not been plainly causal and effectual, I might have called him _Filius
Gunni_, for at the very moment of that shudder, by which he leapt out of
non-life into life, the Marquis’s gamekeeper fired his rifle up the
hill, and brought down a stray young stag,) these two are happily with
me still, and at this moment she is out on the grass in a low
easy-chair, reading Emilie Carlen’s _Brilliant Marriage_, and Dick is
lying at her feet, watching, with cocked ears, some noise in the ripe
wheat, possibly a chicken, for, poor fellow, he has a weakness for
worrying hens, and such small deer, when there is a dearth of greater.
If any, as is not unreasonable, doubt me and my story, they may come and
see Dick. I assure them he is well worth seeing.


    _Once I had friends—though now by all forsaken;
    Once I had parents—they are now in heaven.
    I had a home once——_

    _Worn out with anguish, sin, and cold, and hunger,
    Down sunk the outcast, death had seized her senses.
    There did the stranger find her in the morning—
              God had released her._


Hugh Miller, the geologist, journalist, and man of genius, was sitting
in his newspaper office late one dreary winter night. The clerks had all
left and he was preparing to go, when a quick rap came to the door. He
said “Come in,” and, looking towards the entrance, saw a little ragged
child all wet with sleet. “Are ye Hugh Miller?” “Yes.” “Mary Duff wants
ye.” “What does she want?” “She’s deein.” Some misty recollection of the
name made him at once set out, and with his well-known plaid and stick,
he was soon striding after the child, who trotted through the now
deserted High Street, into the Canongate. By the time he got to the Old
Playhouse Close, Hugh had revived his memory of Mary Duff: a lively girl
who had been bred up beside him in Cromarty. The last time he had seen
her was at a brother mason’s marriage, where Mary was “best maid,” and
he “best man.” He seemed still to see her bright young careless face,
her tidy short gown, and her dark eyes, and to hear her bantering, merry

Down the close went the ragged little woman, and up an outside stair,
Hugh keeping near her with difficulty; in the passage she held out her
hand and touched him; taking it in his great palm, he felt that she
wanted a thumb. Finding her way like a cat through the darkness, she
opened a door, and saying “That’s her!” vanished. By the light of a
dying fire he saw lying in the corner of the large empty room something
like a woman’s clothes, and on drawing nearer became aware of a thin
pale face and two dark eyes looking keenly but helplessly up at him. The
eyes were plainly Mary Duff’s, though he could recognize no other
feature. She wept silently, gazing steadily at him. “Are you Mary Duff?”
“It’s a’ that’s o’ me, Hugh.” She then tried to speak to him, something
plainly of great urgency, but she couldn’t, and seeing that she was very
ill, and was making herself worse, he put half-a-crown into her feverish
hand, and said he would call again in the morning. He could get no
information about her from the neighbors; they were surly or asleep.

When he returned next morning, the little girl met him at the
stair-head, and said, “She’s deid.” He went in, and found that it was
true; there she lay, the fire out, her face placid, and the likeness to
her maiden self restored. Hugh thought he would have known her now, even
with those bright black eyes closed as they were, _in æternum_.

Seeking out a neighbor, he said he would like to bury Mary Duff, and
arranged for the funeral with an undertaker in the close. Little seemed
to be known of the poor outcast, except that she was a “licht,” or, as
Solomon would have said, a “strange woman.” “Did she drink?” “Whiles.”

On the day of the funeral one or two residents in the close accompanied
him to the Canongate Churchyard. He observed a decent looking little old
woman watching them, and following at a distance, though the day was wet
and bitter. After the grave was filled, and he had taken off his hat, as
the men finished their business by putting on and slapping the sod, he
saw this old woman remaining. She came up and, courtesying, said, “Ye
wad ken that lass, sir?” “Yes; I knew her when she was young.” The woman
then burst into tears, and told Hugh that she “keepit a bit shop at the
Closemooth, and Mary dealt wi’ me, and aye paid reglar, and I was feared
she was dead, for she had been a month awin’ me half-a-crown:” and then
with a look and voice of awe, she told him how on the night he was sent
for, and immediately after he had left, she had been awakened by some
one in her room; and by her bright fire—for she was a _bein_,
well-to-do body—she had seen the wasted dying creature, who came
forward and said, “Wasn’t it half-a-crown?” “Yes.” “There it is,” and
putting it under the bolster, vanished!

Alas for Mary Duff! her career had been a sad one since the day when she
had stood side by side with Hugh at the wedding of their friends. Her
father died not long after, and her mother supplanted her in the
affections of the man to whom she had given her heart. The shock was
overwhelming, and made home intolerable. Mary fled from it blighted and
embittered, and after a life of shame and sorrow, crept into the corner
of her wretched garret, to die deserted and alone; giving evidence in
her latest act that honesty had survived amid the wreck of nearly every
other virtue.

“My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith
the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways
higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”


    “_The misery of keeping a dog, is his dying so soon; but to be
    sure, if he lived for fifty years, and then died, what would
    become of me?_”—SIR WALTER SCOTT.

    “_There is in every animal’s eye a dim image and gleam of
    humanity, a flash of strange light through which their life
    looks out and up to our great mystery of command over them, and
    claims the fellowship of the creature if not of the

                  _To Sir Walter and Lady Trevelyan’s
                           glum and faithful_
                          _with much regard_.

I was bitten severely by a little dog when with my mother at Moffat
Wells, being then three years of age, and I have remained “bitten” ever
since in the matter of dogs. I remember that little dog, and can at this
moment not only recall my pain and terror—I have no doubt I was to
blame—but also her face; and were I allowed to search among the shades
in the cynic Elysian fields, I could pick her out still. All my life I
have been familiar with these faithful creatures, making friends of
them, and speaking to them; and the only time I ever addressed the
public, about a year after being bitten, was at the farm of Kirklaw
Hill, near Biggar, when the text, given out from an empty cart in which
the ploughmen had placed me, was “Jacob’s dog,” and my entire sermon was
as follows:—“Some say that Jacob had a black dog (the _o_ very long),
and some say that Jacob had a white dog, but _I_ (imagine the
presumption of four years!) say Jacob had a brown dog, and a brown dog
it shall be.”

I had many intimacies from this time onwards—Bawtie, of the inn;
Keeper, the carrier’s bull-terrier; Tiger, a huge tawny mastiff from
Edinburgh, which I think must have been an uncle of Rab’s; all the sheep
dogs at Callands—Spring, Mavis, Yarrow, Swallow, Cheviot, etc.; but it
was not till I was at college, and my brother at the High School, that
we possessed a dog.


Was the most utterly shabby, vulgar, mean-looking cur I ever beheld: in
one word, _a tyke_. He had not one good feature except his teeth and
eyes, and his bark, if that can be called a feature. He was not ugly
enough to be interesting; his color black and white, his shape leggy and
clumsy; altogether what Sydney Smith would have called an
extraordinarily ordinary dog; and, as I have said, not even greatly
ugly, or, as the Aberdonians have it, _bonnie wi’ ill-fauredness_. My
brother William found him the centre of attraction to a multitude of
small blackguards who were drowning him slowly in Lochend Loch, doing
their best to lengthen out the process, and secure the greatest amount
of fun with the nearest approach to death. Even then Toby showed his
great intellect by pretending to be dead, and thus gaining time and an
inspiration. William bought him for twopence, and as he had it not, the
boys accompanied him to Pilrig Street, when I happened to meet him, and
giving the twopence to the biggest boy, had the satisfaction of seeing a
general engagement of much severity, during which the twopence
disappeared; one penny going off with a very small and swift boy, and
the other vanishing hopelessly into the grating of a drain.

Toby was for weeks in the house unbeknown to any one but ourselves two
and the cook, and from my grandmother’s love of tidiness and hatred of
dogs and of dirt, I believe she would have expelled “him whom we saved
from drowning,” had not he, in his straightforward way, walked into my
father’s bedroom one night when he was bathing his feet, and introduced
himself with a wag of his tail, intimating a general willingness to be
happy. My father laughed most heartily, and at last Toby, having got his
way to his bare feet, and having begun to lick his soles and between his
toes with his small rough tongue, my father gave such an unwonted shout
of laughter, that we—grandmother, sisters, and all of us—went in.
Grandmother might argue with all her energy and skill, but as surely as
the pressure of Tom Jones’ infantile fist upon Mr. Allworthy’s
forefinger undid all the arguments of his sister, so did Toby’s tongue
and fun prove too many for grandmother’s eloquence. I somehow think Toby
must have been up to all this, for I think he had a peculiar love for my
father ever after, and regarded grandmother from that hour with a
careful and cool eye.

Toby, when full grown, was a strong, coarse dog; coarse in shape, in
countenance, in hair, and in manner. I used to think that, according to
the Pythagorean doctrine, he must have been, or been going to be a
Gilmerton carter. He was of the bull-terrier variety, coarsened through
much mongrelism and a dubious and varied ancestry. His teeth were good,
and he had a large skull, and a rich bark as of a dog three times his
size, and a tail which I never saw equalled—indeed it was a tail _per
se_; it was of immense girth and not short, equal throughout like a
policeman’s baton; the machinery for working it was of great power, and
acted in a way, as far as I have been able to discover, quite original.
We called it his ruler.

When he wished to get into the house, he first whined gently, then
growled, then gave a sharp bark, and then came a resounding, mighty
stroke which shook the house; this, after much study and watching, we
found was done by his bringing the entire length of his solid tail flat
upon the door, with a sudden and vigorous stroke; it was quite a _tour
de force_ or a _coup de queue_, and he was perfect in it at once, his
first _bang_ authoritative, having been as masterly and telling as his

With all this inbred vulgar air, he was a dog of great moral
excellence—affectionate, faithful, honest up to his light, with an odd
humor as peculiar and as strong as his tail. My father, in his reserved
way, was very fond of him, and there must have been very funny scenes
with them, for we heard bursts of laughter issuing from his study when
they two were by themselves; there was something in him that took that
grave, beautiful, melancholy face. One can fancy him in the midst of his
books, and sacred work and thoughts, pausing and looking at the secular
Toby, who was looking out for a smile to begin his rough fun, and about
to end by coursing and _gurrin’_ round the room, upsetting my father’s
books, laid out on the floor for consultation, and himself nearly at
times, as he stood watching him—and off his guard and shaking with
laughter. Toby had always a great desire to accompany my father up to
town; this my father’s good taste and sense of dignity, besides his fear
of losing his friend (a vain fear!), forbade, and as the decision of
character of each was great and nearly equal, it was often a drawn game.
Toby ultimately, by making it his entire object, triumphed. He usually
was nowhere to be seen on my father leaving; he however saw him, and lay
in wait at the head of the street, and up Leith Walk he kept him in view
from the opposite side like a detective, and then, when he knew it was
hopeless to hound him home, he crossed unblushingly over, and joined
company, excessively rejoiced of course.

One Sunday he had gone with him to church, and left him at the vestry
door. The second psalm was given out, and my father was sitting back in
the pulpit, when the door at its back, up which he came from the vestry,
was seen to move, and gently open, then, after a long pause, a black
shining snout pushed its way steadily into the congregation, and was
followed by Toby’s entire body. He looked somewhat abashed, but snuffing
his friend, he advanced as if on thin ice, and not seeing him, put his
forelegs on the pulpit, and behold there he was, his own familiar chum.
I watched all this, and anything more beautiful than his look of
happiness, of comfort, of entire ease when he beheld his friend,—the
smoothing down of the anxious ears, the swing of gladness of that mighty
tail,—I don’t expect soon to see. My father quietly opened the door,
and Toby was at his feet and invisible to all but himself; had he sent
old George Peaston, the “minister’s man,” to put him out, Toby would
probably have shown his teeth, and astonished George. He slunk home as
soon as he could, and never repeated that exploit.

I never saw in any other dog the sudden transition from discretion, not
to say abject cowardice, to blazing and permanent valor. From his
earliest years he showed a general meanness of blood, inherited from
many generations of starved, bekicked, and down-trodden forefathers and
mothers, resulting in a condition of intense abjectness in all matters
of personal fear; anybody, even a beggar, by a _gowl_ and a threat of
eye, could send him off howling by anticipation, with that mighty tail
between his legs. But it was not always so to be, and I had the
privilege of seeing courage, reasonable, absolute, and for life, spring
up in Toby at once, as did Athené from the skull of Jove. It happened

Toby was in the way of hiding his culinary bones in the small gardens
before his own and the neighboring doors. Mr. Scrymgeour, two doors off,
a bulky, choleric, red-haired, red-faced man—_torvo vultu_—was, by the
law of contrast, a great cultivator of flowers, and he had often scowled
Toby into all but non-existence by a stamp of his foot and a glare of
his eye. One day his gate being open, in walks Toby with a huge bone,
and making a hole where Scrymgeour had two minutes before been planting
some precious slip, the name of which on paper and on a stick Toby made
very light of, substituted his bone, and was engaged covering it, or
thinking he was covering it up with his shovelling nose (a very odd
relic of paradise in the dog), when S. spied him through the inner glass
door, and was out upon him like the Assyrian, with a terrible _gowl_. I
watched them. Instantly Toby made straight at him with a roar too, and
an eye more torve than Scrymgeour’s, who, retreating without reserve,
fell prostrate, there is reason to believe, in his own lobby. Toby
contented himself with proclaiming his victory at the door, and
returning finished his bone-planting at his leisure; the enemy, who had
scuttled behind the glass-door, glaring at him.

From this moment Toby was an altered dog. Pluck at first sight was lord
of all; from that time dated his first tremendous deliverance of tail
against the door, which we called “come listen to my tail.” That very
evening he paid a visit to Leo, next door’s dog, a big, tyrannical bully
and coward, which its master thought a Newfoundland, but whose pedigree
we knew better; this brute continued the same system of chronic
extermination which was interrupted at Lochend,—having Toby down among
his feet, and threatening him with instant death two or three times a
day. To him Toby paid a visit that very evening, down into his den, and
walked about, as much as to say “Come on, Macduff!” but Macduff did not
come on, and henceforward there was an armed neutrality, and they merely
stiffened up and made their backs rigid, pretended each not to see the
other, walking solemnly round, as is the manner of dogs. Toby worked his
new-found faculty thoroughly, but with discretion. He killed cats,
astonished beggars, kept his own in his own garden against all comers,
and came off victorious in several well-fought battles; but he was not
quarrelsome or foolhardy. It was very odd how his carriage changed,
holding his head up, and how much pleasanter he was at home. To my
father, next to William, who was his Humane Society man, he remained
stanch. And what of his end? for the misery of dogs is that they die so
soon, or as Sir Walter says, it is well they do; for if they lived as
long as a Christian, and we liked them in proportion, and they then
died, he said that was a thing he could not stand.

His exit was miserable, and had a strange poetic or tragic relation to
his entrance. My father was out of town; I was away in England. Whether
it was that the absence of my father had relaxed his power of moral
restraint, or whether through neglect of the servant he had been
desperately hungry, or most likely both being true, Toby was discovered
with the remains of a cold leg of mutton, on which he had made an ample
meal;[5] this he was in vain endeavoring to plant as of old, in the hope
of its remaining undiscovered till to-morrow’s hunger returned, the
whole shank bone sticking up unmistakably. This was seen by our
excellent and Radamanthine grandmother, who pronounced sentence on the
instant; and next day, as William was leaving for the High School, did
he in the sour morning, through an easterly _haur_, behold him “whom he
saved from drowning,” and whom, with better results than in the case of
Launce and Crab, he had taught, as if one should say, “thus would I
teach a dog,” dangling by his own chain from his own lamp-post, one of
his hind feet just touching the pavement, and his body preternaturally

    [5] Toby was in the state of the shepherd boy whom George Webster
        met in Glenshee, and asked, “My man, were you ever fou’?”
        “Ay, aince” speaking slowly, as if remembering—“Ay, aince.”
        “What on?” “Cauld mutton!”

William found him dead and warm, and falling in with the milk-boy at the
head of the street, questioned him, and discovered that he was the
executioner, and had got twopence, he—Toby’s every morning crony, who
met him and accompanied him up the street, and licked the outside of his
can—had, with an eye to speed and convenience, and a want of taste, not
to say principle and affection, horrible still to think of, suspended
Toby’s animation beyond all hope. William instantly fell upon him,
upsetting his milk and cream, and gave him a thorough licking, to his
own intense relief; and, being late, he got from Pyper, who was a
martinet, the customary palmies, which he bore with something
approaching to pleasure. So died Toby; my father said little, but he
missed and mourned his friend.

There is reason to believe that by one of those curious intertwistings
of existence, the milk-boy was that one of the drowning party who got
the penny of the twopence.


Our next friend was an exquisite shepherd’s dog; fleet, thin-flanked,
dainty, and handsome as a small grayhound, with all the grace of silky
waving black and tan hair. We got him thus. Being then young and keen
botanists, and full of the knowledge and love of Tweedside, having been
on every hill-top from Muckle Mendic to Hundleshope and the Lee Pen, and
having fished every water from Tarth to the Leithen, we discovered early
in spring that young Stewart, author of an excellent book on natural
history, a young man of great promise and early death, had found the
_Buxbaumia aphylla_, a beautiful and odd-looking moss, west of Newbie
heights, in the very month we were that moment in. We resolved to start
next day. We walked to Peebles, and then up Haystoun Glen to the cottage
of Adam Cairns, the aged shepherd of the Newbie hirsel, of whom we knew,
and who knew of us from his daughter, Nancy Cairns, a servant with Uncle
Aitken of Callands. We found our way up the burn with difficulty, as the
evening was getting dark; and on getting near the cottage heard them at
worship. We got in, and made ourselves known, and got a famous tea, and
such cream and oat cake!—old Adam looking on us as “clean dementit” to
come out for “a bit moss,” which, however, he knew, and with some pride
said he would take us in the morning to the place. As we were going into
a box bed for the night, two young men came in, and said they were “gaun
to burn the water.” Off we set. It was a clear, dark, starlight, frosty
night. They had their leisters and tar torches, and it was something
worth seeing—the wild flame, the young fellows striking the fish coming
to the light—how splendid they looked with the light on their scales,
coming out of the darkness—the stumblings and quenchings suddenly of
the lights, as the torch-bearer fell into a deep pool. We got home past
midnight, and slept as we seldom sleep now. In the morning Adam, who had
been long up, and had been up the “_Hope_” with his dog, when he saw we
had wakened, told us there was four inches of snow, and we soon saw it
was too true. So we had to go home without our cryptogamic prize.

It turned out that Adam, who was an old man and frail, and had made some
money, was going at Whitsunday to leave, and live with his son in
Glasgow. We had been admiring the beauty and gentleness and perfect
shape of Wylie, the finest colley I ever saw, and said, “What are you
going to do with Wylie?” “‘Deed,” says he, “I hardly ken. I canna think
o’ sellin’ her, though she’s worth four pound, and she’ll no like the
toun.” I said, “Would you let me have her?” and Adam, looking at her
fondly—she came up instantly to him, and made of him—said, “Ay, I
wull, if ye’ll be gude to her;” and it was settled that when Adam left
for Glasgow she should be sent into Albany Street by the carrier.

She came, and was at once taken to all our hearts, even grandmother
liked her; and though she was often pensive, as if thinking of her
master and her work on the hills, she made herself at home, and behaved
in all respects like a lady. When out with me, if she saw sheep in the
streets or road, she got quite excited, and helped the work, and was
curiously useful, the being so making her wonderfully happy. And so her
little life went on, never doing wrong, always blithe and kind and
beautiful. But some months after she came, there was a mystery about
her: every Tuesday evening she disappeared; we tried to watch her, but
in vain, she was always off by nine P. M., and was away all night,
coming back next day wearied and all over mud, as if she had travelled
far. She slept all next day. This went on for some months and we could
make nothing of it. Poor dear creature, she looked at us wistfully when
she came in, as if she would have told us if she could, and was
especially fond, though tired.

Well, one day I was walking across the Grassmarket, with Wylie at my
heels, when two shepherds started, and looking at her, one said, “That’s
her; that’s the wonderfu’ wee bitch that naebody kens.” I asked him what
he meant, and he told me that for months past she had made her
appearance by the first daylight at the “buchts” or sheep-pens in the
cattle market, and worked incessantly, and to excellent purpose, in
helping the shepherds to get their sheep and lambs in. The man said with
a sort of transport, “She’s a perfect meeracle; flees about like a
speerit, and never gangs wrang; wears but never grups, and beats a’ oor
dowgs. She’s a perfect meeracle, and as soople as a maukin.” Then he
related how they all knew her, and said, “There’s that wee fell yin;
we’ll get them in noo.” They tried to coax her to stop and be caught,
but no, she was gentle, but off; and for many a day that “wee fell yin”
was spoken of by these rough fellows. She continued this amateur work
till she died, which she did in peace.

It is very touching the regard the south-country shepherds have to their
dogs. Professor Syme one day, many years ago, when living in Forres
Street, was looking out of his window, and he saw a young shepherd
striding down North Charlotte Street, as if making for his house; it was
midsummer. The man had his dog with him, and Mr. Syme noticed that he
followed the dog, and not it him, though he contrived to steer for the
house. He came, and was ushered into his room; he wished advice about
some ailment, and Mr. Syme saw that he had a bit of twine round the
dog’s neck, which he let drop out of his hand when he entered the room.
He asked him the meaning of this, and he explained that the magistrates
had issued a mad-dog proclamation, commanding all dogs to be muzzled or
led on pain of death. “And why do you go about as I saw you did before
you came in to me?” “Oh,” said he, looking awkward, “I didna want Birkie
to ken he was tied.” Where will you find truer courtesy and finer
feeling? He didn’t want to hurt Birkie’s feelings.

Mr. Carruthers of Inverness told me a new story of these wise sheep
dogs. A butcher from Inverness had purchased some sheep at Dingwall, and
giving them in charge to his dog, left the road. The dog drove them on,
till coming to a toll, the toll-wife stood before the drove, demanding
her dues. The dog looked at her, and, jumping on her back, crossed his
forelegs over her arms. The sheep passed through, and the dog took his
place behind them, and went on his way.


Of Rab I have little to say, indeed have little right to speak of him as
one of “our dogs;” but nobody will be sorry to hear anything of that
noble fellow. Ailie, the day or two after the operation, when she was
well and cheery, spoke about him, and said she would tell me fine
stories when I came out, as I promised to do, to see her at Howgate. I
asked her how James came to get him. She told me that one day she saw
James coming down from Leadburn with the cart; he had been away west,
getting eggs and butter, cheese and hens for Edinburgh. She saw he was
in some trouble, and on looking, there was what she thought a young calf
being dragged, or, as she called it, “haurled,” at the back of the cart.
James was in front, and when he came up, very warm and very angry, she
saw that there was a huge young dog tied to the cart, struggling and
pulling back with all his might, and as she said “lookin’ fearsom.”
James, who was out of breath and temper, being past his time, explained
to Ailie, that this “muckle brute o’ a whalp” had been worrying sheep,
and terrifying everybody up at Sir George Montgomery’s at Macbie Hill,
and that Sir George had ordered him to be hanged, which, however, was
sooner said than done, as “the thief” showed his intentions of dying
hard. James came up just as Sir George had sent for his gun; and as the
dog had more than once shown a liking for him, he said he “wad gie him a
chance;” and so he tied him to his cart. Young Rab, fearing some
mischief, had been entering a series of protests all the way, and nearly
strangling himself to spite James and Jess, besides giving Jess more
than usual to do. “I wish I had let Sir George pit that charge into him,
the thrawn brute,” said James. But Ailie had seen that in his foreleg
there was a splinter of wood, which he had likely got when objecting to
be hanged, and that he was miserably lame. So she got James to leave him
with her, and go straight into Edinburgh. She gave him water, and by her
woman’s wit got his lame paw under a door, so that he couldn’t suddenly
get at her, then with a quick firm hand she plucked out the splinter,
and put in an ample meal. She went in some time after, taking no notice
of him, and he came limping up, and laid his great jaws in her lap; from
that moment they were “chief,” as she said, James finding him mansuete
and civil when he returned.

She said it was Rab’s habit to make his appearance exactly half an hour
before his master, trotting in full of importance, as if to say, “He’s
all right, he’ll be here.” One morning James came without him. He had
left Edinburgh very early, and in coming near Auchindinny, at a lonely
part of the road, a man sprang out on him, and demanded his money.
James, who was a cool hand, said, “Weel a weel, let me get it,” and
stepping back, he said to Rab, “Speak till him, my man.” In an instant
Rab was standing over him, threatening strangulation if he stirred.
James pushed on, leaving Rab in charge; he looked back, and saw that
every attempt to rise was summarily put down. As he was telling Ailie
the story, up came Rab with that great swing of his. It turned out that
the robber was a Howgate lad, the worthless son of a neighbor, and Rab
knowing him had let him cheaply off; the only thing, which was seen by a
man from a field, was, that before letting him rise, he quenched (_pro
tempore_) the fire of the eyes of the ruffian, by a familiar Gulliverian
application of Hydraulics, which I need not further particularize.
James, who did not know the way to tell an untruth, or embellish
anything, told me this as what he called “a fact _positeevely_.”


Was a dark brindled bull-terrier, as pure in blood as Cruiser or Wild
Dayrell. She was brought by my brother from Otley, in the West Riding.
She was very handsome, fierce, and gentle, with a small, compact,
finely-shaped head, and a pair of wonderful eyes,—as full of fire and
of softness as Grisi’s; indeed she had to my eye a curious look of that
wonderful genius—at once wild and fond. It was a fine sight to see her
on the prowl across Bowden Moor, now cantering with her nose down, now
gathered up on the top of a dyke, and with erect ears, looking across
the wild like a moss-trooper out on business, keen and fell. She could
do everything it became a dog to do, from killing an otter or a polecat,
to watching and playing with a baby, and was as docile to her master as
she was surly to all else. She was not quarrelsome, but “being in,” she
would have pleased Polonius as much, as in being “ware of entrance.” She
was never beaten, and she killed on the spot several of the country
bullies who came out upon her when following her master in his rounds.
She generally sent them off howling with one snap, but if this was not
enough, she made an end of it.

But it was as a mother that she shone; and to see the gypsy, Hagar-like
creature nursing her occasional Ishmael—playing with him, and fondling
him all over, teaching his teeth to war, and with her eye and the curl
of her lip daring any one but her master to touch him, was like seeing
Grisi watching her darling “_Gennaro_,” who so little knew why and how
much she loved him.

Once when she had three pups, one of them died. For two days and nights
she gave herself up to trying to bring it to life—licking it and
turning it over and over, growling over it, and all but worrying it to
awake it. She paid no attention to the living two, gave them no milk,
flung them away with her teeth, and would have killed them, had they
been allowed to remain with her. She was as one possessed, and neither
ate, nor drank, nor slept, was heavy and miserable with her milk, and in
such a state of excitement that no one could remove the dead pup.

Early on the third day she was seen to take the pup in her mouth, and
start across the fields towards the Tweed, striding like a
race-horse—she plunged in, holding up her burden, and at the middle of
the stream dropped it and swam swiftly ashore; then she stood and
watched the little dark lump floating away, bobbing up and down with the
current, and losing it at last far down, she made her way home, sought
out the living two, devoured them with her love, carried them one by one
to her lair, and gave herself up wholly to nurse them; you can fancy her
mental and bodily happiness and relief when they were pulling away—and

On one occasion my brother had lent her to a woman who lived in a lonely
house, and whose husband was away for a time. She was a capital watch.
One day an Italian with his organ came—first begging, then demanding
money—showing that he knew she was alone, and that he meant to help
himself, if she didn’t. She threatened to “lowse the dowg;” but as this
was Greek to him, he pushed on. She had just time to set Wasp at him. It
was very short work. She had him by the throat, pulled him and his organ
down with a heavy crash, the organ giving a ludicrous sort of cry of
musical pain. Wasp thinking this was from some creature within, possibly
a _whittret_, left the ruffian, and set to work tooth and nail on the
box. Its master slunk off, and with mingled fury and thankfulness
watched her disembowelling his only means of an honest living. The woman
good-naturedly took her off, and signed to the miscreant to make himself
and his remains scarce. This he did with a scowl; and was found in the
evening in the village, telling a series of lies to the watchmaker, and
bribing him with a shilling to mend his pipes—“his kist o’ whussels.”


Was insane from his birth; at first an _amabilis insania_, but ending in
mischief and sudden death. He was an English terrier, fawn-colored; his
mother’s name VAMP (Vampire), and his father’s DEMON. He was more
properly _daft_ than mad; his courage, muscularity, and prodigious
animal spirits making him insufferable, and never allowing one sane
feature of himself any chance. No sooner was the street door open, than
he was throttling the first dog passing, bringing upon himself and me
endless grief. Cats he tossed up into the air, and crushed their spines
as they fell. Old ladies he upset by jumping over their heads; old
gentlemen by running between their legs. At home, he would think nothing
of leaping through the tea-things, upsetting the urn, cream, etc., and
at dinner the same sort of thing. I believe if I could have found time
to thrash him sufficiently, and let him be a year older, we might have
kept him; but having upset an Earl when the streets were muddy, I had to
part with him. He was sent to a clergyman in the island of Westray, one
of the Orkneys; and though he had a wretched voyage, and was as sick as
any dog, he signalized the first moment of his arrival at the manse, by
strangling an ancient monkey, or “puggy,” the pet of the minister,—who
was a bachelor,—and the wonder of the island. Jock henceforward took to
evil courses, extracting the kidneys of the best young rams, driving
whole hirsels down steep places into the sea, till at last all the guns
of Westray were pointed at him, as he stood at bay under a huge rock on
the shore, and blew him into space. I always regret his end, and blame
myself for sparing the rod. Of


I have already spoken; her oddities were endless. We had and still have
a dear friend,—“Cousin Susan” she is called by many who are not her
cousins—a perfect lady, and, though hopelessly deaf, as gentle and
contented as was ever Griselda with the full use of her ears; quite as
great a pet, in a word, of us all as Duchie was of ours. One day we
found her mourning the death of a cat, a great playfellow of the
Sputchard’s, and her small Grace was with us when we were condoling with
her, and we saw that she looked very wistfully at Duchie. I wrote on the
slate, “Would you like her?” and she through her tears said, “You know
that would never do.” But it did do. We left Duchie that very night, and
though she paid us frequent visits, she was Cousin Susan’s for life. I
fear indulgence dulled her moral sense. She was an immense happiness to
her mistress, whose silent and lonely days she made glad with her oddity
and mirth. And yet the small creature, old, toothless, and blind,
domineered over her gentle friend—threatening her sometimes if she
presumed to remove the small Fury from the inside of her own bed, into
which it pleased her to creep. Indeed, I believe it is too true, though
it was inferred only, that her mistress and friend spent a great part of
a winter night in trying to coax her dear little ruffian out of the
centre of the bed. One day the cook asked what she would have for
dinner: “I would like a mutton chop, but then, you know, Duchie likes
minced veal better!” The faithful and happy little creature died at a
great age, of natural decay.

       *       *       *       *       *

But time would fail me, and I fear patience would fail you, my reader,
were I to tell you of CRAB, of JOHN PYM, of PUCK, and of the rest. CRAB,
the Mugger’s dog, grave, with deep-set, melancholy eyes, as of a
nobleman (say the Master of Ravenswood) in disguise, large visaged,
shaggy, indomitable, come of the pure Piper Allan’s breed. This Piper
Allan, you must know, lived some two hundred years ago in Cocquet Water,
piping like Homer, from place to place, and famous not less for his dog
than for his music, his news and his songs. The Earl of Northumberland,
of his day, offered the piper a small farm for his dog, but after
deliberating for a day Allan said, “Na, na, ma Lord, keep yir ferum;
what wud a piper do wi’ a ferum?” From this dog descended Davidson of
Hyndlee’s breed, the original Dandie-Dinmont, and Crab could count his
kin up to him. He had a great look of the Right Honorable Edward Ellice,
and had much of his energy and _wecht_; had there been a dog House of
Commons, Crab would have spoken as seldom, and been as great a power in
the house, as the formidable and faithful time-out-of-mind member for

JOHN PYM was a smaller dog than Crab, of more fashionable blood, being a
son of Mr. Somner’s famous SHEM, whose father and brother are said to
have been found dead in a drain into which the hounds had run a fox. It
had three entrances: the father was put in at one hole, the son at
another, and speedily the fox bolted out at the third, but no appearance
of the little terriers, and on digging, they were found dead, locked in
each other’s jaws; they had met, and it being dark, and there being no
time for explanations, they had throttled each other. John was made of
the same sort of stuff, and was as combative and victorious as his great
namesake, and not unlike him in some of his not so creditable qualities.
He must, I think, have been related to a certain dog to whom “life was
full o’ sairiousness,” but in John’s case the same cause produced an
opposite effect. John was gay and light-hearted, even when there was not
“enuff of fechtin,” which, however, seldom happened, there being a
market every week in Melrose, and John appearing most punctually at the
cross to challenge all comers, and being short legged, he inveigled
every dog into an engagement by first attacking him, and then falling
down on his back, in which posture he latterly fought and won all his

What can I say of PUCK[6]—the thoroughbred—the simple-hearted—the
purloiner of eggs warm from the hen—the flutterer of all manner of
Volscians—the bandy-legged, dear, old, dilapidated buffer? I got him
from my brother, and only parted with him because William’s stock was
gone. He had to the end of life a simplicity which was quite touching.
One summer day—a dog-day—when all dogs found straying were hauled away
to the police-office, and killed off in twenties with strychnine, I met
Puck trotting along Princes Street with a policeman, a rope round his
neck, he looking up in the fatal, official, but kindly countenance in
the most artless and cheerful manner, wagging his tail and trotting
along. In ten minutes he would have been in the next world; for I am one
of those who believe dogs _have_ a next world, and why not? Puck ended
his days as the best dog in Roxburghshire. _Placide quiescas!_

    [6] In _The Dog_, by Stonehenge, an excellent book, there is a
        woodcut of Puck, and “Dr. Wm. Brown’s celebrated dog John
        Pym” is mentioned. Their pedigrees are given—here is
        Puck’s, which shows his “strain” is of the pure azure
        blood—“Got by John Pym, out of Tib; bred by Purves of
        Leaderfoot; sire, Old Dandie, the famous dog of old John
        Stoddart of Selkirk—dam, Whin.” How Homeric all this
        sounds! I cannot help quoting what follows—“Sometimes a
        Dandie pup of a good strain may appear not to be game at an
        early age; but he should not be parted with on this account,
        because many of them do not show their courage till nearly
        two years old, and then nothing can beat them; this apparent
        softness arising, as I suspect, _from kindness of heart_”—a
        suspicion, my dear “Stonehenge,” which is true, and shows
        your own “kindness of heart,” as well as sense.


Still lives, and long may he live! As he was never born, possibly he may
never die; be it so, he will miss us when we are gone. I could say much
of him, but agree with the lively and admirable Dr. Jortin, when, in his
dedication of his _Remarks on Ecclesiastical History_ to the then (1752)
Archbishop of Canterbury, he excuses himself for not following the
modern custom of praising his Patron, by reminding his Grace “that it
was a custom amongst the ancients, _not to sacrifice to heroes till
after sunset_.” I defer my sacrifice till Dick’s sun is set.

I think every family should have a dog; it is like having a perpetual
baby; it is the plaything and crony of the whole house. It keeps them
all young. All unite upon Dick. And then he tells no tales, betrays no
secrets, never sulks, asks no troublesome questions, never gets into
debt, never coming down late for breakfast, or coming in through his
Chubb _too early_ to bed—is always ready for a bit of fun, lies in wait
for it, and you may, if choleric, to your relief, kick him instead of
some one else, who would not take it so meekly, and, moreover, would
certainly not, as he does, ask your pardon for being kicked.

Never put a collar on your dog—it only gets him stolen; give him only
one meal a day, and let that, as Dame Dorothy, Sir Thomas Browne’s wife,
would say, be “rayther under.” Wash him once a week, and always wash the
soap out; and let him be carefully combed and brushed twice a week.

By the bye, I was wrong in saying that it was Burns who said Man is the
God of the Dog—he got it from Bacon’s _Essay on Atheism_.


If any one wants a pleasure that is sure to please, one over which he
needn’t growl the sardonic beatitude of the great Dean, let him, when
the Mercury is at “Fair,” take the nine A.M. train to the North and a
return-ticket for Callander, and when he arrives at Stirling, let him
ask the most obliging and knowing of station-masters to telegraph to
“the Dreadnought” for a carriage to be in waiting. When passing Dunblane
Cathedral, let him resolve to write to the _Scotsman_, advising the
removal of a couple of shabby trees which obstruct the view of that
beautiful triple end window which Mr. Ruskin and everybody else admires,
and by the time he has written this letter in his mind, and turned the
sentences to it, he will find himself at Callander and the carriage all
ready. Giving the order for the _Port of Monteith_, he will rattle
through this hard-featured, and to our eye comfortless village, lying
ugly amid so much grandeur and beauty, and let him stop on the crown of
the bridge, and fill his eyes with the perfection of the view up the
Pass of Leny—the Teith lying diffuse and asleep, as if its heart were
in the Highlands and it were loath to go, the noble Ben Ledi imaged in
its broad stream. Then let him make his way across a bit of pleasant
moorland—flushed with maidenhair and white with cotton grass, and
fragrant with the _Orchis conopsia_, well deserving its epithet

He will see from the turn of the hill-side the Blair of Drummond waving
with corn and shadowed with rich woods, where eighty years ago there was
a black peat-moss; and far off, on the horizon, Damyat and the Touch
Fells; and at his side the little loch of Ruskie, in which he may see
five Highland cattle, three tawny brown and two brindled, standing in
the still water—themselves as still, all except their switching tails
and winking ears—the perfect images of quiet enjoyment. By this time he
will have come in sight of the Lake of Monteith, set in its woods, with
its magical shadows and soft gleams. There is a loveliness, a gentleness
and peace about it more like “lone St. Mary’s Lake,” or Derwent Water,
than of any of its sister lochs. It is lovely rather than beautiful, and
is a sort of gentle prelude, in the _minor_ key, to the coming glories
and intenser charms of Loch Ard and the true Highlands beyond.

You are now at the Port, and have passed the secluded and cheerful
manse, and the parish kirk with its graves, close to the lake, and the
proud aisle of the Grahams of Gartmore washed by its waves. Across the
road is the modest little inn, a Fisher’s Tryst. On the unruffled water
lie several islets, plump with rich foliage, brooding like great birds
of calm. You somehow think of them as on, not in the lake, or like
clouds lying in a nether sky—“like ships waiting for the wind.” You get
a coble, and a _yauld_ old Celt, its master, and are rowed across to
_Inchmahome, the Isle of Rest_. Here you find on landing huge Spanish
chestnuts, one lying dead, others standing stark and peeled, like
gigantic antlers, and others flourishing in their _viridis senectus_,
and in a thicket of wood you see the remains of a monastery of great
beauty, the design and workmanship exquisite. You wander through the
ruins, overgrown with ferns and Spanish filberts, and old fruit-trees,
and at the corner of the old monkish garden you come upon one of the
strangest and most touching sights you ever saw—an oval space of about
18 feet by 12, with the remains of a double row of boxwood all round,
the plants of box being about fourteen feet high, and eight or nine
inches in diameter, healthy, but plainly of great age.

What is this? it is called in the guide-books Queen Mary’s Bower; but
besides its being plainly not in the least a bower, what could the
little Queen, then five years old, and “fancy free,” do with a bower? It
is plainly, as was, we believe, first suggested by our keen-sighted and
diagnostic Professor of Clinical Surgery,[7] _the Child-Queen’s Garden_,
with her little walk, and its rows of boxwood, left to themselves for
three hundred years. Yes, without doubt, “here is that first garden of
her simpleness.” Fancy the little, lovely royal child, with her four
Marys, her playfellows, her child maids of honor, with their little
hands and feet, and their innocent and happy eyes, pattering about that
garden all that time ago, laughing, and running, and gardening as only
children do and can. As is well known, Mary was placed by her mother in
this Isle of Rest before sailing from the Clyde for France. There is
something “that tirls the heartstrings a’ to the life” in standing and
looking on this unmistakable living relic of that strange and pathetic
old time. Were we Mr. Tennyson, we would write an Idyll of that child
Queen, in that garden of hers, eating her bread and honey—getting her
teaching from the holy men, the monks of old, and running off in wild
mirth to her garden and her flowers, all unconscious of the black,
lowering thunder-cloud on Ben Lomond’s shoulder.

    [7] The same seeing eye and understanding mind, when they were
        eighteen years of age, discovered and published the Solvent
        of Caoutchouc, for which a patent was taken out afterwards
        by the famous Mackintosh. If the young discoverer had
        secured the patent, he might have made a fortune as large as
        his present reputation—I don’t suppose he much regrets that
        he didn’t.

  “Oh, blessed vision! happy child!
  Thou art so exquisitely wild;
  I think of thee with many fears
  Of what may be thy lot in future years.
  I thought of times when Pain might be thy guest,
  Lord of thy house and hospitality.
  And Grief, uneasy lover! never rest
  But when she sat within the touch of thee.
  What hast thou to do with sorrow,
  Or the injuries of to-morrow?”

You have ample time to linger there amid

  “The gleams, the shadows, and the peace profound,”

and get your mind informed with quietness and beauty, and fed with
thoughts of other years, and of her whose story, like Helen of Troy’s,
will continue to move the hearts of men as long as the gray hills stand
round about that gentle lake, and are mirrored at evening in its depths.
You may do and enjoy all this, and be in Princes Street by nine P.M.;
and we wish we were as sure of many things as of your saying, “Yes, this
_is_ a pleasure that has pleased, and will please again; this was
something expected which did not disappoint.”

       *       *       *       *       *

There is another garden of Queen Mary’s, which may still be seen, and
which has been left to itself like that in the Isle of Rest. It is in
the grounds at Chatsworth, and is moated, walled round, and raised about
fifteen feet above the park. Here the Queen, when a prisoner under the
charge of “Old Bess of Hardwake,” was allowed to walk without any guard.
How different the two! and how different she who took her pleasure in

    Lines written on the steps of a small moated garden at
    Chatsworth, called

             “QUEEN MARY’S BOWER.

      “The moated bower is wild and drear,
        And sad the dark yew’s shade;
      The flowers which bloom in silence here,
        In silence also fade.

      “The woodbine and the light wild rose
        Float o’er the broken wall;
      And here the mournful nightshade blows,
        To note the garden’s fall.

      “Where once a princess wept her woes,
        The bird of night complains;
      And sighing trees the tale disclose
        They learnt from Mary’s strains.

                                           “A. H.”


    “_Depend upon it a lucky guess is never merely luck—there is
    always some talent in it._”—MISS AUSTEN, _in Emma._

Dr. Chalmers used to say that in the dynamics of human affairs, two
qualities were essential to greatness—Power and Promptitude. One man
might have both, another power without promptitude, another promptitude
without power. We must all feel the common sense of this, and can
readily see how it applies to a general in the field, to a pilot in a
storm, to a sportsman, to a fencer, to a debater. It is the same with an
operating surgeon at all times, and may be at any time with the
practitioner of the art of healing. He must be ready for what are called
emergencies—cases which rise up at your feet, and must be dealt with on
the instant,—he must have power and promptitude.

It is a curious condition of mind that this requires: it is like
sleeping with your pistol under your pillow, and it on full cock; a
moment lost and all may be lost. There is the very nick of time. This is
what we mean by presence of mind; by a man having such a subject at his
finger ends; that part of the mind lying nearest the outer world, and
having to act on it through the bodily organs, through the will—the
outposts must be always awake. It is of course, so to speak, only a
portion of the mind that is thus needed and thus available; if the whole
mind were forever at the advanced posts, it would soon lose itself in
this endeavor to keep it. Now, though the thing needed to be done may be
simple enough, what goes to the doing of it, and to the being at once
ready and able to do it, involves much: the wedge would not be a wedge,
or do a wedge’s work, without the width behind as well as the edge in
front. Your men of promptitude without genius or power, including
knowledge and will, are those who present the wedge the wrong way. Thus
your extremely prompt people are often doing the wrong thing, which is
almost always worse than nothing. Our vague friend who bit “Yarrow’s”
tail instead of “the Chicken’s,” was full of promptitude; as was also
that other man, probably a relative, who barred the door with a boiled
carrot; each knew what was needed—the biting the tail, the barring the
door; both erred as to the means—the one by want of presence of mind,
the other by lack of mind itself. We must have just enough of the right
knowledge and no more; we must have the habit of using this; we must
have self-reliance, and the consentaneousness of the entire mind; and
what our hand finds to do, we must do with our might as well as with it.
Therefore it is that this master act of the man, under some sudden and
great unexpected crisis, is in a great measure performed unconsciously
as to its mental means. The man is so _totus in illo_, that there is no
bit of the mind left to watch and record the acts of the rest; therefore
men, when they have done some signal feat of presence of mind, if asked
how they did it, generally don’t very well know—they just did it; it
was, in fact, done and then thought of, not thought of and then done, in
which case it would likely never have been done. Not that the act was
uncaused by mind; it is one of the highest powers of mind thus to act;
but it is done, if I may use the phrase, by an acquired instinct. You
will find all this in that wonderful old Greek who was Alexander the
Great’s and the old world’s schoolmaster, and ours if we were
wise,—whose truthfulness and clear insight one wonders at the longer he
lives. He seems to have seen the human mind as a bird or an engineer
does the earth—he knew the plan of it. We now-a-days see it as one sees
a country, athwart and in perspective, and from the side; he saw it from
above and from below. There are therefore no shadows, no
foreshortenings, no clear-obscure, indeed no disturbing medium; it is as
if he examined everything _in vacuo_. I refer my readers to what he says
on Ἀγχίνοια and Εὐστοχία.[8]

    [8] As I am now, to my sorrow and shame, too much of a mediate
        Grecian, I give a Balliol friend’s note on these two
        words:—“What you have called ‘presence of mind’ and ‘happy
        guessing’ may, I think, be identified respectively with
        Aristotle’s ἀγχίνοια and εὐστοχία. The latter of
        these, εὐστοχία, Aristotle mentions incidentally when
        treating of εὐβουλία, or good deliberation. _Eth. Nic._
        bk. vi. ch. 9. Good deliberation, he says, is not
        εὐστοχία, for the former is a slow process, whereas the
        latter is not guided by reason, and is rapid. In the same
        passage he tells us that ἀγχίνοια is a sort of
        εὐστοχία. But he speaks of ἀγχίνοια more fully in
        _Ana. Post._ i. 34:—‘Άγχίνοια is a sort of happy
        guessing at the intermediate, when there is not time for
        consideration: as when a man, seeing that the bright side of
        the moon is always turned towards the sun, comprehends that
        her light is borrowed from the sun; or concludes, from
        seeing one conversing with a capitalist that he wants to
        borrow money; or infers that people are friends from the
        fact of their having common enemies.’” And then he goes on
        to make these simple observations confused and perplexing by
        reducing them to his logical formula.

        “The derivation of the words will confirm this view.
        Εὐστοχία is a hitting the _mark_ successfully, a reaching
        to the end, the rapid and, as it were, intuitive perception
        of the truth. This is what Whewell means by saying, ‘all
        induction is a happy conjecture.’ But when Aristotle says
        that this faculty is not guided by reason (ἄνευ τε γὰρ
        λογου), he does not mean to imply that it grows up
        altogether independent of reason, any more than Whewell
        means to say that all the discoveries in the inductive
        sciences have been made by men taking ‘shots’ at them, as
        boys at school do at hard passages in their Latin lessons.
        On the contrary, no faculty is so absolutely the child of
        reason as this faculty of happy guessing. It only attains to
        perfection after the reason has been long and painfully
        trained in the sphere in which the guesses are to be made.
        What Aristotle does mean is, that when it has attained
        perfection, we are not conscious of the share which reason
        has in its operation—it is so rapid that by no analysis can
        we detect the presence of reason in its action. Sir Isaac
        Newton seeing the apple fall, and thence ‘guessing’ at the
        law of gravitation, is a good instance of εὐστοχία.

        “Άγχίνοια, on the other hand, is a _nearness of mind_;
        not a reaching to the end, but an apprehension of the best
        means; not a perception of the truth, but a perception of
        how the truth is to be supported. It is sometimes translated
        ‘sagacity,’ but readiness or presence of mind is better, as
        sagacity rather involves the idea of consideration. In
        matters purely intellectual it is ready wit. It is a sort of
        shorter or more limited εὐστοχία. It is more of a natural
        gift than εὐστοχία, because the latter is a far higher
        and nobler faculty, and therefore more dependent for its
        perfection on cultivation, as all our highest faculties are.
        Εὐστοχία is more akin to genius, ἀγχίνοια to practical
        common sense.”

My object in what I have now written and am going to write, is to
impress upon medical students the value of power and promptitude in
combination, for their professional purposes; the uses to them of
nearness of the Νοῦς, and of happy guessing; and how you may see the
sense, and neatness, and pith of that excellent thinker, as well as best
of all story-tellers, Miss Austen, when she says in _Emma_, “Depend upon
it, a lucky guess is never merely luck, there is always some talent in
it.” Talent here denoting intelligence and will in action. In all
sciences except those called exact, this happy guessing plays a large
part, and in none more than in medicine, which is truly a tentative art,
founded upon likelihood, and is therefore what we call contingent.
Instead of this view of the healing art discouraging us from making our
ultimate principles as precise, as we should make our observations, it
should urge us the more to this; for, depend upon it, that guess as we
may often have to do, he will guess best, most happily for himself and
his patient, who has the greatest amount of true knowledge, and the most
serviceable amount of what we may call mental cash, ready money, and
ready weapons.

We must not only have wisdom, which is knowledge assimilated and made
our own, but we must, as the Lancashire men say and do, _have wit to use
it_. We may carry a nugget of gold in our pocket, or a £100 bank-note,
but unless we can get it _changed_, it is of little use, and we must
moreover have the coin of the country we are in. This want of presence
of mind, and having your wits about you, is as fatal to a surgeon as to
a general.

That wise little man, Dr. Henry Marshall, little in body but not little
in mind, in brain, and in worth, used to give an instance of this. A
young, well-educated surgeon, attached to a regiment quartered at
Musselburgh, went out professionally with two officers who were in
search of “satisfaction.” One fell shot in the thigh, and in half an
hour after he was found dead, the surgeon kneeling pale and grim over
him, with his two thumbs sunk in his thigh _below_ the wound, the grass
steeped in blood. If he had put them two inches higher, or extemporized
a tourniquet with his sash and the pistol’s ramrod and a stone, he might
have saved his friend’s life and his own—for he shot himself that

Here is another. Robbie Watson, whom I now see walking mildly about the
streets—having taken to coal—was driver of the Dumfries coach by
Biggar. One day he had changed horses, and was starting down a steep
hill, with an acute turn at the foot, when he found his wheelers, two
new horses, utterly ignorant of backing. They got furious, and we
outside got alarmed. Robbie made an attempt to pull up, and then with an
odd smile took his whip, gathered up his reins, and lashed the entire
four into a gallop. If we had not seen his face we would have thought
him a maniac; he kept them well together, and shot down like an arrow,
as far as we could see to certain destruction. Right in front at the
turn was a stout gate into a field, shut; he drove them straight at
that, and through we went, the gate broken into shivers, and we finding
ourselves safe, and the very horses enjoying the joke. I remember we
emptied our pockets into Robbie’s hat, which he had taken off to wipe
his head. Now, in a few seconds all this must have passed through his
head—“that horse is not a wheeler, nor that one either; we’ll come to
mischief; there’s the gate; yes, I’ll do it.” And he did it; but then he
had to do it with his might; he had to make it impossible for his four
horses to do anything but toss the gate before them.

Here is another case. Dr. Reid of Peebles, long famous in the end of
last and beginning of this century, as the Doctor of Tweeddale; a man of
great force of character, and a true Philip, a lover of horses, saw one
Fair day a black horse, entire, thoroughbred. The groom asked a low
price, and would answer no questions. At the close of the fair the
doctor bought him, amid the derision of his friends. Next morning he
rode him up Tweed, came home after a long round, and had never been
better carried. This went on for some weeks; the fine creature was
without a fault. One Sunday morning, he was posting up by Neidpath at a
great pace, the country people trooping into the town to church.
Opposite the fine old castle, the thorough-bred stood stock still, and
it needed all the doctor’s horsemanship to counteract the law of
projectiles; he did, and sat still, and not only gave no sign of urging
the horse, but rather intimated that it was his particular desire that
he should stop. He sat there a full hour, his friends making an
excellent joke of it, and he declining, of course, all interference. At
the end of the hour, the Black Duke, as he was called, turned one ear
forward, then another, looked aside, shook himself, and moved on, his
master intimating that this was exactly what he wished; and from that
day till his death, some fifteen years after, never did these two
friends allude to this little circumstance, and it was never repeated;
though it turned out that he had killed his two men previously. The
doctor must have, when he got him, said to himself, “if he is not stolen
there is a reason for his paltry price,” and he would go over all the
possibilities. So that when he stood still, he would say, “Ah, this is
it;” but then he saw this at once, and lost no time, and did nothing.
Had he given the horse one dig with his spurs, or one cut with his whip,
or an impatient jerk with his bit, the case would have failed. When a
colt it had been brutally used, and being nervous, it lost its judgment,
poor thing, and lost its presence of mind.

One more instance of nearness of the Νοῦς. A lady was in front of her
lawn with her children, when a mad dog made his appearance, pursued by
the peasants. What did she do? What would you have done? Shut your eyes
and think. She went straight to the dog, received its head in her thick
stuff gown, between her knees, and muffling it up, held it with all her
might till the men came up. No one was hurt. Of course, she fainted
after it was all right.

We all know (but why should we not know again?) the story of the Grecian
mother who saw her child sporting on the edge of the bridge. She knew
that a cry would startle it over into the raging stream—she came gently
near, and opening her bosom allured the little scapegrace.

I once saw a great surgeon, after settling a particular procedure as to
a life-and-death operation, as a general settles his order of battle. He
began his work, and at the second cut altered the entire conduct of the
operation. No one not in the secret could have told this: not a moment’s
pause, not a quiver of the face, not a look of doubt. This is the same
master power in man, which makes the difference between Sir John Moore
and Sir John Cope.

Mrs. Major Robertson, a woman of slight make, great beauty, and
remarkable energy, courage, and sense (she told me the story herself),
on going up to her bedroom at night—there being no one in the house but
a servant girl, in the ground floor—saw a portion of a man’s foot
projecting from under the bed. She gave no cry of alarm, but shut the
door as usual, set down her candle, and began as if to undress, when she
said aloud to herself, with an impatient tone and gesture, “I’ve
forgotten that key again, I declare;” and leaving the candle burning,
and the door open, she went down-stairs, got the watchman, and secured
the proprietor of the foot, which had not moved an inch. How many women
or men could have done, or rather been all this!


                    _A LETTER TO JOHN CAIRNS, D. D._

     “_I praised the dead which are already dead, more than the
    living which are yet alive._”


                             23 RUTLAND STREET, _15th August, 1860._

MY DEAR FRIEND,—When, at the urgent request of his trustees and family,
and in accordance with what I believe was his own wish, you undertook my
father’s Memoir, it was in a measure on the understanding that I would
furnish you with some domestic and personal details. This I hoped to
have done but was unable.

Though convinced more than ever how little my hand is needed, I will now
endeavor to fulfil my promise. Before doing so, however, you must permit
me to express our deep gratitude to you for this crowning proof of your
regard for him

  “Without whose life we had not been;”

to whom for many years you habitually wrote as “My father,” and one of
whose best blessings, when he was “such an one as Paul the aged,” was to
know that you were to him “mine own son in the gospel.”

With regard to the manner in which you have done this last kindness to
the dead, I can say nothing more expressive of our feelings, and, I am
sure, nothing more gratifying to you, than that the record you have
given of my father’s life, and of the series of great public questions
in which he took part, is done in the way which would have been most
pleasing to himself—that which, with his passionate love of truth and
liberty, his relish for concentrated, just thought and expression, and
his love of being loved, he would have most desired, in any one speaking
of him after he was gone. He would, I doubt not, say, as one said to a
great painter, on looking at his portrait, “It is certainly like, but it
is much better looking;” and you might well reply as did the painter,
“It is the truth, told lovingly”—and all the more true that it is so
told. You have, indeed, been enabled to speak the truth, or as the Greek
has it, ἀληθευεῖν ἐν ἀγάπη—to truth it in love.

I have over and over again sat down to try and do what I promised and
wished—to give some faint expression of my father’s life; not of what
he did or said or wrote—not even of what he was as a man of God and a
public teacher; but what he was in his essential nature—what he would
have been had he been anything else than what he was, or had lived a
thousand years ago.

Sometimes I have this so vividly in my mind that I think I have only to
sit down and write it off, and do it to the quick. “The idea of his
life,” what he was as a whole, what was his self, all his days,
would,—to go on with words which not time or custom can ever wither or
make stale,—

                  “Sweetly creep
  Into my study of imagination;
  And every lovely organ of his life
  Would come apparelled in more precious habit—
  More moving delicate, and full of life,
  Into the eye and prospect of my soul,
  Than when he lived indeed,”

as if the sacredness of death and the bloom of eternity were on it; or
as you may have seen in an untroubled lake, the heaven reflected with
its clouds, brighter, purer, more exquisite than itself; but when you
try to put this into words, to detain yourself over it, it is by this
very act disturbed, broken and bedimmed, and soon vanishes away, as
would the imaged heavens in the lake, if a pebble were cast into it, or
a breath of wind stirred its face. The very anxiety to transfer it, as
it looked out of the clear darkness of the past, makes the image grow
dim and disappear.

Every one whose thoughts are not seldom with the dead, must have felt
both these conditions; how, in certain passive, tranquil states, there
comes up into the darkened chamber of the mind, its “chamber of
imagery”—uncalled, as if it blossomed out of space, exact, absolute,
consummate, vivid, speaking, not darkly as in a glass, but face to face,
and “moving delicate”—this “idea of his life;” and then how an effort
to prolong and perpetuate and record all this, troubles the vision and
kills it! It is as if one should try to paint in a mirror the reflection
of a dear and unseen face; the coarse, uncertain passionate handling and
color, ineffectual and hopeless, shut out the very thing itself.

I will therefore give this up as in vain, and try by some fragmentary
sketches, scenes, and anecdotes, to let you know in some measure what
manner of man my father was. Anecdotes, if true and alive, are always
valuable; the man in the concrete, the _totus quis_ comes out in them;
and I know you too well to think that you will consider as trivial or
out of place anything in which his real nature displayed itself, and
your own sense of humor as a master and central power of the human soul,
playing about the very essence of the man, will do more than forgive
anything of this kind which may crop out here and there, like the smile
of wild-flowers in grass, or by the wayside.

My first recollection of my father, my first impression, not only of his
character, but of his eyes and face and presence, strange as it may
seem, dates from my fifth year. Doubtless I had looked at him often
enough before that, and had my own childish thoughts about him; but this
was the time when I got my fixed, compact idea of him, and the first
look of him which I felt could never be forgotten. I saw him, as it
were, by a flash of lightning, sudden and complete. A child begins by
seeing bits of everything; it knows in part—here a little, there a
little; it makes up its wholes out of its own littles, and is long of
reaching the fulness of a whole; and in this we are children all our
lives in much. Children are long of seeing, or at least of looking at
what is above them; they like the ground, and its flowers and stones,
its “red sodgers” and lady-birds, and all its queer things; their world
is about three feet high, and they are more often stooping than gazing
up. I know I was past ten before I saw, or cared to see, the ceilings of
the rooms in the manse at Biggar.

On the morning of the 28th May, 1816, my eldest sister Janet and I were
sleeping in the kitchen-bed with Tibbie Meek,[9] our only servant. We
were all three awakened by a cry of pain—sharp, insufferable, as if one
were stung. Years after we two confided to each other, sitting by the
burnside, that we thought that “great cry” which arose at midnight in
Egypt must have been like it. We all knew whose voice it was, and, in
our night-clothes, we ran into the passage, and into the little parlor
to the left hand, in which was a closet-bed. We found my father standing
before us, erect, his hands clenched in his black hair, his eyes full of
misery and amazement, his face white as that of the dead. He frightened
us. He saw this, or else his intense will had mastered his agony, for,
taking his hands from his head, he said, slowly and gently, “Let us give
thanks,” and turned to a little sofa in the room; there lay our mother,
dead.[10] She had long been ailing. I remember her sitting in a
shawl,—an Indian one with little dark green spots on a light
ground,—and watching her growing pale with what I afterwards knew must
have been strong pain. She had, being feverish, slipped out of bed, and
“grandmother,” her mother, seeing her “change come,” had called my
father, and they two saw her open her blue, kind, and true eyes,
“comfortable” to us all “as the day”—I remember them better than those
of any one I saw yesterday—and, with one faint look of recognition to
him, close them till the time of the restitution of all things.

  “She had another morn than ours.”

Then were seen in full action his keen, passionate nature, his sense of
mental pain, and his supreme will, instant and unsparing, making himself
and his terrified household give thanks in the midst of such a
desolation,—and for it. Her warfare was accomplished, her iniquities
were pardoned: she had already received from her Lord’s hand double for
all her sins; this was his supreme and over-mastering thought, and he
gave it utterance.

    [9] A year ago, I found an elderly countrywoman, a widow, waiting
        for me. Rising up, she said, “D’ye mind me?” I looked at
        her, but could get nothing from her face; but the voice
        remained in my ear, as if coming from “the fields of sleep,”
        and I said by a sort of instinct, “Tibbie Meek!” I had not
        seen her or heard her voice for more than forty years. She
        had come to get some medical advice. Voices are often like
        the smells of flowers and leaves, the tastes of wild
        fruits—they touch and awaken memory in a strange way.
        “Tibbie” is now living at Thankerton.

   [10] This sofa, which was henceforward sacred in the house, he
        had always beside him. He used to tell us he set her down
        upon it when he brought her home to the manse.

No man was happier in his wives. My mother was modest, calm, thrifty,
reasonable, tender, happy-hearted. She was his student-love, and is even
now remembered in that pastoral region, for “her sweet gentleness and
wife-like government.” Her death and his sorrow and loss, settled down
deep into the heart of the countryside. He was so young and bright, so
full of fire, so unlike any one else, so devoted to his work, so
chivalrous in his look and manner, so fearless, and yet so sensitive and
self-contained. She was so wise, good and gentle, gracious and frank.

His subtlety of affection, and his almost cruel self-command, were shown
on the day of the funeral. It was to Symington, four miles off,—a quiet
little churchyard, lying in the shadow of Tinto; a place where she
herself had wished to be laid. The funeral was chiefly on horseback. We,
the family, were in coaches. I had been since the death in a sort of
stupid musing and wonder, not making out what it all meant. I knew my
mother was said to be dead. I saw she was still, and laid out, and then
shut up, and didn’t move; but I did not know that when she was carried
out in that long black box, and we all went with her, she alone was
never to return.

