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Title: The Crown of Wild Olive - also Munera Pulveris; Pre-Raphaelitism; Aratra Pentelici; The Ethics of the Dust; Fiction, Fair and Foul; The Elements of Drawing
Author: Ruskin, John, 1819-1900
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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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Illustrated Library Edition










[Illustration: _Portrait of Carlyle_

Etched by E. A. Fowle--From Painting by Samuel Lawrence]


Boston and New York
Colonial Press Company




WORK,                                        17


TRAFFIC,                                     44


WAR,                                         66


PREFACE,                                     97


I. DEFINITIONS,                             111

II. STORE-KEEPING,                          125

III. COIN-KEEPING,                          151

IV. COMMERCE,                               170

V. GOVERNMENT,                              181

VI. MASTERSHIP,                             204

APPENDICES,                                 222


PREFACE,                                    235

PRE-RAPHAELITISM,                           237


PREFACE,                                    283


I. OF THE DIVISION OF ARTS,                 287

II. IDOLATRY,                               304

III. IMAGINATION,                           322

IV. LIKENESS,                               350

V. STRUCTURE,                               372

VI. THE SCHOOL OF ATHENS,                   395

THE FUTURE OF ENGLAND,                      415




PLATES                                            FACING PAGE

I. PORCH OF SAN ZENONE. VERONA,                           300

II. THE ARETHUSA OF SYRACUSE,                             302

III. THE WARNING TO THE KINGS,                            302

IV. THE NATIVITY OF ATHENA,                               308





IX. APOLLO CHRYSOCOMES OF CLAZOMENÆ,                      368


XI. THE FIRST ELEMENTS OF SCULPTURE,                      382

XII. BRANCH OF PHILLYREA. DARK PURPLE,                    390



XV. HERA OF ARGOS. ZEUS OF SYRACUSE,                      401




XIX. ZEUS OF MESSENE. AJAX OF OPUS,                       405

XX. GREEK AND BARBARIAN SCULPTURE,                        407

XXI. THE BEGINNINGS OF CHIVALRY,                          409

FIGURE                                                   PAGE

1. SPECIMEN OF PLATE,                                     293

2. WOODCUT,                                               323

3. FIGURE ON GREEK TYPE OF VASES,                         326

4. EARLY DRAWING OF THE MYTH                              330

5. CUT, "GIVE IT TO ME,"                                  332

6. ENGRAVING ON COIN,                                     335

7. DRAWING OF FISH. BY TURNER,                            362

8. IRON BAR,                                              379

9. DIAGRAM OF LEAF,                                       391






Twenty years ago, there was no lovelier piece of lowland scenery in
South England, nor any more pathetic in the world, by its expression of
sweet human character and life, than that immediately bordering on the
sources of the Wandle, and including the lower moors of Addington, and
the villages of Beddington and Carshalton, with all their pools and
streams. No clearer or diviner waters ever sang with constant lips of
the hand which 'giveth rain from heaven;' no pastures ever lightened in
spring time with more passionate blossoming; no sweeter homes ever
hallowed the heart of the passer-by with their pride of peaceful
gladness--fain-hidden--yet full-confessed. The place remains, or, until
a few months ago, remained, nearly unchanged in its larger features;
but, with deliberate mind I say, that I have never seen anything so
ghastly in its inner tragic meaning,--not in Pisan Maremma--not by
Campagna tomb,--not by the sand-isles of the Torcellan shore,--as the
slow stealing of aspects of reckless, indolent, animal neglect, over the
delicate sweetness of that English scene: nor is any blasphemy or
impiety--any frantic saying or godless thought--more appalling to me,
using the best power of judgment I have to discern its sense and scope,
than the insolent defilings of those springs by the human herds that
drink of them. Just where the welling of stainless water, trembling and
pure, like a body of light, enters the pool of Carshalton, cutting
itself a radiant channel down to the gravel, through warp of feathery
weeds, all waving, which it traverses with its deep threads of
clearness, like the chalcedony in moss-agate, starred here and there
with white grenouillette; just in the very rush and murmur of the first
spreading currents, the human wretches of the place cast their street
and house foulness; heaps of dust and slime, and broken shreds of old
metal, and rags of putrid clothes; they having neither energy to cart it
away, nor decency enough to dig it into the ground, thus shed into the
stream, to diffuse what venom of it will float and melt, far away, in
all places where God meant those waters to bring joy and health. And, in
a little pool, behind some houses farther in the village, where another
spring rises, the shattered stones of the well, and of the little
fretted channel which was long ago built and traced for it by gentler
hands, lie scattered, each from each, under a ragged bank of mortar, and
scoria; and brick-layers' refuse, on one side, which the clean water
nevertheless chastises to purity; but it cannot conquer the dead earth
beyond; and there, circled and coiled under festering scum, the stagnant
edge of the pool effaces itself into a slope of black slime, the
accumulation of indolent years. Half-a-dozen men, with one day's work,
could cleanse those pools, and trim the flowers about their banks, and
make every breath of summer air above them rich with cool balm; and
every glittering wave medicinal, as if it ran, troubled of angels, from
the porch of Bethesda. But that day's work is never given, nor will be;
nor will any joy be possible to heart of man, for evermore, about those
wells of English waters.

When I last left them, I walked up slowly through the back streets of
Croydon, from the old church to the hospital; and, just on the left,
before coming up to the crossing of the High Street, there was a new
public-house built. And the front of it was built in so wise manner,
that a recess of two feet was left below its front windows, between them
and the street-pavement--a recess too narrow for any possible use (for
even if it had been occupied by a seat, as in old time it might have
been, everybody walking along the street would have fallen over the legs
of the reposing wayfarers). But, by way of making this two feet depth of
freehold land more expressive of the dignity of an establishment for the
sale of spirituous liquors, it was fenced from the pavement by an
imposing iron railing, having four or five spearheads to the yard of it,
and six feet high; containing as much iron and iron-work, indeed as
could well be put into the space; and by this stately arrangement, the
little piece of dead ground within, between wall and street, became a
protective receptacle of refuse; cigar ends, and oyster shells, and the
like, such as an open-handed English street-populace habitually scatters
from its presence, and was thus left, unsweepable by any ordinary
methods. Now the iron bars which, uselessly (or in great degree worse
than uselessly), enclosed this bit of ground, and made it pestilent,
represented a quantity of work which would have cleansed the Carshalton
pools three times over;--of work, partly cramped and deadly, in the
mine; partly fierce[1] and exhaustive, at the furnace; partly foolish
and sedentary, of ill-taught students making bad designs: work from the
beginning to the last fruits of it, and in all the branches of it,
venomous, deathful, and miserable. Now, how did it come to pass that
this work was done instead of the other; that the strength and life of
the English operative were spent in defiling ground, instead of
redeeming it; and in producing an entirely (in that place) valueless
piece of metal, which can neither be eaten nor breathed, instead of
medicinal fresh air, and pure water?

There is but one reason for it, and at present a conclusive one,--that
the capitalist can charge per-centage on the work in the one case, and
cannot in the other. If, having certain funds for supporting labour at
my disposal, I pay men merely to keep my ground in order, my money is,
in that function, spent once for all; but if I pay them to dig iron out
of my ground, and work it, and sell it, I can charge rent for the
ground, and per-centage both on the manufacture and the sale, and make
my capital profitable in these three bye-ways. The greater part of the
profitable investment of capital, in the present day, is in operations
of this kind, in which the public is persuaded to buy something of no
use to it, on production, or sale, of which, the capitalist may charge
per-centage; the said public remaining all the while under the
persuasion that the per-centages thus obtained are real national gains,
whereas, they are merely filchings out of partially light pockets, to
swell heavy ones.

Thus, the Croydon publican buys the iron railing, to make himself more
conspicuous to drunkards. The public-housekeeper on the other side of
the way presently buys another railing, to out-rail him with. Both are,
as to their _relative_ attractiveness to customers of taste, just where
they were before; but they have lost the price of the railings; which
they must either themselves finally lose, or make their aforesaid
customers of taste pay, by raising the price of their beer, or
adulterating it. Either the publicans, or their customers, are thus
poorer by precisely what the capitalist has gained; and the value of the
work itself, meantime, has been lost to the nation; the iron bars in
that form and place being wholly useless. It is this mode of taxation of
the poor by the rich which is referred to in the text (page 31), in
comparing the modern acquisitive power of capital with that of the lance
and sword; the only difference being that the levy of black mail in old
times was by force, and is now by cozening. The old rider and reiver
frankly quartered himself on the publican for the night; the modern one
merely makes his lance into an iron spike, and persuades his host to buy
it. One comes as an open robber, the other as a cheating pedlar; but the
result, to the injured person's pocket, is absolutely the same. Of
course many useful industries mingle with, and disguise the useless
ones; and in the habits of energy aroused by the struggle, there is a
certain direct good. It is far better to spend four thousand pounds in
making a good gun, and then to blow it to pieces, than to pass life in
idleness. Only do not let it be called 'political economy.' There is
also a confused notion in the minds of many persons, that the gathering
of the property of the poor into the hands of the rich does no ultimate
harm; since, in whosesoever hands it may be, it must be spent at last,
and thus, they think, return to the poor again. This fallacy has been
again and again exposed; but grant the plea true, and the same apology
may, of course, be made for black mail, or any other form of robbery. It
might be (though practically it never is) as advantageous for the nation
that the robber should have the spending of the money he extorts, as
that the person robbed should have spent it. But this is no excuse for
the theft. If I were to put a turnpike on the road where it passes my
own gate, and endeavour to exact a shilling from every passenger, the
public would soon do away with my gate, without listening to any plea on
my part that 'it was as advantageous to them, in the end, that I should
spend their shillings, as that they themselves should.' But if, instead
of out-facing them with a turnpike, I can only persuade them to come in
and buy stones, or old iron, or any other useless thing, out of my
ground, I may rob them to the same extent, and be, moreover, thanked as
a public benefactor, and promoter of commercial prosperity. And this
main question for the poor of England--for the poor of all countries--is
wholly omitted in every common treatise on the subject of wealth. Even
by the labourers themselves, the operation of capital is regarded only
in its effect on their immediate interests; never in the far more
terrific power of its appointment of the kind and the object of labour.
It matters little, ultimately, how much a labourer is paid for making
anything; but it matters fearfully what the thing is, which he is
compelled to make. If his labour is so ordered as to produce food, and
fresh air, and fresh water, no matter that his wages are low;--the food
and fresh air and water will be at last there; and he will at last get
them. But if he is paid to destroy food and fresh air or to produce
iron bars instead of them,--the food and air will finally _not_ be
there, and he will _not_ get them, to his great and final inconvenience.
So that, conclusively, in political as in household economy, the great
question is, not so much what money you have in your pocket, as what you
will buy with it, and do with it.

I have been long accustomed, as all men engaged in work of investigation
must be, to hear my statements laughed at for years, before they are
examined or believed; and I am generally content to wait the public's
time. But it has not been without displeased surprise that I have found
myself totally unable, as yet, by any repetition, or illustration, to
force this plain thought into my readers' heads,--that the wealth of
nations, as of men, consists in substance, not in ciphers; and that the
real good of all work, and of all commerce, depends on the final worth
of the thing you make, or get by it. This is a practical enough
statement, one would think: but the English public has been so possessed
by its modern school of economists with the notion that Business is
always good, whether it be busy in mischief or in benefit; and that
buying and selling are always salutary, whatever the intrinsic worth of
what you buy or sell,--that it seems impossible to gain so much as a
patient hearing for any inquiry respecting the substantial result of our
eager modern labours. I have never felt more checked by the sense of
this impossibility than in arranging the heads of the following three
lectures, which, though delivered at considerable intervals of time, and
in different places, were not prepared without reference to each other.
Their connection would, however, have been made far more distinct, if I
had not been prevented, by what I feel to be another great difficulty in
addressing English audiences, from enforcing, with any decision, the
common, and to me the most important, part of their subjects. I chiefly
desired (as I have just said) to question my hearers--operatives,
merchants, and soldiers, as to the ultimate meaning of the _business_
they had in hand; and to know from them what they expected or intended
their manufacture to come to, their selling to come to, and their
killing to come to. That appeared the first point needing determination
before I could speak to them with any real utility or effect. 'You
craftsmen--salesmen--swordsmen,--do but tell me clearly what you want,
then, if I can say anything to help you, I will; and if not, I will
account to you as I best may for my inability.' But in order to put this
question into any terms, one had first of all to face the difficulty
just spoken of--to me for the present insuperable,--the difficulty of
knowing whether to address one's audience as believing, or not
believing, in any other world than this. For if you address any average
modern English company as believing in an Eternal life, and endeavour to
draw any conclusions, from this assumed belief, as to their present
business, they will forthwith tell you that what you say is very
beautiful, but it is not practical. If, on the contrary, you frankly
address them as unbelievers in Eternal life, and try to draw any
consequences from that unbelief,--they immediately hold you for an
accursed person, and shake off the dust from their feet at you. And the
more I thought over what I had got to say, the less I found I could say
it, without some reference to this intangible or intractable part of the
subject. It made all the difference, in asserting any principle of war,
whether one assumed that a discharge of artillery would merely knead
down a certain quantity of red clay into a level line, as in a brick
field; or whether, out of every separately Christian-named portion of
the ruinous heap, there went out, into the smoke and dead-fallen air of
battle, some astonished condition of soul, unwillingly released. It made
all the difference, in speaking of the possible range of commerce,
whether one assumed that all bargains related only to visible
property--or whether property, for the present invisible, but
nevertheless real, was elsewhere purchasable on other terms. It made all
the difference, in addressing a body of men subject to considerable
hardship, and having to find some way out of it--whether one could
confidentially say to them, 'My friends,--you have only to die, and all
will be right;' or whether one had any secret misgiving that such advice
was more blessed to him that gave, than to him that took it. And
therefore the deliberate reader will find, throughout these lectures, a
hesitation in driving points home, and a pausing short of conclusions
which he will feel I would fain have come to; hesitation which arises
wholly from this uncertainty of my hearers' temper. For I do not now
speak, nor have I ever spoken, since the time of my first forward youth,
in any proselyting temper, as desiring to persuade any one of what, in
such matters, I thought myself; but, whomsoever I venture to address, I
take for the time his creed as I find it; and endeavour to push it into
such vital fruit as it seems capable of. Thus, it is a creed with a
great part of the existing English people, that they are in possession
of a book which tells them, straight from the lips of God all they ought
to do, and need to know. I have read that book, with as much care as
most of them, for some forty years; and am thankful that, on those who
trust it, I can press its pleadings. My endeavour has been uniformly to
make them trust it more deeply than they do; trust it, not in their own
favourite verses only, but in the sum of all; trust it not as a fetish
or talisman, which they are to be saved by daily repetitions of; but as
a Captain's order, to be heard and obeyed at their peril. I was always
encouraged by supposing my hearers to hold such belief. To these, if to
any, I once had hope of addressing, with acceptance, words which
insisted on the guilt of pride, and the futility of avarice; from these,
if from any, I once expected ratification of a political economy, which
asserted that the life was more than the meat, and the body than
raiment; and these, it once seemed to me, I might ask without accusation
or fanaticism, not merely in doctrine of the lips, but in the bestowal
of their heart's treasure, to separate themselves from the crowd of whom
it is written, 'After all these things do the Gentiles seek.'

It cannot, however, be assumed, with any semblance of reason, that a
general audience is now wholly, or even in majority, composed of these
religious persons. A large portion must always consist of men who admit
no such creed; or who, at least, are inaccessible to appeals founded on
it. And as, with the so-called Christian, I desired to plead for honest
declaration and fulfilment of his belief in life,--with the so-called
Infidel, I desired to plead for an honest declaration and fulfilment of
his belief in death. The dilemma is inevitable. Men must either
hereafter live, or hereafter die; fate may be bravely met, and conduct
wisely ordered, on either expectation; but never in hesitation between
ungrasped hope, and unconfronted fear. We usually believe in
immortality, so far as to avoid preparation for death; and in mortality,
so far as to avoid preparation for anything after death. Whereas, a wise
man will at least hold himself prepared for one or other of two events,
of which one or other is inevitable; and will have all things in order,
for his sleep, or in readiness, for his awakening.

Nor have we any right to call it an ignoble judgment, if he determine to
put them in order, as for sleep. A brave belief in life is indeed an
enviable state of mind, but, as far as I can discern, an unusual one. I
know few Christians so convinced of the splendour of the rooms in their
Father's house, as to be happier when their friends are called to those
mansions, than they would have been if the Queen had sent for them to
live at Court: nor has the Church's most ardent 'desire to depart, and
be with Christ,' ever cured it of the singular habit of putting on
mourning for every person summoned to such departure. On the contrary, a
brave belief in death has been assuredly held by many not ignoble
persons, and it is a sign of the last depravity in the Church itself,
when it assumes that such a belief is inconsistent with either purity of
character, or energy of hand. The shortness of life is not, to any
rational person, a conclusive reason for wasting the space of it which
may be granted him; nor does the anticipation of death to-morrow
suggest, to any one but a drunkard, the expediency of drunkenness
to-day. To teach that there is no device in the grave, may indeed make
the deviceless person more contented in his dulness; but it will make
the deviser only more earnest in devising, nor is human conduct likely,
in every case, to be purer under the conviction that all its evil may in
a moment be pardoned, and all its wrong-doing in a moment redeemed; and
that the sigh of repentance, which purges the guilt of the past, will
waft the soul into a felicity which forgets its pain,--than it may be
under the sterner, and to many not unwise minds, more probable,
apprehension, that 'what a man soweth that shall he also reap'--or
others reap,--when he, the living seed of pestilence, walketh no more in
darkness, but lies down therein.

But to men whose feebleness of sight, or bitterness of soul, or the
offence given by the conduct of those who claim higher hope, may have
rendered this painful creed the only possible one, there is an appeal to
be made, more secure in its ground than any which can be addressed to
happier persons. I would fain, if I might offencelessly, have spoken to
them as if none others heard; and have said thus: Hear me, you dying
men, who will soon be deaf for ever. For these others, at your right
hand and your left, who look forward to a state of infinite existence,
in which all their errors will be overruled, and all their faults
forgiven; for these, who, stained and blackened in the battle smoke of
mortality, have but to dip themselves for an instant in the font of
death, and to rise renewed of plumage, as a dove that is covered with
silver, and her feathers like gold; for these, indeed, it may be
permissible to waste their numbered moments, through faith in a future
of innumerable hours; to these, in their weakness, it may be conceded
that they should tamper with sin which can only bring forth fruit of
righteousness, and profit by the iniquity which, one day, will be
remembered no more. In them, it may be no sign of hardness of heart to
neglect the poor, over whom they know their Master is watching; and to
leave those to perish temporarily, who cannot perish eternally. But, for
you, there is no such hope, and therefore no such excuse. This fate,
which you ordain for the wretched, you believe to be all their
inheritance; you may crush them, before the moth, and they will never
rise to rebuke you;--their breath, which fails for lack of food, once
expiring, will never be recalled to whisper against you a word of
accusing;--they and you, as you think, shall lie down together in the
dust, and the worms cover you;--and for them there shall be no
consolation, and on you no vengeance,--only the question murmured above
your grave: 'Who shall repay him what he hath done?' Is it therefore
easier for you in your heart to inflict the sorrow for which there is no
remedy? Will you take, wantonly, this little all of his life from your
poor brother, and make his brief hours long to him with pain? Will you
be readier to the injustice which can never be redressed; and niggardly
of mercy which you _can_ bestow but once, and which, refusing, you
refuse for ever? I think better of you, even of the most selfish, than
that you would do this, well understood. And for yourselves, it seems to
me, the question becomes not less grave, in these curt limits. If your
life were but a fever fit,--the madness of a night, whose follies were
all to be forgotten in the dawn, it might matter little how you fretted
away the sickly hours,--what toys you snatched at, or let fall,--what
visions you followed wistfully with the deceived eyes of sleepless
phrenzy. Is the earth only an hospital? Play, if you care to play, on
the floor of the hospital dens. Knit its straw into what crowns please
you; gather the dust of it for treasure, and die rich in that, clutching
at the black motes in the air with your dying hands;--and yet, it may be
well with you. But if this life be no dream, and the world no hospital;
if all the peace and power and joy you can ever win, must be won now;
and all fruit of victory gathered here, or never;--will you still,
throughout the puny totality of your life, weary yourselves in the fire
for vanity? If there is no rest which remaineth for you, is there none
you might presently take? was this grass of the earth made green for
your shroud only, not for your bed? and can you never lie down _upon_
it, but only _under_ it? The heathen, to whose creed you have returned,
thought not so. They knew that life brought its contest, but they
expected from it also the crown of all contest: No proud one! no
jewelled circlet flaming through Heaven above the height of the
unmerited throne; only some few leaves of wild olive, cool to the tired
brow, through a few years of peace. It should have been of gold, they
thought; but Jupiter was poor; this was the best the god could give
them. Seeking a greater than this, they had known it a mockery. Not in
war, not in wealth, not in tyranny, was there any happiness to be found
for them--only in kindly peace, fruitful and free. The wreath was to be
of _wild_ olive, mark you:--the tree that grows carelessly, tufting the
rocks with no vivid bloom, no verdure of branch; only with soft snow of
blossom, and scarcely fulfilled fruit, mixed with grey leaf and thornset
stem; no fastening of diadem for you but with such sharp embroidery! But
this, such as it is, you may win while yet you live; type of grey honour
and sweet rest.[2] Free-heartedness, and graciousness, and undisturbed
trust, and requited love, and the sight of the peace of others, and the
ministry to their pain;--these, and the blue sky above you, and the
sweet waters and flowers of the earth beneath; and mysteries and
presences, innumerable, of living things,--these may yet be here your
riches; untormenting and divine: serviceable for the life that now is
nor, it may be, without promise of that which is to come.


[1] 'A fearful occurrence took place a few days since, near
Wolverhampton. Thomas Snape, aged nineteen, was on duty as the "keeper"
of a blast furnace at Deepfield, assisted by John Gardner, aged
eighteen, and Joseph Swift, aged thirty-seven. The furnace contained
four tons of molten iron, and an equal amount of cinders, and ought to
have been run out at 7.30 P.M. But Snape and his mates, engaged in
talking and drinking, neglected their duty, and in the meantime, the
iron rose in the furnace until it reached a pipe wherein water was
contained. Just as the men had stripped, and were proceeding to tap the
furnace, the water in the pipe, converted into steam, burst down its
front and let loose on them the molten metal, which instantaneously
consumed Gardner; Snape, terribly burnt, and mad with pain, leaped into
the canal and then ran home and fell dead on the threshold, Swift
survived to reach the hospital, where he died too.

In further illustration of this matter, I beg the reader to look at the
article on the 'Decay of the English Race,' in the '_Pall-Mall Gazette_'
of April 17, of this year; and at the articles on the 'Report of the
Thames Commission,' in any journals of the same date.

[2] [Greek: melitoessa, aethlôn g' eneken].




(_Delivered before the Working Men's Institute, at Camberwell._)

My Friends,--I have not come among you to-night to endeavour to give you
an entertaining lecture; but to tell you a few plain facts, and ask you
some plain, but necessary questions. I have seen and known too much of
the struggle for life among our labouring population, to feel at ease,
even under any circumstances, in inviting them to dwell on the
trivialities of my own studies; but, much more, as I meet to-night, for
the first time, the members of a working Institute established in the
district in which I have passed the greater part of my life, I am
desirous that we should at once understand each other, on graver
matters. I would fain tell you, with what feelings, and with what hope,
I regard this Institution, as one of many such, now happily established
throughout England, as well as in other countries;--Institutions which
are preparing the way for a great change in all the circumstances of
industrial life; but of which the success must wholly depend upon our
clearly understanding the circumstances and necessary _limits_ of this
change. No teacher can truly promote the cause of education, until he
knows the conditions of the life for which that education is to prepare
his pupil. And the fact that he is called upon to address you nominally,
as a 'Working Class,' must compel him, if he is in any wise earnest or
thoughtful, to inquire in the outset, on what you yourselves suppose
this class distinction has been founded in the past, and must be founded
in the future. The manner of the amusement, and the matter of the
teaching, which any of us can offer you, must depend wholly on our first
understanding from you, whether you think the distinction heretofore
drawn between working men and others, is truly or falsely founded. Do
you accept it as it stands? do you wish it to be modified? or do you
think the object of education is to efface it, and make us forget it for

Let me make myself more distinctly understood. We call this--you and
I--a 'Working Men's' Institute, and our college in London, a 'Working
Men's' College. Now, how do you consider that these several institutes
differ, or ought to differ, from 'idle men's' institutes and 'idle
men's' colleges? Or by what other word than 'idle' shall I distinguish
those whom the happiest and wisest of working men do not object to call
the 'Upper Classes?' Are there really upper classes,--are there lower?
How much should they always be elevated, how much always depressed? And,
gentlemen and ladies--I pray those of you who are here to forgive me the
offence there may be in what I am going to say. It is not _I_ who wish
to say it. Bitter voices say it; voices of battle and of famine through
all the world, which must be heard some day, whoever keeps silence.
Neither is it to _you_ specially that I say it. I am sure that most now
present know their duties of kindness, and fulfil them, better perhaps
than I do mine. But I speak to you as representing your whole class,
which errs, I know, chiefly by thoughtlessness, but not therefore the
less terribly. Wilful error is limited by the will, but what limit is
there to that of which we are unconscious?

Bear with me, therefore, while I turn to these workmen, and ask them,
also as representing a great multitude, what they think the 'upper
classes' are, and ought to be, in relation to them. Answer, you workmen
who are here, as you would among yourselves, frankly; and tell me how
you would have me call those classes. Am I to call them--would _you_
think me right in calling them--the idle classes? I think you would feel
somewhat uneasy, and as if I were not treating my subject honestly, or
speaking from my heart, if I went on under the supposition that all rich
people were idle. You would be both unjust and unwise if you allowed me
to say that;--not less unjust than the rich people who say that all the
poor are idle, and will never work if they can help it, or more than
they can help.

For indeed the fact is, that there are idle poor and idle rich; and
there are busy poor and busy rich. Many a beggar is as lazy as if he had
ten thousand a year; and many a man of large fortune is busier than his
errand-boy, and never would think of stopping in the street to play
marbles. So that, in a large view, the distinction between workers and
idlers, as between knaves and honest men, runs through the very heart
and innermost economies of men of all ranks and in all positions. There
is a working class--strong and happy--among both rich and poor; there is
an idle class--weak, wicked, and miserable--among both rich and poor.
And the worst of the misunderstandings arising between the two orders
come of the unlucky fact that the wise of one class habitually
contemplate the foolish of the other. If the busy rich people watched
and rebuked the idle rich people, all would be right; and if the busy
poor people watched and rebuked the idle poor people, all would be
right. But each class has a tendency to look for the faults of the
other. A hard-working man of property is particularly offended by an
idle beggar; and an orderly, but poor, workman is naturally intolerant
of the licentious luxury of the rich. And what is severe judgment in the
minds of the just men of either class, becomes fierce enmity in the
unjust--but among the unjust _only_. None but the dissolute among the
poor look upon the rich as their natural enemies, or desire to pillage
their houses and divide their property. None but the dissolute among the
rich speak in opprobrious terms of the vices and follies of the poor.

There is, then, no class distinction between idle and industrious
people; and I am going to-night to speak only of the industrious. The
idle people we will put out of our thoughts at once--they are mere
nuisances--what ought to be done with _them_, we'll talk of at another
time. But there are class distinctions, among the industrious
themselves; tremendous distinctions, which rise and fall to every
degree in the infinite thermometer of human pain and of human
power--distinctions of high and low, of lost and won, to the whole reach
of man's soul and body.

These separations we will study, and the laws of them, among energetic
men only, who, whether they work or whether they play, put their
strength into the work, and their strength into the game; being in the
full sense of the word 'industrious,' one way or another--with a
purpose, or without. And these distinctions are mainly four:

I. Between those who work, and those who play.

II. Between those who produce the means of life, and those who consume

III. Between those who work with the head, and those who work with the

IV. Between those who work wisely, and who work foolishly.

For easier memory, let us say we are going to oppose, in our

    I.   Work to play;
    II.  Production to consumption;
    III. Head to Hand; and,
    IV.  Sense to nonsense.

I. First, then, of the distinction between the classes who work and the
classes who play. Of course we must agree upon a definition of these
terms,--work and play,--before going farther. Now, roughly, not with
vain subtlety of definition, but for plain use of the words, 'play' is
an exertion of body or mind, made to please ourselves, and with no
determined end; and work is a thing done because it ought to be done,
and with a determined end. You play, as you call it, at cricket, for
instance. That is as hard work as anything else; but it amuses you, and
it has no result but the amusement. If it were done as an ordered form
of exercise, for health's sake, it would become work directly. So, in
like manner, whatever we do to please ourselves, and only for the sake
of the pleasure, not for an ultimate object, is 'play,' the 'pleasing
thing,' not the useful thing. Play may be useful in a secondary sense
(nothing is indeed more useful or necessary); but the use of it depends
on its being spontaneous.

Let us, then, enquire together what sort of games the playing class in
England spend their lives in playing at.

The first of all English games is making money. That is an all-absorbing
game; and we knock each other down oftener in playing at that than at
foot-ball, or any other roughest sport; and it is absolutely without
purpose; no one who engages heartily in that game ever knows why. Ask a
great money-maker what he wants to do with his money--he never knows. He
doesn't make it to do anything with it. He gets it only that he _may_
get it. 'What will you make of what you have got?' you ask. 'Well, I'll
get more,' he says. Just as, at cricket, you get more runs. There's no
use in the runs, but to get more of them than other people is the game.
And there's no use in the money, but to have more of it than other
people is the game. So all that great foul city of London
there,--rattling, growling, smoking, stinking,--a ghastly heap of
fermenting brick-work, pouring out poison at every pore,--you fancy it
is a city of work? Not a street of it! It is a great city of play; very
nasty play, and very hard play, but still play. It is only Lord's
cricket ground without the turf,--a huge billiard table without the
cloth, and with pockets as deep as the bottomless pit; but mainly a
billiard table, after all.

Well, the first great English game is this playing at counters. It
differs from the rest in that it appears always to be producing money,
while every other game is expensive. But it does not always produce
money. There's a great difference between 'winning' money and 'making'
it; a great difference between getting it out of another man's pocket
into ours, or filling both. Collecting money is by no means the same
thing as making it; the tax-gatherer's house is not the Mint; and much
of the apparent gain (so called), in commerce, is only a form of
taxation on carriage or exchange.

Our next great English game, however, hunting and shooting, is costly
altogether; and how much we are fined for it annually in land, horses,
gamekeepers, and game laws, and all else that accompanies that
beautiful and special English game, I will not endeavour to count now:
but note only that, except for exercise, this is not merely a useless
game, but a deadly one, to all connected with it. For through
horse-racing, you get every form of what the higher classes everywhere
call 'Play,' in distinction from all other plays; that is--gambling; by
no means a beneficial or recreative game: and, through game-preserving,
you get also some curious laying out of ground; that beautiful
arrangement of dwelling-house for man and beast, by which we have grouse
and black-cock--so many brace to the acre, and men and women--so many
brace to the garret. I often wonder what the angelic builders and
surveyors--the angelic builders who build the 'many mansions' up above
there; and the angelic surveyors, who measured that four-square city
with their measuring reeds--I wonder what they think, or are supposed to
think, of the laying out of ground by this nation, which has set itself,
as it seems, literally to accomplish, word for word, or rather fact for
word, in the persons of those poor whom its Master left to represent
him, what that Master said of himself--that foxes and birds had homes,
but He none.

Then, next to the gentlemen's game of hunting, we must put the ladies'
game of dressing. It is not the cheapest of games. I saw a brooch at a
jeweller's in Bond Street a fortnight ago, not an inch wide, and without
any singular jewel in it, yet worth 3,000_l._ And I wish I could tell
you what this 'play' costs, altogether, in England, France, and Russia
annually. But it is a pretty game, and on certain terms, I like it; nay,
I don't see it played quite as much as I would fain have it. You ladies
like to lead the fashion:--by all means lead it--lead it thoroughly,
lead it far enough. Dress yourselves nicely, and dress everybody else
nicely. Lead the _fashions for the poor_ first; make _them_ look well,
and you yourselves will look, in ways of which you have now no
conception, all the better. The fashions you have set for some time
among your peasantry are not pretty ones; their doublets are too
irregularly slashed, and the wind blows too frankly through them.

Then there are other games, wild enough, as I could show you if I had

There's playing at literature, and playing at art--very different, both,
from working at literature, or working at art, but I've no time to speak
of these. I pass to the greatest of all--the play of plays, the great
gentlemen's game, which ladies like them best to play at,--the game of
War. It is entrancingly pleasant to the imagination; the facts of it,
not always so pleasant. We dress for it, however, more finely than for
any other sport; and go out to it, not merely in scarlet, as to hunt,
but in scarlet and gold, and all manner of fine colours: of course we
could fight better in grey, and without feathers; but all nations have
agreed that it is good to be well dressed at this play. Then the bats
and balls are very costly; our English and French bats, with the balls
and wickets, even those which we don't make any use of, costing, I
suppose, now about fifteen millions of money annually to each nation;
all of which, you know is paid for by hard labourer's work in the furrow
and furnace. A costly game!--not to speak of its consequences; I will
say at present nothing of these. The mere immediate cost of all these
plays is what I want you to consider; they all cost deadly work
somewhere, as many of us know too well. The jewel-cutter, whose sight
fails over the diamonds; the weaver, whose arm fails over the web; the
iron-forger, whose breath fails before the furnace--_they_ know what
work is--they, who have all the work, and none of the play, except a
kind they have named for themselves down in the black north country,
where 'play' means being laid up by sickness. It is a pretty example for
philologists, of varying dialect, this change in the sense of the word
'play,' as used in the black country of Birmingham, and the red and
black country of Baden Baden. Yes, gentlemen, and gentlewomen, of
England, who think 'one moment unamused a misery, not made for feeble
man,' this is what you have brought the word 'play' to mean, in the
heart of merry England! You may have your fluting and piping; but there
are sad children sitting in the market-place, who indeed cannot say to
you, 'We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced:' but eternally
shall say to you, 'We have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented.'

This, then, is the first distinction between the 'upper and lower'
classes. And this is one which is by no means necessary; which indeed
must, in process of good time, be by all honest men's consent abolished.
Men will be taught that an existence of play, sustained by the blood of
other creatures, is a good existence for gnats and sucking fish; but not
for men: that neither days, nor lives, can be made holy by doing nothing
in them: that the best prayer at the beginning of a day is that we may
not lose its moments; and the best grace before meat, the consciousness
that we have justly earned our dinner. And when we have this much of
plain Christianity preached to us again, and enough respect for what we
regard as inspiration, as not to think that 'Son, go work to-day in my
vineyard,' means 'Fool, go play to-day in my vineyard,' we shall all be
workers, in one way or another; and this much at least of the
distinction between 'upper' and 'lower' forgotten.

II. I pass then to our second distinction; between the rich and poor,
between Dives and Lazarus,--distinction which exists more sternly, I
suppose, in this day, than ever in the world, Pagan or Christian, till
now. I will put it sharply before you, to begin with, merely by reading
two paragraphs which I cut from two papers that lay on my breakfast
table on the same morning, the 25th of November, 1864. The piece about
the rich Russian at Paris is commonplace enough, and stupid besides (for
fifteen francs,--12_s._ 6_d._,--is nothing for a rich man to give for a
couple of peaches, out of season). Still, the two paragraphs printed on
the same day are worth putting side by side.

'Such a man is now here. He is a Russian, and, with your permission, we
will call him Count Teufelskine. In dress he is sublime; art is
considered in that toilet, the harmony of colour respected, the _chiar'
oscuro_ evident in well-selected contrast. In manners he is
dignified--nay, perhaps apathetic; nothing disturbs the placid serenity
of that calm exterior. One day our friend breakfasted _chez_ Bignon.
When the bill came he read, "Two peaches, 15f." He paid. "Peaches
scarce, I presume?" was his sole remark. "No, sir," replied the waiter,
"but Teufelskines are."' _Telegraph_, November 25, 1864.

'Yesterday morning, at eight o'clock, a woman, passing a dung heap in
the stone yard near the recently-erected alms-houses in Shadwell Gap,
High Street, Shadwell, called the attention of a Thames police-constable
to a man in a sitting position on the dung heap, and said she was afraid
he was dead. Her fears proved to be true. The wretched creature appeared
to have been dead several hours. He had perished of cold and wet, and
the rain had been beating down on him all night. The deceased was a
bone-picker. He was in the lowest stage of poverty, poorly clad, and
half-starved. The police had frequently driven him away from the stone
yard, between sunset and sunrise, and told him to go home. He selected a
most desolate spot for his wretched death. A penny and some bones were
found in his pockets. The deceased was between fifty and sixty years of
age. Inspector Roberts, of the K division, has given directions for
inquiries to be made at the lodging-houses respecting the deceased, to
ascertain his identity if possible.'--_Morning Post_, November 25, 1864.

You have the separation thus in brief compass; and I want you to take
notice of the 'a penny and some bones were found in his pockets,' and to
compare it with this third statement, from the _Telegraph_ of January
16th of this year:--

'Again, the dietary scale for adult and juvenile paupers was drawn up by
the most conspicuous political economists in England. It is low in
quantity, but it is sufficient to support nature; yet within ten years
of the passing of the Poor Law Act, we heard of the paupers in the
Andover Union gnawing the scraps of putrid flesh and sucking the marrow
from the bones of horses which they were employed to crush.'

You see my reason for thinking that our Lazarus of Christianity has some
advantage over the Jewish one. Jewish Lazarus expected, or at least
prayed, to be fed with crumbs from the rich man's table; but _our_
Lazarus is fed with crumbs from the dog's table.

Now this distinction between rich and poor rests on two bases. Within
its proper limits, on a basis which is lawful and everlastingly
necessary; beyond them, on a basis unlawful, and everlastingly
corrupting the framework of society. The lawful basis of wealth is, that
a man who works should be paid the fair value of his work; and that if
he does not choose to spend it to-day, he should have free leave to keep
it, and spend it to-morrow. Thus, an industrious man working daily, and
laying by daily, attains at last the possession of an accumulated sum of
wealth, to which he has absolute right. The idle person who will not
work, and the wasteful person who lays nothing by, at the end of the
same time will be doubly poor--poor in possession, and dissolute in
moral habit; and he will then naturally covet the money which the other
has saved. And if he is then allowed to attack the other, and rob him of
his well-earned wealth, there is no more any motive for saving, or any
reward for good conduct; and all society is thereupon dissolved, or
exists only in systems of rapine. Therefore the first necessity of
social life is the clearness of national conscience in enforcing the
law--that he should keep who has JUSTLY EARNED.

That law, I say, is the proper basis of distinction between rich and
poor. But there is also a false basis of distinction; namely, the power
held over those who earn wealth by those who levy or exact it. There
will be always a number of men who would fain set themselves to the
accumulation of wealth as the sole object of their lives. Necessarily,
that class of men is an uneducated class, inferior in intellect, and
more or less cowardly. It is physically impossible for a well-educated,
intellectual, or brave man to make money the chief object of his
thoughts; as physically impossible as it is for him to make his dinner
the principal object of them. All healthy people like their dinners, but
their dinner is not the main object of their lives. So all healthily
minded people like making money--ought to like it, and to enjoy the
sensation of winning it; but the main object of their life is not money;
it is something better than money. A good soldier, for instance, mainly
wishes to do his fighting well. He is glad of his pay--very properly
so, and justly grumbles when you keep him ten years without it--still,
his main notion of life is to win battles, not to be paid for winning
them. So of clergymen. They like pew-rents, and baptismal fees, of
course; but yet, if they are brave and well educated, the pew-rent is
not the sole object of their lives, and the baptismal fee is not the
sole purpose of the baptism; the clergyman's object is essentially to
baptize and preach, not to be paid for preaching. So of doctors. They
like fees no doubt,--ought to like them; yet if they are brave and well
educated, the entire object of their lives is not fees. They, on the
whole, desire to cure the sick; and,--if they are good doctors, and the
choice were fairly put to them,--would rather cure their patient, and
lose their fee, than kill him, and get it. And so with all other brave
and rightly trained men; their work is first, their fee second--very
important always, but still _second_. But in every nation, as I said,
there are a vast class who are ill-educated, cowardly, and more or less
stupid. And with these people, just as certainly the fee is first, and
the work second, as with brave people the work is first and the fee
second. And this is no small distinction. It is the whole distinction in
a man; distinction between life and death _in_ him, between heaven and
hell _for_ him. You cannot serve two masters;--you _must_ serve one or
other. If your work is first with you, and your fee second, work is your
master, and the lord of work, who is God. But if your fee is first with
you, and your work second, fee is your master, and the lord of fee, who
is the Devil; and not only the Devil, but the lowest of devils--the
'least erected fiend that fell.' So there you have it in brief terms;
Work first--you are God's servants; Fee first--you are the Fiend's. And
it makes a difference, now and ever, believe me, whether you serve Him
who has on His vesture and thigh written, 'King of Kings,' and whose
service is perfect freedom; or him on whose vesture and thigh the name
is written, 'Slave of Slaves,' and whose service is perfect slavery.

However, in every nation there are, and must always be, a certain number
of these Fiend's servants, who have it principally for the object of
their lives to make money. They are always, as I said, more or less
stupid, and cannot conceive of anything else so nice as money. Stupidity
is always the basis of the Judas bargain. We do great injustice to
Iscariot, in thinking him wicked above all common wickedness. He was
only a common money-lover, and, like all money-lovers, didn't understand
Christ;--couldn't make out the worth of Him, or meaning of Him. He
didn't want Him to be killed. He was horror-struck when he found that
Christ would be killed; threw his money away instantly, and hanged
himself. How many of our present money-seekers, think you, would have
the grace to hang themselves, whoever was killed? But Judas was a
common, selfish, muddle-headed, pilfering fellow; his hand always in the
bag of the poor, not caring for them. He didn't understand Christ;--yet
believed in Him, much more than most of us do; had seen Him do miracles,
thought He was quite strong enough to shift for Himself, and he, Judas,
might as well make his own little bye-perquisites out of the affair.
Christ would come out of it well enough, and he have his thirty pieces.
Now, that is the money-seeker's idea, all over the world. He doesn't
hate Christ, but can't understand Him--doesn't care for him--sees no
good in that benevolent business; makes his own little job out of it at
all events, come what will. And thus, out of every mass of men, you have
a certain number of bag-men--your 'fee-first' men, whose main object is
to make money. And they do make it--make it in all sorts of unfair ways,
chiefly by the weight and force of money itself, or what is called the
power of capital; that is to say, the power which money, once obtained,
has over the labour of the poor, so that the capitalist can take all its
produce to himself, except the labourer's food. That is the modern
Judas's way of 'carrying the bag,' and 'bearing what is put therein.'