When we got to the village all the people were at their doors. One
woman, the blacksmith Thomas Spence’s wife, had a nursing baby in her
arms, and he leapt up and crowed with joy at the strange sight, the
crowding horsemen, the coaches, and the nodding plumes of the hearse.
This was my brother William, then nine months old, and Margaret Spence
was his foster-mother. Those with me were overcome at this sight; he of
all the world whose, in some ways, was the greatest loss, the least
conscious, turning it to his own childish glee.

We got to the churchyard and stood round the open grave. My dear old
grandfather was asked by my father to pray; he did. I don’t remember his
words; I believe he, through his tears and sobs, repeated the Divine
words, “All flesh is grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of
the grass; the grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away, but
the word of the Lord endureth forever;” adding, in his homely and
pathetic way, that the flower would again bloom, never again to fade;
that what was now sown in dishonor and weakness, would be raised in
glory and power, like unto His own glorious body. Then to my surprise
and alarm, the coffin, resting on its bearers, was placed over that dark
hole, and I watched with curious eye the unrolling of those neat black
bunches of cords, which I have often enough seen since. My father took
the one at the head, and also another much smaller springing from the
same point as his, which he had caused to be put there, and unrolling
it, put it into my hand. I twisted it firmly round my fingers, and
awaited the result; the burial men with their real ropes lowered the
coffin, and when it rested at the bottom, it was too far down for me to
see it—the grave was made very deep, as he used afterwards to tell us,
that it might hold us all—my father first and abruptly let his cord
drop, followed by the rest. This was too much. I now saw what was meant,
and held on and fixed my fist and feet, and I believe my father had some
difficulty in forcing open my small fingers; he let the little black
cord drop, and I remember, in my misery and anger, seeing its open end
disappearing in the gloom.

My mother’s death was the second epoch in my father’s life; it marked a
change at once and for life; and for a man so self-reliant, so poised
upon a centre of his own, it is wonderful the extent of change it made.
He went home, preached her funeral sermon, every one in the church in
tears, himself outwardly unmoved.[11] But from that time dates an
entire, though always deepening, alteration in his manner of preaching,
because an entire change in his way of dealing with God’s Word. Not that
his abiding religious views and convictions were then originated or even
altered—I doubt not that from a child he not only knew the Holy
Scriptures, but was “wise unto salvation”—but it strengthened and
clarified, quickened and gave permanent direction to, his sense of God
as revealed in His Word. He took as it were to subsoil ploughing; he got
a new and adamantine point to the instrument with which he bored, and
with a fresh power—with his whole might, he sunk it right down into the
living rock, to the virgin gold. His entire nature had got a shock, and
his blood was drawn inwards, his surface was chilled; but fuel was
heaped all the more on the inner fires, and his zeal, that τι θερμὸν
πρᾶγμα, burned with a new ardor; indeed had he not found an outlet for
his pent-up energy, his brain must have given way, and his faculties
have either consumed themselves in wild, wasteful splendor and
combustion, or dwindled into lethargy.[12]

   [11] I have been told that _once_ in the course of the sermon his
        voice trembled, and many feared he was about to break down.

   [12] There is a story illustrative of this altered manner and
        matter of preaching. He had been preaching when very young,
        at Galashiels, and one wife said to her “neebor,” “Jean,
        what think ye o’ the lad?” “_It’s maist o’t tinsel wark_,”
        said Jean, neither relishing nor appreciating his fine
        sentiments and figures. After my mother’s death, he preached
        in the same place, and Jean, running to her friend, took the
        first word, “_It’s a’ gowd noo_.”

The manse became silent; we lived and slept and played under the shadow
of that death, and we saw, or rather felt, that he was another father
than before. No more happy laughter from the two in the parlor, as he
was reading Larry, the Irish postboy’s letter in Miss Edgeworth’s tale,
or the last Waverley novel; no more visitings in a cart with her, he
riding beside us on his white thorough-bred pony, to Kilbucho, or Rachan
Mill, or Kirklawhill. He went among his people as usual when they were
ill; he preached better than ever—they were sometimes frightened to
think how wonderfully he preached; but the sunshine was over—the glad
and careless look, the joy of young life and mutual love. He was little
with us, and, as I said, the house was still, except when he was
_mandating_ his sermons for Sabbath. This he always did, not only _vivâ
voce_, but with as much energy and loudness as in the pulpit; we felt
his voice was sharper, and rang keen through the house.

What we lost, the congregation and the world gained. He gave himself
wholly to his work. As you have yourself said, he changed his entire
system and fashion of preaching; from being elegant, rhetorical, and
ambitious, he became concentrated, urgent, moving (being himself moved),
keen, searching, unswerving, authoritative to fierceness, full of the
terrors of the Lord, if he could but persuade men. The truth of the
words of God had shone out upon him with an immediateness and infinity
of meaning and power, which made them, though the same words he had
looked on from childhood, other and greater and deeper words. He then
left the ordinary commentators, and men who write about meanings and
flutter around the circumference and corners; he was bent on the centre,
on touching with his own fingers, on seeing with his own eyes, the pearl
of great price. Then it was that he began to dig into the depths, into
the primary and auriferous rock of Scripture, and take nothing at
another’s hand: then he took up with the word “apprehend;” he had laid
hold of the truth,—there it was, with its evidence, in his hand; and
every one who knew him must remember well how, in speaking with
earnestness of the meaning of a passage, he, in his ardent, hesitating
way, looked into the palm of his hand as if he actually saw there the
truth he was going to utter. This word _apprehend_ played a large part
in his lectures, as the thing itself did in his processes of
investigation, or, if I might make a word, _indigation_. Comprehension,
he said, was for few; apprehension was for every man who had hands and a
head to rule them, and an eye to direct them. Out of this arose one of
his deficiencies. He _could_ go largely into the generalities of a
subject, and relished greatly others doing it, so that they did do it
really and well; but he was averse to abstract and wide reasonings.
Principles he rejoiced in: he worked with them as with his choicest
weapons; they were the polished stones for his sling, against the
Goliaths of presumption, error, and tyranny in thought or in polity,
civil or ecclesiastical; but he somehow divined a principle, or got at
it naked and alone, rather than deduced it and brought it to a point
from an immensity of particulars, and then rendered it back so as to
bind them into one _cosmos_. One of my young friends now dead, who
afterwards went to India, used to come and hear him in Broughton Place
with me, and this word _apprehend_ caught him, and as he had a great
love for my father, in writing home to me, he never forgot to ask how
“grand old Apprehend” was.

From this time dates my father’s possession and use of the German
Exegetics. After my mother’s death I slept with him; his bed was in his
study, a small room,[13] with a very small grate; and I remember well
his getting those fat, shapeless, spongy German books, as if one would
sink in them, and be bogged in their bibulous, unsized paper; and
watching him as he impatiently cut them up, and dived into them in his
rapid, eclectic way, tasting them, and dropping for my play such a lot
of soft, large, curled bits from the paper-cutter, leaving the edges all
shaggy. He never came to bed when I was awake, which was not to be
wondered at; but I can remember often awaking far on in the night or
morning, and seeing that keen, beautiful, intense face bending over
these Rosenmüllers, and Ernestis, and Storrs, and Kuinoels—the fire
out, and the gray dawn peering through the window; and when he heard me
move, he would speak to me in the foolish words of endearment my mother
was wont to use, and come to bed, and take me, warm as I was, into his
cold bosom.

   [13] On a low chest of drawers in this room there lay for many
        years my mother’s parasol, by his orders—I daresay, for
        long, the only one in Biggar.

_Vitringa in Jesaiam_ I especially remember, a noble folio. Even then,
with that eagerness to communicate what he had himself found, of which
you must often have been made the subject, he went and told it. He would
try to make me, small man as I was, “apprehend” what he and Vitringa
between them had made out of the fifty-third chapter of his favorite
prophet, the princely Isaiah.[14] Even then, so far as I can recall, he
never took notes of what he read. He did not need this, his intellectual
force and clearness were so great; he was so _totus in illo_, whatever
it was, that he recorded by a secret of its own, his mind’s results and
victories and _memoranda_, as he went on; he did not even mark his
books, at least very seldom; he marked his mind.

   [14] His reading aloud of everything from John Gilpin to John
        Howe was a fine and high art, or rather gift. Henderson
        could not have given

          “The dinner waits, and we are tired;”
          Says Gilpin, “So am I,”

        better; and to hear him sounding the depths and cadences of
        the Living Temple, “bearing on its front this doleful
        inscription, ‘Here God once dwelt,’” was like listening to
        the recitative of Handel. But Isaiah was his masterpiece;
        and I remember quite well his startling us all when reading
        at family worship, “His name shall be called Wonderful,
        Counsellor, the mighty God,” by a peremptory, explosive
        sharpness, as of thunder overhead, at the words “the mighty
        God,” similar to the rendering now given to Handel’s music,
        and doubtless so meant by him; and then closing with “the
        Prince of Peace,” soft and low. No man who wishes to feel
        Isaiah, as well as understand him, should be ignorant of
        Handel’s “Messiah.” His prelude to “Comfort ye”—its simple
        theme, cheerful and infinite as the ripple of the
        unsearchable sea—gives a deeper meaning to the words. One
        of my father’s great delights in his dying months was
        reading the lives of Handel and of Michael Angelo, then
        newly out. He felt that the author of “He was despised,” and
        “He shall feed his flock,” and those other wonderful airs,
        was a man of profound religious feeling, of which they were
        the utterance; and he rejoiced over the warlike airs and
        choruses of “Judas Maccabæus.” You have recorded his
        estimate of the religious nature of him of the _terribile
        via_; he said it was a relief to his mind to know that such
        a mighty genius walked humbly with his God.

He was thus every year preaching with more and more power, because with
more and more knowledge and “pureness;” and, as you say, there were
probably nowhere in Britain such lectures delivered at that time to such
an audience, consisting of country people, sound, devout, well-read in
their Bibles and in the native divinity, but quite unused to persistent,
deep, critical thought.

Much of this—most of it—was entirely his own, self-originated and
self-sustained, and done for its own sake,

  “All too happy in the pleasure
  Of his own exceeding treasure.”

But he often said, with deep feeling, that one thing put him always on
his mettle, the knowledge that “yonder in that corner, under the
gallery, sat, Sabbath after Sabbath, a man who knew his Greek Testament
better than I did.”

This was his brother-in-law, and one of his elders, Mr. Robert Johnston,
married to his sister Violet, a merchant and portioner in Biggar, a
remarkable man, of whom it is difficult to say to strangers what is
true, without being accused of exaggeration. A shopkeeper in that remote
little town, he not only intermeddled fearlessly with all knowledge, but
mastered more than many practised and University men do in their own
lines. Mathematics, astronomy, and especially what may be called
_selenology_, or the doctrine of the moon, and the higher geometry and
physics; Hebrew, Sanscrit, Greek, and Latin, to the veriest rigors of
prosody and metre; Spanish and Italian, German, French, and any odd
language that came in his way; all these he knew more or less
thoroughly, and acquired them in the most leisurely, easy, cool sort of
way, as if he grazed and browsed perpetually in the field of letters,
rather than made formal meals, or gathered for any ulterior purpose, his
fruits, his roots, and his nuts—he especially liked mental nuts—much
less bought them from any one.

With all this, his knowledge of human, and especially of Biggar human
nature, the ins and outs of its little secret ongoings, the entire
gossip of the place, was like a woman’s; moreover, every personage great
or small, heroic or comic, in Homer—whose poems he made it a matter of
conscience to read once every four years—Plautus, Suetonius, Plutarch,
Tacitus, and Lucian, down through Boccaccio and Don Quixote, which he
knew by heart and from the living Spanish, to Joseph Andrews, the
Spectator, Goldsmith and Swift, Miss Austen, Miss Edgeworth, and Miss
Ferrier, Galt and Sir Walter,—he was as familiar with, as with David
Crockat the nailer, or the parish minister, the town-drummer, the
mole-catcher, or the poaching weaver, who had the night before leistered
a prime kipper at Rachan Mill, by the flare of a tarry wisp, or brought
home his surreptitious gray hen or _maukin_ from the wilds of Dunsyre or
the dreary Lang Whang.[15]

   [15] With the practices of this last worthy, when carried on
        moderately, and for the sport’s sake, he had a special

This singular man came to the manse every Friday evening for many years,
and he and my father discussed everything and everybody;—beginning with
tough, strong head work—a bout at wrestling, be it Cæsar’s Bridge, the
Epistles of Phalaris, the import of μέν and δέ, the Catholic
question, or the great roots of Christian faith; ending with the latest
joke in the town or the _West Raw_, the last effusion by Affleck, tailor
and poet, the last blunder of Æsop the apothecary, and the last repartee
of the village fool, with the week’s Edinburgh and Glasgow news by their
respective carriers; the whole little life, sad and humorous—who had
been born, and who was dying or dead, married or about to be, for the
past eight days.[16]

   [16] I believe this was the true though secret source of much of
        my father’s knowledge of the minute personal history of
        every one in his region, which,—to his people, knowing his
        reserved manner and his devotion to his studies, and his so
        rarely meeting them or speaking to them except from the
        pulpit, or at a diet of visitation, was a perpetual wonder,
        and of which he made great use in his dealings with his
        afflicted or erring “members.”

This amused, and, in the true sense, diverted my father, and gratified
his curiosity, which was great, and his love of men, as well as for man.
He was shy, and unwilling to ask what he longed to know, liking better
to have it given him without the asking; and no one could do this better
than “Uncle Johnston.”

You may readily understand what a thorough exercise and diversion of an
intellectual and social kind this was, for they were neither of them men
to shirk from close gripes, or trifle and flourish with their weapons;
they laid on and spared not. And then my uncle had generally some
special nut of his own to crack, some thesis to fling down and offer
battle on, some “particle” to energize upon; for though quiet and calm,
he was thoroughly combative, and enjoyed seeing his friend’s blood up,
and hearing his emphatic and bright speech, and watching his flashing
eye. Then he never spared him; criticized and sometimes quizzed—for he
had great humor—his style, as well as debated and weighed his
apprehendings and exegeses, shaking them heartily to test their
strength. He was so thoroughly independent of all authority, except that
of reason and truth, and his own humor; so ready to detect what was
weak, extravagant, or unfair; so full of relish for intellectual power
and accuracy, and so attached to and proud of my father, and bent on his
making the best of himself, that this trial was never relaxed. His firm
and close-grained mind was a sort of whetstone on which my father
sharpened his wits at this weekly “setting.”

The very difference of their mental tempers and complexions drew them
together—the one impatient, nervous, earnest, instant, swift, vehement,
regardless of exertion, bent on his goal, like a thorough-bred racer,
pressing to the mark; the other leisurely to slowness and provokingness,
with a constitution which could stand a great deal of ease,
unimpassioned, still, clear, untroubled by likings or dislikings,
dwelling and working in thought and speculation and observation as ends
in themselves, and as their own rewards:[17] the one hunting for a
principle or a “divine method;” the other sapping or shelling from a
distance, and for his pleasure, a position, or gaining a point, or
settling a rule, or verifying a problem, or getting axiomatic and

   [17] He was curiously destitute of all literary ambition or show;
        like the _cactus_ in the desert, always plump, always taking
        in the dew of heaven, and caring little to give it out. He
        wrote many papers in the _Repository_ and _Monitor_, an
        acute and clever tract on the Voluntary controversy,
        entitled _Calm Answers to Angry Questions_, and was the
        author of a capital bit of literary banter—a Congratulatory
        Letter to the Minister of Liberton, who had come down upon
        my father in a pamphlet, for his sermon on “There remaineth
        much land to be possessed.” It is a mixture of Swift and
        Arbuthnot. I remember one of the flowers he culls from him
        he is congratulating, in which my father is characterized as
        one of those “shallow, sallow souls that would swallow the
        bait, without perceiving the cloven foot!” But a man like
        this _never_ is best in a book; he is always greater than
        his work.

In appearance they were as curiously unlike; my uncle short and round to
rotundity, homely and florid in feature. _I_ used to think Socrates must
have been like him in visage as well as in much of his mind. He was
careless in his dress, his hands in his pockets as a rule, and strenuous
only in smoking or in sleep; with a large, full skull, a humorous
twinkle in his cold, blue eye, a soft, low voice, expressing every kind
of thought in the same, sometimes plaguily _douce_ tone; a great power
of quiet and telling sarcasm, large capacity of listening to and of
enjoying other men’s talk, however small.

My father—tall, slim, agile, quick in his movements, graceful, neat to
nicety in his dress, with much in his air of what is called style, with
a face almost too beautiful for a man’s, had not his eyes commanded it
and all who looked at it, and his close, firm mouth been ready to say
what the fiery spirit might bid; his eyes, when at rest,
expressing—more than almost any other’s I ever saw—sorrow and tender
love, a desire to give and to get sympathy, and a sort of gentle, deep
sadness, as if that was their permanent state, and gladness their
momentary act; but when awakened, full of fire, peremptory, and not to
be trifled with; and his smile, and flash of gayety and fun, something
no one could forget; his hair in early life a dead black; his eyebrows
of exquisite curve, narrow and intense; his voice deep when unmoved and
calm; keen and sharp to piercing fierceness when vehement and roused—in
the pulpit, at times a shout, at times a pathetic wail; his utterance
hesitating, emphatic, explosive, powerful,—each sentence shot straight
and home; his hesitation arising from his crowd of impatient ideas, and
his resolute will that they should come in their order, and some of them
not come at all, only the best, and his settled determination that each
thought should be dressed in the very and only word which he stammered
on till it came,—it was generally worth his pains and ours.

Uncle Johnston, again, flowed on like Cæsar’s _Arar_, _incredibili
lenitate_, or like linseed out of a poke. You can easily fancy the
spiritual and bodily contrast of these men, and can fancy too, the kind
of engagements they would have with their own proper weapons on these
Friday evenings, in the old manse dining-room, my father showing uncle
out into the darkness of the back-road, and uncle, doubtless, lighting
his black and ruminative pipe.

If my uncle brought up nuts to crack, my father was sure to have some
difficulties to consult about, or some passages to read, something that
made him put his whole energy forth; and when he did so, I never heard
such reading. To hear him read the story of Joseph, or passages in
David’s history, and Psalms 6th, 11th, and 15th, or the 52d, 53d, 54th,
55th, 63d, 64th, and 40th chapters of Isaiah, or the Sermon on the
Mount, or the Journey to Emmaus, or our Saviour’s prayer in John, or
Paul’s speech on Mars’ Hill, or the first three chapters of Hebrews and
the latter part of the 11th or Job, or the Apocalypse; or, to pass from
those divine themes—Jeremy Taylor, or George Herbert, Sir Walter
Raleigh, or Milton’s prose, such as the passage beginning “Come forth
out of thy royal chambers, O thou Prince of all the kings of the earth!”
and “Truth, indeed, came once into the world with her divine Master,” or
Charles Wesley’s Hymns, or, most loved of all, Cowper, from the rapt
“Come thou, and, added to thy many crowns,” or “O that those lips had
language!” to the Jackdaw, and his incomparable Letters; or Gray’s
Poems, Burns’s “Tam O’Shanter,” or Sir Walter’s “Eve of St. John,”[18]
and “The Gray Brother.”

   [18] Well do I remember when driving him from Melrose to Kelso
        long ago, we came near Sandyknowe, that grim tower of
        Smailholm standing erect like a warder turned to stone,
        defying time and change his bursting into that noble

          “The Baron of Smaylho’me rose with day,
            He spurr’d his courser on,
          Without stop or stay, down the rocky way,
            That leads to Brotherstone;”

        and pointing out the “Watchfold height,” “the eiry Beacon
        Hill,” and “Brotherstone.”

But I beg your pardon: Time has run back with me, and fetched that
blessed past, and awakened its echoes. I hear his voice; I feel his eye;
I see his whole nature given up to what he is reading, and making its
very soul speak.

Such a man then as I have sketched, or washed faintly in, as the painters
say, was that person who sat in the corner under the gallery every
Sabbath-day, and who knew his Greek Testament better than his minister.
He is dead too, a few months ago, dying surrounded with his cherished
hoard of books of all sizes, times, and tongues—tatterdemalion many; all
however drawn up in an order of his own; all thoroughly mastered and
known; among them David Hume’s copy of Shaftesbury’s _Characteristics_,
with his autograph, which he had picked up at some stall.

I have said that my mother’s death was the second epoch in my father’s
life. I should perhaps have said the third; the first being his mother’s
long illness and death, and the second his going to Elie, and beginning
the battle of life at fifteen. There must have been something very
delicate and close and exquisite in the relation between the ailing,
silent, beautiful, and pensive mother, and that dark-eyed, dark-haired,
bright and silent son; a sort of communion it is not easy to express.
You can think of him at eleven slowly writing out that small book of
promises in a distinct and minute hand, quite as like his mature hand,
as the shy, lustrous-eyed boy was to his after-self in his manly years,
and sitting by the bedside while the rest were out and shouting, playing
at hide-and-seek round the little church, with the winds from Benlomond
or the wild uplands of Ayrshire blowing through their hair. He played
seldom, but when he did run out, he jumped higher and farther, and ran
faster than any of them. His peculiar beauty must have come from his
mother. He used at rare times, and with a sort of shudder, to tell of
her when a lovely girl of fifteen, having been seen by a gentleman of
rank, in Cheapside, hand in hand with an evil woman, who was decoying
her to ruin, on pretence of showing her the way home; and how he stopped
his carriage and taking in the unconscious girl, drove her to her
uncle’s door. But you have said all this better than I can.

His time with his mother, and the necessary confinement and bodily
depression caused by it, I doubt not deepened his native thoughtful
turn, and his tendency to meditative melancholy, as a condition under
which he viewed all things, and quickened and intensified his sense of
the suffering of this world, and of the profound seriousness and mystery
in the midst of which we live and die.

The second epoch was that of his leaving home with his guinea, the last
he ever got from any one but himself; and his going among utter
strangers to be master of a school one half of the scholars of which
were bigger and older than himself, and all rough colts—wilful and
unbroken. This was his first fronting of the world. Besides supporting
himself, this knit the sinews of his mind, and made him rely on himself
in action as well as in thought. He sometimes, but not often, spoke of
this, never lightly, though he laughed at some of his predicaments. He
could not forget the rude shock. Generally those familiar revelations
were at supper, on the Sabbath evening, when, his work over, he enjoyed
and lingered over his meal.

From his young and slight, almost girlish look, and his refined, quiet
manners, the boys of the school were inclined to annoy and bully him. He
saw this, and felt it was now or never,—nothing between. So he took his
line. The biggest boy, much older and stronger, was the rudest, and
infected the rest. The “_wee maister_” ordered him, in that peremptory
voice we all remember, to stand up and hold out his hand, being not at
all sure but the big fellow might knock him down on the word. To the
astonishment of the school, and to the big rebel’s too, he obeyed and
was punished on the instant, and to the full; out went the hand, down
came the “_taws_” and bit like fire. From that moment he ruled them by
his eye, the _taws_ vanished.

There was an incident at this time of his life which I should perhaps
not tell, and yet I don’t know why I shouldn’t, it so perfectly
illustrates his character in many ways. He had come home during the
vacation of his school to Langrig, and was about to go back; he had been
renewing his intercourse with his old teacher and friend whom you
mention, from whom he used to say he learned to like Shakspeare, and who
seems to have been a man of genuine literary tastes. He went down to bid
him good-bye, and doubtless they got on their old book loves, and would
be spouting their pet pieces. The old dominie said, “John, my man, if
you are walking into Edinburgh, I’ll convoy you a bit.” “John” was too
happy, so next morning they set off, keeping up a constant fire of
quotation and eager talk. They got past Mid-Calder to near East, when my
father insisted on his friend returning, and also on going back a bit
with him; on looking at the old man, he thought he was tired, so on
reaching the well-known “Kippen’s Inn,” he stopped and insisted on
giving him some refreshment. Instead of ordering bread and cheese and a
bottle of ale, he, doubtless full of Shakspeare, and great upon sack and
canary, ordered _a bottle of wine_! Of this, you may be sure, the
dominie, as he most needed it, had the greater share, and doubtless it
warmed the cockles of his old heart. “John” making him finish the
bottle, and drink the health of “Gentle Will,” saw him off, and went in
to pay the reckoning. What did he know of the price of wine! It took
exactly every penny he had; I doubt not, most boys, knowing that the
landlord knew them, would have either paid a part, or asked him to score
it up. This was not his way; he was too proud and shy and honest for
such an expedient. By this time, what with discussing Shakspeare, and
witnessing his master’s leisurely emptying of that bottle, and releasing

  “Dear prisoned spirits of the impassioned grape,”

he found he must run for it to Edinburgh, or rather Leith, fourteen
miles; this he did, and was at the pier just in time to jump into the
Elie pinnace, which was already off. He often wondered what he would
have done if he had been that one moment late. You can easily pick out
the qualities this story unfolds.

His nature, capable as it was of great, persistent, and indeed dogged
labor, was, from the predominance of the nervous system in his
organization, excitable, and therefore needed and relished
excitement—the more intense the better. He found this in his keen
political tastes, in imaginative literature, and in fiction. In the
highest kind of poetry he enjoyed the sweet pain of tears; and he all
his life had a steady liking, even a hunger, for a good novel. This
refreshed, lightened, and diverted his mind from the strain of his
incessant exegesis. He used always to say that Sir Walter and Goldsmith,
and even Fielding, Miss Edgeworth, Miss Austen, and Miss Ferrier, were
true benefactors to the race, by giving such genuine, such secure and
innocent pleasure; and he often repeated with admiration Lord Jeffrey’s
words on Scott, inscribed on his monument. He had no turn for gardening
or for fishing or any field sports or games; his sensitive nature
recoiled from the idea of pain, and above all, needless pain. He used to
say the lower creation had groans enough, and needed no more burdens;
indeed, he was fierce to some measure of unfairness against such of his
brethren—Dr. Wardlaw, for instance[19]—as resembled the apostles in
fishing for other things besides men.

   [19] After a tight discussion between these two attached friends,
        Dr. Wardlaw said, “Well, I can’t answer you, but fish I must
        and shall.”

But the exercise and the excitement he most of all others delighted in,
was riding; and had he been a country gentleman and not a clergyman, I
don’t think he could have resisted fox-hunting. With the exception of
that great genius in more than horsemanship, Andrew Ducrow, I never saw
a man sit a horse as he did. He seemed inspired, gay, erect, full of the
joy of life, fearless and secure. I have heard a farmer friend say if he
had not been a preacher of the gospel he would have been a cavalry
officer, and would have fought as he preached.

He was known all over the Upper Ward and down Tweeddale for his riding.
“There goes the minister,” as he rode past at a swift canter. He had
generally well-bred horses, or as I would now call them, ponies; if he
had not, his sufferings from a dull, hardmouthed, heavy-hearted and
footed, plebeian horse were almost comic. On his gray mare, or his
little blood bay horse, to see him setting off and indulging it and
himself in some alarming gambols, and in the midst of his difficulties,
partly of his own making, taking off his hat or kissing his hand to a
lady, made one think of “young Harry with his beaver up.” He used to
tell with much relish, how, one fine summer Sabbath evening after
preaching in the open air for a collection, in some village near, and
having put the money, chiefly halfpence, into his handkerchief, and that
into his hat, he was taking a smart gallop home across the moor, happy
and relieved, when three ladies—I think, the Miss Bertrams of
Kersewell—came suddenly upon him; off went the hat, down bent the head,
and over him streamed the cherished collection, the ladies busy among
the wild grass and heather picking it up, and he full of droll confusion
and laughter.

The gray mare he had for many years. I can remember her small head and
large eyes; her neat, compact body, round as a barrel; her finely
flea-bitten skin, and her thorough-bred legs. I have no doubt she had
Arabian blood. My father’s pride in her was quite curious. Many a wild
ride to and from the Presbytery at Lanark, and across flooded and
shifting fords, he had on her. She was as sweet-tempered and enduring,
as she was swift and sure; and her powers of running were appreciated
and applied in a way which he was both angry and amused to discover. You
know what riding the _bruse_ means. At a country wedding the young men
have a race to the bridegroom’s home, and he who wins, brings out a
bottle and glass and drinks the young wife’s health. I wish Burns had
described a _bruse_; all sorts of steeds, wild, unkempt lads as well as
colts, old broken-down thorough-breds that did wonders when _soopled_,
huge, grave cart horses devouring the road with their shaggy hoofs,
wilful ponies, etc. You can imagine the wild hurry-skurry and fun, the
comic situations and upsets over a rough road, up and down places one
would be giddy to look at.

Well, the young farmers were in the habit of coming to my father, and
asking the loan of the mare to go and see a friend, etc., etc., praising
knowingly the fine points and virtues of his darling. Having through
life, with all his firmness of nature, an abhorrence of saying “No” to
any one, the interview generally ended with, “Well, Robert, you may have
her, but take care of her, and don’t ride her fast.” In an hour or two
Robert was riding the _bruse_, and flying away from the crowd, Gray
first, and the rest nowhere, and might be seen turning the corner of the
farm-house with the victorious bottle in his uplifted hand, the motley
pack panting vainly up the hill. This went on for long, and the gray was
famous, almost notorious, all over the Upper Ward; sometimes if she
appeared, no one would start, and she trotted the course. Partly from
his own personal abstraction from outward country life, and partly from
Uncle Johnston’s sense of waggery keeping him from telling his friend of
the gray’s last exploit at Hartree Mill, or her leaping over the “best
man” at Thriepland, my father was the last to hear of this equivocal
glory of “the minister’s _meer_.” Indeed, it was whispered she had once
won a whip at Lanark races. They still tell of his feats on this fine
creature, one of which he himself never alluded to without a feeling of
shame. He had an engagement to preach somewhere beyond the Clyde on a
Sabbath evening, and his excellent and attached friend and elder, Mr.
Kello of Lindsay-lands, accompanied him on his big plough horse. It was
to be in the open air, on the river side. When they got to the Clyde
they found it in full flood, heavy and sudden rains at the head of the
water having brought it down in a wild _spate_. On the opposite side
were the gathered people and the tent. Before Mr. Kello knew where he
was, there was his minister on the mare swimming across, and carried
down in a long diagonal, the people looking on in terror. He landed,
shook himself, and preached with his usual fervor. As I have said, he
never liked to speak of this bit of hardihood, and he never repeated it;
but it was like the man—there were the people, that was what he would
be at, and though timid for anticipated danger as any woman, _in_ it he
was without fear.

One more illustration of his character in connection with his riding. On
coming to Edinburgh he gave up this kind of exercise; he had no occasion
for it, and he had enough, and more than enough of excitement in the
public questions in which he found himself involved, and in the
miscellaneous activities of a popular town minister. I was then a young
doctor—it must have been about 1840—and had a patient, Mrs. James
Robertson, eldest daughter of Mr. Pirie, the predecessor of Dr. Dick in
what was then Shuttle Street congregation, Glasgow. She was one of my
father’s earliest and dearest friends,—a mother in the Burgher Israel,
she and her cordial husband “given to hospitality,” especially to “the
Prophets.” She was hopelessly ill at Juniper Green, near Edinburgh. Mr.
George Stone, then living at Muirhouse, one of my father’s congregation
in Broughton Place, a man of equal originality and worth, and devoted to
his minister, knowing my love of riding, offered me his blood-chestnut
to ride out and make my visit. My father said, “John, if you are going,
I would like to ride out with you;” he wished to see his dying friend.
“You ride!” said Mr. Stone, who was a very Yorkshireman in the matter of
horses. “Let him try,” said I. The upshot was, that Mr. Stone sent the
chestnut for me, and a sedate pony—called, if I forget not,
Goliath—for his minister, with all sorts of injunctions to me to keep
him off the thorough-bred, and on Goliath.

My father had not been on a horse for nearly twenty years. He mounted
and rode off. He soon got teased with the short, pattering steps of
Goliath, and looked wistfully up at me, and longingly to the tall
chestnut, stepping once for Goliath’s twice, like the Don striding
beside Sancho. I saw what he was after, and when past the toll he said
in a mild sort of way, “John, did you promise _absolutely_ I was not to
ride your horse?” “No, father, certainly not. Mr. Stone, I daresay,
wished me to do so, but I didn’t.” “Well then, I think we’ll change;
this beast shakes me.” So we changed. I remember how noble he looked;
how at home: his white hair and his dark eyes, his erect, easy,
accustomed seat. He soon let his eager horse slip gently away. It was
first _evasit_, he was off, Goliath and I jogging on behind; then
_erupit_, and in a twinkling—_evanuit_. I saw them last flashing
through the arch under the Canal, his white hair flying. I was uneasy,
though from his riding I knew he was as yet in command, so I put Goliath
to his best, and having passed through Slateford, I asked a stonebreaker
if he saw a gentleman on a chestnut horse. “Has he white hair?” “Yes.”
“And een like a gled’s?” “Yes.” “Weel then, he’s fleein’ up the road
like the wund; he’ll he at Little Vantage” (about nine miles off) “in
nae time if he haud on.” I never once sighted him, but on coming into
Juniper Green there was his steaming chestnut at the gate, neighing
cheerily to Goliath. I went in, he was at the bedside of his friend, and
in the midst of prayer; his words as I entered were, “When thou passest
through the waters I will be with thee, and through the rivers, they
shall not overflow thee;” and he was not the least instant in prayer
that his blood was up with his ride. He never again saw Mrs. Robertson,
or as she was called when they were young, Sibbie (Sibella) Pirie. On
coming out he said nothing, but took the chestnut, mounted her, and we
came home quietly. His heart was opened; he spoke of old times and old
friends; he stopped at the exquisite view at Hailes into the valley, and
up the Pentlands beyond, the smoke of Kate’s Mill rising in the still
and shadowy air, and broke out into Cowper’s words: Yes,—

  “HE sets the bright procession on its way,
  And marshals all the order of the year;
  And ere one flowery season fades and dies,
  Designs the blooming wonders of the next.”

Then as we came slowly in, the moon shone behind Craiglockhart hill
among the old Scotch firs; he pulled up again, and gave me Collins’ Ode
to Evening, beginning—

  “If aught of oaten stop, or pastoral song,
  May hope, chaste Eve, to soothe thy modest ear,
  Thy springs, and dying gales;”

repeating over and over some of the lines, as

               “Thy modest ear,
  Thy springs, and dying gales.”
    “—And marks o’er all
  Thy dewy fingers draw
  The gradual dusky veil.”

And when she looked out on us clear and full, “Yes—

  “The moon takes up the wondrous tale,
  And nightly to the listening earth
  Repeats the story of her birth.”

As we passed through Slateford, he spoke of Dr. Belfrage, his
great-hearted friend, of his obligations to him, and of his son, my
friend, both lying together in Colinton churchyard; and of Dr. Dick, who
was minister before him, of the Coventrys, and of Stitchel and
Sprouston, of his mother, and of himself,—his doubts of his own
sincerity in religion, his sense of sin, of God—reverting often to his
dying friend. Such a thing only occurred to me with him once or twice
all my life; and then when we were home, he was silent, shut up,
self-contained as before. He was himself conscious of this habit of
reticence, and what may be called _selfism_ to us, his children, and
lamented it. I remember his saying in a sort of mournful joke, “I have a
well of love; I know it; but it is a _well_, and a _draw_-well, to your
sorrow and mine, and it seldom overflows, but,” looking with that
strange power of tenderness as if he put his voice and his heart into
his eyes, “you may always come hither to draw;” he used to say he might
take to himself Wordsworth’s lines,—

  “I am not one who much or oft delights
  To season my fireside with personal talk.”

And changing “though” into “if:”

  “A well of love it may be deep,
  I trust it is, and never dry;
  What matter, though its waters sleep
  In silence and obscurity?”

The expression of his affection was more like the shock of a Leyden jar,
than the continuous current of a galvanic circle.

There was, as I have said, a permanent chill given by my mother’s death,
to what may be called the outer surface of his nature, and we at home
felt it much. The blood was thrown in upon the centre, and went forth in
energetic and victorious work, in searching the Scriptures and saving
souls; but his social faculty never recovered that shock! it was
blighted; he was always desiring to be alone and at his work. A stranger
who saw him for a short time, bright, animated, full of earnest and
cordial talk, pleasing and being pleased, the life of the company, was
apt to think how delightful he must always be,—and so he was; but these
times of bright talk were like angels’ visits; and he smiled with
peculiar benignity on his retiring guest, as if blessing him not the
less for leaving him to himself. I question if there ever lived a man so
much in the midst of men, and in the midst of his own children,[20] in
whom the silences, as Mr. Carlyle would say, were so predominant. Every
Sabbath he spoke out of the abundance of his heart, his whole mind; he
was then communicative and frank enough: all the week, before and after,
he would not unwillingly have never opened his mouth. Of many people we
may say that their mouth is always open except when it is shut; of him
that his mouth was always shut except when it was opened. Every one must
have been struck with the seeming inconsistency of his occasional
brilliant, happy, energetic talk, and his habitual silentness—his
difficulty in getting anything to say. But, as I have already said, what
we lost, the world and the church gained.

      [20] He gave us all the education we got at Biggar.

When travelling he was always in high spirits and full of anecdote and
fun. Indeed I knew more of his inner history in this _one_ way, than
during years of living with him. I recollect his taking me with him to
Glasgow when I must have been about fourteen; we breakfasted in “_The
Ram’s Horn Tavern_” and I felt a new respect for him at his commanding
the waiters. He talked a great deal during our short tour, and often
have I desired to recall the many things he told me of his early life,
and of his own religious crises, my mother’s death, his fear of his own
death, and all this intermingled with the drollest stories of his boy
and student life.

We went to Paisley and dined, I well remember, we two alone, and, as I
thought, magnificently, in a great apartment in “_The Saracen’s Head_,”
at the end of which was the county ball-room. We had come across from
Dunoon and landed in a small boat at the _Water Neb_ along with Mrs. Dr.
Hall, a character Sir Walter or Galt would have made immortal. My father
with characteristic ardor took an oar, for the first time in his life,
and I believe for the last, to help the old boatman on the Cart, and
wishing to do something decided, missed the water, and went back head
over heels to the immense enjoyment of Mrs. Hall, who said, “Less pith,
and mair to the purpose, my man.” She didn’t let the joke die out.

Another time—it was when his second marriage was fixed on, to our great
happiness and his—I had just taken my degree of M. D., and he took
Isabella, William, and myself to Moffat. By a curious felicity we got
into Miss Geddes’ lodgings, where the village circulating library was
kept, the whole of which we aver he read in ten days. I never saw him so
happy, so open and full of mirth, reading to us, and reciting the poetry
of his youth. On these rare but delightful occasions he was fond of
exhibiting, when asked, his powers of rapid speaking, in which he might
have rivalled old Matthews or his son. His favorite feat was repeating
“Says I to my Lord, quo’ I—what for will ye no grund ma barley-meal
mouter-free, says I to my Lord, quo’ I, says I, I says.” He was
brilliant upon the final, “I says.” Another _chef-d’oeuvre_ was, “On
Tintock tap there is a mist, and in the mist there is a kist (a chest),
and in the kist there is a cap (a wooden bowl), and in the cap there is
a drap, tak’ up the cap, and sup the drap, and set the cap on Tintock
tap.” This he could say, if I mistake not, five times without drawing
breath. It was a favorite passage this, and he often threatened to treat
it exegetically; laughing heartily when I said, in that case, he would
not have great trouble with the _context_, which in others cost him a
good deal.

His manners to ladies, and indeed to all women, was that of a courtly
gentleman; they could be romantic in their _empressement_ and devotion,
and I used to think Sir Philip Sydney, or Ariosto’s knights and the
Paladins of old, must have looked and moved as he did. He had great
pleasure in the company of high-bred, refined thoughtful women; and he
had a peculiar sympathy with the sufferings, the necessary mournfulness
of women, and with all in their lot connected with the fruit of that
forbidden tree—their loneliness, the sorrows of their time, and their
pangs in travail, their peculiar relation to their children. I think I
hear him reading the words, “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that
she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea” (as if it
was the next thing to impossible), “she may forget, yet will not I
forget thee.” Indeed, to a man who saw so little of, and said so little
to his own children, perhaps it may be _because_ of all this, his
sympathy for mothers under loss of children, his real suffering for
their suffering, not only endeared him to them as their minister, their
consoler, and gave him opportunities of dropping in divine and saving
truth and comfort, when the heart was full and soft, tender, and at his
mercy, but it brought out in his only loss of this kind, the mingled
depth, tenderness, and also the peremptoriness of his nature.

In the case of the death of little Maggie—a child the very image of
himself in face, lovely and pensive, and yet ready for any fun, with a
keenness of affection that perilled everything on being loved, who must
cling to some one and be clasped, made for a garden, for the first
garden, not for the rough world, the child of his old age—this peculiar
meeting of opposites was very marked. She was stricken with sudden
illness, malignant sore throat; her mother was gone, and so she was to
my father as a flower he had the sole keeping of: and his joy in her
wild mirth, his watching her childish moods of sadness, as if a shadow
came over her young heaven, were themselves something to watch. Her
delicate life made no struggle with disease; it as it were declined to
stay on such conditions. She therefore sunk at once and without much
pain, her soul quick and unclouded, and her little forefinger playing to
the last with my father’s silvery curls, her eyes trying in vain to
brighten his:—

  “Thou wert a dew-drop which the morn brings forth,
  Not fitted to be trailed along the soiling earth;
  But at the touch of wrong, without a strife,
  Slips in a moment out of life.”

His distress, his anguish at this stroke, was not only intense, it was
in its essence permanent; he went mourning and looking for her all his
days; but after she was dead, that resolved will compacted him in an
instant. It was on a Sabbath morning she died, and he was all day at
church, not many yards from where lay her little corpse alone in the
house. His colleague preached in the forenoon, and in the afternoon he
took his turn, saying before beginning his discourse:—“It has pleased
the Father of Lights to darken one of the lights of my dwelling—had the
child lived I would have remained with her, but now I have thought it
right to arise and come into the house of the Lord and worship.” Such
violence to one part of his nature by that in it which was supreme,
injured him: it was like pulling up on the instant an express train; the
whole inner organization is minutely, though it may be invisibly hurt;
its molecular constitution damaged by the cruel stress and strain. Such
things are not right; they are a cruelty and injustice and injury from
the soul to the body, its faithful slave, and they bring down, as in his
case they too truly did, their own certain and specific retribution. A
man who did not feel keenly might have preached; a man whose whole
nature was torn, shattered, and astonished as his was, had in a high
sense _no right_ so to use himself; and when too late he opened his eyes
to this. It was part of our old Scottish severe unsparing
character—calm to coldness outside, burning to fierceness, tender to
agony within.

I was saying how much my father enjoyed women’s company. He liked to
look on them, and watch them, listening[21] to their keen, unconnected,
and unreasoning, but not unreasonable talk. Men’s argument, or rather
arguing, and above all debating, he disliked. He had no turn for it. He
was not combative, much less contentious. He was, however, warlike.
Anything that he could destroy, any falsehood or injustice, he made for,
not to discuss, but to expose and kill. He could not fence with his mind
much less with his tongue, and had no love for the exploits of a nimble
dialectic. He had no readiness either in thought or word for this; his
way was slowly to _think out_ a subject, to get it well “bottomed,” as
Locke would say; he was not careful as to recording the steps he took in
their order, but the spirit of his mind was logical, as must be that of
all minds who seek and find truth, for logic is nothing else than the
arithmetic of thought; having therefore _thought it out_, he proceeded
to put it into formal expression. This he did so as never again to undo
it. His mind seemed to want the wheels by which this is done, _vestigia
nulla retrorsum_, and having stereotyped it, he was never weary of it;
it never lost its life and freshness to him, and he delivered it as
emphatically thirty years after it had been cast, as the first hour of
its existence.

   [21] One day my mother, and her only sister, Agnes—married to
        James Aitken of Cullands, a man before his class and his
        time, for long the only Whig and Seceder laird in
        Peeblesshire, and with whom my father shared the _Edinburgh
        Review_ from its beginning—the two sisters who were, the
        one to the other, as Martha was to Mary, sat talking of
        their household doings; my aunt was great upon some things
        she could do; my father looked up from his book, and said,
        “There is one thing, Mrs. Aitken, you cannot do—you cannot
        turn the heel of a stocking;” and he was right, he had
        noticed her make over this “kittle” turn to her mother.

I have said he was no swordsman, but he was a heavy shot; he fired off
his ball, compact, weighty, the _maximum_ of substance in the _minimum_
of bulk; he put in double charge, pointed the muzzle, and fired, with
what force and sharpness we all remember. If it hit, good; if not, all
he could do was to load again, with the same ball, and in the same
direction. You must come to him to be shot, at least you must stand
still, for he had a want of mobility of mind in great questions. He
could not stalk about the field like a sharp-shooter; his was a great
sixty-eight pounder, and it was not much of a swivel. Thus it was that
he rather dropped into the minds of others his authoritative assertions,
and left them to breed conviction. If they gave them entrance and
cherished them, they would soon find how full of primary truth they
were, and how well they would serve them, as they had served him. With
all this heavy artillery, somewhat slow and cumbrous, on great
questions, he had no want, when he was speaking off-hand, of quick,
_snell_ remark, often witty and full of spirit, and often too
unexpected, like lightning—flashing, smiting, and gone. In Church
Courts this was very marked. On small ordinary matters, a word from him
would settle a long discussion. He would, after lively, easy talk with
his next neighbor, set _him_ up to make a speech which was conclusive.
But on great questions he must move forward his great gun with much
solemnity and effort, partly from his desire to say as much of the truth
at once as he could, partly from the natural concentration and rapidity
of his mind in action, as distinguished from his slowness when
_incubating_, or in the process of thought,—and partly from a sort of
self-consciousness—I might almost call it a compound of pride and
nervous diffidence—which seldom left him. He desired to say it so that
it might never need to be said again or otherwise by himself, or any one

This strong personality, along with a prevailing love to be alone, and
dwell with thoughts rather than with thinkers, pervaded his entire
character. His religion was deeply personal,[22] not only as affecting
himself, but as due to a personal God, and presented through the
sacrifice and intercession of the God-man; and it was perhaps owing to
his “conversation” being so habitually in heaven—his social and
affectionate desires filling themselves continually from “all the
fulness of God,” through living faith and love—that he the less felt
the need of giving and receiving human affection. I never knew any man
who lived more truly under the power, and sometimes under the shadow of
the world to come. This world had to him little reality except as
leading to the next; little interest, except as the time of probation
and sentence. A child brought to him to be baptized was in his mind, and
in his words, “a young immortal to be educated for eternity;” a birth
was the beginning of what was never to end; sin—his own and that of the
race—was to him, as it must be to all men who can think, the great
mystery, as it is the main curse of time. The idea of it—of its
exceeding sinfulness—haunted and oppressed him. He used to say of John
Foster, that this deep and intense, but sometimes narrow and grim
thinker, had, in his study of the disease of the race, been, as it were,
fascinated by its awful spell, so as almost to forget the remedy. This
was not the case with himself. As you know, no man held more firmly to
the objective reality of his religion—that it was founded upon fact. It
was not the pole-star he lost sight of, or the compass he mistrusted; it
was the seaworthiness of the vessel. His constitutional deficiency of
hope, his sensibility to sin, made him not unfrequently stand in doubt
of himself, of his sincerity and safety before God, and sometimes made
existence—the being obliged to continue to be—a doubtful privilege.

   [22] In his own words, “A personal Deity is the soul of Natural
        Religion; a personal Saviour—the real living Christ—is the
        soul of Revealed Religion.”

When oppressed with this feeling,—“the burden and the mystery of all
this unintelligible world,” the hurry of mankind out of this brief world
into the unchangeable and endless next,—I have heard him, with deep
feeling, repeat Andrew Marvel’s strong lines:—

  “But at my back I always hear
  Time’s winged chariots hurrying near;
  And yonder all before me lie
  Deserts of vast eternity.”

His living so much on books, and his strong personal attachment to men,
as distinct from his adhesion to their principles and views, made him,
as it were, live and commune with the dead—made him intimate, not
merely with their thoughts, and the public events of their lives, but
with themselves—Augustine, Milton, Luther, Melancthon, George Herbert,
Baxter, Howe, Owen, Leighton, Barrow, Bunyan, Philip and Matthew Henry,
Doddridge, Defoe, Marvel, Locke, Berkeley, Halliburton, Cowper, Gray,
Johnson, Gibbon, and David Hume,[23] Jortin, Boston, Bengel, Neander,
etc., not to speak of the apostles, and above all, his chief friend the
author of the Epistle to the Romans, whom he looked on as the greatest
of men,—with all these he had personal relations as men, he cordialized
with them. He had thought much more about them—would have had more to
say to them had they met, than about or to any but a very few living
men.[24] He delighted to possess books which any of them might have held
in their hands, on which they had written their names. He had a number
of these, some very curious; among others, that wild soldier, man of
fashion and wit among the reformers, Ulric von Hütten’s autograph on
Erasmus’ beautiful folio Greek Testament, and John Howe’s (spelt How) on
the first edition of Milton’s Speech on Unlicensed Printing.[25] He
began collecting books when he was twelve, and he was collecting up to
his last hours. He cared least for merely fine books, though he enjoyed,
no one more so, fine type, good binding, and all the niceties of the
book-fancier. What he liked were such books as were directly useful in
his work, and such as he liked to live in the midst of; such, also, as
illustrated any great philosophical, historical, or ecclesiastical
epoch. His collection of Greek Testaments was, considering his means, of
great extent and value, and he had a quite singular series of books,
pamphlets, and documents, referring not merely to his own body—the
Secession, with all its subdivisions and reunions—but to Nonconformity
and Dissent everywhere, and, indeed, to human liberty, civil and
religious, in every form,—for this, after the great truths, duties, and
expectations of his faith, was the one master-passion of his
life—liberty in its greatest sense, the largest extent of individual
and public spontaneity consistent with virtue and safety. He was in this
as intense, persistent in his devotion, as Sydney, Locke, or old Hollis.
For instance, his admiration of Lord Macaulay as a writer and a man of
letters, an orator and a statesman, great as it was, was as nothing to
his gratitude to him for having placed permanently on record, beyond all
risk of obscuration or doubt, the doctrine of 1688—the right and power
of the English people to be their own lawgivers, and to appoint their
own magistrates, of whom the sovereign is the chief.

   [23] David Hume’s _Treatise on Human Nature_ he knew thoroughly,
        and read it carefully during his last illness. He used to
        say it not only was a miracle of intellectual and literary
        power for a man of twenty-eight, but contained the essence
        of all that was best on the philosophy of mind; “It’s all
        there, if you will think it out.”

   [24] This tendency was curiously seen in his love of portraits,
        especially of men whose works he had and liked. He often put
        portraits into his books, and he seemed to enjoy this way of
        realizing their authors; and in exhibitions of pictures he
        was more taken up with what is usually and justly the most
        tiresome departments, the portraits, than with all else. He
        was not learned in engravings, and made no attempt at
        collecting them, so that the following list of portraits in
        his rooms shows his liking for the men much more than for
        the art which delineated them. Of course they by no means
        include all his friends, ancient and modern, but they all
        _were_ his friends:—

        Robert Hall—Dr. Carey—Melancthon—Calvin—Pollok—Erasmus
        (very like “Uncle Ebenezer”)—John Knox—Dr. Waugh—John
        Milton (three all framed)—Dr. Dick—Dr. Hall—Luther
        (two)—Dr. Heugh—Dr. Mitchell—Dr. Balmer—Dr.
        Henderson—Dr. Wardlaw—Shakspeare (a small oil painting
        which he had since ever I remember)—Dugald Stewart—Dr.
        Innes—Dr. Smith, Biggar—the two Erskines and Mr.
        Fisher—Dr. John Taylor of Toronto—Dr. Chalmers—Mr.
        William Ellis—Rev. James Elles—J. B.
        Patterson—Vinet—Archibald M’Lean—Dr. John
        Erskine—Tholuck—John Pym—Gesenius—Professor
        Finlayson—Richard Baxter—Dr. Lawson—Dr. Peddie (two, and
        a copy of Joseph’s noble bust); and they were thus all about
        him for no other reason than that he liked to look at and
        think of them through their countenances.

   [25] In a copy of Baxter’s Life and Times, which he picked up at
        Maurice Ogle’s shop in Glasgow, which had belonged to Anna,
        Countess of Argyll, besides her autograph, there is a most
        affecting and interesting note in that venerable lady’s
        handwriting. It occurs on the page where Baxter brings a
        charge of want of veracity against her eldest and
        name-daughter who was perverted to Popery. They are in a
        hand tremulous with age and feeling:—“I can say w^t truth I
        neuer in all my lyff did hear hir ly, and what she said, if
        it was not trew, it was by others sugested to hir, as y^t
        she wold embak on Wedensday. She belived she wold, bot thy
        took hir, alles! from me who never did sie her mor. The
        minester of Cuper, Mr. John Magill, did sie hir at Paris in
        the convent. Said she was a knowing and vertuous person, and
        hed retined the living principels of our relidgon, which
        made him say it was good to grund young persons weel in ther
        relidgion, as she was one it appired weel grunded.”

        The following is Lord Lindsay’s letter, on seeing this
        remarkable marginal note:—

                                      EDINBURGH, DOUGLAS’ HOTEL,
                                           _26th December 1856._

        MY DEAR SIR,—I owe you my sincerest thanks for your
        kindness in favoring me with a sight of the volume of
        Baxter’s Life, which formerly belonged to my ancestrix,
        Anna, Countess of Argyll. The MS. note inserted by her in it
        respecting her daughter is extremely interesting. I had
        always been under the impression that the daughter had died
        very shortly after her removal to France, but the contrary
        appears from Lady Argyll’s memorandum. That memorandum
        throws also a pleasing light on the later life of Lady Anna,
        and forcibly illustrates the undying love and tenderness of
        the aged mother, who must have been very old when she penned
        it, the book having been printed as late as 1696.

        I am extremely obliged to you for communicating to me this
        new and very interesting information.—Believe me, my dear
        Sir, your much obliged and faithful servant,


        JOHN BROWN, Esq. M.D.

His conviction of the sole right of God to be Lord of the conscience,
and his sense of his own absolute religious independence of every one
but his Maker, were the two elements in building up his beliefs on all
Church matters; they were twin beliefs. Hence the simplicity and
thoroughness of his principles. Sitting in the centre, he commanded the
circumference. But I am straying out of my parish into yours. I only add
to what you have said, that the longer he lived, the more did he insist
upon it being not less true and not less important, that the Church must
not intermeddle with the State, than that the State must not intermeddle
with the Church. He used to say, “Go down into the world, with all its
complications and confusions, with this double-edged weapon, and you can
cut all the composite knots of Church and State.” The element of God and
of eternity predominates in the religious more than in the civil affairs
of men, and thus far transcends them; but the principle of mutual
independence is equally applicable to each. All that statesmen, as such,
have to do with religion, is to be themselves under its power; all that
Christians, as such, have to do with the State, is to be good citizens.

The fourth epoch of his personal life I would date from his second
marriage. As I said before, no man was ever happier in his wives. They
had much alike in nature,—only one could see the Divine wisdom of his
first wife being his first, and his second his second; each did best in
her own place and time. His marriage with Miss Crum was a source of
great happiness and good not only to himself, but to us his first
children. She had been intimately known to us for many years, and was
endeared to us long before we saw her, by her having been, as a child
and girl, a great favorite of our own mother. The families of my
grandfather Nimmo, and of the Crums, Ewings, and Maclaes, were very
intimate. I have heard my father tell, that being out at Thornliebank
with my mother, he asked her to take a walk with him to the Rouken, a
romantic waterfall and glen up the burn. My mother thought they might
take “Miss Margaret” with them, and so save appearances, and with Miss
Crum, then a child of ten, holding my father’s hand, away the three

So you may see that no one could be nearer to being our mother; and she
was curiously ingenious, and completely successful in gaining our
affection and regard. I have, as a boy, a peculiarly pleasant
remembrance of her, having been at Thornliebank when about fourteen, and
getting that impression of her gentle, kind, wise, calm, and happy
nature—her entire lovableness—which it was our privilege to see
ministering so much to my father’s comfort. That fortnight in 1824 or
1825 is still to me like the memory of some happy dream; the old
library, the big chair in which I huddled myself up for hours with the
New Arabian Nights, and all the old-fashioned and unforgotten books I
found there, the ample old garden, the wonders of machinery and skill
going on in “the works,” the large water-wheel going its stately rounds
in the midst of its own darkness, the petrifactions I excavated in the
bed of the burn, _ammonites_, etc., and brought home to my museum (!);
the hospitable lady of the house, my hereditary friend, dignified,
anxious and kind; and above all, her only daughter who made me a sort of
pet, and was always contriving some unexpected pleasure,—all this feels
to me even now like something out of a book.

My father’s union with Miss Crum was not only one of the best blessings
of his life,—it made him more of a blessing to others, than it is
likely he would otherwise have been. By her cheerful, gracious ways, her
love for society as distinguished from company, her gift of making every
one happy and at ease when with her, and her tender compassion for all
suffering, she in a measure won my father from himself and his books, to
his own great good, and to the delight and benefit of us all. It was
like sunshine and a glad sound in the house. She succeeded in what is
called “drawing out” the inveterate solitary. Moreover, she encouraged
and enabled him to give up a moiety of his ministerial labors, and thus
to devote himself to the great work of his later years, the preparing
for and giving to the press the results of his life’s study of God’s
Word. We owe entirely to her that immense _armamentarium libertatis_,
the third edition of his treatise on Civil Obedience.

One other source of great happiness to my father by this marriage was
the intercourse he had with the family at Thornliebank, deepened and
endeared as this was by her unexpected and irreparable loss. But on this
I must not enlarge, nor on that death itself, the last thing in the
world he ever feared—leaving him once more, after a brief happiness,
and when he had still more reason to hope that he would have “grown old
with her, leaning on her faithful bosom.” The urn was again empty—and
the only word was _vale!_ he was once more _viduus_ bereft.

  “God gives us love; something to love
    He lends us; but, when love is grown
  To ripeness, that on which it throve
    Falls off, and love is left alone.
  This is the curse of time”—

But still—

  “‘Tis better to have loved and lost,
  Than never to have loved at all.”

It was no easy matter to get him from home and away from his books. But
once off, he always enjoyed himself,—especially in his visits to
Thornliebank, Busby, Crofthead, Biggar, and Melrose. He was very fond of
preaching on these occasions, and his services were always peculiarly
impressive. He spoke more slowly and with less vehemence than in his own
pulpit, and, as I often told him, with all the more effect. When driving
about Biggar, or in the neighborhood of Langrig, he was full of the
past, showing how keenly, with all his outward reserve, he had observed
and felt. He had a quite peculiar interest in his three flocks, keeping
his eye on all their members, through long years of absence.

His love for his people and for his “body” was a special love; and his
knowledge of the Secession, through all its many divisions and
unions,—his knowledge, not only of its public history, with its immense
controversial and occasional literature, but of the lives and
peculiarities of its ministers,—was of the most minute and curious
kind. He loved all mankind, and specially such as were of “the household
of faith;” and he longed for the time when, as there was one Shepherd,
there would be but one sheepfold; but he gloried in being not only a
Seceder, but Burgher; and he often said, that take them all in all, he
knew no body of professing Christians in any country or in any time,
worthier of all honor than that which was founded by the Four Brethren,
not only as God-fearing, God-serving men, but as members of civil
society; men who on every occasion were found on the side of liberty and
order, truth and justice. He used to say he believed there was hardly a
Tory in the Synod, and that no one but He whose service is perfect
freedom, knew the public good done, and the public evil averted, by the
lives and the principles, and when need was, by the votes of such men,
all of whom were in the working classes, or in the lower half of the
middle. The great Whig leaders knew this, and could always depend on the

There is no worthy portrait of my father in his prime. I believe no man
was ever more victimized in the way of being asked to “sit;” indeed, it
was probably from so many of them being of this kind, that the
opportunity of securing a really good one was lost. The best—the one
portrait of his habitual expression—is Mr. Harvey’s, done for Mr. Crum
of Busby: it was taken when he was failing, but it is an excellent
likeness as well as a noble picture; such a picture as one would buy
without knowing anything of the subject. So true it is, that imaginative
painters, men gifted and accustomed to render their own ideal
conceptions in form and color, grasp and impress on their canvas the
features of real men more to the quick, more faithfully as to the
central qualities of the man, than professed portrait painters.

Steell’s bust is beautiful, but it is wanting in expression. Slater’s,
though rude, is better. Angus Fletcher’s has much of his air, but is too
much like a Grecian God. There is a miniature by Mrs. Robertson of
London, belonging to my sister, Mrs. Young, which I always liked, though
more like a gay, brilliant French Abbé, than the Seceder minister of
Rose Street, as he then was. It gives, however, more of his exquisite
brightness and spirit, the dancing light in his dark eyes, and his
smile, when pleased and desiring to please, than any other. I have a
drawing by Mr. Harvey, done from my father for his picture of the
Minister’s Visit, which I value very much, as giving the force and
depth, the _momentum_, so to speak, of his serious look. He is sitting
in a cottar’s house, reading the Bible to an old bedridden woman, the
farm servants gathered round to get his word.

Mungo Burton painted a good portrait which my brother William has; from
his being drawn in a black neckcloth, and standing, he looks as he
sometimes did, more like a member of Parliament than a clergyman. The
print from this is good and very scarce. Of photographs, I like D. O.
Hill’s best, in which he is represented as shaking hands with the
(invisible) Free Church—it is full of his earnest, cordial power; that
by Tunny, from which the beautiful engraving by Lumb Stocks in the
Memoir was taken, is very like what he was about a year and a half
before his death. All the other portraits, as far as I can remember, are
worthless and worse, missing entirely the true expression. He was very
difficult to take, partly because he was so full of what may be called
spiritual beauty, evanescent, ever changing, and requiring the highest
kind of genius to fix it; and partly from his own fault, for he thought
it was necessary to be lively, or rather to try to be so to his
volunteering artist, and the consequence was, his giving them, as his
habitual expression, one which was rare, and in this particular case
more made than born.

The time when I would have liked his look to have been perpetuated, was
that of all others the least likely, or indeed possible;—it was, when
after administering the Sacrament to his people, and having solemnized
every one, and been himself profoundly moved by that Divine, everlasting
memorial, he left the elders’ seat and returned to the pulpit, and after
giving out the psalm, sat down wearied and satisfied, filled with devout
gratitude to his Master—his face pale, and his dark eyes looking out
upon us all, his whole countenance radiant and subdued. Any likeness of
him in this state, more like that of the proto-martyr, when his face was
as that of an angel, than anything I ever beheld, would have made one
feel what it is so impossible otherwise to convey,—the mingled
sweetness, dignity, and beauty of his face. When it was winter, and the
church darkening, and the lights at the pulpit were lighted so as to
fall upon his face and throw the rest of the vast assemblage into deeper
shadow, the effect of his countenance was something never to forget.