Nay, but (it is asked) how is that an unfair advantage? Has not the man
who has worked for the money a right to use it as he best can? No; in
this respect, money is now exactly what mountain promontories over
public roads were in old times. The barons fought for them fairly:--the
strongest and cunningest got them; then fortified them, and made
everyone who passed below pay toll. Well, capital now is exactly what
crags were then. Men fight fairly (we will, at least, grant so much,
though it is more than we ought) for their money; but, once having got
it, the fortified millionaire can make everybody who passes below pay
toll to his million, and build another tower of his money castle. And I
can tell you, the poor vagrants by the roadside suffer now quite as much
from the bag-baron, as ever they did from the crag-baron. Bags and crags
have just the same result on rags. I have not time, however, to-night to
show you in how many ways the power of capital is unjust; but this one
great principle I have to assert--you will find it quite indisputably
true--that whenever money is the principal object of life with either
man or nation, it is both got ill, and spent ill; and does harm both in
the getting and spending; but when it is not the principal object, it
and all other things will be well got, and well spent. And here is the
test, with every man, of whether money is the principal object with him,
or not. If in mid-life he could pause and say, "Now I have enough to
live upon, I'll live upon it; and having well earned it, I will also
well spend it, and go out of the world poor, as I came into it," then
money is not principal with him; but if, having enough to live upon in
the manner befitting his character and rank, he still wants to make
more, and to _die_ rich, then money is the principal object with him,
and it becomes a curse to himself, and generally to those who spend it
after him. For you know it _must_ be spent some day; the only question
is whether the man who makes it shall spend it, or some one else. And
generally it is better for the maker to spend it, for he will know best
its value and use. This is the true law of life. And if a man does not
choose thus to spend his money, he must either hoard it or lend it, and
the worst thing he can generally do is to lend it; for borrowers are
nearly always ill-spenders, and it is with lent money that all evil is
mainly done, and all unjust war protracted.

For observe what the real fact is, respecting loans to foreign military
governments, and how strange it is. If your little boy came to you to
ask for money to spend in squibs and crackers, you would think twice
before you gave it him; and you would have some idea that it was wasted,
when you saw it fly off in fireworks, even though he did no mischief
with it. But the Russian children, and Austrian children, come to you,
borrowing money, not to spend in innocent squibs, but in cartridges and
bayonets to attack you in India with, and to keep down all noble life in
Italy with, and to murder Polish women and children with; and _that_ you
will give at once, because they pay you interest for it. Now, in order
to pay you that interest, they must tax every working peasant in their
dominions; and on that work you live. You therefore at once rob the
Austrian peasant, assassinate or banish the Polish peasant, and you live
on the produce of the theft, and the bribe for the assassination! That
is the broad fact--that is the practical meaning of your foreign loans,
and of most large interest of money; and then you quarrel with Bishop
Colenso, forsooth, as if _he_ denied the Bible, and you believed it!
though, wretches as you are, every deliberate act of your lives is a new
defiance of its primary orders; and as if, for most of the rich men of
England at this moment, it were not indeed to be desired, as the best
thing at least for _them_, that the Bible should _not_ be true, since
against them these words are written in it: 'The rust of your gold and
silver shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh, as it
were fire.'

III. I pass now to our third condition of separation, between the men
who work with the hand, and those who work with the head.

And here we have at last an inevitable distinction. There _must_ be work
done by the arms, or none of us could live. There _must_ be work done by
the brains, or the life we get would not be worth having. And the same
men cannot do both. There is rough work to be done, and rough men must
do it; there is gentle work to be done, and gentlemen must do it; and it
is physically impossible that one class should do, or divide, the work
of the other. And it is of no use to try to conceal this sorrowful fact
by fine words, and to talk to the workman about the honourableness of
manual labour and the dignity of humanity. That is a grand old proverb
of Sancho Panza's, 'Fine words butter no parsnips;' and I can tell you
that, all over England just now, you workmen are buying a great deal too
much butter at that dairy. Rough work, honourable or not, takes the life
out of us; and the man who has been heaving clay out of a ditch all day,
or driving an express train against the north wind all night, or holding
a collier's helm in a gale on a lee-shore, or whirling white hot iron at
a furnace mouth, that man is not the same at the end of his day, or
night, as one who has been sitting in a quiet room, with everything
comfortable about him, reading books, or classing butterflies, or
painting pictures. If it is any comfort to you to be told that the rough
work is the more honourable of the two, I should be sorry to take that
much of consolation from you; and in some sense I need not. The rough
work is at all events real, honest, and, generally, though not always,
useful; while the fine work is, a great deal of it, foolish and false as
well as fine, and therefore dishonourable; but when both kinds are
equally well and worthily done, the head's is the noble work, and the
hand's the ignoble; and of all hand work whatsoever, necessary for the
maintenance of life, those old words, 'In the sweat of thy face thou
shalt eat bread,' indicate that the inherent nature of it is one of
calamity; and that the ground, cursed for our sake, casts also some
shadow of degradation into our contest with its thorn and its thistle;
so that all nations have held their days honourable, or 'holy,' and
constituted them 'holydays' or 'holidays,' by making them days of rest;
and the promise, which, among all our distant hopes, seems to cast the
chief brightness over death, is that blessing of the dead who die in the
Lord, that 'they rest from their labours, and their works do follow

And thus the perpetual question and contest must arise, who is to do
this rough work? and how is the worker of it to be comforted, redeemed,
and rewarded? and what kind of play should he have, and what rest, in
this world, sometimes, as well as in the next? Well, my good working
friends, these questions will take a little time to answer yet. They
must be answered: all good men are occupied with them, and all honest
thinkers. There's grand head work doing about them; but much must be
discovered, and much attempted in vain, before anything decisive can be
told you. Only note these few particulars, which are already sure.

As to the distribution of the hard work. None of us, or very few of us,
do either hard or soft work because we think we ought; but because we
have chanced to fall into the way of it, and cannot help ourselves. Now,
nobody does anything well that they cannot help doing: work is only done
well when it is done with a will; and no man has a thoroughly sound will
unless he knows he is doing what he should, and is in his place. And,
depend upon it, all work must be done at last, not in a disorderly,
scrambling, doggish way, but in an ordered, soldierly, human way--a
lawful way. Men are enlisted for the labour that kills--the labour of
war: they are counted, trained, fed, dressed, and praised for that. Let
them be enlisted also for the labour that feeds: let them be counted,
trained, fed, dressed, praised for that. Teach the plough exercise as
carefully as you do the sword exercise, and let the officers of troops
of life be held as much gentlemen as the officers of troops of death;
and all is done: but neither this, nor any other right thing, can be
accomplished--you can't even see your way to it--unless, first of all,
both servant and master are resolved that, come what will of it, they
will do each other justice. People are perpetually squabbling about what
will be best to do, or easiest to do, or adviseablest to do, or
profitablest to do; but they never, so far as I hear them talk, ever ask
what it is _just_ to do. And it is the law of heaven that you shall not
be able to judge what is wise or easy, unless you are first resolved to
judge what is just, and to do it. That is the one thing constantly
reiterated by our Master--the order of all others that is given
oftenest--'Do justice and judgment.' That's your Bible order; that's the
'Service of God,' not praying nor psalm-singing. You are told, indeed,
to sing psalms when you are merry, and to pray when you need anything;
and, by the perversion of the Evil Spirit, we get to think that praying
and psalm-singing are 'service.' If a child finds itself in want of
anything, it runs in and asks its father for it--does it call that,
doing its father a service? If it begs for a toy or a piece of
cake--does it call that serving its father? That, with God, is prayer,
and He likes to hear it: He likes you to ask Him for cake when you want
it; but He doesn't call that 'serving Him.' Begging is not serving: God
likes mere beggars as little as you do--He likes honest servants, not
beggars. So when a child loves its father very much, and is very happy,
it may sing little songs about him; but it doesn't call that serving its
father; neither is singing songs about God, serving God. It is enjoying
ourselves, if it's anything; most probably it is nothing; but if it's
anything, it is serving ourselves, not God. And yet we are impudent
enough to call our beggings and chauntings 'Divine Service:' we say
'Divine service will be "performed"' (that's our word--the form of it
gone through) 'at eleven o'clock.' Alas!--unless we perform Divine
service in every willing act of our life, we never perform it at all.
The one Divine work--the one ordered sacrifice--is to do justice; and it
is the last we are ever inclined to do. Anything rather than that! As
much charity as you choose, but no justice. 'Nay,' you will say,
'charity is greater than justice.' Yes, it is greater; it is the summit
of justice--it is the temple of which justice is the foundation. But you
can't have the top without the bottom; you cannot build upon charity.
You must build upon justice, for this main reason, that you have not, at
first, charity to build with. It is the last reward of good work. Do
justice to your brother (you can do that, whether you love him or not),
and you will come to love him. But do injustice to him, because you
don't love him; and you will come to hate him. It is all very fine to
think you can build upon charity to begin with; but you will find all
you have got to begin with, begins at home, and is essentially love of
yourself. You well-to-do people, for instance, who are here to-night,
will go to 'Divine service' next Sunday, all nice and tidy, and your
little children will have their tight little Sunday boots on, and lovely
little Sunday feathers in their hats; and you'll think, complacently and
piously, how lovely they look! So they do: and you love them heartily
and you like sticking feathers in their hats. That's all right: that
_is_ charity; but it is charity beginning at home. Then you will come to
the poor little crossing-sweeper, got up also,--it, in its Sunday
dress,--the dirtiest rags it has,--that it may beg the better: we shall
give it a penny, and think how good we are. That's charity going abroad.
But what does Justice say, walking and watching near us? Christian
Justice has been strangely mute, and seemingly blind; and, if not blind,
decrepit, this many a day: she keeps her accounts still, however--quite
steadily--doing them at nights, carefully, with her bandage off, and
through acutest spectacles (the only modern scientific invention she
cares about). You must put your ear down ever so close to her lips to
hear her speak; and then you will start at what she first whispers, for
it will certainly be, 'Why shouldn't that little crossing-sweeper have a
feather on its head, as well as your own child?' Then you may ask
Justice, in an amazed manner, 'How she can possibly be so foolish as to
think children could sweep crossings with feathers on their heads?' Then
you stoop again, and Justice says--still in her dull, stupid way--'Then,
why don't you, every other Sunday, leave your child to sweep the
crossing, and take the little sweeper to church in a hat and feather?'
Mercy on us (you think), what will she say next? And you answer, of
course, that 'you don't, because every body ought to remain content in
the position in which Providence has placed them.' Ah, my friends,
that's the gist of the whole question. _Did_ Providence put them in that
position, or did _you_? You knock a man into a ditch, and then you tell
him to remain content in the 'position in which Providence has placed
him.' That's modern Christianity. You say--'_We_ did not knock him into
the ditch.' How do you know what you have done, or are doing? That's
just what we have all got to know, and what we shall never know, until
the question with us every morning, is, not how to do the gainful thing,
but how to do the just thing; nor until we are at least so far on the
way to being Christian, as to have understood that maxim of the poor
half-way Mahometan, 'One hour in the execution of justice is worth
seventy years of prayer.'

Supposing, then, we have it determined with appropriate justice, _who_
is to do the hand work, the next questions must be how the hand-workers
are to be paid, and how they are to be refreshed, and what play they are
to have. Now, the possible quantity of play depends on the possible
quantity of pay; and the quantity of pay is not a matter for
consideration to hand-workers only, but to all workers. Generally, good,
useful work, whether of the hand or head, is either ill-paid, or not
paid at all. I don't say it should be so, but it always is so. People,
as a rule, only pay for being amused or being cheated, not for being
served. Five thousand a year to your talker, and a shilling a day to
your fighter, digger, and thinker, is the rule. None of the best head
work in art, literature, or science, is ever paid for. How much do you
think Homer got for his Iliad? or Dante for his Paradise? only bitter
bread and salt, and going up and down other people's stairs. In science,
the man who discovered the telescope, and first saw heaven, was paid
with a dungeon; the man who invented the microscope, and first saw
earth, died of starvation, driven from his home: it is indeed very clear
that God means all thoroughly good work and talk to be done for nothing.
Baruch, the scribe, did not get a penny a line for writing Jeremiah's
second roll for him, I fancy; and St. Stephen did not get bishop's pay
for that long sermon of his to the Pharisees; nothing but stones. For
indeed that is the world-father's proper payment. So surely as any of
the world's children work for the world's good, honestly, with head and
heart; and come to it, saying, 'Give us a little bread, just to keep the
life in us,' the world-father answers them, 'No, my children, not bread;
a stone, if you like, or as many as you need, to keep you quiet.' But
the hand-workers are not so ill off as all this comes to. The worst that
can happen to _you_ is to break stones; not be broken by them. And for
you there will come a time for better payment; some day, assuredly, more
pence will be paid to Peter the Fisherman, and fewer to Peter the Pope;
we shall pay people not quite so much for talking in Parliament and
doing nothing, as for holding their tongues out of it and doing
something; we shall pay our ploughman a little more and our lawyer a
little less, and so on: but, at least, we may even now take care that
whatever work is done shall be fully paid for; and the man who does it
paid for it, not somebody else; and that it shall be done in an orderly,
soldierly, well-guided, wholesome way, under good captains and
lieutenants of labour; and that it shall have its appointed times of
rest, and enough of them; and that in those times the play shall be
wholesome play, not in theatrical gardens, with tin flowers and gas
sunshine, and girls dancing because of their misery; but in true
gardens, with real flowers, and real sunshine, and children dancing
because of their gladness; so that truly the streets shall be full (the
'streets,' mind you, not the gutters) of children, playing in the midst
thereof. We may take care that working-men shall have at least as good
books to read as anybody else, when they've time to read them; and as
comfortable fire-sides to sit at as anybody else, when they've time to
sit at them. This, I think, can be managed for you, my working friends,
in the good time.

IV. I must go on, however, to our last head, concerning ourselves all,
as workers. What is wise work, and what is foolish work? What the
difference between sense and nonsense, in daily occupation?

Well, wise work is, briefly, work _with_ God. Foolish work is work
_against_ God. And work done with God, which He will help, may be
briefly described as 'Putting in Order'--that is, enforcing God's law of
order, spiritual and material, over men and things. The first thing you
have to do, essentially; the real 'good work' is, with respect to men,
to enforce justice, and with respect to things, to enforce tidiness, and
fruitfulness. And against these two great human deeds, justice and
order, there are perpetually two great demons contending,--the devil of
iniquity, or inequity, and the devil of disorder, or of death; for death
is only consummation of disorder. You have to fight these two fiends
daily. So far as you don't fight against the fiend of iniquity, you work
for him. You 'work iniquity,' and the judgment upon you, for all your
'Lord, Lord's,' will be 'Depart from me, ye that work iniquity.' And so
far as you do not resist the fiend of disorder, you work disorder, and
you yourself do the work of Death, which is sin, and has for its wages,
Death himself.

Observe then, all wise work is mainly threefold in character. It is
honest, useful, and cheerful.

I. It is HONEST. I hardly know anything more strange than that you
recognise honesty in play, and you do not in work. In your lightest
games, you have always some one to see what you call 'fair-play.' In
boxing, you must hit fair; in racing, start fair. Your English watchword
is fair-play, your English hatred, foul-play. Did it ever strike you
that you wanted another watchword also, fair-work, and another hatred
also, foul-work? Your prize-fighter has some honour in him yet; and so
have the men in the ring round him: they will judge him to lose the
match, by foul hitting. But your prize-merchant gains his match by foul
selling, and no one cries out against that. You drive a gambler out of
the gambling-room who loads dice, but you leave a tradesman in
flourishing business, who loads scales! For observe, all dishonest
dealing _is_ loading scales. What does it matter whether I get short
weight, adulterate substance, or dishonest fabric? The fault in the
fabric is incomparably the worst of the two. Give me short measure of
food, and I only lose by you; but give me adulterate food, and I die by
you. Here, then, is your chief duty, you workmen and tradesmen--to be
true to yourselves, and to us who would help you. We can do nothing for
you, nor you for yourselves, without honesty. Get that, you get all;
without that, your suffrages, your reforms, your free-trade measures,
your institutions of science, are all in vain. It is useless to put your
heads together, if you can't put your hearts together. Shoulder to
shoulder, right hand to right hand, among yourselves, and no wrong hand
to anybody else, and you'll win the world yet.

II. Then, secondly, wise work is USEFUL. No man minds, or ought to mind,
its being hard, if only it comes to something; but when it is hard, and
comes to nothing; when all our bees' business turns to spiders'; and
for honeycomb we have only resultant cobweb, blown away by the next
breeze--that is the cruel thing for the worker. Yet do we ever ask
ourselves, personally, or even nationally, whether our work is coming to
anything or not? We don't care to keep what has been nobly done; still
less do we care to do nobly what others would keep; and, least of all,
to make the work itself useful instead of deadly to the doer, so as to
use his life indeed, but not to waste it. Of all wastes, the greatest
waste that you can commit is the waste of labour. If you went down in
the morning into your dairy, and you found that your youngest child had
got down before you; and that he and the cat were at play together, and
that he had poured out all the cream on the floor for the cat to lap up,
you would scold the child, and be sorry the milk was wasted. But if,
instead of wooden bowls with milk in them, there are golden bowls with
human life in them, and instead of the cat to play with--the devil to
play with; and you yourself the player; and instead of leaving that
golden bowl to be broken by God at the fountain, you break it in the
dust yourself, and pour the human blood out on the ground for the fiend
to lick up--that is no waste! What! you perhaps think, 'to waste the
labour of men is not to kill them.' Is it not? I should like to know how
you could kill them more utterly--kill them with second deaths, seventh
deaths, hundredfold deaths? It is the slightest way of killing to stop a
man's breath. Nay, the hunger, and the cold, and the little whistling
bullets--our love-messengers between nation and nation--have brought
pleasant messages from us to many a man before now; orders of sweet
release, and leave at last to go where he will be most welcome and most
happy. At the worst you do but shorten his life, you do not corrupt his
life. But if you put him to base labour, if you bind his thoughts, if
you blind his eyes, if you blunt his hopes, if you steal his joys, if
you stunt his body, and blast his soul, and at last leave him not so
much as to reap the poor fruit of his degradation, but gather that for
yourself, and dismiss him to the grave, when you have done with him,
having, so far as in you lay, made the walls of that grave everlasting
(though, indeed, I fancy the goodly bricks of some of our family vaults
will hold closer in the resurrection day than the sod over the
labourer's head), this you think is no waste, and no sin!

III. Then, lastly, wise work is CHEERFUL, as a child's work is. And now
I want you to take one thought home with you, and let it stay with you.

Everybody in this room has been taught to pray daily, 'Thy kingdom
come.' Now, if we hear a man swear in the streets, we think it very
wrong, and say he 'takes God's name in vain.' But there's a twenty times
worse way of taking His name in vain, than that. It is to _ask God for
what we don't want_. He doesn't like that sort of prayer. If you don't
want a thing, don't ask for it: such asking is the worst mockery of your
King you can mock Him with; the soldiers striking Him on the head with
the reed was nothing to that. If you do not wish for His kingdom, don't
pray for it. But if you do, you must do more than pray for it; you must
work for it. And, to work for it, you must know what it is: we have all
prayed for it many a day without thinking. Observe, it is a kingdom that
is to come to us; we are not to go to it. Also, it is not to be a
kingdom of the dead, but of the living. Also, it is not to come all at
once, but quietly; nobody knows how. 'The kingdom of God cometh not with
observation.' Also, it is not to come outside of us, but in the hearts
of us: 'the kingdom of God is within you.' And, being within us, it is
not a thing to be seen, but to be felt; and though it brings all
substance of good with it, it does not consist in that: 'the kingdom of
God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy
Ghost:' joy, that is to say, in the holy, healthful, and helpful Spirit.
Now, if we want to work for this kingdom, and to bring it, and enter
into it, there's just one condition to be first accepted. You must enter
it as children, or not at all; 'Whosoever will not receive it as a
little child shall not enter therein.' And again, 'Suffer little
children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the
kingdom of heaven.'

_Of such_, observe. Not of children themselves, but of such as
children. I believe most mothers who read that text think that all
heaven is to be full of babies. But that's not so. There will be
children there, but the hoary head is the crown. 'Length of days, and
long life and peace,' that is the blessing, not to die in babyhood.
Children die but for their parents sins; God means them to live, but He
can't let them always; then they have their earlier place in heaven: and
the little child of David, vainly prayed for;--the little child of
Jeroboam, killed by its mother's step on its own threshold,--they will
be there. But weary old David, and weary old Barzillai, having learned
children's lessons at last, will be there too: and the one question for
us all, young or old, is, have we learned our child's lesson? it is the
_character_ of children we want, and must gain at our peril; let us see,
briefly, in what it consists.

The first character of right childhood is that it is Modest. A well-bred
child does not think it can teach its parents, or that it knows
everything. It may think its father and mother know everything,--perhaps
that all grown-up people know everything; very certainly it is sure that
_it_ does not. And it is always asking questions, and wanting to know
more. Well, that is the first character of a good and wise man at his
work. To know that he knows very little;--to perceive that there are
many above him wiser than he; and to be always asking questions, wanting
to learn, not to teach. No one ever teaches well who wants to teach, or
governs well who wants to govern; it is an old saying (Plato's, but I
know not if his, first), and as wise as old.

Then, the second character of right childhood is to be Faithful.
Perceiving that its father knows best what is good for it, and having
found always, when it has tried its own way against his, that he was
right and it was wrong, a noble child trusts him at last wholly, gives
him its hand, and will walk blindfold with him, if he bids it. And that
is the true character of all good men also, as obedient workers, or
soldiers under captains. They must trust their captains;--they are bound
for their lives to choose none but those whom they _can_ trust. Then,
they are not always to be thinking that what seems strange to them, or
wrong in what they are desired to do, _is_ strange or wrong. They know
their captain: where he leads they must follow, what he bids, they must
do; and without this trust and faith, without this captainship and
soldiership, no great deed, no great salvation, is possible to man.
Among all the nations it is only when this faith is attained by them
that they become great: the Jew, the Greek, and the Mahometan, agree at
least in testifying to this. It was a deed of this absolute trust which
made Abraham the father of the faithful; it was the declaration of the
power of God as captain over all men, and the acceptance of a leader
appointed by Him as commander of the faithful, which laid the foundation
of whatever national power yet exists in the East; and the deed of the
Greeks, which has become the type of unselfish and noble soldiership to
all lands, and to all times, was commemorated, on the tomb of those who
gave their lives to do it, in the most pathetic, so far as I know, or
can feel, of all human utterances: 'Oh, stranger, go and tell our people
that we are lying here, having _obeyed_ their words.'

Then the third character of right childhood is to be Loving and
Generous. Give a little love to a child, and you get a great deal back.
It loves everything near it, when it is a right kind of child--would
hurt nothing, would give the best it has away, always, if you need
it--does not lay plans for getting everything in the house for itself,
and delights in helping people; you cannot please it so much as by
giving it a chance of being useful, in ever so little a way.

And because of all these characters, lastly, it is Cheerful. Putting its
trust in its father, it is careful for nothing--being full of love to
every creature, it is happy always, whether in its play or in its duty.
Well, that's the great worker's character also. Taking no thought for
the morrow; taking thought only for the duty of the day; trusting
somebody else to take care of to-morrow; knowing indeed what labour is,
but not what sorrow is; and always ready for play--beautiful play,--for
lovely human play is like the play of the Sun. There's a worker for you.
He, steady to his time, is set as a strong man to run his course, but
also, he _rejoiceth_ as a strong man to run his course. See how he
plays in the morning, with the mists below, and the clouds above, with a
ray here and a flash there, and a shower of jewels everywhere; that's
the Sun's play; and great human play is like his--all various--all full
of light and life, and tender, as the dew of the morning.

So then, you have the child's character in these four things--Humility,
Faith, Charity, and Cheerfulness. That's what you have got to be
converted to. 'Except ye be converted and become as little
children'--You hear much of conversion now-a-days; but people always
seem to think they have got to be made wretched by conversion,--to be
converted to long faces. No, friends, you have got to be converted to
short ones; you have to repent into childhood, to repent into delight,
and delightsomeness. You can't go into a conventicle but you'll hear
plenty of talk of backsliding. Backsliding, indeed! I can tell you, on
the ways most of us go, the faster we slide back the better. Slide back
into the cradle, if going on is into the grave--back, I tell you;
back--out of your long faces, and into your long clothes. It is among
children only, and as children only, that you will find medicine for
your healing and true wisdom for your teaching. There is poison in the
counsels of the _men_ of this world; the words they speak are all
bitterness, 'the poison of asps is under their lips,' but, 'the sucking
child shall play by the hole of the asp.' There is death in the looks of
men. 'Their eyes are privily set against the poor;' they are as the
uncharmable serpent, the cockatrice, which slew by seeing. But 'the
weaned child shall lay his hand on the cockatrice den.' There is death
in the steps of men: 'their feet are swift to shed blood; they have
compassed us in our steps like the lion that is greedy of his prey, and
the young lion lurking in secret places,' but, in that kingdom, the wolf
shall lie down with the lamb, and the fatling with the lion, and 'a
little child shall lead them.' There is death in the thoughts of men:
the world is one wide riddle to them, darker and darker as it draws to a
close; but the secret of it is known to the child, and the Lord of
heaven and earth is most to be thanked in that 'He has hidden these
things from the wise and prudent, and has revealed them unto babes.'
Yes, and there is death--infinitude of death in the principalities and
powers of men. As far as the east is from the west, so far our sins
are--_not_ set from us, but multiplied around us: the Sun himself, think
you he _now_ 'rejoices' to run his course, when he plunges westward to
the horizon, so widely red, not with clouds, but blood? And it will be
red more widely yet. Whatever drought of the early and latter rain may
be, there will be none of that red rain. You fortify yourselves, you arm
yourselves against it in vain; the enemy and avenger will be upon you
also, unless you learn that it is not out of the mouths of the knitted
gun, or the smoothed rifle, but 'out of the mouths of babes and
sucklings' that the strength is ordained which shall 'still the enemy
and avenger.'



(_Delivered in the Town Hall, Bradford._)

My good Yorkshire friends, you asked me down here among your hills that
I might talk to you about this Exchange you are going to build: but
earnestly and seriously asking you to pardon me, I am going to do
nothing of the kind. I cannot talk, or at least can say very little,
about this same Exchange. I must talk of quite other things, though not
willingly;--I could not deserve your pardon, if when you invited me to
speak on one subject, I wilfully spoke on another. But I cannot speak,
to purpose, of anything about which I do not care; and most simply and
sorrowfully I have to tell you, in the outset, that I do _not_ care
about this Exchange of yours.

If, however, when you sent me your invitation, I had answered, 'I won't
come, I don't care about the Exchange of Bradford,' you would have been
justly offended with me, not knowing the reasons of so blunt a
carelessness. So I have come down, hoping that you will patiently let me
tell you why, on this, and many other such occasions, I now remain
silent, when formerly I should have caught at the opportunity of
speaking to a gracious audience.

In a word, then, I do not care about this Exchange,--because _you_
don't; and because you know perfectly well I cannot make you. Look at
the essential circumstances of the case, which you, as business men,
know perfectly well, though perhaps you think I forget them. You are
going to spend 30,000_l._, which to you, collectively, is nothing; the
buying a new coat is, as to the cost of it, a much more important matter
of consideration to me than building a new Exchange is to you. But you
think you may as well have the right thing for your money. You know
there are a great many odd styles of architecture about; you don't want
to do anything ridiculous; you hear of me, among others, as a
respectable architectural man-milliner: and you send for me, that I may
tell you the leading fashion; and what is, in our shops, for the moment,
the newest and sweetest thing in pinnacles.

Now, pardon me for telling you frankly, you cannot have good
architecture merely by asking people's advice on occasion. All good
architecture is the expression of national life and character; and it is
produced by a prevalent and eager national taste, or desire for beauty.
And I want you to think a little of the deep significance of this word
'taste;' for no statement of mine has been more earnestly or oftener
controverted than that good taste is essentially a moral quality. 'No,'
say many of my antagonists, 'taste is one thing, morality is another.
Tell us what is pretty; we shall be glad to know that; but preach no
sermons to us.'

Permit me, therefore, to fortify this old dogma of mine somewhat. Taste
is not only a part and an index of morality--it is the ONLY morality.
The first, and last, and closest trial question to any living creature
is, 'What do you like?' Tell me what you like, and I'll tell you what
you are. Go out into the street, and ask the first man or woman you
meet, what their 'taste' is, and if they answer candidly, you know them,
body and soul. 'You, my friend in the rags, with the unsteady gait, what
do _you_ like?' 'A pipe and a quartern of gin.' I know you. 'You, good
woman, with the quick step and tidy bonnet, what do you like?' 'A swept
hearth and a clean tea-table, and my husband opposite me, and a baby at
my breast.' Good, I know you also. 'You, little girl with the golden
hair and the soft eyes, what do you like?' 'My canary, and a run among
the wood hyacinths.' 'You, little boy with the dirty hands and the low
forehead, what do you like?' 'A shy at the sparrows, and a game at
pitch-farthing.' Good; we know them all now. What more need we ask?

'Nay,' perhaps you answer: 'we need rather to ask what these people and
children do, than what they like. If they _do_ right, it is no matter
that they like what is wrong; and if they _do_ wrong, it is no matter
that they like what is right. Doing is the great thing; and it does not
matter that the man likes drinking, so that he does not drink; nor that
the little girl likes to be kind to her canary, if she will not learn
her lessons; nor that the little boy likes throwing stones at the
sparrows, if he goes to the Sunday school.' Indeed, for a short time,
and in a provisional sense, this is true. For if, resolutely, people do
what is right, in time they come to like doing it. But they only are in
a right moral state when they _have_ come to like doing it; and as long
as they don't like it, they are still in a vicious state. The man is not
in health of body who is always thirsting for the bottle in the
cupboard, though he bravely bears his thirst; but the man who heartily
enjoys water in the morning and wine in the evening, each in its proper
quantity and time. And the entire object of true education is to make
people not merely _do_ the right things, but _enjoy_ the right
things--not merely industrious, but to love industry--not merely
learned, but to love knowledge--not merely pure, but to love purity--not
merely just, but to hunger and thirst after justice.

But you may answer or think, 'Is the liking for outside ornaments,--for
pictures, or statues, or furniture, or architecture,--a moral quality?'
Yes, most surely, if a rightly set liking. Taste for _any_ pictures or
statues is not a moral quality, but taste for good ones is. Only here
again we have to define the word 'good.' I don't mean by 'good,'
clever--or learned--or difficult in the doing. Take a picture by
Teniers, of sots quarrelling over their dice: it is an entirely clever
picture; so clever that nothing in its kind has ever been done equal to
it; but it is also an entirely base and evil picture. It is an
expression of delight in the prolonged contemplation of a vile thing,
and delight in that is an 'unmannered,' or 'immoral' quality. It is 'bad
taste' in the profoundest sense--it is the taste of the devils. On the
other hand, a picture of Titian's, or a Greek statue, or a Greek coin,
or a Turner landscape, expresses delight in the perpetual contemplation
of a good and perfect thing. That is an entirely moral quality--it is
the taste of the angels. And all delight in art, and all love of it,
resolve themselves into simple love of that which deserves love. That
deserving is the quality which we call 'loveliness'--(we ought to have
an opposite word, hateliness, to be said of the things which deserve to
be hated); and it is not an indifferent nor optional thing whether we
love this or that; but it is just the vital function of all our being.
What we _like_ determines what we _are_, and is the sign of what we are;
and to teach taste is inevitably to form character. As I was thinking
over this, in walking up Fleet Street the other day, my eye caught the
title of a book standing open in a bookseller's window. It was--'On the
necessity of the diffusion of taste among all classes.' 'Ah,' I thought
to myself, 'my classifying friend, when you have diffused your taste,
where will your classes be? The man who likes what you like, belongs to
the same class with you, I think. Inevitably so. You may put him to
other work if you choose; but, by the condition you have brought him
into, he will dislike the other work as much as you would yourself. You
get hold of a scavenger, or a costermonger, who enjoyed the Newgate
Calendar for literature, and "Pop goes the Weasel" for music. You think
you can make him like Dante and Beethoven? I wish you joy of your
lessons; but if you do, you have made a gentleman of him:--he won't like
to go back to his costermongering.'

And so completely and unexceptionally is this so, that, if I had time
to-night, I could show you that a nation cannot be affected by any vice,
or weakness, without expressing it, legibly, and for ever, either in bad
art, or by want of art; and that there is no national virtue, small or
great, which is not manifestly expressed in all the art which
circumstances enable the people possessing that virtue to produce. Take,
for instance, your great English virtue of enduring and patient courage.
You have at present in England only one art of any consequence--that is,
iron-working. You know thoroughly well how to cast and hammer iron. Now,
do you think in those masses of lava which you build volcanic cones to
melt, and which you forge at the mouths of the Infernos you have
created; do you think, on those iron plates, your courage and endurance
are not written for ever--not merely with an iron pen, but on iron
parchment? And take also your great English vice--European vice--vice of
all the world--vice of all other worlds that roll or shine in heaven,
bearing with them yet the atmosphere of hell--the vice of jealousy,
which brings competition into your commerce, treachery into your
councils, and dishonour into your wars--that vice which has rendered for
you, and for your next neighbouring nation, the daily occupations of
existence no longer possible, but with the mail upon your breasts and
the sword loose in its sheath; so that, at last, you have realised for
all the multitudes of the two great peoples who lead the so-called
civilisation of the earth,--you have realised for them all, I say, in
person and in policy, what was once true only of the rough Border riders
of your Cheviot hills--

                  'They carved at the meal
                   With gloves of steel,
    And they drank the red wine through the helmet barr'd;--

do you think that this national shame and dastardliness of heart are not
written as legibly on every rivet of your iron armour as the strength of
the right hands that forged it? Friends, I know not whether this thing
be the more ludicrous or the more melancholy. It is quite unspeakably
both. Suppose, instead of being now sent for by you, I had been sent for
by some private gentleman, living in a suburban house, with his garden
separated only by a fruit-wall from his next door neighbour's; and he
had called me to consult with him on the furnishing of his drawing room.
I begin looking about me, and find the walls rather bare; I think such
and such a paper might be desirable--perhaps a little fresco here and
there on the ceiling--a damask curtain or so at the windows. 'Ah,' says
my employer, 'damask curtains, indeed! That's all very fine, but you
know I can't afford that kind of thing just now!' 'Yet the world credits
you with a splendid income!' 'Ah, yes,' says my friend, 'but do you
know, at present, I am obliged to spend it nearly all in steel-traps?'
'Steel-traps! for whom?' 'Why, for that fellow on the other side the
wall, you know: we're very good friends, capital friends; but we are
obliged to keep our traps set on both sides of the wall; we could not
possibly keep on friendly terms without them, and our spring guns. The
worst of it is, we are both clever fellows enough; and there's never a
day passes that we don't find out a new trap, or a new gun-barrel, or
something; we spend about fifteen millions a year each in our traps,
take it all together; and I don't see how we're to do with less.' A
highly comic state of life for two private gentlemen! but for two
nations, it seems to me, not wholly comic? Bedlam would be comic,
perhaps, if there were only one madman in it; and your Christmas
pantomime is comic, when there is only one clown in it; but when the
whole world turns clown, and paints itself red with its own heart's
blood instead of vermilion, it is something else than comic, I think.

Mind, I know a great deal of this is play, and willingly allow for that.
You don't know what to do with yourselves for a sensation: fox-hunting
and cricketing will not carry you through the whole of this unendurably
long mortal life: you liked pop-guns when you were schoolboys, and
rifles and Armstrongs are only the same things better made: but then the
worst of it is, that what was play to you when boys, was not play to the
sparrows; and what is play to you now, is not play to the small birds of
State neither; and for the black eagles, you are somewhat shy of taking
shots at them, if I mistake not.

I must get back to the matter in hand, however. Believe me, without
farther instance, I could show you, in all time, that every nation's
vice, or virtue, was written in its art: the soldiership of early
Greece; the sensuality of late Italy; the visionary religion of Tuscany;
the splendid human energy and beauty of Venice. I have no time to do
this to-night (I have done it elsewhere before now); but I proceed to
apply the principle to ourselves in a more searching manner.

I notice that among all the new buildings that cover your once wild
hills, churches and schools are mixed in due, that is to say, in large
proportion, with your mills and mansions and I notice also that the
churches and schools are almost always Gothic, and the mansions and
mills are never Gothic. Will you allow me to ask precisely the meaning
of this? For, remember, it is peculiarly a modern phenomenon. When
Gothic was invented, houses were Gothic as well as churches; and when
the Italian style superseded the Gothic, churches were Italian as well
as houses. If there is a Gothic spire to the cathedral of Antwerp, there
is a Gothic belfry to the Hôtel de Ville at Brussels; if Inigo Jones
builds an Italian Whitehall, Sir Christopher Wren builds an Italian St.
Paul's. But now you live under one school of architecture, and worship
under another. What do you mean by doing this? Am I to understand that
you are thinking of changing your architecture back to Gothic; and that
you treat your churches experimentally, because it does not matter what
mistakes you make in a church? Or am I to understand that you consider
Gothic a pre-eminently sacred and beautiful mode of building, which you
think, like the fine frankincense, should be mixed for the tabernacle
only, and reserved for your religious services? For if this be the
feeling, though it may seem at first as if it were graceful and
reverent, you will find that, at the root of the matter, it signifies
neither more nor less than that you have separated your religion from
your life.

For consider what a wide significance this fact has; and remember that
it is not you only, but all the people of England, who are behaving thus
just now.

You have all got into the habit of calling the church 'the house of
God.' I have seen, over the doors of many churches, the legend actually
carved, '_This_ is the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.'
Now, note where that legend comes from, and of what place it was first
spoken. A boy leaves his father's house to go on a long journey on foot,
to visit his uncle; he has to cross a wild hill-desert; just as if one
of your own boys had to cross the wolds of Westmoreland, to visit an
uncle at Carlisle. The second or third day your boy finds himself
somewhere between Hawes and Brough, in the midst of the moors, at
sunset. It is stony ground, and boggy; he cannot go one foot farther
that night. Down he lies, to sleep, on Wharnside, where best he may,
gathering a few of the stones together to put under his head;--so wild
the place is, he cannot get anything but stones. And there, lying under
the broad night, he has a dream; and he sees a ladder set up on the
earth, and the top of it reaches to heaven, and the angels of God are
ascending and descending upon it. And when he wakes out of his sleep, he
says, 'How dreadful is this place; surely, this is none other than the
house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.' This PLACE, observe; not
this church; not this city; not this stone, even, which he puts up for a
memorial--the piece of flint on which his head has lain. But this
_place_; this windy slope of Wharnside; this moorland hollow,
torrent-bitten, snow-blighted; this _any_ place where God lets down the
ladder. And how are you to know where that will be? or how are you to
determine where it may be, but by being ready for it always? Do you know
where the lightning is to fall next? You _do_ know that, partly; you can
guide the lightning; but you cannot guide the going forth of the Spirit,
which is that lightning when it shines from the east to the west.

But the perpetual and insolent warping of that strong verse to serve a
merely ecclesiastical purpose, is only one of the thousand instances in
which we sink back into gross Judaism. We call our churches 'temples.'
Now, you know, or ought to know, they are _not_ temples. They have never
had, never can have, anything whatever to do with temples. They are
'synagogues'--'gathering places'--where you gather yourselves together
as an assembly; and by not calling them so, you again miss the force of
another mighty text--'Thou, when thou prayest, shalt not be as the
hypocrites are; for they love to pray standing in the _churches_' [we
should translate it], 'that they may be seen of men. But thou, when thou
prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray
to thy Father,'--which is, not in chancel nor in aisle, but 'in

Now, you feel, as I say this to you--I know you feel--as if I were
trying to take away the honour of your churches. Not so; I am trying to
prove to you the honour of your houses and your hills; I am trying to
show you--not that the Church is not sacred--but that the whole Earth
is. I would have you feel, what careless, what constant, what infectious
sin there is in all modes of thought, whereby, in calling your churches
only 'holy,' you call your hearths and homes profane; and have separated
yourselves from the heathen by casting all your household gods to the
ground, instead of recognising, in the place of their many and feeble
Lares, the presence of your One and Mighty Lord and Lar.

'But what has all this to do with our Exchange?' you ask me,
impatiently. My dear friends, it has just everything to do with it; on
these inner and great questions depend all the outer and little ones;
and if you have asked me down here to speak to you, because you had
before been interested in anything I have written, you must know that
all I have yet said about architecture was to show this. The book I
called 'The Seven Lamps' was to show that certain right states of temper
and moral feeling were the magic powers by which all good architecture,
without exception, had been produced. 'The Stones of Venice,' had, from
beginning to end, no other aim than to show that the Gothic architecture
of Venice had arisen out of, and indicated in all its features, a state
of pure national faith, and of domestic virtue; and that its Renaissance
architecture had arisen out of, and in all its features indicated, a
state of concealed national infidelity, and of domestic corruption. And
now, you ask me what style is best to build in; and how can I answer,
knowing the meaning of the two styles, but by another question--do you
mean to build as Christians or as Infidels? And still more--do you mean
to build as honest Christians or as honest Infidels? as thoroughly and
confessedly either one or the other? You don't like to be asked such
rude questions. I cannot help it; they are of much more importance than
this Exchange business; and if they can be at once answered, the
Exchange business settles itself in a moment. But, before I press them
farther, I must ask leave to explain one point clearly. In all my past
work, my endeavour has been to show that good architecture is
essentially religious--the production of a faithful and virtuous, not of
an infidel and corrupted people. But in the course of doing this, I have
had also to show that good architecture is not _ecclesiastical_. People
are so apt to look upon religion as the business of the clergy, not
their own, that the moment they hear of anything depending on
'religion,' they think it must also have depended on the priesthood; and
I have had to take what place was to be occupied between these two
errors, and fight both, often with seeming contradiction. Good
architecture is the work of good and believing men; therefore, you say,
at least some people say, 'Good architecture must essentially have been
the work of the clergy, not of the laity.' No--a thousand times no; good
architecture has always been the work of the commonalty, _not_ of the
clergy. What, you say, those glorious cathedrals--the pride of
Europe--did their builders not form Gothic architecture? No; they
corrupted Gothic architecture. Gothic was formed in the baron's castle,
and the burgher's street. It was formed by the thoughts, and hands, and
powers of free citizens and soldier kings. By the monk it was used as an
instrument for the aid of his superstition; when that superstition
became a beautiful madness, and the best hearts of Europe vainly dreamed
and pined in the cloister, and vainly raged and perished in the
crusade--through that fury of perverted faith and wasted war, the Gothic
rose also to its loveliest, most fantastic, and, finally, most foolish
dreams; and, in those dreams, was lost.

I hope, now, that there is no risk of your misunderstanding me when I
come to the gist of what I want to say to-night--when I repeat, that
every great national architecture has been the result and exponent of a
great national religion. You can't have bits of it here, bits there--you
must have it everywhere, or nowhere. It is not the monopoly of a
clerical company--it is not the exponent of a theological dogma--it is
not the hieroglyphic writing of an initiated priesthood; it is the manly
language of a people inspired by resolute and common purpose, and
rendering resolute and common fidelity to the legible laws of an
undoubted God.

Now, there have as yet been three distinct schools of European
architecture. I say, European, because Asiatic and African architectures
belong so entirely to other races and climates, that there is no
question of them here; only, in passing, I will simply assure you that
whatever is good or great in Egypt, and Syria, and India, is just good
or great for the same reasons as the buildings on our side of the
Bosphorus. We Europeans, then, have had three great religions: the
Greek, which was the worship of the God of Wisdom and Power; the
Mediæval, which was the Worship of the God of Judgment and Consolation;
the Renaissance, which was the worship of the God of Pride and Beauty;
these three we have had--they are past,--and now, at last, we English
have got a fourth religion, and a God of our own, about which I want to
ask you. But I must explain these three old ones first.

I repeat, first, the Greeks essentially worshipped the God of Wisdom; so
that whatever contended against their religion,--to the Jews a stumbling
block,--was, to the Greeks--_Foolishness_.

The first Greek idea of Deity was that expressed in the word, of which
we keep the remnant in our words '_Di_-urnal' and '_Di_-vine'--the god
of _Day_, Jupiter the revealer. Athena is his daughter, but especially
daughter of the Intellect, springing armed from the head. We are only
with the help of recent investigation beginning to penetrate the depth
of meaning couched under the Athenaic symbols: but I may note rapidly,
that her ægis, the mantle with the serpent fringes, in which she often,
in the best statues, is represented as folding up her left hand for
better guard, and the Gorgon on her shield, are both representative
mainly of the chilling horror and sadness (turning men to stone, as it
were,) of the outmost and superficial spheres of knowledge--that
knowledge which separates, in bitterness, hardness, and sorrow, the
heart of the full-grown man from the heart of the child. For out of
imperfect knowledge spring terror, dissension, danger, and disdain; but
from perfect knowledge, given by the full-revealed Athena, strength and
peace, in sign of which she is crowned with the olive spray, and bears
the resistless spear.

This, then, was the Greek conception of purest Deity, and every habit of
life, and every form of his art developed themselves from the seeking
this bright, serene, resistless wisdom; and setting himself, as a man,
to do things evermore rightly and strongly;[3] not with any ardent
affection or ultimate hope; but with a resolute and continent energy of
will, as knowing that for failure there was no consolation, and for sin
there was no remission. And the Greek architecture rose unerring,
bright, clearly defined, and self-contained.

Next followed in Europe the great Christian faith, which was essentially
the religion of Comfort. Its great doctrine is the remission of sins;
for which cause it happens, too often, in certain phases of
Christianity, that sin and sickness themselves are partly glorified, as
if, the more you had to be healed of, the more divine was the healing.
The practical result of this doctrine, in art, is a continual
contemplation of sin and disease, and of imaginary states of
purification from them; thus we have an architecture conceived in a
mingled sentiment of melancholy and aspiration, partly severe, partly
luxuriant, which will bend itself to every one of our needs, and every
one of our fancies, and be strong or weak with us, as we are strong or
weak ourselves. It is, of all architecture, the basest, when base people
build it--of all, the noblest, when built by the noble.

And now note that both these religions--Greek and Mediæval--perished by
falsehood in their own main purpose. The Greek religion of Wisdom
perished in a false philosophy--'Oppositions of science, falsely so
called.' The Mediæval religion of Consolation perished in false comfort;
in remission of sins given lyingly. It was the selling of absolution
that ended the Mediæval faith; and I can tell you more, it is the
selling of absolution which, to the end of time, will mark false
Christianity. Pure Christianity gives her remission of sins only by
_ending_ them; but false Christianity gets her remission of sins by
_compounding for_ them. And there are many ways of compounding for them.
We English have beautiful little quiet ways of buying absolution,
whether in low Church or high, far more cunning than any of Tetzel's

Then, thirdly, there followed the religion of Pleasure, in which all
Europe gave itself to luxury, ending in death. First, _bals masqués_ in
every saloon, and then guillotines in every square. And all these three
worships issue in vast temple building. Your Greek worshipped Wisdom,
and built you the Parthenon--the Virgin's temple. The Mediæval
worshipped Consolation, and built you Virgin temples also--but to our
Lady of Salvation. Then the Revivalist worshipped beauty, of a sort, and
built you Versailles, and the Vatican. Now, lastly, will you tell me
what _we_ worship, and what _we_ build?

You know we are speaking always of the real, active, continual, national
worship; that by which men act while they live; not that which they talk
of when they die. Now, we have, indeed, a nominal religion, to which we
pay tithes of property, and sevenths of time; but we have also a
practical and earnest religion, to which we devote nine-tenths of our
property and six-sevenths of our time. And we dispute a great deal about
the nominal religion; but we are all unanimous about this practical one,
of which I think you will admit that the ruling goddess may be best
generally described as the 'Goddess of Getting-on,' or 'Britannia of the
Market.' The Athenians had an 'Athena Agoraia,' or Minerva of the
Market: but she was a subordinate type of their goddess, while our
Britannia Agoraia is the principal type of ours. And all your great
architectural works, are, of course, built to her. It is long since you
built a great cathedral; and how you would laugh at me, if I proposed
building a cathedral on the top of one of these hills of yours, taking
it for an Acropolis! But your railroad mounds, prolonged masses of
Acropolis; your railroad stations, vaster than the Parthenon, and
innumerable; your chimneys, how much more mighty and costly than
cathedral spires! your harbour-piers; your warehouses; your
exchanges!--all these are built to your great Goddess of 'Getting-on;'
and she has formed, and will continue to form, your architecture, as
long as you worship her; and it is quite vain to ask me to tell you how
to build to _her_; you know far better than I.

There might indeed, on some theories, be a conceivably good architecture
for Exchanges--that is to say if there were any heroism in the fact or
deed of exchange, which might be typically carved on the outside of your
building. For, you know, all beautiful architecture must be adorned with
sculpture or painting; and for sculpture or painting, you must have a
subject. And hitherto it has been a received opinion among the nations
of the world that the only right subjects for either, were _heroisms_ of
some sort. Even on his pots and his flagons, the Greek put a Hercules
slaying lions, or an Apollo slaying serpents, or Bacchus slaying
melancholy giants, and earth-born despondencies. On his temples, the
Greek put contests of great warriors in founding states, or of gods with
evil spirits. On his houses and temples alike, the Christian put
carvings of angels conquering devils; or of hero-martyrs exchanging this
world for another; subject inappropriate, I think, to our manner of
exchange here. And the Master of Christians not only left his followers
without any orders as to the sculpture of affairs of exchange on the
outside of buildings, but gave some strong evidence of his dislike of
affairs of exchange within them. And yet there might surely be a heroism
in such affairs; and all commerce become a kind of selling of doves, not
impious. The wonder has always been great to me, that heroism has never
been supposed to be in anywise consistent with the practice of
supplying people with food, or clothes; but rather with that of
quartering oneself upon them for food, and stripping them of their
clothes. Spoiling of armour is an heroic deed in all ages; but the
selling of clothes, old, or new, has never taken any colour of
magnanimity. Yet one does not see why feeding the hungry and clothing
the naked should ever become base businesses, even when engaged in on a
large scale. If one could contrive to attach the notion of conquest to
them anyhow? so that, supposing there were anywhere an obstinate race,
who refused to be comforted, one might take some pride in giving them
compulsory comfort; and as it were, 'occupying a country' with one's
gifts, instead of one's armies? If one could only consider it as much a
victory to get a barren field sown, as to get an eared field stripped;
and contend who should build villages, instead of who should 'carry'
them. Are not all forms of heroism, conceivable in doing these
serviceable deeds? You doubt who is strongest? It might be ascertained
by push of spade, as well as push of sword. Who is wisest? There are
witty things to be thought of in planning other business than campaigns.
Who is bravest? There are always the elements to fight with, stronger
than men; and nearly as merciless. The only absolutely and
unapproachably heroic element in the soldier's work seems to be--that he
is paid little for it--and regularly: while you traffickers, and
exchangers, and others occupied in presumably benevolent business, like
to be paid much for it--and by chance. I never can make out how it is
that a knight-errant does not expect to be paid for his trouble, but a
pedlar-errant always does;--that people are willing to take hard knocks
for nothing, but never to sell ribands cheap;--that they are ready to go
on fervent crusades to recover the tomb of a buried God, never on any
travels to fulfil the orders of a living God;--that they will go
anywhere barefoot to preach their faith, but must be well bribed to
practise it, and are perfectly ready to give the Gospel gratis, but
never the loaves and fishes. If you chose to take the matter up on any
such soldierly principle, to do your commerce, and your feeding of
nations, for fixed salaries; and to be as particular about giving people
the best food, and the best cloth, as soldiers are about giving them the
best gunpowder, I could carve something for you on your exchange worth
looking at. But I can only at present suggest decorating its frieze with
pendant purses; and making its pillars broad at the base for the
sticking of bills. And in the innermost chambers of it there might be a
statue of Britannia of the Market, who may have, perhaps advisably, a
partridge for her crest, typical at once of her courage in fighting for
noble ideas; and of her interest in game; and round its neck the
inscription in golden letters, 'Perdix fovit quæ non peperit.'[4] Then,
for her spear, she might have a weaver's beam; and on her shield,
instead of her Cross, the Milanese boar, semi-fleeced, with the town of
Gennesaret proper, in the field and the legend 'In the best market,' and
her corslet, of leather, folded over her heart in the shape of a purse,
with thirty slits in it for a piece of money to go in at, on each day of
the month. And I doubt not but that people would come to see your
exchange, and its goddess, with applause.

Nevertheless, I want to point out to you certain strange characters in
this goddess of yours. She differs from the great Greek and Mediæval
deities essentially in two things--first, as to the continuance of her
presumed power; secondly, as to the extent of it.

1st, as to the Continuance.

The Greek Goddess of Wisdom gave continual increase of wisdom, as the
Christian Spirit of Comfort (or Comforter) continual increase of
comfort. There was no question, with these, of any limit or cessation of
function. But with your Agora Goddess, that is just the most important
question. Getting on--but where to? Gathering together--but how much? Do
you mean to gather always--never to spend? If so, I wish you joy of your
goddess, for I am just as well off as you, without the trouble of
worshipping her at all. But if you do not spend, somebody else
will--somebody else must. And it is because of this (among many other
such errors) that I have fearlessly declared your so-called science of
Political Economy to be no science; because, namely, it has omitted the
study of exactly the most important branch of the business--the study of
_spending_. For spend you must, and as much as you make, ultimately. You
gather corn:--will you bury England under a heap of grain; or will you,
when you have gathered, finally eat? You gather gold:--will you make
your house-roofs of it, or pave your streets with it? That is still one
way of spending it. But if you keep it, that you may get more, I'll give
you more; I'll give you all the gold you want--all you can imagine--if
you can tell me what you'll do with it. You shall have thousands of gold
pieces;--thousands of thousands--millions--mountains, of gold: where
will you keep them? Will you put an Olympus of silver upon a golden
Pelion--make Ossa like a wart? Do you think the rain and dew would then
come down to you, in the streams from such mountains, more blessedly
than they will down the mountains which God has made for you, of moss
and whinstone? But it is not gold that you want to gather! What is it?
greenbacks? No; not those neither. What is it then--is it ciphers after
a capital I? Cannot you practise writing ciphers, and write as many as
you want? Write ciphers for an hour every morning, in a big book, and
say every evening, I am worth all those noughts more than I was
yesterday. Won't that do? Well, what in the name of Plutus is it you
want? Not gold, not greenbacks, not ciphers after a capital I? You will
have to answer, after all, 'No; we want, somehow or other, money's
_worth_.' Well, what is that? Let your Goddess of Getting-on discover
it, and let her learn to stay therein.

II. But there is yet another question to be asked respecting this
Goddess of Getting-on. The first was of the continuance of her power;
the second is of its extent.

Pallas and the Madonna were supposed to be all the world's Pallas, and
all the world's Madonna. They could teach all men, and they could
comfort all men. But, look strictly into the nature of the power of your
Goddess of Getting-on; and you will find she is the Goddess--not of
everybody's getting on--but only of somebody's getting on. This is a
vital, or rather deathful, distinction. Examine it in your own ideal of
the state of national life which this Goddess is to evoke and maintain.
I asked you what it was, when I was last here;[5]--you have never told
me. Now, shall I try to tell you?

Your ideal of human life then is, I think, that it should be passed in a
pleasant undulating world, with iron and coal everywhere underneath it.
On each pleasant bank of this world is to be a beautiful mansion, with
two wings; and stables, and coach-houses; a moderately sized park; a
large garden and hot houses; and pleasant carriage drives through the
shrubberies. In this mansion are to live the favoured votaries of the
Goddess; the English gentleman, with his gracious wife, and his
beautiful family; always able to have the boudoir and the jewels for the
wife, and the beautiful ball dresses for the daughters, and hunters for
the sons, and a shooting in the Highlands for himself. At the bottom of
the bank, is to be the mill; not less than a quarter of a mile long,
with a steam engine at each end, and two in the middle, and a chimney
three hundred feet high. In this mill are to be in constant employment
from eight hundred to a thousand workers, who never drink, never strike,
always go to church on Sunday, and always express themselves in
respectful language.

Is not that, broadly, and in the main features, the kind of thing you
propose to yourselves? It is very pretty indeed seen from above; not at
all so pretty, seen from below. For, observe, while to one family this
deity is indeed the Goddess of Getting on, to a thousand families she is
the Goddess of _not_ Getting on. 'Nay,' you say, 'they have all their
chance.' Yes, so has every one in a lottery, but there must always be
the same number of blanks. 'Ah! but in a lottery it is not skill and
intelligence which take the lead, but blind chance.' What then! do you
think the old practice, that 'they should take who have the power, and
they should keep who can,' is less iniquitous, when the power has become
power of brains instead of fist? and that, though we may not take
advantage of a child's or a woman's weakness, we may of a man's
foolishness? 'Nay, but finally, work must be done, and some one must be
at the top, some one at the bottom.' Granted, my friends. Work must
always be, and captains of work must always be; and if you in the least
remember the tone of any of my writings, you must know that they are
thought unfit for this age, because they are always insisting on need of
government, and speaking with scorn of liberty. But I beg you to observe
that there is a wide difference between being captains or governors of
work, and taking the profits of it. It does not follow, because you are
general of an army, that you are to take all the treasure, or land, it
wins (if it fight for treasure or land); neither, because you are king
of a nation, that you are to consume all the profits of the nation's
work. Real kings, on the contrary, are known invariably by their doing
quite the reverse of this,--by their taking the least possible quantity
of the nation's work for themselves. There is no test of real kinghood
so infallible as that. Does the crowned creature live simply, bravely,
unostentatiously? probably he _is_ a King. Does he cover his body with
jewels, and his table with delicates? in all probability he is _not_ a
King. It is possible he may be, as Solomon was; but that is when the
nation shares his splendour with him. Solomon made gold, not only to be
in his own palace as stones, but to be in Jerusalem as stones. But even
so, for the most part, these splendid kinghoods expire in ruin, and only
the true kinghoods live, which are of royal labourers governing loyal
labourers; who, both leading rough lives, establish the true dynasties.
Conclusively you will find that because you are king of a nation, it
does not follow that you are to gather for yourself all the wealth of
that nation; neither, because you are king of a small part of the
nation, and lord over the means of its maintenance--over field, or mill,
or mine, are you to take all the produce of that piece of the foundation
of national existence for yourself.

You will tell me I need not preach against these things, for I cannot
mend them. No, good friends, I cannot; but you can, and you will; or
something else can and will. Do you think these phenomena are to stay
always in their present power or aspect? All history shows, on the
contrary, that to be the exact thing they never can do. Change _must_
come; but it is ours to determine whether change of growth, or change of
death. Shall the Parthenon be in ruins on its rock, and Bolton priory in
its meadow, but these mills of yours be the consummation of the
buildings of the earth, and their wheels be as the wheels of eternity?
Think you that 'men may come, and men may go,' but--mills--go on
forever? Not so; out of these, better or worse shall come; and it is for
you to choose which.

I know that none of this wrong is done with deliberate purpose. I know,
on the contrary, that you wish your workmen well; that you do much for
them, and that you desire to do more for them, if you saw your way to it
safely. I know that many of you have done, and are every day doing,
whatever you feel to be in your power; and that even all this wrong and
misery are brought about by a warped sense of duty, each of you striving
to do his best, without noticing that this best is essentially and
centrally the best for himself, not for others. And all this has come of
the spreading of that thrice accursed, thrice impious doctrine of the
modern economist, that 'To do the best for yourself, is finally to do
the best for others.' Friends, our great Master said not so; and most
absolutely we shall find this world is not made so. Indeed, to do the
best for others, is finally to do the best for ourselves; but it will
not do to have our eyes fixed on that issue. The Pagans had got beyond
that. Hear what a Pagan says of this matter; hear what were, perhaps,
the last written words of Plato,--if not the last actually written (for
this we cannot know), yet assuredly in fact and power his parting
words--in which, endeavouring to give full crowning and harmonious close
to all his thoughts, and to speak the sum of them by the imagined
sentence of the Great Spirit, his strength and his heart fail him, and
the words cease, broken off for ever. It is the close of the dialogue
called 'Critias,' in which he describes, partly from real tradition,
partly in ideal dream, the early state of Athens; and the genesis, and
order, and religion, of the fabled isle of Atlantis; in which genesis he
conceives the same first perfection and final degeneracy of man, which
in our own Scriptural tradition is expressed by saying that the Sons of
God intermarried with the daughters of men, for he supposes the earliest
race to have been indeed the children of God; and to have corrupted
themselves, until 'their spot was not the spot of his children.' And
this, he says, was the end; that indeed 'through many generations, so
long as the God's nature in them yet was full, they were submissive to
the sacred laws, and carried themselves lovingly to all that had kindred
with them in divineness; for their uttermost spirit was faithful and
true, and in every wise great; so that, in all meekness of wisdom, they
dealt with each other, and took all the chances of life; and despising
all things except virtue, they cared little what happened day by day,
and _bore lightly the burden_ of gold and of possessions; for they saw
that, if only their common love and virtue increased, all these things
would be increased together with them; but to set their esteem and
ardent pursuit upon material possession would be to lose that first, and
their virtue and affection together with it. And by such reasoning, and
what of the divine nature remained in them, they gained all this
greatness of which we have already told, but when the God's part of them
faded and became extinct, being mixed again and again, and effaced by
the prevalent mortality; and the human nature at last exceeded, they
then became unable to endure the courses of fortune; and fell into
shapelessness of life, and baseness in the sight of him who could see,
having lost everything that was fairest of their honour; while to the
blind hearts which could not discern the true life, tending to
happiness, it seemed that they were then chiefly noble and happy, being
filled with all iniquity of inordinate possession and power. Whereupon,
the God of God's, whose Kinghood is in laws, beholding a once just
nation thus cast into misery, and desiring to lay such punishment upon
them as might make them repent into restraining, gathered together all
the gods into his dwelling-place, which from heaven's centre overlooks
whatever has part in creation; and having assembled them, he said'----

The rest is silence. So ended are the last words of the chief wisdom of
the heathen, spoken of this idol of riches; this idol of yours; this
golden image high by measureless cubits, set up where your green fields
of England are furnace-burnt into the likeness of the plain of Dura:
this idol, forbidden to us, first of all idols, by our own Master and
faith; forbidden to us also by every human lip that has ever, in any age
or people, been accounted of as able to speak according to the purposes
of God. Continue to make that forbidden deity your principal one, and
soon no more art, no more science, no more pleasure will be possible.
Catastrophe will come; or worse than catastrophe, slow mouldering and
withering into Hades. But if you can fix some conception of a true human
state of life to be striven for--life for all men as for yourselves--if
you can determine some honest and simple order of existence; following
those trodden ways of wisdom, which are pleasantness, and seeking her
quiet and withdrawn paths, which are peace;--then, and so sanctifying
wealth into 'commonwealth,' all your art, your literature, your daily
labours, your domestic affection, and citizen's duty, will join and
increase into one magnificent harmony. You will know then how to build,
well enough; you will build with stone well, but with flesh better;
temples not made with hands, but riveted of hearts; and that kind of
marble, crimson-veined, is indeed eternal.


[3] It is an error to suppose that the Greek worship, or seeking, was
chiefly of Beauty. It was essentially of Rightness and Strength, founded
on Forethought: the principal character of Greek art is not Beauty, but
Design: and the Dorian Apollo-worship and Athenian Virgin-worship are
both expressions of adoration of divine Wisdom and Purity. Next to these
great deities rank, in power over the national mind, Dionysus and Ceres,
the givers of human strength and life: then, for heroic example,
Hercules. There is no Venus-worship among the Greek in the great times:
and the Muses are essentially teachers of Truth, and of its harmonies.

[4] Jerem. xvii. 11 (best in Septuagint and Vulgate). 'As the partridge,
fostering what she brought not forth, so he that getteth riches, not by
right shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end shall be
a fool.'

[5] Two Paths, p. 98.



(_Delivered at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich._)

Young soldiers, I do not doubt but that many of you came unwillingly
to-night, and many in merely contemptuous curiosity, to hear what a
writer on painting could possibly say, or would venture to say,
respecting your great art of war. You may well think within yourselves,
that a painter might, perhaps without immodesty, lecture younger
painters upon painting, but not young lawyers upon law, nor young
physicians upon medicine--least of all, it may seem to you, young
warriors upon war. And, indeed, when I was asked to address you, I
declined at first, and declined long; for I felt that you would not be
interested in my special business, and would certainly think there was
small need for me to come to teach you yours. Nay, I knew that there
ought to be _no_ such need, for the great veteran soldiers of England
are now men every way so thoughtful, so noble, and so good, that no
other teaching than their knightly example, and their few words of grave
and tried counsel should be either necessary for you, or even, without
assurance of due modesty in the offerer, endured by you.

But being asked, not once nor twice, I have not ventured persistently to
refuse; and I will try, in very few words, to lay before you some reason
why you should accept my excuse, and hear me patiently. You may imagine
that your work is wholly foreign to, and separate from mine. So far from
that, all the pure and noble arts of peace are founded on war; no great
art ever yet rose on earth, but among a nation of soldiers. There is no
art among a shepherd people, if it remains at peace. There is no art
among an agricultural people, if it remains at peace. Commerce is barely
consistent with fine art; but cannot produce it. Manufacture not only is
unable to produce it, but invariably destroys whatever seeds of it
exist. There is no great art possible to a nation but that which is
based on battle.

Now, though I hope you love fighting for its own sake, you must, I
imagine, be surprised at my assertion that there is any such good fruit
of fighting. You supposed, probably, that your office was to defend the
works of peace, but certainly not to found them: nay, the common course
of war, you may have thought, was only to destroy them. And truly, I who
tell you this of the use of war, should have been the last of men to
tell you so, had I trusted my own experience only. Hear why: I have
given a considerable part of my life to the investigation of Venetian
painting and the result of that enquiry was my fixing upon one man as
the greatest of all Venetians, and therefore, as I believed, of all
painters whatsoever. I formed this faith, (whether right or wrong
matters at present nothing,) in the supremacy of the painter Tintoret,
under a roof covered with his pictures; and of those pictures, three of
the noblest were then in the form of shreds of ragged canvas, mixed up
with the laths of the roof, rent through by three Austrian shells. Now
it is not every lecturer who _could_ tell you that he had seen three of
his favourite pictures torn to rags by bombshells. And after such a
sight, it is not every lecturer who _would_ tell you that, nevertheless,
war was the foundation of all great art.

Yet the conclusion is inevitable, from any careful comparison of the
states of great historic races at different periods. Merely to show you
what I mean, I will sketch for you, very briefly, the broad steps of the
advance of the best art of the world. The first dawn of it is in Egypt;
and the power of it is founded on the perpetual contemplation of death,
and of future judgment, by the mind of a nation of which the ruling
caste were priests, and the second, soldiers. The greatest works
produced by them are sculptures of their kings going out to battle, or
receiving the homage of conquered armies. And you must remember also,
as one of the great keys to the splendour of the Egyptian nation, that
the priests were not occupied in theology only. Their theology was the
basis of practical government and law, so that they were not so much
priests as religious judges, the office of Samuel, among the Jews, being
as nearly as possible correspondent to theirs.

All the rudiments of art then, and much more than the rudiments of all
science, are laid first by this great warrior-nation, which held in
contempt all mechanical trades, and in absolute hatred the peaceful life
of shepherds. From Egypt art passes directly into Greece, where all
poetry, and all painting, are nothing else than the description, praise,
or dramatic representation of war, or of the exercises which prepare for
it, in their connection with offices of religion. All Greek institutions
had first respect to war; and their conception of it, as one necessary
office of all human and divine life, is expressed simply by the images
of their guiding gods. Apollo is the god of all wisdom of the intellect;
he bears the arrow and the bow, before he bears the lyre. Again, Athena
is the goddess of all wisdom in conduct. It is by the helmet and the
shield, oftener than by the shuttle, that she is distinguished from
other deities.

There were, however, two great differences in principle between the
Greek and the Egyptian theories of policy. In Greece there was no
soldier caste; every citizen was necessarily a soldier. And, again,
while the Greeks rightly despised mechanical arts as much as the
Egyptians, they did not make the fatal mistake of despising agricultural
and pastoral life; but perfectly honoured both. These two conditions of
truer thought raise them quite into the highest rank of wise manhood
that has yet been reached; for all our great arts, and nearly all our
great thoughts, have been borrowed or derived from them. Take away from
us what they have given; and I hardly can imagine how low the modern
European would stand.

Now, you are to remember, in passing to the next phase of history, that
though you _must_ have war to produce art--you must also have much more
than war; namely, an art-instinct or genius in the people; and that,
though all the talent for painting in the world won't make painters of
you, unless you have a gift for fighting as well, you may have the gift
for fighting, and none for painting. Now, in the next great dynasty of
soldiers, the art-instinct is wholly wanting. I have not yet
investigated the Roman character enough to tell you the causes of this;
but I believe, paradoxical as it may seem to you, that, however truly
the Roman might say of himself that he was born of Mars, and suckled by
the wolf, he was nevertheless, at heart, more of a farmer than a
soldier. The exercises of war were with him practical, not poetical; his
poetry was in domestic life only, and the object of battle, 'pacis
imponere morem.' And the arts are extinguished in his hands, and do not
rise again, until, with Gothic chivalry, there comes back into the mind
of Europe a passionate delight in war itself, for the sake of war. And
then, with the romantic knighthood which can imagine no other noble
employment,--under the fighting kings of France, England, and Spain; and
under the fighting dukeships and citizenships of Italy, art is born
again, and rises to her height in the great valleys of Lombardy and
Tuscany, through which there flows not a single stream, from all their
Alps or Apennines, that did not once run dark red from battle: and it
reaches its culminating glory in the city which gave to history the most
intense type of soldiership yet seen among men;--the city whose armies
were led in their assault by their king, led through it to victory by
their king, and so led, though that king of theirs was blind, and in the
extremity of his age.

And from this time forward, as peace is established or extended in
Europe, the arts decline. They reach an unparalleled pitch of
costliness, but lose their life, enlist themselves at last on the side
of luxury and various corruption, and, among wholly tranquil nations,
wither utterly away; remaining only in partial practice among races who,
like the French and us, have still the minds, though we cannot all live
the lives, of soldiers.

'It may be so,' I can suppose that a philanthropist might exclaim.
'Perish then the arts, if they can flourish only at such a cost. What
worth is there in toys of canvas and stone if compared to the joy and
peace of artless domestic life?' And the answer is--truly, in
themselves, none. But as expressions of the highest state of the human
spirit, their worth is infinite. As results they may be worthless, but,
as signs, they are above price. For it is an assured truth that,
whenever the faculties of men are at their fulness, they _must_ express
themselves by art; and to say that a state is without such expression,
is to say that it is sunk from its proper level of manly nature. So
that, when I tell you that war is the foundation of all the arts, I mean
also that it is the foundation of all the high virtues and faculties of

It was very strange to me to discover this; and very dreadful--but I saw
it to be quite an undeniable fact. The common notion that peace and the
virtues of civil life flourished together, I found, to be wholly
untenable. Peace and the _vices_ of civil life only flourish together.
We talk of peace and learning, and of peace and plenty, and of peace and
civilisation; but I found that those were not the words which the Muse
of History coupled together: that on her lips, the words were--peace and
sensuality, peace and selfishness, peace and corruption, peace and
death. I found, in brief, that all great nations learned their truth of
word, and strength of thought, in war; that they were nourished in war,
and wasted by peace; taught by war, and deceived by peace; trained by
war, and betrayed by peace;--in a word, that they were born in war, and
expired in peace.

Yet now note carefully, in the second place, it is not _all_ war of
which this can be said--nor all dragon's teeth, which, sown, will start
up into men. It is not the ravage of a barbarian wolf-flock, as under
Genseric or Suwarrow; nor the habitual restlessness and rapine of
mountaineers, as on the old borders of Scotland; nor the occasional
struggle of a strong peaceful nation for its life, as in the wars of the
Swiss with Austria; nor the contest of merely ambitious nations for
extent of power, as in the wars of France under Napoleon, or the just
terminated war in America. None of these forms of war build anything but
tombs. But the creative or foundational war is that in which the
natural restlessness and love of contest among men are disciplined, by
consent, into modes of beautiful--though it may be fatal--play: in which
the natural ambition and love of power of men are disciplined into the
aggressive conquest of surrounding evil: and in which the natural
instincts of self-defence are sanctified by the nobleness of the
institutions, and purity of the households, which they are appointed to
defend. To such war as this all men are born; in such war as this any
man may happily die; and forth from such war as this have arisen
throughout the extent of past ages, all the highest sanctities and
virtues of humanity.

I shall therefore divide the war of which I would speak to you into
three heads. War for exercise or play; war for dominion; and, war for

I. And first, of war for exercise or play. I speak of it primarily in
this light, because, through all past history, manly war has been more
an exercise than anything else, among the classes who cause, and
proclaim it. It is not a game to the conscript, or the pressed sailor;
but neither of these are the causers of it. To the governor who
determines that war shall be, and to the youths who voluntarily adopt it
as their profession, it has always been a grand pastime; and chiefly
pursued because they had nothing else to do. And this is true without
any exception. No king whose mind was fully occupied with the
development of the inner resources of his kingdom, or with any other
sufficing subject of thought, ever entered into war but on compulsion.
No youth who was earnestly busy with any peaceful subject of study, or
set on any serviceable course of action, ever voluntarily became a
soldier. Occupy him early, and wisely, in agriculture or business, in
science or in literature, and he will never think of war otherwise than
as a calamity. But leave him idle; and, the more brave and active and
capable he is by nature, the more he will thirst for some appointed
field for action; and find, in the passion and peril of battle, the only
satisfying fulfilment of his unoccupied being. And from the earliest
incipient civilisation until now, the population of the earth divides
itself, when you look at it widely, into two races; one of workers, and
the other of players--one tilling the ground, manufacturing, building,
and otherwise providing for the necessities of life;--the other part
proudly idle, and continually therefore needing recreation, in which
they use the productive and laborious orders partly as their cattle, and
partly as their puppets or pieces in the game of death.

Now, remember, whatever virtue or goodliness there may be in this game
of war, rightly played, there is none when you thus play it with a
multitude of small human pawns.

If you, the gentlemen of this or any other kingdom, choose to make your
pastime of contest, do so, and welcome; but set not up these unhappy
peasant-pieces upon the green fielded board. If the wager is to be of
death, lay it on your own heads, not theirs. A goodly struggle in the
Olympic dust, though it be the dust of the grave, the gods will look
upon, and be with you in; but they will not be with you, if you sit on
the sides of the amphitheatre, whose steps are the mountains of earth,
whose arena its valleys, to urge your peasant millions into gladiatorial
war. You also, you tender and delicate women, for whom, and by whose
command, all true battle has been, and must ever be; you would perhaps
shrink now, though you need not, from the thought of sitting as queens
above set lists where the jousting game might be mortal. How much more,
then, ought you to shrink from the thought of sitting above a theatre
pit in which even a few condemned slaves were slaying each other only
for your delight! And do you _not_ shrink from the _fact_ of sitting
above a theatre pit, where,--not condemned slaves,--but the best and
bravest of the poor sons of your people, slay each other,--not man to
man,--as the coupled gladiators; but race to race, in duel of
generations? You would tell me, perhaps, that you do not sit to see
this; and it is indeed true, that the women of Europe--those who have no
heart-interests of their own at peril in the contest--draw the curtains
of their boxes, and muffle the openings; so that from the pit of the
circus of slaughter there may reach them only at intervals a half-heard
cry and a murmur as of the wind's sighing, when myriads of souls expire.
They shut out the death-cries; and are happy, and talk wittily among
themselves. That is the utter literal fact of what our ladies do in
their pleasant lives.

Nay, you might answer, speaking for them--'We do not let these wars come
to pass for our play, nor by our carelessness; we cannot help them. How
can any final quarrel of nations be settled otherwise than by war?' I
cannot now delay, to tell you how political quarrels might be otherwise
settled. But grant that they cannot. Grant that no law of reason can be
understood by nations; no law of justice submitted to by them: and that,
while questions of a few acres, and of petty cash, can be determined by
truth and equity, the questions which are to issue in the perishing or
saving of kingdoms can be determined only by the truth of the sword, and
the equity of the rifle. Grant this, and even then, judge if it will
always be necessary for you to put your quarrel into the hearts of your
poor, and sign your treaties with peasants' blood. You would be ashamed
to do this in your own private position and power. Why should you not be
ashamed also to do it in public place and power? If you quarrel with
your neighbour, and the quarrel be indeterminable by law, and mortal,
you and he do not send your footmen to Battersea fields to fight it out;
nor do you set fire to his tenants' cottages, nor spoil their goods. You
fight out your quarrel yourselves, and at your own danger, if at all.
And you do not think it materially affects the arbitrement that one of
you has a larger household than the other; so that, if the servants or
tenants were brought into the field with their masters, the issue of the
contest could not be doubtful? You either refuse the private duel, or
you practise it under laws of honour, not of physical force; that so it
may be, in a manner, justly concluded. Now the just or unjust conclusion
of the private feud is of little moment, while the just or unjust
conclusion of the public feud is of eternal moment: and yet, in this
public quarrel, you take your servants' sons from their arms to fight
for it, and your servants' food from their lips to support it; and the
black seals on the parchment of your treaties of peace are the deserted
hearth and the fruitless field. There is a ghastly ludicrousness in
this, as there is mostly in these wide and universal crimes. Hear the
statement of the very fact of it in the most literal words of the
greatest of our English thinkers:--

     'What, speaking in quite unofficial language, is the
     net-purport and upshot of war? To my own knowledge, for
     example, there dwell and toil, in the British village of
     Dumdrudge, usually some five hundred souls. From these, by
     certain "natural enemies" of the French, there are
     successively selected, during the French war, say thirty
     able-bodied men. Dumdrudge, at her own expense, has suckled
     and nursed them; she has, not without difficulty and sorrow,
     fed them up to manhood, and even trained them to crafts, so
     that one can weave, another build, another hammer, and the
     weakest can stand under thirty stone avoirdupois.
     Nevertheless, amid much weeping and swearing, they are
     selected; all dressed in red; and shipped away, at the
     public charges, some two thousand miles, or say only to the
     south of Spain; and fed there till wanted.

     'And now to that same spot in the south of Spain are thirty
     similar French artisans, from a French Dumdrudge, in like
     manner wending; till at length, after infinite effort, the
     two parties come into actual juxtaposition; and Thirty
     stands fronting Thirty, each with a gun in his hand.

     'Straightway the word "Fire!" is given, and they blow the
     souls out of one another, and in place of sixty brisk useful
     craftsmen, the world has sixty dead carcases, which it must
     bury, and anon shed tears for. Had these men any quarrel?
     Busy as the devil is, not the smallest! They lived far
     enough apart; were the entirest strangers; nay, in so wide a
     universe, there was even, unconsciously, by commerce, some
     mutual helpfulness between them. How then? Simpleton! their
     governors had fallen out; and instead of shooting one
     another, had the cunning to make these poor blockheads
     shoot.' (Sartor Resartus.)

Positively, then, gentlemen, the game of battle must not, and shall not,
ultimately be played this way. But should it be played any way? Should
it, if not by your servants, be practised by yourselves? I think, yes.
Both history and human instinct seem alike to say, yes. All healthy men
like fighting, and like the sense of danger; all brave women like to
hear of their fighting, and of their facing danger. This is a fixed
instinct in the fine race of them; and I cannot help fancying that fair
fight is the best play for them, and that a tournament was a better game
than a steeple-chase. The time may perhaps come in France as well as
here, for universal hurdle-races and cricketing: but I do not think
universal 'crickets' will bring out the best qualities of the nobles of
either country. I use, in such question, the test which I have adopted,
of the connection of war with other arts; and I reflect how, as a
sculptor, I should feel, if I were asked to design a monument for a dead
knight, in Westminster abbey, with a carving of a bat at one end, and a
ball at the other. It may be the remains in me only of savage Gothic
prejudice; but I had rather carve it with a shield at one end, and a
sword at the other. And this, observe, with no reference whatever to any
story of duty done, or cause defended. Assume the knight merely to have
ridden out occasionally to fight his neighbour for exercise; assume him
even a soldier of fortune, and to have gained his bread, and filled his
purse, at the sword's point. Still, I feel as if it were, somehow,
grander and worthier in him to have made his bread by sword play than
any other play; had rather he had made it by thrusting than by
batting;--much more, than by betting. Much rather that he should ride
war horses, than back race horses; and--I say it sternly and
deliberately--much rather would I have him slay his neighbour, than
cheat him.

But remember, so far as this may be true, the game of war is only that
in which the _full personal power of the human creature_ is brought out
in management of its weapons. And this for three reasons:--

First, the great justification of this game is that it truly, when well
played, determines _who is the best man_;--who is the highest bred, the
most self-denying, the most fearless, the coolest of nerve, the swiftest
of eye and hand. You cannot test these qualities wholly, unless there is
a clear possibility of the struggle's ending in death. It is only in the
fronting of that condition that the full trial of the man, soul and
body, comes out. You may go to your game of wickets, or of hurdles, or
of cards, and any knavery that is in you may stay unchallenged all the
while. But if the play may be ended at any moment by a lance-thrust, a
man will probably make up his accounts a little before he enters it.
Whatever is rotten and evil in him will weaken his hand more in holding
a sword hilt, than in balancing a billiard cue; and on the whole, the
habit of living lightly hearted, in daily presence of death, always has
had, and must have, a tendency both to the making and testing of honest
men. But for the final testing, observe, you must make the issue of
battle strictly dependent on fineness of frame, and firmness of hand.
You must not make it the question, which of the combatants has the
longest gun, or which has got behind the biggest tree, or which has the
wind in his face, or which has gunpowder made by the best chemist, or
iron smelted with the best coal, or the angriest mob at his back. Decide
your battle, whether of nations, or individuals, on _those_ terms;--and
you have only multiplied confusion, and added slaughter to iniquity. But
decide your battle by pure trial which has the strongest arm, and
steadiest heart,--and you have gone far to decide a great many matters
besides, and to decide them rightly.

And the other reasons for this mode of decision of cause, are the
diminution both of the material destructiveness, or cost, and of the
physical distress of war. For you must not think that in speaking to you
in this (as you may imagine), fantastic praise of battle, I have
overlooked the conditions weighing against me. I pray all of you, who
have not read, to read with the most earnest attention, Mr. Helps's two
essays on War and Government, in the first volume of the last series of
'Friends in Council.' Everything that can be urged against war is there
simply, exhaustively, and most graphically stated. And all, there urged,
is true. But the two great counts of evil alleged against war by that
most thoughtful writer, hold only against modern war. If you have to
take away masses of men from all industrial employment,--to feed them by
the labour of others,--to move them and provide them with destructive
machines, varied daily in national rivalship of inventive cost; if you
have to ravage the country which you attack,--to destroy for a score of
future years, its roads, its woods, its cities, and its harbours;--and
if, finally, having brought masses of men, counted by hundreds of
thousands, face to face, you tear those masses to pieces with jagged
shot, and leave the fragments of living creatures countlessly beyond all
help of surgery, to starve and parch, through days of torture, down into
clots of clay--what book of accounts shall record the cost of your
work;--What book of judgment sentence the guilt of it?

That, I say, is _modern_ war,--scientific war,--chemical and mechanic
war, worse even than the savage's poisoned arrow. And yet you will tell
me, perhaps, that any other war than this is impossible now. It may be
so; the progress of science cannot, perhaps, be otherwise registered
than by new facilities of destruction; and the brotherly love of our
enlarging Christianity be only proved by multiplication of murder. Yet
hear, for a moment, what war was, in Pagan and ignorant days;--what war
might yet be, if we could extinguish our science in darkness, and join
the heathen's practice to the Christian's theory. I read you this from a
book which probably most of you know well, and all ought to
know--Muller's 'Dorians;'--but I have put the points I wish you to
remember in closer connection than in his text.

'The chief characteristic of the warriors of Sparta was great composure
and subdued strength; the violence [Greek: lyssa] of Aristodemus and
Isadas being considered as deserving rather of blame than praise; and
these qualities in general distinguished the Greeks from the northern
Barbarians, whose boldness always consisted in noise and tumult. For the
same reason the Spartans _sacrificed to the Muses_ before an action;
these goddesses being expected to produce regularity and order in
battle; as they _sacrificed on the same occasion in Crete to the god of
love_, as the confirmer of mutual esteem and shame. Every man put on a
crown, when the band of flute-players gave the signal for attack; all
the shields of the line glittered with their high polish, and mingled
their splendour with the dark red of the purple mantles, which were
meant both to adorn the combatant, and to conceal the blood of the
wounded; to fall well and decorously being an incentive the more to the
most heroic valour. The conduct of the Spartans in battle denotes a high
and noble disposition, which rejected all the extremes of brutal rage.
The pursuit of the enemy ceased when the victory was completed; and
after the signal for retreat had been given, all hostilities ceased. The
spoiling of arms, at least during the battle, was also interdicted; and
the consecration of the spoils of slain enemies to the gods, as, in
general, all rejoicings for victory, were considered as ill-omened.