He was more a man of power than of genius in the ordinary sense. His
imagination was not a primary power; it was not originative, though in a
quite uncommon degree receptive, having the capacity of realizing the
imaginations of others, and through them bodying forth the unseen. When
exalted and urged by the understanding, and heated by the affections, it
burst out with great force, but always as servant, not master. But if he
had no one faculty that might be, to use the loose words of common
speech, original, he was so as a whole,—such a man as stood alone. No
one ever mistook his look, or would, had they been blind, have mistaken
his voice or words, for those of any one else, or any one else’s for

His mental characteristics, if I may venture on such ground, were
clearness and vigor, intensity, fervor,[26] concentration, penetration,
and perseverance,—more of depth than width.[27] The moral conditions
under which he lived were the love, the pursuit, and the practice of
truth in everything; strength and depth, rather than external warmth of
affection; fidelity to principles and to friends. He used often to speak
of the moral obligation laid upon every man to _think truly_, as well as
to speak and act truly, and said that much intellectual demoralization
and ruin resulted from neglecting this. He was absolutely tolerant of
all difference of opinion, so that it was sincere; and this was all the
more remarkable from his being the opposite of an indifferentist, being
very strong in his own convictions, holding them keenly, even
passionately, while from the structure of his mind, he was somehow
deficient in comprehending, much less of sympathizing with the opinions
of men who greatly differed from him. This made his homage to entire
freedom of thought all the more genuine and rare. In the region of
theological thought he was scientific, systematic, and authoritative,
rather than philosophical and speculative. He held so strongly that the
Christian religion was mainly a religion of facts, that he perhaps
allowed too little to its also being a philosophy that was ready to
meet, out of its own essence and its ever unfolding powers, any new form
of unbelief, disbelief, or misbelief, and must front itself to them as
they moved up.

   [26] This earnestness of nature pervaded all his exercises. A man
        of great capacity and culture, with a head like Benjamin
        Franklin’s, an avowed unbeliever in Christianity, came every
        Sunday afternoon, for many years, to hear him. I remember
        his look well, as if interested, but not impressed. He was
        often asked by his friends why he went when he didn’t
        believe one word of what he heard. “Neither I do, but I like
        to hear and to see a man earnest once a week, about
        anything.” It is related of David Hume, that having heard my
        great-grandfather preach, he said, “That’s the man for me,
        he means what he says, he speaks as if Jesus Christ was at
        his elbow.”

   [27] The following note from the pen to which we owe “St. Paul’s
        Thorn in the Flesh” is admirable, both for its reference to
        my father, and its own beauty and truth.

        “One instance of his imperfect discernment of associations
        of thought that were not of a purely logical character was
        afforded, we used to think, by the decided and almost
        contemptuous manner in which he always rejected the theory
        of what is called the double interpretation of prophecy.
        This, of course, is not the place to discuss whether he was
        absolutely right or wrong in his opinion. The subject,
        however, is one of somewhat curious interest, and it has
        also a strictly literary as well as a theological aspect,
        and what we have to say about it shall relate exclusively to
        the former. When Dr. Brown then said, as he was accustomed
        in his strong way to do, that ‘if prophecy was capable of
        two senses, it was impossible it could have any sense at
        all,’ it is plain, we think, that he forgot the specific
        character of prophetic literature, viz., its being in the
        highest degree poetic. Now every one knows that poetry of a
        very elevated cast almost invariably possesses great
        breadth, variety, we may say multiplicity of meaning. Its
        very excellence consists in its being capable of two, three,
        or many meanings and applications. Take, for example, these
        familiar lines in the ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream:’—

          ‘Ah me! for aught that ever I could read,
          Could ever hear by tale or history,
          The course of true love never did run smooth:
          But either it was different in blood,
          Or else misgraffed in respect of years,
          Or else it stood upon the choice of friends;
          Or if there were a sympathy in choice,
          War, death, or sickness did lay siege to it,
          Making it momentary as a sound,
          Swift as a shadow, short as any dream,
          Brief as the lightning in the collied night,
          That in a spleen unfolds both heaven and earth,
          And ere a man hath power to say “Behold!”
          The jaws of darkness do devour it up;
          So quick bright things come to confusion.’

        We remember once quoting these lines to a lady, and being
        rather taken aback by her remark, ‘They are very beautiful,
        but I don’t, think they are true.’ We really had forgot for
        the moment the straightforward, matter-of-fact sense of
        which they are capable, and were not adverting to the
        possibility of their being understood to mean that—nothing
        but love-crosses are going, and that no tolerable amount of
        comfort or happiness is to be found in the life matrimonial,
        or in any of the approaches towards it. Every intelligent
        student of Shakspeare’s, however, will at once feel that the
        poet’s mind speedily passes away from the idea with which he
        starts, and becomes merged in a far wider theme, viz., in
        the disenchantment to which all lofty imaginations are
        liable, the disappointment to which all extravagant earthly
        hopes and wishes are doomed. This, in fact, is distinctly
        expressed in the last line, and in this sense alone can the
        words he regarded as at all touching or impressive. Sudden
        expansions and transitions of thought, then, are nothing
        more than what is common to all poetry; and when we find the
        Hebrew bards, in their prophetic songs, mingling in the
        closest conjunction the anticipations of the glories of
        Solomon’s reign, or the happy prospects of a return from
        Babylon, with the higher glory and happiness of Messiah’s
        advent, such transitions of thought are in perfect
        accordance with the ordinary laws of poetry, and ought not
        to perplex even the most unimaginative student of the

With devotional feeling—with everything that showed reverence and godly
fear—he cordialized wherever and in whomsoever it was found,—Pagan or
Christian, Romanist or Protestant, bond or free; and while he disliked,
and had indeed a positive antipathy to intellectual mysticism, he had a
great knowledge of and relish for such writers as Dr. Henry More,
Culverwel, Scougall, Madame Guyon, whom (besides their other qualities)
I may perhaps be allowed to call affectionate mystics, and for such
poets as Herbert and Vaughan, whose poetry was pious, and their piety
poetic. As I have said, he was perhaps too impatient of all obscure
thinking, from not considering that on certain subjects, necessarily in
their substance, and on the skirts of all subjects, obscurity and
vagueness, difficulty and uncertainty, are inherent, and must therefore
appear in their treatment. Men who rejoiced in making clear things
obscure, and plain things the reverse, he could not abide, and spoke
with some contempt of those who were original merely from their standing
on their heads, and tall from walking upon stilts. As you have truly
said, his character mellowed and toned down in his later years, without
in any way losing its own individuality, and its clear, vigorous,
unflinching perception of and addiction to principles.

His affectionate ways with his students were often very curious: he
contrived to get at their hearts, and find out all their family and
local specialities, in a sort of short-hand way, and he never forgot
them in afterlife; and watching him with them at tea, speaking his mind
freely and often jocularly upon all sorts of subjects, one got a glimpse
of that union of opposites which made him so much what he was—he gave
out far more liberally to them the riches of his learning and the deep
thoughts of his heart, than he ever did among his full-grown brethren.
It was like the flush of an Arctic summer, blossoming all over, out of
and into the stillness, the loneliness, and the chill rigor of winter.
Though authoritative in his class without any effort, he was indulgent
to everything but conceit, slovenliness of mind and body, irreverence,
and above all handling the Word of God deceitfully. On one occasion a
student having delivered in the Hall a discourse tinged with
Arminianism, he said, “That may be the gospel according to Dr.
Macknight, or the gospel according to Dr. Taylor of Norwich, but it is
not the gospel according to the Apostle Paul; and if I thought the
sentiments expressed were his own, if I had not thought he has taken his
thoughts from commentators without carefully considering them, I would
think it my duty to him and to the church to make him no longer a
student of divinity here.” He was often unconsciously severe, from his
saying exactly what he felt. On a student’s ending his discourse, his
only criticism was, “The strongest characteristic of this discourse is
weakness,” and feeling that this was really all he had to say, he ended.
A young gentleman on very good terms with himself, stood up to pray with
his hands in his pockets, and among other things he put up a petition he
might “be delivered from the fear of man, which bringeth a snare;” my
father’s only remark was that there was part of his prayer which seemed
to be granted before it was asked. But he was always unwilling to
criticize prayer, feeling it to be too sacred, and, as it were, beyond
his province, except to deliver the true principles of all prayer, which
he used to say were admirably given in the _Shorter Catechism_—“Prayer
is an offering up of the desires of the heart to God, for things
agreeable to his will, in the name of Christ; with confession of our
sins, and thankful acknowledgment of his mercies.”

For the “heroic” old man of Haddington my father had a peculiar
reverence, as indeed we all have—as well we may. He was our king, the
founder of our dynasty: we dated from him, and he was “hedged”
accordingly by a certain sacredness or “divinity.” I well remember with
what surprise and pride I found myself asked by a blacksmith’s wife in
a remote hamlet among the hop-gardens of Kent, if I was “the son of the
Self-interpreting Bible.” I possess, as an heirloom, the New Testament
which my father fondly regarded as the one his grandfather, when a herd
laddie, got from the Professor who heard him ask for it, and promised
him it if he could read a verse; and he has in his beautiful small hand
written in it what follows: “He (John Brown of Haddington) had now
acquired so much of Greek as encouraged him to hope that he might at
length be prepared to reap the richest of all rewards which classical
learning could confer on him, the capacity of reading in the original
tongue the blessed New Testament of our Lord and Saviour. Full of this
hope, he became anxious to possess a copy of the invaluable volume. One
night, having committed the charge of his sheep to a companion, he set
out on a midnight journey to St. Andrews, a distance of twenty-four
miles. He reached his destination in the morning, and went to the
bookseller’s shop asking for a copy of the Greek New Testament. The
master of the shop, surprised at such a request from a shepherd boy,
was disposed to make game of him. Some of the professors coming into
the shop questioned the lad about his employment and studies. After
hearing his tale, one of them desired the bookseller to bring the
volume. He did so, and drawing it down, said, ‘Boy, read this, and you
shall have it for nothing.’ The boy did so, acquitted himself to the
admiration of his judges, and carried off his Testament, and when the
evening arrived, was studying it in the midst of his flock on the braes
of Abernethy.”—_Memoir of Rev. John Brown of Haddington_, by Rev. J.
B. Patterson.

    “There is reason to believe _this_ is the New Testament referred
    to. The name on the opposite page was written on the fly-leaf.
    It is obviously the writing of a boy, and bears a resemblance to
    Mr. Brown’s handwriting in mature life. It is imperfect, wanting
    a great part of the Gospel of Matthew. The autograph at the end
    is that of his son, Thomas, when a youth at college, afterwards
    Rev. Dr. Thomas Brown of Dalkeith.—J. B.”

I doubt not my father regarded this little worn old book, the sword of
the Spirit which his ancestor so nobly won, and wore, and warred with,
with not less honest veneration and pride than does his dear friend
James Douglas of Cavers the Percy pennon borne away at Otterbourne. When
I read, in Uncle William’s admirable Life of his father, his own simple
story of his early life—his loss of father and mother before he was
eleven, his discovering (as true a _discovery_ as Dr. Young’s of the
characters of the Rosetta stone, or Rawlinson’s of the cuneiform
letters) the Greek characters, his defence of himself against the
astonishing and base charge of getting his learning from the devil (that
shrewd personage would not have employed him on the Greek Testament),
his eager, indomitable study, his running miles to and back again to
hear a sermon after folding his sheep at noon, his keeping his family
creditably on never more than £50, and for long on £40 a year, giving
largely in charity, and never wanting, as he said, “lying money”—when
I think of all this, I feel what a strong, independent, manly nature he
must have had. We all know his saintly character, his devotion to
learning, and to the work of preaching and teaching; but he seems to
have been, like most complete men, full of humor and keen wit. Some of
his _snell_ sayings are still remembered. A lad of an excitable
temperament waited on him, and informed him he wished to be a preacher
of the gospel. My great-grandfather, finding him as weak in intellect as
he was strong in conceit, advised him to continue in his present
vocation. The young man said, “But I wish to preach and glorify God.”
“My young friend, a man may glorify God making broom besoms; stick to
your trade, and glorify God by your walk and conversation.”

The late Dr. Husband of Dunfermline called on him when he was preparing
to set out for Gifford, and was beginning to ask him some questions as
to the place grace held in the Divine economy. “Come away wi’ me, and
I’ll expound that; but when I’m speaking, look you after my feet.” They
got upon a rough bit of common, and the eager and full-minded old man
was in the midst of his unfolding the Divine scheme, and his student was
drinking in his words, and forgetting _his_ part of the bargain. His
master stumbled and fell, and getting up, somewhat sharply said, “James,
the grace o’ God can do much, but it canna gi’e a man common sense;”
which is as good theology as sense.

A scoffing blacksmith seeing him jogging up to a house near the smithy
on his pony, which was halting, said to him, “Mr. Brown, ye’re in the
Scripture line the day—‘the legs o’ the lame are not equal.’” “So is a
parable in the mouth of a fool.”

On his coming to Haddington, there was one man who held out against his
“call.” Mr. Brown meeting him when they could not avoid each other, the
non-content said, “Ye see, sir, I canna say what I dinna think, and I
think ye’re ower young and inexperienced for this charge.” “So I think
too, David, _but it would never do for you and me to gang in the face o’
the hale congregation!_”

The following is a singular illustration of the prevailing dark and
severe tone of the religious teaching of that time, and also of its
strength:—A poor old woman, of great worth and excellent understanding,
in whose conversation Mr. Brown took much pleasure, was on her
death-bed. Wishing to try her faith, he said to her, “Janet, what would
you say if, after all He has done for you, God should let you drop into
hell?” “E’en’s (even as) he likes; if he does, _He’ll lose mair than
I’ll do_.” There is something not less than sublime in this reply.

Than my grandfather and “Uncle Ebenezer,” no two brothers could be more
different in nature or more united in affection. My grandfather was a
man of great natural good sense, well read and well knowledged, easy but
not indolent, never overflowing but never empty, homely but dignified,
and fuller of love to all sentient creatures than any other human being
I ever knew. I had, when a boy of ten, two rabbits, Oscar and Livia: why
so named is a secret I have lost; perhaps it was an Ossianic union of
the Roman with the Gael. Oscar was a broad-nosed, manly, rather
_brusque_ husband, who used to snort when angry, and bite too; Livia was
a thin-faced, meek, and I fear, deceitfullish wife, who could smile, and
then bite. One evening I had lifted both these worthies, by the ears of
course, and was taking them from their clover to their beds, when my
grandfather, who had been walking out in the cool of the evening, met
me. I had just kissed the two creatures, out of mingled love to them,
and pleasure at having caught them without much trouble. He took me by
the chin, and kissed me, and then _Oscar and Livia_! Wonderful man, I
thought, and still think! doubtless he had seen me in my private
fondness, and wished to please me.

He was forever doing good in his quiet yet earnest way. Not only on
Sunday when he preached solid gospel sermons, full of quaint familiar
expressions, such as I fear few of my readers could take up, full of
solemn, affectionate, appeals, full of his own simplicity and love, the
Monday also found him ready with his every-day gospel. If he met a
drover from Lochaber who had crossed the Campsie Hills, and was making
across Carnwath Moor to the Calstane Slap, and thence into England by
the drove-rode, he accosted him with a friendly smile,—gave him a
reasonable tract, and dropped into him some words of Divine truth. He
was thus _continually_ doing good. Go where he might, he had his message
to every one; to a servant lass, to a poor wanderer on the bleak
streets, to gentle and simple—he flowed forever _pleno rivo_.

Uncle Ebenezer, on the other hand, flowed _per saltum_; he was always
good and saintly, but he was great once a week; six days he brooded over
his message, was silent, withdrawn, self-involved; on the Sabbath, that
downcast, almost timid man, who shunned men, the instant he was in the
pulpit, stood up a son of thunder. Such a voice! such a piercing eye!
such an inevitable forefinger, held out trembling with the terrors of
the Lord; such a power of asking questions and letting them fall deep
into the hearts of his hearers, and then answering them himself, with an
“ah, sirs!” that thrilled and quivered from him to them.

I remember his astonishing us all with a sudden burst. It was a sermon
upon the apparent _plus_ of evil in this world, and he had driven
himself and us all to despair—so much sin, so much misery—when, taking
advantage of the chapter he had read, the account of the uproar at
Ephesus in the Theatre, he said, “Ah, sirs! what if some of the men who,
for ‘about the space of two hours,’ cried out, ‘Great is Diana of the
Ephesians,’ have for the space of eighteen hundred years and more been
crying day and night, ‘Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God
Almighty; just and true are all thy ways, thou King of saints; who shall
not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy.’”

You have doubtless heard of the story of Lord Brougham going to hear
him. It is very characteristic, and as I had it from Mrs. Cuninghame,
who was present, I may be allowed to tell it. Brougham and Denman were
on a visit to James Stuart of Dunearn, about the time of the Queen’s
trial. They had asked Stuart where they should go to church; he said he
would take them to a Seceder minister at Inverkeithing. They went, and
as Mr. Stuart had described the saintly old man, Brougham said he would
like to be introduced to him, and arriving before service time, Mr.
Stuart called, and left a message that some gentlemen wished to see him.
The answer was that “Maister” Brown saw nobody before divine worship. He
then sent in Brougham and Denman’s names. “Mr. Brown’s compliments to
Mr. Stuart, and he sees nobody before sermon,” and in a few minutes out
came the stooping shy old man, and passed them, unconscious of their
presence. They sat in the front gallery, and he preached a faithful
sermon, full of fire and of native force. They came away greatly moved,
and each wrote to Lord Jeffrey to lose not a week in coming to hear the
greatest natural orator they had ever heard. Jeffrey came next Sunday,
and often after declared he never heard such words, such a sacred,
untaught gift of speech. Nothing was more beautiful than my father’s
admiration and emotion when listening to his uncle’s rapt passages, or
than his childlike faith in my father’s exegetical prowess. He used to
have a list of difficult passages ready for “my nephew,” and the moment
the oracle gave a decision, the old man asked him to repeat it, and then
took a permanent note of it, and would assuredly preach it some day with
his own proper unction and power. One story of him I must give; my
father, who heard it not long before his own death, was delighted with
it, and for some days repeated it to every one. Uncle Ebenezer, with all
his mildness and general complaisance, was, like most of the Browns,
_tenax propositi_, firm to obstinacy. He had established a week-day
sermon at the North Ferry, about two miles from his own town,
Inverkeithing. It was, I think, on the Tuesdays. It was winter, and a
wild, drifting, and dangerous day; his daughters—his wife was
dead—besought him not to go; he smiled vaguely, but continued getting
into his big-coat. Nothing would stay him, and away he and the pony
stumbled through the dumb and blinding snow. He was half-way on his
journey, and had got into the sermon he was going to preach, and was
utterly insensible to the outward storm: his pony getting its feet
_balled_, staggered about, and at last upset his master and himself into
the ditch at the road-side. The feeble, heedless, rapt old man might
have perished there, had not some carters, bringing up whisky casks from
the Ferry, seen the catastrophe, and rushed up, raising him, and
_dichtin’_ him, with much commiseration and blunt speech—“Puir auld
man, what brocht ye here in sic a day?” There they were, a rough crew,
surrounding the saintly man, some putting on his hat, sorting and
cheering him, and others knocking the balls off the pony’s feet, and
stuffing them with grease. He was most polite and grateful, and one of
these cordial ruffians having pierced a cask, brought him a horn of
whisky, and said, “Tak that, it’ll hearten ye.” He took the horn, and
bowing to them, said, “Sirs, let us give thanks!” and there, by the
road-side, in the drift and storm, with these wild fellows, he asked a
blessing on it, and for his kind deliverers, and took a tasting of the
horn. The men cried like children. They lifted him on his pony, one
going with him, and when the rest arrived in Inverkeithing, they
repeated the story to everybody, and broke down in tears whenever they
came to the blessing. “And to think o’ askin’ a blessin’ on a tass o’
whisky!” Next Presbytery day, after the ordinary business was over, he
rose up—he seldom spoke—and said, “Moderator, I have something
personal to myself to say. I have often said, that real kindness belongs
only to true Christians, but”—and then he told the story of these men;
“but more true kindness I never experienced than from these lads. They
may have had the grace of God, I don’t know; but I never mean again to
be so _positive_ in speaking of this matter.”

When he was on a missionary tour in the north, he one morning met a band
of Highland shearers on their way to the harvest; he asked them to stop
and hear the word of God. They said they could not, as they had their
wages to work for. He offered them what they said they would lose; to
this they agreed, and he paid them, and closing his eyes engaged in
prayer; when he had ended, he looked up, and his congregation had
vanished! His shrewd brother Thomas, to whom he complained of this
faithlessness, said, “Eben, the next time ye pay folk to hear you
preach, keep your eyes open, and pay them when you are done.” I
remember, on another occasion, in Bristo Church, with an immense
audience, he had been going over the Scripture accounts of great sinners
repenting and turning to God, repeating their names, from Manasseh
onwards. He seemed to have closed the record, when, fixing his eyes on
the end of the central passage, he called out abruptly, “I see a man!”
Every one looked to that point,—“I see a man of Tarsus; and he says,
Make mention of me!” It must not be supposed that the discourses of
“Uncle Ebenezer,” with these abrupt appeals and sudden starts, were
unwritten or extempore; they were carefully composed and written
out,—only these flashes of thought and passion came on him suddenly
when writing, and were therefore quite natural when delivered—they came
on him again.

The Rev. John Belfrage, M. D., had more power over my father’s actions
and his relations to the world, than any other of his friends: over his
thoughts and convictions proper, not much,—few living men had, and even
among the mighty dead, he called no man master. He used to say that the
three master intellects devoted to the study of divine truth since the
apostles, were Augustine, Calvin, and Jonathan Edwards; but that even
they were only _primi inter pares_,—this by the bye.

On all that concerned his outward life as a public teacher, as a father,
and as a member of society, he consulted Dr. Belfrage, and was swayed
greatly by his judgment, as, for instance, the choice of a profession
for myself, his second marriage, etc. He knew him to be his true friend,
and not only wise and honest, but preëminently a man of affairs, _capax
rerum_. Dr. Belfrage was a great man _in posse_, if ever I saw one,—“a
village Hampden.” Greatness was of his essence; nothing paltry, nothing
secondary, nothing untrue. Large in body, large and handsome in face,
lofty in manner to his equals or superiors;[28] homely, familiar,
cordial with the young and the poor,—I never met with a more truly
royal nature—more native and endued to rule, guide, and benefit
mankind. He was forever scheming for the good of others, and chiefly in
the way of helping them to help themselves. From a curious want of
ambition—his desire for advancement was for that of his friends, not
for his own, and here he was ambitious and zealous enough,—from
non-concentration of his faculties in early life, and from an affection
of the heart which ultimately killed him—it was too big for his body,
and, under the relentless hydrostatic law, at last shattered the
tabernacle it moved, like a steam-engine too powerful for the vessel it
finds itself in,—his mental heart also was too big for his
happiness,—from these causes, along with a love for gardening, which
was a passion, and an inherited competency, which took away what John
Hunter calls “the stimulus of necessity,” you may understand how this
remarkable man—instead of being a Prime Minister, a Lord Chancellor, or
a Dr. Gregory, a George Stephenson, or likeliest of all, a John Howard,
without some of his weaknesses, lived and died minister of the small
congregation of Slateford, near Edinburgh. It is also true that he was a
physician, and an energetic and successful one, and got rid of some of
his love of doing good to and managing human beings in this way; he was
also an oracle in his district, to whom many had the wisdom to go to
take as well as ask advice, and who was never weary of entering into the
most minute details, and taking endless pains, being like Dr. Chalmers a
strong believer in “the power of littles.” It would be out of place,
though it would be not uninteresting, to tell how this great resident
power—this strong will and authority, this capacious, clear, and
beneficent intellect—dwelt in its petty sphere, like an oak in a
flower-pot; but I cannot help recalling that signal act of friendship
and of power in the matter of my father’s translation from Rose Street
to Broughton Place, to which you have referred.

   [28] On one occasion, Mr. Hall of Kelso, an excellent but very
        odd man, in whom the _ego_ was very strong, and who, if he
        had been a Spaniard, would, to adopt Coleridge’s story, have
        taken off or touched his hat whenever he spoke of himself,
        met Dr. Belfrage in the lobby of the Synod, and drawing
        himself up as he passed, he muttered, “high and michty!”
        “There’s a pair of us, Mr. Hall.”

It was one of the turning-points of my father’s history. Dr. Belfrage,
though seldom a speaker in the public courts of his church, was always
watchful of the interests of the people and of his friends. On the Rose
Street question he had from the beginning formed a strong opinion. My
father had made his statement, indicating his leaning, but leaving
himself absolutely in the hands of the Synod. There was some speaking,
all on one side, and for a time the Synod seemed to incline to be
absolute, and refuse the call of Broughton Place. The house was
everywhere crowded, and breathless with interest, my father sitting
motionless, anxious, and pale, prepared to submit without a word, but
retaining his own mind; everything looked like a unanimous decision for
Rose Street, when Dr. Belfrage rose up and came forward into the
“passage,” and with his first sentence and look, took possession of the
house. He stated, with clear and simple argument, the truth and reason
of the case; and then having fixed himself there, he took up the
personal interests and feelings of his friend, and putting before them
what they were about to do in sending back my father, closed with a
burst of indignant appeal—“I ask you now, not as Christians, I ask you
as gentlemen, are you prepared to do this?” Every one felt it was
settled, and so it was. My father never forgot this great act of his

This remarkable man, inferior to my father in learning, in intensity, in
compactness and in power of—so to speak—_focussing_ himself,—admiring
his keen eloquence, his devotedness to his sacred art, rejoicing in his
fame, jealous of his honor—was, by reason of his own massive
understanding, his warm and great heart, and his instinctive knowledge
of men, my father’s most valued friend, for he knew best and most of
what my father knew least; and on his death, my father said he felt
himself thus far unprotected and unsafe. He died at Rothesay of
hypertrophy of the heart. I had the sad privilege of being with him to
the last; and any nobler spectacle of tender, generous affection, high
courage, child-like submission to the Supreme Will, and of magnanimity
in its true sense, I do not again expect to see. On the morning of his
death he said to me, “John, come and tell me honestly how this is to
end; tell me the last symptoms in their sequence.” I knew the man, and
was honest, and told him all I knew. “Is there any chance of stupor or
delirium?” “I think not. Death (to take Bichat’s division) will begin at
the heart itself, and you will die conscious.” “I am glad of that. It
was Samuel Johnson, wasn’t it, who wished not to die unconscious, that
he might enter the eternal world with his mind unclouded; but you know,
John, that was physiological nonsense. We leave the brain, and all this
ruined body, behind; but I would like to be in my senses when I take my
last look of this wonderful world,” looking across the still sea towards
the Argyllshire hills, lying in the light of sunrise, “and of my
friends—of you,” fixing his eyes on a faithful friend and myself. And
it was so; in less than an hour he was dead, sitting erect in his
chair—his disease had for weeks prevented him from lying down,—all the
dignity, simplicity, and benignity of its master resting upon, and, as
it were, supporting that “ruin,” which he had left.

I cannot end this tribute to my father’s friend and mine, and my own
dear and earliest friend’s father, without recording one of the most
extraordinary instances of the power of will, under the pressure of
affection, I ever witnessed or heard of. Dr. Belfrage was twice married.
His second wife was a woman of great sweetness and delicacy, not only of
mind, but, to his sorrow, of constitution. She died, after less than a
year of singular and unbroken happiness. There was no portrait of her.
He resolved there should be one; and though utterly ignorant of drawing,
he determined to do it himself. No one else could have such a perfect
image of her in his mind, and he resolved to realize this image. He got
the materials for miniature painting, and, I think, eight prepared ivory
plates. He then shut himself up from every one, and from everything, for
fourteen days, and came out of his room, wasted and feeble, with one of
the plates (the others he had used and burnt), on which was a portrait,
full of subtle likeness, and drawn and colored in a way no one could
have dreamt of, having had such an artist. I have seen it; and though I
never saw the original I felt that it must be like, as indeed every one
who knew her said it was. I do not, as I said before, know anything more
remarkable in the history of human sorrow and resolve.

I remember well that Dr. Belfrage was the first man I ever heard speak
of Free-trade in religion and in education. It was during the first
election after the Reform Bill, when Sir John Dalrymple, afterwards Lord
Stair, was canvassing the county of Mid-Lothian. They were walking in
the doctor’s garden, Sir John anxious and gracious. Dr. Belfrage, like,
I believe, every other minister in his body, was a thorough-going
Liberal, what was then called a Whig; but partly from his natural sense
of humor and relish of power, and partly, I believe, for my benefit, he
was putting the Baronet through his facings with some strictness,
opening upon him startling views, and ending by asking him, “Are you,
Sir John, for free-trade in corn, free-trade in education, free-trade in
religion? I am.” Sir John said, “Well, doctor, I have heard of
free-trade in corn, but never in the other two.” “You’ll hear of them
before ten years are gone, Sir John, or I’m mistaken.”

I have said thus much of this to me memorable man, not only because he
was my father’s closest and most powerful personal friend, but because
by his word he probably changed the whole future course of his life.
Devotion to his friends was one of the chief ends of his life, not
caring much for, and having in the affection of his heart a warning
against the perils and excitement of distinction and energetic public
work, he set himself far more strenuously than for any selfish object,
to promote the triumphs of those whom his acquired instinct—for he knew
a man as a shepherd knows a sheep, or “_Caveat Emptor_” a horse—picked
out as deserving them. He rests in Colinton churchyard,

  “Where all that mighty heart is lying still,”—

his only child William Henry buried beside him. I the more readily pay
this tribute to Dr. Belfrage, that I owe to him the best blessing of my
professional and one of the best of my personal life—the being
apprenticed to Mr. Syme. This was his doing. With that sense of the
capacities and capabilities of other men, which was one of his gifts, he
predicted the career of this remarkable man. He used to say, “Give him
life, let him live, and I know what and where he will be thirty years
hence;” and this long before our greatest clinical teacher and wisest
surgeon, had made the public and the profession feel and acknowledge the
full weight of his worth.

Another life-long and ever strengthening friendship was that with James
Henderson, D. D., Galashiels, who survived my father only a few days.
This remarkable man, and exquisite preacher, whose intellect and worth
had for nearly fifty years glowed with a pure, steady, and ever-growing
warmth and lustre in his own region, died during the night and probably
asleep, when, like Moses, no one but his Maker was with him. He had for
years labored under that form of disease of the heart called _angina
pectoris_ (Dr. Arnold’s disease), and for more than twenty years lived
as it were on the edge of instant death; but during his later years his
health had improved, though he had always to “walk softly,” like one
whose next step might be into eternity. This bodily sense of peril gave
to his noble and leonine face a look of suffering and of seriousness,
and of what, in his case, we may truly call godly fear, which all must
remember. He used to say he carried his grave beside him. He came in to
my father’s funeral, and took part in the services. He was much
affected, and we fear the long walk through the city to the burial-place
was too much for him; he returned home, preached a sermon on his old and
dear friend’s death of surpassing beauty. The text was, “For me to live
is Christ, and to die is gain.” It was, as it were, his own funeral
sermon too, and there was, besides its fervor, depth, and
heavenly-mindedness, a something in it that made his old hearers
afraid—as if it were to be the last crush of the grapes. In a letter to
me soon after the funeral, he said:—“His removal is another _memento_
to me that my own course is drawing near to its end. Nearly all of my
contemporaries and of the friends of my youth are now gone before me.
Well! I may say, in the words of your friend Vaughan—

  ‘They are all gone to that world of light,
    And I alone sit lingering here;
  Their very memory’s calm, and bright,
    And my sad thoughts doth cheer.’”

The evening before his death he was slightly unwell, and next morning,
not coming down as usual, was called, but did not answer; and on going
in, was found in the posture of sleep, quite dead: at some unknown hour
of the night _abiit ad plures_—he had gone over to the majority, and
joined the famous nations of the dead. _Tu vero felix non vitæ tantum
claritate, sed etiam opportunitate mortis!_ dying with his lamp burning,
his passport made out for his journey; death an instant act, not a
prolonged process of months, as with his friend.

I have called Dr. Henderson a remarkable man, and an exquisite preacher;
he was both, in the strict senses of the words. He had the largest brain
I ever saw or measured. His hat had to be made for him; and his head was
great in the nobler regions; the anterior and upper were full, indeed
immense. If the base of his brain and his physical organization,
especially his circulating system, had been in proportion, he would have
been a man of formidable power, but his defective throb of the heart,
and a certain lentitude of temperament, made this impossible; and his
enormous organ of thought and feeling, being thus shut from the outlet
of active energy, became intensely _meditative_, more this than even
reflective. The consequence was, in all his thoughts an exquisiteness
and finish, a crystalline lustre, purity and concentration; but it was
the exquisiteness of a great nature. If the first edge was fine, it was
the sharp end of the wedge, the broad end of which you never reached,
but might infer. This gave _momentum_ to everything he said. He was in
the true sense what Chalmers used to call a “man of _wecht_.” His mind
acted by its sheer absolute power; it seldom made an effort; it was the
hydraulic pressure, harmless, manageable, but irresistible; not the
perilous compression of steam. Therefore it was that he was untroubled
and calm, though rich; clear, though deep; though gentle, never dull;
“strong without rage, without o’erflowing full.” Indeed this element of
water furnishes the best figure of his mind and its expression. His
language was like the stream of his own Tweed; it was a translucent
medium, only it brightened everything seen through it, as wetting a
pebble brings out its lines and color. That lovely, and by him
much-loved river was curiously like him, or he like it, gentle, great,
strong, with a prevailing mild seriousness all along its course, but
clear and quiet; sometimes, as at old Melrose, turning upon itself,
reflecting, losing itself in beauty, and careless to go, deep and
inscrutable, but stealing away cheerily down to Lessudden, all the
clearer of its rest; and then again at the Trows, showing unmistakably
its power in removing obstructions and taking its own way, and chafing
nobly with the rocks, sometimes, too, like him, its silver stream rising
into sudden flood, and rolling irresistibly on its way.[29]

   [29] Such an occasional paroxysm of eloquence is thus described
        by Dr. Cairns:—“At certain irregular intervals, when the
        loftier themes of the gospel ministry were to be handled,
        his manner underwent a transformation which was startling,
        and even electrical. He became rapt and excited as with new
        inspiration; his utterance grew thick and rapid; his voice
        trembled and faltered with emotion; his eye gleamed with a
        wild unearthly lustre, in which his countenance shared; and
        his whole frame heaved to and fro, as if each glowing
        thought and vivid figure that followed in quick succession
        were only a fragment of some greater revelation which he
        panted to overtake. The writer of this notice has witnessed
        nothing similar in any preacher, and numbers the effects of
        a passage which he once heard upon the scenes and exercises
        of the heavenly world among his most thrilling recollections
        of sacred oratory.”—_Memoir prefixed to posthumous volume
        of Discourses._

We question if as many carefully thought and worded, and rapidly and by
no means laboriously written sermons, were composed anywhere else in
Britain during his fifty years—every Sunday two new ones; the
composition faultless—such as Cicero or Addison would have made them,
had they been U. P. ministers; only there was always in them more soul
than body, more of the spirit than of the letter. What a contrast to the
much turbid, hot, hasty, perilous stuff of our day and preachers! The
original power and _size_ of Dr. Henderson’s mind, his roominess for all
thoughts, and his still reserve, his lentitude, made, as we have said,
his expressions clear and quiet, to a degree that a coarse and careless
man, spoiled by the violence and noise of other pulpit men, might think
insipid. But let him go over the words slowly, and he would not say this
again; and let him see and feel the solemnizing, commanding power of
that large, square, leonine countenance, the broad massive frame, as of
a compressed Hercules, and the living, pure, melodious voice, powerful,
but not by reason of loudness, dropping out from his compressed lips the
words of truth, and he would not say this again. His voice had a
singular pathos in it; and those who remember his often-called-for
sermon on “The Bright and the Morning Star,” can reproduce in their mind
its tones and refrain. The thoughts of such men—so rare, so apt to be
unvisited and unvalued—often bring into my mind a spring of pure water
I once saw near the top of Cairngorm; always the same, cool in summer,
keeping its few plants alive and happy with its warm breath in winter,
floods and droughts never making its pulse change; and all this because
it came from the interior heights, and was distilled by nature’s own
cunning, and had taken its time—was indeed a well of living water. And
with Dr. Henderson this of the mountain holds curiously; he was retired,
but not concealed; and he was of the primary formation, he had no
_organic remains_ of other men in him; he liked and fed on all manner of
literature; knew poetry well; but it was all outside of him; his
thoughts were essentially his own.

He was peculiarly a preacher for preachers, as Spenser is a poet for
poets. They felt he was a master. He published, after the entreaties of
years, a volume of sermons which has long been out of print, and which
he would never prepare for a second edition; he had much too little of
the love of fame, and though not destitute of self-reliance and
self-value, and resolved and unchangeable to obstinacy, he was not in
the least degree vain.

But you will think I am writing more about my father’s friends and
myself than about him. In a certain sense we may know a man by his
friends; a man chooses his friends from harmony, not from sameness, just
as we would rather sing in parts than all sing the air. One man fits
into the mind of another not by meeting his points, but by dovetailing;
each finds in the other what he in a double sense wants. This was true
of my father’s friends. Dr. Balmer was like him in much more than
perhaps any,—in love of books and lonely study, in his general views of
divine truth, and in their metaphysical and literary likings, but they
differed deeply. Dr. Balmer was serene and just rather than subtle and
profound; his was the still, translucent stream,—my father’s the rapid,
and it might be deep; on the one you could safely sail, the other
hurried you on, and yet never were two men, during a long life of
intimate intercourse, more cordial.

I must close the list; one only and the best—the most endeared of them
all—Dr. Heugh. He was, in mental constitution and temper, perhaps more
unlike my father than any of the others I have mentioned. His was
essentially a practical understanding; he was a man of action, a man for
men more than for man, the curious reverse in this of my father. He
delighted in public life, had a native turn for affairs, for all that
society needs and demands,—clear-headed, ready, intrepid, adroit; with
a fine temper, but keen and honest, with an argument and a question and
a joke for every one; not disputatious, but delighting in a brisk
argument, fonder of wrestling than of fencing, but ready for action; not
much of a long shot, always keeping his eye on the immediate, the
possible, the attainable, but in all this guided by genuine principle,
and the finest honor and exactest truth. He excelled in the conduct of
public business, saw his way clear, made other men see theirs, was
forever getting the Synod out of difficulties and confusions, by some
clear, tidy, conclusive “motion;” and then his speaking, so easy and
bright and pithy, manly and gentlemanly, grave when it should be, never
when it should not—mobile, fearless, rapid, brilliant as Saladin—his
silent, pensive, impassioned and emphatic friend was more like the
lion-hearted Richard, with his heavy mace; he might miss, but let him
hit, and there needed no repetition. Each admired the other; indeed Dr.
Heugh’s love of my father was quite romantic; and though they were
opposed on several great public questions, such as the Apocrypha
controversy, the Atonement question at its commencement; and though they
were both of them too keen and too honest to mince matters or be
mealy-mouthed, they never misunderstood each other, never had a shadow
of estrangement, so that our Paul and Barnabas, though their contentions
were sometimes sharp enough, never “departed asunder;” indeed they loved
each other the longer the more.

Take him all in all, as a friend, as a gentleman, as a Christian, as a
citizen, I never knew a man so thoroughly delightful as Dr. Heugh.
Others had more of this or more of that, but there was a symmetry, a
compactness, a sweetness, a true _delightfulness_ about him I can
remember in no one else. No man, with so much temptation to be heady and
high-minded, sarcastic, and managing, from his overflowing wit and
talent, was ever more natural, more honest, or more considerate, indeed
tender-hearted. He was full of animal spirits and of fun, and one of the
best wits and jokers I ever knew; and such an asker of questions, of
posers! We children had a pleasing dread of that nimble, sharp, exact
man, who made us explain and name everything. Of Scotch stories he had
as many original ones as would make a second volume for Dean Ramsay. How
well I remember the very corner of the room in Biggar manse, forty years
ago, when from him I got the first shock and relish of humor; became
conscious of mental tickling; of a word being made to carry double, and
being all the lighter of it. It is an old story now, but it was new
then; a big, perspiring countryman rushed into the Black Bull
coach-office, and holding the door, shouted, “Are yir insides a’ oot?”
This was my first tasting of the flavor of a joke.

Had Dr. Heugh, instead of being the admirable clergyman he was, devoted
himself to public civil life, and gone into Parliament, he would have
taken a high place as a debater, a practical statesman and patriot. He
had many of the best qualities of Canning, and our own Premier, with
purer and higher qualities than either. There is no one our church
should be more proud of than of this beloved and excellent man, the
holiness and humility, the jealous, godly fear in whose nature was not
known fully even to his friends, till he was gone, when his private
daily self-searchings and prostrations before his Master and Judge were
for the first time made known. There are few characters, _both sides_ of
which are so unsullied, so pure, and without reproach.

I am back at Biggar at the old sacramental times; I see and hear my
grandfather, or Mr. Horne of Braehead, Mr. Leckie of Peebles, Mr. Harper
of Lanark, as inveterate in argument as he was warm in heart, Mr. Comrie
of Penicuik, with his keen, Voltaire-like face, and much of that unhappy
and unique man’s wit, and sense, and perfection of expression, without
his darker and baser qualities. I can hear their hearty talk, can see
them coming and going between the meetinghouse and the _Tent_ on the
side of the burn, and then the Monday dinner, and the cheerful talk, and
the many clerical stories and pleasantries, and their going home on
their hardy little horses, Mr. Comrie leaving his curl-papers till the
next solemnity, and leaving also some joke of his own, clear and compact
as a diamond, and as cutting.

I am in Rose Street on the monthly lecture, the church crammed, passages
and pulpit stairs. Exact to a minute, James Chalmers—the old soldier
and beadle, slim, meek, but incorruptible by proffered half crowns from
ladies who thus tried to get in before the doors opened—appears, and
all the people in that long pew rise up, and he, followed by his
minister, erect and engrossed, walks in along the seat, and they
struggle up to the pulpit. We all know what he is to speak of; he looks
troubled even to distress;—it is the matter of Uriah the Hittite. He
gives out the opening verses of the 51st Psalm, and offering up a short
and abrupt prayer, which every one takes to himself, announces his
miserable and dreadful subject, _fencing_ it, as it were, in a low,
penetrating voice, daring any one of us to think an evil thought; there
was little need at that time of the warning,—he infused his own
intense, pure spirit, into us all.

He then told the story without note or comment, only personating each
actor in the tragedy with extraordinary effect, above all, the manly,
loyal, simple-hearted soldier. I can recall the shudder of that
multitude as of one man when he read, “And it came to pass in the
morning, that David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of
Uriah. And he wrote in the letter, saying, Set ye Uriah in the forefront
of the hottest battle, and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten
and die.” And then, after a long and utter silence, his exclaiming, “Is
this the man according to God’s own heart? Yes, it is; we must believe
that both are true.” Then came Nathan. “There were two men in one city;
the one rich, and the other poor. The rich man had exceeding many flocks
and herds; but the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb”—and
all that exquisite, that divine fable—ending, like a thunder-clap, with
“Thou art the man!” Then came the retribution, so awfully exact and
thorough,—the misery of the child’s death; that brief tragedy of the
brother and sister, more terrible than anything in Æschylus, in Dante,
or in Ford; then the rebellion of Absalom, with its hideous dishonor,
and his death, and the king covering his face, and crying in a loud
voice, “O my son Absalom! O Absalom! my son! my son!”—and David’s
psalm, “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving-kindness;
according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my
transgressions,”—then closing with, “Yes; ‘when lust hath conceived, it
bringeth forth sin; and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
Do not err,’ do not stray, do not transgress (μὲ πλανᾶσθε),[30] ‘my
beloved brethren,’ it is first ‘earthly, then sensual, then devilish;’”
he shut the book, and sent us all away terrified, shaken, and humbled,
like himself.

   [30] James i. 15, 16. It is plain that “do not err” should have
        been in verse 15th.

I would fain say a few words on my father’s last illness, or rather on
what led to it, and I wish you and others in the ministry would take to
heart, as matter of immediate religious duty, much of what I am going to
say. My father was a seven months’ child, and lay, I believe, for a
fortnight in black wool, undressed, doing little but breathe and sleep,
not capable of being fed. He continued all his life slight in make, and
not robust in health, though lively, and capable of great single
efforts. His attendance upon his mother must have saddened his body as
well as his mind, and made him willing and able to endure, in spite of
his keen and ardent spirit, the sedentary life he in the main led. He
was always a very small eater, and nice in his tastes, easily put off
from his food by any notion. He therefore started on the full work of
life with a finer and more delicate mechanism than a man’s ought to be,
indeed, in these respects he was much liker a woman; and being very soon
“placed,” he had little travelling, and little of that tossing about the
world, which in the transition from youth to manhood, hardens the frame
as well as supples it. Though delicate, he was almost never ill. I do
not remember, till near the close of his life, his ever being in bed a

From his nervous system, and his brain predominating steadily over the
rest of his body, he was habitually excessive in his professional work.
As to quantity, as to quality, as to manner and expression, he flung
away his life without stint every Sabbath-day, his sermons being
laboriously prepared, loudly mandated, and at great expense of body and
mind, and then delivered with the utmost vehemence and rapidity. He was
quite unconscious of the state he worked himself into, and of the loud
piercing voice in which he often spoke. This I frequently warned him
about, as being, I knew, injurious to himself, and often painful to his
hearers, and his answer always was, that he was utterly unaware of it;
and thus it continued to the close, and very sad it was to me who knew
the peril, and saw the coming end, to listen to his noble, rich,
persuasive, imperative appeals, and to know that the surplus of power,
if retained, would, by God’s blessing, retain him, while the effect on
his people would, I am sure, not have lost, but in some respects have
gained, for much of the discourse which was shouted and sometimes
screamed at the full pitch of his keen voice, was of a kind to be better
rendered in his deep, quiet, settled tones. This, and the great length
of his public services, I knew he himself felt, when too late, had
injured him, and many a smile he had at my proposal to have a secret
sub-congregational string from him to me in the back seat, to be
authoritatively twitched when I knew he had done enough; but this string
was never pulled, even in his mind.

He went on in this expensive life, sleeping very little, and always
lightly, eating little, never walking except of necessity; little in
company, when he would have eaten more and been, by the power of social
relish, made likelier to get the full good out of his food; never
diverting his mind by any change but that of one book or subject for
another; and every time that any strong affliction came on him, as when
made twice a widower, or at his daughter’s death, or from such an
outrage upon his entire nature and feelings as the Libel, then his
delicate machinery was shaken and damaged, not merely by the first
shock, but even more by that unrelenting self-command by which he
terrified his body into instant submission. Thus it was, and thus it
ever must be, if the laws of our bodily constitution, laid down by Him
who knows our frame, and from whom our substance is not hid, are set at
nought, knowingly or not—if knowingly, the act is so much the more
spiritually bad—but if not, it is still punished with the same unerring
nicety, the same commensurate meting out of the penalty, and paying “in
full tale,” as makes the sun to know his time, and splits an erring
planet into fragments, driving it into space “with hideous ruin and
combustion.” It is a pitiful and a sad thing to say, but if my father
had not been a prodigal in a true but very different meaning, if he had
not spent his substance, the portion of goods that fell to him, the
capital of life given him by God, in what we must believe to have been
needless and therefore preventable excess of effort, we might have had
him still with us, shining more and more, and he and they who were with
him would have been spared those two years of the valley of the shadow,
with its sharp and steady pain, its fallings away of life, its longing
for the grave, its sleepless nights and days of weariness and languor,
the full expression of which you will find nowhere but in the Psalms and
in Job.

I have said that though delicate he was never ill: this was all the
worse for him, for, odd as it may seem, many a man’s life is lengthened
by a sharp illness; and this in several ways. In the first place, he is
laid up, out of the reach of all external mischief and exertion, he is
like a ship put in dock for repairs; time is gained. A brisk fever
clarifies the entire man; if it is beaten and does not beat, it is like
cleaning a chimney by setting it on fire; it is perilous but thorough.
Then the effort to throw off the disease often quickens and purifies and
corroborates the central powers of life; the flame burns more clearly;
there is a cleanness, so to speak, about all the wheels of life.
Moreover, it is a warning, and makes a man meditate on his bed, and
resolve to pull up; and it warns his friends, and likewise, if he is a
clergyman, his people, who if their minister is always with them, never
once think he can be ever anything but as able as he is.

Such a pause, such a breathing-time my father never got during that part
of his life and labors when it would have availed most, and he was an
old man in years, before he was a regular patient of any doctor. He was
during life subject to sudden headaches, affecting his memory and
eyesight, and even his speech; these attacks were, according to the
thoughtless phrase of the day, called bilious; that is, he was sick, and
was relieved by a blue pill and smart medicine. Their true seat was in
the brain; the liver suffered because the brain was ill, and sent no
nervous energy to it, or poisoned what it did send. The sharp racking
pain in the forehead was the cry of suffering from the anterior lobes,
driven by their master to distraction, and turning on him wild with
weakness and fear and anger. It was well they did cry out; in some
brains (large ones) they would have gone on dumb to sudden and utter
ruin, as in apoplexy or palsy; but he did not know, and no one told him
their true meaning, and he set about seeking for the outward cause in
some article of food, in some recent and quite inadequate cause.

He used, with a sort of odd shame and distress, to ask me why it was
that he was subjected to so much suffering from what he called the lower
and ignoble regions of his body; and I used to explain to him that he
had made them suffer by long years of neglect, and that they were now
having their revenge, and in their own way I have often found, that the
more the nervous centres are employed in those offices of thought and
feeling the most removed from material objects,—the more the nervous
energy of the entire nature is concentrated, engrossed, and used up in
such offices,—so much the more and therefore, are those organs of the
body which preside over that organic life, common to ourselves and the
lowest worm, defrauded of their necessary nervous food,—and being in
the organic and not in the animal department, and having no voice to
tell their wants or wrongs, till they wake up and annoy their neighbors
who have a voice, that is, who are sensitive to pain, they may have been
long ill before they come into the sphere of consciousness. This is the
true reason—along with want of purity and change of air, want of
exercise,[31] want of shifting the work of the body—why clergymen, men
of letters, and all men of intense mental application, are so liable to
be affected with indigestion, constipation, lumbago, and lowness of
spirits, _melancholia_—black bile. The brain may not give way for long,
because for a time the law of exercise strengthens it; it is fed high,
gets the best of everything, of blood and nervous pabulum, and then men
have a joy in the victorious work of their brain, and it has a joy of
its own, too, which deludes and misleads.

   [31] “The youth Story was in all respects healthy, and even
        robust; he died of overwork, or rather, as I understand, of
        a two years’ almost total want of exercise, which it was
        impossible to induce him to take.’—_Arnold’s Report to the
        Committee of Council on Education_, 1860.

All this happened to my father. He had no formal disease when he
died—no structural change; his sleep and his digestion would have been
quite sufficient for life even up to the last; the mechanism was entire,
but the motive-power was gone—it was expended. The silver cord was not
so much loosed as relaxed. The golden bowl, the pitcher at the fountain,
the wheel at the cistern, were not so much broken as emptied and stayed.
The clock had run down before its time, and there was no one but He who
first wound it up and set it who could wind it up again; and this He
does not do, because it is His law—an express injunction from
Him—that, having measured out to his creatures each his measure of
life, and left him to the freedom of his own will and the regulation of
his reason, He also leaves him to reap as he sows.

Thus it was that my father’s illness was not so much a disease as a long
death; life ebbing away, consciousness left entire, the certain issue
never out of sight. This, to a man of my father’s organization—with a
keen relish for life, and its highest pleasures and energies, sensitive
to impatience, and then over-sensitive of his own impatience; cut to the
heart with the long watching and suffering of those he loved, who, after
all, could do so little for him; with a nervous system easily sunk, and
by its strong play upon his mind darkening and saddening his most
central beliefs, shaking his most solid principles, tearing and
terrifying his tenderest affections: his mind free and clear, ready for
action if it had the power, eager to be in its place in the work of the
world and of its Master, to have to spend two long years in this
ever-descending road—here was a combination of positive and negative
suffering not to be thought of even now, when it is all sunk under that
“far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”

He often spoke to me freely about his health, went into it with the
fearlessness, exactness, and persistency of his nature; and I never
witnessed, or hope to witness, anything more affecting than when, after
it had been dawning upon him, he apprehended the true secret of his
death. He was deeply humbled, felt that he had done wrong to himself, to
his people, to us all, to his faithful and long-suffering Master; and he
often said, with a dying energy lighting up his eye, and nerving his
voice and gesture, that if it pleased God to let him again speak in his
old place, he would not only proclaim again, and, he hoped, more simply
and more fully, the everlasting gospel to lost man, but proclaim also
the gospel of God to the body, the religious and Christian duty and
privilege of living in obedience to the divine laws of health. He was
delighted when I read to him, and turned to this purpose that wonderful
passage of St. Paul—“For the body is not one member, but many. If the
whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? if the whole were
hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every
one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And the eye cannot say
unto the hand, I have no need of thee; nor again the head to the feet, I
have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which
seem to be more feeble, are necessary;” summing it all up in words with
life and death in them—“That there should be no schism in the body; but
that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether
one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be
honored, all the members rejoice with it.”

The lesson from all this is, Attend to your bodies, study their
structure, functions, and laws. This does not at all mean that you need
be an anatomist, or go deep into physiology, or the doctrines of
prevention and cure. Not only has each organism a resident doctor,
placed there by Him who can thus heal all our diseases; but this doctor,
if watched and waited on, informs any man or woman of ordinary sense
what things to do, and what things not to do. And I would have you, who,
I fear, not unfrequently sin in the same way, and all our ardent,
self-sacrificing young ministers, to reflect whether, after destroying
themselves and dying young, they have lost or gained. It is said that
God raises up others in our place. God gives you no title to say this.
Men—such men as I have in my mind—are valuable to God in proportion to
the time they are here. They are the older, the better, the riper and
richer, and more enriching. Nothing will make up for this absolute loss
of life. For there is something which every man who is a good workman is
gaining every year just because he is older, and this nothing can
replace. Let a man remain on his ground, say a country parish, during
half a century or more—let him be every year getting fuller and sweeter
in the knowledge of God and man, in utterance and in power—can the
power of that man for good over all his time, and especially towards its
close, be equalled by that of three or four young, and, it may be,
admirable men, who have been succeeding each other’s untimely death,
during the same space of time? It is against all spiritual, as well as
all simple arithmetic, to say so.

You have spoken of my father’s prayers. They were of two kinds; the one,
formal, careful, systematic, and almost stereotyped, remarkable for
fulness and compression of thought; sometimes too manifestly the result
of study, and sometimes not purely prayer, but more of the nature of a
devotional and even argumentative address; the other, as in the family,
short, simple, and varied. He used to tell of his master, Dr. Lawson,
reproving him, in his honest but fatherly way, as they were walking home
from the Hall. My father had in his prayer the words, “that through
death he might destroy him that had the power of death,—that is, the
devil.” The old man, leaning on his favorite pupil, said, “John, my man,
you need not have said ‘_that is the devil_;’ you might have been sure
that _He_ knew whom you meant.” My father, in theory, held that a
mixture of formal, fixed prayer, in fact, a liturgy, along with
_extempore_ prayer, was the right thing. As you observe, many of his
passages in prayer, all who were in the habit of hearing him could
anticipate, such as “the enlightening, enlivening, sanctifying, and
comforting influences of the good Spirit,” and many others. One in
especial you must remember; it was only used on very solemn occasions,
and curiously unfolds his mental peculiarities; it closed his
prayer—“And now, unto Thee, O Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, the one
Jehovah and our God, we would—as is most meet—with the church on earth
and the church in heaven, ascribe all honor and glory, dominion and
majesty, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world
without end. Amen.” Nothing could be liker him than the interjection,
“as is most meet.” Sometimes his abrupt, short statements in the Synod
were very striking. On one occasion, Mr. James Morison having stated his
views as to prayer very strongly, denying that a sinner _can_ pray, my
father, turning to the Moderator, said—“Sir, let a man feel himself to
be a sinner, and, for anything the universe of creatures can do for him,
hopelessly lost,—let him feel this, sir, and let him get a glimpse of
the Saviour, and all the eloquence and argument of Mr. Morison will not
keep that man from crying out, ‘God be merciful to me a sinner.’ That,
sir, is prayer—that is acceptable prayer.”

There must be, I fear, now and then an apparent discrepancy between you
and me, especially as to the degree of mental depression which at times
overshadowed my father’s nature. _You_ will understand this, and I hope
our readers will make allowance for it. Some of it is owing to my
constitutional tendency to overstate, and much of it to my having had
perhaps more frequent, and even more private, insights into this part of
his life. But such inconsistency as that I speak of—the co-existence of
a clear, firm faith, a habitual sense of God and of his infinite mercy,
the living a life of faith, as if it was in his organic and inner life,
more than in his sensational and outward—is quite compatible with that
tendency to distrust himself, that bodily darkness and mournfulness,
which at times came over him. Any one who knows “what a piece of work is
man;” how composite, how varying, how inconsistent human nature is, that
each of us are

  “Some several men, all in an hour,”

—will not need to be told to expect, or how to harmonize these
differences of mood. You see this in that wonderful man, the apostle
Paul, the true typical fulness, the _humanness_, so to speak, of whose
nature comes out in such expressions of opposites as these—“By honor
and dishonor, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet
true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as
chastened, and not killed; as sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor,
yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.”

I cannot, and after your impressive and exact history of his last days,
I need not say anything of the close of those long years of suffering,
active and passive, and that slow ebbing of life; the body, without help
or hope, feeling its doom steadily though slowly drawing on; the mind
mourning for its suffering friend, companion, and servant; mourning
also, sometimes, that it must be “unclothed,” and take its flight all
alone into the infinite unknown; dying daily, not in the heat of fever,
or in the insensibility or lethargy of paralytic disease, but having the
mind calm and clear, and the body conscious of its own decay,—dying, as
it were, in cold blood. One thing I must add. That morning when you were
obliged to leave, and when “cold obstruction’s apathy” had already begun
its reign—when he knew us, and that was all, and when he followed us
with his dying and loving eyes, but could not speak—the end came; and
then, as through life, his will asserted itself supreme in death. With
that love of order and decency which was a law of his life, he
deliberately composed himself, placing his body at rest, as if setting
his house in order before leaving it, and then closed his eyes and
mouth, so that his last look—the look his body carried to the grave and
faced dissolution in—was that of sweet, dignified self-possession.

I have made this letter much too long, and have said many things in it I
never intended saying, and omitted much I had hoped to be able to say.
But I must end.

                                      Yours ever affectionately,

                                                           J. BROWN.


   [32] Edinburgh: printed privately, 1859.

  “_Health to the auld wife, and weel mat she be,
  That busks her fause rock wi’ the lint o’ the lee (_lie_),
    Whirling her spindle and twisting the twine,
    Wynds aye the richt pirn into the richt line._”

Those who knew the best of Edinburgh society eight-and-thirty years
ago—and when was there ever a better than that best?—must remember the
personations of an old Scottish gentlewoman by Miss Stirling Graham, one
of which, when Lord Jeffrey was victimized, was famous enough to find
its way into _Blackwood_, but in an incorrect form.

Miss Graham’s friends have for years urged her to print for them her
notes of these pleasant records of the harmless and heart-easing mirth
of bygone times; to this she has at last assented, and the result is
this entertaining, curious, and beautiful little quarto, in which her
friends will recognize the strong understanding and goodness, the wit
and invention, and fine _pawky_ humor of the much-loved and warmhearted
representative of Viscount Dundee—the terrible Clavers.[33] They will
recall that blithe and winning face, sagacious and sincere, that kindly,
cheery voice, that rich and quiet laugh, that mingled sense and
sensibility, which all met, and still, to our happiness, meet in her,
who, with all her gifts and keen perception of the odd, and power of
embodying it, never gratified her consciousness of these powers, or ever

  “Her quips and cranks and wanton wiles,”

so as to give pain to any human being.

   [33] Miss Graham’s genealogy in connection with Claverhouse—the
        same who was killed at Killiecrankie—is as follows:—John
        Graham of Claverhouse married the Honorable Jean Cochrane,
        daughter of William Lord Cochrane, eldest son of the first
        Earl of Dundonald. Their only son, an infant, died December
        1689. David Graham, his brother, fought at Killiecrankie,
        and was outlawed in 1690—died without issue—when the
        representation of the family devolved on his cousin, David
        Graham of Duntrune. Alexander Graham of Duntrune died 1782;
        and on the demise of his last surviving son, Alexander, in
        1804, the property was inherited equally by his four
        surviving sisters, Anne, Amelia, Clementina, and Alison.
        Amelia, who married Patrick Stirling, Esq., of Pittendreich,
        was her mother. Clementina married Captain Gavin Drummond of
        Keltie; their only child was Clementina Countess of Airlie,
        and mother of the present Earl.

The title of this memorial is _Mystifications_, and in the opening
letter to her dear kinswoman and life-long friend, Mrs. Gillies, widow
of Lord Gillies, she thus tells her story:—

                                             DUNTRUNE, _April 1859._


    _To you and the friends who have partaken in these
    “Mystifications,” I dedicate this little volume, trusting that,
    after a silence of forty years, its echoes may awaken many
    agreeable memorials of a society that has nearly passed away._

    _I have been asked if I had no remorse in ridiculing
    singularities of character, or practising deceptions;—certainly

    _There was no personal ridicule or mimicry of any living
    creature, but merely the personation or type of a bygone class,
    that had survived the fashion of its day._

    _It was altogether a fanciful existence, developing itself
    according to circumstances, or for the amusement of a select
    party, among whom the announcement of a stranger lady, an
    original, led to no suspicion of deception. No one ever took
    offence: indeed it generally elicited the finest individual
    traits of sympathy in the minds of the dupes, especially in the
    case of Mr. Jeffrey, whose sweet-tempered kindly nature
    manifested itself throughout the whole of the tiresome interview
    with the law-loving Lady Pitlyal._

    _No one enjoyed her eccentricities more than he did, or more
    readily devised the arrangement of a similar scene for the
    amusement of our mutual friends._

    _The cleverest people were the easiest mystified, and when once
    the deception took place, it mattered not how arrant the
    nonsense or how exaggerated the costume. Indeed, children and
    dogs were the only detectives._

    _I often felt so identified with the character, so charmed with
    the pleasure manifested by my audience, that it became painful
    to lay aside the veil, and descend again into the humdrum
    realities of my own self._

    _These personations never lost me a friend; on the contrary,
    they originated friendships that cease only with life._

    _The Lady Pitlyal’s course is run; she bequeaths to you these
    reminiscences of beloved friends and pleasant meetings._

    _And that the blessing of God may descend on “each and all of
    you,” is the fervent prayer of her kinswoman and executrix,_

                                       _CLEMENTINA STIRLING GRAHAM._

I now beg to “convey,” as Pistol delicately calls it, or as we on our
side the Border would say, to “lift,” enough of this unique volume to
make my readers hunger for the whole.


    Another evening Miss Guthrie requested me to introduce my old
    lady to Captain Alexander Lindsay, a son of the late Laird of
    Kinblethmont, and brother to the present Mr. Lindsay Carnegie,
    and Mr. Sandford, the late Sir Daniel Sandford.

    She came as a Mrs. Ramsay Speldin, an old sweetheart of the
    laird’s, and was welcomed by Mrs. Guthrie as a friend of the
    family. The young people hailed her as a perfectly delightful
    old lady, and an original of the pure Scottish character, and to
    the laird she was endeared by a thousand pleasing recollections.