Such was the war of the greatest soldiers who prayed to heathen gods.
What Christian war is, preached by Christian ministers, let any one tell
you, who saw the sacred crowning, and heard the sacred flute-playing,
and was inspired and sanctified by the divinely-measured and musical
language, of any North American regiment preparing for its charge. And
what is the relative cost of life in pagan and Christian wars, let this
one fact tell you:--the Spartans won the decisive battle of Corinth with
the loss of eight men; the victors at indecisive Gettysburg confess to
the loss of 30,000.

II. I pass now to our second order of war, the commonest among men, that
undertaken in desire of dominion. And let me ask you to think for a few
moments what the real meaning of this desire of dominion is--first in
the minds of kings--then in that of nations.

Now, mind you this first,--that I speak either about kings, or masses of
men, with a fixed conviction that human nature is a noble and beautiful
thing; not a foul nor a base thing. All the sin of men I esteem as their
disease, not their nature; as a folly which may be prevented, not a
necessity which must be accepted. And my wonder, even when things are at
their worst, is always at the height which this human nature can attain.
Thinking it high, I find it always a higher thing than I thought it;
while those who think it low, find it, and will find it, always lower
than they thought it: the fact being, that it is infinite, and capable
of infinite height and infinite fall; but the nature of it--and here is
the faith which I would have you hold with me--the _nature_ of it is in
the nobleness, not in the catastrophe.

Take the faith in its utmost terms. When the captain of the 'London'
shook hands with his mate, saying 'God speed you! I will go down with my
passengers,' _that_ I believe to be 'human nature.' He does not do it
from any religious motive--from any hope of reward, or any fear of
punishment; he does it because he is a man. But when a mother, living
among the fair fields of merry England, gives her two-year-old child to
be suffocated under a mattress in her inner room, while the said mother
waits and talks outside; _that_ I believe to be _not_ human nature. You
have the two extremes there, shortly. And you, men, and mothers, who are
here face to face with me to-night, I call upon you to say which of
these is human, and which inhuman--which 'natural' and which
'unnatural?' Choose your creed at once, I beseech you:--choose it with
unshaken choice--choose it forever. Will you take, for foundation of act
and hope, the faith that this man was such as God made him, or that this
woman was such as God made her? Which of them has failed from their
nature--from their present, possible, actual nature;--not their nature
of long ago, but their nature of now? Which has betrayed it--falsified
it? Did the guardian who died in his trust, die inhumanly, and as a
fool; and did the murderess of her child fulfil the law of her being?
Choose, I say; infinitude of choices hang upon this. You have had false
prophets among you--for centuries you have had them--solemnly warned
against them though you were; false prophets, who have told you that all
men are nothing but fiends or wolves, half beast, half devil. Believe
that and indeed you may sink to that. But refuse that, and have faith
that God 'made you upright,' though _you_ have sought out many
inventions; so, you will strive daily to become more what your Maker
meant and means you to be, and daily gives you also the power to be--and
you will cling more and more to the nobleness and virtue that is in you,
saying, 'My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go.'

I have put this to you as a choice, as if you might hold either of these
creeds you liked best. But there is in reality no choice for you; the
facts being quite easily ascertainable. You have no business to _think_
about this matter, or to choose in it. The broad fact is, that a human
creature of the highest race, and most perfect as a human thing, is
invariably both kind and true; and that as you lower the race, you get
cruelty and falseness, as you get deformity: and this so steadily and
assuredly, that the two great words which, in their first use, meant
only perfection of race, have come, by consequence of the invariable
connection of virtue with the fine human nature, both to signify
benevolence of disposition. The word generous, and the word gentle,
both, in their origin, meant only 'of pure race,' but because charity
and tenderness are inseparable from this purity of blood, the words
which once stood only for pride, now stand as synonyms for virtue.

Now, this being the true power of our inherent humanity, and seeing that
all the aim of education should be to develop this;--and seeing also
what magnificent self sacrifice the higher classes of men are capable
of, for any cause that they understand or feel,--it is wholly
inconceivable to me how well-educated princes, who ought to be of all
gentlemen the gentlest, and of all nobles the most generous, and whose
title of royalty means only their function of doing every man
'_right_'--how these, I say, throughout history, should so rarely
pronounce themselves on the side of the poor and of justice, but
continually maintain themselves and their own interests by oppression of
the poor, and by wresting of justice; and how this should be accepted as
so natural, that the word loyalty, which means faithfulness to law, is
used as if it were only the duty of a people to be loyal to their king,
and not the duty of a king to be infinitely more loyal to his people.
How comes it to pass that a captain will die with his passengers, and
lean over the gunwale to give the parting boat its course; but that a
king will not usually die with, much less _for_, his passengers,--thinks
it rather incumbent on his passengers, in any number, to die for _him_?
Think, I beseech you, of the wonder of this. The sea captain, not
captain by divine right, but only by company's appointment;--not a man
of royal descent, but only a plebeian who can steer;--not with the eyes
of the world upon him, but with feeble chance, depending on one poor
boat, of his name being ever heard above the wash of the fatal
waves;--not with the cause of a nation resting on his act, but helpless
to save so much as a child from among the lost crowd with whom he
resolves to be lost,--yet goes down quietly to his grave, rather than
break his faith to these few emigrants. But your captain by divine
right,--your captain with the hues of a hundred shields of kings upon
his breast,--your captain whose every deed, brave or base, will be
illuminated or branded for ever before unescapable eyes of men,--your
captain whose every thought and act are beneficent, or fatal, from
sunrising to setting, blessing as the sunshine, or shadowing as the
night,--this captain, as you find him in history, for the most part
thinks only how he may tax his passengers, and sit at most ease in his
state cabin!

For observe, if there had been indeed in the hearts of the rulers of
great multitudes of men any such conception of work for the good of
those under their command, as there is in the good and thoughtful
masters of any small company of men, not only wars for the sake of mere
increase of power could never take place, but our idea of power itself
would be entirely altered. Do you suppose that to think and act even for
a million of men, to hear their complaints, watch their weaknesses,
restrain their vices, make laws for them, lead them, day by day, to
purer life, is not enough for one man's work? If any of us were absolute
lord only of a district of a hundred miles square, and were resolved on
doing our utmost for it; making it feed as large a number of people as
possible; making every clod productive, and every rock defensive, and
every human being happy; should we not have enough on our hands think
you? But if the ruler has any other aim than this; if, careless of the
result of his interference, he desire only the authority to interfere;
and, regardless of what is ill-done or well-done, cares only that it
shall be done at his bidding,--if he would rather do two hundred miles'
space of mischief, than one hundred miles' space of good, of course he
will try to add to his territory; and to add inimitably. But does he add
to his power? Do you call it power in a child, if he is allowed to play
with the wheels and bands of some vast engine, pleased with their murmur
and whirl, till his unwise touch, wandering where it ought not, scatters
beam and wheel into ruin? Yet what machine is so vast, so incognisable,
as the working of the mind of a nation what child's touch so wanton, as
the word of a selfish king? And yet, how long have we allowed the
historian to speak of the extent of the calamity a man causes, as a just
ground for his pride; and to extol him as the greatest prince, who is
only the centre of the widest error. Follow out this thought by
yourselves; and you will find that all power, properly so called, is
wise and benevolent. There may be capacity in a drifting fire-ship to
destroy a fleet; there may be venom enough in a dead body to infect a
nation:--but which of you, the most ambitious, would desire a drifting
kinghood, robed in consuming fire, or a poison-dipped sceptre whose
touch was mortal? There is no true potency, remember, but that of help;
nor true ambition, but ambition to save.

And then, observe farther, this true power, the power of saving, depends
neither on multitude of men, nor on extent of territory. We are
continually assuming that nations become strong according to their
numbers. They indeed become so, if those numbers can be made of one
mind; but how are you sure you can stay them in one mind, and keep them
from having north and south minds? Grant them unanimous, how know you
they will be unanimous in right? If they are unanimous in wrong, the
more they are, essentially the weaker they are. Or, suppose that they
can neither be of one mind, nor of two minds, but can only be of _no_
mind? Suppose they are a more helpless mob; tottering into precipitant
catastrophe, like a waggon load of stones when the wheel comes off.
Dangerous enough for their neighbours, certainly, but not 'powerful.'

Neither does strength depend on extent of territory, any more than upon
number of population. Take up your maps when you go home this
evening,--put the cluster of British Isles beside the mass of South
America; and then consider whether any race of men need care how much
ground they stand upon. The strength is in the men, and in their unity
and virtue, not in their standing room: a little group of wise hearts is
better than a wilderness full of fools; and only that nation gains true
territory, which gains itself.

And now for the brief practical outcome of all this. Remember, no
government is ultimately strong, but in proportion to its kindness and
justice; and that a nation does not strengthen, by merely multiplying
and diffusing itself. We have not strengthened as yet, by multiplying
into America. Nay, even when it has not to encounter the separating
conditions of emigration, a nation need not boast itself of multiplying
on its own ground, if it multiplies only as flies or locusts do, with
the god of flies for its god. It multiplies its strength only by
increasing as one great family, in perfect fellowship and brotherhood.
And lastly, it does not strengthen itself by seizing dominion over races
whom it cannot benefit. Austria is not strengthened, but weakened, by
her grasp of Lombardy; and whatever apparent increase of majesty and of
wealth may have accrued to us from the possession of India, whether
these prove to us ultimately power or weakness, depends wholly on the
degree in which our influence on the native race shall be benevolent and
exalting. But, as it is at their own peril that any race extends their
dominion in mere desire of power, so it is at their own still greater
peril, that they refuse to undertake aggressive war, according to their
force, whenever they are assured that their authority would be helpful
and protective. Nor need you listen to any sophistical objection of the
impossibility of knowing when a people's help is needed, or when not.
Make your national conscience clean, and your national eyes will soon be
clear. No man who is truly ready to take part in a noble quarrel will
ever stand long in doubt by whom, or in what cause, his aid is needed. I
hold it my duty to make no political statement of any special bearing in
this presence; but I tell you broadly and boldly, that, within these
last ten years, we English have, as a knightly nation, lost our spurs:
we have fought where we should not have fought, for gain; and we have
been passive where we should not have been passive, for fear. I tell you
that the principle of non-intervention, as now preached among us, is as
selfish and cruel as the worst frenzy of conquest, and differs from it
only by being not only malignant, but dastardly.

I know, however, that my opinions on this subject differ too widely from
those ordinarily held, to be any farther intruded upon you; and
therefore I pass lastly to examine the conditions of the third kind of
noble war;--war waged simply for defence of the country in which we were
born, and for the maintenance and execution of her laws, by whomsoever
threatened or defied. It is to this duty that I suppose most men
entering the army consider themselves in reality to be bound, and I want
you now to reflect what the laws of mere defence are; and what the
soldier's duty, as now understood, or supposed to be understood. You
have solemnly devoted yourselves to be English soldiers, for the
guardianship of England. I want you to feel what this vow of yours
indeed means, or is gradually coming to mean. You take it upon you,
first, while you are sentimental schoolboys; you go into your military
convent, or barracks, just as a girl goes into her convent while she is
a sentimental schoolgirl; neither of you then know what you are about,
though both the good soldiers and good nuns make the best of it
afterwards. You don't understand perhaps why I call you 'sentimental'
schoolboys, when you go into the army? Because, on the whole, it is love
of adventure, of excitement, of fine dress and of the pride of fame, all
which are sentimental motives, which chiefly make a boy like going into
the Guards better than into a counting-house. You fancy, perhaps, that
there is a severe sense of duty mixed with these peacocky motives? And
in the best of you, there is; but do not think that it is principal. If
you cared to do your duty to your country in a prosaic and unsentimental
way, depend upon it, there is now truer duty to be done in raising
harvests than in burning them; more in building houses, than in shelling
them--more in winning money by your own work, wherewith to help men,
than in taxing other people's work, for money wherewith to slay men;
more duty finally, in honest and unselfish living than in honest and
unselfish dying, though that seems to your boys' eyes the bravest. So
far then, as for your own honour, and the honour of your families, you
choose brave death in a red coat before brave life in a black one, you
are sentimental; and now see what this passionate vow of yours comes
to. For a little while you ride, and you hunt tigers or savages, you
shoot, and are shot; you are happy, and proud, always, and honoured and
wept if you die; and you are satisfied with your life, and with the end
of it; believing, on the whole, that good rather than harm of it comes
to others, and much pleasure to you. But as the sense of duty enters
into your forming minds, the vow takes another aspect. You find that you
have put yourselves into the hand of your country as a weapon. You have
vowed to strike, when she bids you, and to stay scabbarded when she bids
you; all that you need answer for is, that you fail not in her grasp.
And there is goodness in this, and greatness, if you can trust the hand
and heart of the Britomart who has braced you to her side, and are
assured that when she leaves you sheathed in darkness, there is no need
for your flash to the sun. But remember, good and noble as this state
may be, it is a state of slavery. There are different kinds of slaves
and different masters. Some slaves are scourged to their work by whips,
others are scourged to it by restlessness or ambition. It does not
matter what the whip is; it is none the less a whip, because you have
cut thongs for it out of your own souls: the fact, so far, of slavery,
is in being driven to your work without thought, at another's bidding.
Again, some slaves are bought with money, and others with praise. It
matters not what the purchase-money is. The distinguishing sign of
slavery is to have a price, and be bought for it. Again, it matters not
what kind of work you are set on; some slaves are set to forced
diggings, others to forced marches; some dig furrows, others
field-works, and others graves. Some press the juice of reeds, and some
the juice of vines, and some the blood of men. The fact of the captivity
is the same whatever work we are set upon, though the fruits of the toil
may be different. But, remember, in thus vowing ourselves to be the
slaves of any master, it ought to be some subject of forethought with
us, what work he is likely to put us upon. You may think that the whole
duty of a soldier is to be passive, that it is the country you have left
behind who is to command, and you have only to obey. But are you sure
that you have left _all_ your country behind, or that the part of it you
have so left is indeed the best part of it? Suppose--and, remember, it
is quite conceivable--that you yourselves are indeed the best part of
England; that you who have become the slaves, ought to have been the
masters; and that those who are the masters, ought to have been the
slaves! If it is a noble and whole-hearted England, whose bidding you
are bound to do, it is well; but if you are yourselves the best of her
heart, and the England you have left be but a half-hearted England, how
say you of your obedience? You were too proud to become shopkeepers: are
you satisfied then to become the servants of shopkeepers? You were too
proud to become merchants or farmers yourselves: will you have merchants
or farmers then for your field marshals? You had no gifts of special
grace for Exeter Hall: will you have some gifted person thereat for your
commander-in-chief, to judge of your work, and reward it? You imagine
yourselves to be the army of England: how if you should find yourselves,
at last, only the police of her manufacturing towns, and the beadles of
her little Bethels?

It is not so yet, nor will be so, I trust, for ever; but what I want you
to see, and to be assured of, is, that the ideal of soldiership is not
mere passive obedience and bravery; that, so far from this, no country
is in a healthy state which has separated, even in a small degree, her
civil from her military power. All states of the world, however great,
fall at once when they use mercenary armies; and although it is a less
instant form of error (because involving no national taint of
cowardice), it is yet an error no less ultimately fatal--it is the error
especially of modern times, of which we cannot yet know all the
calamitous consequences--to take away the best blood and strength of the
nation, all the soul-substance of it that is brave, and careless of
reward, and scornful of pain, and faithful in trust; and to cast that
into steel, and make a mere sword of it; taking away its voice and will;
but to keep the worst part of the nation--whatever is cowardly,
avaricious, sensual, and faithless--and to give to this the voice, to
this the authority, to this the chief privilege, where there is least
capacity, of thought. The fulfilment of your vow for the defence of
England will by no means consist in carrying out such a system. You are
not true soldiers, if you only mean to stand at a shop door, to protect
shop-boys who are cheating inside. A soldier's vow to his country is
that he will die for the guardianship of her domestic virtue, of her
righteous laws, and of her anyway challenged or endangered honour. A
state without virtue, without laws, and without honour, he is bound
_not_ to defend; nay, bound to redress by his own right hand that which
he sees to be base in her. So sternly is this the law of Nature and
life, that a nation once utterly corrupt can only be redeemed by a
military despotism--never by talking, nor by its free effort. And the
health of any state consists simply in this: that in it, those who are
wisest shall also be strongest; its rulers should be also its soldiers;
or, rather, by force of intellect more than of sword, its soldiers its
rulers. Whatever the hold which the aristocracy of England has on the
heart of England, in that they are still always in front of her battles,
this hold will not be enough, unless they are also in front of her
thoughts. And truly her thoughts need good captain's leading now, if
ever! Do you know what, by this beautiful division of labour (her brave
men fighting, and her cowards thinking), she has come at last to think?
Here is a bit of paper in my hand,[6] a good one too, and an honest one;
quite representative of the best common public thought of England at
this moment; and it is holding forth in one of its leaders upon our
'social welfare,'--upon our 'vivid life'--upon the 'political supremacy
of Great Britain.' And what do you think all these are owing to? To what
our English sires have done for us, and taught us, age after age? No:
not to that. To our honesty of heart, or coolness of head, or steadiness
of will? No: not to these. To our thinkers, or our statesmen, or our
poets, or our captains, or our martyrs, or the patient labour of our
poor? No: not to these; or at least not to these in any chief measure.
Nay, says the journal, 'more than any agency, it is the cheapness and
abundance of our coal which have made us what we are.' If it be so, then
'ashes to ashes' be our epitaph! and the sooner the better. I tell you,
gentlemen of England, if ever you would have your country breathe the
pure breath of heaven again, and receive again a soul into her body,
instead of rotting into a carcase, blown up in the belly with carbonic
acid (and great _that_ way), you must think, and feel, for your England,
as well as fight for her: you must teach her that all the true greatness
she ever had, or ever can have, she won while her fields were green and
her faces ruddy;--that greatness is still possible for Englishmen, even
though the ground be not hollow under their feet, nor the sky black over
their heads;--and that, when the day comes for their country to lay her
honours in the dust, her crest will not rise from it more loftily
because it is dust of coal. Gentlemen, I tell you, solemnly, that the
day is coming when the soldiers of England must be her tutors and the
captains of her army, captains also of her mind.

And now, remember, you soldier youths, who are thus in all ways the hope
of your country; or must be, if she have any hope: remember that your
fitness for all future trust depends upon what you are now. No good
soldier in his old age was ever careless or indolent in his youth. Many
a giddy and thoughtless boy has become a good bishop, or a good lawyer,
or a good merchant; but no such an one ever became a good general. I
challenge you, in all history, to find a record of a good soldier who
was not grave and earnest in his youth. And, in general, I have no
patience with people who talk about 'the thoughtlessness of youth'
indulgently, I had infinitely rather hear of thoughtless old age, and
the indulgence due to _that_. When a man has done his work, and nothing
can any way be materially altered in his fate, let him forget his toil,
and jest with his fate, if he will; but what excuse can you find for
wilfulness of thought, at the very time when every crisis of future
fortune hangs on your decisions? A youth thoughtless! when all the
happiness of his home for ever depends on the chances, or the passions,
of an hour! A youth thoughtless! when the career of all his days depends
on the opportunity of a moment! A youth thoughtless! when his every act
is a foundation-stone of future conduct, and every imagination a
fountain of life or death! Be thoughtless in _any_ after years, rather
than now--though, indeed, there is only one place where a man may be
nobly thoughtless,--his deathbed. No thinking should ever be left to be
done there.

Having, then, resolved that you will not waste recklessly, but earnestly
use, these early days of yours, remember that all the duties of her
children to England may be summed in two words--industry, and honour. I
say first, industry, for it is in this that soldier youth are especially
tempted to fail. Yet surely, there is no reason because your life may
possibly or probably be shorter than other men's, that you should
therefore waste more recklessly the portion of it that is granted you;
neither do the duties of your profession, which require you to keep your
bodies strong, in any wise involve the keeping of your minds weak. So
far from that, the experience, the hardship, and the activity of a
soldier's life render his powers of thought more accurate than those of
other men; and while, for others, all knowledge is often little more
than a means of amusement, there is no form of science which a soldier
may not at some time or other find bearing on business of life and
death. A young mathematician may be excused for langour in studying
curves to be described only with a pencil; but not in tracing those
which are to be described with a rocket. Your knowledge of a wholesome
herb may involve the feeding of an army; and acquaintance with an
obscure point of geography, the success of a campaign. Never waste an
instant's time, therefore; the sin of idleness is a thousandfold greater
in you than in other youths; for the fates of those who will one day be
under your command hang upon your knowledge; lost moments now will be
lost lives then, and every instant which you carelessly take for play,
you buy with blood. But there is one way of wasting time, of all the
vilest, because it wastes, not time only, but the interest and energy of
your minds. Of all the ungentlemanly habits into which you can fall, the
vilest is betting, or interesting yourselves in the issues of betting.
It unites nearly every condition of folly and vice; you concentrate your
interest upon a matter of chance, instead of upon a subject of true
knowledge; and you back opinions which you have no grounds for forming,
merely because they are your own. All the insolence of egotism is in
this; and so far as the love of excitement is complicated with the hope
of winning money, you turn yourselves into the basest sort of
tradesmen--those who live by speculation. Were there no other ground for
industry, this would be a sufficient one; that it protected you from the
temptation to so scandalous a vice. Work faithfully, and you will put
yourselves in possession of a glorious and enlarging happiness: not such
as can be won by the speed of a horse, or marred by the obliquity of a

First, then, by industry you must fulfil your vow to your country; but
all industry and earnestness will be useless unless they are consecrated
by your resolution to be in all things men of honour; not honour in the
common sense only, but in the highest. Rest on the force of the two main
words in the great verse, _integer_ vitæ, scelerisque _purus_. You have
vowed your life to England; give it her wholly--a bright, stainless,
perfect life--a knightly life. Because you have to fight with machines
instead of lances, there may be a necessity for more ghastly danger, but
there is none for less worthiness of character, than in olden time. You
may be true knights yet, though perhaps not _equites_; you may have to
call yourselves 'cannonry' instead of 'chivalry,' but that is no reason
why you should not call yourselves true men. So the first thing you have
to see to in becoming soldiers is that you make yourselves wholly true.
Courage is a mere matter of course among any ordinarily well-born
youths; but neither truth nor gentleness is matter of course. You must
bind them like shields about your necks; you must write them on the
tables of your hearts. Though it be not exacted of you, yet exact it of
yourselves, this vow of stainless truth. Your hearts are, if you leave
them unstirred, as tombs in which a god lies buried. Vow yourselves
crusaders to redeem that sacred sepulchre. And remember, before all
things--for no other memory will be so protective of you--that the
highest law of this knightly truth is that under which it is vowed to
women. Whomsoever else you deceive, whomsoever you injure, whomsoever
you leave unaided, you must not deceive, nor injure, nor leave unaided
according to your power, any woman of whatever rank. Believe me, every
virtue of the higher phases of manly character begins in this;--in truth
and modesty before the face of all maidens; in truth and pity, or truth
and reverence, to all womanhood.

And now let me turn for a moment to you,--wives and maidens, who are the
souls of soldiers; to you,--mothers, who have devoted your children to
the great hierarchy of war. Let me ask you to consider what part you
have to take for the aid of those who love you; for if you fail in your
part they cannot fulfil theirs; such absolute helpmates you are that mo
man can stand without that help, nor labour in his own strength.

I know your hearts, and that the truth of them never fails when an hour
of trial comes which you recognise for such. But you know not when the
hour of trial first finds you, nor when it verily finds you. You imagine
that you are only called upon to wait and to suffer; to surrender and to
mourn. You know that you must not weaken the hearts of your husbands and
lovers, even by the one fear of which those hearts are capable,--the
fear of parting from you, or of causing you grief. Through weary years
of separation, through fearful expectancies of unknown fate; through the
tenfold bitterness of the sorrow which might so easily have been joy,
and the tenfold yearning for glorious life struck down in its
prime--through all these agonies you fail not, and never will fail. But
your trial is not in these. To be heroic in danger is little;--you are
Englishwomen. To be heroic in change and sway of fortune is little;--for
do you not love? To be patient through the great chasm and pause of loss
is little;--for do you not still love in heaven? But to be heroic in
happiness; to bear yourselves gravely and righteously in the dazzling of
the sunshine of morning; not to forget the God in whom you trust, when
He gives you most; not to fail those who trust you, when they seem to
need you least; this is the difficult fortitude. It is not in the pining
of absence, not in the peril of battle, not in the wasting of sickness,
that your prayer should be most passionate, or your guardianship most
tender. Pray, mothers and maidens, for your young soldiers in the bloom
of their pride; pray for them, while the only dangers round them are in
their own wayward wills; watch you, and pray, when they have to face,
not death, but temptation. But it is this fortitude also for which there
is the crowning reward. Believe me, the whole course and character of
your lovers' lives is in your hands; what you would have them be, they
shall be, if you not only desire to have them so, but deserve to have
them so; for they are but mirrors in which you will see yourselves
imaged. If you are frivolous, they will be so also; if you have no
understanding of the scope of their duty, they also will forget it; they
will listen,--they _can_ listen,--to no other interpretation of it than
that uttered from your lips. Bid them be brave;--they will be brave for
you; bid them be cowards; and how noble soever they be;--they will quail
for you. Bid them be wise, and they will be wise for you; mock at their
counsel, they will be fools for you: such and so absolute is your rule
over them. You fancy, perhaps, as you have been told so often, that a
wife's rule should only be over her husband's house, not over his mind.
Ah, no! the true rule is just the reverse of that; a true wife, in her
husband's house, is his servant; it is in his heart that she is queen.
Whatever of the best he can conceive, it is her part to be; whatever of
highest he can hope, it is hers to promise; all that is dark in him she
must purge into purity; all that is failing in him she must strengthen
into truth: from her, through all the world's clamour, he must win his
praise; in her, through all the world's warfare, he must find his peace.

And, now, but one word more. You may wonder, perhaps, that I have spoken
all this night in praise of war. Yet, truly, if it might be, I, for one,
would fain join in the cadence of hammer-strokes that should beat swords
into ploughshares: and that this cannot be, is not the fault of us men.
It is _your_ fault. Wholly yours. Only by your command, or by your
permission, can any contest take place among us. And the real, final,
reason for all the poverty, misery, and rage of battle, throughout
Europe, is simply that you women, however good, however religious,
however self-sacrificing for those whom you love, are too selfish and
too thoughtless to take pains for any creature out of your own immediate
circles. You fancy that you are sorry for the pain of others. Now I just
tell you this, that if the usual course of war, instead of unroofing
peasants' houses, and ravaging peasants' fields, merely broke the china
upon your own drawing-room tables, no war in civilised countries would
last a week. I tell you more, that at whatever moment you chose to put a
period to war, you could do it with less trouble than you take any day
to go out to dinner. You know, or at least you might know if you would
think, that every battle you hear of has made many widows and orphans.
We have, none of us, heart enough truly to mourn with these. But at
least we might put on the outer symbols of mourning with them. Let but
every Christian lady who has conscience toward God, vow that she will
mourn, at least outwardly, for His killed creatures. Your praying is
useless, and your churchgoing mere mockery of God, if you have not plain
obedience in you enough for this. Let every lady in the upper classes of
civilised Europe simply vow that, while any cruel war proceeds, she will
wear _black_;--a mute's black,--with no jewel, no ornament, no excuse
for, or evasion into, prettiness.--I tell you again, no war would last a

And lastly. You women of England are all now shrieking with one
voice,--you and your clergymen together,--because you hear of your
Bibles being attacked. If you choose to obey your Bibles, you will never
care who attacks them. It is just because you never fulfil a single
downright precept of the Book, that you are so careful for its credit:
and just because you don't care to obey its whole words, that you are so
particular about the letters of them. The Bible tells you to dress
plainly,--and you are mad for finery; the Bible tells you to have pity
on the poor,--and you crush them under your carriage-wheels; the Bible
tells you to do judgment and justice,--and you do not know, nor care to
know, so much as what the Bible word 'justice means.' Do but learn so
much of God's truth as that comes to; know what He means when He tells
you to be just: and teach your sons, that their bravery is but a fool's
boast, and their deeds but a firebrand's tossing, unless they are indeed
Just men, and Perfect in the Fear of God;--and you will soon have no
more war, unless it be indeed such as is willed by Him, of whom, though
Prince of Peace, it is also written, 'In Righteousness He doth judge,
and make war.'


[6] I do not care to refer to the journal quoted, because the article
was unworthy of its general tone, though in order to enable the audience
to verify the quoted sentence, I left the number containing it on the
table, when I delivered this lecture. But a saying of Baron Liebig's,
quoted at the head of a leader on the same subject in the 'Daily
Telegraph' of January 11, 1866, summarily digests and presents the
maximum folly of modern thought in this respect. 'Civilization,' says
the Baron, 'is the economy of power, and English power is coal.' Not
altogether so, my chemical friend. Civilization is the making of civil
persons, which is a kind of distillation of which alembics are
incapable, and does not at all imply the turning of a small company of
gentlemen into a large company of ironmongers. And English power (what
little of it may be left), is by no means coal, but, indeed, of that
which, 'when the whole world turns to coal, then chiefly lives.'






The following pages contain, I believe, the first accurate analysis of
the laws of Political Economy which has been published in England. Many
treatises, within their scope, correct, have appeared in contradiction
of the views popularly received; but no exhaustive examination of the
subject was possible to any person unacquainted with the value of the
products of the highest industries, commonly called the "Fine Arts;" and
no one acquainted with the nature of those industries has, so far as I
know, attempted, or even approached, the task.

So that, to the date (1863) when these Essays were published, not only
the chief conditions of the production of wealth had remained unstated,
but the nature of wealth itself had never been defined. "Every one has a
notion, sufficiently correct for common purposes, of what is meant by
wealth," wrote Mr. Mill, in the outset of his treatise; and contentedly
proceeded, as if a chemist should proceed to investigate the laws of
chemistry without endeavouring to ascertain the nature of fire or water,
because every one had a notion of them, "sufficiently correct for common

But even that apparently indisputable statement was untrue. There is not
one person in ten thousand who has a notion sufficiently correct, even
for the commonest purposes, of "what is meant" by wealth; still less of
what wealth everlastingly _is_, whether we mean it or not; which it is
the business of every student of economy to ascertain. We, indeed, know
(either by experience or in imagination) what it is to be able to
provide ourselves with luxurious food, and handsome clothes; and if Mr.
Mill had thought that wealth consisted only in these, or in the means
of obtaining these, it would have been easy for him to have so defined
it with perfect scientific accuracy. But he knew better: he knew that
some kinds of wealth consisted in the possession, or power of obtaining,
other things than these; but, having, in the studies of his life, no
clue to the principles of essential value, he was compelled to take
public opinion as the ground of his science; and the public, of course,
willingly accepted the notion of a science founded on their opinions.

I had, on the contrary, a singular advantage, not only in the greater
extent of the field of investigation opened to me by my daily pursuits,
but in the severity of some lessons I accidentally received in the
course of them.

When, in the winter of 1851, I was collecting materials for my work on
Venetian architecture, three of the pictures of Tintoret on the roof of
the School of St. Roch were hanging down in ragged fragments, mixed with
lath and plaster, round the apertures made by the fall of three Austrian
heavy shot. The city of Venice was not, it appeared, rich enough to
repair the damage that winter; and buckets were set on the floor of the
upper room of the school to catch the rain, which not only fell directly
through the shot holes, but found its way, owing to the generally
pervious state of the roof, through many of the canvases of Tintoret's
in other parts of the ceiling.

It was a lesson to me, as I have just said, no less direct than severe;
for I knew already at that time (though I have not ventured to assert,
until recently at Oxford,) that the pictures of Tintoret in Venice were
accurately the most precious articles of wealth in Europe, being the
best existing productions of human industry. Now at the time that three
of them were thus fluttering in moist rags from the roof they had
adorned, the shops of the Rue Rivoli at Paris were, in obedience
to a steadily-increasing public Demand, beginning to show a
steadily-increasing Supply of elaborately-finished and coloured
lithographs, representing the modern dances of delight, among which the
cancan has since taken a distinguished place.

The labour employed on the stone of one of these lithographs is very
much more than Tintoret was in the habit of giving to a picture of
average size. Considering labour as the origin of value, therefore, the
stone so highly wrought would be of greater value than the picture; and
since also it is capable of producing a large number of immediately
saleable or exchangeable impressions, for which the "demand" is
constant, the city of Paris naturally supposed itself, and on all
hitherto believed or stated principles of political economy, was,
infinitely richer in the possession of a large number of these
lithographic stones, (not to speak of countless oil pictures and marble
carvings of similar character), than Venice in the possession of those
rags of mildewed canvas, flaunting in the south wind and its salt rain.
And, accordingly, Paris provided (without thought of the expense) lofty
arcades of shops, and rich recesses of innumerable private apartments,
for the protection of these better treasures of hers from the weather.

Yet, all the while, Paris was not the richer for these possessions.
Intrinsically, the delightful lithographs were not wealth, but polar
contraries of wealth. She was, by the exact quantity of labour she had
given to produce these, sunk below, instead of above, absolute Poverty.
They not only were false Riches--they were true _Debt_, which had to be
paid at last--and the present aspect of the Rue Rivoli shows in what

And the faded stains of the Venetian ceiling, all the while, were
absolute and inestimable wealth. Useless to their possessors as
forgotten treasure in a buried city, they had in them, nevertheless, the
intrinsic and eternal nature of wealth; and Venice, still possessing the
ruins of them, was a rich city; only, the Venetians had _not_ a notion
sufficiently correct even for the very common purpose of inducing them
to put slates on a roof, of what was "meant by wealth."

The vulgar economist would reply that his science had nothing to do with
the qualities of pictures, but with their exchange-value only; and that
his business was, exclusively, to consider whether the remains of
Tintoret were worth as many ten-and-sixpences as the impressions which
might be taken from the lithographic stones.

But he would not venture, without reserve, to make such an answer, if
the example be taken in horses, instead of pictures. The most dull
economist would perceive, and admit, that a gentleman who had a fine
stud of horses was absolutely richer than one who had only ill-bred and
broken-winded ones. He would instinctively feel, though his
pseudo-science had never taught him, that the price paid for the
animals, in either case, did not alter the fact of their worth: that the
good horse, though it might have been bought by chance for a few
guineas, was not therefore less valuable, nor the owner of the galled
jade any the richer, because he had given a hundred for it.

So that the economist, in saying that his science takes no account of
the qualities of pictures, merely signifies that he cannot conceive of
any quality of essential badness or goodness existing in pictures; and
that he is incapable of investigating the laws of wealth in such
articles. Which is the fact. But, being incapable of defining intrinsic
value in pictures, it follows that he must be equally helpless to define
the nature of intrinsic value in painted glass, or in painted pottery,
or in patterned stuffs, or in any other national produce requiring true
human ingenuity. Nay, though capable of conceiving the idea of intrinsic
value with respect to beasts of burden, no economist has endeavoured to
state the general principles of National Economy, even with regard to
the horse or the ass. And, in fine, _the modern political economists
have been, without exception, incapable of apprehending the nature of
intrinsic value at all_.

And the first specialty of the following treatise consists in its giving
at the outset, and maintaining as the foundation of all subsequent
reasoning, a definition of Intrinsic Value, and Intrinsic
Contrary-of-Value; the negative power having been left by former writers
entirely out of account, and the positive power left entirely undefined.

But, secondly: the modern economist, ignoring intrinsic value, and
accepting the popular estimate of things as the only ground of his
science, has imagined himself to have ascertained the constant laws
regulating the relation of this popular demand to its supply; or, at
least, to have proved that demand and supply were connected by heavenly
balance, over which human foresight had no power. I chanced, by singular
coincidence, lately to see this theory of the law of demand and supply
brought to as sharp practical issue in another great siege, as I had
seen the theories of intrinsic value brought, in the siege of Venice.

I had the honour of being on the committee under the presidentship of
the Lord Mayor of London, for the victualling of Paris after her
surrender. It became, at one period of our sittings, a question of vital
importance at what moment the law of demand and supply would come into
operation, and what the operation of it would exactly be: the demand, on
this occasion, being very urgent indeed; that of several millions of
people within a few hours of utter starvation, for any kind of food
whatsoever. Nevertheless, it was admitted, in the course of debate, to
be probable that the divine principle of demand and supply might find
itself at the eleventh hour, and some minutes over, in want of carts and
horses; and we ventured so far to interfere with the divine principle as
to provide carts and horses, with haste which proved, happily, in time
for the need; but not a moment in advance of it. It was farther
recognized by the committee that the divine principle of demand and
supply would commence its operations by charging the poor of Paris
twelve-pence for a penny's worth of whatever they wanted; and would end
its operations by offering them twelve-pence worth for a penny, of
whatever they didn't want. Whereupon it was concluded by the committee
that the tiny knot, on this special occasion, was scarcely "_dignus
vindice_," by the divine principle of demand and supply: and that we
would venture, for once, in a profane manner, to provide for the poor of
Paris what they wanted, when they wanted it. Which, to the value of the
sums entrusted to us, it will be remembered we succeeded in doing.

But the fact is that the so-called "law," which was felt to be false in
this case of extreme exigence, is alike false in cases of less
exigence. It is false always, and everywhere. Nay to such an extent is
its existence imaginary, that the vulgar economists are not even agreed
in their account of it; for some of them mean by it, only that prices
are regulated by the relation between demand and supply, which is partly
true; and others mean that the relation itself is one with the process
of which it is unwise to interfere; a statement which is not only, as in
the above instance, untrue; but accurately the reverse of the truth: for
all wise economy, political or domestic, consists in the resolved
maintenance of a given relation between supply and demand, other than
the instinctive, or (directly) natural, one.

Similarly, vulgar political economy asserts for a "law" that wages are
determined by competition.

Now I pay my servants exactly what wages I think necessary to make them
comfortable. The sum is not determined at all by competition; but
sometimes by my notions of their comfort and deserving, and sometimes by
theirs. If I were to become penniless to-morrow, several of them would
certainly still serve me for nothing.

In both the real and supposed cases the so-called "law" of vulgar
political economy is absolutely set at defiance. But I cannot set the
law of gravitation at defiance, nor determine that in my house I will
not allow ice to melt, when the temperature is above thirty-two degrees.
A true law outside of my house, will remain a true one inside of it. It
is not, therefore, a law of Nature that wages are determined by
competition. Still less is it a law of State, or we should not now be
disputing about it publicly, to the loss of many millions of pounds to
the country. The fact which vulgar economists have been weak enough to
imagine a law, is only that, for the last twenty years a number of very
senseless persons have attempted to determine wages in that manner; and
have, in a measure, succeeded in occasionally doing so.

Both in definition of the elements of wealth, and in statement of the
laws which govern its distribution, modern political economy has been
thus absolutely incompetent, or absolutely false. And the following
treatise is not, as it has been asserted with dull pertinacity, an
endeavour to put sentiment in the place of science; but it contains the
exposure of what insolently pretended to be a science; and the
definition, hitherto unassailed--and I do not fear to assert,
unassailable--of the material elements with which political economy has
to deal, and the moral principles in which it consists; being not itself
a science, but "a system of conduct founded on the sciences, and
impossible, except under certain conditions of moral culture." Which is
only to say, that industry, frugality, and discretion, the three
foundations of economy, are moral qualities, and cannot be attained
without moral discipline: a flat truism, the reader may think, thus
stated, yet a truism which is denied both vociferously, and in all
endeavour, by the entire populace of Europe; who are at present hopeful
of obtaining wealth by tricks of trade, without industry; who,
possessing wealth, have lost in the use of it even the conception,--how
much more the habit?--of frugality; and who, in the choice of the
elements of wealth, cannot so much as lose--since they have never
hitherto at any time possessed,--the faculty of discretion.

Now if the teachers of the pseudo-science of economy had ventured to
state distinctly even the poor conclusions they had reached on the
subjects respecting which it is most dangerous for a populace to be
indiscreet, they would have soon found, by the use made of them, which
were true, and which false.

But on main and vital questions, no political economist has hitherto
ventured to state one guiding principle. I will instance three subjects
of universal importance. National Dress. National Rent. National Debt.

Now if we are to look in any quarter for a systematic and exhaustive
statement of the principles of a given science, it must certainly be
from its Professor at Cambridge.

Take the last edition of Professor Fawcett's _Manual of Political
Economy_, and forming, first clearly in your mind these three following
questions, see if you can find an answer to them.

I. Does expenditure of capital on the production of luxurious dress and
furniture tend to make a nation rich or poor?

II. Does the payment, by the nation, of a tax on its land, or on the
produce of it, to a certain number of private persons, to be expended by
them as they please, tend to make the nation rich or poor?

III. Does the payment, by the nation, for an indefinite period, of
interest on money borrowed from private persons, tend to make the nation
rich or poor?

These three questions are, all of them, perfectly simple, and primarily
vital. Determine these, and you have at once a basis for national
conduct in all important particulars. Leave them undetermined, and there
is no limit to the distress which may be brought upon the people by the
cunning of its knaves, and the folly of its multitudes.

I will take the three in their order.

I. Dress. The general impression on the public mind at this day is, that
the luxury of the rich in dress and furniture is a benefit to the poor.
Probably not even the blindest of our political economists would venture
to assert this in so many words. But where do they assert the contrary?
During the entire period of the reign of the late Emperor it was assumed
in France, as the first principle of fiscal government, that a large
portion of the funds received as rent from the provincial labourer
should be expended in the manufacture of ladies' dresses in Paris. Where
is the political economist in France, or England, who ventured to assert
the conclusions of his science as adverse to this system? As early as
the year 1857 I had done my best to show the nature of the error, and to
give warning of its danger;[7] but not one of the men who had the
foolish ears of the people intent on their words, dared to follow me in
speaking what would have been an offence to the powers of trade; and the
powers of trade in Paris had their full way for fourteen years
more,--with this result, to-day,--as told us in precise and curt terms
by the Minister of Public Instruction,--[8]

     "We have replaced glory by gold, work by speculation, faith
     and honour by scepticism. To absolve or glorify immorality;
     to make much of loose women; to gratify our eyes with
     luxury, our ears with the tales of orgies; to aid in the
     manoeuvres of public robbers, or to applaud them; to laugh
     at morality, and only believe in success; to love nothing
     but pleasure, adore nothing but force; to replace work with
     a fecundity of fancies; to speak without thinking; to prefer
     noise to glory; to erect sneering into a system, and lying
     into an institution--is this the spectacle that we have
     seen?--is this the society that we have been?"

Of course, other causes, besides the desire of luxury in furniture and
dress, have been at work to produce such consequences; but the most
active cause of all has been the passion for these; passion unrebuked by
the clergy, and, for the most part, provoked by economists, as
advantageous to commerce; nor need we think that such results have been
arrived at in France only; we are ourselves following rapidly on the
same road. France, in her old wars with us, never was so fatally our
enemy as she has been in the fellowship of fashion, and the freedom of
trade: nor, to my mind, is any fact recorded of Assyrian or Roman luxury
more ominous, or ghastly, than one which came to my knowledge a few
weeks ago, in England; a respectable and well-to-do father and mother,
in a quiet north country town, being turned into the streets in their
old age, at the suit of their only daughter's milliner.