    He placed her beside himself on the sofa, and they talked of the
    days gone by—before the green parks of Craigie were redeemed
    from the muir of Gotterston, and ere there was a tree planted
    between the auld house of Craigie and the Castle of Claypotts.

    She spoke of the “gude auld times, when the laird of Fintry
    widna gie his youngest dochter to Abercairney, but tell’d him
    to tak them as God had gien them to him, or want.”

    “And do you mind,” she continued, “the grand ploys we had
    at the Middleton; and hoo Mrs. Scott of Gilhorn used to grind
    lilts out o’ an auld kist to wauken her visitors i’ the

    “And some o’ them didna like it sair, tho’ nane o’ them
    had courage to tell her sae, but Anny Graham o’ Duntrune.

    “‘Lord forgie ye,’ said Mrs. Scott, ‘ye’ll no gae to
    heaven, if ye dinna like music;’ but Anny was never at a loss
    for an answer, and she said, ‘Mrs. Scott—heaven’s no the
    place I tak it to be, if there be auld wives in ’t playing on

    Many a story did Mrs. Ramsay tell. The party drew their chairs
    close to the sofa, and many a joke she related, till the room
    rung again with the merriment, and the laird, in ecstasy, caught
    her round the waist, exclaiming “Oh! ye are a canty wifie.”

    The strangers seemed to think so too; they absolutely hung upon
    her, and she danced reels, first with the one, and then with the
    other, till the entrance of a servant with the newspapers
    produced a seasonable calm.

    They lay, however, untouched upon the table till Mrs. Ramsay
    requested some one to read over the claims that were putting in
    for the King’s coronation, and see if there was any mention of

    “What is your claim?” said Mr. Sandford.

    “To pyke the King’s teeth,” was the reply.

    “You will think it very singular,” said Mr. Guthrie, “that
    I never heard of it before; will you tell us how it

    “It was in the time of James the First,” said she, “that
    monarch cam to pay a visit to the monks of Arbroath, and they
    brought him to Ferryden to eat a fish dinner at the house o’
    ane o’ my forefathers. The family name, ye ken, was Spelden,
    and the dried fish was ca’d after them.

    “The king was well satisfied wi’ a’ thing that was done to
    honor him. He was a very polished prince, and when he had eaten
    his dinner he turned round to the lady and sought a preen to
    pyke his teeth.

    “And the lady, she took a fish bane and wipit it, and gae it
    to the king; and after he had cleaned his teeth wi’ it, he
    said, ‘_They’re weel pykit._’

    “And henceforth, continued he, the Speldins of Ferryden shall
    pyke the king’s teeth at the coronation. And it shall be done
    wi’ a fish-bone, and a pearl out o’ the Southesk on the end
    of it. And their crest shall be a lion’s head wi’ the teeth
    displayed, and the motto shall be _weel pykit_.”

    Mr. Sandford read over the claims, but there was no notice given
    of the Speldins.

    “We maun just hae patience,” said Mrs. Ramsay, “and nae
    doubt it will appear in the next newspaper.”

    Some one inquired who was the present representative?

    “It’s me,” replied Mrs. Ramsay Speldin; “and I mean to
    perform the office mysel’. The estate wad hae been mine too,
    had it existed; but Neptune, ye ken, is an ill neighbor, and the
    sea has washed it a’ away but a sand bunker or twa, and the
    house I bide in at Ferryden.”

    At supper every one was eager to have a seat near Mrs. Ramsay
    Speldin. She had a universal acquaintance, and she even knew Mr.
    Sandford’s mother, when he told her that her name was
    Catherine Douglas. Mr. Sandford had in his own mind composed a
    letter to Sir Walter Scott, which was to have been written and
    despatched on the morrow, giving an account of this fine
    specimen of the true Scottish character whom he had met in the
    county of Angus.

    We meant to carry on the deception next morning, but the laird
    was too happy for concealment. Before the door closed on the
    good-night of the ladies, he had disclosed the secret, and
    before we reached the top of the stairs, the gentlemen were
    scampering at our heels like a pack of hounds in full cry.

Here are at random some extracts from the others:—

    Mr. Jeffrey now inquired what the people in her part of the
    country thought of the trial of the Queen. She could not tell
    him, but she would say what she herself had remarked on siclike
    proceedings: “Tak’ a wreath of snaw, let it be never so
    white, and wash it through clean water, it will no come out so
    pure as it gaed in, far less the dirty dubs the poor Queen has
    been drawn through.”

    Mr. Russell inquired if she possessed any relics of Prince
    Charles from the time he used to spin with the lasses:—

    “Yes,” she said, “I have a _flech_ that loupit aff him
    upon my aunty, the Lady Brax, when she was helping him on wi’
    his short-gown; my aunty rowed it up in a sheet of white paper,
    and she keepit it in the tea canister, and she ca’d it aye the
    King’s Flech; and the laird, honest man, when he wanted a cup
    of gude tea, sought aye a cup of the _Prince’s mixture_.”
    This produced peals of laughter, and her ladyship laughed as
    heartily as any of them. When somewhat composed again, she
    looked across the table to Mr. Clerk, and offered to let him see
    it. “It is now set on the pivot of my watch, and a’ the
    warks gae round the _flech_ in place of turning on a diamond.”

    Lord Gillies thought this flight would certainly betray her, and
    remarked to Mr. Clerk that the flea must be painted on the
    watch, but Mr. Clerk said he had known of relics being kept of
    the Prince quite as extraordinary as a flea; that Mr. Murray of
    Simprim had a pocket-handkerchief in which Prince Charles had
    blown his nose.

    The Lady Pitlyal said her daughter did not value these things,
    and that she was resolved to leave it as a legacy to the
    Antiquarian Society.

    Holmehead was rather amused with her originality, though he had
    not forgotten the attack. He said he would try if she was a real
    Jacobite, and he called out, “Madam, I am going to propose a
    toast for ye!

    “May the Scotch Thistle choke the Hanoverian Horse.”

    “I wish I binna among the Whigs,” she said.

    “And whare wad ye be sae weel?” retorted he.

    “They murdered Dundee’s son at Glasgow.”

    “There was nae great skaith,” he replied; “but ye maun
    drink my toast in a glass of this cauld punch, if ye be a true

    “Aweel, aweel,” said the Lady Pitlyal; “as my auld friend
    Lady Christian Bruce was wont to say, ‘The best way to get the
    better of temptation is just to yield to it;’” and as she
    nodded to the toast and emptied the glass, Holmehead swore
    exultingly—“_Faith, she’s true!_”

    Supper passed over, and the carriages were announced. The Lady
    Pitlyal took her leave with Mrs. Gillies.

    Next day the town rang with the heiress of Pitlyal. Mr. W. Clerk
    said he had never met with such an extraordinary old lady,
    “for not only is she amusing herself, but my brother John is
    like to expire, when I relate her stories at second-hand.”

    He talked of nothing else for a week after, but the heiress, and
    the flea, and the rent-roll, and the old turreted house of
    Pitlyal, till at last his friends thought it would be right to
    undeceive him; but that was not so easily done, for when the
    Lord Chief-Commissioner Adam hinted that it might be Miss
    Stirling, he said that was impossible, for Miss Stirling was
    sitting by the old lady the whole of the evening.

Here is a bit of Sir Walter—

    Turning to Sir Walter, “I am sure you had our laird in your
    e’e when you drew the character of Monkbarns.”

    “No,” replied Sir Walter, “but I had in my eye a very old
    and respected friend of my own, and one with whom, I daresay
    you, Mrs. Arbuthnott, were acquainted—the late Mr. George
    Constable of Wallace, near Dundee.”

    “I kenned him weel,” said Mrs. Arbuthnott, “and his twa
    sisters that lived wi’ him, Jean and Christian, and I’ve
    been in the blue-chamber of his _Hospitium_; but I think,” she
    continued, “our laird is the likest to Monkbarns o’ the twa.
    He’s at the Antiquarian Society the night, presenting a great
    curiosity that was found in a quarry of mica slate in the hill
    at the back of Balwylie. He’s sair taken up about it, and
    puzzled to think what substance it may be; but James Dalgetty,
    wha’s never at a loss either for the name or the nature of
    onything under the sun, says it’s just Noah’s auld wig that
    blew aff yon time he put his head out of the window of the ark
    to look after his corbie messenger.”

    James Dalgetty and his opinion gave subject of much merriment to
    the company, but Doctor Coventry thought there was nothing so
    very ludicrous in the remark, for in that kind of slate there
    are frequently substances found resembling hairs.

    Lord Gillies presented Doctor Coventry to Mrs. Arbuthnott, as
    the well-known professor of agriculture, and they entered on a
    conversation respecting soils. She described those of Balwylie,
    and the particular properties of the _Surroch Park_, which James
    Dalgetty curses every time it’s spoken about, and says, “it
    greets a’ winter, and girns a’ simmer.”

    The doctor rubbed his hands with delight, and said that was the
    most perfect description of cold wet land he had ever heard of;
    and Sir Walter expressed a wish to cultivate the acquaintance of
    James Dalgetty, and extorted a promise from Mrs. Arbuthnott that
    she would visit Abbotsford, and bring James with her. “I have
    a James Dalgetty of my own,” continued Sir Walter, “that
    governs me just as yours does you.”

    Lady Ann and Mr. Wharton Duff and their daughter were announced,
    and introduced to Mrs. Arbuthnott.

    At ten, Sir Walter and Miss Scott took leave, with a promise
    that they should visit each other, and bending down to the ear
    of Mrs. Arbuthnott, Sir Walter addressed her in these words:
    “Awa! awa! the deil’s ower grit wi’ you.”

       *       *       *       *       *

And now are we not all the better for this pleasantry? so womanly, so
genial, so rich, and so without a sting,—such a true diversion, with
none of the sin of effort or of mere cleverness; and how it takes us
into the midst of the strong-brained and strong-hearted men and women of
that time! what an atmosphere of sense and good-breeding and kindliness!
And then the Scotch! cropping out everywhere as blithe, and expressive,
and unexpected as a gowan or sweet-briar rose, with an occasional
thistle, sturdy, erect, and bristling with _Nemo me_. Besides the deeper
and general interest of these _Mystifications_, in their giving, as far
as I know, a unique specimen of true personation—distinct from
acting—I think it a national good to let our youngsters read, and, as
it were, hear the language which our gentry and judges and men of
letters spoke not long ago, and into which such books as Dean Ramsay’s
and this are breathing the breath of its old life. Was there ever
anything better or so good, said of a stiff clay, than that it “girns
(grins) a’ simmer, and greets (weeps) a’ winter?”

“_OH, I’M WAT, WAT!_”

    _The father of the Rev. Mr. Steven of Largs, was the son of a
    farmer, who lived next farm to Mossgiel. When a boy of eight, he
    found “Robbie” who was a great friend of his, and of all the
    children, engaged digging a large trench in a field, Gilbert,
    his brother, with him. The boy pausing on the edge of the
    trench, and looking down upon Burns, said, “Robbie, what’s that
    ye’re doin’?” “Howkin’ a muckle hole, Tammie.” “What for?” “To
    bury the Deil in, Tammie!” (one can fancy how those eyes would
    glow.) “A’but, Robbie,” said the logical Tammie, “hoo’re ye to
    get him in?” “Ay” said Burns, “that’s it, hoo are we to get Him
    in!” and went off into shouts of laughter; and every now and
    then during that summer day shouts would come from that hole, as
    the idea came over him. If one could only have daguerreotyped
    his day’s fancies!_

“What is love, Mary?” said Seventeen to Thirteen, who was busy with her
English lessons.

“Love! what do you mean, John?”

“I mean, what’s love?”

“Love’s just love, I suppose.”

(Yes, Mary, you are right to keep by the concrete; analysis kills love
as well as other things. I once asked a useful-information young lady
what her mother was. ‘Oh, mamma’s a _biped_!’ I turned in dismay to her
younger sister, and said, What do you say? ‘Oh, my mother’s just my

“But what part of speech is it?”

“It’s a substantive or a verb.” (Young Horne Tooke didn’t ask her if it
was an active or passive, an irregular or defective verb; an inceptive,
as _calesco_, I grow warm, or _dulcesco_, I grow sweet; a frequentative
or a desiderative, as _nupturio_, I desire to marry.)

“I think it is a verb,” said John, who was deep in other diversions,
besides those of Purley; “and I think it must have been originally _the
Perfect of Live_, like thrive throve, strive strove.”

“Capital, John!” suddenly growled Uncle Oldbuck, who was supposed to be
asleep in his arm-chair by the fireside, and who snubbed and supported
the entire household. “It was that originally, and it will be our own
faults, children, if it is not that at last, as well as, ay, and more
than at first. What does Richardson say, John? read him out.” John

    LOVE, _v. s._              To prefer, to desire, as an
      -LESS.                   object of possession or enjoyment
      -LY, _ad. av._           to delight in, to be
      -LILY.                   pleased or gratified with, to
      -LINESS.                 take pleasure or gratification
      -ER.                     in, delight in.
      -ING.                    _Love_, the _s_ is app. emph. to
      -INGLY.                  the passion between the sexes.
      -INGNESS.                _Lover_ is, by old writers, app. as
      -ABLE.*                  _friend_—by male to male.
      -SOME.†                  _Love_ is much used—pref.
      ERED.‡                   * _Wiclif._  † _Chaucer._  ‡ _Shak._

    _Love-locks_,—locks (of hair) to set off the beauty; the

    A. S. _Luf-ian_; D. _Lie-ven_; Ger. _-ben_, amare, diligere.
    Wach. derives from _lieb_, bonum, because every one desires that
    which is good: _lieb_, it is more probable, is from _lieb-en_,
    grateful, and therefore _good_. It may at least admit a
    conjecture that A. S. _Lufian_, to _love_, has a reason for its
    application similar to that of L. _Di-ligere_ (_legere_, to
    gather), to take up or out (of a number), to choose, sc. one in
    preference to another, to prefer; and that it is formed upon A.
    S. _Hlif-ian_, to lift or take up, to pick up, to select, to
    prefer, Be- Over- Un-

_Uncle impatiently._—“Stuff; ‘grateful!’ ‘pick up! stuff! These
word-mongers know nothing about it. Live, love; that is it, the perfect
of live.”[34]

   [34] They are strange beings, these lexicographers. Richardson,
        for instance, under the word SNAIL, gives this
        quotation from Beaumont and Fletcher’s _Wit at Several

                  “Oh, Master Pompey! how is ’t, man?

          _Clown_—SNAILS, I’m almost starved with love
                   and cold, and one thing or other.”

        Any one else knows of course that it is “‘s nails”—the
        contraction of the old oath or interjection—_God’s nails_.

After this, Uncle sent the cousins to their beds.

Mary’s mother was in hers, never to rise from it again. She was a widow,
and Mary was her husband’s niece. The house quiet, Uncle sat down in his
chair, put his feet on the fender, and watched the dying fire; it had a
rich central glow, but no flame, and no smoke, it was flashing up
fitfully, and bit by bit falling in. He fell asleep watching it, and
when he slept, he dreamed. He was young; he was seventeen; he was
prowling about the head of North St. David Street, keeping his eye on a
certain door,—we call them common stairs in Scotland. He was waiting
for Mr. White’s famous English class for girls coming out. Presently out
rushed four or five girls, wild and laughing; then came one, bounding
like a roe:

        “Such eyes were in her head,
  And so much grace and power!”

She was surrounded by the rest, and away they went laughing, she making
them always laugh the more. Seventeen followed at a safe distance,
studying her small, firm, downright heel. The girls dropped off one by
one, and she was away home by herself, swift and reserved. He, imposter
as he was, disappeared through Jamaica Street, to reappear and meet her,
walking as if on urgent business, and getting a cordial and careless
nod. This beautiful girl of thirteen was afterwards the mother of our
Mary, and died in giving her birth. She was Uncle Oldbuck’s first and
only sweetheart; and here was he, the only help our young Horne Tooke,
and his mother and Mary had. Uncle awoke, the fire dead, and the room
cold. He found himself repeating Lady John Scott’s lines—

      “When thou art near me,
      Sorrow seems to fly,
  And then I think, as well I may,
  That on this earth there is no one
      More blest than I.

    But when thou leav’st me,
      Doubts and fears arise,
    And darkness reigns,
      Where all before was light.
    The sunshine of my soul
      Is in those eyes,
    And when they leave me
      All the world is night.

      But when thou art near me,
      Sorrow seems to fly,
  And then I feel, as well I may,
  That on this earth there dwells not one
      So blest as I.”[35]

   [35] Can the gifted author of these lines and of their music not
        be prevailed on to give them and others to the world, as
        well as to her friends?

Then taking down _Chambers’s Scottish Songs_, he read aloud:—

  “O I’m wat, wat,
    O I’m wat and weary;
  Yet fain wad I rise and rin,
    If I thocht I would meet my dearie.
        Aye waukin’, O!
          Waukin’ aye, and weary;
        Sleep, I can get nane
          For thinkin’ o’ my dearie.

  Simmer’s a pleasant time,
    Flowers o’ every color;
  The winter rins ower the heugh,
    And I long for my true lover.

  When I sleep I dream,
    When I wauk I’m eerie,
  Sleep I can get nane,
    For thinkin’ o’ my dearie.

  Lanely nicht comes on,
    A’ the lave are sleepin’;
  I think on my true love,
    And blear my e’en wi’ greetin’.

  Feather beds are saft—
    Pentit rooms are bonnie;
  But ae kiss o’ my dear love
    Better’s far than ony.

  O for Friday nicht!—
    Friday at the gloamin’;
  O for Friday nicht—
    Friday’s lang o’ comin’!”

This love-song, which Mr. Chambers gives from recitation, is, thinks
Uncle to himself, all but perfect; Burns, who in almost every instance,
not only adorned, but transformed and purified whatever of the old he
touched, breathing into it his own tenderness and strength, fails here,
as may be seen in reading his version.

  “Oh, spring’s a pleasant time!
    Flowers o’ every color—
  _The sweet bird builds her nest_,
    And I lang for my lover.
  Aye wakin’, oh!
    Wakin’ aye and _wearie_;
  Sleep I can get nane,
    For thinkin’ o’ my dearie!

  “When I sleep I dream,
    When I wauk I’m eerie,
  Rest I canna get,
    For thinkin’ o’ my dearie.
  Aye wakin’, oh!
    Wakin’ aye and weary;
  _Come, come, blissful dream_,
    Bring me to my dearie.

  “_Darksome_ nicht comes doun—
    A’ the lave are sleepin’;
  I think on my kind lad,
    And blin’ my een wi’ greetin’.
  Aye wakin’, oh!
    Wakin’ aye and wearie;
  _Hope is sweet_, but ne’er
    Sae sweet as my dearie!”

How weak these italics! No one can doubt which of these is the better.
The old song is perfect in the procession, and in the simple beauty of
its thoughts and words. A ploughman or shepherd—for I hold that it is a
man’s song—comes in “wat, wat” after a hard day’s work among the
furrows, or on the hill. The _watness_ of wat, wat, is as much wetter
than wet as a Scotch mist is more of a mist than an English one; and he
is not only wat, wat, but “weary,” longing for a dry skin and a warm bed
and rest; but no sooner said and felt, than, by the law of contrast, he
thinks on “Mysie” or “Ailie,” his Genevieve; and then “all thoughts, all
passions, all delights,” begin to stir him, and “fain wad I rise and
rin” (what a swiftness beyond run is “rin”!) Love now makes him a poet;
the true imaginative power enters and takes possession of him. By this
time his clothes are off, and he is snug in bed; not a wink can he
sleep; that “fain” is domineering over him,—and he breaks out into what
is as genuine passion and poetry, as anything from Sappho to
Tennyson—abrupt, vivid, heedless of syntax. “Simmer’s a pleasant time.”
Would any of our greatest geniuses, being limited to one word, have done
better than take “pleasant?” and then the fine vagueness of “time!”
“Flowers o’ every color;” he gets a glimpse of “herself a fairer
flower,” and is off in pursuit. “The water rins ower the heugh” (a steep
precipice); flinging itself wildly, passionately over, and so do I long
for my true lover. Nothing can be simpler and finer than

  “When I sleep, I dream;
    When I wauk, I’m eerie.”

“Lanely nicht;” how much richer and touching than “darksome.” “Feather
beds are saft;” “paintit rooms are bonnie;” I would infer from this,
that his “dearie,” his “true love,” was a lass up at “the big house”—a
dapper Abigail possibly—at Sir William’s at the Castle, and then we
have the final paroxysm upon Friday nicht—Friday at the gloamin’! O for
Friday nicht!—Friday’s lang o’ comin’!—it being very likely Thursday
before daybreak, when this affectionate _ululatus_ ended in repose.

Now, is not this rude ditty, made very likely by some clumsy, big-headed
Galloway herd, full of the real stuff of love? He does not go off upon
her eyebrows, or even her eyes; he does not sit down, and in a genteel
way announce that “love in thine eyes forever sits,” &c. &c., or that
her feet look out from under her petticoats like little mice: he is far
past that; he is not making love, he is in it. This is one and a chief
charm of Burns’ love-songs, which are certainly of all love-songs except
those wild snatches left to us by her who flung herself from the
Leucadian rock, the most in earnest, the tenderest, the “most moving
delicate and full of life.” Burns makes you feel the reality and the
depth, the truth of his passion; it is not her eyelashes or her nose, or
her dimple, or even

  “A mole cinque-spotted, like the crimson drops
    I’ the bottom of a cowslip,”

that are “winging the fervor of his love;” not even her soul; it is
herself. This concentration and earnestness, this _perfervor_ of our
Scottish love poetry, seems to me to contrast curiously with the light,
trifling philandering of the English; indeed, as far as I remember, we
have almost no love-songs in English, of the same class as this one, or
those of Burns. They are mostly either of the genteel, or of the
nautical (some of these capital), or of the comic school. Do you know
the most perfect, the finest love-song in our or in any language; the
love being affectionate more than passionate, love in possession not in

  “Oh, wert thou in the cauld blast
    On yonder lea, on yonder lea,
  My plaidie to the angry airt,
    I’d shelter thee, I’d shelter thee:
  Or did Misfortune’s bitter storms
    Around thee blaw, around thee blaw,
  Thy bield should be my bosom,
    To share it a’, to share it a’.

  “Or were I in the wildest waste,
    Sae black and bare, sae black and bare,
  The desert were a paradise,
    If thou wert there, if thou wert there:
  Or were I monarch o’ the globe,
    Wi’ thee to reign, wi’ thee to reign,
  The brightest jewel in my crown
    Wad be my queen, wad be my queen.”

The following is Mr. Chambers’ account of the origin of this
song:—Jessy Lewars had a call one morning from Burns. He offered, if
she would play him any tune of which she was fond, and for which she
desired new verses, that he would do his best to gratify her wish. She
sat down at the piano, and played over and over the air of an old song,
beginning with the words—

  “The robin cam’ to the wren’s nest,
    And keekit in, and keekit in:
  ‘O weel’s me on your auld pow!
    Wad ye be in, wad ye be in?
  Ye’ se ne’er get leave to lie without,
    And I within, and I within,
  As lang ’s I hae an auld clout,
    To row ye in, to row ye in.’”

Uncle now took his candle, and slunk off to bed, slipping up noiselessly
that he might not disturb the thin sleep of the sufferer, saying in to
himself—“I’d shelter thee, I’d shelter thee;” “If thou wert there, if
thou wert there;” and though the morning was at the window, he was up by
eight, making breakfast for John and Mary.

       *       *       *       *       *

Love never faileth; but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail;
whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge,
it shall vanish away; but love is of God, and cannot fail.


    “PRÆSENS _imperfectum,—perfectum, plusquam perfectum_

      “_The idea of thy life shall sweetly creep
      Into my study of imagination;
      And every lovely organ of thy life
      Shall come apparelled in more precious habit—
      More moving delicate, and full of life,
      Into the eye and prospect of my soul,
      Than when thou livedst indeed._”

                                             MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING.

In the chancel of Clevedon Church, Somersetshire, rest the mortal
remains of Arthur Henry Hallam, eldest son of our great philosophic
historian and critic,—and the friend to whom “_In Memoriam_” is sacred.
This place was selected by his father, not only from the connection of
kindred, being the burial-place of his maternal grandfather, Sir Abraham
Elton, but likewise “on account of its still and sequestered situation,
on a lone hill that overhangs the Bristol Channel.” That lone hill, with
its humble old church, its outlook over the waste of waters, where “the
stately ships go on,” was, we doubt not, in Tennyson’s mind, when the
poem, “Break, break, break,” which contains the burden of that volume in
which are enshrined so much of the deepest affection, poetry,
philosophy, and godliness, rose into his “study of imagination”—“into
the eye and prospect of his soul.”[36]

   [36] The passage from Shakspeare prefixed to this paper, contains
        probably as much as can be said of the mental, not less than
        the affectionate conditions, under which such a record as
        _In Memoriam_ is produced, and may give us more insight into
        the imaginative faculty’s mode of working, than all our
        philosophizing and analysis. It seems to let out with the
        fulness, simplicity, and unconsciousness of a
        child—“Fancy’s Child”—the secret mechanism or procession
        of the greatest creative mind our race has produced. In
        itself, it has no recondite meaning, it answers fully its
        own sweet purpose. We are not believers, like some folks, in
        the omniscience of even Shakspeare. But, like many things
        that he and other wise men and many simple children say, it
        has a germ of universal meaning, which it is quite lawful to
        bring out of it, and which may be enjoyed to the full
        without any wrong to its own original beauty and fitness. A
        dew-drop is not the less beautiful that it illustrates in
        its structure the law of gravitation which holds the world
        together, and by which “the most ancient heavens are fresh
        and strong.” This is the passage. The Friar speaking of
        Claudio, hearing that Hero “died upon his word,” says,—

          “The idea of her life shall sweetly creep
          Into his study of imagination;
          And every lovely organ of her life
          Shall come apparelled in more precious habit—
          More moving delicate, and full of life,
          Into the eye and prospect of his soul,
          Than when she lived indeed.”

        We have here expressed in plain language the imaginative
        memory of the beloved dead, rising upon the past, like
        moonlight upon midnight,—

          “The gleam, the shadow, and the peace supreme.”

        This is its simple meaning—the statement of a truth, the
        utterance of personal feeling. But observe its hidden
        abstract significance—it is the revelation of what goes on
        in the depths of the soul, when the dead elements of what
        once was, are laid before the imagination, and so breathed
        upon as to be quickened into a new and higher life. We have
        first the _Idea of her Life_—all he remembered and felt of
        her, gathered into one vague shadowy image, not any one
        look, or action, or time—then the idea of her life
        _creeps_—is in before he is aware, and SWEETLY
        creeps,—it might have been softly or gently, but it is the
        addition of affection to all this, and bringing in another
        sense—and now it is in his _study of imagination_—what a
        place! fit for such a visitor. Then out comes the _Idea_,
        more particular, more questionable, but still ideal,
        spiritual—_every lovely organ of her life_—then the
        clothing upon, the mortal putting on its immortal, spiritual
        body—_shall come apparelled in more precious habit, more
        moving delicate_—this is the transfiguring, the putting on
        strength, the _poco più_—the little more which makes
        immortal,—_more full of life_, and all this submitted
        to—_the eye and prospect of the soul_.

  “Break, break, break,
    On thy cold gray stones, O sea!
  And I would that my tongue could utter
    The thoughts that arise in me.

  “O well for the fisherman’s boy
    That he shouts with his sister at play!
  O well for the sailor lad
    That he sings in his boat on the bay!

  “And the stately ships go on
    To their haven under the hill!
  But O for the touch of a vanish’d hand,
    And the sound of a voice that is still!

  “Break, break, break,
    At the foot of thy crags, O sea!
  But the tender grace of a day that is dead
    Will never come back to me.”

Out of these few simple words, deep and melancholy, and sounding as the
sea, as out of a well of the living waters of love, flows forth all _In
Memoriam_, as a stream flows out of its spring—all is here. “I would
that my tongue could utter the thoughts that arise in me,”—“the touch
of the vanished hand—the sound of the voice that is still,”—the body
and soul of his friend. Rising as it were out of the midst of the gloom
of the valley of the shadow of death,—

  “The mountain infant to the sun comes forth
  Like human life from darkness;”

and how its waters flow on! carrying life, beauty, magnificence,—shadows
and happy lights, depths of blackness, depths clear as the very body of
heaven. How it deepens as it goes, involving larger interests, wider
views, “thoughts that wander through eternity,” greater affections, but
still retaining its pure living waters, its unforgotten burden of love
and sorrow. How it visits every region! “the long unlovely street,”
pleasant villages and farms, “the placid ocean-plains,” waste howling
wildernesses, grim woods, _nemorumque noctem_, informed with spiritual
fears, where may be seen, if shapes they may be called—

  “Fear and trembling Hope,
  Silence and Foresight; Death the Skeleton,
  And Time the Shadow;”

now within hearing of the Minster clock, now of the College bells, and
the vague hum of the mighty city. And overhead through all its course
the heaven with its clouds, its sun, moon, and stars; but always, and in
all places, declaring its source; and even when laying its burden of
manifold and faithful affection at the feet of the Almighty Father,
still remembering whence it came,—

  “That friend of mine who lives in God,
  That God which ever lives and loves;
    One God, one law, one element,
    And one far-off divine event,
  To which the whole creation moves.”

It is to that chancel, and to the day, 3d January, 1834, that he refers
in poem XVIII. of _In Memoriam_.

  “‘Tis well, ’tis something, we may stand
    Where he in English earth is laid,
    And from his ashes may be made
  The violet of his native land.

  “‘Tis little; but it looks in truth
    As if the quiet bones were blest
    Among familiar names to rest,
  And in the places of his youth.”

And again in XIX.:—

  “The Danube to the Severn gave
    The darken’d heart that beat no more;
    They laid him by the pleasant shore,
  And in the hearing of the wave.

  “There twice a day the Severn fills,
    The salt sea-water passes by,
    And hushes half the babbling Wye,
  And makes a silence in the hills.”

Here, too, it is, LXVI.:—

  “When on my bed the moonlight falls,
    I know that in thy place of rest,
    By that broad water of the west;
  There comes a glory on the walls:

  “Thy marble bright in dark appears,
    As slowly steals a silver flame
    Along the letters of thy name,
  And o’er the number of thy years.”

This young man, whose memory his friend has consecrated in the hearts of
all who can be touched by such love and beauty, was in nowise unworthy
of all this. It is not for us to say, for it was not given to us the sad
privilege to know, all that a father’s heart buried with his son in that
grave, all “the hopes of unaccomplished years;” nor can we feel in its
fulness all that is meant by

  A friendship as had mastered Time;
  Which masters Time indeed, and is
    Eternal, separate from fears.
    The all-assuming months and years
  Can take no part away from this.”

But this we may say, we know of nothing in all literature to compare
with the volume from which these lines are taken, since David lamented
with this lamentation: “The beauty of Israel is slain. Ye mountains of
Gilboa, let there be no dew, neither rain upon you. I am distressed for
thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me; thy
love for me was wonderful.” We cannot, as some have done, compare it
with Shakspeare’s sonnets, or with _Lycidas_. In spite of the amazing
genius and tenderness, the never-wearying, all-involving reiteration of
passionate attachment, the idolatry of admiring love, the rapturous
devotedness, displayed in these sonnets, we cannot but agree with Mr.
Hallam in thinking, “that there is a tendency now, especially among
young men of poetical tempers, to exaggerate the beauties of these
remarkable productions;” and though we would hardly say with him, “that
it is impossible not to wish that Shakspeare had never written them,”
giving us, as they do, and as perhaps nothing else could do, such proof
of a power of loving, of an amount of _attendrissement_, which is not
less wonderful than the bodying forth of that myriad-mind which gave us
Hamlet, and Lear, Cordelia, and Puck, and all the rest, and indeed
explaining to us how he could give us all these;—while we hardly go so
far, we agree with his other wise words:—“There is a weakness and folly
in all misplaced and excessive affection;” which in Shakspeare’s case is
the more distressing, when we consider that “Mr. W. H., the only
begetter of these ensuing sonnets,” was, in all likelihood, William
Herbert, Earl of Pembroke, a man of noble and gallant character, but
always of licentious life.

As for _Lycidas_, we must confess that the poetry—and we all know how
consummate it is—and not the affection, seems uppermost in Milton’s
mind, as it is in ours. The other element, though quick and true, has no
glory through reason of the excellency of that which invests it. But
there is no such drawback in _In Memoriam_. The purity, the temperate
but fervent goodness, the firmness and depth of nature, the impassioned
logic, the large, sensitive, and liberal heart, the reverence and godly
fear, of

  “That friend of mine who lives in God,”

which from these Remains we know to have dwelt in that young soul, give
to _In Memoriam_ the character of exactest portraiture. There is no
excessive or misplaced affection here; it is all founded in fact; while
everywhere and throughout it all, affection—a love that is
wonderful—meets us first and leaves us last, giving form and substance
and grace, and the breath of life and love, to everything that the
poet’s thick-coming fancies so exquisitely frame. We can recall few
poems approaching to it in this quality of sustained affection. The only
English poems we can think of as of the same order, are Cowper’s lines
on seeing his mother’s portrait:—

  “O that these lips had language!”

Burns to “Mary in Heaven;” and two pieces of Vaughan—one beginning

  “O thou who know’st for whom I mourn;”

and the other—

  “They are all gone into the world of light.”

But our object now is, not so much to illustrate Mr. Tennyson’s verses,
as to introduce to our readers what we ourselves have got so much
delight, and, we trust, profit from—_The Remains, in Verse and Prose,
of Arthur Henry Hallam_, 1834; privately printed. We had for many years
been searching for this volume, but in vain; a sentence quoted by Henry
Taylor struck us, and our desire was quickened by reading _In Memoriam_.
We do not remember when we have been more impressed than by these
Remains of this young man, especially when taken along with his friend’s
Memorial; and instead of trying to tell our readers what this impression
is, we have preferred giving them as copious extracts as our space
allows, that they may judge and enjoy for themselves. The italics are
our own. We can promise them few finer, deeper, and better pleasures
than reading, and detaining their minds over these two books together,
filling their hearts with the fulness of their truth and tenderness.
They will see how accurate as well as how affectionate and “of
imagination all compact” Tennyson is, and how worthy of all that he has
said of him, that friend was. The likeness is drawn _ad vivum_,—

  “When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
  He summons up remembrance of things past.”

“The idea of his Life” has been sown a natural body, and has been raised
a spiritual body, but the identity is unhurt; the countenance shines and
the raiment is white and glistering, but it is the same face and form.

The Memoir is by Mr. Hallam. We give it entire, not knowing anywhere a
nobler or more touching record of a father’s love and sorrow.

    “Arthur Henry Hallam was born in Bedford Place,[37] London, on
    the 1st of February, 1811. Very few years had elapsed before his
    parents observed strong indications of his future character, in
    a peculiar clearness of perception, a facility of acquiring
    knowledge, and, above all, in an undeviating sweetness of
    disposition, and adherence to his sense of what was right and
    becoming. As he advanced to another stage of childhood, it was
    rendered still more manifest that he would be distinguished from
    ordinary persons, by an increasing thoughtfulness, and a
    fondness for a class of books, which in general are so little
    intelligible to boys of his age, that they excite in them no
    kind of interest.

       [37]   “Dark house, by which once more I stand
	            Here in the long unlovely street;
	            Doors, where my heart was wont to beat
	          So quickly, waiting for a hand.”—_In Memoriam._

	        This is a mistake, as his friend Dr. A. P. Stanley thus
	        corrects:—“‘The long unlovely street’ was Wimpole Street,
	        No. 67, where the Hallams lived; and Arthur used to say to
	        his friends, You know you will always find us at sixes and

    “In the summer of 1818 he spent some months with his parents in
    Germany and Switzerland, and became familiar with the French
    language, which he had already learned to read with facility. He
    had gone through the elements of Latin before this time; but
    that language having been laid aside during his tour, it was
    found upon his return that, a variety of new scenes having
    effaced it from his memory, it was necessary to begin again with
    the first rudiments. He was nearly eight years old at this time;
    and in little more than twelve months he could read Latin with
    tolerable facility. In this period his mind was developing
    itself more rapidly than before; he now felt a keen relish for
    dramatic poetry, and wrote several tragedies, if we may so call
    them either in prose or verse, with a more precocious display of
    talents than the Editor remembers to have met with in any other
    individual. The natural pride, however, of his parents, did not
    blind them to the uncertainty that belongs to all premature
    efforts of the mind; and they so carefully avoided everything
    like a boastful display of blossoms which, in many cases, have
    withered away in barren luxuriance, that the circumstance of
    these compositions was hardly ever mentioned out of their own

    “In the spring of 1820, Arthur was placed under the Rev. W.
    Carmalt, at Putney, where he remained nearly two years. After
    leaving this school he went abroad again for some months; and in
    October, 1822, became the pupil of the Rev. E. C. Hawtrey, an
    Assistant Master of Eton College. At Eton he continued till the
    summer of 1827. He was now become a good though not perhaps a
    first-rate scholar in the Latin and Greek languages. The loss of
    time, relatively to this object, in travelling, but far more his
    increasing avidity for a different kind of knowledge, and the
    strong bent of his mind to subjects which exercise other
    faculties than such as the acquirement of languages calls into
    play, will sufficiently account for what might seem a
    comparative deficiency in classical learning. It can only,
    however, be reckoned one, comparatively to his other
    attainments, and to his remarkable facility in mastering the
    modern languages. The Editor has thought it not improper to
    print in the following pages an Eton exercise, which, as written
    before the age of fourteen, though not free from metrical and
    other errors, appears, perhaps to a partial judgment, far above
    the level of such compositions. It is remarkable that he should
    have selected the story of Ugolino, from a poet with whom, and
    with whose language, he was then but very slightly acquainted,
    but who was afterwards to become, more perhaps than any other,
    the master-mover of his spirit. It may be added, that great
    judgment and taste are perceptible in this translation, which is
    by no means a literal one; and in which the phraseology of
    Sophocles is not ill substituted, in some passages, for that of

    “The Latin poetry of an Etonian is generally reckoned at that
    School the chief test of his literary talent. That of Arthur was
    good without being excellent; he never wanted depth of thought,
    or truth of feeling; but it is only in a few rare instances, if
    altogether in any, that an original mind has been known to utter
    itself freely and vigorously, without sacrifice of purity, in a
    language the capacities of which are so imperfectly understood;
    and in his productions there was not the thorough conformity to
    an ancient model which is required for perfect elegance in Latin
    verse. He took no great pleasure in this sort of composition;
    and perhaps never returned to it of his own accord.

    “In the latter part of his residence at Eton, he was led away
    more and more by the predominant bias of his mind, from the
    exclusive study of ancient literature. The poets of England,
    especially the older dramatists, came with greater attraction
    over his spirit. He loved Fletcher, and some of Fletcher’s
    contemporaries, for their energy of language and intenseness of
    feeling; but it was in Shakspeare alone that he found the
    fulness of soul which seemed to slake the thirst of his own
    rapidly expanding genius for an inexhaustible fountain of
    thought and emotion. He knew Shakspeare thoroughly; and indeed
    his acquaintance with the earlier poetry of this country was
    very extensive. Among the modern poets, Byron was at this time,
    far above the rest, and almost exclusively, his favorite; a
    preference which, in later years, he transferred altogether to
    Wordsworth and Shelley.

    “He became, when about fifteen years old, a member of the
    debating society established among the elder boys, in which he
    took great interest; and this served to confirm the bias of his
    intellect towards the moral and political philosophy of modern
    times. It was probably, however, of important utility in giving
    him that command of his own language which he possessed, as the
    following Essays will show, in a very superior degree, and in
    exercising those powers of argumentative discussion, which now
    displayed themselves as eminently characteristic of his mind. It
    was a necessary consequence that he declined still more from the
    usual paths of study, and abated perhaps somewhat of his regard
    for the writers of antiquity. It must not be understood,
    nevertheless, as most of those who read these pages will be
    aware, that he ever lost his sensibility to those ever-living
    effusions of genius which the ancient languages preserve. He
    loved Æschylus and Sophocles (to Euripides he hardly did
    justice), Lucretius and Virgil; if he did not seem so much drawn
    towards Homer as might at first be expected, this may probably
    be accounted for by his increasing taste for philosophical

    “In the early part of 1827, Arthur took a part in the Eton
    Miscellany, a periodical publication, in which some of his
    friends in the debating society were concerned. He wrote in
    this, besides a few papers in prose, a little poem on a story
    connected with the Lake of Killarney. It has not been thought by
    the Editor advisable, upon the whole, to reprint these lines;
    though, in his opinion, they bear very striking marks of
    superior powers. This was almost the first poetry that Arthur
    had written, except the childish tragedies above mentioned. No
    one was ever less inclined to the trick of versifying. Poetry
    with him was not an amusement, but the natural and almost
    necessary language of genuine emotion; and it was not till the
    discipline of serious reflection, and the approach of manhood,
    gave a reality and intenseness to such emotions, that he learned
    the capacities of his own genius. That he was a poet by nature,
    these Remains will sufficiently prove; but certainly he was far
    removed from being a versifier by nature; nor was he probably
    able to perform, what he scarce ever attempted, to write easily
    and elegantly on an ordinary subject. The lines on the story of
    Pygmalion are so far an exception, that they arose out of a
    momentary amusement of society; but he could not avoid, even in
    these, his own grave tone of poetry.

    “Upon leaving Eton in the summer of 1827, he accompanied his
    parents to the Continent, and passed eight months in Italy. This
    introduction to new scenes of nature and art, and to new sources
    of intellectual delight, at the very period of transition from
    boyhood to youth, sealed no doubt the peculiar character of his
    mind, and taught him, too soon for his peace, to sound those
    depths of thought and feeling, from which, after this time, all
    that he wrote was derived. He had, when he passed the Alps, only
    a moderate acquaintance with the Italian language; but during
    his residence in the country he came to speak it with perfect
    fluency, and with a pure Sienese pronunciation. In its study he
    was much assisted by his friend and instructor, the Abbate
    Pifferi, who encouraged him to his first attempts at
    versification. The few sonnets, which are now printed, were, it
    is to be remembered, written by a foreigner, hardly seventeen
    years old, and after a very short stay in Italy. The Editor
    might not, probably, have suffered them to appear, even in this
    private manner, upon his own judgment. But he knew that the
    greatest living writer of Italy, to whom they were shown some
    time since at Milan, by the author’s excellent friend, Mr.
    Richard Milnes, has expressed himself in terms of high

    “The growing intimacy of Arthur with Italian poetry led him
    naturally to that of Dante. No poet was so congenial to the
    character of his own reflective mind; in none other could he so
    abundantly find that disdain of flowery redundance, that
    perpetual preference of the sensible to the ideal, that
    aspiration for somewhat better and less fleeting than earthly
    things, to which his inmost soul responded. Like all genuine
    worshippers of the great Florentine poet, he rated the _Inferno_
    below the two latter portions of the _Divina Commedia_; there
    was nothing even to revolt his taste, but rather much to attract
    it, in the scholastic theology and mystic visions of the
    _Paradiso_. Petrarch he greatly admired, though with less
    idolatry than Dante; and the sonnets here printed will show to
    all competent judges how fully he had imbibed the spirit,
    without servile centonism, of the best writers in that style of
    composition who flourished in the 16th century.

    “But poetry was not an absorbing passion at this time in his
    mind. His eyes were fixed on the best pictures with silent
    intense delight. He had a deep and just perception of what was
    beautiful in this art, at least in its higher schools; for he
    did not pay much regard, or perhaps quite do justice, to the
    masters of the 17th century. To technical criticism he made no
    sort of pretension; painting was to him but the visible language
    of emotion; and where it did not aim at exciting it, or employed
    inadequate means, his admiration would be withheld. Hence he
    highly prized the ancient paintings, both Italian and German, of
    the age which preceded the full development of art. But he was
    almost as enthusiastic an admirer of the Venetian, as of the
    Tuscan and Roman schools; considering these masters as reaching
    the same end by the different agencies of form and color. This
    predilection for the sensitive beauties of painting is somewhat
    analogous to his fondness for harmony of verse, on which he laid
    more stress than poets so thoughtful are apt to do. In one of
    the last days of his life, he lingered long among the fine
    Venetian pictures of the Imperial Gallery at Vienna.

    “He returned to England in June, 1828; and, in the following
    October, went down to reside at Cambridge; having been entered
    on the boards of Trinity College before his departure to the
    Continent. He was the pupil of the Rev. William Whewell. In some
    respects, as soon became manifest, he was not formed to obtain
    great academical reputation. An acquaintance with the learned
    languages, considerable at the school where he was educated, but
    not improved, to say the least, by the intermission of a year,
    during which his mind had been so occupied by other pursuits,
    that he had thought little of antiquity even in Rome itself,
    though abundantly sufficient for the gratification of taste and
    the acquisition of knowledge, was sure to prove inadequate to
    the searching scrutiny of modern examinations. He soon,
    therefore, saw reason to renounce all competition of this kind;
    nor did he ever so much as attempt any Greek or Latin
    composition during his stay at Cambridge. In truth he was very
    indifferent to success of this kind; and conscious as he must
    have been of a high reputation among his contemporaries, he
    could not think that he stood in need of any University
    distinctions. The Editor became by degrees almost equally
    indifferent to what he perceived to be so uncongenial to
    Arthur’s mind. It was however to be regretted, that he never
    paid the least attention to mathematical studies. That he should
    not prosecute them with the diligence usual at Cambridge, was of
    course to be expected; yet his clearness and acumen would
    certainly have enabled him to master the principles of
    geometrical reasoning; nor, in fact, did he so much find a
    difficulty in apprehending demonstrations, as a want of
    interest, and a consequent inability to retain them in his
    memory. A little more practice in the strict logic of geometry,
    a little more familiarity with the physical laws of the
    universe, and the phenomena to which they relate, would possibly
    have repressed the tendency to vague and mystical speculations
    which he was too fond of indulging. In the philosophy of the
    human mind, he was in no danger of the materializing theories of
    some ancient and modern schools; but in shunning this extreme,
    he might sometimes forget that, in the honest pursuit of truth,
    we can shut our eyes to no real phenomena, and that the
    physiology of man must always enter into any valid scheme of his

    “The comparative inferiority which he might show in the usual
    trials of knowledge, sprung in a great measure from the want of
    a prompt and accurate memory. It was the faculty wherein he
    shone the least, according to ordinary observation; though his
    very extensive reach of literature, and his rapidity in
    acquiring languages, sufficed to prove that it was capable of
    being largely exercised. He could remember anything, as a friend
    observed to the Editor, that was associated with an idea. But he
    seemed, at least after he reached manhood, to want almost wholly
    the power, so common with inferior understandings, of retaining
    with regularity and exactness, a number of unimportant
    uninteresting particulars. It would have been nearly impossible
    to make him recollect for three days the date of the battle of
    Marathon, or the names in order of the Athenian months. Nor
    could he repeat poetry, much as he loved it, with the
    correctness often found in young men. It is not improbable, that
    a more steady discipline in early life would have strengthened
    this faculty, or that he might have supplied its deficiency by
    some technical devices; but where the higher powers of intellect
    were so extraordinarily manifested, it would have been
    preposterous to complain of what may perhaps have been a
    necessary consequence of their amplitude, or at least a natural
    result of their exercise.

    “But another reason may be given for his deficiency in those
    unremitting labors which the course of academical education, in
    the present times, is supposed to exact from those who aspire to
    its distinctions. In the first year of his residence at
    Cambridge, symptoms of disordered health, especially in the
    circulatory system, began to show themselves; and it is by no
    means improbable, that these were indications of a tendency to
    derangement of the vital functions, which become ultimately
    fatal. A too rapid determination of blood towards the brain,
    with its concomitant uneasy sensations, rendered him frequently
    incapable of mental fatigue. He had indeed once before, at
    Florence, been affected by symptoms not unlike these. His
    intensity of reflection and feeling also brought on occasionally
    a considerable depression of spirits, which had been painfully
    observed at times by those who watched him most, from the time
    of his leaving Eton, and even before. It was not till after
    several months that he regained a less morbid condition of mind
    and body. This same irregularity of circulation returned again
    in the next spring, but was of less duration. During the third
    year of his Cambridge life, he appeared in much better health.

    “In this year (1831) he obtained the first college prize for an
    English declamation. The subject chosen by him was the conduct
    of the Independent party during the civil war. This exercise was
    greatly admired at the time, but was never printed. In
    consequence of this success, it became incumbent on him,
    according to the custom of the college, to deliver an oration in
    the chapel immediately before the Christmas vacation of the same
    year. On this occasion he selected a subject very congenial to
    his own turn of thought and favorite study, the influence of
    Italian upon English literature. He had previously gained
    another prize for an English essay on the philosophical writings
    of Cicero. This essay is perhaps too excursive from the
    prescribed subject; but his mind was so deeply imbued with the
    higher philosophy, especially that of Plato, with which he was
    very conversant, that he could not be expected to dwell much on
    the praises of Cicero in that respect.

    “Though the bent of Arthur’s mind by no means inclined him to
    strict research into facts, he was full as much conversant with
    the great features of ancient and modern history, as from the
    course of his other studies and the habits of his life it was
    possible to expect. He reckoned them, as great minds always do,
    the groundworks of moral and political philosophy, and took no
    pains to acquire any knowledge of this sort from which a
    principle could not be derived or illustrated. To some parts of
    English history, and to that of the French Revolution, he had
    paid considerable attention. He had not read nearly so much of
    the Greek and Latin historians as of the philosophers and poets.
    In the history of literary, and especially of philosophical and
    religious opinions, he was deeply versed, as much so as it is
    possible to apply that term at his age. The following pages
    exhibit proofs of an acquaintance, not crude or superficial,
    with that important branch of literature.

    “His political judgments were invariably prompted by his strong
    sense of right and justice. These, in so young a person, were
    naturally rather fluctuating, and subject to the correction of
    advancing knowledge and experience. Ardent in the cause of those
    he deemed to be oppressed, of which, in one instance, he was led
    to give a proof with more of energy and enthusiasm than
    discretion, he was deeply attached to the ancient institutions
    of his country.

    “He spoke French readily, though with less elegance than
    Italian, till from disuse he lost much of his fluency in the
    latter. In his last fatal tour in Germany, he was rapidly
    acquiring a readiness in the language of that country. The whole
    range of French literature was almost as familiar to him as that
    of England.

    “The society in which Arthur lived most intimately, at Eton and
    at the University, was formed of young men, eminent for natural
    ability, and for delight in what he sought above all things, the
    knowledge of truth, and the perception of beauty. They who loved
    and admired him living, and who now revere his sacred memory, as
    of one to whom, in the fondness of regret, they admit of no
    rival, know best what he was in the daily commerce of life; and
    his eulogy should, on every account, better come from hearts,
    which, if partial, have been rendered so by the experience of
    friendship, not by the affection of nature.

    “Arthur left Cambridge on taking his degree in January 1832. He
    resided from that time with the Editor in London, having been
    entered on the boards of the Inner Temple. It was greatly the
    desire of the Editor that he should engage himself in the study
    of the law; not merely with professional views, but as a useful
    discipline for a mind too much occupied with habits of thought,
    which, ennobling and important as they were, could not but
    separate him from the every-day business of life, and might, by
    their excess, in his susceptible temperament, be productive of
    considerable mischief. He had, during the previous long
    vacation, read with the Editor the Institutes of Justinian, and
    the two works of Heineccius which illustrate them; and he now
    went through Blackstone’s Commentaries, with as much of other
    law-books as, in the Editor’s judgment, was required for a
    similar purpose. It was satisfactory at that time to perceive
    that, far from showing any of that distaste to legal studies
    which might have been anticipated from some parts of his
    intellectual character, he entered upon them not only with great
    acuteness, but considerable interest. In the month of October
    1832, he began to see the practical application of legal
    knowledge in the office of an eminent conveyancer, Mr. Walters
    of Lincoln’s Inn Fields, with whom he continued till his
    departure from England in the following summer.

    “It was not, however, to be expected, or even desired by any who
    knew how to value him, that he should at once abandon those
    habits of study which had fertilized and invigorated his mind.
    But he now, from some change or other in his course of thinking,
    ceased in a great measure to write poetry, and expressed to more
    than one friend an intention to give it up. The instances after
    his leaving Cambridge were few. The dramatic scene between
    Raffaelle and Fiammetta was written in 1832; and about the same
    time he had a design to translate the _Vita Nuova_ of his
    favorite Dante; a work which he justly prized, as the
    development of that immense genius, in a kind of autobiography,
    which best prepares us for a real insight into the _Divine
    Comedy_. He rendered accordingly into verse most of the sonnets
    which the _Vita Nuova_ contains; but the Editor does not believe
    that he made any progress in the prose translation. These
    sonnets appearing rather too literal, and consequently harsh, it
    has not been thought worth while to print.

    “In the summer of 1832, the appearance of Professor Rosetti’s
    _Disquisizioni sullo spirito Antipapale_, in which the writings
    of Arthur’s beloved masters, Dante and Petrarch, as well as most
    of the mediæval literature of Italy, were treated as a series
    of enigmas, to be understood only by a key that discloses a
    latent Carbonarism, a secret conspiracy against the religion of
    their age, excited him to publish his own Remarks in reply. It
    seemed to him the worst of poetical heresies to desert the
    Absolute, the Universal, the Eternal, the Beautiful and True,
    which the Platonic spirit of his literary creed taught him to
    seek in all the higher works of genius, in quest of some
    temporary historical allusion, which could be of no interest
    with posterity. Nothing, however, could be more alien from his
    courteous disposition than to abuse the license of controversy,
    or to treat with intentional disrespect a very ingenious person,
    who had been led on too far in pursuing a course of
    interpretation, which, within certain much narrower limits, it
    is impossible for any one conversant with history not to admit.

    “A very few other anonymous writings occupied his leisure about
    this time. Among these were slight memoirs of Petrarch,
    Voltaire, and Burke, for the Gallery of Portraits, published by
    the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge.[38] His time
    was, however, principally devoted, when not engaged at his
    office, to metaphysical researches, and to the history of
    philosophical opinions.

       [38] We had read these Lives, and had remarked them, before we
	        knew whose they were, as being of rare merit. No one could
	        suppose they were written by one so young. We give his
	        estimate of the character of Burke. “The mind of this great
	        man may perhaps be taken as a representation of the general
	        characteristics of the English intellect. Its groundwork was
	        solid, practical, and conversant with the details of
	        business; but upon this, and secured by this, arose a
	        superstructure of imagination and moral sentiment. He saw
	        little, _because it was painful to him_ to see anything
	        beyond the limits of the national character. In all things,
	        while he deeply reverenced principles, he chose to deal with
	        the concrete rather than with abstractions. He studied men
	        rather than man.” The words in italics imply an insight into
	        the deepest springs of human action, the conjunct causes of
	        what we call character such as few men of large experience
	        can attain.

    “From the latter part of his residence at Cambridge, a gradual
    but very perceptible improvement in the cheerfulness of his
    spirits gladdened his family and his friends; intervals there
    doubtless were, when the continual seriousness of his habits of
    thought, or the force of circumstances, threw something more of
    gravity into his demeanor; but in general he was animated and
    even gay, renewing or preserving his intercourse with some of
    those he had most valued at Eton and Cambridge. The symptoms of
    deranged circulation which had manifested themselves before,
    ceased to appear, or at least so as to excite his own attention;
    and though it struck those who were most anxious in watching
    him, that his power of enduring fatigue was not quite so great
    as from his frame of body and apparent robustness might have
    been anticipated, nothing gave the least indication of danger
    either to their eyes, or to those of the medical practitioners
    who were in the habit of observing him. An attack of
    intermittent fever, during the prevalent influenza of the spring
    of 1833, may perhaps have disposed his constitution to the last
    fatal blow.”

To any one who has watched the history of the disease by which “so quick
this bright thing came to confusion,” and who knows how near its subject
must often, perhaps all his life, have been to that eternity which
occupied so much of his thoughts and desires, and the secrets of which
were so soon to open on his young eyes, there is something very touching
in this account. Such a state of health would enhance, and tend to
produce, by the sensations proper to such a condition, that habitual
seriousness of thought, that sober judgment, and that tendency to look
at the true life of things—that deep but gentle and calm sadness, and
that occasional sinking of the heart, which make his noble and strong
inner nature, his resolved mind, so much more impressive and endearing.

This feeling of personal insecurity—of life being ready to slip
away—the sensation that this world and its ongoings, its mighty
interests, and delicate joys, is ready to be shut up in a moment—this
instinctive apprehension of the peril of vehement bodily enjoyment—all
this would tend to make him “walk softly,” and to keep him from much of
the evil that is in the world, and would help him to live soberly,
righteously, and godly even in the bright and rich years of his youth.
His power of giving himself up to the search after absolute truth, and
the contemplation of Supreme goodness, must have been increased by this
same organization. But all this delicate feeling, this fineness of
sense, did rather quicken the energy and fervor of the indwelling
soul—the τι θερμόν πρᾶγμα that burned within. In the quaint words of
Vaughan, it was “manhood with a female eye.” These two conditions must,
as we have said, have made him dear indeed. And by a beautiful law of
life, having that organ out of which are the issues of life, under a
sort of perpetual nearness to suffering, and so liable to pain, he would
be more easily moved for others—more alive to their pain—more filled
with fellow-feeling.

    “The Editor cannot dwell on anything later. Arthur accompanied
    him to Germany in the beginning of August. In returning to
    Vienna from Pesth, a wet day probably gave rise to an
    intermittent fever, with very slight symptoms, and apparently
    subsiding, when a sudden rush of blood to the head put an
    instantaneous end to his life on the 15th of September 1833. The
    mysteriousness of such a dreadful termination to a disorder
    generally of so little importance, and in this instance of the
    slightest kind, has been diminished by an examination which
    showed a weakness of the cerebral vessels, and a want of
    sufficient energy in the heart. Those whose eyes must long be
    dim with tears, and whose hopes on this side the tomb are broken
    down forever, may cling, as well as they can, to the poor
    consolation of believing that a few more years would, in the
    usual chances of humanity, have severed the frail union of his
    graceful and manly form with the pure spirit that it enshrined.

    “The remains of Arthur were brought to England, and interred on
    the 3d of January 1834, in the chancel of Clevedon Church in
    Somersetshire, belonging to his maternal grandfather Sir Abraham
    Elton, a place selected by the Editor, not only from the
    connection of kindred, but on account of its still and
    sequestered situation, on a lone hill that overhangs the Bristol

    “More ought perhaps to be said—but it is very difficult to
    proceed. From the earliest years of this extraordinary young
    man, his premature abilities were not more conspicuous than an
    almost faultless disposition, sustained by a more calm
    self-command than has often been witnessed in that season of
    life. The sweetness of temper which distinguished his childhood,
    became with the advance of manhood a habitual benevolence, and
    ultimately ripened into that exalted principle of love towards
    God and man, which animated and almost absorbed his soul during
    the latter period of his life, and to which most of the
    following compositions bear such emphatic testimony. He seemed
    to tread the earth as a spirit from some better world; and in
    bowing to the mysterious will which has in mercy removed him,
    perfected by so short a trial, and passing over the bridge which
    separates the seen from the unseen life, in a moment, and, as we
    may believe, without a moment’s pang, we must feel not only the
    bereavement of those to whom he was dear, but the loss which
    mankind have sustained by the withdrawing of such a light.

    “A considerable portion of the poetry contained in this volume
    was printed in the year 1830, and was intended by the author to
    be published together with the poems of his intimate friend, Mr.
    Alfred Tennyson. They were however withheld from publication at
    the request of the Editor. The poem of Timbuctoo was written for
    the University prize in 1829, which it did not obtain.
    Notwithstanding its too great obscurity, the subject itself
    being hardly indicated, and the extremely hyperbolical
    importance which the author’s brilliant fancy has attached to a
    nest of barbarians, no one can avoid admiring the grandeur of
    his conceptions, and the deep philosophy upon which he has built
    the scheme of his poem. This is however by no means the most
    pleasing of his compositions. It is in the profound reflection,
    the melancholy tenderness, and the religious sanctity of other
    effusions that a lasting charm will be found. A commonplace
    subject, such as those announced for academical prizes generally
    are, was incapable of exciting a mind which, beyond almost every
    other, went straight to the farthest depths that the human
    intellect can fathom, or from which human feelings can be drawn.
    Many short poems of equal beauty with those here printed, have
    been deemed unfit even for the limited circulation they might
    obtain, on account of their unveiling more of emotion than,
    consistently with what is due to him and to others, could be
    exposed to view.

    “The two succeeding essays have never been printed; but were
    read, it is believed, in a literary society at Trinity College,
    or in one to which he afterwards belonged in London. That
    entitled _Theodicæa Novissima_, is printed at the desire of
    some of his intimate friends. A few expressions in it want his
    usual precision; and there are ideas which he might have seen
    cause, in the lapse of time, to modify, independently of what
    his very acute mind would probably have perceived, that his
    hypothesis, like that of Leibnitz, on the origin of evil,
    resolves itself at last into an unproved assumption of its
    necessity. It has however some advantages, which need not be
    mentioned, over that of Leibnitz; and it is here printed, not as
    a solution of the greatest mystery of the universe, but as most
    characteristic of the author’s mind, original and sublime,
    uniting, what is very rare except in early youth, a fearless and
    unblenching spirit of inquiry into the highest objects of
    speculation, with the most humble and reverential piety. It is
    probable that in many of his views on such topics he was
    influenced by the writings of Jonathan Edwards, with whose
    opinions on metaphysical and moral subjects, he seems generally
    to have concurred.

    “The extract from a review of Tennyson’s poems in a publication
    now extinct, the _Englishman’s Magazine_, is also printed at the
    suggestion of a friend. The pieces that follow are reprints, and
    have been already mentioned in this Memoir.”

We have given this Memoir almost entire, for the sake both of its
subject and its manner—for what in it is the father’s as well as for
what is the son’s. There is something very touching in the paternal
composure, the judiciousness, the truthfulness, where truth is so
difficult to reach through tears, the calm estimate and the subdued
tenderness, the ever-rising but ever restrained emotion; the father’s
heart throbs throughout.

We wish we could have given in full the letters from Arthur’s friends,
which his father has incorporated in the Memoir. They all bring out in
different but harmonious ways, his extraordinary moral and intellectual
worth, his rare beauty of character, and their deep affection.

The following extract from one seems to us very interesting:—“Outwardly
I do not think there was anything remarkable in his habits, except _an
irregularity with regard to times and places of study_, which may seem
surprising in one whose progress in so many directions was so eminently
great and rapid. _He was commonly to be found in some friend’s room,
reading, or canvassing._ I dare say he lost something by this
irregularity, _but less than perhaps one would at first imagine_. I
never saw him idle. He might seem to be lounging, or only amusing
himself, but his mind was always active, and active for good. In fact,
his energy and quickness of apprehension did not stand in need of
outward aid.” There is much in this worthy of more extended notice. Such
minds as his probably grow best in this way, are best left to themselves
to glide on at their own sweet wills; the stream was too deep and clear,
and perhaps too entirely bent on its own errand, to be dealt with or
regulated by any art or device. The same friend sums up his character
thus:—“I have met with no man his superior in metaphysical subtlety; no
man his equal as a philosophical critic on works of taste; no man whose
views on all subjects connected with the duties and dignities of
humanity were more large, and generous, and enlightened.” And all this
said of a youth of twenty—_heu nimium brevis ævi decus et desiderium!_

We have given little of this verse; and what we do give is taken at
random. We agree entirely in his father’s estimate of his poetical gift
and art, but his mind was too serious, too thoughtful, too intensely
dedicated to truth and the God of truth, to linger long in the pursuit
of beauty; he was on his way to God, and could rest in nothing short of
Him, otherwise he might have been a poet of genuine excellence.