II. Rent. The following account of the real nature of rent is given,
quite accurately, by Professor Fawcett, at page 112 of the last edition
of his _Political Economy_:--

     "Every country has probably been subjugated, and grants of
     vanquished territory were the ordinary rewards which the
     conquering chief bestowed upon his more distinguished
     followers. Lands obtained by force had to be defended by
     force; and before law had asserted her supremacy, and
     property was made secure, no baron was able to retain his
     possessions, unless those who lived on his estates were
     prepared to defend them....[9] As property became secure,
     and landlords felt that the power of the State would protect
     them in all the rights of property, every vestige of these
     feudal tenures was abolished, and the relation between
     landlord and tenant has thus become purely commercial. A
     landlord offers his land to any one who is willing to take
     it; he is anxious to receive the highest rent he can obtain.
     What are the principles which regulate the rent which may
     thus be paid?"

These principles the Professor goes on contentedly to investigate, never
appearing to contemplate for an instant the possibility of the first
principle in the whole business--the maintenance, by force, of the
possession of land obtained by force, being ever called in question by
any human mind. It is, nevertheless, the nearest task of our day to
discover how far original theft may be justly encountered by reactionary
theft, or whether reactionary theft be indeed theft at all; and farther,
what, excluding either original or corrective theft, are the just
conditions of the possession of land.

III. Debt. Long since, when, a mere boy, I used to sit silently
listening to the conversation of the London merchants who, all of them
good and sound men of business, were wont occasionally to meet round my
father's dining-table; nothing used to surprise me more than the
conviction openly expressed by some of the soundest and most cautious of
them, that "if there were no National debt they would not know what to
do with their money, or where to place it safely." At the 399th page of
his Manual, you will find Professor Fawcett giving exactly the same

     "In our own country, this certainty against risk of loss is
     provided by the public funds;"

and again, as on the question of rent, the Professor proceeds, without
appearing for an instant to be troubled by any misgiving that there may
be an essential difference between the effects on national prosperity of
a Government paying interest on money which it spent in fire works
fifty years ago, and of a Government paying interest on money to be
employed to-day on productive labour.

That difference, which the reader will find stated and examined at
length, in §§ 127-129 of this volume, it is the business of economists,
before approaching any other question relating to government, fully to
explain. And the paragraphs to which I refer, contain, I believe, the
only definite statement of it hitherto made.

The practical result of the absence of any such statement is, that
capitalists, when they do not know what to do with their money, persuade
the peasants, in various countries, that the said peasants want guns to
shoot each other with. The peasants accordingly borrow guns, out of the
manufacture of which the capitalists get a per-centage, and men of
science much amusement and credit. Then the peasants shoot a certain
number of each other, until they get tired; and burn each other's homes
down in various places. Then they put the guns back into towers,
arsenals, &c., in ornamental patterns; (and the victorious party put
also some ragged flags in churches). And then the capitalists tax both,
annually, ever afterwards, to pay interest on the loan of the guns and
gunpowder. And that is what capitalists call "knowing what to do with
their money;" and what commercial men in general call "practical" as
opposed to "sentimental" Political Economy.

Eleven years ago, in the summer of 1860, perceiving then fully, (as
Carlyle had done long before), what distress was about to come on the
said populace of Europe through these errors of their teachers, I began
to do the best I might, to combat them, in the series of papers for the
_Cornhill Magazine_, since published under the title of _Unto this
Last_. The editor of the Magazine was my friend, and ventured the
insertion of the three first essays; but the outcry against them became
then too strong for any editor to endure, and he wrote to me, with great
discomfort to himself, and many apologies to me, that the Magazine must
only admit one Economical Essay more.

I made, with his permission, the last one longer than the rest, and gave
it blunt conclusion as well as I could--and so the book now stands; but,
as I had taken not a little pains with the Essays, and knew that they
contained better work than most of my former writings, and more
important truths than all of them put together, this violent reprobation
of them by the _Cornhill_ public set me still more gravely thinking;
and, after turning the matter hither and thither in my mind for two
years more, I resolved to make it the central work of my life to write
an exhaustive treatise on Political Economy. It would not have been
begun, at that time, however, had not the editor of _Fraser's Magazine_
written to me, saying that he believed there was something in my
theories, and would risk the admission of what I chose to write on this
dangerous subject; whereupon, cautiously, and at intervals, during the
winter of 1862-63, I sent him, and he ventured to print, the preface of
the intended work, divided into four chapters. Then, though the Editor
had not wholly lost courage, the Publisher indignantly interfered; and
the readers of _Fraser_, as those of the _Cornhill_, were protected, for
that time, from farther disturbance on my part. Subsequently, loss of
health, family distress, and various untoward chances, prevented my
proceeding with the body of the book;--seven years have passed
ineffectually; and I am now fain to reprint the Preface by itself, under
the title which I intended for the whole.

Not discontentedly; being, at this time of life, resigned to the sense
of failure; and also, because the preface is complete in itself as a
body of definitions, which I now require for reference in the course of
my _Letters to Workmen_; by which also, in time, I trust less formally
to accomplish the chief purpose of _Munera Pulveris_, practically summed
in the two paragraphs 27 and 28: namely, to examine the moral results
and possible rectifications of the laws of distribution of wealth, which
have prevailed hitherto without debate among men. Laws which ordinary
economists assume to be inviolable, and which ordinary socialists
imagine to be on the eve of total abrogation. But they are both alike
deceived. The laws which at present regulate the possession of wealth
are unjust, because the motives which provoke to its attainment are
impure; but no socialism can effect their abrogation, unless it can
abrogate also covetousness and pride, which it is by no means yet in the
way of doing. Nor can the change be, in any case, to the extent that has
been imagined. Extremes of luxury may be forbidden, and agony of penury
relieved; but nature intends, and the utmost efforts of socialism will
not hinder the fulfilment of her intention, that a provident person
shall always be richer than a spendthrift; and an ingenious one more
comfortable than a fool. But, indeed, the adjustment of the possession
of the products of industry depends more on their nature than their
quantity, and on wise determination therefore of the aims of industry.

A nation which desires true wealth, desires it moderately, and can
therefore distribute it with kindness, and possess it with pleasure; but
one which desires false wealth, desires it immoderately, and can neither
dispense it with justice, nor enjoy it in peace.

Therefore, needing, constantly in my present work, to refer to the
definitions of true and false wealth given in the following Essays, I
republish them with careful revisal. They were written abroad; partly at
Milan, partly during a winter residence on the south-eastern slope of
the Mont Saléve, near Geneva; and sent to London in as legible MS. as I
could write; but I never revised the press sheets, and have been
obliged, accordingly, now to amend the text here and there, or correct
it in unimportant particulars. Wherever any modification has involved
change in the sense, it is enclosed in square brackets; and what few
explanatory comments I have felt it necessary to add, have been
indicated in the same manner. No explanatory comments, I regret to
perceive, will suffice to remedy the mischief of my affected
concentration of language, into the habit of which I fell by thinking
too long over particular passages, in many and many a solitary walk
towards the mountains of Bonneville or Annecy. But I never intended the
book for anything else than a dictionary of reference, and that for
earnest readers; who will, I have good hope, if they find what they
want in it, forgive the affectedly curt expressions.

The Essays, as originally published, were, as I have just stated, four
in number. I have now, more conveniently, divided the whole into six
chapters; and (as I purpose throughout this edition of my works)
numbered the paragraphs.

I inscribed the first volume of this series to the friend who aided me
in chief sorrow. Let me inscribe the second to the friend and guide who
has urged me to all chief labour, THOMAS CARLYLE.

       *       *       *       *       *

I would that some better means were in my power of showing reverence to
the man who alone, of all our masters of literature, has written,
without thought of himself, what he knew it to be needful for the people
of his time to hear, if the will to hear were in them: whom, therefore,
as the time draws near when his task must be ended, Republican and
Free-thoughted England assaults with impatient reproach; and out of the
abyss of her cowardice in policy and dishonour in trade, sets the hacks
of her literature to speak evil, grateful to her ears, of the Solitary
Teacher who has asked her to be brave for the help of Man, and just, for
the love of God.

    _Denmark Hill,_
    _25th November, 1871._


[7] _Political Economy of Art._ (Smith and Elder, 1857, pp. 65-76.)

[8] See report of speech of M. Jules Simon, in _Pall Mall Gazette_ of
October 27, 1871.

[9] The omitted sentences merely amplify the statement; they in no wise
modify it.


    "Te maris et terræ numeroque carentis arenæ
      Mensorem cohibent, Archyta,
    Pulveris exigui prope litus parva Matinum



1. As domestic economy regulates the acts and habits of a household,
Political economy regulates those of a society or State, with reference
to the means of its maintenance.

Political economy is neither an art nor a science; but a system of
conduct and legislature, founded on the sciences, directing the arts,
and impossible, except under certain conditions of moral culture.

2. The study which lately in England has been called Political Economy
is in reality nothing more than the investigation of some accidental
phenomena of modern commercial operations, nor has it been true in its
investigation even of these. It has no connection whatever with
political economy, as understood and treated of by the great thinkers of
past ages; and as long as its unscholarly and undefined statements are
allowed to pass under the same name, every word written on the subject
by those thinkers--and chiefly the words of Plato, Xenophon, Cicero and
Bacon--must be nearly useless to mankind. The reader must not,
therefore, be surprised at the care and insistance with which I have
retained the literal and earliest sense of all important terms used in
these papers; for a word is usually well made at the time it is first
wanted; its youngest meaning has in it the full strength of its youth:
subsequent senses are commonly warped or weakened; and as all careful
thinkers are sure to have used their words accurately, the first
condition, in order to be able to avail our selves of their sayings at
all, is firm definition of terms.

3. By the "maintenance" of a State is to be understood the support of
its population in healthy and happy life; and the increase of their
numbers, so far as that increase is consistent with their happiness. It
is not the object of political economy to increase the numbers of a
nation at the cost of common health or comfort; nor to increase
indefinitely the comfort of individuals, by sacrifice of surrounding
lives, or possibilities of life.

4. The assumption which lies at the root of nearly all erroneous
reasoning on political economy,--namely, that its object is to
accumulate money or exchangeable property,--may be shown in a few words
to be without foundation. For no economist would admit national economy
to be legitimate which proposed to itself only the building of a pyramid
of gold. He would declare the gold to be wasted, were it to remain in
the monumental form, and would say it ought to be employed. But to what
end? Either it must be used only to gain more gold, and build a larger
pyramid, or for some purpose other than the gaining of gold. And this
other purpose, however at first apprehended, will be found to resolve
itself finally into the service of man;--that is to say, the extension,
defence, or comfort of his life. The golden pyramid may perhaps be
providently built, perhaps improvidently; but the wisdom or folly of the
accumulation can only be determined by our having first clearly stated
the aim of all economy, namely, the extension of life.

If the accumulation of money, or of exchangeable property, were a
certain means of extending existence, it would be useless, in discussing
economical questions, to fix our attention upon the more distant
object--life--instead of the immediate one--money. But it is not so.
Money may sometimes be accumulated at the cost of life, or by
limitations of it; that is to say, either by hastening the deaths of
men, or preventing their births. It is therefore necessary to keep
clearly in view the ultimate object of economy; and to determine the
expediency of minor operations with reference to that ulterior end.

5. It has been just stated that the object of political economy is the
continuance not only of life, but of healthy and happy life. But all
true happiness is both a consequence and cause of life: it is a sign of
its vigor, and source of its continuance. All true suffering is in like
manner a consequence and cause of death. I shall therefore, in future,
use the word "Life" singly: but let it be understood to include in its
signification the happiness and power of the entire human nature, body
and soul.

6. That human nature, as its Creator made it, and maintains it wherever
His laws are observed, is entirely harmonious. No physical error can be
more profound, no moral error more dangerous, than that involved in the
monkish doctrine of the opposition of body to soul. No soul can be
perfect in an imperfect body: no body perfect without perfect soul.
Every right action and true thought sets the seal of its beauty on
person and face; every wrong action and foul thought its seal of
distortion; and the various aspects of humanity might be read as plainly
as a printed history, were it not that the impressions are so complex
that it must always in some cases (and, in the present state of our
knowledge, in all cases) be impossible to decipher them completely.
Nevertheless, the face of a consistently just, and of a consistently
unjust person, may always be rightly distinguished at a glance; and if
the qualities are continued by descent through a generation or two,
there arises a complete distinction of race. Both moral and physical
qualities are communicated by descent, far more than they can be
developed by education; (though both may be destroyed by want of
education), and there is as yet no ascertained limit to the nobleness of
person and mind which the human creature may attain, by persevering
observance of the laws of God respecting its birth and training.

7. We must therefore yet farther define the aim of political economy to
be "The multiplication of human life at the highest standard." It might
at first seem questionable whether we should endeavour to maintain a
small number of persons of the highest type of beauty and intelligence,
or a larger number of an inferior class. But I shall be able to show in
the sequel, that the way to maintain the largest number is first to aim
at the highest standard. Determine the noblest type of man, and aim
simply at maintaining the largest possible number of persons of that
class, and it will be found that the largest possible number of every
healthy subordinate class must necessarily be produced also.

8. The perfect type of manhood, as just stated, involves the perfections
(whatever we may hereafter determine these to be) of his body,
affections, and intelligence. The material things, therefore, which it
is the object of political economy to produce and use, (or accumulate
for use,) are things which serve either to sustain and comfort the body,
or exercise rightly the affections and form the intelligence.[10]
Whatever truly serves either of these purposes is "useful" to man,
wholesome, healthful, helpful, or holy. By seeking such things, man
prolongs and increases his life upon the earth.

On the other hand, whatever does not serve either of these
purposes,--much more whatever counteracts them,--is in like manner
useless to man, unwholesome, unhelpful, or unholy; and by seeking such
things man shortens and diminishes his life upon the earth.

9. And neither with respect to things useful or useless can man's
estimate of them alter their nature. Certain substances being good for
his food, and others noxious to him, what he thinks or wishes respecting
them can neither change, nor prevent, their power. If he eats corn, he
will live; if nightshade, he will die. If he produce or make good and
beautiful things, they will _Re-Create_ him; (note the solemnity and
weight of the word); if bad and ugly things, they will "corrupt" or
"break in pieces"--that is, in the exact degree of their power, Kill
him. For every hour of labour, however enthusiastic or well intended,
which he spends for that which is not bread, so much possibility of life
is lost to him. His fancies, likings, beliefs, however brilliant,
eager, or obstinate, are of no avail if they are set on a false object.
Of all that he has laboured for, the eternal law of heaven and earth
measures out to him for reward, to the utmost atom, that part which he
ought to have laboured for, and withdraws from him (or enforces on him,
it may be) inexorably, that part which he ought not to have laboured for
until, on his summer threshing-floor, stands his heap of corn; little or
much, not according to his labour, but to his discretion. No "commercial
arrangements," no painting of surfaces, nor alloying of substances, will
avail him a pennyweight. Nature asks of him calmly and inevitably, What
have you found, or formed--the right thing or the wrong? By the right
thing you shall live; by the wrong you shall die.

10. To thoughtless persons it seems otherwise. The world looks to them
as if they could cozen it out of some ways and means of life. But they
cannot cozen IT: they can only cozen their neighbours. The world is not
to be cheated of a grain; not so much as a breath of its air can be
drawn surreptitiously. For every piece of wise work done, so much life
is granted; for every piece of foolish work, nothing; for every piece of
wicked work, so much death is allotted. This is as sure as the courses
of day and night. But when the means of life are once produced, men, by
their various struggles and industries of accumulation or exchange, may
variously gather, waste, restrain, or distribute them; necessitating, in
proportion to the waste or restraint, accurately, so much more death.
The rate and range of additional death are measured by the rate and
range of waste; and are inevitable;--the only question (determined
mostly by fraud in peace, and force in war) is, Who is to die, and how?

11. Such being the everlasting law of human existence, the essential
work of the political economist is to determine what are in reality
useful or life-giving things, and by what degrees and kinds of labour
they are attainable and distributable. This investigation divides itself
under three great heads;--the studies, namely, of the phenomena, first,
of WEALTH; secondly, of MONEY; and thirdly, of RICHES.

These terms are often used as synonymous, but they signify entirely
different things. "Wealth" consists of things in themselves valuable;
"Money," of documentary claims to the possession of such things; and
"Riches" is a relative term, expressing the magnitude of the possessions
of one person or society as compared with those of other persons or

The study of Wealth is a province of natural science:--it deals with the
essential properties of things.

The study of Money is a province of commercial science:--it deals with
conditions of engagement and exchange.

The study of Riches is a province of moral science:--it deals with the
due relations of men to each other in regard of material possessions;
and with the just laws of their association for purposes of labour.

I shall in this first chapter shortly sketch out the range of subjects
which will come before us as we follow these three branches of inquiry.

12. And first of WEALTH, which, it has been said, consists of things
essentially valuable. We now, therefore, need a definition of "value."

"Value" signifies the strength, or "availing" of anything towards the
sustaining of life, and is always twofold; that is to say, primarily,
INTRINSIC, and secondarily, EFFECTUAL.

The reader must, by anticipation, be warned against confusing value with
cost, or with price. _Value is the life-giving power of anything; cost,
the quantity of labour required to produce it; price, the quantity of
labour which its possessor will take in exchange for it._[11] Cost and
price are commercial conditions, to be studied under the head of money.

13. Intrinsic value is the absolute power of anything to support life. A
sheaf of wheat of given quality and weight has in it a measurable power
of sustaining the substance of the body; a cubic foot of pure air, a
fixed power of sustaining its warmth; and a cluster of flowers of given
beauty a fixed power of enlivening or animating the senses and heart.

It does not in the least affect the intrinsic value of the wheat, the
air, or the flowers, that men refuse or despise them. Used or not, their
own power is in them, and that particular power is in nothing else.

14. But in order that this value of theirs may become effectual, a
certain state is necessary in the recipient of it. The digesting,
breathing, and perceiving functions must be perfect in the human
creature before the food, air, or flowers can become of their full value
to it. _The production of effectual value, therefore, always involves
two needs: first, the production of a thing essentially useful; then the
production of the capacity to use it._ Where the intrinsic value and
acceptant capacity come together there is Effectual value, or wealth;
where there is either no intrinsic value, or no acceptant capacity,
there is no effectual value; that is to say, no wealth. A horse is no
wealth to us if we cannot ride, nor a picture if we cannot see, _nor can
any noble thing be wealth, except to a noble person_. As the aptness of
the user increases, the effectual value of the thing used increases; and
in its entirety can co-exist only with perfect skill of use, and fitness
of nature.

15. Valuable material things may be conveniently referred to five heads:

(i.) Land, with its associated air, water, and organisms.

(ii.) Houses, furniture, and instruments.

(iii.) Stored or prepared food, medicine, and articles of bodily luxury,
including clothing.

(iv.) Books.

(v.) Works of art.

The conditions of value in these things are briefly as follows:--

16. (i.) Land. Its value is twofold; first, as producing food and
mechanical power; secondly, as an object of sight and thought, producing
intellectual power.

Its value, as a means of producing food and mechanical power, varies
with its form (as mountain or plain), with its substance (in soil or
mineral contents), and with its climate. All these conditions of
intrinsic value must be known and complied with by the men who have to
deal with it, in order to give effectual value; but at any given time
and place, the intrinsic value is fixed: such and such a piece of land,
with its associated lakes and seas, rightly treated in surface and
substance, can produce precisely so much food and power, and no more.

The second element of value in land being its beauty, united with such
conditions of space and form as are necessary for exercise, and for
fullness of animal life, land of the highest value in these respects
will be that lying in temperate climates, and boldly varied in form;
removed from unhealthy or dangerous influences (as of miasm or volcano);
and capable of sustaining a rich fauna and flora. Such land, carefully
tended by the hand of man, so far as to remove from it unsightlinesses
and evidences of decay, guarded from violence, and inhabited, under
man's affectionate protection, by every kind of living creature that can
occupy it in peace, is the most precious "property" that human beings
can possess.

17. (ii.) Buildings, furniture, and instruments.

The value of buildings consists, first, in permanent strength, with
convenience of form, of size, and of position; so as to render
employment peaceful, social intercourse easy, temperature and air
healthy. The advisable or possible magnitude of cities and mode of their
distribution in squares, streets, courts, &c.; the relative value of
sites of land, and the modes of structure which are healthiest and most
permanent, have to be studied under this head.

The value of buildings consists secondly in historical association, and
architectural beauty, of which we have to examine the influence on
manners and life.

The value of instruments consists, first, in their power of shortening
labour, or otherwise accomplishing what human strength unaided could
not. The kinds of work which are severally best accomplished by hand or
by machine;--the effect of machinery in gathering and multiplying
population, and its influence on the minds and bodies of such
population; together with the conceivable uses of machinery on a
colossal scale in accomplishing mighty and useful works, hitherto
unthought of, such as the deepening of large river channels;--changing
the surface of mountainous districts;--irrigating tracts of desert in
the torrid zone;--breaking up, and thus rendering capable of quicker
fusion, edges of ice in the northern and southern Arctic seas, &c., so
rendering parts of the earth habitable which hitherto have been
lifeless, are to be studied under this head.

The value of instruments is, secondarily, in their aid to abstract
sciences. The degree in which the multiplication of such instruments
should be encouraged, so as to make them, if large, easy of access to
numbers (as costly telescopes), or so cheap as that they might, in a
serviceable form, become a common part of the furniture of households,
is to be considered under this head.[12]

18. (iii.) Food, medicine, and articles of luxury. Under this head we
shall have to examine the possible methods of obtaining pure food in
such security and equality of supply as to avoid both waste and famine:
then the economy of medicine and just range of sanitary law: finally the
economy of luxury, partly an æsthetic and partly an ethical question.

19. (iv.) Books. The value of these consists,

First, in their power of preserving and communicating the knowledge of

Secondly, in their power of exciting vital or noble emotion and
intellectual action. They have also their corresponding negative powers
of disguising and effacing the memory of facts, and killing the noble
emotions, or exciting base ones. Under these two heads we have to
consider the economical and educational value, positive and negative, of
literature;--the means of producing and educating good authors, and the
means and advisability of rendering good books generally accessible, and
directing the reader's choice to them.

20. (v.) Works of art. The value of these is of the same nature as that
of books; but the laws of their production and possible modes of
distribution are very different, and require separate examination.

21. II.--MONEY. Under this head, we shall have to examine the laws of
currency and exchange; of which I will note here the first principles.

Money has been inaccurately spoken of as merely a means of exchange. But
it is far more than this. It is a documentary expression of legal claim.
It is not wealth, but a documentary claim to wealth, being the sign of
the relative quantities of it, or of the labour producing it, to which,
at a given time, persons, or societies, are entitled.

If all the money in the world, notes and gold, were destroyed in an
instant, it would leave the world neither richer nor poorer than it was.
But it would leave the individual inhabitants of it in different

Money is, therefore, correspondent in its nature to the title-deed of an
estate. Though the deed be burned, the estate still exists, but the
right to it has become disputable.

22. The real worth of money remains unchanged, as long as the proportion
of the quantity of existing money to the quantity of existing wealth or
available labour remains unchanged.

If the wealth increases, but not the money, the worth of the money
increases; if the money increases, but not the wealth, the worth of the
money diminishes.

23. Money, therefore, cannot be arbitrarily multiplied, any more than
title-deeds can. So long as the existing wealth or available labour is
not fully represented by the currency, the currency may be increased
without diminution of the assigned worth of its pieces. But when the
existing wealth, or available labour is once fully represented, every
piece of money thrown into circulation diminishes the worth of every
other existing piece, in the proportion it bears to the number of them,
provided the new piece be received with equal credit; if not, the
depreciation of worth takes place, according to the degree of its

24. When, however, new money, composed of some substance of supposed
intrinsic value (as of gold), is brought into the market, or when new
notes are issued which are supposed to be deserving of credit, the
desire to obtain the money will, under certain circumstances, stimulate
industry: an additional quantity of wealth is immediately produced, and
if this be in proportion to the new claims advanced, the value of the
existing currency is undepreciated. If the stimulus given be so great as
to produce more goods than are proportioned to the additional coinage,
the worth of the existing currency will be raised.

Arbitrary control and issues of currency affect the production of
wealth, by acting on the hopes and fears of men, and are, under certain
circumstances, wise. But the issue of additional currency to meet the
exigencies of immediate expense, is merely one of the disguised forms of
borrowing or taxing. It is, however, in the present low state of
economical knowledge, often possible for governments to venture on an
issue of currency, when they could not venture on an additional loan or
tax, because the real operation of such issue is not understood by the
people, and the pressure of it is irregularly distributed, and with an
unperceived gradation.

25. The use of substances of intrinsic value as the materials of a
currency, is a barbarism;--a remnant of the conditions of barter, which
alone render commerce possible among savage nations. It is, however,
still necessary, partly as a mechanical check on arbitrary issues;
partly as a means of exchanges with foreign nations. In proportion to
the extension of civilization, and increase of trustworthiness in
Governments, it will cease. So long as it exists, the phenomena of the
cost and price of the articles used for currency are mingled with those
proper to currency itself, in an almost inextricable manner: and the
market worth of bullion is affected by multitudinous accidental
circumstances, which have been traced, with more or less success, by
writers on commercial operations: but with these variations the true
political economist has no more to do than an engineer, fortifying a
harbour of refuge against Atlantic tide, has to concern himself with the
cries or quarrels of children who dig pools with their fingers for its
streams among the sand.

26. III.--RICHES. According to the various industry, capacity, good
fortune, and desires of men, they obtain greater or smaller share of,
and claim upon, the wealth of the world.

The inequalities between these shares, always in some degree just and
necessary, may be either restrained by law or circumstance within
certain limits; or may increase indefinitely.

Where no moral or legal restraint is put upon the exercise of the will
and intellect of the stronger, shrewder, or more covetous men, these
differences become ultimately enormous. But as soon as they become so
distinct in their extremes as that, on one side, there shall be manifest
redundance of possession, and on the other manifest pressure of
need,--the terms "riches" and "poverty" are used to express the opposite
states; being contrary only as the terms "warmth" and "cold" are
contraries, of which neither implies an actual degree, but only a
relation to other degrees, of temperature.

27. Respecting riches, the economist has to inquire, first, into the
advisable modes of their collection; secondly, into the advisable modes
of their administration.

Respecting the collection of national riches, he has to inquire, first,
whether he is justified in calling the nation rich, if the quantity of
wealth it possesses relatively to the wealth of other nations, be large;
irrespectively of the manner of its distribution. Or does the mode of
distribution in any wise affect the nature of the riches? Thus, if the
king alone be rich--suppose Croesus or Mausolus--are the Lydians or
Carians therefore a rich nation? Or if a few slave-masters are rich, and
the nation is otherwise composed of slaves, is it to be called a rich
nation? For if not, and the ideas of a certain mode of distribution or
operation in the riches, and of a certain degree of freedom in the
people, enter into our idea of riches as attributed to a people, we
shall have to define the degree of fluency, or circulative character
which is essential to the nature of common wealth; and the degree of
independence of action required in its possessors. Questions which look
as if they would take time in answering.[13]

28. And farther. Since the inequality, which is the condition of riches,
may be established in two opposite modes--namely, by increase of
possession on the one side, and by decrease of it on the other--we have
to inquire, with respect to any given state of riches, precisely in what
manner the correlative poverty was produced: that is to say, whether by
being surpassed only, or being depressed also; and if by being
depressed, what are the advantages, or the contrary, conceivable in the
depression. For instance, it being one of the commonest advantages of
being rich to entertain a number of servants, we have to inquire, on the
one side, what economical process produced the riches of the master; and
on the other, what economical process produced the poverty of the
persons who serve him; and what advantages each, on his own side,
derives from the result.

29. These being the main questions touching the collection of riches,
the next, or last, part of the inquiry is into their administration.

Their possession involves three great economical powers which require
separate examination: namely, the powers of selection, direction, and

The power of SELECTION relates to things of which the supply is limited
(as the supply of best things is always). When it becomes matter of
question to whom such things are to belong, the richest person has
necessarily the first choice, unless some arbitrary mode of distribution
be otherwise determined upon. The business of the economist is to show
how this choice may be a wise one.

The power of DIRECTION arises out of the necessary relation of rich men
to poor, which ultimately, in one way or another, involves the
direction of, or authority over, the labour of the poor; and this nearly
as much over their mental as their bodily labour. The business of the
economist is to show how this direction may be a Just one.

The power of PROVISION is dependent upon the redundance of wealth, which
may of course by active persons be made available in preparation for
future work or future profit; in which function riches have generally
received the name of capital; that is to say, of head-, or
source-material. The business of the economist is to show how this
provision may be a Distant one.

30. The examination of these three functions of riches will embrace
every final problem of political economy;--and, above, or before all,
this curious and vital problem,--whether, since the wholesome action of
riches in these three functions will depend (it appears), on the Wisdom,
Justice, and Farsightedness of the holders; and it is by no means to be
assumed that persons primarily rich, must therefore be just and
wise,--it may not be ultimately possible so, or somewhat so, to arrange
matters, as that persons primarily just and wise, should therefore be

Such being the general plan of the inquiry before us, I shall not limit
myself to any consecutive following of it, having hardly any good hope
of being able to complete so laborious a work as it must prove to me;
but from time to time, as I have leisure, shall endeavour to carry
forward this part or that, as may be immediately possible; indicating
always with accuracy the place which the particular essay will or should
take in the completed system.


[10] _See_ Appendix I.

[11] Observe these definitions,--they are of much importance,--and
connect with them the sentences in italics on this and the next page.

[12] [I cannot now recast these sentences, pedantic in their
generalization, and intended more for index than statement, but I must
guard the reader from thinking that I ever wish for cheapness by bad
quality. A poor boy need not always learn mathematics; but, if you set
him to do so, have the farther kindness to give him good compasses, not
cheap ones, whose points bend like lead.]

[13] [I regret the ironical manner in which this passage, one of great
importance in the matter of it, was written. The gist of it is, that the
first of all inquiries respecting the wealth of any nation is not, how
much it has; but whether it is in a form that can be used, and in the
possession of persons who can use it.]



31. The first chapter having consisted of little more than definition of
terms, I purpose, in this, to expand and illustrate the given

The view which has here been taken of the nature of wealth, namely, that
it consists in an intrinsic value developed by a vital power, is
directly opposed to two nearly universal conceptions of wealth. In the
assertion that value is primarily intrinsic, it opposes the idea that
anything which is an object of desire to numbers, and is limited in
quantity, so as to have rated worth in exchange, may be called, or
virtually become, wealth. And in the assertion that value is,
secondarily, dependent upon power in the possessor, it opposes the idea
that the worth of things depends on the demand for them, instead of on
the use of them. Before going farther, we will make these two positions

32. I. First. All wealth is intrinsic, and is not constituted by the
judgment of men. This is easily seen in the case of things affecting the
body; we know, that no force of fantasy will make stones nourishing, or
poison innocent; but it is less apparent in things affecting the mind.
We are easily--perhaps willingly--misled by the appearance of beneficial
results obtained by industries addressed wholly to the gratification of
fanciful desire; and apt to suppose that whatever is widely coveted,
dearly bought, and pleasurable in possession, must be included in our
definition of wealth. It is the more difficult to quit ourselves of this
error because many things which are true wealth in moderate use, become
false wealth in immoderate; and many things are mixed of good and
evil,--as mostly, books, and works of art,--out of which one person Will
get the good, and another the evil; so that it seems as if there were
no fixed good or evil in the things themselves, but only in the view
taken, and use made of them.

But that is not so. The evil and good are fixed; in essence, and in
proportion. And in things in which evil depends upon excess, the point
of excess, though indefinable, is fixed; and the power of the thing is
on the hither side for good, and on the farther side for evil. And in
all cases this power is inherent, not dependent on opinion or choice.
Our thoughts of things neither make, nor mar their eternal force;
nor--which is the most serious point for future consideration--can they
prevent the effect of it (within certain limits) upon ourselves.

33. Therefore, the object of any special analysis of wealth will be not
so much to enumerate what is serviceable, as to distinguish what is
destructive; and to show that it is inevitably destructive; that to
receive pleasure from an evil thing is not to escape from, or alter the
evil of it, but to be _altered by_ it; that is, to suffer from it to the
utmost, having our own nature, in that degree, made evil also. And it
may be shown farther, that, through whatever length of time or
subtleties of connexion the harm is accomplished, (being also less or
more according to the fineness and worth of the humanity on which it is
wrought), still, nothing _but_ harm ever comes of a bad thing.

34. So that, in sum, the term wealth is never to be attached to the
_accidental object of a morbid_ desire, but only to the _constant object
of a legitimate one_.[14] By the fury of ignorance, and fitfulness of
caprice, large interests may be continually attached to things
unserviceable or hurtful; if their nature could be altered by our
passions, the science of Political Economy would remain, what it has
been hitherto among us, the weighing of clouds, and the portioning out
of shadows. But of ignorance there is no science; and of caprice no law.
Their disturbing forces interfere with the operations of faithful
Economy, but have nothing in common with them: she, the calm arbiter of
national destiny, regards only essential power for good in all that she
accumulates, and alike disdains the wanderings[15] of imagination, and
the thirsts of disease.

35. II. Secondly. The assertion that wealth is not _only_ intrinsic, but
dependent, in order to become effectual, on a given degree of vital
power in its possessor, is opposed to another popular view of
wealth;--namely, that though it may always be constituted by caprice, it
is, when so constituted, a substantial thing, of which given quantities
may be counted as existing here, or there, and exchangeable at rated

In this view there are three errors. The first and chief is the
overlooking the fact that all exchangeableness of commodity, or
effective demand for it, depends on the sum of capacity for its use
existing, here or elsewhere. The book we cannot read, or picture we take
no delight in, may indeed be called part of our wealth, in so far as we
have power of exchanging either for something we like better. But our
power of effecting such exchange, and yet more, of effecting it to
advantage, depends absolutely on the number of accessible persons who
can understand the book, or enjoy the painting, and who will dispute the
possession of them. Thus the actual worth of either, even to us, depends
no more on their essential goodness than on the capacity existing
somewhere for the perception of it; and it is vain in any completed
system of production to think of obtaining one without the other. So
that, though the true political economist knows that co-existence of
capacity for use with temporary possession cannot be always secured, the
final fact, on which he bases all action and administration, is that, in
the whole nation, or group of nations, he has to deal with, for every
atom of intrinsic value produced he must with exactest chemistry produce
its twin atom of acceptant digestion, or understanding capacity; or, in
the degree of his failure, he has no wealth. Nature's challenge to us
is, in earnest, as the Assyrians mock; "I will give thee two thousand
horses, if thou be able on thy part to set riders upon them." Bavieca's
paces are brave, if the Cid backs him; but woe to us, if we take the
dust of capacity, wearing the armour of it, for capacity itself, for so
all procession, however goodly in the show of it, is to the tomb.

36. The second error in this popular view of wealth is, that in giving
the name of wealth to things which we cannot use, we in reality confuse
wealth with money. The land we have no skill to cultivate, the book
which is sealed to us, or dress which is superfluous, may indeed be
exchangeable, but as such are nothing more than a cumbrous form of
bank-note, of doubtful or slow convertibility. As long as we retain
possession of them, we merely keep our bank-notes in the shape of gravel
or clay, of book-leaves, or of embroidered tissue. Circumstances may,
perhaps, render such forms the safest, or a certain complacency may
attach to the exhibition of them; into both these advantages we shall
inquire afterwards; I wish the reader only to observe here, that
exchangeable property which we cannot use is, to us personally, merely
one of the forms of money, not of wealth.

37. The third error in the popular view is the confusion of Guardianship
with Possession; the real state of men of property being, too commonly,
that of curators, not possessors, of wealth.

A man's power over his property is at the widest range of it, fivefold;
it is power of Use, for himself, Administration, to others, Ostentation,
Destruction, or Bequest: and possession is in use only, which for each
man is sternly limited; so that such things, and so much of them as he
can use, are, indeed, well for him, or Wealth; and more of them, or any
other things, are ill for him, or Illth.[16] Plunged to the lips in
Orinoco, he shall drink to his thirst measure; more, at his peril: with
a thousand oxen on his lands, he shall eat to his hunger measure; more,
at his peril. He cannot live in two houses at once; a few bales of silk
or wool will suffice for the fabric of all the clothes he can ever wear,
and a few books will probably hold all the furniture good for his brain.
Beyond these, in the best of us but narrow, capacities, we have but the
power of administering, or _mal_-administering, wealth: (that is to say,
distributing, lending, or increasing it);--of exhibiting it (as in
magnificence of retinue or furniture),--of destroying, or, finally, of
bequeathing it. And with multitudes of rich men, administration
degenerates into curatorship; they merely hold their property in charge,
as Trustees, for the benefit of some person or persons to whom it is to
be delivered upon their death; and the position, explained in clear
terms, would hardly seem a covetable one. What would be the probable
feelings of a youth, on his entrance into life, to whom the career hoped
for him was proposed in terms such as these: "You must work
unremittingly, and with your utmost intelligence, during all your
available years, you will thus accumulate wealth to a large amount; but
you must touch none of it, beyond what is needful for your support.
Whatever sums you gain, beyond those required for your decent and
moderate maintenance, and whatever beautiful things you may obtain
possession of, shall be properly taken care of by servants, for whose
maintenance you will be charged, and whom you will have the trouble of
superintending, and on your deathbed you shall have the power of
determining to whom the accumulated property shall belong, or to what
purposes be applied."

38. The labour of life, under such conditions, would probably be neither
zealous nor cheerful; yet the only difference between this position and
that of the ordinary capitalist is the power which the latter supposes
himself to possess, and which is attributed to him by others, of
spending his money at any moment. This pleasure, taken _in the
imagination of power to part with that with which we have no intention
of parting_, is one of the most curious, though commonest forms of the
Eidolon, or Phantasm of Wealth. But the political economist has nothing
to do with this idealism, and looks only to the practical issue of
it--namely, that the holder of wealth, in such temper, may be regarded
simply as a mechanical means of collection; or as a money-chest with a
slit in it, not only receptant but suctional, set in the public
thoroughfare;--chest of which only Death has the key, and evil Chance
the distribution of the contents. In his function of Lender (which,
however, is one of administration, not use, as far as he is himself
concerned), the capitalist takes, indeed, a more interesting aspect; but
even in that function, his relations with the state are apt to
degenerate into a mechanism for the convenient contraction of debt;--a
function the more mischievous, because a nation invariably appeases its
conscience with respect to an unjustifiable expense, by meeting it with
borrowed funds, expresses its repentance of a foolish piece of business,
by letting its tradesmen wait for their money, and always leaves its
descendants to pay for the work which will be of the least advantage to

39. Quit of these three sources of misconception, the reader will have
little farther difficulty in apprehending the real nature of Effectual
value. He may, however, at first not without surprise, perceive the
consequences involved in his acceptance of the definition. For if the
actual existence of wealth be dependent on the power of its possessor,
it follows that the sum of wealth held by the nation, instead of being
constant, or calculable, varies hourly, nay, momentarily, with the
number and character of its holders! and that in changing hands, it
changes in quantity. And farther, since the worth of the currency is
proportioned to the sum of material wealth which it represents, if the
sum of the wealth changes, the worth of the currency changes. And thus
both the sum of the property, and power of the currency, of the state,
vary momentarily as the character and number of the holders. And not
only so, but different rates and kinds of variation are caused by the
character of the holders of different kinds of wealth. The transitions
of value caused by the character of the holders of land differ in mode
from those caused by character in holders of works of art; and these
again from those caused by character in holders of machinery or other
working capital. But we cannot examine these special phenomena of any
kind of wealth until we have a clear idea of the way in which true
currency expresses them; and of the resulting modes in which the cost
and price of any article are related to its value. To obtain this we
must approach the subject in its first elements.

40. Let us suppose a national store of wealth, composed of material
things either useful, or believed to be so, taken charge of by the
Government,[18] and that every workman, having produced any article
involving labour in its production, and for which he has no immediate
use, brings it to add to this store, receiving from the Government, in
exchange, an order either for the return of the thing itself, or of its
equivalent in other things, such as he may choose out of the store, at
any time when he needs them. The question of equivalence itself (how
much wine a man is to receive in return for so much corn, or how much
coal in return for so much iron) is a quite separate one, which we will
examine presently. For the time, let it be assumed that this equivalence
has been determined, and that the Government order, in exchange for a
fixed weight of any article (called, suppose _a_), is either for the
return of that weight of the article itself, or of another fixed weight
of the article _b_, or another of the article _c_, and so on.

Now, supposing that the labourer speedily and continually presents these
general orders, or, in common language, "spends the money," he has
neither changed the circumstances of the nation, nor his own, except in
so far as he may have produced useful and consumed useless articles, or
_vice versâ_. But if he does not use, or uses in part only, the orders
he receives, and lays aside some portion of them; and thus every day
bringing his contribution to the national store, lays by some
per-centage of the orders received in exchange for it, he increases the
national wealth daily by as much as he does not use of the received
order, and to the same amount accumulates a monetary claim on the
Government. It is, of course, always in his power, as it is his legal
right, to bring forward this accumulation of claim, and at once to
consume, destroy, or distribute, the sum of his wealth. Supposing he
never does so, but dies, leaving his claim to others, he has enriched
the State during his life by the quantity of wealth over which that
claim extends, or has, in other words, rendered so much additional life
possible in the State, of which additional life he bequeaths the
immediate possibility to those whom he invests with his claim. Supposing
him to cancel the claim, he would distribute this possibility of life
among the nation at large.

41. We hitherto consider the Government itself as simply a conservative
power, taking charge of the wealth entrusted to it.

But a Government may be more or less than a conservative power. It may
be either an improving, or destructive one.

If it be an improving power, using all the wealth entrusted to it to the
best advantage, the nation is enriched in root and branch at once, and
the Government is enabled, for every order presented, to return a
quantity of wealth greater than the order was written for, according to
the fructification obtained in the interim. This ability may be either
concealed, in which case the currency does not completely represent the
wealth of the country, or it may be manifested by the continual payment
of the excess of value on each order, in which case there is
(irrespectively, observe, of collateral results afterwards to be
examined) a perpetual rise in the worth of the currency, that is to say,
a fall in the price of all articles represented by it.