  “Dark, dark, yea, ‘irrecoverably dark,
  Is the soul’s eye; yet how it strives and battles
  Thorough th’ impenetrable gloom to fix
  That master light, the secret truth of things,
  Which is the body of the infinite God!”

  “Sure, we are leaves of one harmonious bower,
  Fed by a sap that never will be scant,
  All-permeating, all-producing mind;
  And in our several parcellings of doom
  We but fulfil the beauty of the whole.
  Oh, madness! if a leaf should dare complain
  Of its dark verdure, and aspire to be
  The gayer, brighter thing that wantons near.”

  “Oh, blessing and delight of my young heart,
    Maiden, who wast so lovely, and so pure,
    I know not in what region now thou art,
    Or whom thy gentle eyes in joy assure.
  Not the old hills on which we gazed together,
    Not the old faces which we both did love,
    Not the old books, whence knowledge we did gather,
    Not these, but others now thy fancies move.
  I would I knew thy present hopes and fears,
    All thy companions with their pleasant talk,
    And the clear aspect which thy dwelling wears:
  So, though in body absent, I might walk
    With thee in thought and feeling, till thy mood
    Did sanctify mine own to peerless good.”

  “Alfred, I would that you beheld me now,
    Sitting beneath a mossy ivied wall
    On a quaint bench, which to that structure old
    Winds an accordant curve. Above my head
    _Dilates immeasurable a wild of leaves,_
    Seeming received into the blue expanse
    That vaults this summer noon.”

  “Still here—thou bast not faded from my sight,
    _Nor all the music round thee from mine ear;_
    _Still grace flows from thee to the brightening year,_
    _And all the birds laugh out in wealthier light._
  Still am I free to close my happy eyes,
    And paint upon the gloom thy mimic form,
    That soft white neck, that cheek in beauty warm,
    And brow half hidden where yon ringlet lies:
  With, oh! the blissful knowledge all the while
    That I can lift at will each curvéd lid,
    And my fair dream most highly realize.
  The time will come, ’tis ushered by my sighs,
    When I may shape the dark, but vainly bid
    True light restore that form, those looks, that smile.”

  “The garden trees _are busy with the shower_
    That fell ere sunset: now methinks they talk,
    Lowly and sweetly as befits the hour,
    One to another down the grassy walk.
  Hark the laburnum from his opening flower,
    This cherry creeper greets in whisper light,
    While the grim fir, rejoicing in the night,
    Hoarse mutters to the murmuring sycamore,[39]
  What shall I deem their converse? would they hail
    The wild gray light that fronts yon massive cloud,
    Or the half bow, rising like pillar’d fire?
  Or are they fighting faintly for desire
    That with May dawn their leaves may be o’erflowed,
    And dews about their feet may never fail?”

   [39] This will remind the reader of a fine passage in _Edwin the
        Fair_, on the specific differences in the sounds made by the
        ash, the elm, the fir, &c., when moved by the wind; and of
        some lines by Landor on flowers speaking to each other; and
        of something more exquisite than either, in _Consuelo_—the
        description of the flowers in the old monastic garden, at
        “the sweet hour of prime.”

In the Essay, entitled _Theodicæa Novissima_, from which the following
passages are taken to the great injury of its general effect, he sets
himself to the task of doing his utmost to clear up the mystery of the
existence of such things as sin and suffering in the universe of a being
like God. He does it fearlessly, but like a child. It is in the spirit
of his friend’s words,—

   “An infant crying in the night,
    An infant crying for the light,
  And with no language but a cry.”

  “Then was I as a child that cries,
    But, crying, knows his father near.”

It is not a mere exercitation of the intellect, it is an endeavor to get
nearer God—to assert his eternal Providence, and vindicate his ways to
men. We know no performance more wonderful for such a boy. Pascal might
have written it. As was to be expected, the tremendous subject remains
where he found it—his glowing love and genius cast a gleam here and
there across its gloom; but it is brief as the lightning in the collied
night—the jaws of darkness do devour it up—this secret belongs to God.
Across its deep and dazzling darkness, and from out its abyss of thick
cloud, “all dark, dark, irrecoverably dark,” no steady ray has ever, or
will ever, come,—over its face its own darkness must brood, till He to
whom alone the darkness and the light are both alike, to whom the night
shineth as the day, says, “Let there be light!” There is, we all know, a
certain awful attraction, a nameless charm for all thoughtful spirits,
in this mystery, “the greatest in the universe,” as Mr. Hallam truly
says; and it is well for us at times, so that we have pure eyes and a
clean heart, to turn aside and look into its gloom; but it is not good
to busy ourselves in clever speculations about it, or briskly to
criticize the speculations of others—it is a wise and pious saying of
Augustin, _Verius cogitatur Deus, quam dicitur; et verius est quam

    “I wish to be understood as considering Christianity in the
    present Essay rather in its relation to the intellect, as
    constituting the higher philosophy, than in its far more
    important bearing upon the hearts and destinies of us all. I
    shall propose the question in this form, ‘Is there ground for
    believing that the existence of moral evil is absolutely
    necessary to the fulfilment of God’s essential love for Christ?’
    (_i. e._, of the Father for Christ, or of ὁ πατηρ for ὁ λογος).

    “‘Can man by searching find out God?’ I believe not. I believe
    that the unassisted efforts of man’s reason have not established
    the existence and attributes of Deity on so sure a basis as the
    Deist imagines. However sublime may be the notion of a supreme
    original mind, and however naturally human feelings adhered to
    it, the reasons by which it was justified were not, in my
    opinion, sufficient to clear it from considerable doubt and
    confusion…. I hesitate not to say that I derive from
    Revelation a conviction of Theism, which without that assistance
    would have been but a dark and ambiguous hope. _I see that the
    Bible fits into every fold of the human heart. I am a man, and I
    believe it to be God’s book because it is man’s book._ It is
    true that the Bible affords me no additional means of
    demonstrating the falsity of Atheism; _if mind had nothing to do
    with the formation of the Universe, doubtless whatever had was
    competent also to make the Bible_; but I have gained this
    advantage, that my feelings and thoughts can no longer refuse
    their assent to _what is evidently framed to engage that assent;
    and what is it to me that I cannot disprove the bare logical
    possibility of my whole nature being fallacious? To seek for a
    certainty above certainty, an evidence beyond necessary belief,
    is the very lunacy of skepticism_: we must trust our own
    faculties, or we can put no trust in anything, save that moment
    we call the present, which escapes us while we articulate its
    name. _I am determined therefore to receive the Bible as
    Divinely authorized, and the scheme of human and Divine things
    which it contains, as essentially true._”

    “I may further observe, that however much we should rejoice to
    discover that the eternal scheme of God—the necessary
    completion, let us remember, of his Almighty Nature—did not
    require the absolute perdition of any spirit called by Him into
    existence, we are certainly not entitled to consider the
    perpetual misery of many individuals as incompatible with
    sovereign love.”

    “In the Supreme Nature those two capacities of Perfect Love and
    Perfect Joy are indivisible. Holiness and Happiness, says an old
    divine, are two several notions of one thing. Equally
    inseparable are the notions of Opposition to Love and Opposition
    to Bliss. _Unless therefore the heart of a created being is at
    one with the heart of God, it cannot but be miserable._
    Moreover, there is no possibility of continuing forever partly
    with God and partly against him; we must either be capable by
    our nature of entire accordance with His will, or we must be
    incapable of anything but misery, further than He may for awhile
    ‘not impute our trespasses to us,’ that is, He may interpose
    some temporary barrier between sin and its attendant pain. _For
    in the Eternal Idea of God a created spirit is perhaps not seen,
    as a series of successive states_, of which some that are evil
    might be compensated by others that are good, _but as one
    indivisible object of these almost infinitely divisible modes_,
    and that either in accordance with His own nature, or in
    opposition to it….

    “Before the gospel was preached to man, how could a human soul
    have this love, and this consequent life? I see no way; but now
    that Christ has excited our love for him by showing unutterable
    love for us; now that we know him as an Elder Brother, a being
    of like thoughts, feelings, sensations, sufferings, with
    ourselves, it has become possible to love as God loves, that is,
    to love Christ, and thus to become united in heart to God.
    Besides, Christ is the express image of God’s person; in loving
    him we are sure we are in a state of readiness to love the
    Father, whom we see, he tells us, when we see him. Nor is this
    all; the tendency of love is towards a union so intimate as
    virtually to amount to identification; when then by affection
    towards Christ we have become blended with his being, the beams
    of eternal love, falling, as ever, on the one beloved object,
    will include us in him, and their returning flashes of love out
    of his personality will carry along with them some from our own,
    since ours has become confused with his, and so shall we be one
    with Christ and through Christ with God. Thus then we see the
    great effect of the Incarnation, as far as our nature is
    concerned, _was to render human love for the Most High a
    possible thing_. The Law had said, ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy
    God with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy
    strength;’ and could men have lived by law, ‘which is the
    strength of sin,’ verily righteousness and life would have been
    by that law. But it was not possible, and all were concluded
    under sin, that in Christ might be the deliverance of all. I
    believe that Redemption” (_i.e._, what Christ has done and
    suffered for mankind) “is universal, in so far as it left no
    obstacle between man and God, but man’s own will: that indeed is
    in the power of God’s election, with whom alone rest the abysmal
    secrets of personality; but as far as Christ is concerned, his
    death was for all, since his intentions and affections were
    equally directed to all, and ‘none who come to him will he in
    any wise cast out.’

    “I deprecate any hasty rejection of these thoughts as novelties.
    Christianity is indeed, as St. Augustin says, ‘pulchritudo tam
    antiqua;’ but he adds, ‘tam nova,’ for it is capable of
    presenting to every mind a new face of truth. The great
    doctrine, which in my judgment these observations tend to
    strengthen and illumine, _the doctrine of personal love for a
    personal God_, is assuredly no novelty, but has in all times
    been the vital principle of the Church. Many are the forms of
    antichristian heresy, which for a season have depressed and
    obscured that principle of life; but its nature is connective
    and resurgent; and neither the Papal Hierarchy with its pomp of
    systematized errors, not the worse apostasy of latitudinarian
    Protestantism, have ever so far prevailed, but that many from
    age to age have proclaimed and vindicated the eternal gospel of
    love, believing, as I also firmly believe, that any opinion
    which tends to keep out of sight the living and loving God,
    whether it substitute for Him an idol, an occult agency, or a
    formal creed, can be nothing better than a vain and portentous
    shadow projected from the selfish darkness of unregenerate man.”

The following is from the Review of Tennyson’s Poems; we do not know
that during the lapse of eighteen years anything better has been said:—

    “Undoubtedly the true poet addresses himself, in all his
    conceptions, to the common nature of us all. Art is a lofty
    tree, and may shoot up far beyond our grasp, but its roots are
    in daily life and experience. Every bosom contains the elements
    of those complex emotions which the artist feels, and every head
    can, to a certain extent, go over in itself the process of their
    combination, so as to understand his expressions and sympathize
    with his state. _But this requires exertion_; more or less,
    indeed, according to the difference of occasion, but always some
    degree of exertion. For since the emotions of the poet during
    composition follow a regular law of association, it follows that
    to accompany their progress up to the harmonious prospect of the
    whole, and to perceive the proper dependence of every step on
    that which preceded, it is absolutely necessary _to start from
    the same point, i.e._, clearly to apprehend that leading
    sentiment of the poet’s mind, by their conformity to which the
    host of suggestions are arranged. _Now this requisite exertion
    is not willingly made by the large majority of readers. It is so
    easy to judge capriciously, and according to indolent impulse!_”

    “Those different powers of poetic disposition, the energies of
    Sensitive, of Reflective, or Passionate Emotion, which in former
    times were intermingled, and derived from mutual support an
    extensive empire over the feelings of men, were now restrained
    within separate spheres of agency. The whole system no longer
    worked harmoniously, and by intrinsic harmony acquired external
    freedom; but there arose a violent and unusual action in the
    several component functions, each for itself, all striving to
    reproduce the regular power which the whole had once enjoyed.
    _Hence the melancholy which so evidently characterizes the
    spirit of modern poetry_; hence that return of the mind upon
    itself, and the habit of seeking relief in idiosyncrasies rather
    than community of interest. _In the old times the poetic impulse
    went along with the general impulse of the nation._

    “One of the faithful Islâm, a poet in the truest and highest
    sense, we are anxious to present to our readers…. He sees all
    the forms of Nature with the ‘_eruditus oculus_,’ and his ear
    has a fairy fineness. There is _a strange earnestness in his
    worship of beauty_, which throws a charm over his impassioned
    song, more easily felt than described, and not to be escaped by
    those who have once felt it. We think that he has _more
    definiteness and roundness of general conception_ than the late
    Mr. Keats, and is much more free from blemishes of diction and
    hasty capriccios of fancy…. The author imitates nobody; _we
    recognize the spirit of his age, but not the individual form of
    this or that writer_. His thoughts bear no more resemblance to
    Byron or Scott, Shelley or Coleridge, than to Homer or Calderon,
    Ferdusi or Calidasa. We have remarked five distinctive
    excellencies of his own manner. First, his luxuriance of
    imagination, and at the same time his control over it. Secondly,
    his power of embodying himself in ideal characters, or rather
    modes of character, with such extreme accuracy of adjustment,
    that the circumstances of the narration seem to have a natural
    correspondence with the predominant feeling, and, as it were, to
    be evolved from it by assimilative force. Thirdly, his vivid,
    picturesque delineation of objects, and the peculiar skill with
    which he holds all of them _fused_, to borrow a metaphor from
    science, in a medium of strong emotion. Fourthly, the variety of
    his lyrical measures, and exquisite modulation of harmonious
    words and cadences to the swell and fall of the feelings
    expressed. Fifthly, the elevated habits of thought, implied in
    these compositions, and imparting a mellow soberness of tone,
    more impressive, to our minds, than if the author had drawn up a
    set of opinions in verse, and sought to instruct the
    understanding, _rather than to communicate the love of beauty to
    the heart_.”

What follows is justly thought and well said.

    “And is it not a noble thing, that the English tongue is, as it
    were, the common focus and point of union to which opposite
    beauties converge? Is it a trifle that we temper energy with
    softness, strength with flexibility, capaciousness of sound with
    pliancy of idiom? Some, I know, insensible to these virtues, and
    ambitious of I know not what unattainable decomposition, prefer
    to utter funeral praises over the grave of departed Anglo-Saxon,
    or, starting with convulsive shudder, are ready to leap from
    surrounding Latinisms into the kindred, sympathetic arms of
    modern German. For myself, I neither share their regret, nor
    their terror. Willing at all times to pay filial homage to the
    shades of Hengist and Horsa, and to admit they have laid the
    base of our compound language; or, if you will, have prepared
    the soil from which the chief nutriment of the goodly tree, our
    British oak, must be derived, I am yet proud to confess that I
    look with sentiments more exulting and more reverential to the
    bonds by which the law of the universe has fastened me to my
    distant brethren of the same Caucasian race; to the privileges
    which I, an inhabitant of the gloomy North, share in common with
    climates imparadised in perpetual summer, to the universality
    and efficacy resulting from blended intelligence, which, while
    it endears in our eyes the land of our fathers as a seat of
    peculiar blessing, tends to elevate and expand our thoughts into
    communion with humanity at large; and, in the ‘sublimer spirit’
    of the poet, to make us feel

       “That God is everywhere—the God who framed
       Mankind to be one mighty family,
       Himself our Father, and the world our home.”

What nice shading of thought do his remarks on Petrarch discover!

    “But it is not so much to his direct adoptions that I refer, _as
    to the general modulation of thought, that clear softness of his
    images, that energetic self-possession of his conceptions, and
    that melodious repose in which are held together all the
    emotions he delineates_.”

Every one who knows anything of himself, and of his fellow-men, will
acknowledge the wisdom of what follows. It displays an intimate
knowledge both of the constitution and history of man, and there is much
in it suited to our present need:—

    “_I do not hesitate to express my conviction, that the spirit of
    the critical philosophy, as seen by its fruits in all the
    ramifications of art, literature, and morality, is as much more
    dangerous than the spirit of mechanical philosophy_, as it is
    fairer in appearance, and more capable of alliance with our
    natural feelings of enthusiasm and delight. Its dangerous
    tendency is this, that it perverts those very minds, whose
    office it was to resist the perverse impulses of society, and to
    proclaim truth under the dominion of falsehood. However
    precipitate may be at any time the current of public opinion,
    bearing along the mass of men to the grosser agitations of life,
    and to such schemes of belief as make these the prominent
    object, _there will always be in reserve a force of antagonist
    opinion, strengthened by opposition, and attesting the sanctity
    of those higher principles, which are despised or forgotten by
    the majority_. These men _are secured by natural temperament_
    and peculiar circumstances from participating in the common
    delusion; but if some other and deeper fallacy be invented; if
    some more subtle beast of the field should speak to them in
    wicked flattery; if a digest of intellectual aphorisms can be
    substituted in their minds for a code of living truths, and the
    lovely semblances of beauty, truth, affection, can be made first
    to obscure the presence, and then to conceal the loss, of that
    religious humility, without which, as their central life, all
    these are but dreadful shadows; if so fatal a stratagem can be
    successfully practised, I see not what hope remains for a people
    against whom the gates of hell have so prevailed.”

    “But the number of pure artists is small: few souls are so
    finely tempered as to preserve the delicacy of meditative
    feeling, untainted by the allurements of accidental suggestion.
    The voice of the critical conscience is still and small, like
    that of the moral: it cannot entirely be stifled where it has
    been heard, but it may be disobeyed. Temptations are never
    wanting: some immediate and temporary effect can be produced at
    less expense of inward exertion than the high and more ideal
    effect which art demands: it is much easier to pander to the
    ordinary and often recurring wish for excitement, than to
    promote the rare and difficult intuition of beauty. _To raise
    the many to his own real point of view, the artist must employ
    his energies, and create energy in others: to descend to their
    position is less noble, but practicable with ease._ If I may be
    allowed the metaphor, one partakes of the nature of redemptive
    power; the other of that self-abased and degenerate will, which
    ‘flung from his splendors’ the fairest star in heaven.”

    “_Revelation is a voluntary approximation of the Infinite Being
    to the ways and thoughts of finite humanity._ But until this
    step has been taken by Almighty Grace, how should man have a
    warrant for loving with all his heart and mind and strength?…
    Without the gospel, nature exhibits a want of harmony between
    our intrinsic constitution, and the system in which it is
    placed. But Christianity has made up the difference. It is
    possible and natural to love the Father, who has made us his
    children by the spirit of adoption: it is possible and natural
    to love the Elder Brother, who was, in all things, like as we
    are, except sin, and can succor those in temptation, having been
    himself tempted. _Thus the Christian faith is the necessary
    complement of a sound ethical system._”

There is something to us very striking in the words “Revelation is a
_voluntary_ approximation of the Infinite Being.” This states the case
with an accuracy and a distinctness not at all common among either the
opponents or the apologists of _revealed religion_ in the ordinary sense
of the expression. In one sense God is forever revealing himself. His
heavens are forever telling his glory, and the firmament showing his
handiwork; day unto day is uttering speech, and night unto night is
showing knowledge concerning him. But in the word of the truth of the
gospel, God draws near to his creatures; he bows his heavens, and comes

  “That glorious form, that light unsufferable,
  And that far-beaming blaze of majesty,”

he lays aside. The Word dwelt with men. “Come then, let _us_ reason
together;”—“Waiting to be gracious;”—“Behold, I stand at the door, and
knock; if any man open to me, I will come in to him, and sup with him,
and he with me.” It is the father seeing his son while yet a great way
off, and having compassion, and running to him and falling on his neck
and kissing him; for “it was meet for us to rejoice, for this my son was
dead and is alive again, he was lost and is found.” Let no man confound
the voice of God in his Works with the voice of God in his Word; they
are utterances of the same infinite heart and will; they are in absolute
harmony; together they make up “that undisturbéd song of pure concent;”
one “perfect diapason;” but they are distinct; they are meant to be so.
A poor traveller, “weary and waysore,” is stumbling in unknown places
through the darkness of a night of fear, with no light near him, the
everlasting stars twinkling far off in their depths, and yet unrisen
sun, or the waning moon, sending up their pale beams into the upper
heavens, but all this is distant, and bewildering for his feet,
doubtless better much than outer darkness, beautiful and full of God, if
he could have the heart to look up, and the eyes to make use of its
vague light; but he is miserable, and afraid, his next step is what he
is thinking of; a lamp secured against all winds of doctrine is put into
his hands, it may, in some respects, widen the circle of darkness, but
it will cheer his feet, it will tell them what to do next. What a silly
fool he would be to throw away that lantern, or draw down the shutters,
and make it dark to him, while it sits “i’ the centre and enjoys bright
day,” and all upon the philosophical ground that its light was of the
same kind as the stars’, and that it was beneath the dignity of human
nature to do anything but struggle on and be lost in the attempt to get
through the wilderness and the night by the guidance of those “natural”
lights, which, though they are from heaven, have so often led the
wanderer astray. The dignity of human nature indeed! Let him keep his
lantern till the glad sun is up, with healing under his wings. Let him
take good heed to the “sure” λόγον while in this αὐχμηρῷ τοπῷ—this
dark, damp, unwholesome place, “till the day dawn and φωσφόρος—the
day-star—arise.” Nature and the Bible, the Works and the Word of God,
are two distinct things. In the mind of their Supreme Author they dwell
in perfect peace, in that unspeakable unity which is of his essence; and
to us his children, every day their harmony, their mutual relations, are
discovering themselves; but let us beware of saying all nature is a
revelation as the Bible is, and all the Bible is natural as nature is:
there is a perilous juggle here.

The following passage develops Arthur Hallam’s views on religious
feeling; this was the master-idea of his mind, and it would not be easy
to overrate its importance. “My son, give me thine heart;”—“Thou shalt
_love_ the Lord thy God;”—“The fool hath said in his _heart_, There is
no God.” He expresses the same general idea in these words, remarkable
in themselves, still more so as being the thought of one so young. “The
work of intellect is posterior to the work of feeling. _The latter lies
at the foundation of the man_; it is his proper self—the peculiar thing
that characterizes him as an individual. No two men are alike in
feeling; but conceptions of the understanding, when distinct, are
precisely similar in all—the ascertained relations of truths are the
common property of the race.”

Tennyson, we have no doubt, had this thought of his friend in his mind,
in the following lines; it is an answer to the question, Can man by
searching find out God?—

  “I found Him not in world or sun,
    Or eagle’s wing, or insect’s eye;
    Nor thro’ the questions men may try,
  The petty cobwebs we have spun:

  “If e’er when faith had fallen asleep,
    I heard a voice ‘believe no more,’
    And heard an ever-breaking shore
  That tumbled in the godless deep;

  “_A warmth within the breast would melt_
    The freezing reason’s colder part,
    _And like a man in wrath, the heart_
  _Stood up and answered, ‘I have felt._’

  “No, like a child in doubt and fear:
    But that blind clamor made me wise;
    Then was I as a child that cries,
  But, crying, knows his father near;

  “And what I seem beheld again
    What is, and no man understands:
    And out of darkness came the hands
  That reach thro’ nature, moulding men.”

This is a subject of the deepest personal as well as speculative
interest. In the works of Augustin, of Baxter, Howe, and Jonathan
Edwards, and of Alexander Knox, our readers will find how large a place
the religious affections held, in their view of Divine truth as well as
of human duty. The last-mentioned writer expresses himself thus:—“Our
sentimental faculties are far stronger than our cogitative; and the best
impressions on the latter will be but the moonshine of the mind, if they
are alone. Feeling will be best excited by sympathy; rather, it cannot
be excited in any other way. Heart must act upon heart—the idea of a
living person being essential to all intercourse of heart. You cannot by
any possibility _cordialize_ with a mere _ens rationis_. ‘The Word was
made flesh, and dwelt among us,’ otherwise we could not ‘have beheld his
glory,’ much less ‘received of his fulness.’”[40]

   [40] _Remains_, vol. iii. p. 105.

Our young author thus goes on:—

    “This opens upon us an ampler view in which the subject deserves
    to be considered, and a relation still more direct and close
    between the Christian religion and the passion of love. What is
    the distinguishing character of Hebrew literature, which
    separates it by so broad a line of demarcation from that of
    every ancient people? Undoubtedly the sentiment of _erotic
    devotion_ which pervades it. Their poets never represent the
    Deity as an impassive principle, a mere organizing intellect,
    removed at infinite distance from human hopes and fears. He is
    for them a being of like passions with themselves,[41]
    _requiring heart for heart, and capable of inspiring affection
    because capable of feeling and returning it_. Awful indeed are
    the thunders of his utterance and the clouds that surround his
    dwelling-place; very terrible is the vengeance he executes on
    the nations that forget him: but to his chosen people, and
    especially to the men ‘after his own heart,’ whom he anoints
    from the midst of them, his ‘still, small voice’ speaks in
    sympathy and loving-kindness. Every Hebrew, while his breast
    glowed with patriotic enthusiasm at those promises, which he
    shared as one of the favored race, had a yet deeper source of
    emotion, from which gushed perpetually the aspirations of prayer
    and thanksgiving. He might consider himself alone in the
    presence of his God; the single being to whom a great revelation
    had been made, and over whose head an ‘exceeding weight of
    glory’ was suspended. For him the rocks of Horeb had trembled,
    and the waters of the Red Sea were parted in their course. The
    word given on Sinai with such solemn pomp of ministration was
    given to his own individual soul, and brought him into immediate
    communion with his Creator. That awful Being could never be put
    away from him. He was about his path, and about his bed, and
    knew all his thoughts long before. _Yet this tremendous,
    enclosing presence was a presence of love. It was a manifold,
    everlasting manifestation of one deep feeling—a desire for
    human affection._[42] Such a belief, while it enlisted even
    pride and self-interest on the side of piety, had a direct
    tendency to excite the best passions of our nature. Love is not
    long asked in vain from generous dispositions. A Being, never
    absent, but standing beside the life of each man with ever
    watchful tenderness, and recognized, though invisible, in every
    blessing that befell them from youth to age, became naturally
    the object of their warmest affections. Their belief in him
    could not exist without producing, as a necessary effect, that
    profound impression _of passionate individual attachment_ which
    in the Hebrew authors always mingles with and vivifies their
    faith in the Invisible. All the books of the Old Testament are
    breathed upon by this breath of life. Especially is it to be
    found in that beautiful collection, entitled the Psalms of
    David, which remains, after some thousand years, perhaps the
    most perfect form in which the religious sentiment of man has
    been embodied.

       [41] “An unfortunate reference (Acts xiv. 15), for the apostle’s
	        declaration is, that he and his brethren were of ‘like
	        passions” (James v. 17);—liable to the same imperfections
	        and mutations of thought and feeling as other men, and as
	        the Lystrans supposed their gods to be; while the God
	        proclaimed by him to them is not so. And _that_ God is the
	        God of the Jews as well as of the Christians; for there is
	        but _one_ God. Hallam’s thought is an important and just
	        one, but not developed with his usual nice accuracy.”

	        For this note, as for much else, I am indebted to my father,
	        whose powers of compressed thought I wish I had inherited.

	   [42] Abraham “was called the friend of God;” “with him (Moses)
	        will I (Jehovah) speak mouth to mouth, even
	        apparently,”—“as a man to his friend;” David was “a man
	        after mine own heart.”

    “But what is true of Judaism is yet more true of Christianity:
    ‘_matre pulchrâ filia pulchrior_.’ In addition to all the
    characters of Hebrew Monotheism, _there exists in the doctrine
    of the Cross a peculiar and inexhaustible treasure for the
    affectionate feelings_. The idea of the Θεανθρωπος, the God
    whose goings forth have been from everlasting, yet visible to
    men for their redemption as an earthly, temporal creature,
    living, acting, and suffering among themselves, then (which is
    yet more important) transferring to the unseen place of his
    spiritual agency the same humanity he wore on earth, so that the
    lapse of generations can in no way affect the conception of his
    identity; this is the most powerful thought that ever addressed
    itself to a human imagination. It is the που στῶ, which alone
    was wanted to move the world. Here was solved at once the great
    problem which so long had distressed the teachers of mankind,
    how to make _virtue the object of passion_, and to secure at
    once the warmest enthusiasm in the heart with the clearest
    perception of right and wrong in the understanding. The
    character of the blessed Founder of our faith became an abstract
    of morality to determine the judgment, _while at the same time
    it remained personal, and liable to love_. The written word and
    established church prevented a degeneration into ungoverned
    mysticism, but the predominant principle of vital religion
    always remained that of self-sacrifice to the Saviour. Not only
    the higher divisions of moral duties, but the simple, primary
    impulses of benevolence, were subordinated to this new absorbing
    passion. The world was loved ‘in Christ alone.’ The brethren
    were members of his mystical body. All the other bonds that had
    fastened down the spirit of the universe to our narrow round of
    earth were as nothing in comparison to this golden chain of
    suffering and self-sacrifice, which at once riveted the heart of
    man to one who, like himself, was acquainted with grief. _Pain
    is the deepest thing we have_ in our nature, and union through
    pain has always seemed more real and more holy than any

       [43] This is the passage referred to in Henry Taylor’s delightful
	        _Notes from Life_ (“Essay on Wisdom”):—

	        “Fear, indeed, is the mother of foresight: spiritual fear,
	        of a foresight that reaches beyond the grave; temporal fear,
	        of a foresight that falls short; but without fear there is
	        neither the one foresight nor the other; and as pain has
	        been truly said to be ‘the deepest thing in our nature,’ so
	        is it fear that will bring the depths of our nature within
	        our knowledge. A great capacity of _suffering_ belongs to
	        genius; and it has been observed that an alternation of
	        joyfulness and dejection is quite as characteristic of the
	        man of genius as intensity in either kind.” In his _Notes
	        from Books_, p. 216, he recurs to it:—“‘Pain,’ says a
	        writer whose early death will not prevent his being long
	        remembered, ‘pain is the deepest thing that we have in our
	        nature, and union through pain has always seemed more real
	        and more holy than any other.’”

There is a sad pleasure,—_non ingrata amaritudo_, and a sort of
meditative tenderness, in contemplating the little life of this “dear
youth,” and in letting the mind rest upon these his earnest thoughts; to
watch his keen and fearless, but child-like spirit, moving itself
aright—going straight onward “along the lines of limitless
desires”—throwing himself into the very deepest of the ways of God, and
striking out as a strong swimmer striketh out his hands to swim; to see
him “mewing his mighty youth, and kindling his undazzled eye at the
fountain itself of heavenly radiance:”

  “Light intellectual, and full of love,
  Love of true beauty, therefore full of joy,
  Joy, every other sweetness far above.”

It is good for every one to look upon such a sight, and as we look, to
love. We should all be the better for it; and should desire to be
thankful for, and to use aright a gift so good and perfect, coming down
as it does from above, from the Father of lights, in whom alone there is
no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

Thus it is, that to each one of us the death of Arthur Hallam—his
thoughts and affections—his views of God, of our relations to Him, of
duty, of the meaning and worth of this world, and the next,—where he
now is, have an individual significance. He is bound up in our bundle of
life; we must be the better or the worse of having known what manner of
man he was; and in a sense less peculiar, but not less true, each of us
may say,

  ——“The tender grace of a day that is dead
    Will never come back to me.”

  ——“O for the touch of a vanished hand,
    And the sound of a voice that is still!”

  “God gives us love! Something to love
    He lends us; but when love is grown
  To ripeness, that on which it throve
    Falls off, and love is left alone:

  “This is the curse of time. Alas!
    In grief we are not all unlearned;
  Once, through our own doors Death did pass;
    One went, who never hath returned.

                     “This star
  Rose with us, through a little arc
  Of heaven, nor having wandered far,
    Shot on the sudden into dark.

  “Sleep sweetly, tender heart, in peace;
    Sleep, holy spirit, blessed soul,
  While the stars burn, the moons increase,
    And the great ages onward roll.

  “Sleep till the end, true soul and sweet,
    Nothing comes to thee new or strange,
  Sleep, full of rest from head to feet;
    Lie still, dry dust, secure of change.”

_Vattene in pace, alma beata e bella._—Go in peace, soul beautiful and

“O man greatly beloved, go thou thy way till the end, for thou shalt
rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.”—DANIEL.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Lord, I have viewed this world over, in which thou hast set me; I have
tried how this and that thing will fit my spirit, and the design of my
creation, and can find nothing on which to rest, for nothing here doth
itself rest, but such things as please me for a while, in some degree,
vanish and flee as shadows from before me. Lo! I come to Thee—the
Eternal Being—the Spring of Life—the Centre of rest—the Stay of the
Creation—the Fulness of all things. I join myself to Thee; with Thee I
will lead my life, and spend my days, with whom I aim to dwell forever,
expecting, when my little time is over, to be taken up ere long into thy
eternity.”—JOHN HOWE, _The Vanity of Man as Mortal_.

_Necesse est tanquam immaturam mortem ejus defleam: si tamen fas est aut
flere, aut omnino mortem vocare, quâ tanti juvenis mortalitas magis
finita quam vita est. Vivit enim, vivetque semper, atque etiam latius in
memoria hominum et sermone versabitur, postquam ab oculis recessit._

       *       *       *       *       *

The above notice was published in 1851. On sending to Mr. Hallam a copy
of the _Review_ in which it appeared, I expressed my hope that he would
not be displeased by what I had done. I received the following kind and
beautiful reply:—

                                   “WILTON CRESCENT, _Feb. 1, 1851._

    “DEAR SIR,—It would be ungrateful in me to feel any displeasure
    at so glowing an eulogy on my dear eldest son Arthur, though
    after such a length of time, so unusual, as you have written in
    the _North British Review_. I thank you, on the contrary, for
    the strong language of admiration you have employed, though it
    may expose me to applications for copies of the _Remains_, which
    I have it not in my power to comply with. I was very desirous to
    have lent you a copy, at your request, but you have succeeded

    “You are probably aware that I was prevented from doing this by
    a great calamity, very similar in its circumstances to that I
    had to deplore in 1833—the loss of another son, equal in
    virtues, hardly inferior in abilities, to him whom you have
    commemorated. This has been an unspeakable affliction to me, and
    at my advanced age, seventy-three years, I can have no resource
    but the hope, in God’s mercy, of a reunion with them both. The
    resemblance in their characters was striking, and I had often
    reflected how wonderfully my first loss had been repaired by the
    substitution, as it might be called, of one so closely
    representing his brother. I send you a brief Memoir, drawn up by
    two friends, with very little alteration of my own.—I am, Dear
    Sir, faithfully yours,                         HENRY HALLAM.

    “DR. BROWN,

       *       *       *       *       *

The following extracts, from the _Memoir of Henry Fitzmaurice Hallam_
mentioned above, which has been appended to a reprint of his brother’s
_Remains_ (for private circulation), form a fitting close to this
memorial of these two brothers, who were “lovely and pleasant in their
lives,” and are now by their deaths not divided:—

    “But few months have elapsed since the pages of _In Memoriam_
    recalled to the minds of many, and impressed on the hearts of
    all who perused them, the melancholy circumstances attending the
    sudden and early death of Arthur Henry Hallam, the eldest son of
    Henry Hallam, Esq. Not many weeks ago the public journals
    contained a short paragraph announcing the decease, under
    circumstances equally distressing, and in some points remarkably
    similar, of Henry Fitzmaurice, Mr. Hallam’s younger and only
    remaining son. No one of the very many who appreciate the
    sterling value of Mr. Hallam’s literary labors, and who feel a
    consequent interest in the character of those who would have
    sustained the eminence of an honorable name; no one who was
    affected by the striking and tragic fatality of two such
    successive bereavements, will deem an apology needed for this
    short and imperfect Memoir.

    “Henry Fitzmaurice Hallam, the younger son of Henry Hallam,
    Esq., was born on the 31st of August 1824; he took his second
    name from his godfather, the Marquis of Lansdowne…. A habit of
    reserve, which characterized him at all periods of life, but
    which was compensated in the eyes of even his first companions
    by a singular sweetness of temper, was produced and fostered by
    the serious thoughtfulness ensuing upon early familiarity with
    domestic sorrow.

    “‘He was gentle,’ writes one of his earliest and closest
    school-friends, ‘retiring, thoughtful to pensiveness,
    affectionate, without envy or jealousy, almost without
    emulation, impressible, but not wanting in moral firmness. No
    one was ever more formed for friendship. In all his words and
    acts he was simple, straightforward, true. He was very
    religious. Religion had a real effect upon his character, and
    made him tranquil about great things, though he was so nervous
    about little things.’

    “He was called to the bar in Trinity Term, 1850, and became a
    member of the Midland Circuit in the summer. Immediately
    afterwards he joined his family in a tour on the Continent. They
    had spent the early part of the autumn at Rome, and were
    returning northwards, when he was attacked by a sudden and
    severe illness, affecting the vital powers, and accompanied by
    enfeebled circulation and general prostration of strength. He
    was able, with difficulty, to reach Siena, where he sank rapidly
    through exhaustion, and expired on Friday, October 25. It is to
    be hoped that he did not experience any great or active
    suffering. He was conscious nearly to the last, and met his
    early death (of which his presentiments, for several years, had
    been frequent and very singular) with calmness and fortitude.
    There is reason to apprehend, from medical examination, that his
    life would not have been of very long duration, even had this
    unhappy illness not occurred. But for some years past his health
    had been apparently much improved; and, secured as it seemed to
    be by his unintermitted temperance, and by a carefulness in
    regimen which his early feebleness of constitution had rendered
    habitual, those to whom he was nearest and dearest had, in great
    measure, ceased to regard him with anxiety. His remains were
    brought to England, and he was interred, on December 23d, in
    Clevedon Church, Somersetshire, by the side of his brother, his
    sister, and his mother.

    “For continuous and sustained thought he had an extraordinary
    capacity, the bias of his mind being decidedly towards
    analytical processes; a characteristic which was illustrated at
    Cambridge by his uniform partiality for analysis, and
    comparative distaste for the geometrical method, in his
    mathematical studies. His early proneness to dwell upon the more
    recondite departments of each science and branch of inquiry has
    been alluded to above. It is not to be inferred that, as a
    consequence of this tendency, he blinded himself, at any period
    of his life, to the necessity and the duty of practical
    exertion. He was always eager to act as well as speculate; and,
    in this respect, his character preserved an unbroken consistency
    and harmony from the epoch when, on commencing his residence at
    Cambridge, he voluntarily became a teacher in a parish
    Sunday-school, for the sake of applying his theories of
    religious education, to the time when, on the point of setting
    forth on his last fatal journey, he framed a plan of obtaining
    access, in the ensuing winter, to a large commercial
    establishment, in the view of familiarizing himself with the
    actual course and minute detail of mercantile transactions.

    “Insensibly and unconsciously he had made himself a large number
    of friends in the last few years of his life: the painful
    impression created by his death in the circle in which he
    habitually moved, and even beyond it, was exceedingly
    remarkable, both for its depth and extent. For those united with
    him in a companionship more than ordinarily close, his
    friendship had taken such a character as to have almost become a
    necessity of existence. But it was upon his family that he
    lavished all the wealth of his disposition—affection without
    stint, gentleness never once at fault, considerateness reaching
    to self-sacrifice:—

      “Di cìo si biasmi il debolo intelletto
      E’ l’parlar nostro, che non ha valore
      Di ritrar tutto cìo che dice amore.

                                                            H. S. M.
                                                            F. L.”


    Πρῶτον χὀρτον, εἶτα στάχυω, εἶτα πλήρη σῖτον ἐν τῷ στάχυϊ.

One of the chief sins of our time is hurry: it is helter-skelter, and
devil take the hind-most. Off we go all too swift at starting, and we
neither run so fast nor so far as we would have done, had we taken it
_cannily_ at first. This is true of a boy as well as of a blood colt.
Not only are boys and colts made to do the work and the running of
full-grown men and horses, but they are hurried out of themselves and
their _now_, and pushed into the middle of next week where nobody is
wanting them, and beyond which they frequently never get.

The main duty of those who care for the young is to secure their
wholesome, their entire growth, for health is just the development of
the whole nature in its due sequences and proportions: first the
blade—then the ear—then, and not till then, the full corn in the ear;
and thus, as Dr. Temple wisely says, “not to forget wisdom in teaching
knowledge.” If the blade be forced, and usurp the capital it inherits;
if it be robbed by you its guardian of its birthright, or squandered
like a spendthrift, then there is not any ear, much less any corn; if
the blade be blasted or dwarfed in our haste and greed for the full
shock and its price, we spoil all three. It is not easy to keep this
always before one’s mind, that the young “idea” is in a young body, and
that healthy growth and harmless passing of the time are more to be
cared for than what is vainly called accomplishment. We are preparing
him to run his race, and accomplish _that_ which is one of his chief
ends; but we are too apt to start him off at his full speed, and he
either bolts or breaks down—the worst thing for him generally being to
win. In this way a child or boy should be regarded much more as a mean
than as an end, and his cultivation should have reference to this; his
mind, as old Montaigne said, should be forged, as well as—indeed, I
would say, rather than—furnished, fed rather than filled,—two not
always coincident conditions. Now exercise—the joy of interest, of
origination, of activity, of excitement—the play of the
faculties,—this is the true life of a boy, not the accumulation of mere
words. Words—the coin of thought—unless as the means of buying
something else, are just as useless as other coin when it is hoarded;
and it is as silly, and in the true sense as much the part and lot of a
_miser_, to amass words for their own sakes, as to keep all your guineas
in a stocking and never spend them, but be satisfied with every now and
then looking greedily at them and making them chink. Therefore it is
that I dislike—as indeed who doesn’t?—the cramming system. The great
thing with knowledge and the young is to secure that it shall be their
own—that it be not merely external to their inner and real self, but
shall go _in succum et sanguinem_; and therefore it is, that the
self-teaching that a baby and a child give themselves remains with them
forever—it is of their essence, whereas what is given them _ab extra_,
especially if it be received mechanically, without relish, and without
any energizing of the entire nature, remains pitifully useless and
_wersh_. Try, therefore, always to get the resident teacher _inside the
skin_, and who is forever giving his lessons, to help you and be on your

Now in children, as we all know, _he_ works chiefly through the senses.
The quantity of accurate observation—of induction, and of deduction too
(both of a much better quality than most of Mr. Buckle’s); of reasoning
from the known to the unknown; of inferring; the nicety of appreciation
of the like and the unlike, the common and the rare, the odd and the
even; the skill of the rough and the smooth—of form, of appearance, of
texture, of weight, of all the minute and deep philosophies of the touch
and of the other senses,—the amount of this sort of objective knowledge
which every child of eight years has acquired—especially if he can play
in the lap of nature and out of doors—and acquired for life, is, if we
could only think of it, marvellous beyond any of our mightiest marches
of intellect. Now, could we only get the knowledge of the school to go
as sweetly and deeply and clearly into the vitals of the mind as this
self-teaching has done, and this is the paradisiac way of it, we should
make the young mind grow as well as learn, and be in understanding a man
as well as in simplicity a child; we should get rid of much of that
dreary, sheer endurance of their school-hours—that stolid lending of
ears that do not hear—that objectless looking without ever once seeing,
and straining their minds without an aim; alternating, it may be, with
some feats of dexterity and effort, like a man trying to lift himself in
his own arms, or take his head in his teeth, exploits as dangerous, as
ungraceful, and as useless, except to glorify the showman and bring
wages in, as the feats of an acrobat.

But you will ask, how is all this to be avoided if everybody must know
how far the sun is from _Georgium Sidus_, and how much of phosphorus is
in our bones, and of ptyalin and flint in human spittle—besides some
10,000 times 10,000 other things which we must be told and try to
remember, and which we cannot prove not to be true, but which I decline
to say we _know_.

But _is_ it necessary that everybody should know everything? Is it not
much more to the purpose for every man, when his turn comes, to be able
to _do_ something; and I say, that other things being equal, a boy who
goes bird-nesting, and makes a collection of eggs, and knows all their
colors and spots, going through the excitements and glories of getting
them, and observing everything with a keenness, an intensity, an
exactness, and a permanency, which only youth and a quick pulse, and
fresh blood and spirits combined, can achieve,—a boy who teaches
himself natural history in this way, is not only a healthier and happier
boy, but is abler in mind and body for entering upon the great game of
life, than the pale, nervous, bright-eyed, feverish, “interesting” boy,
with a big head and a small bottom and thin legs, who is the “captain,”
the miracle of the school; dux for his brief year or two of glory, and,
_if he live_, booby for life. I am, of course, not going in for a
complete _curriculum_ of general ignorance; but I am for calling the
attention of teachers to drawing out the minds, the energies, the hearts
of their pupils through their senses, as well as pouring in through
these same apertures the general knowledge of mankind, the capital of
the race, into this one small being, who it is to be hoped will contrive
to forget much of the mere words he has unhappily learned.

For we may say of our time in all seriousness, what Sydney Smith said in
the fulness of his wisdom and his fun, of the pantologic master of
Trinity—Science is our _forte_; omniscience is our _foible_. There is
the seed of a whole treatise, a whole organon in this joke; think over
it, and let it simmer in your mind, and you will feel its significance
and its power. Now, what is _science_ so called to every 999 men in
1000, but something that the one man tells them he has been told by some
one else—who may be one among say 50,000—is true, but of the truth of
which these 999 men (and probably even the teaching thousandth man) can
have no direct test, and, accordingly, for the truth or falsehood of
which they, by a law of their nature, which rejects what has no savor
and is superfluous, don’t care one fig. How much better, how much
dearer, and more precious in a double sense, because it has been bought
by themselves,—how much nobler is the knowledge which our little
friend, young Edward Forbes, “that marvellous boy,” for instance—and
what an instance!—is picking up, as he looks into everything he sees,
and takes photographs upon his retina—the _camera lucida_ of his
mind—which never fade, of every midge that washes its face as a cat
does, and preens its wings, every lady-bird that alights on his knee,
and folds and unfolds her gauzy pinions under their spotted and glorious
lids. How more real is not only this knowledge, but this little
knowledger in his entire nature, than the poor being who can maunder
amazingly the entire circle of human science at second, or it may be,
twentieth hand!

There are some admirable, though cursory remarks on “Ornithology as a
Branch of Liberal Education,” by the late Dr. Adams of Banchory, the
great Greek scholar, in a pamphlet bearing this title, which he read as
a paper before the last meeting of the British Association in Aberdeen.
It is not only interesting as a piece of natural history, and a touching
coöperation of father and son in the same field—the one on the banks of
his own beautiful Dee and among the wilds of the Grampians, the other
among the Himalayas and the forests of Cashmere; the son having been
enabled, by the knowledge of his native birds got under his father’s
eye, when placed in an unknown country to recognize his old feathered
friends, and to make new ones and tell their story; it is also valuable
as coming from a man of enormous scholarship and knowledge—the most
learned physician of his time—who knew Aristotle and Plato, and all
those old fellows, as we know Maunder or Lardner—a hard-working country
surgeon, who was ready to run at any one’s call—but who did not despise
the modern enlightenments of his profession, because they were not in
Paulus Agineta; though, at the same time, he did not despise the
admirable and industrious Paul because he was not up to the last
doctrine of the nucleated cell, or did not read his Hippocrates by the
blaze of Paraffine; a man greedy of all knowledge, and welcoming it from
all comers, but who, at the end of a long life of toil and thought, gave
it as his conviction that one of the best helps to true education, one
of the best counteractives to the necessary mischiefs of mere scientific
teaching and information, was to be found in getting the young to teach
themselves some one of the natural sciences, and singling out
ornithology as one of the readiest and most delightful for such a life
as his.

I end these intentionally irregular remarks by a story. Some years ago I
was in one of the wildest recesses of the Perthshire Highlands. It was
in autumn, and the little school supported mainly by the Chief, who
dwelt all the year round in the midst of his own people, was to be
examined by the minister, whose native tongue, like that of his flock,
was Gaelic, and who was as awkward and ineffectual, and sometimes as
unconsciously indecorous, in his English, as a Cockney is in his kilt.
It was a great occasion: the keen-eyed, firm-limbed, brown-cheeked
little fellows were all in a buzz of excitement as we came in, and
before the examination began every eye was looking at us strangers as a
dog looks at his game, or when seeking it; they knew everything we had
on, everything that could be known through their senses. I never felt
myself so studied and scrutinized before. If any one could have examined
them upon what they thus mastered, Sir Charles Trevelyan and John Mill
would have come away astonished, and, I trust, humble. Well then, the
work of the day began; the mill was set a-going, and what a change! In
an instant their eyes were like the windows of a house with the blinds
down; no one was looking out; everything blank; their very features
changed—their jaws fell, their cheeks flattened, they drooped and
looked ill at ease—stupid, drowsy, sulky—and getting them to speak, or
think, or in any way to energize, was like trying to get any one to come
to the window at three of a summer morning, when, if they do come, they
are half awake, rubbing their eyes and growling. So with my little
Celts. They were like an idle and half asleep collie by the fireside, as
contrasted with the collie on the hill and in the joy of work; the form
of dog and boy are there—he, the self of each, was elsewhere (for I
differ from Professor Ferrier in thinking that the dog _has_ the reflex
ego, and is a very knowing being.) I noticed that anything they really
knew roused them somewhat; what they had merely to transmit or pass
along, as if they were a tube through which the master blew the pea of
knowledge into our faces, was performed as stolidly as if they were
nothing but a tube.

At last the teacher asked where Sheffield was, and was answered; it was
then pointed to by the dux, as a dot on a skeleton map. And now came a
flourish. “What is Sheffield famous for?” Blank stupor, hopeless
vacuity, till he came to a sort of sprouting Dougal Cratur—almost as
wee, and as glegg, and as tousy about the head, as my own Kintail
terrier, whom I saw at that moment through the open door careering after
a hopeless rabbit, with much benefit to his muscles and his wind—who
was trembling with keenness. He shouted out something which was liker
“cutlery” than anything else, and was received as such amid our
rapturous applause. I then ventured to ask the master to ask small and
red Dougal what cutlery was; but from the sudden erubescence of his
pallid, ill-fed cheek, and the alarming brightness of his eyes, I
twigged at once that _he_ didn’t himself know what it meant. So I put
the question myself, and was not surprised to find that not one of them,
from Dougal up to a young strapping shepherd of eighteen, knew what it

I told them that Sheffield was famous for making knives, and scissors,
and razors, and that cutlery meant the manufacture of anything that
cuts. Presto! and the blinds were all up, and eagerness, and _nous_, and
brains at the window. I happened to have a Wharncliffe, with “Rodgers
and Sons, Sheffield,” on the blade. I sent it round, and finally
presented it to the enraptured Dougal. Would not each one of those boys,
the very boobiest there, know that knife again when they saw it, and be
able to pass a creditable competitive examination on all its ins and
outs? and wouldn’t they remember “cutlery” for a day or two! Well, the
examination over, the minister performed an oration of much ambition and
difficulty to himself and to us, upon the general question, and a great
many other questions, into which his Gaelic subtilty fitted like the
mists into the hollows of Ben-a-Houlich, with, it must be allowed, a
somewhat similar tendency to confuse and conceal what was beneath; and
he concluded with thanking the Chief, as he well might, for his generous
support of “this aixlent CEMETERY of ædication.” Cemetery indeed! The
blind leading the blind, with the ancient result; the dead burying their

Now, not greater is the change we made from that low, small, stifling,
gloomy, mephitic room, into the glorious open air, the loch lying asleep
in the sun, and telling over again on its placid face, as in a dream,
every hill and cloud, and birch and pine, and passing bird and cradled
boat; the Black Wood of Rannoch standing “in the midst of its own
darkness,” frowning out upon us like the Past disturbed, and far off in
the clear ether, as in another and a better world, the dim Shepherds of
Etive pointing, like ghosts at noonday, to the weird shadows of
Glencoe;—not greater was this change, than is that from the dingy,
oppressive, weary “cemetery” of mere word-knowledge to the open air, the
light and liberty, the divine infinity and richness of nature and her

We cannot change our time, nor would we if we could. It is God’s time as
well as ours. And our time is emphatically that for achieving and
recording and teaching man’s dominion over and insight into matter and
its forces—his subduing the earth; but let us turn now and then from
our necessary and honest toil in this neo-Platonic cavern where we win
gold and renown, and where we often are obliged to stand in our own
light, and watch our own shadows as they glide, huge and misshapen,
across the inner gloom; let us come out betimes with our gold, that we
may spend it and get “goods” for it, and when we can look forth on that
ample world of daylight which we can never hope to overrun, and into
that overarching heaven where, amid clouds and storms, lightning and
sudden tempest, there is revealed to those who look for them, lucid
openings into the pure, deep empyrean, “as it were the very body of
heaven in its clearness;” and when, best of all, we may remember Who it
is who stretched out these heavens as a tent to dwell in, and on whose
footstool we may kneel, and out of the depths of our heart cry aloud,—

  _Te Deum veneramur,
  Te Sancte Pater!_

we shall return into our cave, and to our work, all the better of such a
lesson, and of such a reasonable service, and dig none the worse.

Science which ends in itself, or still worse, returns upon its maker,
and gets him to worship himself, is worse than none; it is only when it
makes it more clear than before who is the Maker and Governor, not only
of the objects, but of the subjects of itself, that knowledge is the
mother of virtue. But this is an endless theme. My only aim in these
desultory hints is to impress parents and teachers with the benefits of
the _study_, the personal engagement—with their own hands and eyes, and
legs and ears—in some form or another of natural history, by their
children and pupils and themselves, as counteracting evil, and doing
immediate and actual good. Even the immense activity in the
Post-Office-stamp line of business among our youngsters has been of
immense use in many ways, besides being a diversion and an interest. I
myself came to the knowledge of Queensland, and a great deal more,
through its blue twopenny.

If any one wishes to know how far wise and clever and patriotic men may
occasionally go in the way of giving “your son” a stone for bread, and a
serpent for a fish,—may get the nation’s money for that which is not
bread, and give their own labor for that which satisfies no one;
industriously making sawdust into the shapes of bread, and chaff into
the appearance of meal, and contriving, at wonderful expense of money
and brains, to show what can be done in the way of feeding upon
wind,—let him take a turn through certain galleries of the Kensington

“Yesterday forenoon,” writes a friend, “I went to South Kensington
Museum. It is really an absurd collection. A great deal of valuable
material and a great deal of perfect rubbish. The analyses are even
worse than I was led to suppose. There is an ANALYSIS OF A MAN. First, a
man contains so much water, and there you have the amount of water in a
bottle; so much albumen, and there is the albumen; so much phosphate of
lime, fat, hæmatin, fibrine, salt, etc., etc. Then in the next case so
much carbon; so much phosphorus—a bottle with sticks of phosphorus; so
much potassium, and there is a bottle with potassium; calcium, etc. They
have not bottles of oxygen, hydrogen, chlorine, etc., but they have
cubical pieces of wood on which is written ‘the quantity of oxygen in
the human body would occupy the space of 170 (_e. g._) cubes of the size
of this,’ etc., etc.” What earthly good can this do any one?

No wonder that the bewildered beings whom I have seen wandering through
these rooms, yawned more frequently and more desperately than I ever
observed even in church.

So then, cultivate observation, energy, handicraft, ingenuity, _outness_
in boys, so as to give them a pursuit as well as a study. Look after the
blade, and don’t coax or crush the ear out too soon, and remember that
the full corn in the ear is not due till the harvest, when the great
School breaks up, and we must all dismiss and go our several ways.


    Ὄσα ἐστὶ προσφιλῆ—ταῦτα λογίζεσθε.—ST. PAUL.

“What do you think of Dr. Channing, Mr. Coleridge?” said a brisk young
gentleman to the mighty discourser, as he sat next him at a small
tea-party. “Before entering upon that question, sir,” said Coleridge,
opening upon his inquirer those ‘noticeable gray eyes,’ with a vague and
placid stare, and settling himself in his seat for the night, “I must
put you in possession of my views, _in extenso_, on the origin,
progress, present condition, future likelihoods, and absolute essence of
the Unitarian controversy, and especially the conclusions I have, upon
the whole, come to on the great question of what may be termed the
philosophy of religious difference.” In like manner, before telling our
readers what we think of Henry Vaughan, the Silurist, or of “V.,” or of
Henry Ellison, the Bornnatural, or of E. V. K., it would have been very
pleasant (to ourselves) to have given, _in extenso_, our views _de Re
Poeticâ_, its nature, its laws and office, its means and ends; and to
have made known how much and how little we agreed on these points with
such worthies as Aristotle and Plato, Horace and Richard Baxter,
Petronius Arbiter and Blaise Pascal, Ulric von Hütten and Boileau,
Hurdis and Hurd, Dr. Arnold and Montaigne, Harris of Salisbury and his
famous uncle, Burke and “John Buncle,” Montesquieu and Sir Philip
Sidney, Dr. Johnson and the two Wartons, George Gascoyne and Spenser’s
friend Gabriel Harvey, Puttenham and Webbe, George Herbert and George
Sand, Petrarch and Pinciano, Vida and Julius Cæsar Scaliger, Pontanus
and Savage Landor, Leigh Hunt and Quinctilian, or Tacitus (whichever of
the two wrote the Dialogue _De Oratoribus_, in which there is so much of
the best philosophy, criticism, and expression), Lords Bacon and Buchan
and Dr. Blair, Dugald Stewart and John Dryden, Charles Lamb and
Professor Wilson, Vinet of Lausanne and John Foster, Lord Jeffrey and
the two brothers Hare, Drs. Fuller and South, John Milton and Dr. Drake,
Dante and “Edie Ochiltree,” Wordsworth and John Bunyan, Plutarch and
Winkelman, the Coleridges, Samuel, Sara, Hartley, Derwent, and Henry
Nelson, Sir Egerton Bridges, Victor Cousin and “the Doctor,” George Moir
and Madame de Staël, Dr. Fracastorius and Professor Keble, Martinus
Scriblerus and Sir Thomas Browne, Macaulay and the Bishop of Cloyne,
Collins and Gray and Sir James Mackintosh, Hazlitt and John Ruskin,
Shakspeare and Jackson of Exeter, Dallas and De Quincey, and the six
Taylors, Jeremy, William, Isaac, Jane, John Edward, and Henry. We would
have had great pleasure in quoting what these famous women and men have
written on the essence and the art of poetry, and to have shown how
strangely they differ, and how as strangely at times they agree. But as
it is not related at what time of the evening our brisk young gentleman
got his answer regarding Dr. Channing, so it likewise remains untold
what our readers have lost and gained in our not fulfilling our somewhat
extensive desire.

It is with poetry as with flowers or fruits, and the delicious juices of
meats and fishes, we would all rather have them, and smell them, and
taste them, than hear about them. It is a good thing to know all about a
lily, its scientific ins and outs, its botany, its archæology, its
æsthetics, even its anatomy and “organic radicals,” but it is a better
thing to look at itself, and “consider” it how it grows—

  “White, radiant, spotless, exquisitely pure.”

It is one thing to know what your peach is, that it is the fruit of a
rosal exogen, and is of the nature of a true drupe, with its carpel
solitary, and its style proceeding from the apex,—that its ovules are
anatropal, and that its _putamen_ separates _sponte suâ_ from the
sacrocarp; to know, moreover, how many kinds of peaches and nectarines
there are in the world, and how happy the Canadian pigs must be of an
evening munching the downy odoriferous drupes under the trees, and what
an aroma this must give to the resulting pork,[44]—it is another and a
better thing to pluck the peach, and sink your teeth into its fragrant
flesh. We remember only one exception to this rule. Who has ever yet
tasted the roast pig of reality which came up to the roast pig of
Charles Lamb? Who can forget “that young and tender suckling, under a
moon old, guiltless as yet of the style, with no original speck of the
_amor immunditiæ_—the hereditary failing of the first parent, yet
manifest, and which, when prepared aright, is, of all the delicacies in
the _mundus edibilis_, the most delicate—_obsoniorum facile
princeps_—whose fat is not fat, but an indefinable sweetness growing up
toward it—the tender blossoming of fat—fat cropped in the bud—taken
in the shoot—in the first innocence, the cream and quintessence of the
child-pig’s yet pure food—the lean not lean, but a kind of animal
manna—_coelestis_—_cibus ille angelorum_—or rather shall we say, fat
and lean (if it must be so) so blended and running into each other, that
both together make but one ambrosial result.” But here, as elsewhere,
the exception proves the rule, and even the perusal of “Original”
Walker’s delicious schemes of dinners at Lovegrove’s, with flounders
water-zoutched, and iced claret, would stand little chance against an
invitation to a party of six to Blackwall, with “Tom Young of the
Treasury” as Prime Minister.

   [44] We are given to understand that peach-fed pork is a poor
        pork after all, and goes soon into decomposition. We are not
        sorry to know this.

Poetry is the expression of the beautiful—by words—the beautiful of
the outer and of the inner world; whatever is delectable to the eye or
the ear, the every sense of the body and of the soul—it presides over
_veras dulcedines rerum_. It implies at once a vision and a faculty, a
gift and an art. There must be the vivid conception of the beautiful,
and its fit manifestation in numerous language. A thought may be
poetical, and yet not poetry; it may be a sort of mother liquor, holding
in solution the poetical element, but waiting and wanting its
precipitation,—its concentration into the bright and compacted crystal.
It is the very blossom and fragrancy and bloom of all human thoughts,
passions, emotions, language; having for its immediate object—its very
essence—pleasure and delectation rather than truth; but springing from
truth, as the flower from its fixed and unseen root. To use the words of
Puttenham in reference to Sir Walter Raleigh, poetry is a lofty,
insolent (unusual) and passionate thing.