42. But if the Government be destructive, or a consuming power, it
becomes unable to return the value received on the presentation of the

This inability may either be concealed by meeting demands to the full,
until it issue in bankruptcy, or in some form of national debt;--or it
may be concealed during oscillatory movements between destructiveness
and productiveness, which result on the whole in stability;--or it may
be manifested by the consistent return of less than value received on
each presented order, in which case there is a consistent fall in the
worth of the currency, or rise in the price of the things represented by

43. Now, if for this conception of a central Government, we substitute
that of a body of persons occupied in industrial pursuits, of whom each
adds in his private capacity to the common store, we at once obtain an
approximation to the actual condition of a civilized mercantile
community, from which approximation we might easily proceed into still
completer analysis. I purpose, however, to arrive at every result by the
gradual expansion of the simpler conception; but I wish the reader to
observe, in the meantime, that both the social conditions thus supposed
(and I will by anticipation say also, all possible social conditions),
agree in two great points; namely, in the primal importance of the
supposed national store or stock, and in its destructibility or
improveability by the holders of it.

44. I. Observe that in both conditions, that of central
Government-holding, and diffused private-holding, the quantity of stock
is of the same national moment. In the one case, indeed, its amount may
be known by examination of the persons to whom it is confided; in the
other it cannot be known but by exposing the private affairs of every
individual. But, known or unknown, its significance is the same under
each condition. The riches of the nation consist in the abundance, and
their wealth depends on the nature, of this store.

45. II. In the second place, both conditions, (and all other possible
ones) agree in the destructibility or improveability of the store by its
holders. Whether in private hands, or under Government charge, the
national store may be daily consumed, or daily enlarged, by its
possessors; and while the currency remains apparently unaltered, the
property it represents may diminish or increase.

46. The first question, then, which we have to put under our simple
conception of central Government, namely, "What store has it?" is one of
equal importance, whatever may be the constitution of the State; while
the second question--namely, "Who are the holders of the store?"
involves the discussion of the constitution of the State itself.

The first inquiry resolves itself into three heads:

1. What is the nature of the store?

2. What is its quantity in relation to the population?

3. What is its quantity in relation to the currency?

The second inquiry into two:

1. Who are the Holders of the store, and in what proportions?

2. Who are the Claimants of the store, (that is to say, the holders of
the currency,) and in what proportions?

We will examine the range of the first three questions in the present
paper; of the two following, in the sequel.

47. I. QUESTION FIRST. What is the nature of the store? Has the nation
hitherto worked for and gathered the right thing or the wrong? On that
issue rest the possibilities of its life.

For example, let us imagine a society, of no great extent, occupied in
procuring and laying up store of corn, wine, wool, silk, and other such
preservable materials of food and clothing; and that it has a currency
representing them. Imagine farther, that on days of festivity, the
society, discovering itself to derive satisfaction from pyrotechnics,
gradually turns its attention more and more to the manufacture of
gunpowder; so that an increasing number of labourers, giving what time
they can spare to this branch of industry, bring increasing quantities
of combustibles into the store, and use the general orders received in
exchange to obtain such wine, wool, or corn, as they may have need of.
The currency remains the same, and represents precisely the same amount
of material in the store, and of labour spent in producing it. But the
corn and wine gradually vanish, and in their place, as gradually, appear
sulphur and saltpetre, till at last the labourers who have consumed corn
and supplied nitre, presenting on a festal morning some of their
currency to obtain materials for the feast, discover that no amount of
currency will command anything Festive, except Fire. The supply of
rockets is unlimited, but that of food, limited, in a quite final
manner; and the whole currency in the hands of the society represents an
infinite power of detonation, but none of existence.

48. This statement, caricatured as it may seem, is only exaggerated in
assuming the persistence of the folly to extremity, unchecked, as in
reality it would be, by the gradual rise in price of food. But it falls
short of the actual facts of human life in expression of the depth and
intensity of the folly itself. For a great part (the reader would not
believe how great until he saw the statistics in detail) of the most
earnest and ingenious industry of the world is spent in producing
munitions of war; gathering, that is to say the materials, not of
festive, but of consuming fire; filling its stores with all power of the
instruments of pain, and all affluence of the ministries of death. It
was no true _Trionfo della Morte_[19] which men have seen and feared
(sometimes scarcely feared) so long; wherein he brought them rest from
their labours. We see, and share, another and higher form of his triumph
now. Task-master, instead of Releaser, he rules the dust of the arena no
less than of the tomb; and, content once in the grave whither man went,
to make his works to cease and his devices to vanish,--now, in the busy
city and on the serviceable sea, makes his work to increase, and his
devices to multiply.

49. To this doubled loss, or negative power of labour, spent in
producing means of destruction, we have to add, in our estimate of the
consequences of human folly, whatever more insidious waste of toil there
is in production of unnecessary luxury. Such and such an occupation (it
is said) supports so many labourers, because so many obtain wages in
following it; but it is never considered that unless there be a
supporting power in the product of the occupation, the wages given to
one man are merely withdrawn from another. We cannot say of any trade
that it maintains such and such a number of persons, unless we know how
and where the money, now spent in the purchase of its produce, would
have been spent, if that produce had not been manufactured. The
purchasing funds truly support a number of people in making This; but
(probably) leave unsupported an equal number who are making, or could
have made That. The manufacturers of small watches thrive at Geneva;--it
is well;--but where would the money spent on small watches have gone,
had there been no small watches to buy?

50. If the so frequently uttered aphorism of mercantile economy--"labour
is limited by capital," were true, this question would be a definite
one. But it is untrue; and that widely. Out of a given quantity of funds
for wages, more or less labour is to be had, according to the quantity
of will with which we can inspire the workman; and the true limit of
labour is only in the limit of this moral stimulus of the will, and of
the bodily power. In an ultimate, but entirely unpractical sense, labour
is limited by capital, as it is by matter--that is to say, where there
is no material, there can be no work,--but in the practical sense,
labour is limited only by the great original capital of head, heart, and
hand. Even in the most artificial relations of commerce, labour is to
capital as fire to fuel: out of so much fuel, you _can_ have only so
much fire; but out of so much fuel, you _shall_ have so much fire,--not
in proportion to the mass of combustible, but to the force of wind that
fans and water that quenches; and the appliance of both. And labour is
furthered, as conflagration is, not so much by added fuel, as by
admitted air.[20]

51. For which reasons, I had to insert, in § 49, the qualifying
"probably;" for it can never be said positively that the purchase-money,
or wages fund of any trade is withdrawn from some other trade. The
object itself may be the stimulus of the production of the money which
buys it; that is to say, the work by which the purchaser obtained the
means of buying it, would not have been done by him unless he had wanted
that particular thing. And the production of any article not
intrinsically (nor in the process of manufacture) injurious, is useful,
if the desire of it causes productive labour in other directions.

52. In the national store, therefore, the presence of things
intrinsically valueless does not imply an entirely correlative absence
of things valuable. We cannot be certain that all the labour spent on
vanity has been diverted from reality, and that for every bad thing
produced, a precious thing has been lost. In great measure, the vain
things represent the results of roused indolence; they have been carved,
as toys, in extra time; and, if they had not been made, nothing else
would have been made. Even to munitions of war this principle applies;
they partly represent the work of men who, if they had not made spears,
would never have made pruning hooks, and who are incapable of any
activities but those of contest.

53. Thus then, finally, the nature of the store has to be considered
under two main lights; the one, that of its immediate and actual
utility; the other, that of the past national character which it
signifies by its production, and future character which it must develop
by its use. And the issue of this investigation will be to show us that.

Economy does not depend merely on principles of "demand and supply," but
primarily on what is demanded, and what is supplied; which I will beg of
you to observe, and take to heart.

       *       *       *       *       *

54. II. QUESTION SECOND.--What is the quantity of the store, in relation
to the population?

It follows from what has been already stated that the accurate form in
which this question has to be put is--"What quantity of each article
composing the store exists in proportion to the real need for it by the
population?" But we shall for the time assume, in order to keep all our
terms at the simplest, that the store is wholly composed of useful
articles, and accurately proportioned to the several needs for them.

Now it cannot be assumed, because the store is large in proportion to
the number of the people, that the people must be in comfort; nor
because it is small, that they must be in distress. An active and
economical race always produces more than it requires, and lives (if it
is permitted to do so) in competence on the produce of its daily labour.
The quantity of its store, great or small, is therefore in many respects
indifferent to it, and cannot be inferred from its aspect. Similarly an
inactive and wasteful population, which cannot live by its daily labour,
but is dependent, partly or wholly, on consumption of its store, may be
(by various difficulties, hereafter to be examined, in realizing or
getting at such store) retained in a state of abject distress, though
its possessions may be immense. But the results always involved in the
magnitude of store are, the commercial power of the nation, its
security, and its mental character. Its commercial power, in that
according to the quantity of its store, may be the extent of its
dealings; its security, in that according to the quantity of its store
are its means of sudden exertion or sustained endurance; and its
character, in that certain conditions of civilization cannot be attained
without permanent and continually accumulating store, of great intrinsic
value, and of peculiar nature.[21]

55. Now, seeing that these three advantages arise from largeness of
store in proportion to population, the question arises immediately,
"Given the store--is the nation enriched by diminution of its numbers?
Are a successful national speculation, and a pestilence, economically
the same thing?"

This is in part a sophistical question; such as it would be to ask
whether a man was richer when struck by disease which must limit his
life within a predicable period, than he was when in health. He is
enabled to enlarge his current expenses, and has for all purposes a
larger sum at his immediate disposal (for, given the fortune, the
shorter the life, the larger the annuity); yet no man considers himself
richer because he is condemned by his physician.

56. The logical reply is that, since Wealth is by definition only the
means of life, a nation cannot be enriched by its own mortality. Or in
shorter words, the life is more than the meat; and existence itself,
more wealth than the means of existence. Whence, of two nations who have
equal store, the more numerous is to be considered the richer, provided
the type of the inhabitant be as high (for, though the relative bulk of
their store be less, its relative efficiency, or the amount of effectual
wealth, must be greater). But if the type of the population be
deteriorated by increase of its numbers, we have evidence of poverty in
its worst influence; and then, to determine whether the nation in its
total may still be justifiably esteemed rich, we must set or weigh, the
number of the poor against that of the rich.

To effect which piece of scale-work, it is of course necessary to
determine, first, who are poor and who are rich; nor this only, but also
how poor and how rich they are. Which will prove a curious
thermometrical investigation; for we shall have to do for gold and for
silver, what we have done for quicksilver;--determine, namely, their
freezing-point, their zero, their temperate and fever-heat points;
finally, their vaporescent point, at which riches, sometimes
explosively, as lately in America, "make to themselves wings:"--and
correspondently, the number of degrees _below_ zero at which poverty,
ceasing to brace with any wholesome cold, burns to the bone.[22]

57. For the performance of these operations, in the strictest sense
scientific, we will first look to the existing so-called "science" of
Political Economy; we will ask it to define for us the comparatively and
superlatively rich, and the comparatively and superlatively poor; and on
its own terms--if any terms it can pronounce--examine, in our prosperous
England, how many rich and how many poor people there are; and whether
the quantity and intensity of the poverty is indeed so overbalanced by
the quantity and intensity of wealth, that we may permit ourselves a
luxurious blindness to it, and call ourselves, complacently, a rich
country. And if we find no clear definition in the existing science, we
will endeavour for ourselves to fix the true degrees of the scale, and
to apply them.[23]

       *       *       *       *       *

58. QUESTION THIRD. What is the quantity of the store in relation to the

We have seen that the real worth of the currency, so far as dependent on
its relation to the magnitude of the store, may vary, within certain
limits, without affecting its worth in exchange. The diminution or
increase of the represented wealth may be unperceived, and the currency
may be taken either for more or less than it is truly worth. Usually it
is taken for much more; and its power in exchange, or credit-power, is
thus increased up to a given strain upon its relation to existing
wealth. This credit-power is of chief importance in the thoughts,
because most sharply present to the experience, of a mercantile
community: but the conditions of its stability[24] and all other
relations of the currency to the material store are entirely simple in
principle, if not in action. Far other than simple are the relations of
the currency to the available labour which it also represents. For this
relation is involved not only with that of the magnitude of the store to
the number, but with that of the magnitude of the store to the mind, of
the population. Its proportion to their number, and the resulting worth
of currency, are calculable; but its proportion to their will for labour
is not. The worth of the piece of money which claims a given quantity of
the store is, in exchange, less or greater according to the facility of
obtaining the same quantity of the same thing without having recourse to
the store. In other words it depends on the immediate Cost and Price of
the thing. We must now, therefore, complete the definition of these

59. All cost and price are counted in Labour. We must know first,
therefore, what is to be counted _as_ Labour.

I have already defined labour to be the Contest of the life of man with
an opposite. Literally, it is the quantity of "Lapse," loss, or failure
of human life, caused by any effort. It is usually confused with effort
itself, or the application of power (opera); but there is much effort
which is merely a mode of recreation, or of pleasure. The most beautiful
actions of the human body, and the highest results of the human
intelligence, are conditions, or achievements, of quite
unlaborious,--nay, of recreative,--effort. But labour is the _suffering_
in effort. It is the negative quantity, or quantity of de-feat, which
has to be counted against every Feat, and of de-fect which has to be
counted against every Fact, or Deed of men. In brief, it is "that
quantity of our toil which we die in."

We might, therefore, _à priori_, conjecture (as we shall ultimately
find), that it cannot be bought, nor sold. Everything else is bought and
sold for Labour, but labour itself cannot be bought nor sold for
anything, being priceless.[25] The idea that it is a commodity to be
bought or sold, is the alpha and omega of Politico-Economic fallacy.

60. This being the nature of labour, the "Cost" of anything is the
quantity of labour necessary to obtain it;--the quantity for which, or
at which, it "stands" (constant). It is literally the "Constancy" of the
thing;--you shall win it--move it--come at it, for no less than this.

Cost is measured and measurable (using the accurate Latin terms) only in
"labour," not in "opera."[26] It does not matter how much _work_ a thing
needs to produce it; it matters only how much _distress_. Generally the
more the power it requires, the less the distress; so that the noblest
works of man cost less than the meanest.

True labour, or spending of life, is either of the body, in fatigue or
pain; of the temper or heart (as in perseverance of search for
things,--patience in waiting for them,--fortitude or degradation in
suffering for them, and the like), or of the intellect. All these kinds
of labour are supposed to be included in the general term, and the
quantity of labour is then expressed by the time it lasts. So that a
unit of labour is "an hour's work" or a day's work, as we may

61. Cost, like value, is both intrinsic and effectual. Intrinsic cost is
that of getting the thing in the right way; effectual cost is that of
getting the thing in the way we set about it. But intrinsic cost cannot
be made a subject of analytical investigation, being only partially
discoverable, and that by long experience. Effectual cost is all that
the political Economist can deal with; that is to say, the cost of the
thing under existing circumstances, and by known processes.

Cost, being dependent much on application of method, varies with the
quantity of the thing wanted, and with the number of persons who work
for it. It is easy to get a little of some things, but difficult to get
much; it is impossible to get some things with few hands, but easy to
get them with many.

62. The cost and value of things, however difficult to determine
accurately, are thus both dependent on ascertainable physical

But their _price_ is dependent on the human will.

Such and such a thing is demonstrably good for so much. And it may
demonstrably be had for so much.

But it remains questionable, and in all manner of ways questionable,
whether I choose to give so much.[29]

This choice is always a relative one. It is a choice to give a price for
this, rather than for that;--a resolution to have the thing, if getting
it does not involve the loss of a better thing. Price depends,
therefore, not only on the cost of the commodity itself, but on its
relation to the cost of every other attainable thing.

Farther. The _power_ of choice is also a relative one. It depends not
merely on our own estimate of the thing, but on everybody else's
estimate; therefore on the number and force of the will of the
concurrent buyers, and on the existing quantity of the thing in
proportion to that number and force.

Hence the price of anything depends on four variables.

(1.) Its cost.

(2.) Its attainable quantity at that cost.

(3.) The number and power of the persons who want it.

(4.) The estimate they have formed of its desirableness.

Its value only affects its price so far as it is contemplated in this
estimate; perhaps, therefore, not at all.

63. Now, in order to show the manner in which price is expressed in
terms of a currency, we must assume these four quantities to be known,
and the "estimate of desirableness," commonly called the Demand, to be
certain. We will take the number of persons at the lowest. Let A and B
be two labourers who "demand," that is to say, have resolved to labour
for, two articles, _a_ and _b_. Their demand for these articles (if the
reader likes better, he may say their need) is to be conceived as
absolute, their existence depending on the getting these two things.
Suppose, for instance, that they are bread and fuel, in a cold country,
and let a represent the least quantity of bread, and _b_ the least
quantity of fuel, which will support a man's life for a day. Let _a_ be
producible by an hour's labour, but _b_ only by two hours' labour.

Then the _cost of a_ is one hour, and of _b_ two (cost, by our
definition, being expressible in terms of time). If, therefore, each man
worked both for his corn and fuel, each would have to work three hours a
day. But they divide the labour for its greater ease.[30] Then if A
works three hours, he produces 3 _a_, which is one a more than both the
men want. And if B works three hours, he produces only 1-1/2 _b_, or
half of _b_ less than both want. But if A work three hours and B six, A
has 3 _a_, and B has 3 _b_, a maintenance in the right proportion for
both for a day and half; so that each might take half a day's rest. But
as B has worked double time, the whole of this day's rest belongs in
equity to him. Therefore the just exchange should be, A giving two _a_
for one _b_, has one _a_ and one _b_;--maintenance for a day. B giving
one _b_ for two _a_, has two _a_ and two _b_; maintenance for two days.

But B cannot rest on the second day, or A would be left without the
article which B produces. Nor is there any means of making the exchange
just, unless a third labourer is called in. Then one workman, A,
produces _a_, and two, B and C, produce _b_:--A, working three hours,
has three _a_;--B, three hours, 1-1/2 _b_;--C, three hours, 1-1/2 _b_. B
and C each give half of _b_ for _a_, and all have their equal daily
maintenance for equal daily work.

To carry the example a single step farther, let three articles, _a_,
_b_, and _c_ be needed.

Let _a_ need one hour's work, _b_ two, and _c_ four; then the day's work
must be seven hours, and one man in a day's work can make 7 _a_, or
3-1/2 _b_, or 1-3/4 _c_.

Therefore one A works for _a_, producing 7 _a_; two B's work for _b_,
producing 7 _b_; four C's work for _c_, producing 7 _c_.

A has six _a_ to spare, and gives two _a_ for one _b_, and four _a_ for
one _c_. Each B has 2-1/2 _b_ to spare, and gives 1/2 _b_ for one _a_,
and two _b_ for one _c_.

Each C has 3/4 of _c_ to spare, and gives 1/2 _c_ for one _b_, and 1/4
of _c_ for one _a_.

And all have their day's maintenance.

Generally, therefore, it follows that if the demand is constant,[31] the
relative prices of things are as their costs, or as the quantities of
labour involved in production.

64. Then, in order to express their prices in terms of a currency, we
have only to put the currency into the form of orders for a certain
quantity of any given article (with us it is in the form of orders for
gold), and all quantities of other articles are priced by the relation
they bear to the article which the currency claims.

But the worth of the currency itself is not in the slightest degree
founded more on the worth of the article which it either claims or
consists in (as gold) than on the worth of every other article for which
the gold is exchangeable. It is just as accurate to say, "so many pounds
are worth an acre of land," as "an acre of land is worth so many
pounds." The worth of gold, of land, of houses, and of food, and of all
other things, depends at any moment on the existing quantities and
relative demands for all and each; and a change in the worth of, or
demand for, any one, involves an instantaneously correspondent change in
the worth of, and demand for, all the rest;--a change as inevitable and
as accurately balanced (though often in its process as untraceable) as
the change in volume of the outflowing river from some vast lake, caused
by change in the volume of the inflowing streams, though no eye can
trace, nor instrument detect, motion, either on its surface, or in the

65. Thus, then, the real working power or worth of the currency is
founded on the entire sum of the relative estimates formed by the
population of its possessions; a change in this estimate in any
direction (and therefore every change in the national character),
instantly alters the value of money, in its second great function of
commanding labour. But we must always carefully and sternly distinguish
between this worth of currency, dependent on the conceived or
appreciated value of what it represents, and the worth of it, dependent
on the _existence_ of what it represents. A currency is _true, or
false_, in proportion to the security with which it gives claim to the
possession of land, house, horse, or picture; but a currency is _strong
or weak_,[32] worth much, or worth little, in proportion to the degree
of estimate in which the nation holds the house, horse, or picture which
is claimed. Thus the power of the English currency has been, till of
late, largely based on the national estimate of horses and of wine: so
that a man might always give any price to furnish choicely his stable,
or his cellar; and receive public approval therefor: but if he gave the
same sum to furnish his library, he was called mad or a biblio-maniac.
And although he might lose his fortune by his horses, and his health or
life by his cellar, and rarely lost either by his books, he was yet
never called a Hippo-maniac nor an Oino-maniac; but only Biblio-maniac,
because the current worth of money was understood to be legitimately
founded on cattle and wine, but not on literature. The prices lately
given at sales for pictures and MSS. indicate some tendency to change in
the national character in this respect, so that the worth of the
currency may even come in time to rest, in an acknowledged manner,
somewhat on the state and keeping of the Bedford missal, as well as on
the health of Caractacus or Blink Bonny; and old pictures be considered
property, no less than old port. They might have been so before now, but
that it is more difficult to choose the one than the other.

66. Now, observe, all these sources of variation in the power of the
currency exist, wholly irrespective of the influences of vice,
indolence, and improvidence. We have hitherto supposed, throughout the
analysis, every professing labourer to labour honestly, heartily, and in
harmony with his fellows. We have now to bring farther into the
calculation the effects of relative industry, honour, and forethought;
and thus to follow out the bearings of our second inquiry: Who are the
holders of the Store and Currency, and in what proportions?

This, however, we must reserve for our next paper--noticing here only
that, however distinct the several branches of the subject are,
radically, they are so interwoven in their issues that we cannot rightly
treat any one, till we have taken cognizance of all. Thus the need of
the currency in proportion to number of population is materially
influenced by the probable number of the holders in proportion to the
non-holders; and this again, by the number of holders of goods, or
wealth, in proportion to the non-holders of goods. For as, by
definition, the currency is a claim to goods which are not possessed,
its quantity indicates the number of claimants in proportion to the
number of holders; and the force and complexity of claim. For if the
claims be not complex, currency as a means of exchange may be very small
in quantity. A sells some corn to B, receiving a promise from B to pay
in cattle, which A then hands over to C, to get some wine. C in due time
claims the cattle from B; and B takes back his promise. These exchanges
have, or might have been, all effected with a single coin or promise;
and the proportion of the currency to the store would in such
circumstances indicate only the circulating vitality of it--that is to
say, the quantity and convenient divisibility of that part of the store
which the _habits_ of the nation keep in circulation. If a cattle
breeder is content to live with his household chiefly on meat and milk,
and does not want rich furniture, or jewels, or books--if a wine and
corn grower maintains himself and his men chiefly on grapes and
bread;--if the wives and daughters of families weave and spin the
clothing of the household, and the nation, as a whole, remains content
with the produce of its own soil and the work of its own hands, it has
little occasion for circulating media. It pledges and promises little
and seldom; exchanges only so far as exchange is necessary for life. The
store belongs to the people in whose hands it is found, and money is
little needed either as an expression of right, or practical means of
division and exchange.

67. But in proportion as the habits of the nation become complex and
fantastic (and they may be both, without therefore being civilized), its
circulating medium must increase in proportion to its store. If every
one wants a little of everything,--if food must be of many kinds, and
dress of many fashions,--if multitudes live by work which, ministering
to fancy, has its pay measured by fancy, so that large prices will be
given by one person for what is valueless to another,--if there are
great inequalities of knowledge, causing great inequalities of
estimate,--and, finally, and worst of all, if the currency itself, from
its largeness, and the power which the possession of it implies, becomes
the sole object of desire with large numbers of the nation, so that the
holding of it is disputed among them as the main object of life:--in
each and all of these cases, the currency necessarily enlarges in
proportion to the store; and as a means of exchange and division, as a
bond of right, and as an object of passion, has a more and more
important and malignant power over the nation's dealings, character, and

Against which power, when, as a bond of Right, it becomes too
conspicuous and too burdensome, the popular voice is apt to be raised in
a violent and irrational manner, leading to revolution instead of
remedy. Whereas all possibility of Economy depends on the clear
assertion and maintenance of this bond of right, however burdensome. The
first necessity of all economical government is to secure the
unquestioned and unquestionable working of the great law of
Property--that a man who works for a thing shall be allowed to get it,
keep it, and consume it, in peace; and that he who does not eat his cake
to-day, shall be seen, without grudging, to have his cake to-morrow.
This, I say, is the first point to be secured by social law; without
this, no political advance, nay, no political existence, is in any sort
possible. Whatever evil, luxury, iniquity, may seem to result from it,
this is nevertheless the first of all Equities; and to the enforcement
of this, by law and by police-truncheon, the nation must always
primarily set its mind--that the cupboard door may have a firm lock to
it, and no man's dinner be carried off by the mob, on its way home from
the baker's. Which, thus fearlessly asserting, we shall endeavour in
next paper to consider how far it may be practicable for the mob itself,
also, in due breadth of dish, to have dinners to carry home.


[14] Remember carefully this statement, that Wealth consists only in the
things which the nature of humanity has rendered in all ages, and must
render in all ages to come, (that is what I meant by "constant") the
objects of legitimate desire. And see Appendix II.

[15] The _Wanderings_, observe, not the Right goings, of Imagination.
She is very far from despising these.

[16] _See_ Appendix III.

[17] I would beg the reader's very close attention to these 37th and
38th paragraphs. It would be well if a dogged conviction could be
enforced on nations, as on individuals, that, with few exceptions, what
they cannot at present pay for, they should not at present have.

[18] _See_ Appendix IV.

[19] I little thought, what _Trionfo della Morte_ would be, for this
very cause, and in literal fulfilment of the closing words of the 47th
paragraph, over the fields and houses of Europe, and over its fairest
city--within seven years from the day I wrote it.

[20] The meaning of which is, that you may spend a great deal of money,
and get very little work for it, and that little bad; but having good
"air" or "spirit," to put life into it, with very little money, you may
get a great deal of work, and all good; which, observe, is an
arithmetical, not at all a poetical or visionary circumstance.

[21] More especially, works of great art.

[22] The meaning of that, in plain English, is, that we must find out
how far poverty and riches are good or bad for people, and what is the
difference between being miserably poor--so as, perhaps, to be driven to
crime, or to pass life in suffering--and being blessedly poor, in the
sense meant in the Sermon on the Mount. For I suppose the people who
believe that sermon, do not think (if they ever honestly ask themselves
what they do think), either that Luke vi. 24. is a merely poetical
exclamation, or that the Beatitude of Poverty has yet been attained in
St. Martin's Lane and other back streets of London.

[23] Large plans!--Eight years are gone, and nothing done yet. But I
keep my purpose of making one day this balance, or want of balance,
visible, in those so seldom used scales of Justice.

[24] These are nearly all briefly represented by the image used for the
force of money by Dante, of mast and sail:--

    Quali dal vento le gonfiate vele
    Caggiono avvolte, poi che l'alber fiacca
    Tal cadde a terra la fiera crudele.

The image may be followed out, like all of Dante's, into as close detail
as the reader chooses. Thus the stress of the sail must be proportioned
to the strength of the mast, and it is only in unforeseen danger that a
skilful seaman ever carries all the canvas his spars will bear, states
of mercantile languor are like the flap of the sail in a calm; of
mercantile precaution, like taking in reefs; and mercantile ruin is
instant on the breaking of the mast.

[I mean by credit-power, the general impression on the national mind
that a sovereign, or any other coin, is worth so much bread and
cheese--so much wine--so much horse and carriage--or so much fine art:
it may be really worth, when tried, less or more than is thought: the
thought of it is the credit-power.]

[25] The object of Political Economy is not to buy, nor to sell labour,
but to spare it. Every attempt to buy or sell it is, in the outcome,
ineffectual; so far as successful, it is not sale, but Betrayal; and the
purchase-money is a part of that thirty pieces which bought, first the
greatest of labours, and afterwards the burial-field of the Stranger;
for this purchase-money, being in its very smallness or vileness the
exactly measured opposite of the "vilis annona amicorum," makes all men
strangers to each other.

[26] Cicero's distinction, "sordidi quæstus, quorum operæ, non quorum
artes emuntur," admirable in principle, is inaccurate in expression,
because Cicero did not practically know how much operative dexterity is
necessary in all the higher arts; but the cost of this dexterity is
incalculable. Be it great or small, the "cost" of the mere perfectness
of touch in a hammer-stroke of Donatello's, or a pencil-touch of
Correggio's, is inestimable by any ordinary arithmetic.

[Old notes, these, more embarrassing I now perceive, than elucidatory;
but right, and worth retaining.]

[27] Only observe, as some labour is more destructive of life than other
labour, the hour or day of the more destructive toil is supposed to
include proportionate rest. Though men do not, or cannot, usually take
such rest, except in death.

[28] There is, therefore, observe, no such thing as cheapness (in the
common use of that term), without some error or injustice. A thing is
said to be cheap, not because it is common, but because it is supposed
to be sold under its worth. Everything has its proper and true worth at
any given time, in relation to everything else; and at that worth should
be bought and sold. If sold under it, it is cheap to the buyer by
exactly so much as the seller loses, and no more. Putrid meat, at
twopence a pound, is not "cheaper" than wholesome meat at sevenpence a
pound; it is probably much dearer; but if, by watching your opportunity,
you can get the wholesome meat for sixpence a pound, it is cheaper to
you by a penny, which you have gained, and the seller has lost. The
present rage for cheapness is either, therefore, simply and literally a
rage for badness of all commodities, or it is an attempt to find persons
whose necessities will force them to let you have more than you should
for your money. It is quite easy to produce such persons, and in large
numbers; for the more distress there is in a nation, the more cheapness
of this sort you can obtain, and your boasted cheapness is thus merely a
measure of the extent of your national distress.

There is, indeed, a condition of apparent cheapness, which we have some
right to be triumphant in; namely, the real reduction in cost of
articles by right application of labour. But in this case the article is
only cheap with reference to its _former_ price; the so-called cheapness
is only our expression for the sensation of contrast between its former
and existing prices. So soon as the new methods of producing the article
are established, it ceases to be esteemed either cheap or dear, at the
new price, as at the old one, and is felt to be cheap only when accident
enables it to be purchased beneath this new value. And it is no
advantage to produce the article more easily, except as it enables you
to multiply your population. Cheapness of this kind is merely the
discovery that more men can be maintained on the same ground; and the
question how many you will maintain in proportion to your additional
means, remains exactly in the same terms that it did before.

A form of immediate cheapness results, however, in many cases, without
distress, from the labour of a population where food is redundant, or
where the labour by which the food is produced leaves much idle time on
their hands, which may be applied to the production of "cheap" articles.

All such phenomena indicate to the political economist places where the
labour is unbalanced. In the first case, the just balance is to be
effected by taking labourers from the spot where pressure exists, and
sending them to that where food is redundant. In the second, the
cheapness is a local accident, advantageous to the local purchaser,
disadvantageous to the local producer. It is one of the first duties of
commerce to extend the market, and thus give the local producer his full

Cheapness caused by natural accidents of harvest, weather, &c., is
always counterbalanced, in due time, by natural scarcity, similarly
caused. It is the part of wise government, and healthy commerce, so to
provide in times and places of plenty for times and places of dearth, as
that there shall never be waste, nor famine.

Cheapness caused by gluts of the market is merely a disease of clumsy
and wanton commerce.

[29] Price has been already defined (p. 9) to be the quantity of labour
which the possessor of a thing is willing to take for it. It is best to
consider the price to be that fixed by the possessor, because the
possessor has absolute power of refusing sale, while the purchaser has
no absolute power of compelling it; but the effectual or market price is
that at which their estimates coincide.

[30] This "greater ease" ought to be allowed for by a diminution in the
times of the divided work; but as the proportion of times would remain
the same, I do not introduce this unnecessary complexity into the

[31] Compare _Unto this Last_, p. 115, _et seq._

[32] [That is to say, the love of money is founded first on the
intenseness of desire for given things; a youth will rob the till,
now-a-days, for pantomime tickets and cigars; the "strength" of the
currency being irresistible to him, in consequence of his desire for
those luxuries.]



68. It will be seen by reference to the last chapter that our present
task is to examine the relation of holders of store to holders of
currency; and of both to those who hold neither. In order to do this, we
must determine on which side we are to place substances such as gold,
commonly known as bases of currency. By aid of previous definitions the
reader will now be able to understand closer statements than have yet
been possible.

69. _The currency of any country consists of every document
acknowledging debt, which is transferable in the country._[33]

This transferableness depends upon its intelligibility and credit. Its
intelligibility depends chiefly on the difficulty of forging anything
like it;--its credit much on national character, but ultimately _always
on the existence of substantial means of meeting its demand_.[34]

As the degrees of transferableness are variable, (some documents passing
only in certain places, and others passing, if at all, for less than
their inscribed value), both the mass, and, so to speak, fluidity, of
the currency, are variable. True or perfect currency flows freely, like
a pure stream; it becomes sluggish or stagnant in proportion to the
quantity of less transferable matter which mixes with it, adding to its
bulk, but diminishing its purity. [Articles of commercial value, on
which bills are drawn, increase the currency indefinitely; and
substances of intrinsic value if stamped or signed without restriction
so as to become acknowledgments of debt, increase it indefinitely also.]
Every bit of gold found in Australia, so long as it remains uncoined, is
an article offered for sale like any other; but as soon as it is coined
into pounds, it diminishes the value of every pound we have now in our

70. Legally authorized or national currency, in its perfect condition,
is a form of public acknowledgment of debt, so regulated and divided
that any person presenting a commodity of tried worth in the public
market, shall, if he please, receive in exchange for it a document
giving him claim to the return of its equivalent, (1) in any place, (2)
at any time, and (3) in any kind.

When currency is quite healthy and vital, the persons entrusted with its
management are always able to give on demand either,

A. The assigning document for the assigned quantity of goods. Or,

B. The assigned quantity of goods for the assigning document.

If they cannot give document for goods, the national exchange is at

If they cannot give goods for document, the national credit is at fault.

The nature and power of the document are therefore to be examined under
the three relations it bears to Place, Time, and Kind.

71. (1.) It gives claim to the return of equivalent wealth in any
_Place_. Its use in this function is to save carriage, so that parting
with a bushel of corn in London, we may receive an order for a bushel of
corn at the Antipodes, or elsewhere. To be perfect in this use, the
substance of currency must be to the maximum portable, credible, and
intelligible. Its non-acceptance or discredit results always from some
form of ignorance or dishonour: so far as such interruptions rise out
of differences in denomination, there is no ground for their continuance
among civilized nations. It may be convenient in one country to use
chiefly copper for coinage, in another silver, and in another
gold,--reckoning accordingly in centimes, francs, or zecchins: but that
a franc should be different in weight and value from a shilling, and a
zwanziger vary from both, is wanton loss of commercial power.

72. (2.) It gives claim to the return of equivalent wealth at any
_Time_. In this second use, currency is the exponent of accumulation: it
renders the laying-up of store at the command of individuals unlimitedly
possible;--whereas, but for its intervention, all gathering would be
confined within certain limits by the bulk of property, or by its decay,
or the difficulty of its guardianship. "I will pull down my barns and
build greater," cannot be a daily saying; and all material investment is
enlargement of care. The national currency transfers the guardianship of
the store to many; and preserves to the original producer the right of
re-entering on its possession at any future period.

73. (3.) It gives claim (practical, though not legal) to the return of
equivalent wealth in any _Kind_. It is a transferable right, not merely
to this or that, but to anything; and its power in this function is
proportioned to the range of choice. If you give a child an apple or a
toy, you give him a determinate pleasure, but if you give him a penny,
an indeterminate one, proportioned to the range of selection offered by
the shops in the village. The power of the world's currency is similarly
in proportion to the openness of the world's fair, and, commonly,
enhanced by the brilliancy of external aspect, rather than solidity of
its wares.

74. We have said that the currency consists of orders for equivalent
goods. If equivalent, their quality must be guaranteed. The kinds of
goods chosen for specific claim must, therefore, be capable of test,
while, also, that a store may be kept in hand to meet the call of the
currency, smallness of bulk, with great relative value, is desirable;
and indestructibility, over at least a certain period, essential.

Such indestructibility, and facility of being tested, are united in
gold; its intrinsic value is great, and its imaginary value greater; so
that, partly through indolence, partly through necessity and want of
organization, most nations have agreed to take gold for the only basis
of their currencies;--with this grave disadvantage, that its portability
enabling the metal to become an active part of the medium of exchange,
the stream of the currency itself becomes opaque with gold--half
currency and half commodity, in unison of functions which partly
neutralize, partly enhance each other's force.

75. They partly neutralize, since in so far as the gold is commodity, it
is bad currency, because liable to sale; and in so far as it is
currency, it is bad commodity, because its exchange value interferes
with its practical use. Especially its employment in the higher branches
of the arts becomes unsafe on account of its liability to be melted down
for exchange.

Again. They partly enhance, since in so far as the gold has acknowledged
intrinsic value, it is good currency, because everywhere acceptable; and
in so far as it has legal exchangeable value, its worth as a commodity
is increased. We want no gold in the form of dust or crystal; but we
seek for it coined, because in that form it will pay baker and butcher.
And this worth in exchange not only absorbs a large quantity in that
use,[35] but greatly increases the effect on the imagination of the
quantity used in the arts. Thus, in brief, the force of the functions is
increased, but their precision blunted, by their unison.

76. These inconveniences, however, attach to gold as a basis of currency
on account of its portability and preciousness. But a far greater
inconvenience attaches to it as the only legal basis of currency.
Imagine gold to be only attainable in masses weighing several pounds
each, and its value, like that of malachite or marble, proportioned to
its largeness of bulk;--it could not then get itself confused with the
currency in daily use, but it might still remain as its basis; and this
second inconvenience would still affect it, namely, that its
significance as an expression of debt varies, as that of every other
article would, with the popular estimate of its desirableness, and with
the quantity offered in the market. My power of obtaining other goods
for gold depends always on the strength of public passion for gold, and
on the limitation of its quantity, so that when either of two things
happen--that the world esteems gold less, or finds it more easily--_my
right of claim is in that degree effaced_; and it has been even gravely
maintained that a discovery of a mountain of gold would cancel the
National Debt; in other words, that men may be paid for what costs much
in what costs nothing. Now, it is true that there is little chance of
sudden convulsion in this respect; the world will not so rapidly
increase in wisdom as to despise gold on a sudden; and perhaps may [for
a little time] desire it more eagerly the more easily it is obtained;
nevertheless, the right of debt ought not to rest on a basis of
imagination; nor should the frame of a national currency vibrate with
every miser's panic, and every merchant's imprudence.

77. There are two methods of avoiding this insecurity, which would have
been fallen upon long ago, if, instead of calculating the conditions of
the supply of gold, men had only considered how the world might live and
manage its affairs without gold at all.[36] One is, to base the currency
on substances of truer intrinsic value; the other, to base it on
several substances instead of one. If I can only claim gold, the
discovery of a golden mountain starves me; but if I can claim bread, the
discovery of a continent of corn-fields need not trouble me. If,
however, I wish to exchange my bread for other things, a good harvest
will for the time limit my power in this respect; but if I can claim
either bread, iron, or silk at pleasure, the standard of value has three
feet instead of one, and will be proportionately firm. Thus, ultimately,
the steadiness of currency depends upon the breadth of its base; but the
difficulty of organization increasing with this breadth, the discovery
of the condition at once safest and most convenient[37] can only be by
long analysis, which must for the present be deferred. Gold or
silver[38] may always be retained in limited use, as a luxury of coinage
and questionless standard, of one weight and alloy among all nations,
varying only in the die. The purity of coinage, when metallic, is
closely indicative of the honesty of the system of revenue, and even of
the general dignity of the State.[39]

78. Whatever the article or articles may be which the national currency
promises to pay, a premium on that article indicates bankruptcy of the
government in that proportion, the division of its assets being
restrained only by the remaining confidence of the holders of notes in
the return of prosperity to the firm. Currencies of forced acceptance,
or of unlimited issue, are merely various modes of disguising taxation,
and delaying its pressure, until it is too late to interfere with the
cause of pressure. To do away with the possibility of such disguise
would have been among the first results of a true economical science,
had any such existed; but there have been too many motives for the
concealment, so long as it could by any artifices be maintained, to
permit hitherto even the founding of such a science.

79. And indeed, it is only through evil conduct, wilfully persisted in,
that there is any embarrassment, either in the theory or working of
currency. No exchequer is ever embarrassed, nor is any financial
question difficult of solution, when people keep their practice honest,
and their heads cool. But when governments lose all office of pilotage,
protection, or scrutiny; and live only in magnificence of authorized
larceny, and polished mendacity; or when the people, choosing
Speculation (the s usually redundant in the spelling) instead of Toil,
visit no dishonesty with chastisement, that each may with impunity take
his dishonest turn;--there are no tricks of financial terminology that
will save them; all signature and mintage do but magnify the ruin they
retard; and even the riches that remain, stagnant or current, change
only from the slime of Avernus to the sand of Phlegethon--_quick_sand at
the embouchure;--land fluently recommended by recent auctioneers as
"eligible for building leases."

80. Finally, then, the power of true currency is fourfold.

(1.) Credit power. Its worth in exchange, dependent on public opinion of
the stability and honesty of the issuer.

(2.) Real worth. Supposing the gold, or whatever else the currency
expressly promises, to be required from the issuer, for all his notes;
and that the call cannot be met in full. Then the actual worth of the
document would be, and its actual worth at any moment is, therefore to
be defined as, what the division of the assets of the issuer would
produce for it.

(3.) The exchange power, of its base. Granting that we can get five
pounds in gold for our note, it remains a question how much of other
things we can get for five pounds in gold. The more of other things
exist, and the less gold, the greater this power.

(4.) The power over labour, exercised by the given quantity of the base,
or of the things to be got for it. The question in this case is, how
much work, and (question of questions!) _whose_ work, is to be had for
the food which five pounds will buy. This depends on the number of the
population, on their gifts, and on their dispositions, with which, down
to their slightest humours, and up to their strongest impulses, the
power of the currency varies.

81. Such being the main conditions of national currency, we proceed to
examine those of the total currency, under the broad definition,
"transferable acknowledgment of debt;"[40] among the many forms of
which there are in effect only two, distinctly opposed; namely, the
acknowledgments of debts which will be paid, and of debts which will
not. Documents, whether in whole or part, of bad debt, being to those of
good debt as bad money to bullion, we put for the present these forms of
imposture aside (as in analysing a metal we should wash it clear of
dross), and then range, in their exact quantities, the true currency of
the country on one side, and the store or property of the country on the
other. We place gold, and all such substances, on the side of documents,
as far as they operate by signature;--on the side of store as far as
they operate by value. Then the currency represents the quantity of debt
in the country, and the store the quantity of its possession. The
ownership of all the property is divided between the holders of currency
and holders of store, and whatever the claiming value of the currency is
at any moment, that value is to be deducted from the riches of the

82. Farther, as true currency represents by definition debts which will
be paid, it represents either the debtor's wealth, or his ability and
willingness; that is to say, either wealth existing in his hands
transferred to him by the creditor, or wealth which, as he is at some
time surely to return it, he is either increasing, or, if diminishing,
has the will and strength to reproduce. A sound currency therefore, as
by its increase it represents enlarging debt, represents also enlarging
means; but in this curious way, that a certain quantity of it marks the
deficiency of the wealth of the country from what it would have been if
that currency had not existed.[41] In this respect it is like the
detritus of a mountain; assume that it lies at a fixed angle, and the
more the detritus, the larger must be the mountain; but it would have
been larger still, had there been none.