It is not philosophy, it is not science, it is not morality, it is not
religion, any more than red is or ever can be blue or yellow, or than
one thing can ever be another; but it feeds on, it glorifies and exalts,
it impassionates them all. A poet will be the better of all the wisdom,
and all the goodness, and all the science, and all the talent he can
gather into himself, but _quâ_ poet he is a minister and an interpreter
of τὸ καλὸν, and of nothing else. Philosophy and poetry are not
opposites, but neither are they convertibles. They are twin sisters;—in
the words of Augustine:—“PHILOCALIA _et_ PHILOSOPHIA _prope similiter
cognominatæ sunt, et quasi gentiles inter se videri volunt et sunt. Quid
est enim Philosophia? amor sapientiæ. Quid Philocalia? amor
pulchritudinis. Germanæ igitur istæ sunt prorsus, et eodem parente
procreatæ._” Fracastorius beautifully illustrates this in his
“_Naugerius, sive De Poeticâ Dialogus_.” He has been dividing writers,
or composers as he calls them, into historians, or those who record
appearances; philosophers, who seek out causes; and poets, who perceive
and express _veras pulchritudines rerum, quicquid maximum et magnificum,
quicquid pulcherrimum, quicquid dulcissimum_; and as an example, he
says, if the historian describe the ongoings of this visible universe, I
am taught; if the philosopher announce the doctrine of a spiritual
essence pervading and regulating all things, I admire; but if the poet
take up the same theme, and sing—

  “_Principio cælum ac terras camposque liquentes
  Lucentemque globum lunæ, titaniaque astra,
  Spiritus intus alit; totamque infusa per artus
  Mens agitat molem et magno se corpore miscet._”

“_Si inquam, eandem rem, hoc pacto referat mihi, non admirabor solum,
sed adamabo: et divinum nescio quid, in animum mihi immissum

In the quotation which he gives, we at once detect the proper tools and
cunning of the poet: fancy gives us _liquentes campos_, _titania astra_,
_lucentem globum lunæ_, and fantasy or imagination, in virtue of its
royal and transmuting power, gives us _intus alit_—_infusa per
artus_—and that magnificent idea, _magno se corpore miscet_—this is
the _divinum nescio quid_—the proper work of the imagination—the
master and specific faculty of the poet—that which makes him what he
is, as the wings make a bird, and which, to borrow the noble words of
the Book of Wisdom, “is more moving than motion,—is one only, and yet
manifold, subtle, lively, clear, plain, quick, which cannot be letted,
passing and going through all things by reason of her pureness; being
one, she can do all things; and remaining in herself, she maketh all
things new.”

The following is Fracastorius’ definition of a man who not only writes
verses, but is by nature a poet: “_Est autem ille naturâ poeta, qui
aptus est veris rerum pulchritudinibus capi monerique; et qui per illas
loqui et scribere potest_;” and he gives the lines of Virgil,—

                “_Aut sicuti nigrum
  Ilicibus crebris sacra nemus accubat umbra,_”

as an instance of the poetical transformation. All that was merely
actual or informative might have been given in the words _sicuti nemus_,
but fantasy sets to work, and _videte, per quas pulchritudines, nemus
depinxit; addens_ ACCUBAT, ET NIGRUM _crebris ilicibus et_ SACRA UMBRA!
_quam ob rem, recte Pontanus dicebat, finem esse poetæ, apposite dicere
ad admirationem, simpliciter, et per universalem bene dicendi ideam_.
This is what we call the _beau idéal_, or κατ’ ἐξοχήν the ideal—what
Bacon describes as “a more ample greatness, a more exact goodness, and a
more absolute variety than can be found in the nature of things, the
world being in proportion inferior to the soul, and the exhibition of
which doth raise and erect the mind by submitting _the shows of things_
to the desires of the mind.” It is “the wondrous and goodly paterne” of
which Spenser sings in his “Hymne in honour of Beautie:”—

  “What time this world’s great Workmaister did cast
  To make al things such as we now behold,
  _It seems that he before his eyes had plast_
  _A goodly Paterne_, to whose perfect mould
  He fashioned them, as comely as he could,
  That now so faire and seemly they appeare,
  As nought may be amended any wheare.

  “That wondrous Paterne wheresoere it bee,
  Whether in earth layd up in secret store,
  Or else in heaven, that no man may it see
  With sinfull eyes, for feare it to deflore,
  _Is perfect Beautie_, which all men adore—
  _That is the thing that giveth pleasant grace_
  _To all things fair._

  “For through infusion of celestial powre
  _The duller earth it quickneth with delight,_
  _And life-full spirits privily doth powre_
  _Through all the parts, that to the looker’s sight_
  _They seeme to please._”

It is that “loveliness” which Mr. Ruskin calls “the signature of God on
his works,” the dazzling printings of His fingers, and to the unfolding
of which he has devoted, with so much of the highest philosophy and
eloquence, a great part of the second volume of “Modern Painters.”

But we are as bad as Mr. Coleridge, and are defrauding our readers of
their fruits and flowers, their peaches and lilies.

Henry Vaughan, “Silurist,” as he was called, from his being born in
South Wales, the country of the _Silures_, was sprung from one of the
most ancient and noble families of the Principality. Two of his
ancestors, Sir Roger Vaughan and Sir David Gam, fell at Agincourt. It is
said that Shakspeare visited Scethrog, the family castle in
Brecknockshire; and Malone guesses that it was when there that he fell
in with the word “Puck.” Near Scethrog, there is Cwn-Pooky, or Pwcca,
the Goblin’s valley, which belonged to the Vaughans; and Crofton Croker
gives, in his Fairy Legends, a fac-simile of a portrait, drawn by a
Welsh peasant, of a Pwcca, which (whom?) he himself had seen sitting on
a milestone,[45] by the roadside, in the early morning, a very unlikely
personage, one would think, to say,—

  “I go, I go; look how I go;
  Swifter than arrow from the Tartar’s bow.”

   [45] We confess to being considerably affected when we look at
        this odd little fellow, as he sits there with his innocent
        upturned toes, and a certain forlorn dignity and meek
        sadness, as of “one who once had wings.” What is he? and
        whence? Is he a surface or a substance? is he smooth and
        warm? is he glossy, like a blackberry? or has he on him “the
        raven down of darkness,” like an unfledged chick of night?
        and if we smoothed him, would he smile? Does that large eye
        wink? and is it a hole through to the other side? (whatever
        that may be;) and is that a small crescent moon of darkness
        swimming in its disc? or does the eye disclose a bright
        light from within, where his soul sits and enjoys bright
        day? Is he a point of admiration whose head is too heavy, or
        a quaver or crotchet that has lost his neighbors, and fallen
        out of the scale? Is he an aspiring Tadpole in search of an
        idea? What have been and what will be the fortunes of this
        our small Nigel (_Nigellus_)? Think of “Elia” having him
        sent up from the Goblin Valley, packed in wool, and finding
        him lively! how he and “Mary” would doat upon him, feeding
        him upon some celestial, unspeakable _pap_, “sweeter than
        the lids of Juno’s eyes, or Cytherea’s breath.” How the
        brother and sister would croon over him “with murmurs made
        to bless,” calling him their “tender novice” “in the first
        bloom of his nigritude,” their belated straggler from the
        “rear of darkness thin,” their little night-shade, not
        deadly, their infantile Will-o’-the-wisp caught before his
        sins, their “poor Blot,” “their innocent Blackness,” their
        “dim Speck.”

We can more easily imagine him as one of those Sprites—

              “That do run
    By the triple Hecat’s team,
  From the presence of the Sun,
    Following darkness like a dream.”

Henry, our poet, was born in 1621; and had a twin-brother, Thomas.
Newton, his birthplace, is now a farm-house on the banks of the Usk, the
scenery of which is of great beauty. The twins entered Jesus College,
Oxford, in 1638. This was early in the Great Rebellion, and Charles then
kept his Court at Oxford. The young Vaughans were hot Royalists; Thomas
bore arms, and Henry was imprisoned. Thomas, after many perils, retired
to Oxford, and devoted his life to alchemy, under the patronage of Sir
Robert Murray, Secretary of State for Scotland, himself addicted to
these studies. He published a number of works, with such titles as
“_Anthroposophia Theomagica_, or a Discourse of the Nature of Man, and
his State after Death, grounded on his Creator’s Proto-chemistry;”
“_Magia Adamica_, with a full discovery of the true _Coelum terræ_, or
the Magician’s Heavenly Chaos and the first matter of all things.”

Henry seems to have been intimate with the famous wits of his time:
“Great Ben,” Cartwright, Randolph, Fletcher, &c. His first publication
was in 1646:—“Poems, with the Tenth Satyre of Juvenal Englished, by
Henry Vaughan, Gent.” After taking his degree in London as M. D., he
settled at his birthplace, Newton, where he lived and died the doctor of
the district. About this time he prepared for the press his little
volume, “Olor Iscanus, the Swan of Usk,” which was afterwards published
by his brother Thomas, without the poet’s consent. We are fortunate in
possessing a copy of this curious volume, which is now marked in the
Catalogues as “_Rariss_.” It contains a few original poems; some of them
epistles to his friends, hit off with great vigor, wit, and humor.
Speaking of the change of times, and the reign of the Roundheads, he

  “Here’s brotherly Ruffs and Beards, and a strange sight
  Of high monumental Hats, tane at the fight
  Of eighty-eight; while every Burgesse foots
  The mortal Pavement in eternall boots.”

There is a line in one of the letters which strikes us as of great

  “Feed on the vocal silence of his eye.”

And there is a very clever poem _Ad Amicum Foeneratorem_, in defiance
of his friend’s demand of repayment of a loan.

There is great beauty and delicacy of expression in these two stanzas of
an epithalamium:—

  “Blessings as rich and fragrant crown your heads,
  As the mild heaven on roses sheds,
  When at their cheeks (like pearls) they weare
  The clouds that court them in a tear.

  “Fresh as the houres may all your pleasures be,
  And healthfull as Eternitie!
  Sweet as the flowre’s first breath, and close
  As th’ unseen spreadings of the Rose
  When she unfolds her curtained head,
  And makes her bosome the Sun’s bed!”

The translations from Ovid, Boece, and Cassimir, are excellent.

The following lines conclude an invitation to a friend:—

  “Come then! and while the slow isicle hangs
  At the stifle thatch, and Winter’s frosty pangs
  Benumme the year, blithe as of old let us
  Mid noise and war, of peace and mirth discusse.
  This portion thou wert born for. Why should we
  Vex at the time’s ridiculous miserie?
  An age that thus hath fooled itself, and will,
  Spite of thy teeth and mine, persist so still.
  Let’s sit then at this fire; and, while wee steal
  A revell in the Town, let others seal,
  Purchase, and cheat, and who can let them pay,
  Till those black deeds bring on the darksome day.
  Innocent spenders wee! a better use
  Shall wear out our short lease, and leave the obtuse
  Rout to their husks. They and their bags at best
  Have cares in earnest. Wee care for a jest!”

When about thirty years of age, he had a long and serious illness,
during which his mind underwent an entire and final change on the most
important of all subjects; and thenceforward he seems to have lived
“soberly, righteously, and godly.”

In his Preface to the “_Silex Scintillans_,” he says, “The God of the
spirits of all flesh hath granted me a further use of mine than I did
look for in the body; and when I expected and had prepared for a message
of death, then did he answer me with life; I hope to his glory, and my
great advantage; that I may flourish not with leafe only, but with some
fruit also.” And he speaks of himself as one of the converts of “that
blessed man, Mr. George Herbert.”

Soon after, he published a little volume, called “_Flores Solitudinis_,”
partly prose and partly verse. The prose, as Mr. Lyte justly remarks, is
simple and nervous, unlike his poetry, which is occasionally deformed
with the conceit of his time.

The verses entitled “St. Paulinus to his wife Theresia,” have much of
the vigor and thoughtfulness and point of Cowper. In 1655, he published
a second edition, or more correctly a re-issue, for it was not
reprinted, of his _Silex Scintillans_, with a second part added. He
seems not to have given anything after this to the public, during the
next forty years of his life.

He was twice married, and died in 1695, aged 73, at Newton, on the banks
of his beloved Usk, where he had spent his useful, blameless, and, we
doubt not, happy life; living from day to day in the eye of Nature, and
in his solitary rides and walks in that wild and beautiful country,
finding full exercise for that fine sense of the beauty and wondrousness
of all visible things, “the earth and every common sight,” the
expression of which he has so worthily embodied in his poems.

In “The Retreate,” he thus expresses this passionate love of Nature—

  “Happy those early dayes, when I
  Shin’d in my Angell-infancy!
  Before I understood this place
  Appointed for my second race,
  Or taught my soul to fancy ought
  But a white, Celestiall thought;
  When yet I had not walkt above
  A mile or two from my first love,
  And looking back, at that short space,
  Could see a glimpse of his bright face;
  When on some gilded Cloud or flowre
  My gazing soul would dwell an houre,
  And in those weaker glories spy
  Some shadows of eternity;
  Before I taught my tongue to wound
  My Conscience with a sinfule sound,
  Or had the black art to dispence
  A sev’rall sinne to ev’ry sence,
  But felt through all this fleshly dresse
  Bright shootes of everlastingnesse.
    O how I long to travell back,
  And tread again that ancient track!
  That I might once more reach that plaine,
  Where first I left my glorious traine;
  From whence th’ Inlightned spirit sees
  That shady City of Palme trees.”

To use the words of Lord Jeffrey as applied to Shakspeare, Vaughan seems
to have had in large measure and of finest quality, “that indestructible
love of flowers, and odors, and dews, and clear waters, and soft airs
and sounds, and bright skies, and woodland solitudes, and moonlight,
which are the material elements of poetry; and that fine sense of their
undefinable relation to mental emotion which is its essence and its
vivifying power.”

And though what Sir Walter says of the country surgeon is too true, that
he is worse fed and harder wrought than any one else in the parish,
except it be his horse; still, to a man like Vaughan, to whom the love
of nature and its scrutiny was a constant passion, few occupations could
have furnished ampler and more exquisite manifestations of her
magnificence and beauty. Many of his finest descriptions give us quite
the notion of their having been composed when going his rounds on his
Welsh pony among the glens and hills, and their unspeakable solitudes.
Such lines as the following to a Star were probably direct from nature
on some cloudless night:—

  “Whatever ’tis, whose beauty here below
  Attracts thee thus, and makes thee stream and flow,
  And winde and curle, and wink and smile,
  Shifting thy gate and guile.”

He is one of the earliest of our poets who treats external nature
subjectively rather than objectively, in which he was followed by Gray
(especially in his letters) and Collins and Cowper, and in some measure
by Warton, until it reached its consummation, and perhaps its excess, in

We shall now give our readers some specimens from the reprint of the
_Silex_ by Mr. Pickering, so admirably edited by the Rev. H. F. Lyte,
himself a true poet, of whose careful life of our author we have made
very free use.


  “Sure thou didst flourish once! and many Springs,
     Many bright mornings, much dew, many showers
   Past o’er thy head: many light Hearts and Wings,
     Which now are dead, lodg’d in thy living bowers.

  “And still a new succession sings and flies;
     Fresh groves grow up, and their green branches shoot
   Towards the old and still enduring skies;
     While the low Violet thriveth at their root.

  “But thou beneath the sad and heavy Line
     Of death dost waste all senseless, cold and dark;
   Where not so much as dreams of light may shine,
     Nor any thought of greenness, leaf or bark.

  “And yet, as if some deep hate and dissent,
     Bred in thy growth betwixt high winds and thee,
   Were still alive, thou dost great storms resent,
     Before they come, and know’st how near they be.

  “Else all at rest thou lyest, and the fierce breath
     Of tempests can no more disturb thy ease;
   But this thy strange resentment after death
     Means only those who broke in life thy peace.”

This poem is founded upon the superstition that a tree which had been
blown down by the wind gave signs of restlessness and anger before the
coming of a storm from the quarter whence came its own fall. It seems to
us full of the finest fantasy and expression.


  “I saw Eternity the other night
  Like a great Ring of pure and endless light,
      All calm as it was bright;
  And round beneath it, Time in hours, days, years,
      Driv’n by the spheres
  Like a vast shadow mov’d, in which the world
      And all her train were hurl’d.”

There is a wonderful magnificence about this; and what a Bunyan-like
reality is given to the vision by “_the other night_”!


    “Weighing the stedfastness and state
  Of some mean things which here below reside,
  Where birds like watchful Clocks the noiseless date
      And Intercourse of times divide,
  Where Bees at night get home and hive, and flowrs,
          Early as well as late,
  Rise with the Sun, and set in the same bowrs:

    “I would, said I, my God would give
  The staidness of these things to man! for these
  To His divine appointments ever cleave,
      And no new business breaks their peace;
  The birds nor sow nor reap, yet sup and dine,
          The flowres without clothes live,
  Yet Solomon was never drest so fine.

    “Man hath still either toyes or Care;
  He hath no root, nor to one place is ty’d,
  But ever restless and Irregular
      About this Earth doth run and ride.
  He knows he hath a home, but scarce knows where;
          He says it is so far,
  That he hath quite forgot how to go there.

    “He knocks at all doors, strays and roams:
  Nay hath not so much wit as some stones have,
  Which in the darkest nights point to their homes
      By some hid sense their Maker gave:
  Man is the shuttle, to whose winding quest
          And passage through these looms
  God order’d motion, but ordain’d no rest.”

There is great moral force about this; its measure and words put one in
mind of the majestic lines of Shirley, beginning

  “The glories of our earthly state
  Are shadows, not substantial things.”


  “Father of lights! what Sunnie seed,
    What glance of day hast thou confin’d
  Into this bird? To all the breed
    This busie Ray thou hast assign’d;
        Their magnetisme works all night,
        And dreams of Paradise and light.

  “Their eyes watch for the morning-hue,
    Their little grain expelling night
  So shines and sings, as if it knew
    The path unto the house of light.
        It seems their candle, howe’er done,
        Was tinn’d and lighted at the sunne.”

This is a conceit, but an exquisite one.


    “Sacred and secret hand!
  By whose assisting, swift command
  The Angel shewd that holy Well,
    Which freed poor Hagar from her fears,
    And turn’d to smiles the begging tears
  Of yong distressëd Ishmael.”

There is something very beautiful and touching in the opening of this on
Providence, and in the “yong distressëd Ishmael.”


  “Ah! what time wilt thou come? when shall that crie,
  The Bridegroome’s Comming! fill the sky?
  Shall it in the Evening run
  When our words and works are done?
  Or will thy all-surprizing light
        Break at midnight,
  When either sleep, or some dark pleasure
  Possesseth mad man without measure?
  Or shall these early, fragrant hours
        Unlock thy bowres?
  And with their blush of light descry
  Thy locks crown’d with eternitie?
  Indeed, it is the only time
  That with thy glory doth best chime;
  All now are stirring, ev’ry field
        Full hymns doth yield;
  The whole Creation shakes off night,
  And for thy shadow looks the light.”

This last line is full of grandeur and originality.


    “Lord, when thou didst on _Sinai_ pitch,
  And shine from _Paran_, when a firie Law,
  Pronounc’d with thunder and thy threats, did thaw
    Thy People’s hearts, when all thy weeds were rich,
      And Inaccessible for light,
          Terrour, and might;—
  How did poore flesh, which after thou didst weare,
          Then faint and fear!
  Thy Chosen flock, like leafs in a high wind,
  Whisper’d obedience, and their heads inclin’d.”

The idea in the last lines, we may suppose, was suggested by what Isaiah
says of the effect produced on Ahaz and the men of Judah, when they
heard that Rezin, king of Syria, had joined Israel against them. “And
his heart was moved, and the heart of his people, _as the trees of the
wood are moved by the winds_.”


  “Welcome, dear book, soul’s Joy and food! The feast
    Of Spirits; Heav’n extracted lyes in thee.
  Thou art life’s Charter, The Dove’s spotless nest
    Where souls are hatch’d unto Eternitie.

  “In thee the hidden stone, the Manna lies;
    Thou art the great Elixir rare and Choice;
  The Key that opens to all Mysteries,
    The Word in Characters, God in the Voice.”

This is very like Herbert, and not inferior to him.

In a poem having the odd mark of “¶,” and which seems to have been
written after the death of some dear friends, are these two stanzas, the
last of which is singularly pathetic:—

  “They are all gone into the world of light!
      And I alone sit lingring here!
  Their very memory is fair and bright,
      And my sad thoughts doth clear.

  “He that hath found some fledg’d bird’s nest may know
      At first sight if the bird be flown;
  But what fair Dell or Grove he sings in now,
      That is to him unknown.”

Referring to Nicodemus visiting our Lord:—

THE NIGHT. (JOHN iii. 2.)

      “Most blest believer he!
  Who in that land of darkness and blinde eyes
  Thy long expected healing wings could see,
        When thou didst rise;
    And, what can never more be done,
    Did at midnight speak with the Sun!

    “O who will tell me where
  He found thee at that dead and silent hour?
  What hallow’d solitary ground did bear
        So rare a flower;
    Within whose sacred leaves did lie
    The fulness of the Deity?

    “No mercy-seat of gold,
  No dead and dusty Cherub, nor carved stone,
  But his own living works, did my Lord hold
        And lodge alone;
    Where trees and herbs did watch and peep
    And wonder, while the Jews did sleep.

    “Dear night! this world’s defeat;
  The stop to busie fools; care’s check and curb;
  The day of Spirits; my soul’s calm retreat
        Which none disturb!
    Christ’s[46] progress and his prayer time;
    The hours to which high Heaven doth chime.

    “God’s silent, searching flight:
  When my Lord’s head is filled with dew, and all
  His locks are wet with the clear drops of night;
        His still, soft call;
    His knocking time; the soul’s dumb watch,
    When spirits their Fair Kindred catch.

    “Were all my loud, evil days,
  Calm and unhaunted as is Thy dark Tent,
  Whose peace but by some Angel’s wing or voice
        Is seldom rent;
    Then I in Heaven all the long year
    Would keep, and never wander here.”

   [46] Mark i. 35; Luke xxi. 37.

At the end he has these striking words—

      “There is in God, some say,
  _A deep but dazzling darkness_——”

This brings to our mind the concluding sentence of Mr. Ruskin’s fifth
chapter in his second volume—“The infinity of God is not mysterious, it
is only unfathomable; not concealed, but incomprehensible; _it is a
clear infinity, the darkness of the pure, unsearchable sea_.” Plato, if
we rightly remember, says—“Truth is the body of God, light is His


  “Though since thy first sad entrance
        By just Abel’s blood,
  ’Tis now six thousand years well nigh,
  And still thy sovereignty holds good;
  Yet by none art thou understood.

  “We talk and name thee with much ease,
        As a tryed thing,
  And every one can slight his lease,
  As if it ended in a Spring,
  Which shades and bowers doth rent-free bring.

  “To thy dark land these heedless go,
        But there was One
  Who search’d it quite through to and fro,
  And then, returning like the Sun,
  Discover’d all that there is done.

  “And since his death we throughly see
        All thy dark way;
  Thy shades but thin and narrow be,
  Which his first looks will quickly fray:
  Mists make but triumphs for the day.”


  “With what deep murmurs, through time’s silent stealth,
  Doth thy transparent, cool and watry wealth
            Here flowing fall,
            And chide and call,
  As if his liquid, loose Retinue staid
  Lingring, and were of this steep place afraid.”


  “Waters above! Eternal springs!
  The dew that silvers the Dove’s wings!
  O welcome, welcome to the sad!
  Give dry dust drink, drink that makes glad.
  Many fair Evenings, many flowers
  Sweetened with rich and gentle showers,
  Have I enjoyed, and down have run
  Many a fine and shining Sun;
  But never, till this happy hour,
  Was blest with such an evening shower!”

What a curious felicity about the repetition of “drink” in the fourth

“Isaac’s Marriage” is one of the best of the pieces, but is too long for


has seldom been better sung:

  “Still young and fine! but what is still in view
  We slight as old and soil’d, though fresh and new.
  How bright wert thou, when Shem’s admiring eye
  Thy burnisht, flaming Arch did first descry!
  When Terah, Nahor, Haran, Abram, Lot,
  The youthful world’s gray fathers in one knot,
  Did with intentive looks watch every hour
  For thy new light, and trembled at each shower!
  When thou dost shine darkness looks white and fair,
  Forms turn to Musick, clouds to smiles and air:
  Rain gently spends his honey-drops, and pours
  Balm on the cleft earth, milk on grass and flowers.
  Bright pledge of peace and Sunshine! the sure tye
  Of thy Lord’s hand, the object[47] of His eye!
  When I behold thee, though my light be dim,
  Distant and low, I can in thine see Him
  Who looks upon thee from His glorious throne,
  And mindes the Covenant ’twixt _All_ and _One_.”

   [47] Gen. ix. 16.

What a knot of the gray fathers!

  “Terah, Nahor, Haran, Abram, Lot!”

Our readers will see whence Campbell stole, and how he spoiled in the
stealing (by omitting the word “youthful”), the well-known line in his

  “How came the world’s gray fathers forth
  To view the sacred sign.”

Campbell did not disdain to take this, and no one will say much against
him, though it looks ill, occurring in a poem on the rainbow; but we
cannot so easily forgive him for saying that “Vaughan is one of the
harshest even of the inferior order of conceit, having some few
scattered thoughts that meet our eye amidst his harsh pages, like wild
flowers on a barren heath.”

“Rules and Lessons” is his longest and one of his best poems; but we
must send our readers to the book itself, where they will find much to
make them grateful to “The Silurist” and to Mr. Pickering, who has
already done such good service for the best of our elder literature.

We have said little about the deep godliness, the spiritual
Christianity, with which every poem is penetrated and quickened. Those
who can detect and relish this best, will not be the worse pleased at
our saying little about it. Vaughan’s religion is deep, lively,
personal, tender, kindly, impassioned, temperate, central. His religion
grows up, effloresces into the ideas and forms of poetry as naturally,
as noiselessly, as beautifully as the life of the unseen seed finds its
way up into the “bright consummate flower.”

       *       *       *       *       *

Of “IX. Poems by V.,” we would say with the _Quarterly_, βαιὰ μὲν ἀλλὰ
ῬΟΔΑ. They combine rare excellences; the concentration, the finish,
the gravity of a man’s thought, with the tenderness, the insight, the
constitutional sorrowfulness of a woman’s—her purity, her
passionateness, her delicate and keen sense and expression. We confess
we would rather have been the author of any one of the nine poems in
this little volume, than of the somewhat tremendous, absurd, raw, loud,
and fuliginous “Festus,” with his many thousands of lines and his
amazing reputation, his bad English, bad religion, bad philosophy, and
very bad jokes—his “buttered thunder” (this is his own phrase), and his
poor devil of a Lucifer—we would, we repeat (having in this our _subita
ac sæva indignatio_ run ourselves a little out of breath), as much
rather keep company with “V.” than with Mr. Bailey, as we would prefer
going to sea for _pleasure_, in a trim little yacht, with its free
motions, its quiet, its cleanliness, to taking a state berth in some
Fire-King steamer of one thousand horse-power, with his mighty and
troublous throb, his smoke, his exasperated steam, his clangor, and fire
and fury, his oils and smells.

Had we time, and were this the fit place, we could, we think, make
something out of this comparison of the boat with its sail and its
rudder, and the unseen, wayward, serviceable winds playing about it,
inspiring it, and swaying its course,—and the iron steamer, with its
machinery, its coarse energy, its noises and philosophy, its ungainly
build and gait, its perilousness from within; and we think we could show
how much of what Aristotle, Lord Jeffrey, Charles Lamb, or Edmund Burke
would have called genuine poetry there is in the slender “V.,” and how
little in the big “Festus.” We have made repeated attempts, but we
cannot get through this poem. It beats us. We must want the _Festus_
sense. Some of our best friends, with whom we generally agree on such
matters, are distressed for us, and repeat long passages with great
energy and apparent intelligence and satisfaction. Meanwhile, having
read the six pages of public opinion at the end of the third and
People’s edition, we take it for granted that it is a great performance,
that, to use one of the author’s own words, there is a mighty
“_somethingness_” about it—and we can entirely acquiesce in the
quotation from _The Sunday Times_, that they “read it with astonishment,
and closed it with bewilderment.” It would appear from these opinions,
which from their intensity, variety, and number (upwards of 50), are
curious signs of the times, that Mr. Bailey has not so much improved on,
as happily superseded the authors of Job and Ecclesiastes, of the Divine
Comedy, of Paradise Lost and Regained, of Dr. Faustus, Hamlet, and
Faust, of Don Juan, the Course of Time, St. Leon, the Jolly Beggars, and
the Loves of the Angels.

He is more sublime and simple than Job—more royally witty and wise,
more to the quick and the point than Solomon—more picturesque, more
intense, more pathetic than Dante—more Miltonic (we have no other word)
than Milton—more dreadful, more curiously blasphemous, more sonorous
than Marlowe—more worldly-wise and clever, and intellectually _svelt_
than Goethe. More passionate, more eloquent, more impudent than
Byron—more orthodox, more edifying, more precocious than Pollok—more
absorptive and inveterate than Godwin; and more hearty and tender, more
of love and manhood all compact than Burns—more gay than Moore—more
μυριάνους than Shakspeare.

It may be so. We have made repeated and resolute incursions in various
directions into his torrid zone, but have always come out greatly
scorched and stunned and affronted. Never before did we come across such
an amount of energetic and tremendous words, going “sounding on their
dim and perilous way,” like a cataract at midnight—not flowing like a
stream, nor leaping like a clear waterfall, but always among
breakers—roaring and tearing and tempesting with a sort of
transcendental din; and then what power of energizing and speaking, and
philosophizing and preaching, and laughing and joking and love-making,
_in vacuo_! As far as we can judge, and as far as we can keep our senses
in such a region, it seems to us not a poem at all, hardly even
poetical—but rather the materials for a poem, made up of science,
religion, and love, the (very raw) materials of a structure—as if the
bricks and mortar, and lath and plaster, and furniture, and fire and
fuel and meat and drink, and inhabitants male and female, of a house
were all mixed “through other” in one enormous _imbroglio_. It is a sort
of fire-mist, out of which poetry, like a star, might by curdling,
condensation, crystallization, have been developed, after much purging,
refining, and cooling, much time and pains. Mr. Bailey is, we believe,
still a young man full of energy—full, we doubt not, of great and good
aims; let him read over a passage, we dare say he knows it well, in the
second book of Milton on Church Government, he will there, among many
other things worthy of his regard, find that “the wily subtleties and
refluxes of man’s thoughts from within,” which is the haunt and main
region of his song, may be “painted out and described” with “_a solid
and treatable smoothness_.” If he paint out and describe after this
manner, he may yet more than make up for this sin of his youth; and let
him take our word for it and fling away nine tenths of his adjectives,
and in the words of Old Shirley—

  “Compose his poem clean without ’em.
  A row of stately SUBSTANTIVES would march
  Like Switzers, and bear all the fields before ’em;
  Carry their weight; show fair, like Deeds enroll’d;
  Not Writs, that are first made and after filed.
  Thence first came up the title of Blank Verse;—
  You know, sir, what Blank signifies;—when the sense,
  First framed, is tied with adjectives like points,
  Hang ’t, ’tis pedantic vulgar poetry.
  _Let children, when they versify, stick here
  And there, these piddling words for want of matter.
  Poets write masculine numbers._”

Here are some of “V.’s” Roses—


  “I stood within the grave’s o’ershadowing vault;
    Gloomy and damp it stretch’d its vast domain;
  Shades were its boundary; for my strain’d eye sought
    For other limit to its width in vain.

  “Faint from the entrance came a daylight ray,
    And distant sound of living men and things;
  This, in th’ encountering darkness pass’d away,
    That, took the tone in which a mourner sings.

  “I lit a torch at a sepulchral lamp,
    Which shot a thread of light amid the gloom;
  And feebly burning ’gainst the rolling damp,
    I bore it through the regions of the tomb.

  “Around me stretch’d the slumbers of the dead,
    _Whereof the silence ached upon my ear;_
  More and more noiseless did I make my tread,
    And yet its echoes chill’d my heart with fear.

  “The former men of every age and place,
    From all their wand’rings gather’d, round me lay;
  The dust of wither’d Empires did I trace,
    And stood ’mid Generations pass’d away.

  “I saw whole cities, that in flood or fire,
    Or famine or the plague, gave up their breath;
  Whole armies whom a day beheld expire,
    Swept by ten thousands to the arms of Death.

  “I saw the old world’s white and wave-swept bones
    A giant heap of creatures that had been;
  Far and confused the broken skeletons
    Lay strewn beyond mine eye’s remotest ken.

  “Death’s various shrines—the Urn, the Stone, the Lamp—
    Were scatter’d round, confused, amid the dead;
  Symbols and Types were mould’ring in the damp,
    Their shapes were waning and their meaning fled.

  “Unspoken tongues, perchance in praise or woe,
    Were character’d on tablets Time had swept;
  _And deep were half their letters hid below
    The thick small dust of those they once had wept._

  “No hand was here to wipe the dust away,
    No reader of the writing traced beneath;
  No spirit sitting by its form of clay;
    No sigh nor sound from all the heaps of Death.

  “_One place alone had ceased to hold its prey;
    A form had press’d it and was there no more;
  The garments of the Grave beside it lay,
    Where once they wrapp’d him on the rocky floor._

  “_He only with returning footsteps broke
    Th’ eternal calm wherewith the Tomb was bound;_
  _Among the sleeping Dead alone He woke,
    And bless’d with outstretch’d hands the host around._

  “_Well is it that such blessing hovers here,
    To soothe each sad survivor of the throng,
  Who haunt the portals of the solemn sphere,
    And pour their woe the loaded air along._

  “_They to the verge have follow’d what they love,
    And on th’ insuperable threshold stand;
  With cherish’d names its speechless calm reprove,
    And stretch in the abyss their ungrasp’d hand._

  “But vainly there they seek their soul’s relief,
    And of th’ obdurate Grave its prey implore;
  Till Death himself shall medicine their grief,
    Closing their eyes by those they wept before.

  “All that have died, the Earth’s whole race, repose
    Where Death collects his Treasures, heap on heap;
  O’er each one’s busy day, the nightshades close;
    Its Actors, Sufferers, Schools, Kings, Armies—sleep.”

The lines in italics are of the highest quality, both in thought and
word; the allusion to Him who by dying abolished death, seems to us
wonderfully fine—sudden, simple,—it brings to our mind the lines
already quoted from Vaughan:—

          “But there was One
  Who search’d it quite through to and fro,
  And then returning like the Sun,
  Discover’d all that there is done.”

What a rich line this is!

  “And pour their woe the loaded air along.”

  “The insuperable threshold!”

Do our readers remember the dying Corinne’s words? _Je mourrais
seule—au reste, ce moment se passe de secours; nos amis ne peuvent nous
suivre que jusqu’au_ _seuil de la vie. Là, commencent des pensées dont
le trouble et la profondeur ne sauraient se confier._

We have only space for one more—verses entitled “Heart’s-Ease.”


  “Oh, Heart’s-Ease, dost thou lie within that flower?
    How shall I draw thee thence?—so much I need
  The healing aid of thine enshrinéd power
    To veil the past—and bid the time good speed!

  “I gather it—it withers on my breast;
    The heart’s-ease dies when it is laid on mine;
  Methinks there is no shape by Joy possess’d,
    Would better fare than thou, upon that shrine.

  “Take from me things gone by—oh! change the past—
    Renew the lost—restore me the decay’d,—
  Bring back the days whose tide has ebb’d so fast—
    Give form again to the fantastic shade!

  “My hope, that never grew to certainty,—
    My youth, that perish’d in its vain desire,—
  My fond ambition, crush’d ere it could be
    Aught save a self-consuming, wasted fire:

  “Bring these anew, and set me once again
    In the delusion of Life’s Infancy—
  I was not happy, but I knew not then
    That happy I was never doom’d to be.

  “Till these things are, and powers divine descend—
    Love, kindness, joy, and hope, to gild my day,
  In vain the emblem leaves towards me bend,
    Thy Spirit, Heart’s-Ease, is too far away!”

We would fain have given two poems entitled “Bessy” and “Youth and Age.”
Everything in this little volume is select and good. Sensibility and
sense in right measure and proportion and keeping, and in pure, strong
classical language; no intemperance of thought or phrase. Why does not
“V.” write more?

We do not very well know how to introduce our friend Mr. Ellison, “The
Bornnatural,” who addresses his “Madmoments to the Light-headed of
Society at large.” We feel as a father, a mother, or other near of kin
would at introducing an ungainly gifted and much loved son or kinsman,
who had the knack of putting his worst foot foremost, and making himself
_imprimis_ ridiculous.

There is something wrong in all awkwardness, a want of nature
_somewhere_, and we feel affronted even still, after we have taken the
Bornnatural[48] to our heart, and admire and love him, at his absurd
gratuitous self-befoolment. The book is at first sight one farrago of
oddities and offences—coarse foreign paper—bad printing—italics
broad-cast over every page—the words run into each other in a way we
are glad to say is as yet quite original, making such extraordinary
monsters of words as these—beingsriddle—sunbeammotes—gooddeed—midjune—
summerair—selffavor—seraphechoes—puredeedprompter—barkskeel, &c.
Now we like Anglo-Saxon and the polygamous German,[49] but we like
better the well of English undefiled—a well, by the by, much oftener
spoken of than drawn from; but to fashion such words as these words are,
is as monstrous as for a painter to _compose_ an animal not out of the
elements, but out of the entire bodies of several, of an ass, for
instance, a cock and a crocodile, so as to produce an outrageous
individual, with whom even a duck-billed Platypus would think twice
before he fraternized—ornithorynchous and paradoxical though he be,
poor fellow.

   [48] In his Preface he explains the title Bornnatural, as meaning
        “one who inherits the natural sentiments and tastes to which
        he was born, still artunsullied and customfree.”

   [49] _ex. gr._—_Konstantinopolitanischerdudelsackspfeifergeselle_.
        Here is a word as long as the sea-serpent—but, like it,
        having a head and tail, being what lawyers call _unum
        quid_—not an up and down series of infatuated _phocæ_, as
        Professor Owen somewhat insolently asserts. Here is what the
        Bornnatural would have made of it—

          _A Constantinopolitanbagpiperoutofhisapprenticeship_.

And yet our Bornnatural’s two thick and closely small-printed volumes
are as full of poetry as is an “impassioned grape” of its noble liquor.

He is a true poet. But he has not the art of _singling_ his thoughts, an
art as useful in composition as in husbandry, as necessary for young
fancies as young turnips. Those who have seen our turnip fields in early
summer, with the hoers at their work, will understand our reference. If
any one wishes to read these really remarkable volumes, we would advise
them to begin with “Season Changes” and “Emma, a Tale.” We give two Odes
on Psyche, which are as nearly perfect as anything out of Milton or

The story is the well-known one of Psyche and Cupid, told at such
length, and with so much beauty and pathos and picturesqueness by
Apuleius, in his “Golden Ass.” Psyche is the human soul—a beautiful
young woman. Cupid is spiritual, heavenly love—a comely youth. They are
married, and live in perfect happiness, but by a strange decree of fate,
he comes and goes unseen, tarrying only for the night; and he has told
her, that if she looks on him with her bodily eye, if she tries to break
through the darkness in which they dwell, then he must leave her, and
forever. Her two sisters—Anger and Desire, tempt Psyche. She yields to
their evil counsel, and thus it fares with her:—


  “1. Let not a sigh be breathed, or he is flown!
      With tiptoe stealth she glides, and throbbing breast,
      Towards the bed, like one who dares not own
      Her purpose, and half shrinks, yet cannot rest
      From her rash Essay: in one trembling hand
      She bears a lamp, which sparkles on a sword;
      In the dim light she seems a wandering dream
      Of loveliness: ’tis Psyche and her Lord,
      Her yet unseen, who slumbers like a beam
      Of moonlight, vanishing as soon as scann’d!

  “2. One Moment, and all bliss hath fled her heart,
      Like windstole odours from the rosebud’s cell,
      Or as the earthdashed dewdrop which no art
      Can e’er replace: alas! we learn fullwell
      How beautiful the Past when it is o’er,
      But with scal’d eyes we hurry to the brink,
      Blind as the waterfall: oh, stay thy feet,
      Thou rash one, be content to know no more
      Of bliss than thy heart teaches thee, nor think
      The sensual eye can grasp a form more sweet—

  “3. Than that which for itself the soul should chuse
      For higher adoration; but in vain!
      Onward she moves, and as the lamp’s faint hues
      Flicker around, her charmed eyeballs strain,
      For there he lies in undreamt loveliness!
      Softly she steals towards him, and bends o’er
      His slumberlidded eyes, as a lily droops
      Faint o’er a folded rose: one caress
      She would but dares not take, and as she stood,
      An oildrop from the lamp fell burning sore!

  “4. Thereat sleepfray’d, dreamlike the God takes Wing
      And soars to his own skies, while Psyche strives
      To clasp his foot, and fain thereon would cling,
      But falls insensate;

             *     *     *     *     *

      Psyche! thou shouldst have taken that high gift
      Of Love as it was meant, that mystery
      Did ask thy faith, the Gods do test our worth,
      And ere they grant high boons our heart would sift!

  “5. Hadst thou no divine Vision of thine own?
      Didst thou not see the Object of thy Love
      Clothed with a Beauty to dull clay unknown?
      And could not that bright Image, far above
      The Reach of sere Decay, content thy Thought?
      Which with its glory would have wrapp’d thee round,
      To the Gravesbrink, untouched by Age or Pain!
      Alas! we mar what Fancy’s Womb has brought
      Forth of most beautiful, and to the Bound
      Of Sense reduce the Helen of the Brain!”

What a picture! Psyche, pale with love and fear, bending in the
uncertain light, over her lord, with the rich flush of health and sleep
and manhood on his cheek, “_as a lily droops faint o’er a folded rose!_”
We remember nothing anywhere finer than this.


  “1.     Why stand’st thou thus at Gaze
          In the faint Tapersrays,
      With strainëd Eyeballs fixed upon that Bed?
          Has he then flown away,
          Lost, like a Star in Day,
      Or like a Pearl in Depths unfathomëd?
          Alas! thou hast done very ill,
      Thus with thine Eyes the Vision of thy Soul to kill!

  “2.     Thought’st thou that earthly Light
          Could then assist thy Sight,
      Or that the Limits of Reality
          Could grasp Things fairer than
          Imagination’s Span,
      Who communes with the Angels of the Sky,
          Thou graspest at the Rainbow, and
      Wouldst make it as the Zone with which thy Waist is spanned.

  “3.     And what find’st thou in his Stead?
          Only the empty Bed!

             *     *     *     *     *

          Thou sought’st the Earthly and therefore
      The heavenly is gone, for that must ever soar!

  “4.     For the bright World of
          Pure and boundless Love
      What hast thou found? alas! a narrow room!
          Put out that Light,
          Restore thy Soul its Sight,
      For better ’tis to dwell in outward Gloom,
          Than thus, by the vile Body’s eye,
          To rob the Soul of its Infinity!

  “5.     Love, Love has Wings, and he
          Soon out of Sight will flee,
      Lost in far Ether to the sensual Eye,
          But the Soul’s Vision true
          Can track him, yea, up to
      The Presence and the Throne of the Most High:
      For thence he is, and tho’ he dwell below,
      To the Soul only he his genuine Form will show!”

Mr. Ellison was a boy of twenty-three when he wrote this. That, with so
much command of expression and of measure, he should run waste and
formless and even void, as he does in other parts of his volumes, is
very mysterious and very distressing.

       *       *       *       *       *

How we became possessed of the poetical Epistle from “E. V. K. to his
Friend in Town,” is more easily asked than answered. We avow ourselves
in the matter to have acted for once on M. Proudhon’s maxim—“_La
propriété c’est le vol._” We merely say, in our defence, that it is a
shame in “E. V. K.,” be he who he may, to hide his talent in a napkin,
or keep it for his friends alone. It is just such men and such poets as
he that we most need at present, sober-minded and sound-minded and
well-balanced, whose genius is subject to their judgment, and who have
genius and judgment to begin with—a part of the poetical stock in trade
with which many of our living writers are not largely furnished. The
Epistle is obviously written quite off-hand, but it is the off-hand of a
master, both as to material and workmanship. He is of the good old
manly, classical school. His thoughts have settled and cleared
themselves before forming into the mould of verse. They are in the style
of Stewart Rose’s _vers de société_, but have more of the graphic force
and deep feeling and fine humor of Crabbe and Cowper in their substance,
with a something of their own which is to us quite as delightful. But
our readers may judge. After upbraiding, with much wit, a certain
faithless town-friend for not making out his visit, he thus describes
his residence:—

                        “Though its charms be few,
  The place will please you, and may profit too;—
  My house, upon the hillside built, looks down
  On a neat harbor and a lively town.
  Apart, ’mid screen of trees, it stands, just where
  We see the popular bustle, but not share.
  Full in our front is spread a varied scene—
  A royal ruin, gray, or clothed with green,
  Church spires, tower, docks, streets, terraces, and trees,
  Back’d by green fields, which mount by due degrees
  Into brown uplands, stretching high away
  To where, by silent tarns, the wild deer stray.
  Below, with gentle tide, the Atlantic Sea
  Laves the curved beach, and fills the cheerful quay,
  Where frequent glides the sail, and dips the oar,
  And smoking steamer halts with hissing roar.”

Then follows a long passage of great eloquence, truth, and wit, directed
against the feverish, affected, unwholesome life in town, before which
he fears

  “Even he, my friend, the man whom once I knew,
  Surrounded by blue women and pale men,”

has fallen a victim; and then concludes with these lines, which it would
not be easy to match for everything that constitutes good poetry. As he
writes he chides himself for suspecting his friend; and at that moment
(it seems to have been written on Christmas day) he hears the song of a
thrush, and forthwith he “bursts into a song,” as full-voiced, as
native, as sweet and strong, as that of his bright-eyed feathered

  “But, hark that sound! the mavis! can it be?
  Once more! It is. High perched on yon bare tree,
  He starts the wondering winter with his trill;
  Or by that sweet sun westering o’er the hill
  Allured, or for he thinks melodious mirth
  Due to the holy season of Christ’s birth.—
  And hark! as his clear fluting fills the air,
  Low broken notes and twitterings you may hear
  From other emulous birds, the brakes among;
  Fain would they also burst into a song;
  But winter warns, and muffling up their throats,
  They liquid—for the spring—preserve their notes.
  O sweet preluding! having heard that strain,
  How dare I lift my dissonant voice again?
  Let me be still, let me enjoy the time,
  Bothering myself or thee no more with rugged rhyme.”

This author must not be allowed to “muffle up _his_ throat,” and keep
his notes for some imaginary and far-off spring. He has not the excuse
of the mavis. He must give us more of his own “clear fluting.” Let him,
with that keen, kindly and thoughtful eye, look from his retreat, as
Cowper did, upon the restless, noisy world he has left, seeing the
popular bustle, not sharing it, and let his pen record in such verses as
these what his understanding and his affections think and feel and his
imagination informs, and we shall have something in verse not unlike the
letters from Olney. There is one line which deserves to be immortalized
over the cherished bins of our wine-fanciers, where repose their

  “Dear prisoned spirits of the impassioned grape.”

What is good makes us think of what is better, as well, and it is to be
hoped more, than of what is worse. There is no sweetness so sweet as
that of a large and deep nature; there is no knowledge so good, so
strengthening as that of a great mind, which is forever filling itself
afresh. “Out of the eater comes forth meat; out of the strong comes
forth sweetness.” Here is one of such “_dulcedines veræ_”—the sweetness
of a strong man:—

  “Now came still evening on, and twilight gray
  Had in her sober livery all things clad;
  Silence accompany’d; for beast and bird,
  They to their grassy couch, these to their nests,
  Were slunk, all but the wakeful nightingale;
  She all night long her amorous descant sung;
  Silence was pleased: now glow’d the firmament
  With living saphirs; Hesperus that led
  The starry host rode brightest, till the moon,
  Rising in clouded majesty, at length
  Apparent queen unveil’d her peerless light,
  And o’er the dark her silver mantle threw.”

Were we inclined to do anything but enjoy this and be thankful—giving
ourselves up to its gentleness, informing ourselves with its quietness
and beauty,—we would note the simplicity, the neutral tints, the
quietness of its language, the “sober livery” in which its thoughts are
clad. In the first thirty-eight words, twenty-nine are monosyllables.
Then there is the gradual way in which the crowning fantasy is
introduced. It comes upon us at once, and yet not wholly unexpected; it
“sweetly creeps” into our “study of imagination;” it lives and moves,
but it is a moving that is “delicate;” it flows in upon us _incredibili
lenitate_. “Evening” is a matter of fact, and its stillness too—a time
of the day; and “twilight” is little more. We feel the first touch of
spiritual life in “_her_ sober livery,” and bolder and deeper in “all
things _clad_.” Still we are not deep, the real is not yet transfigured
and transformed, and we are brought back into it after being told that
“Silence accompanied,” by the explanatory “for,” and the bit of sweet
natural history of the beasts and birds. The mind dilates and is moved,
its eye detained over the picture; and then comes that rich, “thick
warbled note”—“_all but the wakeful nightingale_;” this fills and
informs the ear, making it also “of apprehension more quick,” and we are
prepared now for the great idea coming “into the eye and prospect of our
soul”—SILENCE WAS PLEASED! There is nothing in all poetry above this.
Still evening and twilight gray are now Beings, coming on, and walking
over the earth like queens, “with Silence,”

  “Admiration’s speaking’st tongue,”

as their pleased companion. All is “calm and free,” and “full of life,”
it is a “Holy Time.” What a picture!—what simplicity of means! what
largeness and perfectness of effect!—what knowledge and love of
nature! what supreme art!—what modesty and submission! what
self-possession!—what plainness, what selectness of speech! “As is the
height, so is the depth. The intensities must be at once opposite and
equal. As the liberty, so the reverence for law. As the independence,
so must be the seeing and the service, and the submission to the
Supreme Will. As the ideal genius and the originality, so must be the
resignation to the real world, the sympathy and the intercommunion with
Nature.”—_Coleridge’s Posthumous Tract “The Idea of Life.”_

       *       *       *       *       *

Since writing the above, our friend “E. V. K.” has shown himself
curiously unaffected by “that last infirmity of noble minds,”—his
“clear spirit” heeds all too little its urgent “spur.” The following
sonnets are all we can pilfer from him. They are worth the stealing:—



  “Things that now are beget the things to be,
  As they themselves were gotten by things past;
  Thou art a sire, who yesterday but wast
  A child like him now prattling on thy knee;
  And he in turn ere long shall offspring see.
  Effects at first, seem causes at the last,
  Yet only seem; when off their veil is cast,
  All speak alike of mightier energy,
  Received and pass’d along. The life that flows
  Through space and time, bursts in a loftier source.
  What’s spaced and timed is bounded, therefore shows
  A power beyond, a timeless, spaceless force,
  Templed in that infinitude, before
  Whose light-veil’d porch men wonder and adore.


  “Wonder! but—for we cannot comprehend,
  Dare not to doubt. Man, know thyself! and know
  That, being what thou art, it must be so.
  We creatures are, and it were to transcend
  The limits of our being, and ascend
  Above the Infinite, if we could show
  All that He is and how things from Him flow.
  Things and their laws by Man are grasp’d and kenn’d,
  But creatures must no more; and Nature’s _must_
  Is Reason’s choice; for could we all reveal
  Of God and acts creative, doubt were just.
  Were these conceivable, they were not real.
  Here, ignorance man’s sphere of being suits,
  ’Tis knowledge self, or of her richest fruits.


  “Then rest here, brother! and within the veil
  Boldly thine anchor cast. What though thy boat
  No shoreland sees, but undulates afloat
  On soundless depths; securely fold thy sail.
  Ah! not by daring prow and favoring gale
  Man threads the gulfs of doubting and despond,
  And gains a rest in being unbeyond,
  Who roams the furthest, surest is to fail;
  Knowing nor what to seek, nor how to find.
  Not far but near, about us, yea within,
  Lieth the infinite life. The pure in mind
  Dwell in the Presence, to themselves akin;
  And lo! thou sick and health-imploring soul,
  He stands beside thee—touch, and thou art whole.”


    “_Fervet immensusque ruit._”—HOR.

      “_His memory long will live alone
        In all our hearts, as mournful light
      That broods above the fallen sun,
        And dwells in heaven half the night._”


    “_He was not one man, he was a thousand men._”—SYDNEY SMITH.

When, towards the close of some long summer day, we come suddenly, and,
as we think, before his time, upon the broad sun, “sinking down in his
tranquillity” into the unclouded west, we cannot keep our eyes from the
great spectacle,—and when he is gone the shadow of him haunts our
sight: we see everywhere,—upon the spotless heaven, upon the distant
mountains, upon the fields, and upon the road at our feet,—that dim,
strange, changeful image; and if our eyes shut, to recover themselves,
we still find in them, like a dying flame, or like a gleam in a dark
place, the unmistakable phantom of the mighty orb that has set,—and
were we to sit down, as we have often done, and try to record by pencil
or by pen, our impression of that supreme hour, still would IT be there.
We must have patience with our eye, it will not let the impression
go,—that spot on which the radiant disk was impressed, is insensible to
all other outward things, for a time: its best relief is, to let the eye
wander vaguely over earth and sky, and repose itself on the mild shadowy

So it is when a great and good and beloved man departs, sets—it may be
suddenly—and to us who know not the times and the seasons, _too soon_.
We gaze eagerly at his last hours, and when he is gone, never to rise
again on our sight, we see his image wherever we go, and in whatsoever
we are engaged, and if we try to record by words our wonder, our sorrow,
and our affection, we cannot see to do it, for the “idea of his life” is
forever coming into our “study of imagination “—into all our thoughts,
and we can do little else than let our mind, in a wise passiveness, hush
itself to rest. The sun returns—he knows his rising—

  “To-morrow he repairs his drooping head,
  And tricks his beams, and with new spangled ore
  Flames in the forehead of the morning sky;”

but man lieth down, and riseth not again till the heavens are no more.
Never again will he whose “Meditations” are now before us, lift up the
light of his countenance upon us.

We need not say we look upon him, as a great man, as a good man, as a
beloved man,—_quis desiderio sit pudor tam cari capitis?_ We cannot now
go very curiously to work, to scrutinize the composition of his
character,—we cannot take that large, free, genial nature to pieces,
and weigh this and measure that, and sum up and pronounce; we are too
near as yet to him, and to his loss, he is too dear to us to be so
handled. “His death,” to use the pathetic words of Hartley Coleridge,
“is a recent sorrow; his image still lives in eyes that weep for him.”
The prevailing feeling is,—He is gone—“_abiit ad plures_—he has gone
over to the majority, he has joined the famous nations of the dead.”

It is no small loss to the world, when one of its master spirits—one of
its great lights—a king among the nations—leaves it. A sun is
extinguished; a great attractive, regulating power is withdrawn. For
though it be a common, it is also a natural thought, to compare a great
man to the sun; it is in many respects significant. Like the sun, he
rules his day, and he is “for a sign and for seasons, and for days and
for years;” he enlightens, quickens, attracts, and leads after him his
host—his generation.

To pursue our image. When the sun sets to us, he rises elsewhere—he
goes on rejoicing, like a strong man, running his race. So does a great
man: when he leaves us and our concerns—he rises elsewhere; and we may
reasonably suppose that one who has in this world played a great part in
its greatest histories—who has through a long life been preëminent for
promoting the good of men and the glory of God—will be looked upon with
keen interest, when he joins the company of the immortals. They must
have heard of his fame; they may in their ways have seen and helped him

Every one must have trembled when reading that passage in Isaiah, in
which Hell is described as moved to meet Lucifer at his coming: there is
not in human language anything more sublime in conception, more
exquisite in expression; it has on it the light of the terrible crystal.
But may we not reverse the scene? May we not imagine, when a great and
good man—a son of the morning—enters on his rest, that Heaven would
move itself to meet him at his coming? That it would stir up its dead,
even all the chief ones of the earth, and that the kings of the nations
would arise each one from his throne to welcome their brother? that
those who saw him would “narrowly consider him,” and say, “is this he
who moved nations, enlightened and bettered his fellows, and whom the
great Taskmaster welcomes with ‘Well done!’”

We cannot help following him, whose loss we now mourn, into that region,
and figuring to ourselves his great, childlike spirit, when that
unspeakable scene bursts upon his view, when, as by some inward, instant
sense, he is conscious of God—of the immediate presence of the
All-seeing Unseen; when he beholds “His honorable, true, and only Son,”
face to face, enshrined in “that glorious form, that light unsufferable,
and that far-beaming blaze of majesty,” that brightness of His glory,
that express image of His person; when he is admitted into the goodly
fellowship of the apostles—the glorious company of the prophets—the
noble army of martyrs—the general assembly of just men—and beholds
with his loving eyes the myriads of “little ones,” outnumbering their
elders as the dust of stars with which the galaxy is filled exceeds in
multitude the hosts of heaven.

What a change! death the gate of life—a second birth, in the twinkling
of an eye: this moment, weak, fearful, in the amazement of death; the
next, strong, joyful,—at rest,—all things new! To adopt his own words:
all his life, up to the last, “knocking at a door not yet opened, with
an earnest indefinite longing,—his very soul breaking for the
longing,—drinking of water, and thirsting again”—and then—suddenly
and at once-a door opened into heaven, and the Master heard saying,
“Come in, and come up hither!” drinking of the river of life, clear as
crystal, of which if a man drink he will never thirst,—being filled
with all the fulness of God!

       *       *       *       *       *

Dr. Chalmers was a ruler among men: this we know historically; this
every man who came within his range felt at once. He was like Agamemnon,
a native ἄναζ ἀνδρῶν, and with all his homeliness of feature and
deportment, and his perfect simplicity of expression, there was about
him “that divinity that doth hedge a king.” You felt a power, in him,
and going from him, drawing you to him in spite of yourself. He was in
this respect a _solar_ man, he drew after him his own firmament of
planets. They, like all free agents, had their centrifugal forces acting
ever towards an independent, solitary course, but the centripetal also
was there, and they moved with and around their imperial
sun,—gracefully or not, willingly or not, as the case might be, but
there was no breaking loose: they again, in their own spheres of power,
might have their attendant moons, but all were bound to the great
massive luminary in the midst.

There is to us a continual mystery in this power of one man over
another. We find it acting everywhere, with the simplicity, the
ceaselessness, the energy of gravitation; and we may be permitted to
speak of this influence as obeying similar conditions; it is
proportioned to _bulk_—for we hold to the notion of a bigness in souls
as well as bodies—one soul differing from another in quantity and
momentum as well as in quality and force, and its intensity increases by
nearness. There is much in what Jonathan Edwards says of one spiritual
essence having more being than another, and in Dr. Chalmers’s question,
“Is he a man of _wecht_?”

But when we meet a _solar_ man, of ample nature—soul, body, and spirit;
when we find him from his earliest years moving among his fellows like a
king, moving them whether they will or not—this feeling of mystery is
deepened; and though we would not, like some men (who should know
better), worship the creature and convert a hero into a god, we do feel
more than in other cases the truth, that it is the inspiration of the
Almighty which has given to that man understanding, and that all power,
all energy, all light, come to him, from the First and the Last—the
Living One. God comes to be regarded by us, in this instance, as he
ought always to be, “the final centre of repose”—the source of all
being, of all life—the _Terminus ad quem_ and the _Terminus a quo_. And
assuredly, as in the firmament that simple law of gravitation reigns
supreme—making it indeed a _kosmos_—majestic, orderly, comely in its
going—ruling, and binding not the less the fiery and nomadic comets,
than the gentle, punctual moons—so certainly, and to us moral creatures
to a degree transcendantly more important, does the whole intelligent
universe move around and move towards and in the Father of Lights.

It would be well if the world would, among the many other uses they make
of its great men, make more of this,—that they are manifestors of
God—revealers of His will—vessels of His omnipotence—and are among
the very chiefest of His ways and works.

As we have before said, there is a perpetual wonder in this power of one
man over his fellows, especially when we meet with it in a great man.
You see its operations constantly in history, and through it the Great
Ruler has worked out many of His greatest and strangest acts. But
however we may understand the accessory conditions by which the one man
rules the many, and controls, and fashions them to his purposes, and
transforms them into his likeness—multiplying as it were himself—there
remains at the bottom of it all a mystery—a reaction between body and
soul that we cannot explain. Generally, however, we find accompanying
its manifestation, a capacious understanding—a strong will—an
emotional nature quick, powerful, urgent, undeniable, in perpetual
communication with the energetic will and the large resolute
intellect—and a strong, hearty, capable body; a countenance and person
expressive of this combination—the mind finding its way at once and in
full force to the face, to the gesture, to every act of the body. He
must have what is called a “presence;” not that he must be great in
size, beautiful, or strong; but he must be expressive and
impressive—his outward man must communicate to the beholder at once and
without fail, something of indwelling power, and he must be and act as
_one_. You may in your mind analyze him into his several parts; but
practically he acts in everything with his whole soul and his whole
self; whatsoever his hand finds to do, he does it with his might.
Luther, Moses, David, Mahomet, Cromwell—all verified these conditions.

And so did Dr. Chalmers. There was something about his whole air and
manner, that disposed you at the very first to make way where he
went—he held you before you were aware. That this depended fully as
much upon the activity and the quantity—if we may so express
ourselves—of his affections, upon that combined action of mind and body
which we call temperament, and upon a straightforward, urgent will, as
upon what is called the pure intellect, will be generally allowed; but
with all this, he could not have been and done, what he was and did, had
he not had an understanding, in vigor and in capacity, worthy of its
great and ardent companions. It was large, and free, mobile, and
intense, rather than penetrative, judicial, clear, or fine,—so that in
one sense he was more a man to make others _act_ than _think_; but his
own actings had always their origin in some fixed, central, inevitable
_proposition_, as he would call it, and he began his onset with stating
plainly, and with lucid calmness, what he held to be a great seminal
truth; from this he passed at once, not into exposition, but into
illustration and enforcement—into, if we may make a word, overwhelming
insistance. Something was to be done, rather than explained.

There was no separating his thoughts and expressions from his person,
and looks, and voice. How perfectly we can at this moment recall him!
Thundering, flaming, lightening in the pulpit; teaching, indoctrinating,
drawing after him his students in his lecture-room; sitting among other
public men, the most unconscious, the most king-like of them all, with
that broad leonine countenance, that beaming, liberal smile; or on the
way out to his home, in his old-fashioned great-coat, with his throat
muffled up, his big walking-stick moved outwards in an arc, its point
fixed, its head circumferential, a sort of companion, and playmate, with
which doubtless, he demolished legions of imaginary foes, errors, and
stupidities in men and things, in Church and State. His great look,
large chest, large head, his amplitude every way; his broad, simple,
childlike, inturned feet; his short, hurried impatient step; his erect,
royal air; his look of general good-will; his kindling up into a warm
but vague benignity when one he did not recognize spoke to him; the
addition, for it was not a change, of keen specialty to his hearty
recognition; the twinkle of his eyes; the immediately saying something
very personal to set all to rights, and then the sending you off with
some thought, some feeling, some remembrance, making your heart burn
within you; his voice indescribable: his eye—that most peculiar
feature—not vacant, but _asleep_—innocent, mild, and large; and his
soul, its great inhabitant, not always at his window; but then, when he
did awake, how close to you was that burning vehement soul! how it
penetrated and overcame you! how mild, and affectionate, and genial its
expression at his own fireside!

Of his portraits worth mentioning, there are Watson Gordon’s,
Duncan’s—the Calotypes of Mr. Hill—Kenneth M’Leay’s miniatures—the
Daguerreotype, and Steell’s bust. These are all good, and all give bits
of him, some nearly the whole, but not one of them that τὶ θερμόν,
that _fiery particle_—that inspired look—that “diviner mind”—the
_poco più_, or little more. Watson Gordon’s is too much of the mere
clergyman—is a pleasant likeness, and has the shape of his mouth, and
the setting of his feet very good. Duncan’s is a work of genius, and is
the giant looking up, awakening, but not awakened—it is a very fine
picture. Mr. Hill’s Calotypes we like better than all the rest; because
what in them is true, is absolutely so, and they have some delicate
renderings which are all but beyond the power of any human artist; for
though man’s art is mighty, nature’s is mightier. The one of the Doctor
sitting with his grandson “_Tommy_” is to us the best; we have the true
grandeur of his form—his bulk. M’Leay’s is admirable-spirited—and has
that look of shrewdness and vivacity and immediateness which he had when
he was observing and speaking keenly; it is, moreover, a fine, manly bit
of art. M’Leay is the Raeburn of miniature painters—he does a great
deal with little. The Daguerreotype is, in its own way, excellent; it
gives the externality of the man to perfection, but it is Dr. Chalmers
at a stand-still—his mind and feelings “pulled up” for the second that
it was taken. Steell’s is a noble bust—has a stern heroic expression
and pathetic beauty about it, and from wanting color and shadow and the
eyes, it relies upon a certain simplicity and grandeur;—in this it
completely succeeds—the mouth is handled with extraordinary subtlety
and sweetness, and the hair hangs over that huge brow like a glorious
cloud. We think this head of Dr. Chalmers the artist’s greatest bust.

In reference to the assertion we have made as to bulk forming one
primary element of a powerful mind, Dr. Chalmers used to say, when a man
of activity and public mark was mentioned, “Has he _wecht?_ he has
promptitude—has he power? he has power—has he promptitude? and,
moreover, has he a discerning spirit?”

These are great practical, universal truths. How few even of our
greatest men have had all these three faculties large—fine, sound, and
in “perfect diapason.” Your men of promptitude, without power or
judgment, are common and are useful. But they are apt to run wild, to
get needlessly brisk, unpleasantly incessant. A weasel is good or bad as
the case may be,—good against vermin—bad to meddle with;—but inspired
weasels, weasels on a mission, are terrible indeed, mischievous and
fell, and swiftness making up for want of momentum by inveteracy;
“fierce as wild bulls, _untamable as flies_.” Of such men we have
nowadays too many. Men are too much in the way of supposing that _doing_
is _being;_ that theology and excogitation, and fierce dogmatic
assertion of what they consider truth, is godliness; that obedience is
merely an occasional great act, and not a series of acts, issuing from a
state, like the stream of water from its well.

  “Action is transitory—a step—a blow,
  The motion of a muscle—this way or that;
  ’Tis done—and in the after vacancy,
  We wonder at ourselves like men betrayed.
  Suffering” (_obedience_, or _being_ as opposed to _doing_)—
  “Suffering is permanent,——
  And has the nature of infinity.”

Dr. Chalmers was a man of genius—he had his own way of thinking, and
saying, and doing, and looking everything. Men have vexed themselves in
vain to define what genius is; like every ultimate term we may describe
it by giving its effects, we can hardly succeed in reaching its essence.
Fortunately, though we know not what are its elements, we know it when
we meet it; and in him, in every movement of his mind, in every gesture,
we had its unmistakable tokens. Two of the ordinary accompaniments of
genius—Enthusiasm and Simplicity—he had in rare measure.

He was an _enthusiast_ in its true and good sense; he was “entheat,” as
if full of God, as the old poets called it. It was this ardor, this
superabounding life, this immediateness of thought and action, idea and
emotion, setting the whole man a-going at once—that gave a power and a
charm to everything he did. To adopt the old division of the Hebrew
Doctors, as given by Nathanael Culverwel, in his “Light of Nature:” In
man we have—_1st_, πνεῦμα ζωοποιοῦν, _the sensitive soul_, that which
lies nearest the body—the very blossom and flower of life; _2d_, τὸν
νοῦν, _animam rationis_, sparkling and glittering with intellectuals,
crowned with light; and _3d_, τὸν θυμὸν, _impetum animi, motum
mentis_, the vigor and energy of the soul—its temper—the mover of the
other two—the first being, as they said, resident _in hepate_—the
second _in cerebro_—the third _in corde_, where it presides over the
issues of life, commands the circulation, and animates and sets the
blood a-moving. The first and second are informative, explicative, they
“take in and do”—the other “gives out.” Now in Dr. Chalmers, the great
ingredient was the ὁ θυμὸς as indicating _vis animæ et vitæ_,—and
in close fellowship with it, and ready for its service, was a large,
capacious ὁ νοῦς, and an energetic, sensuous, rapid τὸ πνεὺμα.
Hence his energy, his contagious enthusiasm—this it was which gave the
peculiar character to his religion, to his politics, to his _personnel_;
everything he did was done heartily—if he desired heavenly blessings he
“panted” for them—“his soul broke for the longing.” To give again the
words of the spiritual and subtle Culverwel, “Religion (and indeed
everything else) was no matter of indifferency to him. It was θερμόν τι
πρᾶγμα, a certain fiery thing, as Aristotle calls love; it required
and it got the very flower and vigor of the spirit—the strength and
sinews of the soul—the prime and top of the affections—this is that
grace, that panting grace—we know the name of it and that’s all—’tis
called zeal—a flaming edge of the affection—the ruddy complexion of
the soul.” Closely connected with this temperament, and with a certain
keen sensation of truth, rather than a perception of it, if we may so
express ourselves, an intense consciousness of objective reality,—was
his simple animating faith. He had faith in God—faith in human
nature—faith, if we may say so, in his own instincts—in his ideas of
men and things—_in himself_; and the result was, that unhesitating
bearing up and steering right onward—“never bating one jot of heart or
hope” so characteristic of him. He had “the _substance_ of things hoped
for.” He had “the _evidence_ of things not seen.”

By his _simplicity_ we do not mean the simplicity of the head—of that
he had none; he was eminently shrewd and knowing—more so than many
thought; but we refer to that quality of the heart and of the life,
expressed by the words, “in simplicity a child.” In his own words, from
his Daily Readings,—

    “When a child is filled with any strong emotion by a surprising
    event or intelligence, it _runs_ to discharge it on others,
    impatient of their sympathy; and it marks, I fancy, the
    simplicity and greater naturalness of this period (Jacob’s),
    that the grown-up men and women _ran_ to meet each other, giving
    way to their first impulses—even as children do.”

His emotions were as lively as a child’s, and he ran to discharge them.
There was in all his ways a certain beautiful unconsciousness of
self—an outgoing of the whole nature that we see in children, who are
by learned men said to be long ignorant of the EGO—blessed in many
respects in their ignorance! This same Ego, as it now exists, being
perhaps part of “the fruit of that forbidden tree;” that mere knowledge
of _good_ as well as of _evil_, which our great mother bought for us at
such a price. In this meaning of the word, Dr. Chalmers, considering the
size of his understanding—his personal eminence—his dealings with the
world—his large sympathies—his scientific knowledge of mind and
matter—his relish for the practical details, and for the spirit of
public business—was quite singular for his simplicity; and taking this
view of it, there was much that was plain and natural in his manner of
thinking and acting, which otherwise was obscure, and liable to be
misunderstood. We cannot better explain what we mean than by giving a
passage from Fénélon, which D’Alembert, in his Eloge, quotes as
characteristic of that “sweet-souled” prelate. We give the passage
entire, as it seems to us to contain a very beautiful, and by no means
commonplace truth:—

    “Fénélon,” says D’Alembert, “a caractérisé lui-même en peu
    de mots cette simplicité qui se rendoit si cher à tous les
    coeurs, ‘La simplicité est la droiture d’une âme qui
    s’interdit tout retour sur elle et sur ses actions—cette vertu
    est différente de la sincérité, et la surpasse. On voit
    beaucoup de gens qui sont sincères sans être simples—Ils ne
    veulent passer que pour ce qu’ils sont, mais ils craignent sans
    cesse de passer pour ce qu’ils ne sont pas. L’homme simple
    n’affecte ni la vertu, ni la vérité même; il n’est jamais
    occupé de lui, il semble d’avoir perdu ce _moi_ dont on est si

What delicacy and justness of expression! how true and clear! how little
we see nowadays, among grown-up men, of this straightness of the
soul—of this losing or never finding “_ce moi!_” There is more than is
perhaps generally thought in this. Man in a state of perfection, would
no sooner think of asking himself—am I right? am I appearing to be what
inwardly I am? than the eye asks itself—do I see? or a child says to
itself—do I love my mother? We have lost this instinctive sense; we
have set one portion of ourselves aside to watch the rest; we must keep
up appearances and our consistency; we must respect—that is, look back
upon—ourselves, and be respected, if possible; we must, by hook or by
crook, be respectable.

Dr. Chalmers would have made a sorry Balaam; he was made of different
stuff, and for other purposes. Your “respectable” men are ever doing
their best to keep their status, to maintain their position. He never
troubled himself about his status; indeed, we would say _status_ was not
the word for him. He had a _sedes_ on which he sat, and from which he
spoke; he had an _imperium_, to and fro which he roamed as he listed;
but a _status_ was as little in his way as in that of a Mauritanian
lion. Your merely “sincere” men are always thinking of what they said
yesterday, and what they may say to-morrow, at the very moment when they
should be putting their whole self into to-day. Full of his idea,
possessed by it, moved altogether by its power,—believing, he spoke,
and without stint or fear, often _apparently_ contradicting his former
self—careless about everything, but speaking fully his mind. One other
reason for his apparent inconsistencies was, if one may so express it,
the spaciousness of his nature. He had room in that capacious head, and
affection in that great, hospitable heart, for relishing and taking in
the whole range of human thought and feeling. He was several men in one.
Multitudinous but not multiplex, in him odd and apparently incongruous
notions dwelt peaceably together. The lion lay down with the lamb.
Voluntaryism and an endowment—both were best.

He was _childlike_ in his simplicity; though in understanding a man, he
was himself in many things a child. Coleridge says, every man should
include all his former selves in his present, as a tree has its former
years’ growths inside its last; so Dr. Chalmers bore along with him his
childhood, his youth, his early and full manhood into his mature old
age. This gave himself, we doubt not, infinite delight—multiplied his
joys, strengthened and sweetened his whole nature, and kept his heart
young and tender; it enabled him to sympathize, to have a fellow-feeling
with all, of whatever age. Those who best knew him, who were most
habitually with him, know how beautifully this point of his character
shone out in daily, hourly life. We well remember long ago loving him
before we had seen him—from our having been told, that being out one
Saturday at a friend’s house near the Pentlands, he collected all the
children and small people—the _other_ bairns, as he called them—and
with no one else of his own growth, took the lead to the nearest
hill-top,—how he made each take the biggest and roundest stone he could
find, and carry,—how he panted up the hill himself with one of enormous
size,—how he kept up their hearts, and made them shout with glee, with
the light of his countenance, and with all his pleasant and strange ways
and words,—how having got the breathless little men and women to the
top of the hill, he, hot and scant of breath—looked round on the world
and upon them with his broad benignant smile like the ἀνήριθμον κυμάτων
γέλασμα—the unnumbered laughter of the sea,—how he set off his own huge
“fellow,”—how he watched him setting out on his race, slowly, stupidly,
vaguely at first, almost as if he might die before he began to live,
then suddenly giving a spring and off like a shot—bounding, tearing,
αὖτις ἔπειτα πέδονδε κυλίνδετο λᾶας ἀναιδής, _vires acquirens eundo_;
how the great and good man was _totus in illo_; how he spoke to,
upbraided him, cheered him, gloried in him, all but prayed for him,—how
he joked philosophy to his wondering and ecstatic crew, when he (the
stone) disappeared among some brackens—telling them they had the
evidence of their senses that he was in, they might even know he was
there by his effects, by the moving brackens, himself unseen; how plain
it became that he had gone in, when he actually came out!—how he ran up
the opposite side a bit, and then fell back, and lazily expired at the
bottom,—how to their astonishment, but not displeasure—for he “set them
off so well,” and “was so funny”—he took from each his cherished stone,
and set it off himself! showing them how they all ran alike, yet
differently; how he went on, “making,” as he said, “an induction of
particulars,” till he came to the Benjamin of the flock, a _wee wee_
man, who had brought up a stone bigger than his own big head; then how
he let him, _unicus omnium_, set off his own, and how wonderfully IT
ran! what miraculous leaps! what escapes from impossible places! and how
it ran up the other side farther than any, and by some felicity remained

       *       *       *       *       *

He was an orator in its specific and highest sense. We need not prove
this to those who have heard him; we cannot to those who have not. It
was a living man sending living, burning words into the minds and hearts
of men before him, radiating his intense fervor upon them all; but there
was no reproducing the entire effect when alone and cool; some one of
the elements was gone. We say nothing of this part of his character,
because upon this all are agreed. His eloquence rose like a tide, a sea,
setting in, bearing down upon you, lifting up all its waves—“deep
calling unto deep;” there was no doing anything but giving yourself up
for the time to its will. Do our readers remember Horace’s description
of Pindar?

  “Monte decurrens velut amnis, imbres
  Quem super uotas aluere ripas,
  Fervet, immensusque ruit profundo
        Pindarus ore:

  —‘per audaces nova dithyrambos
  Verba devolvit, numerisque fertur
        Lege solutis.’”

This is to our mind singularly characteristic of our perfervid Scotsman.
If we may indulge our conceit we would paraphrase it thus. His eloquence
was like a flooded Scottish river,—it had its origin in some exalted
region—in some mountain-truth—some high, immutable reality; it did not
rise in a plain, and quietly drain its waters to the sea,—it came sheer
down from above. He laid hold of some simple truth—the love of God, the
Divine method of justification, the unchangeableness of human nature,
the supremacy of conscience, the honorableness of all men; and having
got this vividly before his mind, on he moved—the river rose at once,
drawing everything into its course—

  “All thoughts, all passions, all desires,—
  Whatever stirs this mortal frame,”

things outward and things inward, interests immediate and remote—God
and eternity—men, miserable and immortal—this world and the
next—clear light and unsearchable mystery—the word and the works of
God—everything contributed to swell the volume and add to the onward
and widening flood. His river did not flow like Denham’s Thames,—

  “Though deep yet clear, though gentle yet not dull;
  Strong without rage, without o’erflowing full.”

There was strength, but there was likewise rage; a fine frenzy—not
unoften due mainly to its rapidity and to its being raised suddenly by
his affections; there was some confusion in the stream of his thoughts,
some overflowing of the banks, some turbulence, and a certain noble
immensity; but its origin was clear and calm, above the region of clouds
and storms. If you saw _it_; if you took up and admitted his
proposition, his starting idea, then all else moved on; but once set
a-going, once on his way, there was no pausing to inquire, why or
how—_fervet_—_ruit_—_fertur_, he boils—he rushes—he is borne along;
and so are all who hear him.

To go on with our figure—There was no possibility of sailing up his
stream. You must go with him, or you must go ashore. This was a great
peculiarity with him, and puzzled many people. You could argue with him,
and get him to entertain your ideas on any purely abstract or simple
proposition,—at least for a time; but once let him get down among
practicals, among applications of principles, into the regions of the
affections and active powers, and such was the fervor and impetuosity of
his nature, that he could not stay leisurely to discuss, he could not
then entertain the opposite; it was hurried off, and made light of, and
disregarded, like a floating thing before a cataract.

To play a little more with our conceit—The greatest man is he who is
both born and made—who is at once poetical and scientific—who has
genius and talent—each supporting the other. So with rivers. Your
mighty world’s river rises in high and lonely places, among the
everlasting hills; amidst clouds, or inaccessible clearness. On he
moves, gathering to himself all waters; refreshing, cheering all lands.
Here a cataract, there a rapid; now lingering in some corner of beauty,
as if loath to go. Now shallow and wide, rippling and laughing in his
glee; now deep, silent, and slow; now narrow and rapid and deep, and not
to be meddled with. Now in the open country; not so clear, for other
waters have come in upon him, and he is becoming useful, no longer
turbulent,—travelling more contentedly; now he is navigable, craft of
all kinds coming and going upon his surface forever; and then, as if by
some gentle and great necessity, “deep and smooth, passing with a still
foot and a sober face,” he pays his last tribute to “the _Fiscus_, the
great Exchequer, the sea,”—running out fresh, by reason of his power
and volume, into the main for many a league.

Your mere genius, who has instincts, and is poetical and not scientific,
who grows from within—he is like our mountain river, clear, wilful,
odd; running round corners; disappearing it may be under ground, coming
up again quite unexpectedly and strong, as if fed from some unseen
spring, deep down in darkness; rising in flood without warning, and
coming down like a lion; often all but dry; never to be trusted to for
driving mills; must at least be tamed and led off to the mill; and going
down full pace, and without stop or stay, into the sea.

Your man of talent, of acquirements, of science—who is made,—who is
not so much educed as edified; who, instead of acquiring his _vires
eundo_, gets his _vires eundi_, from acquirement, and grows from
without; who serves his brethren and is useful; he rises often no one
knows where or cares; has perhaps no proper fountain at all, but is the
result of the gathered rain-water in the higher flats; he is never quite
clear, never brisk, never dangerous; always from the first useful, and
goes pleasantly in harness; turns mills; washes rags—makes them into
paper; carries down all manner of dye-stuffs and feculence; and turns a
bread-mill to as good purpose as any clearer stream; is docile, and has,
as he reaches the sea, in his dealings with the world, a river trust,
who look after his and their own interests, and dredge him, and deepen
him, and manage him, and turn him off into docks, and he is in the sea
before he or you know it.

       *       *       *       *       *

Though we do not reckon the _imagination_ of Dr. Chalmers among his
master faculties, it was powerful, effective, magnificent. It did not
move him, he took it up as he went along; its was not that imperial,
penetrating, transmuting function that we find it in Dante, in Jeremy
Taylor, in Milton, or in Burke; he used it to emblazon his great central
truths, to hang clouds of glory on the skirts of his illustration; but
it was too passionate, too material, too encumbered with images, too
involved in the general _mêlée_ of the soul, to do its work as a master.
It was not in him, as Thomas Fuller calls it, “that inward sense of the
soul, its most boundless and restless faculty; for while the
understanding and the will are kept as it were _in liberâ custodiâ_ to
their objects of _verum et bonum_, it is free from all engagements—digs
without spade, flies without wings, builds without charges, in a moment
striding from the centre to the circumference of the world by a kind of
omnipotency, creating and annihilating things in an instant—restless,
ever working, never wearied.” We may say, indeed, that men of his
temperament are not generally endowed with this power in largest
measure; in one sense they can do without it, in another they want the
conditions on which its highest exercise depends. Plato and Milton,
Shakspeare and Dante, and Wordsworth, had imaginations tranquil, sedate,
cool, originative, penetrative, intense, which dwelt in the “highest
heaven of invention.” Hence it was that Chalmers could personify or
paint a passion; he could give it in one of its actions; he could not,
or rather he never did impassionate, create, and vivify a person—a very
different thing from personifying a passion—all the difference, as
Henry Taylor says, between Byron and Shakspeare.

In his impetuosity, we find the rationale of much that is peculiar in
the style of Dr. Chalmers. As a spoken style it was thoroughly
effective.[50] He seized the nearest weapons, and smote down whatever
he hit. But from this very vehemence, this haste, there was in his
general style a want of correctness, of selectness, of nicety, of that
curious felicity which makes thought immortal, and enshrines it in
imperishable crystal. In the language of the affections he was
singularly happy; but in a formal statement, rapid argumentation and
analysis, he was often as we might think, uncouth, and imperfect, and
incorrect: chiefly owing to his temperament, to his fiery, impatient,
swelling spirit, this gave his orations their fine audacity—this
brought out hot from the furnace his new words—this made his numbers
run wild—_lege solutis_. We are sure this view will be found confirmed
by these “Daily Readings,” when he wrote little, and had not time to
get heated, and when the nature of the work, the hour at which it was
done, and his solitariness, made his thoughts flow at their “own sweet
will;” they are often quite as classical in expression, as they are
deep and lucid in thought—reflecting heaven with its clouds and stars,
and letting us see deep down into its own secret depths: this is to us
one great charm of these volumes. Here he is broad and calm; in his
great public performances by mouth and pen, he soon passed from the
lucid into the luminous.

   [50] We have not noticed his iterativeness, his reiterativeness,
        because it flowed naturally from his primary qualities. In
        speaking it was effective, and to us pleasing, because there
        was some new modulation, some addition in the manner, just
        as the sea never sets up one wave exactly like the last or
        the next. But in his books it did somewhere encumber his
        thoughts, and the reader’s progress and profit. It did not
        arise, as in many lesser men, from his having said his
        say—from his having no more in him; much less did it arise
        from conceit, either of his idea or of his way of stating
        it; but from the intensity with which the sensation of the
        idea—if we may use the expression—made its first mark on
        his mind. Truth to him never seemed to lose its first
        freshness, its edge, its flavor; and Divine truth, we know,
        had come to him so suddenly, so fully, at mid-day, when he
        was in the very prime of his knowledge and his power and
        quickness—had so possessed his entire nature, as if, like
        him who was journeying to Damascus, a Great Light had shone
        round about him—that whenever he reproduced that condition,
        he began afresh, and with his whole utterance, to proclaim
        it. He could not but speak the things he had seen and felt,
        and heard and believed; and he did it much in the same way,
        and in the same words, for the thoughts and affections and
        posture of his soul were the same. Like all men of vivid
        perception and keen sensibility, his mind and his body
        continued under impressions, both material and spiritual,
        after the objects were gone. A curious instance of this
        occurs to us. Some years ago, he roamed up and down through
        the woods near Auchindinny, with two boys as companions. It
        was the first burst of summer, and the trees were more than
        usually enriched with leaves. He wandered about delighted,
        silent, looking at the leaves, “thick and numberless.” As
        the three went on, they came suddenly upon a high brick
        wall, newly built, for peach-trees, not yet planted. Dr.
        Chalmers halted, and looking steadfastly at the wall,
        exclaimed most earnestly, “What foliage! what foliage!” The
        boys looked at one another, and said nothing; but on getting
        home, expressed their astonishment at this very puzzling
        phenomenon. What a difference! leaves and parallelograms; a
        forest and a brick wall!

What, for instance, can be finer in expression than this? “It is well to
be conversant with great elements—life and death, reason and madness.”
“God forgets not his own purposes, though he executes them in his own
way, and maintains his own pace, which he hastens not and shortens not
to meet our impatience.” “I find it easier to apprehend the greatness of
The Deity than any of his moral perfections, or his sacredness;” and

    “One cannot but feel an interest in Ishmael, figuring him to be
    a noble of nature—one of those heroes of the wilderness who
    lived on the produce of his bow, and whose spirit was nursed and
    exercised among the wild adventures of the life he led. And it
    does soften our conception of him whose hand was against every
    man, and every man’s hand against him, when we read of his
    mother’s influence over him, in the deference of Ishmael to whom
    we read another example of the respect yielded to females even
    in that so-called barbarous period of the world. There was a
    civilization, the immediate effect of religion, in these days,
    from which men fell away as the world grew older.”

That he had a keen relish for material and moral beauty and grandeur we
all know; what follows shows that he had also the true ear for beautiful
words, as at once pleasant to the ear and suggestive of some higher
feelings:—“I have often felt, in reading Milton and Thomson, a strong
poetical effect in the bare enumeration of different countries, and this
strongly enhanced by the statement of some common and prevailing
emotion, which passed from one to another.” This is set forth with great
beauty and power in verses 14th and 15th of Exodus xv.,—“The people
shall hear and be afraid—sorrow shall take hold on the inhabitants of
Palestina. Then the dukes of Edom shall be amazed—the mighty men of
Moab, trembling shall take hold of them—the inhabitants of Canaan shall
melt away.” Any one who has a tolerable ear and any sensibility, must
remember the sensation of delight in the mere sound—like the colors of
a butterfly’s wing, or the shapeless glories of evening clouds, to the
eye—in reading aloud such passages as these: “Heshbon shall cry and
Elealeh—their voice shall be heard to Jabez—for by the way of Luhith
with weeping shall they go it up—for in the way of Horonaim they shall
raise a cry. God came from Teman, the Holy One from Mount Paran. Is not
Calno as Carchemish? is not Hamath as Arpad? is not Samaria as Damascus?
He is gone to Aiath, he is passed to Migron; at Michmash he hath laid up
his carriages: Ramath is afraid; Gibeah of Saul is fled—Lift up thy
voice, O daughter of Gallim: cause it to be heard unto Laish, O poor
Anathoth. Madmenah is removed; the inhabitants of Gebim gather
themselves to flee. The fields of Heshbon languish—the vine of
Sibmah—I will water thee with my tears, O Heshbon and Elealeh.” Any one
may prove to himself that much of the effect and beauty of these
passages depends on these names; put others in their room, and try them.

We remember well our first hearing Dr. Chalmers. We were in a moorland
district in Tweeddale, rejoicing in the country, after nine months of
the High School. We heard that the famous preacher was to be at a
neighboring parish church, and off we set, a cartful of irrepressible
youngsters. “Calm was all nature as a resting wheel.” The crows, instead
of making wing, were impudent and sat still; the cart-horses were
standing, knowing the day, at the field-gates, gossiping and gazing,
idle and happy; the moor was stretching away in the pale sunlight—vast,
dim, melancholy, like a sea; everywhere were to be seen the gathering
people, “sprinklings of blithe company;” the country-side seemed moving
to one centre. As we entered the kirk we saw a notorious character, a
drover, who had much of the brutal look of what he worked in, with the
knowing eye of a man of the city, a sort of big Peter Bell—

  “He had a hardness in his eye,
  He had a hardness in his cheek.”

He was our terror, and we not only wondered, but were afraid when we saw
_him_ going in. The kirk was full as it could hold. How different in
looks to a brisk town congregation! There was a fine leisureliness and
vague stare; all the dignity and vacancy of animals; eyebrows raised and
mouths open, as is the habit with those who speak little and look much,
and at far-off objects. The minister comes in, homely in his dress and
gait, but having a great look about him, like a mountain among hills.
The High School boys thought him like a “big one of ourselves,” he looks
vaguely round upon his audience, as if he saw in it _one great object,
not many_. We shall never forget his smile! its general benignity;—how
he let the light of his countenance fall on us! He read a few verses
quietly; then prayed briefly, solemnly, with his eyes wide open all the
time, but not seeing. Then he gave out his text; we forget it, but its
subject was, “Death reigns.” He stated slowly, calmly, the simple
meaning of the words; what death was, and how and why it reigned; then
suddenly he started, and looked like a man who had seen some great
sight, and was breathless to declare it; he told us how death
reigned—everywhere, at all times, in all places; how we all knew it,
how we would yet know more of it. The drover, who had sat down in the
table-seat opposite, was gazing up in a state of stupid excitement; he
seemed restless, but never kept his eye from the speaker. The tide set
in—everything added to its power, deep called to deep, imagery and
illustration poured in: and every now and then the theme,—the simple,
terrible statement, was repeated in some lucid interval. After
overwhelming us with proofs of the reign of Death, and transferring to
us his intense urgency and emotion; and after shrieking, as if in
despair, these words, “Death is a tremendous necessity,”—he suddenly
looked beyond us as if into some distant region, and cried out, “Behold
a mightier!—who is this? He cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from
Bozrah, glorious in his apparel, speaking in righteousness, travelling
in the greatness of his strength, mighty to save.” Then, in a few plain
sentences, he stated the truth as to sin entering, and death by sin, and
death passing upon all. Then he took fire once more, and enforced, with
redoubled energy and richness, the freeness, the simplicity, the
security, the sufficiency of the great method of justification. How
astonished and impressed we all were! He was at the full thunder of his
power; the whole man was in an agony of earnestness. The drover was
weeping like a child, the tears running down his ruddy, coarse
cheeks—his face opened out and smoothed like an infant’s; his whole
body stirred with emotion. We all had insensibly been drawn out of our
seats, and were converging towards the wonderful speaker. And when he
sat down, after warning each one of us to remember who it was, and what
it was, that followed death on his pale horse,[51] and how alone we
could escape—we all sunk back into our seats. How beautiful to our eyes
did the thunderer look—exhausted—but sweet and pure! How he poured out
his soul before his God in giving thanks for sending the Abolisher of
Death! Then, a short psalm, and all was ended.

   [51] “And I looked, and behold, a pale horse; and his name that
        sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him.”—Rev. vi. 8.

We went home quieter than we came; we did not recount the foals with
their long legs, and roguish eyes, and their sedate mothers; we did not
speculate upon whose dog _that_ was, and whether _that_ was a crow or a
man in the dim moor,—we thought of other things. That voice, that face;
those great, simple, living thoughts; those floods of resistless
eloquence; that piercing, shattering voice,—“that tremendous

       *       *       *       *       *

Were we desirous of giving to one who had never seen or heard Dr.
Chalmers an idea of what manner of man he was—what he was as a whole,
in the full round of his notions, tastes, affections, and powers—we
would put this book into their hands, and ask them to read it slowly,
bit by bit, as he wrote it. In it he puts down simply, and at once, what
passes through his mind as he reads; there is no making of himself feel
and think—no getting into a frame of mind; he was not given to frames
of mind; he preferred states to forms—substances to circumstances.
There is something of everything in it—his relish for abstract
thought—his love of taking soundings in deep places and finding no
bottom—his knack of starting subtle questions, which he did not care to
run to earth—his penetrating, regulating godliness—his delight in
nature—his turn for politics, general, economical, and
ecclesiastical—his picturesque eye—his humanity—his courtesy—his
warm-heartedness—his impetuosity—his sympathy with all the wants,
pleasures, and sorrows of his kind—his delight in the law of God, and
his simple, devout, manly treatment of it—his acknowledgment of
difficulties—his turn for the sciences of quantity and number, and
indeed for natural science and art generally—his shrewdness—his
worldly wisdom—his genius; all these come out—you gather them like
fruit, here a little, and there a little. He goes over the Bible, not as
a philosopher, or a theologian, or a historian, or a geologist, or a
jurist, or a naturalist, or a statist, or a politician—picking out all
that he wants, and a great deal more than he has any business with, and
leaving every thing else as barren to his reader as it has been to
himself; but he looks abroad upon his Father’s _word_—as he used so
pleasantly to do on his _world_—as a man, and as a Christian; he
submits himself to its influences, and lets his mind go out fully and
naturally in its utterances. It is this which gives to this work all the
charm of multitude in unity, of variety in harmony; and that sort of
unexpectedness and ease of movement which we see everywhere in nature
and in natural men.

Our readers will find in these delightful Bible Readings not a museum of
antiquities, and curiosities, and laborious trifles; nor of scientific
specimens, analyzed to the last degree, all standing in order, labelled
and useless. They will not find in it an armory of weapons for fighting
with and destroying their neighbors. They will get less of the physic of
controversy than of the diet of holy living. They will find much of what
Lord Bacon desired, when he said, “We want short, sound, and judicious
notes upon Scripture, without running into commonplaces, pursuing
controversies, or reducing those notes to artificial method, but leaving
them quite loose and native. For certainly, as those wines which flow
from the first treading of the grape are sweeter and better than those
forced out by the press, which gives them the roughness of the husk and
the stone, so are those doctrines best and sweetest which flow from a
gentle crush of the Scriptures, and are not wrung into controversies and
commonplaces.” They will find it as a large pleasant garden; no great
system; not trim, but beautiful, and in which there are things pleasant
to the eye as well as good for food—flowers and fruits, and a few good,
esculent, wholesome roots. There are Honesty, Thrift, Eye-bright
(Euphrasy that cleanses the sight), Heart’s-ease. The good seed in
abundance, and the strange mystical Passion-flower; and in the midst,
and seen everywhere, if we but look for it, the Tree of Life, with its
twelve manner of fruits—the very leaves of which are for the healing of
the nations. And, perchance, when they take their walk through it at
evening time, or at “the sweet hour of prime,” they may see a happy,
wise, beaming old man at his work there—they may hear his well-known
voice; and if they have their spiritual senses exercised as they ought,
they will not fail to see by his side, “one like unto the Son of Man.”


Among the many students at our University who some two-and-twenty years
ago started on the great race, in the full flush of youth and health,
and with that strong hunger for knowledge which only the young, or those
who keep themselves so ever know, there were three lads—Edward Forbes,
Samuel Brown, and George Wilson—who soon moved on to the front and took
the lead. They are now all three in their graves.

No three minds could well have been more diverse in constitution or
bias; each was typical of a generic difference from the others. What
they cordially agreed in, was their hunting in the same field and for
the same game. The truth about this visible world, and all that it
contains, was their quarry. This one thing they set themselves to do,
but each had his own special gift, and took his own road—each had his
own special choice of instruments and means. Any one man combining their
essential powers, would have been the epitome of a natural philosopher,
in the wide sense of the man who would master the philosophy of nature.

Edward Forbes, who bulks largest at present, and deservedly, for
largeness was of his essence, was the observer proper. He saw everything
under the broad and searching light of day, white and uncolored, and
with an unimpassioned eye. What he was after were the real appearances
of things; _phenomena_ as such; all that seems to be. His was the search
after _what is_, over the great field of the world. He was in the best
sense a natural historian, an observer and recorder of what is seen and
of what goes on, and not less of what has been seen and what has gone
on, in this wonderful historic earth of ours, with all its fulness. He
was keen, exact, capacious,—tranquil and steady in his gaze as Nature
herself. He was, thus far, kindred to Aristotle, to Pliny, Linnaeus,
Cuvier, and Humboldt, though the great German, and the greater
Stagirite, had higher and deeper spiritual insights than Edward Forbes
ever gave signs of. It is worth remembering that Dr. George Wilson was
up to his death engaged in preparing his Memoir and Remains for the
press. Who will now take up the tale?

Samuel Brown was, so to speak, at the opposite pole—rapid, impatient,
fearless, full of passion and imaginative power—desiring to divine the
essences rather than the appearances of things—in search of the _what_
chiefly in order to question it, make it give up at whatever cost the
secret of its _why_; his fiery, projective, subtile spirit, could not
linger in the outer fields of mere observation, though he had a quite
rare faculty for seeing as well as for looking, which latter act,
however, he greatly preferred; but he pushed into the heart and inner
life of every question, eager to evoke from it the very secret of
itself. Forbes, as we have said, wandered at will, and with a settled
purpose and a fine hunting scent, at his leisure, and free and almost
indifferent, over the ample fields—happy and joyous and full of
work—unencumbered with theory or with wings, for he cared not to fly.
Samuel Brown, whose wings were perhaps sometimes too much for him, more
ambitious, more of a solitary turn, was forever climbing the Mount
Sinais and Pisgahs of science, to speak with Him whose haunt they
were,—climbing there all alone and in the dark, and with much peril, if
haply he might descry the break of day and the promised land; or, to
vary the figure, diving into deep and not undangerous wells, that he
might the better see the stars at noon, and possibly find Her who is
said to lurk there. He had more of Plato, though he wanted the symmetry
and persistent grandeur of the son of Ariston. He was, perhaps, liker
his own favorite Kepler; such a man in a word as we have not seen since
Sir Humphry Davy, whom in many things he curiously resembled, and not
the least is this, that the prose of each was more poetical than the

His fate has been a mournful and a strange one, but he knew it, and
encountered it with a full knowledge of what it entailed. He perilled
everything on his theory; and if this hypothesis—it may be somewhat
prematurely uttered to the world, and the full working out of which, by
rigid scientific realization, was denied him by years of intense and
incapacitating suffering, ending only in death, but the “_relevancy_” of
which, to use the happy expression of Dr. Chalmers, we hold him to have
proved, and in giving a glimpse of which, he showed, we firmly believe,
what has been called that “instinctive grasp which the healthy
imagination takes of _possible_ truth”,—if his theory of the unity of
matter, and the consequent transmutability of the now called elementary
bodies, were substantiated in the lower but essential platform of actual
experiment, this, along with his original doctrine of atoms and their
forces, would change the entire face of chemistry, and make a Cosmos
where now there is endless agglomeration and confusion,—would, in a
word, do for the science of the molecular constitution of matter and its
laws of action and reaction at insensible distances, what Newton’s
doctrine of gravitation has done for the celestial dynamics. For, let it
be remembered, that the highest speculation and proof in this
department—by such men as Dumas, Faraday, and William Thomson, and
others—points in this direction; it does no more as yet perhaps than
point, but some of us may live to see “_resurgam_” inscribed over Samuel
Brown’s untimely grave, and applied with gratitude and honor to him
whose eyes closed in darkness on the one great object of his life, and
the hopes of whose “unaccomplished years” lie buried with him.

Very different from either, though worthy of and capable of relishing
much that was greatest and best in both, was he whom we all loved and
mourn, and who, this day week, was carried by such a multitude of
mourners to that grave, which to his eye had been open and ready for

George Wilson was born in Edinburgh in 1818. His father, Mr. Archibald
Wilson, was a wine merchant, and died sixteen years ago; his mother,
Janet Aitken, still lives to mourn and to remember him, and she will
agree with us that it is sweeter to remember him than to have converse
with the rest. Any one who has had the privilege to know him, and to
enjoy his bright and rich and beautiful mind, will not need to go far to
learn where it was that her son George got all of that genius and worth
and delightfulness which is transmissible. She verifies what is so often
and so truly said of the mothers of remarkable men. She was his first
and best _Alma Mater_ and in many senses his last, for her influence
over him continued through life. George had a twin brother, who died in
early life; and we cannot help referring to his being one of twins,
something of that wonderful power of attaching himself, and being
personally loved, which was one of his strongest as it was one of his
most winning powers. He was always fond of books, and of fun, the play
of the mind. He left the High School at fifteen and took to medicine;
but he soon singled out chemistry, and, under the late Kenneth Kemp, and
our own distinguished Professor of _Materia Medica_, himself a
first-class chemist, he acquired such knowledge as to become assistant
in the laboratory of Dr. Thomas Graham, now Master of the Mint, and then
Professor of Chemistry in University College. So he came out of a
thorough and good school, and had the best of masters.

He then took the degree of M. D., and became a Lecturer in Chemistry, in
what is now called the extra-academical school of medicine, but which in
our day was satisfied with the title of private lecturers. He became at
once a great favorite, and, had his health and strength enabled him, he
would have been long a most successful and popular teacher; but general
feeble health, and a disease in the ankle-joint requiring partial
amputation of the foot, and recurrent attacks of a serious kind in his
lungs, made his life of public teaching one long and sad trial. How
nobly, how sweetly, how cheerily he bore all these long baffling years;
how his bright, active, ardent, unsparing soul lorded it over his frail
but willing body, making it do more than seemed possible, and as it were
by sheer force of will ordering it to live longer than was in it to do,
those who lived with him and witnessed this triumph of spirit over
matter, will not soon forget. It was a lesson to every one of what true
goodness of nature, elevated and cheered by the highest and happiest of
all motives, can make a man endure, achieve, and enjoy.

As is well known, Dr. Wilson was appointed in 1855 to the
newly-constituted Professorship of Technology, and to the Curatorship of
the Industrial Museum. The expenditure of thought, of ingenuity, of
research, and management—the expenditure, in a word, of
himself—involved in originating and giving form of purpose to a scheme
so new and so undefined, and, in our view, so undefinable, must, we
fear, have shortened his life, and withdrawn his precious and quite
singular powers of illustrating and adorning, and, in the highest sense,
sanctifying and blessing science, from this which seemed always to us
his proper sphere. Indeed, in the opinion of some good judges, the
institution of such a chair at all, and especially in connection with a
University such as ours, and the attaching to it the conduct of a great
Museum of the Industrial Arts, was somewhat hastily gone into, and might
have with advantage waited for and obtained a little more consideration
and forethought. Be this as it may, Dr. Wilson did his duty with his
whole heart and soul—making a class, which was always increasing, and
which was at its largest at his death.

We have left ourselves no space to speak of Dr. Wilson as an author, as
an academic and popular lecturer, as a member of learned societies, as a
man of exquisite literary powers and fancy, and as a citizen of
remarkable public acceptation. This must come from some more careful,
and fuller, and more leisurely record of his genius and worth. What he
was as a friend it is not for us to say; we only know that when we leave
this world we would desire no better memorial than to be remembered by
many as George Wilson now is, and always will be. His _Life of
Cavendish_ is admirable as a biography, full of life, of picturesque
touches, and of realization of the man and of his times, and is,
moreover, thoroughly scientific, containing, among other discussions, by
far the best account of the great water controversy from the Cavendish
point of view. His _Life of John Reid_ is a vivid and memorable
presentation to the world of the true lineaments, manner of life, and
inmost thought and heroic sufferings, as well as of the noble scientific
achievements of that strong, truthful, courageous, and altogether
admirable man, and true discoverer—a genuine follower of John Hunter.

_The Five Gateways of Knowledge_ is a prose poem, a hymn of the finest
utterance and fancy—the white light of science diffracted through the
crystalline prism of his mind into the colored glories of the spectrum;
truth dressed in the iridescent hues of the rainbow, and not the less
but all the more true. His other papers in the _British Quarterly_, the
_North British Review_, and his last gem on “Paper, Pens, and Ink,” in
his valued and generous friend Macmillan’s first number of his Magazine,
are all astonishing proofs of the brightness, accuracy, vivacity,
unweariedness of his mind, and the endless sympathy and affectionate
play of his affections with the full round of scientific truth. His
essay on “Color Blindness” is, we believe, as perfect a monogram as
exists, and will remain likely untouched and unadded to, _factum ad
unguem_. As may be seen from these remarks, we regard him not so much
as, like Edward Forbes, a great observer and quiet generalizer, or, like
Samuel Brown, a discoverer and philosopher properly so called—though,
as we have said, he had enough of these two men’s prime qualities to
understand and relish and admire them. His great quality lay in making
men love ascertained and recorded truth, scientific truth especially; he
made his reader and hearer _enjoy facts_. He illuminated the Book of
Nature as they did the missals of old. His nature was so thoroughly
composite, so in full harmony with itself, that no one faculty could or
cared to act without calling in all the others to join in full chorus.
To take an illustration from his own science, his faculties
interpenetrated and interfused themselves into each other, as the gases
do, by a law of their nature. Thus it was that everybody understood and
liked and was impressed by him; he touched him at every point. Knowledge
was to him no barren, cold essence; it was alive and flushed with the
colors of the earth and sky, and all over with light and stars. His
flowers—and his mind was full of flowers—were from seeds, and were
sown by himself. They were neither taken from other gardens and stuck in
rootless, as children do, much less were they of the nature of
gumflowers, made with hands, wretched and dry and scentless.

Truth of science was to him a body, full of loveliness, perfection, and
strength, in which dwelt the unspeakable Eternal. This, which was the
dominant idea of his mind—the goodliness, and not less the godliness of
all science—made his whole life, his every action, every letter he
wrote, every lecture he delivered, his last expiring breath, instinct
with the one constant idea that all truth, all goodness, all science,
all beauty, all gladness are but the expression of the mind and will and
heart of the Great Supreme. And this, in his case, was not mysticism,
neither was it merely a belief in revealed religion, though no man
cherished and believed in his Bible more firmly and cordially than he;
it was the assured belief, on purely scientific grounds, that God is
indeed and in very truth all in all; that, to use the sublime adaptation
by poor crazy Smart, the whole creation, visible and invisible,
spiritual and material, everything that has being, is—to those who have
ears to hear—forever declaring “_Thou Art_,” before the throne of the
Great I AM.

To George Wilson, to all such men—and this is the great lesson of his
life—the heavens are forever telling His glory, the firmament is
forever showing forth His handiwork; day unto day, every day, is forever
uttering speech, and night unto night is showing knowledge concerning
Him. When he considered these heavens, as he lay awake weary and in
pain, they were to him the work of His fingers. The moon, walking in
brightness, and lying in white glory on his bed—the stars—were by Him
ordained. He was a singularly happy, and happy-making man. No one since
his boyhood could have suffered more from pain, and languor, and the
misery of an unable body. Yet he was not only cheerful, he was gay, full
of all sorts of _fun_—genuine fun—and his jokes and queer turns of
thought and word were often worthy of Cowper or Charles Lamb. We wish we
had them collected. Being, from his state of health and his knowledge of
medicine, necessarily “mindful of death,” having the possibility of his
dying any day or any hour, always before him, and “that undiscovered
country” lying full in his view, he must—taking, as he did, the right
notion of the nature of things—have had a peculiar intensity of
pleasure in the every-day beauties of the world.

  “The common sun, the air, the skies,
  To him were opening Paradise.”

They were to him all the more exquisite, all the more altogether lovely,
these Pentlands, and well-known rides and places; these rural solitudes
and pleasant villages and farms, and the countenances of his friends,
and the clear, pure, radiant face of science and of nature, were to him
all the more to be desired and blessed and thankful for, that he knew
the pallid king at any time might give that not unexpected knock, and
summon him away.


If the 15th verse of the fourth chapter of the Epistle to the Galatians,
instead of being taken in a figurative sense, as it generally has been,
be understood literally, it will be found to furnish the means of
determining, with a tolerably near approach to certainty, the particular
nature of the disease under which St. Paul is supposed to have labored,
and which he elsewhere speaks of as the “Thorn in his flesh.” And that
the literal interpretation is the true one, may, I think, be shown,
partly from the general scope of the paragraph to which the 15th verse
belongs; partly from some peculiarities of expression in it, which could
only have been used under an intention that the verse in question should
be taken literally; and partly also from the fact that there are
statements and allusions elsewhere in the New Testament, which assert or
imply, that St. Paul really was affected in the manner here supposed to
be indicated.

“_Brethren, I beseech you_,” says the Apostle, “_be as I am; for I am as
ye are: ye have not injured me at all. Ye know how through infirmity of
the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first. And my temptation
(trial) which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but
received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus._ _Where is then
the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, if it had been
possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them
to me._”

The last words of this passage, “Ye would have plucked out your own
eyes, and have given them to me,” have usually been taken in a
hyperbolical or proverbial sense, as if a merely general meaning was
conveyed, amounting simply to—“There was no sacrifice, however great,
which ye would not have made for me.” But it is plainly open to inquiry,
whether the sense is not of a more special kind; whether (viz.) St. Paul
does not here, as in the preceding verses, intend to remind the
Galatians of pure matter of fact—to recall to them, not in mere general
terms, the depth and warmth of their feelings and professions of regard
for him, but to repeat to them perhaps the very words they had used, and
to revive in their memories the actual and express import of their
desires and anxieties. If this be the case, if it really was a common
and habitual thing with them to express a wish that it were possible for
them to pluck out their own eyes, and to transfer them to the apostle,
the only way of reasonably accounting for so strange and _outré_ a
proceeding, is to suppose that St. Paul actually labored either under
entire deprivation of vision, or under some severely painful and
vexatious disease of the eyes: The meaning being, that so keenly did the
Galatians sympathize with the apostle in his affliction, that they would
willingly have become his substitutes by taking all his suffering upon
themselves, if only it were possible, by doing so to relieve him.

That there is at least no _primâ facie_ objection to this explanation of
the words, will, I think, be readily enough admitted. It is perfectly
simple and unforced, and it conveys a lively and touching representation
of the feelings which would naturally spring up in the minds of a
grateful and warm-hearted people, to their great benefactor and friend,
who, amidst disease, and pain, and weakness, had made the greatest and
most unwearying exertions to communicate to them the invaluable truths
of Christianity.

But, in addition to this, it will be found, I think, that under the
literal interpretation of the 15th verse, a peculiar point and force
belongs to the apostle’s appeal, and a closely connected and harmonious
meaning is imparted to the whole paragraph, all of which, it seems to
me, are lost if the figurative explanation is adhered to. In the
previous part of the chapter, St. Paul had been arguing against the
foolish predilection which the Galatians had taken up for forms and
formalisms and ceremonial observances, and strongly exhorting them to
abandon this pernicious and unchristian propensity. And now, in the
paragraph quoted, he takes up new ground, and appeals to them by the
memory of their old affection for him, to listen to his arguments and
entreaties, and to be of one mind with him. The general meaning of what
he says is plain enough, but there are difficulties of detail, both in
particular expressions, and in the train of thought. The words, for
example, “Be as I am, for I am as ye are,” at once strike the ear as a
peculiar and unusual style to adopt in an invitation to unity of thought
and feeling. But if the last clause of the 15th verse be taken
literally, I think it will appear that this expression has a special
fitness and propriety. The words, “for I am as ye are,” imply a
reference, I imagine, to his being, in respect of his bodily affliction,
_not_ as they were; and what follows is intended to remind them how
anxious they were, when their love to him was fresh, to be “as he was,”
even although it would have been necessary to accept bodily pain and
mutilation to attain that object. If I am correct in thinking the first
clause of the 12th verse, and the last of the 15th, to be thus closely
related and corresponsive, it will be seen that they mutually explain
each other; and the apostle’s argument, as I understand it, may then be
thus stated:—If you were so willing and eager, when I was with you,
even at the cost of plucking out your eyes, to “be as I am,” surely you
will hardly refuse me the same thing now in this other matter, wherein
there is no such difference between us as to raise any impediment in the
way of your compliance, where no such sacrifice as ye were formerly
ready to make is required of you, and where all that is asked from you
is to give up your false opinions and evil practices, and simply “be as
I am” in believing and obeying the truth revealed.

In another respect, the ordinary explanation involves, I think, an
unnatural rupture of the continuity of thought, which is completely
avoided by the literal interpretation of the passage. In the 13th verse,
we find the apostle introducing, in a somewhat formal and special
manner, the subject of his bodily affliction. “Ye know,” he says, “how
through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel to you at the
first.” And it cannot but strike the reader as strange that, after this,
all he should have to say about the matter, is that the Galatians
“despised not nor rejected it.” The very vagueness, and merely negative
character of this expression, excites a sort of instinctive expectation
that he will forthwith proceed to state something more positive and
specific. But instead of this we are taught by the common explanation,
to suppose that an abrupt transition is at once made from the subject of
his “temptation” altogether; the statement about the attachment of the
Galatians, instead of becoming more distinct and special, as we
naturally expect it to do, suddenly merges into the widest possible
generality; and their affection, instead of being described by any
further reference to the facts of its manifestation, is now represented
to us under a strong (it is true) but rather fantastic figure, which
leaves an impression of its character and aspect just as undecided and
imperfect as before.

But a closer examination of the words at once throws doubt on this
conception of their meaning. In the 13th and 14th verses, the associated
ideas are, the apostle’s disease or affliction, and the affectionate
concern of the Galatians with reference to it. In the 15th verse, the
reference to the Galatians’ display of affection is still continued, and
now the idea connected with it is, that of their giving him their
plucked-out eyes. But this is not necessarily a change of association,
for, as already intimated, their plucking out their eyes and giving them
to the apostle, naturally and readily suggests the thought that their
design was, “if it had been possible,” to supply them to him as
substitutes for his own, under the assumption of the latter being
diseased or defective. If this be the reference, then the missing idea
reappears, the lost association is recovered; bodily affliction in the
apostle, and the affection of the Galatians towards him, are still the
connected thoughts, the only change being just what might naturally be
expected to take place as the discourse proceeded, viz.:—that the ideas
are more distinctly developed, and that what was previously alluded to
in general terms, is now, not indeed directly stated, but specifically
indicated and implied. The “temptation” in the one verse, and the
disease hinted by implication in the form assumed by the passionate
sympathy of the Galatians, are therefore identified; and thus, the whole
paragraph, from the 12th to the 15th verse, instead of presenting an
agglomeration of abrupt transitions and disconnected thoughts, evolves a
close, natural, and continuous meaning throughout.

Something more, however, is required than merely to show that the
interpretation which I propose exhibits a better arrangement, and
connection of the thoughts. The apostle may have written in haste, and
that explanation of his meaning which attributes to him imperfect
connectedness, may after all be the correct one. I shall therefore
proceed to inquire whether some further light may not be thrown upon the
subject, by a more minute investigation than I have yet attempted, of
particular words and turns of expression in the passage.

The phrase, “I bear you record,” could only have been used with
propriety in reference to a positive _fact;_ something that the apostle
had actually witnessed. He could not have employed this language in
announcing a mere _inference_ (as the common interpretation would make
it) from the conduct of the Galatians towards him, as to the strength
and extent of their regard; for a man’s testimony can only bear
reference to facts which have actually come under his observation. The
apostle’s language, let it be observed, is not the declaration of a
_belief_ that the Galatians would have plucked out their own eyes in his
behalf, if circumstances had arisen to make such a sacrifice necessary;
it is the announcement of a _testimony_ (μαρτυρῶ), on the assumption
that those circumstances had actually arisen. And the testimony is not
to the effect that the Galatians entertained strong affection to him,
and as a consequence of that affection; that he is assured they would
have plucked out their eyes for him (for these must have been the terms
of his declaration, upon the ordinary understanding of the passage); but
it is direct to the point, that if it had only been possible, “they
would have plucked out their own eyes, and have given them to him.” Such
language, it appears to me, would be absurd, unless we are to understand
by it, that the Galatians had actually expressed a wish, and
demonstrated a desire to perform the very act which the apostle speaks
of! And if so, I think it is obviously necessary to infer that some
circumstance must have existed to give occasion to a wish of so peculiar
a kind, in the minds of those who were attached to the apostle’s person;
and the only circumstance which I can conceive of as calculated to
excite such a wish, is St. Paul’s suffering under some painful affection
of the eyes.

The expression, “if it had been possible,” has also, I think, a peculiar
significance. If the sentence in the 15th verse, beginning, “I bear you
record,” &c., is thoughtfully considered, it will be seen that three
suppositions may be made as to the apostle’s meaning and reference:
_1st_, The language may be understood (as has usually been done) in a
figurative or proverbial sense, and as containing no allusion to any
really existing circumstances; _2d_, It may be taken literally, but with
reference rather to what _might_ happen than to circumstances actually
existing; as if the writer had said, “If I were to lose my eyes, I bear
you record that you would willingly have plucked out yours to supply
their place;” or, _3d_, The words may be understood as giving a plain
matter-of-fact representation of what the Galatians really thought and
felt in reference to the apostle’s bodily affliction. Now, I think it
may be made out quite distinctly that the words “if it had been
possible,” could only have been used under the last of these hypotheses;
for in no other case would the contingency of _possibility_ have
presented itself to the writer’s mind. If, for example, we are to
understand the language as literal, but with reference to the _future_
or _conceivable_, rather than the present or actual, the expression
would obviously have been,—“I bear you record that if it had been
_necessary_” or, “if such a thing had been required of you for my
benefit, ye would have plucked out,” &c.[52] If, on the other hand, we
suppose the language to be figurative or proverbial, no contingency
would have been mentioned at all, for it is characteristic of such
language that it is always absolute and unconditional. For example, in
the expressions, “If thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it
from thee;” “If thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it
from thee;” every one at once recognizes the purely proverbial or
figurative character of the language, and this simply because its form
is absolute and unconditioned. The moment you introduce anything like a
condition, and make the removal of the sinning eye or the offending hand
dependent upon some circumstance, you are compelled to understand the
words according to their strictly literal meaning. Thus, if our Lord,
instead of saying what he did in this case, had used such an expression
as this,—“If thy right hand offend thee, and if the tendency to offend
be insuperable, cut it off;” or, “If thy right eye offend thee, and its
extraction would not endanger life, pluck it out,” it is clear that the
expressions could only have been taken in their strictly literal sense.
So, in the words under review, it is also obvious that the introduction
of the “if it be possible” takes the phrase out of the class of figures
or proverbs, and necessitates its interpretation in a close, literal,
matter-of-fact manner.

   [52] This seems to have been the view taken by Calvin, but with
        that logical acuteness which was characteristic of him, he
        at the same time perceived that it was inaccordant with the
        expression, “if it had been possible.” In his commentary
        upon the passage, therefore, he substitutes “_si opus sit_”
        for the apostle’s words; thus, of course, assuming that St.
        Paul had adopted an inapt phrase to express his meaning. But
        I need scarcely say that such a mode of interpretation is
        altogether inadmissible, the only legitimate rule being to
        take the words of the text as they stand, and thence to
        infer the circumstances or conditions under which they were

Perhaps a slight incident which lately occurred in my presence will
better illustrate what I wish to convey than any elaborate exposition
could do. One day, a poor simple-hearted married couple, from the
country, called on a medical friend of mine, to consult him about a
complaint in the eyes of the husband, which seemed to threaten him with
total blindness. The wife entered at great length into all the symptoms
of the complaint, and was extremely voluble in her expressions of
sympathy and of anxiety that something should be done to remove the
disease. It was difficult to repress a smile at the scene, and yet it
was touching too; and the doctor, looking in the old woman’s honest
affectionate face, quietly said, “I suppose you would give him one of
your own eyes, _if you could_:” “That I would, sir,” was the immediate
answer. Now, it is clear that my friend’s words could only have been
used under the particular circumstances which called them forth. Had the
affection of the old woman been exhibited upon some other occasion than
her husband’s threatened blindness, he _might_ have said (though, of
course, the allusion to eyes at all would not very naturally or probably
have suggested itself), “I suppose you would give him one of your own
eyes _if he required it_,” but he could never have used the words, “_if
you could_.” The application of this to the language used by St. Paul is
sufficiently obvious.

Another expression in this paragraph seems to me still further to
discriminate the nature of the complaint under which St. Paul suffered.
I mean the words, “and have given them to me.” Admitting that the
Galatians might, under other circumstances than diseased vision in the
apostle, have thought of such a way of demonstrating their affection to
him as plucking out their own eyes, I cannot imagine how the notion of
“giving them to him” could ever have occurred to them, unless his organs
of sight were in such a state of disease as in the natural association
of ideas to give rise to this vain and fanciful wish. For the very fact
of its being thus vain, fanciful, and far-fetched, makes it necessary to
assume that there were some peculiar circumstances in the case to
occasion a thought so odd and out of the way. If the language had really
been what it has so generally been supposed to be—figurative or
proverbial—I can conceive the apostle putting it in this way, “Ye would
have plucked out your own eyes _for me_,” or, “_to show the strength of
your affection for me_;” but it seems to me that it is absurd and
unmeaning to say, “_and have given them to me_”, unless under the idea
of such giving being of some service to the apostle, as a kindly fancy
would naturally dwell upon the thought of its being, if St. Paul’s own
eyes were injured or destroyed. And, further, we are compelled, I think,
to conclude that the idea of _substitution_ is conveyed by the word
“given,” from this fact, that the clause, “if it had been possible,” has
actually no meaning at all, unless it is to be understood as referring
to the supposed attempt of the apostle to make use of the Galatians’
eyes. It is clear that the writer could not have used the words, “if it
had been possible” in reference to the “plucking out,” because _there_
the obstacle of impossibility did not present itself; there was nothing
to hinder the Galatians from plucking out their eyes if they had been so
disposed. Neither could the reference have been to “giving” in the
simple sense of that word; if they could pluck out their eyes there was
no impossibility in merely _giving_ them to the apostle. The only thing
about the possibility of which there could be any question was their
being _so_ given—_so_ made over to him as to be of any service as
substitutes for his own.

One other expression in the paragraph still requires to be noticed, but
I must defer alluding to it until I have referred to some other points
which seem to me to have a bearing upon the question. In the mean time,
having thus shown how exactly the whole of the language of this passage
tallies with the idea of the apostle having been affected with some
distressing complaint in his eyes, it is surely very remarkable to
learn, from a totally different source, that St. Paul actually had at
one period of his life lost the power of vision. I allude, of course, to
what is recorded, in the ninth chapter of Acts, of the strange
occurrence which took place when he was on his way to Damascus. And
although we are informed that he shortly afterwards recovered his sight,
it is obvious that this is quite compatible with the existence of much
remaining disease and imperfection of vision. Indeed, I am not sure but
his own language in giving an account of the extraordinary event
actually favors the idea that the miraculous cure effected by Ananias
went barely to the restoration of sight, and did not amount to a
complete removal of the injury which his eyes had sustained. In his
address to the Jews at Jerusalem, when he stood upon the stairs of the
castle (Acts xxii. 13), all that he says is, “Ananias came unto me and
stood and said unto me, Brother Saul, receive thy sight. And the same
hour _I looked up upon him_.” In Acts ix. 18, the words are,
“Immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales, and he
received sight forthwith.” In neither passage at least is there anything
inconsistent with the idea that his eyes, though they had not lost the
power of vision, may yet have been seriously and perhaps permanently
injured. And although it is perhaps scarcely legitimate to bring it
forward as an argument for the view which I have adopted, yet it is
impossible to overlook the fact that a most important end was served by
the apostle’s eyes being permitted to retain the marks of disease and
severe injury, for a standing proof was thus afforded to the Church and
to the world that the extraordinary vision, so confirmatory of the truth
of our holy religion, was not, as some might otherwise have been
inclined to think it, a vain fancy of the apostle’s own mind. Often, no
doubt, when St. Paul told of that remarkable meeting with the Lord
Jesus, he was met by the reply, “‘Paul, thou art beside thyself;’
delusion, a heated imagination, has deceived and betrayed you.” But he
had only to point to his branded, half-quenched orbs, and to ask the
objectors if mental hallucinations were accustomed to produce such
effects on the bodily frame. To such a question there could obviously be
no answer And if the objectors were satisfied of the apostle’s veracity
in alleging the one thing to be the effect of the other, it was hardly
possible for them to gainsay the claim of a Divine origin for

This hypothesis as to the _cause_ and _occasion_ of St. Paul’s
infirmity, receives from another part of Scripture, where allusion is
made to it, a somewhat remarkable confirmation. In the 12th chapter of
Second Corinthians, it cannot, I think, after what I have just stated,
but be regarded as very singular that the “thorn in the flesh” is
mentioned in immediate connection with “visions and revelations of the
Lord.” The ordinary idea, indeed, has been that this connection is
merely incidental; but a little consideration, I think, will show that
this cannot be the case. In the 7th verse he says, “And lest I should be
exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there
was given to me a thorn in the flesh,” &c. Now, I contend that unless
there was some such intimate relation between the thorn in the flesh and
the revelations in question, as that of the one being immediately
occasioned by the other, the humbling effect here attributed to the
bodily infirmity could not have been produced on the apostle’s mind,
because the cause assigned would have been unsuitable and inadequate to
such an effect. It is true that every affliction, bodily or otherwise,
has a tendency to produce a feeling of humiliation, but it does so only
in so far as it cuts away the ground on which we are disposed to build
up matter of pride or boasting. If a man is proud of his strength or
personal beauty, it would humble him to lose a limb, or to have his
features disfigured by loathsome disease. But these afflictions would
not produce the same effect if they befell another person who valued
himself exclusively upon his learning and mental endowments. The pride
of learning and of intellect would, in such a case, remain as strong as
ever. Accordingly we find that deformed persons, so far from being
distinguished by the grace of humility, are very frequently rather
remarkable for the opposite characteristics of vanity and self-conceit;
so natural is it for the mind to take refuge from what tends to produce
a sense of degradation, in something that the humbling stroke does not
directly smite. It does not, therefore, distinctly appear, in any
explanation of St. Paul’s affliction which would refer it to disease of
an ordinary kind, how it should have had the effect which he attributes
to it,—that of preventing him from being unduly exalted by the
abundance of the revelations made to him. But when it is pointed out
that his affliction was the immediate consequence of his close
intercourse with Deity, the relation of the two things assumes an
entirely different aspect, and a sufficient cause of humiliation
appears. For, if at any time the apostle was disposed to glorify himself
on his superiority to his fellow-men, and on being the peculiar favorite
and friend of God, his real insignificance, and the infinite distance
that lay between him and the Divine Being, must have been sent home with
irresistible power to his mind, by the recollection that the mere sight
of that terrible majesty had struck him to the ground, and had left an
ever-during brand of pain and disfigurement on his person. I shall just
add, that in Second Corinthians xii. 7, the words, τῇ ὑπερβολῇ τῶν
ἀποκαλυψέων may with quite as much propriety be construed with ἐδόθη μοι
σκόλοψ τῇ σαρκὶ, as with ἵνα μὴ ὑπεραίρωμαι; the meaning being thus
given,—“and that I might not be exalted, a thorn in the flesh [caused]
by the exceeding greatness (for this rather than ‘abundance’ seems to me
the proper translation of ὑπερβολῇ) of the revelations, was given me.”