83. Farther, though, as above stated, every man possessing money has
usually also some property beyond what is necessary for his immediate
wants, and men possessing property usually also hold currency beyond
what is necessary for their immediate exchanges, it mainly determines
the class to which they belong, whether in their eyes the money is an
adjunct of the property, or the property of the money. In the first case
the holder's pleasure is in his possessions, and in his money
subordinately, as the means of bettering or adding to them. In the
second, his pleasure is in his money, and in his possessions only as
representing it. (In the first case the money is as an atmosphere
surrounding the wealth, rising from it and raining back upon it; but in
the second, it is as a deluge, with the wealth floating, and for the
most part perishing in it.[42]) The shortest distinction between the men
is that the one wishes always to buy, and the other to sell.

84. Such being the great relations of the classes, their several
characters are of the highest importance to the nation; for on the
character of the store-holders chiefly depend the preservation, display,
and serviceableness of its wealth; on that of the currency-holders, its
distribution; on that of both, its reproduction.

We shall, therefore, ultimately find it to be of incomparably greater
importance to the nation in whose hands the thing is put, than how much
of it is got; and that the character of the holders may be conjectured
by the quality of the store; for such and such a man always asks for
such and such a thing; nor only asks for it, but if it can be bettered,
betters it: so that possession and possessor reciprocally act on each
other, through the entire sum of national possession. The base nation,
asking for base things, sinks daily to deeper vileness of nature and
weakness in use; while the noble nation, asking for noble things, rises
daily into diviner eminence in both; the tendency to degradation being
surely marked by "[Greek: ataxia];" that is to say, (expanding the Greek
thought), by carelessness as to the hands in which things are put,
consequent dispute for the acquisition of them, disorderliness in the
accumulation of them, inaccuracy in the estimate of them, and bluntness
in conception as to the entire nature of possession.

85. The currency-holders always increase in number and influence in
proportion to the bluntness of nature and clumsiness of the
store-holders; for the less use people can make of things, the more they
want of them, and the sooner weary of them, and want to change them for
something else; and all frequency of change increases the quantity and
power of currency. The large currency-holder himself is essentially a
person who never has been able to make up his mind as to what he will
have, and proceeds, therefore, in vague collection and aggregation, with
more and more infuriate passion, urged by complacency in progress,
vacancy in idea, and pride of conquest.

While, however, there is this obscurity in the nature of possession of
currency, there is a charm in the seclusion of it, which is to some
people very enticing. In the enjoyment of real property, others must
partly share. The groom has some enjoyment of the stud, and the gardener
of the garden; but the money is, or seems, shut up; it is wholly
enviable. No one else can have part in any complacencies arising from

The power of arithmetical comparison is also a great thing to
unimaginative people. They know always they are so much better than they
were, in money; so much better than others, in money; but wit cannot be
so compared, nor character. My neighbour cannot be convinced that I am
wiser than he is, but he can, that I am worth so much more; and the
universality of the conviction is no less flattering than its clearness.
Only a few can understand,--none measure--and few will willingly adore,
superiorities in other things; but everybody can understand money,
everybody can count it, and most will worship it.

86. Now, these various temptations to accumulation would be politically
harmless if what was vainly accumulated had any fair chance of being
wisely spent. For as accumulation cannot go on for ever, but must some
day end in its reverse--if this reverse were indeed a beneficial
distribution and use, as irrigation from reservoir, the fever of
gathering, though perilous to the gatherer, might be serviceable to the
community. But it constantly happens (so constantly, that it may be
stated as a political law having few exceptions), that what is
unreasonably gathered is also unreasonably spent by the persons into
whose hands it finally falls. Very frequently it is spent in war, or
else in a stupefying luxury, twice hurtful, both in being indulged by
the rich and witnessed by the poor. So that the _mal tener_ and _mal
dare_ are as correlative as complementary colours; and the circulation
of wealth, which ought to be soft, steady, strong, far-sweeping, and
full of warmth, like the Gulf stream, being narrowed into an eddy, and
concentrated at a point, changes into the alternate suction and
surrender of Charybdis. Which is indeed, I doubt not, the true meaning
of that marvellous fable, "infinite," as Bacon said of it, "in matter of

87. It is a strange habit of wise humanity to speak in enigmas only, so
that the highest truths and usefullest laws must be hunted for through
whole picture-galleries of dreams, which to the vulgar seem dreams only.
Thus Homer, the Greek tragedians, Plato, Dante, Chaucer, Shakspeare, and
Goethe, have hidden all that is chiefly serviceable in their work, and
in all the various literature they absorbed and re-embodied, under types
which have rendered it quite useless to the multitude. What is worse,
the two primal declarers of moral discovery, Homer and Plato, are partly
at issue; for Plato's logical power quenched his imagination, and he
became incapable of understanding the purely imaginative element either
in poetry or painting: he therefore somewhat overrates the pure
discipline of passionate art in song and music, and misses that of
meditative art. There is, however, a deeper reason for his distrust of
Homer. His love of justice, and reverently religious nature, made him
dread, as death, every form of fallacy; but chiefly, fallacy respecting
the world to come (his own myths being only symbolic exponents of a
rational hope). We shall perhaps now every day discover more clearly how
right Plato was in this, and feel ourselves more and more wonderstruck
that men such as Homer and Dante (and, in an inferior sphere, Milton),
not to speak of the great sculptors and painters of every age, have
permitted themselves, though full of all nobleness and wisdom, to coin
idle imaginations of the mysteries of eternity, and guide the faiths of
the families of the earth by the courses of their own vague and
visionary arts: while the indisputable truths of human life and duty,
respecting which they all have but one voice, lie hidden behind these
veils of phantasy, unsought, and often unsuspected. I will gather
carefully, out of Dante and Homer, what, in this kind, bears on our
subject, in its due place; the first broad intention of their symbols
may be sketched at once.

88. The rewards of a worthy use of riches, subordinate to other ends,
are shown by Dante in the fifth and sixth orbs of Paradise; for the
punishment of their unworthy use, three places are assigned; one for the
avaricious and prodigal whose souls are lost, (_Hell_, canto 7); one for
the avaricious and prodigal whose souls are capable of purification,
(_Purgatory_, canto 19); and one for the usurers, of whom _none_ can be
redeemed (_Hell_, canto 17). The first group, the largest in all hell
("gente piu che altrove troppa," compare Virgil's "quæ maxima turba"),
meet in contrary currents, _as the_ _waves of Charybdis_, casting
weights at each other from opposite sides. This weariness of contention
is the chief element of their torture; so marked by the beautiful lines
beginning "Or puoi, figliuol," &c.: (but the usurers, who made their
money inactively, _sit_ on the sand, equally without rest, however. "Di
qua, di la, soccorrien," &c.) For it is not avarice, but _contention_
for riches, leading to this double misuse of them, which, in Dante's
light, is the unredeemable sin. The place of its punishment is guarded
by Plutus, "the great enemy," and "la fièra crudele," a spirit quite
different from the Greek Plutus, who, though old and blind, is not
cruel, and is curable, so as to become far-sighted. ([Greek: ou typhlos
all' oxy blepôn].--Plato's epithets in first book of the _Laws_.) Still
more does this Dantesque type differ from the resplendent Plutus of
Goethe in the second part of _Faust_, who is the personified power of
wealth for good or evil--not the passion for wealth; and again from the
Plutus of Spenser, who is the passion of mere aggregation. Dante's
Plutus is specially and definitely the Spirit of Contention and
Competition, or Evil Commerce; because, as I showed before, this kind of
commerce "makes all men strangers;" his speech is therefore
unintelligible, and no single soul of all those ruined by him _has
recognizable features_.

On the other hand, the redeemable sins of avarice and prodigality are,
in Dante's sight, those which are without deliberate or calculated
operation. The lust, or lavishness, of riches can be purged, so long as
there has been no servile consistency of dispute and competition for
them. The sin is spoken of as that of degradation by the love of earth;
it is purified by deeper humiliation--the souls crawl on their bellies;
their chant is, "my soul cleaveth unto the dust." But the spirits thus
condemned are all recognizable, and even the worst examples of the
thirst for gold, which they are compelled to tell the histories of
during the night, are of men swept by the passion of avarice into
violent crime, but not sold to its steady work.

89. The precept given to each of these spirits for its deliverance
is--Turn thine eyes to the lucre (lure) which the Eternal King rolls
with the mighty wheels. Otherwise, the wheels of the "Greater Fortune,"
of which the constellation is ascending when Dante's dream begins.
Compare George Herbert--

                  "Lift up thy head;
    Take stars for money; stars, not to be told
    By any art, yet to be purchased."

And Plato's notable sentence in the third book of the _Polity_.--"Tell
them they have divine gold and silver in their souls for ever; that they
need no money stamped of men--neither may they otherwise than impiously
mingle the gathering of the divine with the mortal treasure, _for
through that which the law of the multitude has coined, endless crimes
have been done and suffered; but in their's is neither pollution nor

90. At the entrance of this place of punishment an evil spirit is seen
by Dante, quite other than the "Gran Nemico." The great enemy is obeyed
knowingly and willingly; but this spirit--feminine--and called a
Siren--is the "_Deceitfulness_ of riches," [Greek: apatê ploutou] of the
Gospels, winning obedience by guile. This is the Idol of riches, made
doubly phantasmal by Dante's seeing her in a dream. She is lovely to
look upon, and enchants by her sweet singing, but her womb is loathsome.
Now, Dante does not call her one of the Sirens carelessly, any more than
he speaks of Charybdis carelessly; and though he had got at the meaning
of the Homeric fable only through Virgil's obscure tradition of it, the
clue he has given us is quite enough. Bacon's interpretation, "the
Sirens, _or pleasures_," which has become universal since his time, is
opposed alike to Plato's meaning and Homer's. The Sirens are not
pleasures, but _Desires_: in the Odyssey they are the phantoms of vain
desire; but in Plato's Vision of Destiny, phantoms of divine desire;
singing each a different note on the circles of the distaff of
Necessity, but forming one harmony, to which the three great Fates put
words. Dante, however, adopted the Homeric conception of them, which was
that they were demons of the Imagination, not carnal; (desire of the
eyes; not lust of the flesh); therefore said to be daughters of the
Muses. Yet not of the Muses, heavenly or historical but of the Muse of
pleasure; and they are at first winged, because even vain hope excites
and helps when first formed; but afterwards, contending for the
possession of the imagination with the Muses themselves, they are
deprived of their wings.

91. And thus we are to distinguish the Siren power from the power of
Circe, who is no daughter of the Muses, but of the strong elements, Sun
and Sea; her power is that of frank, and full vital pleasure, which, if
governed and watched, nourishes men; but, unwatched, and having no
"moly," bitterness or delay, mixed with it, turns men into beasts, but
does not slay them,--leaves them, on the contrary, power of revival. She
is herself indeed an Enchantress;--pure Animal life; transforming--or
degrading--but always wonderful (she puts the stores on board the ship
invisibly, and is gone again, like a ghost); even the wild beasts
rejoice and are softened around her cave; the transforming poisons she
gives to men are mixed with no rich feast, but with pure and right
nourishment,--Pramnian wine, cheese, and flour; that is, wine, milk, and
corn, the three great sustainers of life--it is their own fault if these
make swine of them; (see Appendix V.) and swine are chosen merely as the
type of consumption; as Plato's [Greek: hyôn polis], in the second book
of the _Polity_, and perhaps chosen by Homer with a deeper knowledge of
the likeness in variety of nourishment, and internal form of body.

"Et quel est, s'il vous plait, cet audacieux animal qui se permet d'être
bâti au dedans comme une jolie petite fille?"

"Hélas! chère enfant, j'ai honte de le nommer, et il ne faudra pas m'en
vouloir. C'est ... c'est le cochon. Ce n'est pas précisément flatteur
pour vous; mais nous en sommes tous là, et si cela vous contrarie par
trop, il faut aller vous plaindre au bon Dieu qui a voulu que les choses
fussent arrangées ainsi: seulement le cochon, qui ne pense qu'à manger,
a l'estomac bien plus vaste que nous et c'est toujours une
consolation."--_(Histoire d'une Bouchée de Pain_, Lettre ix.)

92. But the deadly Sirens are in all things opposed to the Circean
power. They promise pleasure, but never give it. They nourish in no
wise; but slay by slow death. And whereas they corrupt the heart and
the head, instead of merely betraying the senses, there is no recovery
from their power; they do not tear nor scratch, like Scylla, but the men
who have listened to them are poisoned, and waste away. Note that the
Sirens' field is covered, not merely with the bones, but with the
_skins_, of those who have been consumed there. They address themselves,
in the part of the song which Homer gives, not to the passions of
Ulysses, but to his vanity, and the only man who ever came within
hearing of them, and escaped untempted, was Orpheus, who silenced the
vain imaginations by singing the praises of the gods.

93. It is, then, one of these Sirens whom Dante takes as the phantasm or
deceitfulness of riches; but note further, that she says it was her song
that deceived Ulysses. Look back to Dante's account of Ulysses' death,
and we find it was not the love of money, but pride of knowledge, that
betrayed him; whence we get the clue to Dante's complete meaning: that
the souls whose love of wealth is pardonable have been first deceived
into pursuit of it by a dream of its higher uses, or by ambition. His
Siren is therefore the Philotimé of Spenser, daughter of Mammon--

    "Whom all that folk with such contention
    Do flock about, my deare, my daughter is--
    Honour and dignitie from her alone
    Derived are."

By comparing Spenser's entire account of this Philotimé with Dante's of
the Wealth-Siren, we shall get at the full meaning of both poets; but
that of Homer lies hidden much more deeply. For his Sirens are
indefinite; and they are desires of any evil thing; power of wealth is
not specially indicated by him, until, escaping the 'harmonious danger
of imagination, Ulysses has to choose between two practical ways of
life, indicated by the two _rocks_ of Scylla and Charybdis. The monsters
that haunt them are quite distinct from the rocks themselves, which,
having many other subordinate significations, are in the main Labour and
Idleness, or getting and spending; each with its attendant monster, or
betraying demon. The rock of gaining has its summit in the clouds,
invisible, and not to be climbed; that of spending is low, but marked by
the cursed fig-tree, which has leaves, but no fruit. We know the type
elsewhere; and there is a curious lateral allusion to it by Dante when
Jacopo di Sant' Andrea, who had ruined himself by profusion and
committed suicide, scatters the leaves of the bush of Lotto degli Agli,
endeavouring to hide himself among them. We shall hereafter examine the
type completely; here I will only give an approximate rendering of
Homer's words, which have been obscured more by translation than even by

94. "They are overhanging rocks. The great waves of blue water break
round them; and the blessed Gods call them the Wanderers.

"By one of them no winged thing can pass--not even the wild doves that
bring ambrosia to their father Jove--but the smooth rock seizes its
sacrifice of them." (Not even ambrosia to be had without Labour. The
word is peculiar--as a part of anything is offered for Sacrifice;
especially used of heave-offering.) "It reaches the wide heaven with its
top, and a dark blue cloud rests on it, and never passes; neither does
the clear sky hold it, in summer nor in harvest. Nor can any man climb
it--not if he had twenty feet and hands, for it is smooth as though it
were hewn.

"And in the midst of it is a cave which is turned the way of hell. And
therein dwells Scylla, whining for prey: her cry, indeed, is no louder
than that of a newly-born whelp: but she herself is an awful thing--nor
can any creature see her face and be glad; no, though it were a god that
rose against her. For she has twelve feet, all fore-feet, and six necks,
and terrible heads on them; and each has three rows of teeth, full of
black death.

"But the opposite rock is lower than this, though but a bow-shot
distant; and upon it there is a great fig-tree, full of leaves; and
under it the terrible Charybdis sucks down the black water. Thrice in
the day she sucks it down, and thrice; casts it up again: be not thou
there when she sucks down, for Neptune himself could not save thee."

[Thus far went my rambling note, in _Fraser's Magazine_. The Editor sent
me a compliment on it--of which I was very proud; what the Publisher
thought of it, I am not informed; only I know that eventually he stopped
the papers. I think a great deal of it myself, now, and have put it all
in large print accordingly, and should like to write more; but will, on
the contrary, self-denyingly, and in gratitude to any reader who has got
through so much, end my chapter.]


[33] Remember this definition: it is of great importance as opposed to
the imperfect ones usually given. When first these essays were
published, I remember one of their reviewers asking contemptuously, "Is
half-a-crown a document?" it never having before occurred to him that a
document might be stamped as well as written, and stamped on silver as
well as on parchment.

[34] I do not mean the demand of the holder of a five-pound note for
five pounds, but the demand of the holder of a pound for a pound's worth
of something good.

[35] [Read and think over, the following note very carefully.] The waste
of labour in obtaining the gold, though it cannot be estimated by help
of any existing data, may be understood in its bearing on entire economy
by supposing it limited to transactions between two persons. If two
farmers in Australia have been exchanging corn and cattle with each
other for years, keeping their accounts of reciprocal debt in any simple
way, the sum of the possessions of either would not be diminished,
though the part of it which was lent or borrowed were only reckoned by
marks on a stone, or notches on a tree; and the one counted himself
accordingly, so many scratches, or so many notches, better than the
other. But it would soon be seriously diminished if, discovering gold in
their fields, each resolved only to accept golden counters for a
reckoning; and accordingly, whenever he wanted a sack of corn or a cow,
was obliged to go and wash sand for a week before he could get the means
of giving a receipt for them.

[36] It is difficult to estimate the curious futility of discussions
such as that which lately occupied a section of the British Association,
on the absorption of gold, while no one can produce even the simplest of
the data necessary for the inquiry. To take the first occurring
one,--What means have we of ascertaining the weight of gold employed
this year in the toilettes of the women of Europe (not to speak of
Asia); and, supposing it known, what means of conjecturing the weight by
which, next year, their fancies, and the changes of style among their
jewellers, will diminish or increase it?

[37] See, in Pope's epistle to Lord Bathurst, his sketch of the
difficulties and uses of a currency literally "pecuniary"--(consisting
of herds of cattle).

    "His Grace will game--to White's a bull be led," &c.

[38] Perhaps both; perhaps silver only. It may be found expedient
ultimately to leave gold free for use in the arts. As a means of
reckoning, the standard might be, and in some cases has already been,
entirely ideal.--_See_ Mill's _Political Economy_, book iii. chap. VII.
at beginning.

[39] The purity of the drachma and zecchin were not without significance
of the state of intellect, art, and policy, both in Athens and
Venice;--a fact first impressed upon me ten years ago, when, in taking
daguerreotypes at Venice, I found no purchaseable gold pure enough to
gild them with, except that of the old Venetian zecchin.

[40] Under which term, observe, we include all documents of debt, which,
being honest, might be transferable, though they practically are not
transferred; while we exclude all documents which are in reality
worthless, though in fact transferred temporarily, as bad money is. The
document of honest debt, not transferred, is merely to paper currency as
gold withdrawn from circulation is to that of bullion. Much confusion
has crept into the reasoning on this subject from the idea that the
withdrawal from circulation is a definable state, whereas it is a
graduated state, and indefinable. The sovereign in my pocket is
withdrawn from circulation as long as I choose to keep it there. It is
no otherwise withdrawn if I bury it, nor even if I choose to make it,
and others, into a golden cup, and drink out of them; since a rise in
the price of the wine, or of other things, may at any time cause me to
melt the cup and throw it back into currency; and the bullion operates
on the prices of the things in the market as directly, though not as
forcibly, while it is in the form of a cup as it does in the form of a
sovereign. No calculation can be founded on my humour in either case. If
I like to handle rouleaus, and therefore keep a quantity of gold, to
play with, in the form of jointed basaltic columns, it is all one in its
effect on the market as if I kept it in the form of twisted filigree,
or, steadily "amicus lamnæ," beat the narrow gold pieces into broad
ones, and dined off them. The probability is greater that I break the
rouleau than that I melt the plate; but the increased probability is not
calculable. Thus, documents are only withdrawn from the currency when
cancelled, and bullion when it is so effectually lost as that the
probability of finding it is no greater than of finding new gold in the

[41] For example, suppose an active peasant, having got his ground into
good order and built himself a comfortable house, finding time still on
his hands, sees one of his neighbours little able to work, and
ill-lodged, and offers to build him also a house, and to put his land in
order, on condition of receiving for a given period rent for the
building and tithe of the fruits. The offer is accepted, and a document
given promissory of rent and tithe. This note is money. It can only be
good money if the man who has incurred the debt so far recovers his
strength as to be able to take advantage of the help he has received,
and meet the demand of the note; if he lets his house fall to ruin, and
his field to waste, his promissory note will soon be valueless: but the
existence of the note at all is a consequence of his not having worked
so stoutly as the other. Let him gain as much as to be able to pay back
the entire debt; the note is cancelled, and we have two rich
store-holders and no currency.

[42] [You need not trouble yourself to make out the sentence in
parenthesis, unless you like, but do not think it is mere metaphor. It
states a fact which I could not have stated so shortly, _but_ by

[43] [What follows, to the end of the chapter, was a note only, in the
first printing; but for after service, it is of more value than any
other part of the book, so I have put it into the main text.]



95. As the currency conveys right of choice out of many things in
exchange for one, so Commerce is the agency by which the power of choice
is obtained; so that countries producing only timber can obtain for
their timber silk and gold; or, naturally producing only jewels and
frankincense, can obtain for them cattle and corn. In this function,
commerce is of more importance to a country in proportion to the
limitations of its products, and the restlessness of its
fancy;--generally of greater importance towards Northern latitudes.

96. Commerce is necessary, however, not only to exchange local products,
but local skill. Labour requiring the agency of fire can only be given
abundantly in cold countries; labour requiring suppleness of body and
sensitiveness of touch, only in warm ones; labour involving accurate
vivacity of thought only in temperate ones; while peculiar imaginative
actions are produced by extremes of heat and cold, and of light and
darkness. The production of great art is limited to climates warm enough
to admit of repose in the open air, and cool enough to render such
repose delightful. Minor variations in modes of skill distinguish every
locality. The labour which at any place is easiest, is in that place
cheapest; and it becomes often desirable that products raised in one
country should be wrought in another. Hence have arisen discussions on
"International values" which will be one day remembered as highly
curious exercises of the human mind. For it will be discovered, in due
course of tide and time, that international value is regulated just as
inter-provincial or inter-parishional value is. Coals and hops are
exchanged between Northumberland and Kent on absolutely the same
principles as iron and wine between Lancashire and Spain. The greater
breadth of an arm of the sea increases the cost, but does not modify the
principle of exchange; and a bargain written in two languages will have
no other economical results than a bargain written in one. The distances
of nations are measured, not by seas, but by ignorances; and their
divisions determined, not by dialects, but by enmities.[44]

97. Of course, a system of international values may always be
constructed if we assume a relation of moral law to physical geography;
as, for instance, that it is right to cheat or rob across a river,
though not across a road; or across a sea, though not across a river,
&c.;--again, a system of such values may be constructed by assuming
similar relations of taxation to physical geography; as, for instance,
that an article should be taxed in crossing a river, but not in crossing
a road; or in being carried fifty miles, but not in being carried five,
&c.; such positions are indeed not easily maintained when once put in
logical form; but _one_ law of international value is maintainable in
any form: namely, that the farther your neighbour lives from you, and
the less he understands you, _the more you are bound to be true in your
dealings with him_; because your power over him is greater in proportion
to his ignorance, and his remedy more difficult in proportion to his

98. I have just said the breadth of sea increases the cost of exchange.
Now note that exchange, or commerce, _in itself_, is always costly; the
sum of the value of the goods being diminished by the cost of their
conveyance, and by the maintenance of the persons employed in it; so
that it is only when there is advantage to both producers (in getting
the one thing for the other) greater than the loss in conveyance, that
the exchange is expedient. And it can only be justly conducted when the
porters kept by the producers (commonly called merchants) expect _mere_
pay, and not profit.[46] For in just commerce there are but three
parties--the two persons or societies exchanging, and the agent or
agents of exchange; the value of the things to be exchanged is known by
both the exchangers, and each receives equal value, neither gaining nor
losing (for whatever one gains the other loses). The intermediate agent
is paid a known per-centage by both, partly for labour in conveyance,
partly for care, knowledge, and risk; every attempt at concealment of
the amount of the pay indicates either effort on the part of the agent
to obtain unjust profit, or effort on the part of the exchangers to
refuse him just pay. But for the most part it is the first, namely, the
effort on the part of the merchant to obtain larger profit (so-called)
by buying cheap and selling dear. Some part, indeed, of this larger gain
is deserved, and might be openly demanded, because it is the reward of
the merchant's knowledge, and foresight of probable necessity; but the
greater part of such gain is unjust; and unjust in this most fatal way,
that it depends, first, on keeping the exchangers ignorant of the
exchange value of the articles; and, secondly, on taking advantage of
the buyer's need and the seller's poverty. It is, therefore, one of the
essential, and quite the most fatal, forms of usury; for usury means
merely taking an exorbitant[47] sum for the use of anything; and it is
no matter whether the exorbitance is on loan or exchange, on rent or on
price--the essence of the usury being that it is obtained by advantage
of opportunity or necessity, and not as due reward for labour. All the
great thinkers, therefore, have held it to be unnatural and impious, in
so far as it feeds on the distress of others, or their folly.[48]
Nevertheless, attempts to repress it by law must for ever be
ineffective; though Plato, Bacon, and the First Napoleon--all three of
them men who knew somewhat more of humanity than the "British merchant"
usually does--tried their hands at it, and have left some (probably)
good moderative forms of law, which we will examine in their place. But
the only final check upon it must be radical purifying of the national
character, for being, as Bacon calls it, "concessum propter duritiem
cordis," it is to be done away with by touching the heart only; not,
however, without medicinal law--as in the case of the other permission,
"propter duritiem." But in this more than in anything (though much in
all, and though in this he would not himself allow of their application,
for his own laws against usury are sharp enough), Plato's words in the
fourth book of the Polity are true, that neither drugs, nor charms, nor
burnings, will touch a deep-lying political sore, any more than a deep
bodily one; but only right and utter change of constitution: and that
"they do but lose their labour who think that by any tricks of law they
can get the better of these mischiefs of commerce, and see not that they
hew at a Hydra."

99. And indeed this Hydra seems so unslayable, and sin sticks so fast
between the joinings of the stones of buying and selling, that "to
trade" in things, or literally "cross-give" them, has warped itself, by
the instinct of nations, into their worst word for fraud; for, because
in trade there cannot but be trust, and it seems also that there cannot
but also be injury in answer to it, what is merely fraud between enemies
becomes treachery among friends: and "trader," "traditor," and "traitor"
are but the same word. For which simplicity of language there is more
reason than at first appears: for as in true commerce there is no
"profit," so in true commerce there is no "sale." The idea of sale is
that of an interchange between enemies respectively endeavouring to get
the better one of another; but commerce is an exchange between friends;
and there is no desire but that it should be just, any more than there
would be between members of the same family.[49] The moment there is a
bargain over the pottage, the family relation is dissolved:--typically,
"the days of mourning for my father are at hand." Whereupon follows the
resolve, "then will I slay my brother."

100. This inhumanity of mercenary commerce is the more notable because
it is a fulfilment of the law that the corruption of the best is the
worst. For as, taking the body natural for symbol of the body politic,
the governing and forming powers may be likened to the brain, and the
labouring to the limbs, the mercantile, presiding over circulation and
communication of things in changed utilities, is symbolized by the
heart; and, if that hardens, all is lost. And this is the ultimate
lesson which the leader of English intellect meant for us, (a lesson,
indeed, not all his own, but part of the old wisdom of humanity), in the
tale of the _Merchant of Venice_; in which the true and incorrupt
merchant,--_kind and free beyond every other Shakspearian conception of
men_,--is opposed to the corrupted merchant, or usurer; the lesson being
deepened by the expression of the strange hatred which the corrupted
merchant bears to the pure one, mixed with intense scorn,--

"This is the fool that lent out money gratis; look to him, jailer," (as
to lunatic no less than criminal) the enmity, observe, having its
symbolism literally carried out by being aimed straight at the heart,
and finally foiled by a literal appeal to the great moral law that flesh
and blood cannot be weighed, enforced by "Portia"[50] ("Portion"), the
type of divine Fortune, found, not in gold, nor in silver, but in lead,
that is to say, in endurance and patience, not in splendour; and finally
taught by her lips also, declaring, instead of the law and quality of
"merces," the greater law and quality of mercy, which is not strained,
but drops as the rain, blessing him that gives and him that takes. And
observe that this "mercy" is not the mean "Misericordia," but the mighty
"Gratia," answered by Gratitude, (observe Shylock's leaning on the, to
him detestable, word, _gratis_, and compare the relations of Grace to
Equity given in the second chapter of the second book of the
_Memorabilia_;) that is to say, it is the gracious or loving, instead of
the strained, or competing manner, of doing things, answered, not only
with "merces" or pay, but with "merci" or thanks. And this is indeed the
meaning of the great benediction "Grace, mercy, and peace," for there
can be no peace without grace, (not even by help of rifled cannon), nor
even without triplicity of graciousness, for the Greeks, who began but
with one Grace, had to open their scheme into three before they had

101. With the usual tendency of long repeated thought, to take the
surface for the deep, we have conceived these goddesses as if they only
gave loveliness to gesture; whereas their true function is to give
graciousness to deed, the other loveliness arising naturally out of
that. In which function Charis becomes Charitas;[51] and has a name and
praise even greater than that of Faith or Truth, for these may be
maintained sullenly and proudly; but Charis is in her countenance always
gladdening (Aglaia), and in her service instant and humble; and the true
wife of Vulcan, or Labour. And it is not until her sincerity of function
is lost, and her mere beauty contemplated instead of her patience, that
she is born again of the foam flake, and becomes Aphrodite; and it is
then only that she becomes capable of joining herself to war and to the
enmities of men, instead of to labour and their services. Therefore the
fable of Mars and Venus is chosen by Homer, picturing himself as
Demodocus, to sing at the games in the court of Alcinous. Phæacia is the
Homeric island of Atlantis; an image of noble and wise government,
concealed, (how slightly!) merely by the change of a short vowel for a
long one in the name of its queen; yet misunderstood by all later
writers, (even by Horace, in his "pinguis, Phæaxque"). That fable
expresses the perpetual error of men in thinking that grace and dignity
can only be reached by the soldier, and never by the artisan; so that
commerce and the useful arts have had the honour and beauty taken away,
and only the Fraud and Pain left to them, with the lucre. Which is,
indeed, one great reason of the continual blundering about the offices
of government with respect to commerce. The higher classes are ashamed
to employ themselves in it; and though ready enough to fight for (or
occasionally against) the people,--to preach to them,--or judge them,
will not break bread for them; the refined upper servant who has
willingly looked after the burnishing of the armoury and ordering of the
library, not liking to set foot in the larder.

102. Farther still. As Charis becomes Charitas on the one side, she
becomes--better still--Chara, Joy, on the other; or rather this is her
very mother's milk and the beauty of her childhood; for God brings no
enduring Love, nor any other good, out of pain; nor out of contention;
but out of joy and harmony. And in this sense, human and divine, music
and gladness, and the measures of both, come into her name; and Cher
becomes full-vowelled Cheer, and Cheerful; and Chara opens into Choir
and Choral.[52]

103. And lastly. As Grace passes into Freedom of action, Charis becomes
Eleutheria, or Liberality; a form of liberty quite curiously and
intensely different from the thing usually understood by "Liberty" in
modern language: indeed, much more like what some people would call
slavery: for a Greek always understood, primarily, by liberty,
deliverance from the law of his own passions (or from what the Christian
writers call bondage of corruption), and this a complete liberty: not
being merely safe from the Siren, but also unbound from the mast, and
not having to resist the passion, but making it fawn upon, and follow
him--(this may be again partly the meaning of the fawning beasts about
the Circean cave; so, again, George Herbert--

    Correct thy passion's spite,
    Then may the beasts draw thee to happy light)--

And it is only in such generosity that any man becomes capable of so
governing others as to take true part in any system of national economy.
Nor is there any other eternal distinction between the upper and lower
classes than this form of liberty, Eleutheria, or benignity, in the one,
and its opposite of slavery, Douleia, or malignity, in the other; the
separation of these two orders of men, and the firm government of the
lower by the higher, being the first conditions of possible wealth and
economy in any state,--the Gods giving it no greater gift than the power
to discern its true freemen, and "malignum spernere vulgus."

104. While I have traced the finer and higher laws of this matter for
those whom they concern, I have also to note the material law--vulgarly
expressed in the proverb, "Honesty is the best policy." That proverb is
indeed wholly inapplicable to matters of private interest. It is not
true that honesty, as far as material gain is concerned, profits
individuals. A clever and cruel knave will in a mixed society always be
richer than an honest person can be. But Honesty is the best "policy,"
if policy mean practice of State. For fraud gains nothing in a State. It
only enables the knaves in it to live at the expense of honest people;
while there is for every act of fraud, however small, a loss of wealth
to the community. Whatever the fraudulent person gains, some other
person loses, as fraud produces nothing; and there is, _besides_, the
loss of the time and thought spent in accomplishing the fraud, and of
the strength otherwise obtainable by mutual help (not to speak of the
fevers of anxiety and jealousy in the blood, which are a heavy physical
loss, as I will show in due time). Practically, when the nation is
deeply corrupt cheat answers to cheat; every one is in turn imposed
upon, and there is to the body politic the dead loss of the ingenuity,
together with the incalculable mischief of the injury to each defrauded
person, producing collateral effect unexpectedly. My neighbour sells me
bad meat: I sell him in return flawed iron. We neither of us get one
atom of pecuniary advantage on the whole transaction, but we both suffer
unexpected inconvenience; my men get scurvy, and his cattle-truck runs
off the rails.

105. The examination of this form of Charis must, therefore, lead us
into the discussion of the principles of government in general, and
especially of that of the poor by the rich, discovering how the
Graciousness joined with the Greatness, or Love with Majestas, is the
true Dei Gratia, or Divine Right, of every form and manner of King; _i.
e._, specifically, of the thrones, dominations, princedoms, virtues, and
powers of the earth:--of the thrones, stable, or "ruling," literally
right-doing powers ("rex eris, recte si facies"):--of the
dominations--lordly, edifying, dominant and harmonious powers; chiefly
domestic, over the "built thing," domus, or house; and inherently
twofold, Dominus and Domina; Lord and Lady:--of the Princedoms,
pre-eminent, incipient, creative, and demonstrative powers; thus poetic
and mercantile, in the "princeps carmen deduxisse" and the
merchant-prince:--of the Virtues or Courages; militant, guiding, or
Ducal powers:--and finally of the Strengths, or Forces pure; magistral
powers, of the More over the less, and the forceful and free over the
weak and servile elements of life.

Subject enough for the next paper, involving "economical" principles of
some importance, of which, for theme, here is a sentence, which I do not
care to translate, for it would sound harsh in English,[53] though,
truly, it is one of the tenderest ever uttered by man; which may be
meditated over, or rather _through_, in the meanwhile, by any one who
will take the pains:--

[Greek: Ar oun, hôsper Hippos tô anepistêmoni men encheirounti de
chrêsthai zêmia estin, houtô kai adelphos, otan tis autô mê epistamenos
encheir chrêsthai, zêmia esti];


[44] I have repeated the substance of this and the next paragraph so
often since, that I am ashamed and weary. The thing is too true, and too
simple, it seems, for anybody ever to believe. Meantime, the theories of
"international values," as explained by Modern Political Economy, have
brought about last year's pillage of France by Germany, and the
affectionate relations now existing in consequence between the
inhabitants of the right and left banks of the Rhine.

[45] I wish some one would examine and publish accurately the late
dealings of the Governors of the Cape with the Caffirs.

[46] By "pay," I mean wages for labour or skill; by "profit," gain
dependent on the state of the market.

[47] Since I wrote this, I have worked out the question of interest of
money, which always, until lately, had embarrassed and defeated me; and
I find that the payment of interest of any amount whatever is real
"usury," and entirely unjustifiable. I was shown this chiefly by the
pamphlets issued by Mr. W. C. Sillar, though I greatly regret the
impatience which causes Mr. Sillar to regard usury as the radical crime
in political economy. There are others worse, that act with it.

[48] Hence Dante's companionship of Cahors, _Inf._, canto xi., supported
by the view taken of the matter throughout the middle ages, in common
with the Greeks.

[49] I do not wonder when I re-read this, that people talk about my
"sentiment." But there is no sentiment whatever in the matter. It is a
hard and bare commercial fact, that if two people deal together who
don't try to cheat each other, they will in a given time, make more
money out of each other than if they do. See § 104.

[50] Shakspeare would certainly never have chosen this name had he been
forced to retain the Roman spelling. Like Perdita, "lost lady," or
Cordelia, "heart-lady," Portia is "fortune" lady. The two great relative
groups of words, Fortuna, fero, and fors--Portio, porto, and pars (with
the lateral branch, op-portune, im-portune, opportunity, &c.), are of
deep and intricate significance; their various senses of bringing,
abstracting, and sustaining being all centralized by the wheel (which
bears and moves at once), or still better, the ball (spera) of
Fortune,--"Volve sua spera, e beata si gode:" the motive power of this
wheel distinguishing its goddess from the fixed majesty of Necessitas
with her iron nails; or [Greek: anankê], with her pillar of fire and
iridescent orbits, _fixed_ at the centre. Portus and porta, and gate in
its connexion with gain, form another interesting branch group; and
Mors, the concentration of delaying, is always to be remembered with
Fors, the concentration of bringing and bearing, passing on into Fortis
and Fortitude.

[This note is literally a mere memorandum for the future work which I am
now completing in _Fors Clavigera_; it was printed partly in vanity, but
also with real desire to get people to share the interest I found in the
careful study of the leading words in noble languages. Compare the next

[51] As Charis becomes Charitas, the word "Cher," or "Dear," passes from
Shylock's sense of it (to buy cheap and sell dear) into Antonio's sense
of it: emphasized with the final _i_ in tender "Cheri," and hushed to
English calmness in our noble "Cherish." The reader must not think that
any care can be misspent in tracing the connexion and power of the words
which we have to use in the sequel. (See Appendix VI.) Much education
sums itself in making men economize their words, and understand them.
Nor is it possible to estimate the harm which has been done, in matters
of higher speculation and conduct, by loose verbiage, though we may
guess at it by observing the dislike which people show to having
anything about their religion said to them in simple words, because then
they understand it. Thus congregations meet weekly to invoke the
influence of a Spirit of Life and Truth; yet if any part of that
character were intelligibly expressed to them by the formulas of the
service, they would be offended. Suppose, for instance, in the closing
benediction, the clergyman were to give vital significance to the vague
word "Holy," and were to say, "the fellowship of the Helpful and Honest
Ghost be with you, and remain with you always," what would be the horror
of many, first at the irreverence of so intelligible an expression; and
secondly, at the discomfortable occurrence of the suspicion that while
throughout the commercial dealings of the week they had denied the
propriety of Help, and possibility of Honesty, the Person whose company
they had been now asking to be blessed with could have no fellowship
with cruel people or knaves.

[52] "[Greek: ta men oun alla zôa ouk echein aisthêsin tôn en tais
kinêsesi taxeôn oude ataxiôn ois dê rythmos unoma kai haomonia êmin de
ous eipomen tous Theous] (Apollo, the Muses, and Bacchus--the grave
Bacchus, that is--ruling the choir of age; or Bacchus restraining; 'sæva
_tene_, cum Berecyntio cornu tympana,' &c.) [Greek: synchoreutas
dedosthai, toutous einai kai tous dedôkotas tên enrythmon te kai
enarmonion aisthêsin meth' êdonês ... chorous te ônomakenai para tês
charas emphyton onoma]." "Other animals have no perception of order nor
of disorder in motion; but for us, Apollo and Bacchus and the Muses are
appointed to mingle in our dances; and there are they who have given us
the sense of delight in rhythm and harmony. And the name of choir,
choral dance, (we may believe,) came from chara (delight)."--Laws, book

[53] [My way now, is to say things plainly, if I can, whether they sound
harsh or not;--this is the translation--"Is it possible, then, that as a
horse is only a mischief to any one who attempts to use him without
knowing how, so also our brother, if we attempt to use him without
knowing how, may be a mischief to us?"]



106. It remains for us, as I stated in the close of the last chapter, to
examine first the principles of government in general, and then those of
the government of the Poor by the Rich.

The government of a state consists in its customs, laws, and councils,
and their enforcements.


As one person primarily differs from another by fineness of nature, and,
secondarily, by fineness of training, so also, a polite nation differs
from a savage one, first, by the refinement of its nature, and secondly
by the delicacy of its customs.

In the completeness of custom, which is the nation's self-government,
there are three stages--first, fineness in method of doing or of
being;--called the manner or moral of acts; secondly, firmness in
holding such method after adoption, so that it shall become a habit in
the character: _i. e._, a constant "having" or "behaving;" and, lastly,
ethical power in performance and endurance, which is the skill following
on habit, and the ease reached by frequency of right doing.

The sensibility of the nation is indicated by the fineness of its
customs; its courage, continence, and self-respect by its persistence in

By sensibility I mean its natural perception of beauty, fitness, and
rightness; or of what is lovely, decent, and just: faculties dependent
much on race, and the primal signs of fine breeding in man; but
cultivable also by education, and necessarily perishing without it. True
education has, indeed, no other function than the development of these
faculties, and of the relative will. It has been the great error of
modern intelligence to mistake science for education. You do not educate
a man by telling him what he knew not, but by making him what he was

And making him what he will remain for ever: for no wash of weeds will
bring back the faded purple. And in that dyeing there are two
processes--first, the cleansing and wringing-out, which is the baptism
with water; and then the infusing of the blue and scarlet colours,
gentleness and justice, which is the baptism with fire.

107.[54] The customs and manners of a sensitive and highly-trained race
are always Vital: that is to say, they are orderly manifestations of
intense life, like the habitual action of the fingers of a musician. The
customs and manners of a vile and rude race, on the contrary, are
conditions of decay: they are not, properly speaking, habits, but
incrustations; not restraints, or forms, of life; but gangrenes,
noisome, and the beginnings of death.