If the account I have thus given of the connection between St. Paul’s
“thorn in the flesh,” and the visions or revelations with which he was
favored, be the correct one, we are now furnished with the means of
explaining a somewhat obscure expression in the 14th verse of the fourth
chapter of Galatians, to which I promised to return: “And my trial which
was in my flesh, ye despised not, nor _rejected_.” If we are compelled
to abide by the belief, that St. Paul’s “trial” was merely some bodily
affliction of the ordinary kind, we can understand the meaning of his
saying that the Galatians did not “despise” it (although, by the way, it
seems rather a microscopic basis on which to found a laudation of a body
of Christian men and women, to say that they were so good as not to
despise him on account of a natural bodily infirmity), but it is
impossible, on this assumption, to attach any consistent sense to the
word “_rejected_.” It has, therefore, been taken as simply synonymous
with “despise,” an interpretation which is objectionable, both because
it is at variance with the well-ascertained meaning of the Greek word
ἐξεπτύσατε (spit _out_, not spit _at_), and also because it involves
the imputation of needless tautology to St. Paul’s language, from which,
almost more than from any other fault of style, the whole of his
writings prove him to be singularly free. But if my explanation of the
nature of the apostle’s trial be the true one, every word of the
sentence has a clear and intelligible meaning. St. Paul came among the
Galatians proclaiming to them the glad truth, that Jesus Christ was
risen from the dead. How did he know it? Because he himself had seen him
alive after his passion, “when he came near to Damascus.” Was he quite
sure that the vision was not a dream, or a delusion? He pointed to his
eyes in proof that it was a great certainty, a terrible as well as
joyous reality. And this evidence the Galatians “despised not, nor

This explanation of the reference of “rejected,” has also the advantage
of removing a difficulty which has hitherto been felt in the translation
of the preceding verse. It is there said, “Ye know how through infirmity
of the flesh I preached,” &c. Now, it so happens, that the Greek words
δι’ ἀσθένειαν, cannot, in accordance with the common usage of the
language, be translated “through” (in the sense of _during_)
“infirmity.” Had this been the meaning which the apostle intended to
convey, he would have used the genitive δἰ ἀσθένείας. With the
accusative, the reference of διὰ is generally found to be to the
instrument, ground, or cause of anything, and its meaning is—by, on
account of, by means of, on the ground of, &c.[53] The literal and
strictly correct translation of St. Paul’s words, therefore, is: “By the
infirmity of my flesh, I proclaimed to you the good news,” _i. e._, I
adduced the fact of my bodily affliction, as giving indisputable
evidence of the truth which I told you about the resurrection and
exaltation of Jesus Christ, and this evidence “ye despised not, nor
rejected.” Thus, not only a specific meaning is attached to the word
“rejected,” but a much more close, distinct, and consistent sense is
given to the whole passage, than upon any other understanding of the
reference it could possess.

   [53] See Robinson’s _Lexicon to the New Testament_, _sub voce_ διὰ.

There are one or two other passages in St. Paul’s Epistles, in which
reference, I think, is implied to this subject of his bodily affliction,
and all of them seem to me to afford incidentally some confirmation of
the particular view of the matter which I have endeavored to establish.
At the close of the Epistle to the Galatians (chap. vi. verse 11), we
find him saying, “Ye see how large a letter I have written to you with
my own hand.” Now, the letter is not a very large one; on the contrary,
it is one of the shorter of the apostle’s productions. And, then, why
should he take credit for having written it with his own hand? Under
ordinary circumstances, it would scarcely occur to any one in the habit
of writing at all, to speak of this as any remarkable achievement. But,
if the Galatians knew him to be laboring under impaired vision, and
perhaps severe pain in his eyes, the words are peculiarly significant,
and could not fail to make a touching impression on the quick, impulsive
temperament, so vividly alive to anything outward, of the Celtic tribe
to which they were addressed. And thus too, we obtain an explanation of
what would otherwise be rather unaccountable, how a man of St. Paul’s
active habits, and whom we have difficulty in conceiving of as
accustomed in anything to have recourse to superfluous ministrations,
seems to have almost uniformly employed an amanuensis in writing to the
various churches.[54]

   [54] It has been suggested to me that the state of St. Paul’s
        eyesight might also furnish an explanation of his mistake in
        not recognizing the High Priest, which is recorded in Acts
        xxiii. 5, and about which some difficulty has been felt by
        commentators. One can picture the great apostle, who was a
        thorough gentleman, stretching forward, and shading his
        eyes, to see better, and saying, “Pardon me, I did not see
        it was the High Priest.” “I wist not.”

Again, at the very conclusion of the Epistle, we have what I cannot help
regarding as another allusion to his affliction: “From henceforth let no
man trouble me; for I bear in my body the _marks of the Lord Jesus_.” It
has been customary to regard these words as referring to the marks of
scourging, stoning, &c., which had been imprinted on the apostle’s body
by the enemies of the gospel, in the course of the persecutions to which
he had been subjected in consequence of his firm adherence to the faith.
But though the fact of his having undergone severe persecution was a
strong proof of his _sincerity_, it was no proof at all of his bearing
any _authority_ over the Galatians. Yet this is what he must be
understood as asserting here. And I cannot help thinking, that the
words, “marks of the Lord Jesus,” are chosen with a reference to that
relationship which was established between St. Paul and his Master and
Lord, on the occasion of that extraordinary meeting on the way to
Damascus, for it was then he received his commission to bear Christ’s
name to the Gentiles. Στίγματα were the brands with which slaves were
marked in order to prove their ownership. So, if I am right in my
understanding of the meaning of the word here, the apostle intends to
intimate that the blasting effect produced on his eyes by the glory of
that light, constituted the _brand_ which attested his being the servant
(δοῦλος) of Jesus Christ, and of his being commissioned by him to
communicate to others the truth of the gospel. This gives a force and
fulness of meaning which corresponds exactly with the peculiar energy of
the expression, while, according to any ordinary explanation of the
passage, it seems rather to be strong language used without any adequate
occasion for it.[55]

   [55] It may be worth mentioning here, that an opinion prevails in
        the Roman Catholic Church, that persons who have been
        favored with Divine visions, or to whom God wishes to give a
        token of his peculiar love, are frequently marked by what
        are specifically called _stigmas_. I have not met with any
        account of the grounds on which this opinion is founded: but
        the _stigmas_ are explained to be the marks of the Saviour’s
        five wounds. It is very likely that the notion is nothing
        more than a fantastic and superstitious explanation of the
        passage in Galatians vi. 17. But it is not altogether
        impossible that it may be the faint and imperfect echo of
        some early tradition in the Church as to the physical effect
        produced upon St. Paul by Christ’s miraculous appearance to
        him near Damascus. Whatever be its origin, the existence of
        such an opinion is not without a certain degree of curiosity
        and interest.

I think the circumstance of the expression, “marks of the Lord Jesus,”
occurring just where it does, at the close of the Epistle, is worthy of
remark. From what he says at the 11th verse of the same chapter (“Ye see
how large a letter I have written to you with my own hand”) it is
obvious that, to whatever cause it is to be attributed, the act of
writing was one of considerable effort to the apostle. His zeal, and
anxiety, and Christian affection, however, had borne him up, and carried
him through with his task. But just as he was concluding, I imagine that
he began to feel that the effort he had made was greater than his
infirmity was well able to bear. If my idea as to the nature of that
infirmity be correct, his weak, diseased eyes were burning and smarting
more than ordinarily, from the unusual exertion that had been demanded
from them; and this, at once leading his mind to what had been the cause
of that exertion, the misconduct of the Galatians and their teachers,
naturally wrung from him an assertion of his authority, in the impetuous
and reproachful, but at the same time deeply pathetic exclamation: “From
henceforth let no man trouble me, for I bear in my body the marks of the
Lord Jesus.” And so he concludes his Epistle.

In pursuing the above inquiry, certain further conclusions, naturally
flowing out of what I have attempted to establish, and yet involving
results considerably remote from it, have presented themselves to my
thoughts. I am inclined to regard them as calculated in some degree to
simplify the mode of presenting the Christian scheme to the mind, and to
impart to its claims upon the understanding and belief more of logical
directness, and less of the liability to evasion, than appear to me to
characterize some of the more ordinary modes of its presentation. But I
must leave the development of this, the most interesting, as I think,
and important part of my subject, to some future opportunity, should it
be granted me.


                … “_If thou wert grim,
  Lame, ugly, crooked, swart, prodigious._”

                                      KING JOHN.

These gnarled, stunted, useless old bones, were all that David Ritchie,
the original of the Black Dwarf, had for left _femur_ and _tibia_, and
we have merely to look at them and add poverty, to know the misery
summed up in their possession. They seem to have been blighted and
rickety. The thigh-bone is very short and slight, and singularly loose
in texture; the leg-bone is dwarfed, but dense and stout. They were
given to me many years ago by the late Andrew Ballantyne, Esq. of
Woodhouse (the Wudess, as they call it on Tweedside), and their
genuineness is unquestionable.

As anything must be interesting about one once so forlorn and miserable,
and whom our great wizard has made immortal, I make no apology for
printing the following letters from my old friend Mr. Craig, long
surgeon in Peebles, and who is now spending his evening, after a long,
hard, and useful day’s work, in the quiet vale of Manor, within a mile
or two of “Cannie Elshie’s” cottage. The picture he gives is very
affecting, and should make us all thankful that we are “wiselike.” There
is much that is additional to Sir Walter’s account, in his “Author’s
Edition” of the Waverley Novels.

                              “HALL MANOR, _Thursday, May 20, 1858._

    “MY DEAR SIR,—David Ritchie, _alias_ Bowed Davie, was born at
    Easter Happrew, in the parish of Stobo, in the year 1741. He was
    brought to Woodhouse, in the parish of Manor, when very young.
    His father was a laborer, and occupied a cottage on that farm;
    his mother, Anabel Niven, was a delicate woman, severely
    afflicted with rheumatism, and could not take care of him when
    an infant. To this cause he attributed his deformity, and this,
    if added to imperfect clothing, and bad food, and poverty, will
    account for the grotesque figure which he became. He never was
    at school, but could read tolerably; had many books; was fond of
    poetry, especially Allan Ramsay; he hated Burns. His father and
    mother both died early, and poor Davie became a homeless
    wanderer; he was two years at Broughton Mill, employed in
    stirring the husks of oats, which were used for drying the corn
    on the kiln, and required to be kept constantly in motion; he
    boasted, with a sort of rapture, of his doings there. From
    thence he went to Lyne’s Mill, near his birth-place, where he
    continued one year at the same employment, and from thence he
    was sent to Edinburgh to learn brush-making, but made no
    progress in his education there; was annoyed by the wicked boys,
    or _keelies_, as he called them, and found his way back to Manor
    and Woodhouse. The farm now possessed by Mr. Ballantyne, was
    then occupied by four tenants, among whom he lived; but his
    house was at Old Woodhouse, where the late Sir James Nasmyth
    built him a house with two apartments, and separate outer doors,
    one for himself exactly his own height when standing upright in
    it; and this stands as it was built, exactly four feet. A Mr.
    Ritchie, the father of the late minister of Athelstaneford, was
    then tenant; his wife and Davie could not agree, and she
    repeatedly asked her husband to put him away, by making the
    highest stone of his house the lowest. Ritchie left, his house
    was pulled down, and Davie triumphed in having the stones of his
    chimney-top made a step to his door, when this new house was
    built. He was not a little vindictive at times when irritated,
    especially when any allusion was made to his deformity. On one
    occasion, he and some other boys were stealing pease in Mr.
    Gibson’s field, who then occupied Woodhouse; all the others took
    _leg-bail_, but Davie’s locomotion being tardy, he was caught,
    shaken, and scolded by Gibson for all the rest. This he never
    forgot, and vowed to be avenged on the “auld sinner and deevil;”
    and one day when Gibson was working about his own door, Davie
    crept up to the top of the house, which was low, and threw a
    large stone down on his head, which brought the old man to the
    ground. Davie crept down the other side of the house, got into
    bed beside his mother, and it was never known where the stone
    came from, till he boasted of it long afterwards. He only prayed
    that it might sink down through his “_harn-pan_” (his skull).
    His personal appearance seems to have been almost indescribable,
    not bearing any likeness to anything in this upper world. But as
    near as I can learn, his forehead was very narrow and low,
    sloping upwards and backward, something of the hatchet shape;
    his eyes deep set, small, and piercing; his nose straight, thin
    as the end of a cut of cheese, sharp at the point, nearly
    touching his fearfully projecting chin; and his mouth formed
    nearly a straight line; his shoulders rather high, but his body
    otherwise the size of ordinary men; his arms were remarkably
    strong. With very little aid he built a high garden wall, which
    still stands, many of the stones of huge size; these the
    shepherds laid to his directions. His legs beat all power of
    description; they were bent in every direction, so that Mungo
    Park, then a surgeon at Peebles, who was called to operate on
    him for strangulated hernia, said he could compare them to
    nothing but a pair of corkscrews; but the principal turn they
    took was from the knee outwards, so that he rested on his inner
    ankles, and the lower part of his tibias.

      ‘An’ his knotted knees play’d aye knoit between.’

    “He had never a shoe on his feet; the parts on which he walked
    were rolled in rags, old stockings, &c., but the toes always
    bare, even in the most severe weather. His mode of progressing
    was as extraordinary as his shape. He carried a long pole, or
    ‘kent,’ like the Alpenstock, tolerably polished, with a turned
    top on it, on which he rested, placed it before him, he then
    lifted one leg, something in the manner that the oar of a boat
    is worked, and then the other, next advanced his staff, and
    repeated the operation, by diligently doing which he was able to
    make not very slow progress. He frequently walked to Peebles,
    four miles, and back again, in one day. His arms had no motion
    at the elbow-joints, but were active enough otherwise. He was
    not generally ill-tempered, but furious when roused.

                                                     “ROBERT CRAIG.”

                                       “HALL MANOR, _June 15, 1858._

    “MY DEAR SIR,—I have delayed till now to finish Bowed Davie, in
    the hope of getting more information, and to very little
    purpose. His contemporaries are now so few, old, and widely
    scattered, that they are difficult to be got at, and when come
    at, their memories are failed, like their bodies. I have
    forgotten at what stage of his history I left off; but if I
    repeat, you can omit the repetitions. Sir James Nasmyth, late of
    Posso, took compassion on the houseless, homeless _lusus
    naturæ_, and had a house built for him to his own directions;
    the door, window, and everything to suit his diminished,
    grotesque form; the door four feet high, the window twelve by
    eighteen inches, without glass, closed by a wooden board, hung
    on leathern hinges, which he used to keep shut. Through it he
    reconnoitred all visitors, and only admitted ladies and
    particular favorites; he was very superstitious; ghosts,
    fairies, and robbers he dreaded most. I have forgotten if I
    mentioned how he contrived to be fed and warmed. He had a small
    allowance from the parish poor-box, about fifty shillings; this
    was eked out by an annual peregrination through the parish, when
    some gave him food, others money, wool, &c., which he hoarded
    most miserly. How he cooked his food I have not been able to
    learn, for his sister, who lived in the same cottage with him,
    was separated by a stone and lime wall, and had a separate door
    of the usual size, and window to match, and was never allowed to
    enter his dwelling; but he brought home such loads, that the
    shepherds had to be on the lookout for him, when on his annual
    eleemosynary expeditions, to carry home part of his spoil. On
    one occasion a servant was ordered to give him some salt, for
    containing which he carried a long stocking; he thought the
    damsel had scrimped him in quantity, and he sat and distended
    the stocking till it appeared less than half full, by pressing
    down the salt, and then called for the gudewife, showed it her,
    and asked if she had ordered Jenny only to give him that wee
    pickle saut; the maid was scolded, and the stocking filled. He
    spent all his evenings at the back of the Woodhouse kitchen
    fire, and got at least one meal every day, where he used to make
    the rustics gape and stare at the many ghost, fairy, and robber
    stories which he had either heard of or invented, and poured out
    with unceasing volubility, and so often that he believed them
    all true. But the Ballantyne family had no great faith in his
    veracity, when it suited his convenience to fib, exaggerate, or
    prevaricate, particularly when excited by his own lucubrations,
    or the waggery of his more intellectual neighbors and
    companions. He had a seat in the centre, which he always
    occupied, and a stool for his deformed feet and legs; they all
    rose at times, asking Davie to do likewise, and when he got upon
    his pins, he was shorter than when sitting, his body being of
    the ordinary length, and the deficiency all in his legs. On one
    occasion, a wag named Elder put up a log of wood opposite his
    loophole, made a noise, and told Davie that the robbers he
    dreaded so much were now at his house, and would not go away; he
    peeped out, and saw the log, exclaimed, ‘So he is, by the Lord
    God and my soul; Willie Elder, gi’e me the gun, and see that she
    is weel charged.’ Elder put in a very large supply of powder
    without shot, rammed it hard, got a stool, which Davie mounted,
    Elder handing him the gun, charging him to take time, and aim
    fair, for if he missed him, he would be mad at being shot at, be
    sure to come in, take everything in the house, cut their
    throats, and burn the house after. Davie tremblingly obeyed,
    presented the gun slowly and cautiously, drew the trigger; off
    went the shot, the musket rebounded, and back went Davie with a
    rattle on the floor. Some accomplice tumbled the log; Davie at
    length was encouraged to look out, and actually believed that he
    had shot the robber; said he had done for him now, ‘that ane wad
    plague him nae mair at ony rate.’ He took it into his head at
    one time that he ought to be married, and having got the consent
    of a haverel wench to yoke with him in the silken bonds of
    matrimony, went to the minister several times, and asked him to
    perform the ceremony. At length the minister sent him away,
    saying that he could not and would not accommodate him in the
    matter. Davie swung himself out at the door on his kent, much
    crestfallen, and in great wrath, shutting the door with a bang
    behind him, but opening it again, he shook his clenched fist in
    the parson’s face, and said, ‘Weel, weel, ye’ll no let decent,
    honest folk marry; but, ’od, lad, I’se plenish your parish wi’
    bastards, to see what ye’ll mak o’ that,’ and away he went. He
    read Hooke’s _Pantheon_, and made great use of the heathen
    deities. He railed sadly at the taxes; some one observed that he
    need not grumble at them as he had none to pay. ‘Hae I no’?’ he
    replied, ‘I can neither get a pickle snuff to my neb, nor a
    pickle tea to my mouth, but they maun tax ’t.’ His sister and he
    were on very unfriendly terms. She was ill on one occasion; Miss
    Ballantyne asked how she was to-day. He replied, ‘I dinna ken, I
    ha’na been in, for I hate folk that are aye gaun to dee and
    never do’t,’ In 1811 he was seized with obstruction of the
    bowels and consequent inflammation; blisters and various
    remedies were applied for three days without effect. Some one
    came to Mrs. Ballantyne and said that it was ‘just about a’ owre
    wi’ Davie noo.’ She went, and he breathed his last almost
    immediately. His sister without any delay, got his keys, and
    went to his secret repository, Mrs. Ballantyne thought to get
    dead-clothes, but instead, to the amazement of all present, she
    threw three money-bags, one after another, into Mrs.
    Ballantyne’s lap, telling her to count that, and that, and that.
    Mrs. B. was annoyed and astonished at the multitude of
    half-crowns and shillings, all arranged according to value. He
    hated sixpences, and had none, but the third contained four
    guineas in gold. Mrs. B. was disgusted with the woman’s greed,
    and put them all up, saying, what would anybody think if they
    came in and found them counting the man’s money and his breath
    scarcely out,—took it all home to her husband, who made out £4
    2_s._ in gold, £10 in a bank receipt, and £7 18_s._ in
    shillings and half-crowns, in all £22. How did he get this? He
    had many visitors, the better class of whom gave him
    half-crowns, others shillings and sixpences; the latter he never
    kept, but converted them into shillings and half-crowns whenever
    he got an opportunity. I asked the wright how he got him into a
    coffin. He replied, ‘Easily; they made it deeper than ordinary,
    and wider, so as to let in his distorted legs, as it was
    impossible to streek him like others.’ He often expressed a
    resolve to be buried on the Woodhill top, three miles up the
    water from the church-yard, as he could never ‘lie amang the
    common trash;’ however, this was not accomplished, as his
    friend, Sir James Nasmyth, who had promised to carry this wish
    into effect, was on the Continent at the time. When Sir James
    returned, he spoke of having his remains lifted and buried where
    he had wished; but this was never done, and the expense of a
    railing and plantation of rowan-trees (mountain ash), his
    favorite prophylactic against the spells of witches and fairies,
    was abandoned. The Woodhill is a romantic, green little mount,
    situated at the west side of the Manor, which washes its base on
    the east, and separates it from Langhaugh heights, part of a
    lofty, rocky, and heathery mountain range, and on the west is
    the ruin of the ancient peel-house of old Posso, long the
    residence of the Nasmyth family. And now that we have the Dwarf
    dead and buried, comes the history of his resurrection in 1821.
    His sister died exactly ten years after him. A report had been
    spread that he had been lifted and taken to dissecting-rooms in
    Glasgow, which at that period was the fate of many a more seemly
    corpse than Davie’s; and the young men—for Manor had no
    sexton—who dug the sister’s grave in the vicinity of her
    brother’s, stimulated by curiosity to see if his body had really
    been carried off, and if still there what his bones were like,
    lifted them up, and carried them to Woodhouse, where they lay a
    considerable time, till they were sent to Mr. Ballantyne, then
    in Glasgow. Miss Ballantyne thinks the skull was taken away with
    the other bones, but put back again. I have thus given you all
    the information I can gather about the Black Dwarf that I think
    worth narrating. It is reported that he sometimes sold a gill,
    but if this is true the Ballantynes never knew it. Miss
    Ballantyne says that he was not ill-tempered, but on the
    contrary, kind, especially to children. She and her brother were
    very young when she went to Woodhouse, and her father objected
    to resetting the farm from Sir James, on account of the fearful
    accounts of his horrid temper and barbarous deeds, and Sir James
    said if he ever troubled them that he would immediately put him
    away; but he was very fond of the younger ones, played with
    them, and amused them, though when roused and provoked by
    grown-up people, he raged, stormed, swore terrifically, and
    struck with anything that was near him, in short, he had an
    irritable but not a sulky, sour, misanthropic temper. The
    Messrs. Chambers wrote a book about him and his doings at a very
    early period of their literary history. Did I tell you of a
    female relative, Niven (whom he would never see), saying that
    she would come and streek him after he died? He sent word, ‘that
    if she offered to touch his corpse he would rive the thrapple
    oot o’ her—he would raither be streekit by Auld Clootie’s ain
    red-het hands.’—Yours, truly obliged,                    R. C.”

This poor, vindictive, solitary, and powerful creature, was a
philocalist: he had a singular love of flowers and of beautiful women.
He was a sort of Paris, to whom the blushing Aphrodites of the glen used
to come, and his judgment is said to have been as good, as the world
generally thinks that of Oenone’s handsome and faithless mate. His
garden was full of the finest flowers, and it was his pleasure, when the
young beauties

  “Who bore the blue sky intermixed with flame
  In their fair eyes,”

came to him for their competitive examination, to scan them well, and
then, without one word, present each with a flower, which was of a
certain fixed and well-known value in Davie’s standard _calimeter_.

I have heard that there was one kind of rose, his καλλιστεῖον, which
he was known to have given only to three, and I remember seeing one of
the three, when she was past seventy. Margaret Murray, or Morra, was her
maiden name, and this fine old lady, whom an Oxonian would call a Double
First, grave and silent, and bent with “the pains,” when asked by us
children, would, with some reluctance, and a curious grave smile,
produce out of her Bible, Bowed Davie’s withered and flattened rose; and
from her looks, even then, I was inclined to affirm the decision of the
connoisseur of Manor Water. One can fancy the scene in that sweet
solitary valley, informed like its sister Yarrow with pastoral
melancholy, with a young May, bashful and eager, presenting herself for
honors, encountering from under that penthouse of eyebrows the steady
gaze of the strange eldritch creature; and then his making up his mind,
and proceeding to pluck his award and present it to her, “herself a
fairer flower,” and then turning with a scowl, crossed with a look of
tenderness, crawl into his den. Poor “gloomy Dis,” slinking in alone.

They say, that when the candidate came, he surveyed her from his window,
his eyes gleaming out of the darkness, and if he liked her not he
disappeared; if he would entertain her, he beckoned her into the garden.

I have often thought that the _Brownie_, of whom the south country
legends are so full, must have been some such misshapen creature,
strong, willing, and forlorn, conscious of his hideous forbidding looks,
and ready to purchase affection at any cost of labor, with a kindly
heart, and a longing for human sympathy and intercourse. Such a being
looks like the prototype of the Aiken-Drum of our infancy, and of that
“drudging goblin,” of whom we all know how he

    “… Sweat
  To earn his cream-bowl daily set,
  When in one night, ere glimpse of morn,
  His shadowy flail hath thresh’d the corn,
  That ten day lab’rers could not end;
  Then lies him down, the lubber[56] fiend,
  And stretch’d out all the chimney’s length,
  Basks at the fire his hairy strength,
  And cropful out of doors he flings,
  Ere the first cock his matin rings.”

   [56] Lob-lye-by-the-fire.

My readers will, I am sure, more than pardon me for giving them the
following poem on Aiken-Drum, for the pleasure of first reading which,
many years ago, I am indebted to Mr. R. Chambers’s _Popular Rhymes of
Scotland_, where its “extraordinary merit” is generously acknowledged.


  There cam’ a strange wicht to our town-en’,
  An’ the fient a body did him ken;
  He tirl’d na lang, but he glided ben
      Wi’ a dreary, dreary hum.

  His face did glow like the glow o’ the west,
  When the drumlie cloud has it half o’ercast;
  Or the struggling moon when she’s sair distrest,
      O sirs! ’twas Aiken-drum.

  I trow the bauldest stood aback,
  Wi’ a gape an’ a glow’r till their lugs did crack,
  As the shapeless phantom mum’ling spak,
      Hae ye wark for Aiken-drum!

  O! had ye seen the bairns’ fricht,
  As they stared at this wild and unyirthly wicht,
  As they skulkit in ’tween the dark an’ the licht,
      An’ graned out, Aiken-drum!

  “Sauf us!” quoth Jock, “d’ye see sick e’en?”
  Cries Kate, “There’s a hole where a nose should ha’ been;
  An’ the mouth’s like a gash that a horn had ri’en;
      Wow! keep’s frae Aiken-drum!”

  The black dog growlin’ cow’red his tail,
  The lassie swarf’d, loot fa’ the pail;
  Rob’s lingle brack as he mendit the flail,
      At the sicht o’ Aiken-drum.

  His matted head on his breast did rest,
  A lang blue beard wan’ered down like a vest;
  But the glare o’ his e’e hath nae bard exprest,
      Nor the skimes o’ Aiken-drum.

  Roun’ his hairy form there was naething seen,
  But a philabeg o’ the rashes green,
  An’ his knotted knees play’d aye knoit between;
      What a sicht was Aiken-drum!

  On his wauchie arms three claws did meet,
  As they trail’d on the grim’ by his taeless feet;
  E’en the auld gudeman himsel’ did sweat,
      To look at Aiken-drum.

  But he drew a score, himsel’ did sain,
  The auld wife tried, but her tongue was gane;
  While the young ane closer clespit her wean,
      And turn’d frae Aiken-drum.

  But the canty auld wife cam till her braith,
  And she thocht the Bible micht ward aif scaith;
  Be it benshee, bogle, ghaist, or wraith—
      But it fear’d na Aiken-drum.

  “His presence protect us!” quoth the auld gudeman;
  “What wad ye, whare won ye,—by sea or by lan’?
  I conjure ye—speak—by the Beuk in my han’!”
      What a grane gae Aiken-drum!

  “I lived in a lan’ whare we saw nae sky,
  I dwalt in a spot whare a burn rins na by;
  But I’se dwall noo wi’ you if ye like to try—
      Hae ye wark for Aiken drum?

  “I’ll shiel a’ your sheep i’ the mornin’ sune,[57]
  I’ll berry your crap by the licht o’ the moon,
  An’ ba the bairns wi’ an unkenn’d tune,
      If ye’ll keep puir Aiken-drum.

  “I’ll loup the linn when ye canna wade,
  I’ll kirn the kirn, an’ I’ll turn the bread;
  An’ the wildest fillie that e’er ran rede
      I’se tame’t,’ quoth Aiken-drum!

  “To wear the tod frae the flock on the fell—
  To gather the dew frae the heather-bell—
  An’ to look at my face in your clear crystal well,
      Micht gie pleasure to Aiken-drum.

  “I’se seek nae guids, gear, bond, nor mark;
  I use nae beddin’, shoon, nor sark;
  But a cogfu’ o’ brose ’tween the licht an’ the dark
      Is the wage o’ Aiken-drum.”

  Quoth the wylie auld wife, “The thing speaks weel;
  Our workers are scant—we hae routh o’ meal;
  Giff he’ll do as he says—be he man, be he de’il,
      Wow! we’ll try this Aiken-drum.”

  But the wenches skirl’d, “He’s no’ be here!
  His eldritch look gars us swarf wi’ fear;
  An’ the feint a ane will the house come near,
      If they think but o’ Aiken-drum.

  “For a foul and a stalwart ghaist is he,
  Despair sits broodin’ aboon his e’e-bree,
  And unchancie to light o’ a maiden’s e’e,
      Is the glower o’ Aiken-drum.”

  “Puir clipmalabors! ye hae little wit;
  Is’t na hallowmas noo, an’ the crap out yet?”
  Sae she seelenc’d them a’ wi’ a stamp o’ her fit,
      “Sit-yer-wa’s-down, Aiken-drum.”

  Roun’ a’ that side what wark was dune,
  By the streamer’s gleam, or the glance o’ the moon;
  A word, or a wish—an’ the Brownie cam sune,
      Sae helpfu’ was Aiken-drum.

  But he slade aye awa or the sun was up,
  He ne’er could look straught on Macmillan’s cup;[58]
  They watch’d—but nane saw him his brose ever sup
      Nor a spune sought Aiken-drum.

  On Blednoch banks, an’ on crystal Cree,
  For mony a day a toil’d wicht was he;
  And the bairns they play’d harmless roun’ his knee,
      Sae social was Aiken-drum.

  But a new-made wife, fu’ o’ rippish freaks,
  Fond o’ a things feat for the five first weeks,
  Laid a mouldy pair o her ain man’s breeks
      By the brose o’ Aiken-drum.

  Let the learn’d decide when they convene,
  What spell was him an’ the breeks between;
  For frae that day forth he was nae mair seen,
      An’ sair miss’d was Aiken-drum.

  He was heard by a herd gaun by the Thrieve,
  Crying, “Lang, lang now may I greet an’ grieve;
  For alas! I hae gotten baith fee an’ leave,
      O luckless Aiken-drum!”

  Awa! ye wrangling sceptic tribe,
  Wi’ your pro’s an’ your con’s wad ye decide
  ’Gainst the ’sponsible voice o’ a hale country-side
      On the facts ’bout Aiken-drum?

  Tho’ the “Brownie o’ Blednoch” lang be gane,
  The mark o’ his feet’s left on mony a stane;
  An’ mony a wife an’ mony a wean
      Tell the feats o’ Aiken-drum.

  E’en now, licht loons that jibe an’ sneer
  At spiritual guests an’ a’ sic gear,
  At the Glasnock mill hae swat wi’ fear,
      An’ look’d roun’ for Aiken-drum.

  An’ guidly folks hae gotten a fricht,
  When the moon was set, an’ the stars gaed nac licht,
  At the roaring linn in the howe o’ the nicht,
      Wi’ sughs like Aiken-drum.

   [57] On one occasion, Brownie had undertaken to gather the sheep
        into the bught by an early hour, and so zealously did he
        perform his task, that not only was there not one sheep left
        on the hill, but he had also collected a number of hares,
        which were found fairly penned along with them. Upon being
        congratulated on his extraordinary success, Brownie
        exclaimed, “Confound thae wee gray anes! they cost me mair
        trouble than a’ the lave o’ them.”

   [58] A communion cup, belonging to M’Millan, the well-known
        ousted minister of Balmaghie, and founder of the sect of
        Covenanters of his name. This cup was treasured by a zealous
        disciple in the parish of Kirkcowan, and long used as a test
        by which to ascertain the orthodoxy of suspected persons.
        If, on taking it into his hand, the person trembled, or gave
        other symptoms of agitation, he was denounced as having
        bowed the knee to Baal, and sacrificed at the altar of

We would rather have written these lines than any amount of Aurora
Leighs, Festuses, or such like, with all their mighty “somethingness,”
as Mr. Bailey would say. For they, are they not the “native wood-notes
wild” of one of nature’s darlings? Here is the indescribable,
inestimable, unmistakable impress of genius. Chaucer, had he been a
Galloway man, might have written it, only he would have been more
garrulous, and less compact and stern. It is like Tam o’ Shanter, in its
living union of the comic, the pathetic, and the terrible. Shrewdness,
tenderness, imagination, fancy, humor, word-music, dramatic power, even
wit—all are here. I have often read it aloud to children, and it is
worth any one’s while to do it. You will find them repeating all over
the house for days such lines as take their heart and tongue.

The author of this noble ballad was William Nicholson, the Galloway
poet, as he was, and is still called in his own district. He was born at
Tanimaus, in the parish of Borgue, in August 1783; he died _circa_ 1848,
unseen, like a bird. Being extremely short-sighted, he was unfitted for
being a shepherd or ploughman, and began life as a packman, like the
hero of “the Excursion;” and is still remembered in that region for his
humor, his music, his verse, and his ginghams; and also, alas! for his
misery and his sin. After travelling the country for thirty years, he
became a packless pedler, and fell into “a way of drinking;” this led
from bad to worse, and the grave closed in gloom over the ruins of a man
of true genius. Mr. M’Diarmid of Dumfries prefixed a memoir of him to
the Second Edition of his _Tales in Verse and Miscellaneous Poems_.
These are scarcely known out of Galloway, but they are worth the
knowing; none of them have the concentration and nerve of the Brownie,
but they are from the same brain and heart. “The Country Lass,” a long
poem, is excellent; with much of Crabbe’s power and compression. This,
and the greater part of the volume, is in the Scottish dialect, but
there is a Fable—the Butterfly and Bee—the English and sense, the
fine, delicate humor and turn of which might have been Cowper’s; and
there is a bit of rugged sarcasm called “Siller,” which Burns need not
have been ashamed of. Poor Nicholson, besides his turn for verse, was an
exquisite musician, and sang with a powerful and sweet voice. One may
imagine the delight of a lonely town-end, when Willie the packman and
the piper made his appearance, with his stories, and jokes, and ballads,
his songs, and reels, and “wanton wiles.”

There is one story about him which has always appeared to me quite
perfect. A farmer, in a remote part of Galloway, one June morning before
sunrise, was awakened by music; he had been dreaming of heaven, and when
he found himself awake, he still heard the strains. He looked out, and
saw no one, but at the corner of a grass-field he saw his cattle, and
young colts and fillies, huddled together, and looking intently down
into what he knew was an old quarry. He put on his clothes, and walked
across the field, everything but that strange wild melody, still and
silent in this the “sweet hour of prime.” As he got nearer the “beasts,”
the sound was louder; the colts with their long manes, and the nowt with
their wondering stare, took no notice of him, straining their necks
forward entranced. There, in the old quarry, the young sun “glintin” on
his face, and resting on his pack, which had been his pillow, was our
Wandering Willie, playing and singing like an angel—“an Orpheus; an
Orpheus.” What a picture! When reproved for wasting his health and time
by the prosaic farmer, the poor fellow said: “Me and this quarry are
lang acquant, and I’ve mair pleasure in pipin to thae daft cowts, than
if the best leddies in the land were figurin away afore me.”


   [59] Originally prefixed to a Criticism on some paintings in the
        Scottish Academy.

    “_The use of this feigned history” (the Ideal Arts of Poesy,
    Painting, Music, &c.) “hath been to give_ SOME SHADOW OF
    NATURE OF THINGS DOTH DENY IT, _the world being in proportion
    inferior to the soul; by reason whereof, there is, agreeable to
    the spirit of man_, A MORE AMPLE GREATNESS, A MORE EXACT
    GOODNESS AND A MORE ABSOLUTE VARIETY, _than can be found in the
    nature of things. So it appeareth that Poesy” (and the others)
    “serveth and conferreth to magnanimity, morality, and to
    delectation. And therefore it was even thought to have some
    participation of divineness because_ IT DOTH RAISE AND DIRECT
    THE MIND; _whereas reason” (science, philosophy) “doth buckle and
    bow the mind to the nature of things._”—OF THE PROFICIENCE AND

                    “_To look on noble forms
      Makes noble through the sensuous organism
      That which is higher._”—THE PRINCESS.

One evening in the spring of 1846, as my wife and I were sitting at tea,
_Parvula_ in bed, and the Sputchard reposing, as was her wont, with her
rugged little brown forepaws over the edge of the fender, her eyes shut,
toasting, and all but roasting herself at the fire,—a note was brought
in, which from its fat, soft look, by a hopeful and not unskilled
_palpation_ I diagnosed as that form of lucre which in Scotland may well
be called filthy. I gave it across to Madam, who, opening it, discovered
four five-pound notes, and a letter addressed to me. She gave _it_ me.
It was from Hugh Miller, editor of the _Witness_ newspaper, asking me to
give him a notice of the Exhibition of the Scottish Academy then open,
in words I now forget, but which were those of a thorough gentleman, and
enclosing the aforesaid fee. I can still remember, or indeed feel the
kind of shiver, half of fear and pleasure, on encountering this
temptation; but I soon said, “You know I can’t take this; I can’t write;
I never wrote a word for the press.” She, with “wifelike government,”
kept the money, and heartened me to write, and write I did but with
awful sufferings and difficulty, and much destruction of sleep. I think
the only person who suffered still more must have been the compositor.
Had this packet not come in, and come in when it did, and had the _Sine
Qua Non_ not been peremptory and retentive, there are many chances to
one I might never have plagued any printer with my bad hand and my
endless corrections, and general incoherency in all transactions as to

I tell this small story, partly for my own pleasure, and as a tribute to
that remarkable man, who stands alongside of Burns, and Scott, Chalmers,
and Carlyle, the foremost Scotsmen of their time,—a rough, almost
rugged nature, shaggy with strength, clad with zeal as with a cloak, in
some things sensitive and shamefaced as a girl; moody and self-involved,
but never selfish, full of courage, and of keen insight into nature and
men, and the principles of both, but simple as a child in the ways of
the world; self-taught and self-directed, argumentative and scientific,
as few men of culture have ever been, and yet with more imagination than
either logic or knowledge; to the last as shy and _blate_ as when
working in the quarries at Cromarty. In his life a noble example of what
our breed can produce, of what energy, honesty, intensity, and genius
can achieve; and in his death a terrible example of that revenge which
the body takes upon the soul when brought to bay by its inexorable
taskmaster. I need say no more. His story is more tragic than any
tragedy. Would to God it may warn those who come after to be wise in
time, to take the same—I ask no more—care of their body, which is
their servant, their beast of burden, as they would of their horse.

Few men are endowed with such a brain as Hugh Miller—huge, active,
concentrated, keen to fierceness; and therefore few men need fear, even
if they misuse and overtask theirs as he did, that it will turn, as it
did with him, and rend its master. But as assuredly as there is a
certain weight, which a bar of iron will bear and no more, so is there a
certain weight of work which the organ by which we act, by which we
think, and feel, and will—cannot sustain, blazing up into brief and
ruinous madness, or sinking into idiocy. At the time he wrote to me, Mr.
Miller and I were strangers, and I don’t think I ever spoke to him: but
his manner of doing the above act made me feel, that in that formidable
and unkempt nature there lay the delicacy, the generosity, the noble
trustfulness of a gentleman born—not made.

Most men have, and almost every man should have a hobby: it is exercise
in a mild way, and does not take him away from home; it diverts him; and
by having a double line of rails, he can manage to keep the permanent
way in good condition. A man who has only one object in life, only one
line of rails, who exercises only one set of faculties, and these only
in one way, will wear himself out much sooner than a man who shunts
himself every now and then, and who has trains coming as well as going;
who takes in as well as gives out.

My hobby has always been pictures, and all we call Art. I have
fortunately never been a practitioner, though I think I could have made
a tolerable hand; but unless a man is a thoroughly good artist, he
injures his enjoyment, generally speaking, of the art of others. I am
convinced, however, that to enjoy art thoroughly, every man must have in
him the possibility of doing it as well as liking it. He must feel it in
his fingers, as well as in his head and at his eyes; and it must find
its way from all the three to his heart, and be emotive.

Much has been said of the power of Art to refine men, to soften their
manners, and make them less of wild beasts. Some have thought it
omnipotent for this; others have given it as a sign of the decline and
fall of the nobler part of us. Neither is, and both are true. Art does,
as our Laureate says, make nobler in us what is higher than the senses
through which it passes; but it can only make nobler what is already
noble; it cannot regenerate, neither can it of itself debase and
emasculate and bedevil mankind; but it is a symptom, and a fatal one,
when Art ministers to a nation’s vice, and glorifies its naughtiness—as
in old Rome, as in Oude—as also too much in places nearer in time and
place than the one and the other. The truth is, Art, unless quickened
from above and from within, has in it nothing beyond itself, which is
visible beauty—the ministration to the lust, the desire of the eye. But
apart from direct spiritual worship, and self-dedication to the Supreme,
I do not know any form of ideal thought and feeling which may be made
more truly to subserve, not only magnanimity, but the purest devotion
and godly fear; by fear meaning that mixture of love and awe, which is
specific of the realization of our relation to God. I am not so silly as
to seek painters to paint religious pictures in the usual sense; for the
most part, I know nothing so profoundly profane and godless as our
sacred pictures; and I can’t say I like our religious beliefs to be
symbolized, even as Mr. Hunt has so grandly done in his picture of the
Light of the World. But if a painter is himself religious; if he feels
God in what he is looking at, and in what he is rendering back on his
canvas; if he is impressed with the truly divine beauty, infinity,
perfection, and meaning of unspoiled material nature—the earth and the
fulness thereof, the heaven and all its hosts, the strength of the
hills, the sea and all that is therein; if he is himself impressed with
the divine origin and divine end of all visible things,—then will he
paint religious pictures and impress men religiously, and thus make good
men listen, and possibly make bad men good. Take the landscapes of our
own Harvey. He is my dear old friend of thirty years, and his power as a
painter is only less than his fidelity and ardor as a friend, and that
than his simple, deep-hearted piety; I never see one of his transcripts
of nature, be they solemn and full of gloom, with a look “that threatens
the profane;” or laughing all over with sunshine and gladness, but I
feel something beyond, something greater and more beautiful than their
greatness and their beauty—the idea of God, of the beginning and the
ending, the first and the last, the living One; of whom, and through
whom, and to whom are all things; who is indeed God over all, blessed
forever; and whom I would desire, in all humbleness of mind, to sanctify
in my heart, and to make my fear and my dread. This is the true moral
use of Art, to quicken and deepen and enlarge our sense of God. I don’t
mean so much our belief in certain articulate doctrines, though I am
old-fashioned enough to think that we must know what as well as in whom
we believe—that our religion, like everything else, must “have its seat
in reason, and be judicious;” I refer rather to that temper of the soul,
that mood of the mind in which we feel the unseen and eternal, and bend
under the power of the world to come.

In my views as to the office of the State I hold with John Locke and
Coventry Dick,[60] that its primary, and probably its only function is
to protect us from our enemies and from ourselves; that to it is
intrusted by the people “the regulation of physical force;” and that it
is indeed little more than a transcendental policeman. This is its true
sphere, and here lies its true honor and glory. When it intermeddles
with other things,—from your Religion, Education, and Art, down to the
number, and size, and metal of your buttons, it goes out of its line and
fails; and I am convinced that with some benefits, specious and partial,
our Government interference has, in the main and in the long run, done
harm to the real interests of Art. Spontaneity, the law of free choice,
is as much the life of Art as it is of marriage, and it is not less
beyond the power of the State to choose the nation’s pictures, than to
choose its wives. Indeed there is a great deal on the physiological side
to be said for law interfering in the matter of matrimony. I would
certainly make it against law, as it plainly is against nature, for
cousins-german to marry; and if we could pair ourselves as we pair our
live stock, and give ear to the teaching of an enlightened zoönomy, we
might soon drive many of our fellest diseases out of our breed; but the
law of personality, of ultroneousness, of free will, that which in a
great measure makes us what we are, steps in and forbids anything but
the convincement and force of reason. Much in the same way, though it be
a more trivial matter, pleasure, in order to please, must be that which
you yourself choose. You cannot make an Esquimaux forswear train oil,
and take to tea and toast like ourselves, still less to boiled rice like
a Hindoo; neither can you all at once make a Gilmerton carter prefer
Raphael and claret to a glass of raw whiskey and the _Terrific
Register_. Leviathan is not so tamed or taught. And our Chadwicks and
Kaye Shuttleworths and Coles—kings though they may be—enlightened,
energetic, earnest, and as full of will as an egg is full of meat,
cannot in a generation make the people of England as intelligent as
themselves, or as fond and appreciative of the best Art as Mr. Ruskin.
Hence all their plans are failing and must fail; and I cannot help
thinking that in the case of Art, the continuance of the Cole dynasty is
not to be prayed for very much. As far as I can judge, it has done
infinitely more harm than good. These men think they are doing a great
work, and, worse still, the country thinks so too, and helps them,
whereas I believe they are retarding the only wholesome, though slow
growth of knowledge and taste.

   [60] In the thin octavo, _The Office of the State_, and in its
        twin volume on _Church Polity_, there will be found in
        clear, strong, and singularly candid language, the first
        lines of the sciences of Church and State politics. It does
        not say much for the sense and perspicuity of the public
        mind, if two such books are allowed to fall aside, and such
        a _farrago_ of energetic nonsense and error as Mr. Buckle’s
        first, and we trust last, volume on Civilization, is read
        and admired, and bought, with its bad logic, its bad facts,
        and its had conclusions. In bulk and in value his volume
        stands in the same relation to Mr. Dick’s, as a handful, I
        may say a _gowpen_ of chaff does to a grain of wheat, or a
        bushel of sawdust to an ounce of meal.

Take the Kensington Museum: the only thing there (I speak in all
seriousness) worth any man spending an hour or a shilling upon, are the
Sheepshank and Turner galleries; all those costly, tawdry, prodigious,
and petty displays of arts and manufactures, I look upon as mere
delusions and child’s play. Take any one of them, say the series
illustrating the cotton fabrics; you see the whole course of cotton from
its _Alpha_ to its _Omega_, in the neatest and prettiest way. What does
that teach? what impression does that make upon any young mind? Little
beyond mere vapid wonder. The eye is opened, but not filled; it is a
stare, not a look.

If you want to move, and permanently rivet, a young mind with what is
worth the knowing, with what is to deepen his sense of the powers of the
human mind, and the resources of nature, and the grandeur of his
country, take him to a cotton-mill. Let him hear and come under the
power of that wonderful sound pervading the whole vast house, and
filling the air with that diapason of regulated, harmonious energy. Let
him enter it, and go round with a skilled workman, and then follow the
_Alpha_ through all its marvellous transformations to the _Omega_; do
this, and you bring him out into the fresh air not only more knowing,
but more wise. He has got a lesson. He has been impressed. The same with
calico-printing, and pottery, and iron-founding, and, indeed, the whole
round of that industry which is our glory. Do you think a boy will get
half the good from the fine series of ores and specimens of pig-iron,
and all the steels he may see in cold blood, and with his grandmother or
his sweetheart beside him at Kensington, that he will from going into
Dixon’s foundry at Govan, and seeing the half-naked men toiling in that
place of flame and energy and din—watching the mighty shears and the
Nasmyth-hammers, and the molten iron kneaded like dough, and planed and
shaved like wood; he gets the dead and dissected body in the one case;
he sees and feels the living spirit and body working as one, in the
other. And upon all this child’s-play, this mere make-believe, our
good-natured nation is proud of spending some half-million of money.
Then there is that impertinent, useless, and unjust system of
establishing Government Schools of Design in so many of our towns,
avowedly, and, I believe (though it is amazing that clever men should do
such a foolish thing), honestly, for the good of the working-classes,
but actually and lamentably, and in every way harmfully, for the
amusement and benefit of the wealthy classes, and to the ruin of the
hard-working and legitimate local teachers.

I have not time or space, but if I had I could prove this, and show the
curiously deep injuries this system is inflicting on true Art, and upon
the freedom of industry.

In the same line, and to the same effect, are our Art-Unions and
Associations for “the encouragement” of Art; some less bad than others,
but all bad, because founded upon a wrong principle, and working to a
wrong end. No man can choose a picture for another, any more than a wife
or a waistcoat. It is part of our essential nature to choose these
things for ourselves, and paradoxical as it may seem, the wife and the
waistcoat and the work of Art our departmental wiseacres may least
approve of, if chosen _suâ sponte_ by Giles or Roger, will not only give
them more delectation, but do them more good, than one chosen by
somebody else for him upon the finest of all possible principles.
Besides this radical vice, these Art-Unions have the effect of
encouraging, and actually bringing into professional existence, men who
had much better be left to die out, or never be born; and it, as I well
know, discourages, depreciates, and dishonors the best men, besides
keeping the public, which is the only true and worthy patron, from doing
its duty, and getting its due. Just take our Edinburgh Association, in
many respects one of the best, having admirable and devoted men, as its
managers, what is the chance that any of the thousand members, when he
draws a prize, gets a picture he cares one straw for, or which will do
his nature one particle of good? Why should we be treated in this
matter, as we are treated in no way else? Who thinks of telling us, or
founding a Royal Association with all its officers, to tell us what
novels or what poetry to read, or what music to listen to? Think of a
Union for the encouragement of Poetry, where Mr. Tennyson would be
obliged to put in his _In Memoriam_ or his _Idylls of the King_, along
with the Lyrics and the Sonnets of we don’t say who, into a common
lottery, and be drawn for at an annual speechifying? All such
associations go to encourage quantity rather than quality. Now, in the
ideal and pleasurable arts _quality_ is nearly everything. Our Turner
not only transcends ten thousand Claudes and Vanderveldes; he is in
another sphere. You could not thus sum up his worth.

One of the most flagrant infractions of the primary laws of political
economy, and one of the most curious illustrations of the fashionable
fallacies as to Government encouragement to Art, is to be found in the
revelations in the Report of the Select Committee on the South
Kensington Museum. Mr. Lowe, and the majority of the Committee, gave it
as their opinion, that Government should deal in photographs, and
_undersell_ them (thereby ruining the regular trade), and all for the
encouragement of Art, and the enlightenment of the public! Can there be
anything more absurd than this, and at this time of day? and not only
absurd and expensive, but mischievous. All this, you see, would be
avoided, and society left to provide its own Art, as it provides its own
beef and trousers for itself; if men would hold with John Locke, and
Coventry Dick, and _Egomet_, that the Government, the State, has simply
nothing to do with these things, that they are _ultra vires_ not less
than religion, and, I am bold to add, education.

One other drawback to Art taking its place alongside its sisters—Poetry
and Music—is the annual exhibitions. Nothing more thoroughly barbarous
and childish could be devised than this concentrating the mental
activity of the nation in regard to the Art of the year upon one month.
Fancy our being obliged to read all our novels, and all our poetry, and
hear all our music in a segment of our year. Then there is the mixing up
of all sorts of pictures—sacred and profane, gay and sombre, etc.—all
huddled together, and the eye flitting from one to the other.[61] Hence
the temptation to paint down to the gaudiest pictures, instead of up or
into the pure intensity of nature. Why should there not be some large
public hall to which artists may send their pictures at any time when
they are perfected; but better still, let purchasers frequent the
studios, as they did of old, full of love and knowledge. Why will we
insist in pressing our Art and our taste, as we did long ago our
religion and our God, upon our neighbors! Why not trust to time, and to
cultivating our own tastes earnestly, thoroughly, humbly, and for
ourselves, filling our houses with the best of everything, and making
all welcome to see them, and believing that the grandchildren of those
who come to see our Turners and Wilkies and Hogarths will be wiser and
more refined than we? It is most lamentable to witness the loss of
money, of energy, and in a measure of skill, and, above all, of time, on
those engravings, which no one but a lodging-keeper frames, and those
Parian statuettes and Etruscan pitchers and tazzas of all sorts, which
no one thinks half so much of, or gets half so much real pleasure and
good from, as from one of John Leech’s woodcuts. One true way to
encourage Art is to buy and enjoy _Punch_. There is more fun, more good
drawing, more good sense, more beauty in John Leech’s _Punch_ pictures,
than in all the Art-Union illustrations, engravings, statuettes, etc.
etc., put together. Could that mighty Potentate have been got up, think
you, by a committee of gentlemen, and those drawings educed by proffered
prizes? No; they came out, and have flourished according to a law as
natural and as effective as the law of seed-time and harvest; and Art,
as a power to do good, will never reach its full perfection till it is
allowed to walk at liberty, and follow the course of all other
productions, that of supply and demand, individual demand, and voluntary
supply. It is not easy to tell how far back these well-meaning, zealous,
deluded men who have managed these “encouragements,” have put the
progress of the nation in its power of knowing and feeling true Art.

   [61] In our excellent National Gallery (Edinburgh), a copy of
        Titian’s Ariadne in Naxos is hung immediately above Wilkie’s
        sacred sketch of John Knox administering the Sacrament in
        Calder House!

One other heresy I must vent, and that is to protest against the
doctrine that scientific knowledge is of much direct avail to the
artist; it may enlarge his mind as a man, and sharpen and strengthen his
nature, but the knowledge of anatomy is, I believe, more a snare than
anything else to an artist as such. Art is the _tertium quid_ resulting
from observation and imagination, with skill and love and downrightness
as their executors; anything that interferes with the action of any of
these, is killing to the soul of Art. Now, painting has to do simply and
absolutely with the surfaces, with the appearances of things; it knows
and cares nothing for what is beneath and beyond, though if it does its
own part aright it indicates them. Phidias and the early Greeks, there
is no reason to believe, ever dissected even a monkey, much less a man,
and yet where is there such skin, and muscle, and substance, and breath
of life? When Art became scientific, as among the Romans, and lost its
heart in filling its head, see what became of it: anatomy offensively
thrust in your face, and often bad anatomy; men skinned and galvanized,
not men alive and in action. In the same way in landscape, do you think
Turner would have painted the strata in an old quarry, or done Ben
Cruachan more to the quick, had he known all about geology, gneiss, and
graywacke, and the Silurian system? Turner might have been what is
called a better-informed man, but we question if he would have been so
good, not to say a better representer of the wonderful works of God,
which were painted on his retina, and in his inner chamber—the true
_Camera lucida_, the chamber of imagery leading from the other,—and
felt to his finger-tips. No; science and poetry are to a nicety
diametrically opposed, and he must be a Shakspeare and a Newton, a
Turner and a Faraday all in one, who can consort much with both without
injury to each. It is not what a man has learned from others, not even
what he thinks, but what he sees and feels, which makes him a painter.

The moral from all this is, love Art, and if you choose, practise Art.
Purchase Art for itself alone, and in the main for yourself alone. If
you so do, you will encourage Art to more purpose than if you spent
thousands a year in Art-Unions, and in presenting the public with what
pleased you; just as a man does most good by being good. Goldsmith puts
it in his inimitable way—“I was ever of opinion that the honest man,
who married and brought up a large family, did more service than he who
continued single, and only talked of population.”

I have said those things strongly, abruptly, and perhaps rudely; but my
heart is in the matter. Art is part of my daily food, like the laughter
of children, and the common air, the earth, the sky; it is an affection,
not a passion to come and go like the gusty wind, nor a principle cold
and dead; it penetrates my entire life, it is one of the surest and
deepest pleasures, one of the refuges from “the nature of things,” as
Bacon would say, into that enchanted region, that “ampler æther,” that
“diviner air,” where we get a glimpse not only of a Paradise that is
past, but of a Paradise that is to come.

There is one man amongst us who has done more to breathe the breath of
life into the literature and the philosophy of Art, who has “encouraged”
it ten thousand times more effectually than all our industrious Coles
and anxious Art-Unions, and that is the author of _Modern Painters_. I
do not know that there is anything in our literature, or in any
literature, to compare with the effect of this one man’s writings. He
has by his sheer force of mind, and fervor of nature, the depth and
exactness of his knowledge, and his amazing beauty and power of
language, raised the subject of Art from being subordinate and
technical, to the same level with Poetry and Philosophy. He has lived to
see an entire change in the public mind and eye, and, what is better, in
the public heart, on all that pertains to the literature and philosophy
of representative genius. He combines its body and its soul. Many before
him wrote about its body, and some well; a few, as Charles Lamb and our
own “Titmarsh,” touched its soul: it was left to John Ruskin to do

   [62] This great writer was first acknowledged as such by our big
        quarterlies, in the _North British Review_, fourteen years
        ago, as follows:—

        “This is a very extraordinary and a very delightful book,
        full of truth and goodness, of power and beauty. If genius
        may be considered (and it is as serviceable a definition as
        is current) that power by which one man produces for the use
        or the pleasure of his fellow-men, something at once new and
        true, then have we here its unmistakable and inestimable
        handiwork. Let our readers take our word for it, and read
        these volumes thoroughly, giving themselves up to the
        guidance of this most original thinker, and most attractive
        writer, and they will find not only that they are richer in
        true knowledge, and quickened in pure and heavenly
        affections, but they will open their eyes upon a now
        world—walk under an ampler heaven, and breathe a diviner
        air. There are few things more delightful or more rare, than
        to feel such a kindling up of the whole faculties as is
        produced by such a work as this; it adds a ‘precious seeing
        to the eye,’—makes the ear more quick of apprehension, and,
        opening our whole inner-man to a new discipline, it fills us
        with gratitude as well as admiration towards him to whom we
        owe so much enjoyment. And what is more, and better than all
        this, everywhere throughout this work, we trace evidences of
        a deep reverence and godly fear—a perpetual, though subdued
        acknowledgment of the Almighty, as the sum and substance,
        the beginning and the ending of all truth, of all power, of
        all goodness, and of all beauty.

        “This book (_Modern Painters_) contains more true
        philosophy, more information of a strictly scientific kind,
        more original thought and exact observation of nature, more
        enlightened and serious enthusiasm, and more eloquent
        writing, than it would be easy to match, not merely in works
        of its own class, but in those of any class whatever. It
        gives us a new, and we think, the only true theory of beauty
        and sublimity; it asserts and proves the existence of a new
        element in landscape-painting, placing its prince upon his
        rightful throne; it unfolds and illustrates, with singular
        force, variety, and beauty, the laws of art; it explains and
        enforces the true nature and specific function of the
        imagination, with the precision and fulness of one having
        authority,—and all this delivered in language which, for
        purity and strength and native richness, would not have
        dishonored the early manhood of Jeremy Taylor, of Edmund
        Burke, or of the author’s own favorite Richard Hooker.”—J.B.


We are not now going to try our ’prentice hand upon a new theory of
Beauty, after so many masters have failed; but we cannot help thinking
that the dispute would be at an end if it were but allowed at once, that
there are two kinds of beauty, that there is a material and necessary
element of beauty, and another which is contingent and relative—a
natural and a spiritual delightfulness to and through the eye; and that
sometimes we see both together, as in the face and eyes of a beautiful
and beloved woman; and moreover, that there is no more reason for
denying either the sense or the emotion of beauty, because everybody
does not agree about the kind or measure of either of these qualities in
all objects, than there is for affirming that there is no such thing as
veracity or natural affection, because the Spartans commended lying, and
the Cretians practised it, or the New Zealanders the eating of one’s
grandmother. Why should the eye, the noblest, the amplest, the most
informing of all our senses, be deprived of its own special delight? The
light is sweet, and it is a pleasant thing for the eye to behold the
sun; and why, when the ear has sound for informing, and music for
delight—when there is smell and odor, taste and flavor, and even the
touch has its sense of pleasant smoothness and softness—why should
there not be in the eye a pleasure born and dying with the sights it
sees? it is like the infinite loving-kindness of Him who made the trees
of the garden pleasant to the eye as well as good for food. We say
nothing here of Relative or Associative Beauty,—this has never been
doubted either in its essence or its value. It is as much larger in its
range, as much nobler in its meaning and uses, as the heavens are higher
than the earth, or as the soul transcends the body. This, too, gives
back to material beauty more than it received: it was after man was
made, that God saw, and, behold, everything was very good.

Our readers may perhaps think we make too much of imagination as an
essential element—as _the_ essential element—in Art. With our views of
its function and its pervading influence in all the ideal arts, we can
give it no other place. A man can no more be a poet or painter in the
spiritual and only true sense without imagination, than an animal can be
a bird without wings; and as, other things being equal, that bird can be
longest on the wing and has the greatest range of flight which has the
strongest pinions, so that painter is likely to have the farthest and
keenest vision of all that is within the scope of his art, and the
surest and most ample faculty of making known to others what he himself
has seen, whose imagination is at once the most strong and quick. At the
same time, if it be true that the body without the spirit is dead, so it
is equally true that the spirit without the body is vain, ineffectual,
fruitless. Imagination alone can no more make a painter or a poet than
wings can constitute a bird. Each must have a body. Unfortunately, in
painting we have more than enough of body without spirit. Correct
drawing, wonderful imitative powers, cleverness, adaptiveness, great
facility and dexterity of hand, much largeness of _quotation_, and many
material and mechanical qualities, all go to form an amusing, and, it
may be, useful spectacle, but not a true picture. We have also, but not
so often, the reverse of all this,—the vision without the faculty, the
soul without the body, great thoughts without the power to embody them
in intelligible forms. He, and he alone, is a great painter, and an heir
of time, who combines both. He must have observation,—humble, loving,
unerring, unwearied; this is the material out of which a painter, like a
poet, feeds his genius, and “makes grow his wings.” There must be
perception and conception, both vigorous, quick and _true_; you must
have these two primary qualities, the one first, the other last, in
every great painter. Give him good sense and a good memory, it will be
all the better for him and for us. As for principles of drawing and
perspective, they are not essential. A man who paints according to a
principle is sure to paint ill; he may apply his principles after his
work is done, if he has a philosophic as well as an ideal turn.



    Transcriber's Note: Duplicated essay names have been removed.
    Minor typographical errors have been corrected, but spelling and
    hyphenation inconsistencies have been retained.

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