And generally, so far as custom attaches itself to indolence instead of
action, and to prejudice instead of perception, it takes this deadly
character, so that thus

    Custom hangs upon us with a weight
    Heavy as frost, and deep almost as life.

But that weight, if it become impetus, (living instead of dead weight)
is just what gives value to custom, when it works _with_ life, instead
of against it.

108. The high ethical training of a nation implies perfect Grace,
Pitifulness, and Peace; it is irreconcilably inconsistent with filthy or
mechanical employments,--with the desire of money,--and with mental
states of anxiety, jealousy, or indifference to pain. The present
insensibility of the upper classes of Europe to the surrounding aspects
of suffering, uncleanness, and crime, binds them not only into one
responsibility with the sin, but into one dishonour with the foulness,
which rot at their thresholds. The crimes daily recorded in the
police-courts of London and Paris (and much more those which are
_un_recorded) are a disgrace to the whole body politic;[55] they are, as
in the body natural, stains of disease on a face of delicate skin,
making the delicacy itself frightful. Similarly, the filth and poverty
permitted or ignored in the midst of us are as dishonourable to the
whole social body, as in the body natural it is to wash the face, but
leave the hands and feet foul. Christ's way is the only true one: begin
at the feet; the face will take care of itself.

109. Yet, since necessarily, in the frame of a nation, nothing but the
head can be of gold, and the feet, for the work they have to do, must be
part of iron, part of clay;--foul or mechanical work is always reduced
by a noble race to the minimum in quantity; and, even then, performed
and endured, not without sense of degradation, as a fine temper is
wounded by the sight of the lower offices of the body. The highest
conditions of human society reached hitherto have cast such work to
slaves; but supposing slavery of a politically defined kind to be done
away with, mechanical and foul employment must, in all highly organized
states, take the aspect either of punishment or probation. All criminals
should at once be set to the most dangerous and painful forms of it,
especially to work in mines and at furnaces,[56] so as to relieve the
innocent population as far as possible: of merely rough (not mechanical)
manual labour, especially agricultural, _a large portion should be done
by the upper classes_;--_bodily health, and sufficient contrast and
repose for the mental functions, being unattainable without it_; what
necessarily inferior labour remains to be done, as especially in
manufactures, should, and always will, when the relations of society are
reverent and harmonious, fall to the lot of those who, for the time, are
fit for nothing better. For as, whatever the perfectness of the
educational system, there must remain infinite differences between the
natures and capacities of men; and these differing natures are generally
rangeable under the two qualities of lordly, (or tending towards rule,
construction, and harmony), and servile (or tending towards misrule,
destruction, and discord); and since the lordly part is only in a state
of profitableness while ruling, and the servile only in a state of
redeemableness while serving, the whole health of the state depends on
the manifest separation of these two elements of its mind; for, if the
servile part be not separated and rendered visible in service, it mixes
with, and corrupts, the entire body of the state; and if the lordly part
be not distinguished, and set to rule, it is crushed and lost, being
turned to no account, so that the rarest qualities of the nation are all
given to it in vain.[57]


110. These are the definitions and bonds of custom, or of what the
nation desires should become custom.

Law is either archic,[58] (of direction), meristic, (of division), or
critic, (of judgment).

Archic law is that of appointment and precept: it defines what is and is
not to be _done_.

Meristic law is that of balance and distribution: it defines what is and
is not to be _possessed_.

Critic law is that of discernment and award: it defines what is and is
not to be _suffered_.

111. A. ARCHIC LAW. If we choose to unite the laws of precept and
distribution under the head of "statutes," all law is simply either of
statute or judgment; that is, first the establishment of ordinance, and,
secondly, the assignment of the reward, or penalty, due to its
observance or violation.

To some extent these two forms of law must be associated, and, with
every ordinance, the penalty of disobedience to it be also determined.
But since the degrees and guilt of disobedience vary, the determination
of due reward and punishment must be modified by discernment of special
fact, which is peculiarly the office of the judge, as distinguished from
that of the lawgiver and law-sustainer, or king; not but that the two
offices are always theoretically, and in early stages, or limited
numbers, of society, are often practically, united in the same person or

112. Also, it is necessary to keep clearly in view the distinction
between these two kinds of law, because the possible range of law is
wider in proportion to their separation. There are many points of
conduct respecting which the nation may wisely express its will by a
written precept or resolve, yet not enforce it by penalty:[59] and the
expedient degree of penalty is always quite a separate consideration
from the expedience of the statute; for the statute may often be better
enforced by mercy than severity, and is also easier in the bearing, and
less likely to be abrogated. Farther, laws of precept have reference
especially to youth, and concern themselves with training; but laws of
judgment to manhood, and concern themselves with remedy and reward.
There is a highly curious feeling in the English mind against
educational law: we think no man's liberty should be interfered with
till he has done irrevocable wrong; whereas it is then just too late for
the only gracious and kingly interference, which is to hinder him from
doing it. Make your educational laws strict, and your criminal ones may
be gentle; but, leave youth its liberty and you will have to dig
dungeons for age. And it is good for a man that he "wear the yoke in his
youth:" for the reins may then be of silken thread; and with sweet chime
of silver bells at the bridle; but, for the captivity of age, you must
forge the iron fetter, and cast the passing bell.

113. Since no law can be, in a final or true sense, established, but by
right, (all unjust laws involving the ultimate necessity of their own
abrogation), the law-giving can only become a law-sustaining power in so
far as it is Royal, or "right doing;"--in so far, that is, as it rules,
not misrules, and orders, not dis-orders, the things submitted to it.
Throned on this rock of justice, the kingly power becomes established
and establishing; "[Greek: theios]," or divine, and, therefore, it is
literally true that no ruler can err, so long as he is a ruler, or
[Greek: archôn oudeis amartanei tote hotan archôn ê]; perverted by
careless thought, which has cost the world somewhat, into--"the king can
do no wrong."

114. B. MERISTIC LAW,[60] or that of the tenure of property, first
determines what every individual possesses by right, and secures it to
him; and what he possesses by wrong, and deprives him of it. But it has
a far higher provisory function: it determines what every man _should_
possess, and puts it within his reach on due conditions; and what he
should _not_ possess, and puts this out of his reach, conclusively.

115. Every article of human wealth has certain conditions attached to
its merited possession; when these are unobserved, possession becomes
rapine. And the object of meristic law is not only to secure to every
man his rightful share (the share, that is, which he has worked for,
produced, or received by gift from a rightful owner), but to enforce the
due conditions of possession, as far as law may conveniently reach; for
instance, that land shall not be wantonly allowed to run to waste, that
streams shall not be poisoned by the persons through whose properties
they pass, nor air be rendered unwholesome beyond given limits. Laws of
this kind exist already in rudimentary degree, but need large
development; the just laws respecting the possession of works of art
have not hitherto been so much as conceived, and the daily loss of
national wealth, and of its use, in this respect, is quite incalculable.
And these laws need revision quite as much respecting property in
national as in private hands. For instance: the public are under a vague
impression that, because they have paid for the contents of the British
Museum, every one has an equal right to see and to handle them. But the
public have similarly paid for the contents of Woolwich arsenal; yet do
not expect free access to it, or handling of its contents. The British
Museum is neither a free circulating library, nor a free school: it is a
place for the safe preservation, and exhibition on due occasion, of
unique books, unique objects of natural history, and unique works of
art; its books can no more be used by everybody than its coins can be
handled, or its statues cast. There ought to be free libraries in every
quarter of London, with large and complete reading-rooms attached; so
also free educational museums should be open in every quarter of London,
all day long, until late at night, well lighted, well catalogued, and
rich in contents both of art and natural history. But neither the
British Museum nor National Gallery is a school; they are _treasuries_;
and both should be severely restricted in access and in use. Unless some
order of this kind is made, and that soon, for the MSS. department of
the Museum, (its superintendents have sorrowfully told me this, and
repeatedly), the best MSS. in the collection will be destroyed,
irretrievably, by the careless and continual handling to which they are
now subjected.

Finally, in certain conditions of a nation's progress, laws limiting
accumulation of any kind of property may be found expedient.

116. C. CRITIC LAW determines questions of injury, and assigns due
rewards and punishments to conduct.

Two curious economical questions arise laterally with respect to this
branch of law, namely, the cost of crime, and the cost of judgment. The
cost of crime is endured by nations ignorantly, that expense being
nowhere stated in their budgets; the cost of judgment, patiently,
(provided only it can be had pure for the money), because the science,
or perhaps we ought rather to say the art, of law, is felt to found a
noble profession and discipline; so that civilized nations are usually
glad that a number of persons should be supported by exercise in oratory
and analysis. But it has not yet been calculated what the practical
value might have been, in other directions, of the intelligence now
occupied in deciding, through courses of years, what might have been
decided as justly, had the date of judgment been fixed, in as many
hours. Imagine one half of the funds which any great nation devotes to
dispute by law, applied to the determination of physical questions in
medicine, agriculture, and theoretic science; and calculate the probable
results within the next ten years!

I say nothing yet of the more deadly, more lamentable loss, involved in
the use of purchased, instead of personal, justice--[Greek: "epaktô par
allôn--aporia oikeiôn."]

117. In order to true analysis of critic law, we must understand the
real meaning of the word "injury."

We commonly understand by it, any kind of harm done by one man to
another; but we do not define the idea of harm: sometimes we limit it to
the harm which the sufferer is conscious of; whereas much the worst
injuries are those he is unconscious of; and, at other times, we limit
the idea to violence, or restraint; whereas much the worse forms of
injury are to be accomplished by indolence, and the withdrawal of

118. "Injury" is then simply the refusal, or violation of, any man's
right or claim upon his fellows: which claim, much talked of in modern
times, under the term "right," is mainly resolvable into two branches: a
man's claim not to be hindered from doing what he should; and his claim
to be hindered from doing what he should not; these two forms of
hindrance being intensified by reward, help, and fortune, or Fors, on
one side, and by punishment, impediment, and even final arrest, or Mors,
on the other.

119. Now, in order to a man's obtaining these two rights, it is clearly
needful that the _worth_ of him should be approximately known; as well
as the _want_ of worth, which has, unhappily, been usually the principal
subject of study for critic law, careful hitherto only to mark degrees
of de-merit, instead of merit;--assigning, indeed, to the _De_ficiencies
(not always, alas! even to these) just estimate, fine, or penalty; but
to the _Ef_ficiencies, on the other side, which are by much the more
interesting, as well as the only profitable part of its subject,
assigning neither estimate nor aid.

120. Now, it is in this higher and perfect function of critic law,
_en_abling instead of _dis_abling, that it becomes truly Kingly, instead
of Draconic: (what Providence gave the great, wrathful legislator his
name?): that is, it becomes the law of man and of life, instead of the
law of the worm and of death--both of these laws being set in changeless
poise one against another, and the enforcement of both being the eternal
function of the lawgiver, and true claim of every living soul: such
claim being indeed strong to be mercifully hindered, and even, if need
be, abolished, when longer existence means only deeper destruction, but
stronger still to be mercifully helped, and recreated, when longer
existence and new creation mean nobler life. So that reward and
punishment will be found to resolve themselves mainly[61] into help and
hindrance; and these again will issue naturally from time recognition of
deserving, and the just reverence and just wrath which follow
instinctively on such recognition.

121. I say, "follow," but, in reality, they are part of the recognition.
Reverence is as instinctive as anger;--both of them instant on true
vision: it is sight and understanding that we have to teach, and these
_are_ reverence. Make a man perceive worth, and in its reflection he
sees his own relative unworth, and worships thereupon inevitably, not
with stiff courtesy, but rejoicingly, passionately, and, best of all,
_restfully_: for the inner capacity of awe and love is infinite in man,
and only in finding these, can we find peace. And the common insolences
and petulances of the people, and their talk of equality, are not
irreverence in them in the least, but mere blindness, stupefaction, and
fog in the brains,[62] the first sign of any cleansing away of which is,
that they gain some power of discerning, and some patience in submitting
to, their true counsellors and governors. In the mode of such
discernment consists the real "constitution" of the state, more than in
the titles or offices of the discerned person; for it is no matter, save
in degree of mischief, to what office a man is appointed, if he cannot
fulfil it.


This is the determination, by living authority, of the national conduct
to be observed under existing circumstances; and the modification or
enlargement, abrogation or enforcement, of the code of national law
according to present needs or purposes. This government is necessarily
always by council, for though the authority of it may be vested in one
person, that person cannot form any opinion on a matter of public
interest but by (voluntarily or involuntarily) submitting himself to the
influence of others.

This government is always twofold--visible and invisible.

The visible government is that which nominally carries on the national
business; determines its foreign relations, raises taxes, levies
soldiers, orders war or peace, and otherwise becomes the arbiter of the
national fortune. The invisible government is that exercised by all
energetic and intelligent men, each in his sphere, regulating the inner
will and secret ways of the people, essentially forming its character,
and preparing its fate.

Visible governments are the toys of some nations, the diseases of
others, the harness of some, the burdens of more the necessity of all.
Sometimes their career is quite distinct from that of the people, and to
write it, as the national history, is as if one should number the
accidents which befall a man's weapons and wardrobe, and call the list
his biography. Nevertheless, a truly noble and wise nation necessarily
has a noble and wise visible government, for its wisdom issues in that

123. Visible governments are, in their agencies, capable of three pure
forms, and of no more than three.

They are either monarchies, where the authority is vested in one person;
oligarchies, when it is vested in a minority; or democracies, when
vested in a majority.

But these three forms are not only, in practice, variously limited and
combined, but capable of infinite difference in character and use,
receiving specific names according to their variations; which names,
being nowise agreed upon, nor consistently used, either in thought or
writing, no man can at present tell, in speaking of any kind of
government, whether he is understood; nor, in hearing, whether he
understands. Thus we usually call a just government by one person a
monarchy, and an unjust or cruel one, a tyranny: this might be
reasonable if it had reference to the divinity of true government; but
to limit the term "oligarchy" to government by a few rich people, and to
call government by a few wise or noble people "aristocracy," is
evidently absurd, unless it were proved that rich people never could be
wise, or noble people rich; and farther absurd, because there are other
distinctions in character, as well as riches or wisdom (greater purity
of race, or strength of purpose, for instance), which may give the power
of government to the few. So that if we had to give names to every group
or kind of minority, we should have verbiage enough. But there is only
one right name--"oligarchy."

124. So also the terms "republic" and "democracy"[63] are confused,
especially in modern use; and both of them are liable to every sort of
misconception. A republic means, properly, a polity in which the state,
with its all, is at every man's service, and every man, with his all, at
the state's service--(people are apt to lose sight of the last
condition), but its government may nevertheless be oligarchic (consular,
or decemviral, for instance), or monarchic (dictatorial). But a
democracy means a state in which the government rests directly with the
majority of the citizens. And both these conditions have been judged
only by such accidents and aspects of them as each of us has had
experience of; and sometimes both have been confused with anarchy, as it
is the fashion at present to talk of the "failure of republican
institutions in America," when there has never yet been in America any
such thing as an institution, but only defiance of institution; neither
any such thing as a _res-publica_, but only a multitudinous
_res-privata_; every man for himself. It is not republicanism which
fails now in America; it is your model science of political economy,
brought to its perfect practice. There you may see competition, and the
"law of demand and supply" (especially in paper), in beautiful and
unhindered operation.[64] Lust of wealth, and trust in it; vulgar faith
in magnitude and multitude, instead of nobleness; besides that
faith natural to backwoodsmen--"lucum ligna,"[65]--perpetual
self-contemplation, issuing in passionate vanity; total ignorance of the
finer and higher arts, and of all that they teach and bestow; and the
discontent of energetic minds unoccupied, frantic with hope of
uncomprehended change, and progress they know not whither;[66]--these
are the things that have "failed" in America; and yet not altogether
failed--it is not collapse, but collision; the greatest railroad
accident on record, with fire caught from the furnace, and Catiline's
quenching "non aquâ, sed ruinâ."[67] But I see not, in any of our talk
of them, justice enough done to their erratic strength of purpose, nor
any estimate taken of the strength of endurance of domestic sorrow, in
what their women and children suppose a righteous cause. And out of that
endurance and suffering, its own fruit will be born with time; [_not_
abolition of slavery, however. See § 130.] and Carlyle's prophecy of
them (June, 1850), as it has now come true in the first clause, will, in
the last:--

"America, too, will find that caucuses, divisionalists, stump-oratory,
and speeches to Buncombe will not carry men to the immortal gods; that
the Washington Congress, and constitutional battle of Kilkenny cats is
there, as here, naught for such objects; quite incompetent for such;
and, in fine, that said sublime constitutional arrangement will require
to be (with terrible throes, and travail such as few expect yet)
remodelled, abridged, extended, suppressed, torn asunder, put together
again--not without heroic labour and effort, quite other than that of
the stump-orator and the revival preacher, one day."

125.[68] Understand, then, once for all, that no form of government,
provided it be a government at all, is, as such, to be either condemned
or praised, or contested for in anywise, but by fools. But all forms of
government are good just so far as they attain this one vital necessity
of policy--_that the wise and kind, few or many, shall govern the unwise
and unkind_; and they are evil so far as they miss of this, or reverse
it. Not does the form, in any case, signify one whit, but its
_firmness_, and adaptation to the need; for if there be many foolish
persons in a state, and few wise, then it is good that the few govern;
and if there be many wise, and few foolish, then it is good that the
many govern; and if many be wise, yet one wiser, then it is good that
one should govern; and so on. Thus, we may have "the ant's republic, and
the realm of bees," both good in their kind; one for groping, and the
other for building; and nobler still, for flying;--the Ducal
monarchy[69] of those

    Intelligent of seasons, that set forth
    The aery caravan, high over seas.

126. Nor need we want examples, among the inferior creatures, of
dissoluteness, as well as resoluteness, in government. I once saw
democracy finely illustrated by the beetles of North Switzerland, who by
universal suffrage, and elytric acclamation, one May twilight, carried
it, that they would fly over the Lake of Zug; and flew _short_, to the
great disfigurement of the Lake of Zug,--[Greek: Kantharon limên]--over
some leagues square, and to the close of the cockchafer democracy for
that year. Then, for tyranny, the old fable of the frogs and the stork
finely touches one form of it; but truth will image it more closely than
fable, for tyranny is not complete when it is only over the idle, but
when it is over the laborious and the blind. This description of
pelicans and climbing perch, which I find quoted in one of our popular
natural histories, out of Sir Emerson Tennant's _Ceylon_, comes as near
as may be to the true image of the thing:--

"Heavy rains came on, and as we stood on the high ground, we observed a
pelican on the margin of the shallow pool gorging himself; our people
went towards him, and raised a cry of 'Fish, fish!' We hurried down, and
found numbers of fish struggling upward through the grass, in the rills
formed by the trickling of the rain. There was scarcely water to cover
them, but nevertheless they made rapid progress up the bank, on which
our followers collected about two baskets of them. They were forcing
their way up the knoll, and had they not been interrupted, first by the
pelican, and afterwards by ourselves, they would in a few minutes have
gained the highest point, and descended on the other side into a pool
which formed another portion of the tank. In going this distance,
however, they must have used muscular exertion enough to have taken them
half a mile on level ground; for at these places all the cattle and wild
animals of the neighbourhood had latterly come to drink, so that the
surface was everywhere indented with footmarks, in addition to the
cracks in the surrounding baked mud, into which the fish tumbled in
their progress. In those holes, which were deep, and the sides
perpendicular, they remained to die, and were carried off by kites and

127. But whether governments be bad or good, one general disadvantage
seems to attach to them in modern times--that they are all _costly_.[71]
This, however, is not essentially the fault of the governments. If
nations choose to play at war, they will always find their governments
willing to lead the game, and soon coming under that term of
Aristophanes, "[Greek: kapêloi aspidôn]," "shield-sellers." And when
([Greek: pêm epi pêmati])[72] the shields take the form of iron ships,
with apparatus "for defence against liquid fire,"--as I see by latest
accounts they are now arranging the decks in English dockyards--they
become costly biers enough for the grey convoy of chief mourner waves,
wreathed with funereal foam, to bear back the dead upon; the massy
shoulders of those corpse-bearers being intended for quite other work,
and to bear the living, and food for the living, if we would let them.

128. Nor have we the least right to complain of our governments being
expensive, so long as we set the government _to do precisely the work
which brings no return_. If our present doctrines of political economy
be just, let us trust them to the utmost; take that war business out of
the government's hands, and test therein the principles of supply and
demand. Let our future sieges of Sebastopol be done by contract--no
capture, no pay--(I admit that things might sometimes go better so); and
let us sell the commands of our prospective battles, with our vicarages,
to the lowest bidder; so may we have cheap victories, and divinity. On
the other hand, if we have so much suspicion of our science that we dare
not trust it on military or spiritual business, would it not be but
reasonable to try whether some authoritative handling may not prosper in
matters utilitarian? If we were to set our governments to do useful
things instead of mischievous, possibly even the apparatus itself might
in time come to be less costly. The machine, applied to the building of
the house, might perhaps pay, when it seems not to pay, applied to
pulling it down. If we made in our dockyards ships to carry timber and
coals, instead of cannon, and with provision for the brightening of
domestic solid culinary fire, instead of for the scattering of liquid
hostile fire, it might have some effect on the taxes. Or suppose that we
tried the experiment on land instead of water carriage; already the
government, not unapproved, carries letters and parcels for us; larger
packages may in time follow;--even general merchandise--why not, at
last, ourselves? Had the money spent in local mistakes and vain private
litigation, on the railroads of England, been laid out, instead, under
proper government restraint, on really useful railroad work, and had no
absurd expense been incurred in ornamenting stations, we might already
have had,--what ultimately it will be found we must have,--quadruple
rails, two for passengers, and two for traffic, on every great line; and
we might have been carried in swift safety, and watched and warded by
well-paid pointsmen, for half the present fares. [For, of course, a
railroad company is merely an association of turnpike-keepers, who make
the tolls as high as they can, not to mend the roads with, but to
pocket. The public will in time discover this, and do away with
turnpikes on railroads, as on all other public-ways.]

129. Suppose it should thus turn out, finally, that a true government
set to true work, instead of being a costly engine, was a paying one?
that your government, rightly organized, instead of itself subsisting by
an income-tax, would produce its subjects some subsistence in the shape
of an income dividend?--police, and judges duly paid besides, only with
less work than the state at present provides for them.

A true government set to true work!--Not easily to be imagined, still
less obtained; but not beyond human hope or ingenuity. Only you will
have to alter your election systems somewhat, first. Not by universal
suffrage, nor by votes purchasable with beer, is such government to be
had. That is to say, not by universal _equal_ suffrage. Every man
upwards of twenty, who has been convicted of no legal crime, should have
his say in this matter; but afterwards a louder voice, as he grows
older, and approves himself wiser. If he has one vote at twenty, he
should have two at thirty, four at forty, ten at fifty. For every single
vote which he has with an income of a hundred a year, he should have ten
with an income of a thousand, (provided you first see to it that wealth
is, as nature intended it to be, the reward of sagacity and
industry--not of good luck in a scramble or a lottery). For every single
vote which he had as subordinate in any business, he should have two
when he became a master; and every office and authority nationally
bestowed, implying trustworthiness and intellect, should have its known
proportional number of votes attached to it. But into the detail and
working of a true system in these matters we cannot now enter; we are
concerned as yet with definitions only, and statements of first
principles, which will be established now sufficiently for our purposes
when we have examined the nature of that form of government last on the
list in § 105,--the purely "Magistral," exciting at present its full
share of public notice, under its ambiguous title of "slavery."

130. I have not, however, been able to ascertain in definite terms, from
the declaimers against slavery, what they understand by it. If they mean
only the imprisonment or compulsion of one person by another, such
imprisonment or compulsion being in many cases highly expedient,
slavery, so defined, would be no evil in itself, but only in its abuse;
that is, when men are slaves, who should not be, or masters, who should
not be, or even the fittest characters for either state, placed in it
under conditions which should not be. It is not, for instance, a
necessary condition of slavery, nor a desirable one, that parents should
be separated from children, or husbands from wives; but the institution
of war, against which people declaim with less violence, effects such
separations,--not unfrequently in a very permanent manner. To press a
sailor, seize a white youth by conscription for a soldier, or carry off
a black one for a labourer, may all be right acts, or all wrong ones,
according to needs and circumstances. It is wrong to scourge a man
unnecessarily. So it is to shoot him. Both must be done on occasion; and
it is better and kinder to flog a man to his work, than to leave him
idle till he robs, and flog him afterwards. The essential thing for all
creatures is to be made to do right; how they are made to do it--by
pleasant promises, or hard necessities, pathetic oratory, or the
whip--is comparatively immaterial.[73] To be deceived is perhaps as
incompatible with human dignity as to be whipped; and I suspect the last
method to be not the worst, for the help of many individuals. The Jewish
nation throve under it, in the hand of a monarch reputed not unwise; it
is only the change of whip for scorpion which is inexpedient; and that
change is as likely to come to pass on the side of license as of law.
For the true scorpion whips are those of the nation's pleasant vices,
which are to it as St. John's locusts--crown on the head, ravin in the
mouth, and sting in the tail. If it will not bear the rule of Athena and
Apollo, who shepherd without smiting ([Greek: ou plêgê nemontes]),
Athena at last calls no more in the corners of the streets; and then
follows the rule of Tisiphone, who smites without shepherding.

131. If, however, by slavery, instead of absolute compulsion, is meant
_the purchase, by money, of the right of compulsion_, such purchase is
necessarily made whenever a portion of any territory is transferred, for
money, from one monarch to another: which has happened frequently enough
in history, without its being supposed that the inhabitants of the
districts so transferred became therefore slaves. In this, as in the
former case, the dispute seems about the fashion of the thing, rather
than the fact of it. There are two rocks in mid-sea, on each of which,
neglected equally by instructive and commercial powers, a handful of
inhabitants live as they may. Two merchants bid for the two properties,
but not in the same terms. One bids for the people, buys _them_, and
sets them to work, under pain of scourge; the other bids for the rock,
buys _it_, and throws the inhabitants into the sea. The former is the
American, the latter the English method, of slavery; much is to be said
for, and something against, both, which I hope to say in due time and

132. If, however, slavery mean not merely the purchase of the right of
compulsion, but _the purchase of the body and soul of the creature
itself for money_, it is not, I think, among the black races that
purchases of this kind are most extensively made, or that separate souls
of a fine make fetch the highest price. This branch of the inquiry we
shall have occasion also to follow out at some length, for in the worst
instances of the selling of souls, we are apt to get, when we ask if the
sale is valid, only Pyrrhon's answer[75]--"None can know."

133. The fact is that slavery is not a political institution at all,
_but an inherent, natural, and eternal inheritance_ of a large portion
of the human race--to whom, the more you give of their own free will,
the more slaves they will make themselves. In common parlance, we idly
confuse captivity with slavery, and are always thinking of the
difference between pine-trunks (Ariel in the pine), and cowslip-bells
("in the cowslip-bell I lie"), or between carrying wood and drinking
(Caliban's slavery and freedom), instead of noting the far more serious
differences between Ariel and Caliban themselves, and the means by
which, practically, that difference may be brought about or diminished.

134.[76] Plato's slave, in the _Polity_, who, well dressed and washed,
aspires to the hand of his master's daughter, corresponds curiously to
Caliban attacking Prospero's cell; and there is an undercurrent of
meaning throughout, in the _Tempest_ as well as in the _Merchant of
Venice_; referring in this case to government, as in that to commerce.
Miranda[77] ("the wonderful," so addressed first by Ferdinand, "Oh, you
wonder!") corresponds to Homer's Arete: Ariel and Caliban are
respectively the spirits of faithful and imaginative labour, opposed to
rebellious, hurtful and slavish labour. Prospero ("for hope"), a true
governor, is opposed to Sycorax, the mother of slavery, her name
"Swine-raven," indicating at once brutality and deathfulness; hence the

    "As wicked dew as e'er my mother brushed, with _raven's feather_,"--&c.

For all these dreams of Shakespeare, as those of true and strong men
must be, are "[Greek: phantasmata theia, kai skiai tôn ontôn]"--divine
phantasms, and shadows of things that are. We hardly tell our children,
willingly, a fable with no purport in it; yet we think God sends his
best messengers only to sing fairy tales to us, fond and empty. The
_Tempest_ is just like a grotesque in a rich missal, "clasped where
paynims pray." Ariel is the spirit of generous and free-hearted service,
in early stages of human society oppressed by ignorance and wild
tyranny: venting groans as fast as mill-wheels strike; in shipwreck of
states, dreadful; so that "all but mariners plunge in the brine, and
quit the vessel, then all afire with _me_," yet having in itself the
will and sweetness of truest peace, whence that is especially called
"Ariel's" song, "Come unto these yellow sands, and there, _take hands_,"
"courtesied when you have, and kissed, the wild waves whist:" (mind, it
is "cortesia," not "curtsey,") and read "quiet" for "whist," if you want
the full sense. Then you may indeed foot it featly, and sweet spirits
bear the burden for you--with watch in the night, and call in early
morning. The _vis viva_ in elemental transformation follows--"Full
fathom five thy father lies, of his bones are coral made." Then, giving
rest _after_ labour, it "fetches dew from the still vext Bermoöthes,
and, with a charm joined to their suffered labour, leaves men asleep."
Snatching away the feast of the cruel, it seems to them as a harpy;
followed by the utterly vile, who cannot see it in any shape, but to
whom it is the picture of nobody, it still gives shrill harmony to their
false and mocking catch, "Thought is free;" but leads them into briers
and foul places, and at last hollas the hounds upon them. Minister of
fate against the great criminal, it joins itself with the "incensed seas
and shores "--the sword that layeth at it cannot hold, and may "with
bemocked-at stabs as soon kill the still-closing waters, as diminish one
dowle that is in its plume." As the guide and aid of true love, it is
always called by Prospero "fine" (the French "fine," not the English),
or "delicate"--another long note would be needed to explain all the
meaning in this word. Lastly, its work done, and war, it resolves itself
into the elements. The intense significance of the last song, "Where the
bee sucks," I will examine in its due place.

The types of slavery in Caliban are more palpable, and need not be dwelt
on now: though I will notice them also, severally, in their proper
places;--the heart of his slavery is in his worship: "That's a brave
god, and bears celestial--liquor." But, in illustration of the sense in
which the Latin "benignus" and "malignus" are to be coupled with
Eleutheria and Douleia, note that Caliban's torment is always the
physical reflection of his own nature--"cramps" and "side stiches that
shall pen thy breath up; thou shalt be pinched, as thick as honeycombs:"
the whole nature of slavery being one cramp and cretinous contraction.
Fancy this of Ariel! You may fetter him, but you set no mark on him; you
may put him to hard work and far journey, but you cannot give him a

135. I should dwell, even in these prefatory papers, at more length on
this subject of slavery, had not all I would say been said already, in
vain, (not, as I hope, ultimately in vain), by Carlyle, in the first of
the _Latter-day Pamphlets_, which I commend to the reader's gravest
reading; together with that as much neglected, and still more
immediately needed, on model prisons, and with the great chapter on
"Permanence" (fifth of the last section of "Past and Present"), which
sums what is known, and foreshadows, or rather forelights, all that is
to be learned of National Discipline. I have only here farther to
examine the nature of one world-wide and everlasting form of slavery,
wholesome in use, as deadly in abuse;--the service of the rich by the


[54] [Think over this paragraph carefully; it should have been much
expanded to be quite intelligible; but it contains all that I want it to

[55] "The ordinary brute, who flourishes in the very centre of ornate
life, tells us of unknown depths on the verge of which we totter, being
bound to thank our stars every day we live that there is not a general
outbreak, and a revolt from the yoke of civilization."--_Times_ leader,
Dec. 25, 1862. Admitting that our stars are to be thanked for our
safety, whom are we to thank for the danger?

[56] Our politicians, even the best of them, regard only the distress
caused by the _failure_ of mechanical labour. The degradation caused by
its excess is a far more serious subject of thought, and of future fear.
I shall examine this part of our subject at length hereafter. There can
hardly be any doubt, at present, cast on the truth of the above
passages, as all the great thinkers are unanimous on the matter. Plato's
words are terrific in their scorn and pity whenever he touches on the
mechanical arts. He calls the men employed in them not even human, but
partially and diminutively human, "[Greek: anthrôpiskoi,]" and opposes
such work to noble occupations, not merely as prison is opposed to
freedom but as a convict's dishonoured prison is to the temple (escape
from them being like that of a criminal to the sanctuary); and the
destruction caused by them being of soul no less than body.--_Rep._ vi.
9. Compare _Laws_, v. 11. Xenophon dwells on the evil of occupations at
the furnace and especially their "[Greek: ascholia], want of
leisure."--_Econ._ i. 4. (Modern England, with all its pride of
education, has lost that first sense of the word "school;" and till it
recover that, it will find no other rightly.) His word for the harm to
the soul is to "break" it, as we say of the heart.--_Econ._ i. 6. And
herein, also, is the root of the scorn, otherwise apparently most
strange and cruel, with which Homer, Dante, and Shakspeare always speak
of the populace; for it is entirely true that, in great states, the
lower orders are low by nature as well as by task, being precisely that
part of the commonwealth which has been thrust down for its coarseness
or unworthiness (by coarseness I mean especially insensibility and
irreverence--the "profane" of Horace); and when this ceases to be so,
and the corruption and profanity are in the higher instead of the lower
orders, there arises, first, helpless confusion, then, if the lower
classes deserve power, ensues swift revolution, and they get it; but if
neither the populace nor their rulers deserve it, there follows mere
darkness and dissolution, till, out of the putrid elements, some new
capacity of order rises, like grass on a grave; if not, there is no more
hope, nor shadow of turning, for that nation. Atropos has her way with

So that the law of national health is like that of a great lake or sea,
in perfect but slow circulation, letting the dregs fall continually to
the lowest place, and the clear water rise; yet so as that there shall
be no neglect of the lower orders, but perfect supervision and sympathy,
so that if one member suffer, all members shall suffer with it.

[57] "[Greek: oligês, kai allôs gignomenês]." (Little, and that little
born in vain.) The bitter sentence never was so true as at this day.

[58] [This following note is a mere cluster of memoranda, but I keep it
for reference.] Thetic, or Thesmic, would perhaps be a better term than
archic; but liable to be confused with some which we shall want relating
to Theoria. The administrators of the three great divisions of law are
severally Archons, Merists, and Dicasts. The Archons are the true
princes, or beginners of things; or leaders (as of an orchestra). The
Merists are properly the Domini, or Lords of houses and nations. The
Dicasts, properly, the judges, and that with Olympian justice, which
reaches to heaven and hell. The violation of archic law is [Greek:
hamartia] (error), [Greek: ponêria] (failure), or [Greek: plêmmeleia]
(discord). The violation of meristic law is [Greek: anomia] (iniquity).
The violation of critic law is [Greek: adikia] (injury). Iniquity is the
central generic term; for all law is _fatal_; it is the division to men
of their fate; as the fold of their pasture, it is [Greek: nomos]; as
the assigning of their portion, [Greek: moira].

[59] [This is the only sentence which, in revising these essays, I am
now inclined to question; but the point is one of extreme difficulty.
There might be a law, for instance, of curfew, that candles should be
put out, unless for necessary service, at such and such an hour, the
idea of "necessary service" being quite indefinable, and no penalty
possible; yet there would be a distinct consciousness of illegal conduct
in young ladies' minds who danced by candlelight till dawn.]

[60] [Read this and the next paragraph with attention; they contain
clear statements, which I cannot mend, of things most necessary.]

[61] [Mainly; not altogether. Conclusive reward of high virtue is loving
and crowning, not helping; and conclusive punishment of deep vice is
hating and crushing, not merely hindering.]

[62] Compare Chaucer's "villany" (clownishness).

    Full foul and chorlishe seemed she,
    And eke villanous for to be,
    And little coulde of norture
    To worship any creature.

[63] [I leave this paragraph, in every syllable, as it was written,
during the rage of the American war; it was meant to refer, however,
chiefly to the Northerns: what modifications its hot and partial terms
require I will give in another place: let it stand now as it stood.]

[64] Supply and demand! Alas! for what noble work was there ever any
audible "demand" in that poor sense (Past and Present)? Nay, the demand
is not loud, even for ignoble work. _See_ "Average Earnings of Betty
Taylor," in _Times_ of 4th February of this year [1863]: "Worked from
Monday morning at 8 A.M. to Friday night at 5.30 P.M. for 1_s._
5-1/2_d._"--_Laissez faire._ [This kind of slavery finds no
Abolitionists that I hear of.]

[65] ["That the sacred grove is nothing but logs."]

[66] Ames, by report of Waldo Emerson, says "that a monarchy is a
merchantman, which sails well, but will sometimes strike on a rock, and
go to the bottom; whilst a republic is a raft, which would never sink,
but then your feet are always in the water." Yes, that is comfortable;
and though your raft cannot sink (being too worthless for that), it may
go to pieces, I suppose, when the four winds (your only pilots) steer
competitively from its four corners, and carry it, [Greek: ôs opôrinos
Boreês phoreêsin akanthas], and then more than your feet will be in the

[67] ["Not with water, but with ruin." The worst ruin being that which
the Americans chiefly boast of. They sent all their best and honestest
youths, Harvard University men and the like, to that accursed war; got
them nearly all shot; wrote pretty biographies (to the ages of 17, 18,
19) and epitaphs for them; and so, having washed all the salt out of the
nation in blood, left themselves to putrefaction, and the morality of
New York.]

[68] [This paragraph contains the gist of all that precede.]

[69] [Whenever you are puzzled by any apparently mistaken use of words
in these essays, take your dictionary, remembering I had to fix terms,
as well as principles. A Duke is a "dux" or "leader;" the flying wedge
of cranes is under a "ducal monarch"--a very different personage from a
queen bee. The Venetians, with a beautiful instinct, gave the name to
their King of the Sea.]

[70] [This is a perfect picture of the French under the tyrannies of
their Pelican Kings, before the Revolution. But they must find other
than Pelican Kings--or rather, Pelican Kings of the Divine brood, that
feed their children, and with their best blood.]

[71] [Read carefully, from this point; because here begins the statement
of things requiring to be done, which I am now re-trying to make
definite in _Fors Clavigera_.]

[72] ["Evil on the top of Evil." Delphic oracle, meaning iron on the

[73] [Permit me to enforce and reinforce this statement, with all
earnestness. It is the sum of what needs most to be understood in the
matter of education.]

[74] [A pregnant paragraph, meant against English and Scotch landlords
who drive their people off the land.]

[75] [In Lucian's dialogue, "The sale of lives."]

[76] [I raise this analysis of the _Tempest_ into my text; but it is
nothing but a hurried note, which I may never have time to expand. I
have retouched it here and there a little, however.]

[77] Of Shakspeare's names I will afterwards speak at more length; they
are curiously--often barbarously--much by Providence,--but assuredly not
without Shakspeare's cunning purpose--mixed out of the various
traditions he confusedly adopted, and languages which he imperfectly
knew. Three of the clearest in meaning have been already noticed.
Desdemona, "[Greek: dysdaimonia]," "miserable fortune," is also plain
enough. Othello is, I believe, "the careful;" all the calamity of the
tragedy arising from the single flaw and error in his magnificently
collected strength. Ophelia, "serviceableness," the true lost wife of
Hamlet, is marked as having a Greek name by that of her brother,
Laertes; and its signification is once exquisitely alluded to in that
brother's last word of her, where her gentle preciousness is opposed to
the uselessness of the churlish clergy--"A _ministering_ angel shall my
sister be, when thou liest howling." Hamlet is, I believe, connected in
some way with "homely" the entire event of the tragedy turning on
betrayal of home duty. Hermione ([Greek: erma]), "pillar-like," ([Greek:
hê eidos eche chrysês 'Aphroditês]). Titania ([Greek: titênê]), "the
queen;" Benedict and Beatrice, "blessed and blessing;" Valentine and
Proteus, enduring (or strong), (valens), and changeful. Iago and Iachimo
have evidently the same root--probably the Spanish Iago, Jacob, "the
supplanter," Leonatus, and other such names, are interpreted, or played
with, in the plays themselves. For the interpretation of Sycorax, and
reference to her raven's feather, I am indebted to Mr. John R. Wise.



136. As in all previous discussions of our subject, we must study the
relation of the commanding rich to the obeying poor in its simplest
elements, in order to reach its first principles.

The simplest state of it, then, is this:[78] a wise and provident person
works much, consumes little, and lays by a store; an improvident person
works little, consumes all his produce, and lays by no store. Accident
interrupts the daily work, or renders it less productive; the idle
person must then starve, or be supported by the provident one, who,
having him thus at his mercy, may either refuse to maintain him
altogether, or, which will evidently be more to his own interest, say to
him, "I will maintain you, indeed, but you shall now work hard, instead
of indolently, and instead of being allowed to lay by what you save, as
you might have done, had you remained independent, _I_ will take all the
surplus. You would not lay it up for yourself; it is wholly your own
fault that has thrown you into my power, and I will force you to work,
or starve; yet you shall have no profit of your work, only your daily
bread for it; [and competition shall determine how much of that[79]]."
This mode of treatment has now become so universal that it is supposed
to be the only natural--nay, the only possible one; and the market wages
are calmly defined by economists as "the sum which will maintain the

137. The power of the provident person to do this is only checked by the
correlative power of some neighbour of similarly frugal habits, who says
to the labourer--"I will give you a little more than this other
provident person: come and work for me."

The power of the provident over the improvident depends thus, primarily,
on their relative numbers; secondarily, on the modes of agreement of the
adverse parties with each other. The accidental level of wages is a
variable function of the number of provident and idle persons in the
world, of the enmity between them as classes, and of the agreement
between those of the same class. _It depends, from beginning to end, on
moral conditions._

138. Supposing the rich to be entirely selfish, _it is always for their
interest that the poor should be as numerous as they can employ, and
restrain_. For, granting that the entire population is no larger than
the ground can easily maintain--that the classes are stringently
divided--and that there is sense or strength of hand enough with the
rich to secure obedience; then, if nine-tenths of a nation are poor, the
remaining tenth have the service of nine persons each;[80] but, if
eight-tenths are poor, only of four each; if seven-tenths are poor, of
two and a third each; if six-tenths are poor, of one and a half each;
and if five-tenths are poor, of only one each. But, practically, if the
rich strive always to obtain more power over the poor, instead of to
raise them--and if, on the other hand, the poor become continually more
vicious and numerous, through neglect and oppression,--though the
_range_ of the power of the rich increases, its _tenure_ becomes less
secure; until, at last the measure of iniquity being full, revolution,
civil war, or the subjection of the state to a healthier or stronger
one, closes the moral corruption, and industrial disease.[81]

139. It is rarely, however, that things come to this extremity. Kind
persons among the rich, and wise among the poor, modify the connexion of
the classes: the efforts made to raise and relieve on the one side, and
the success of honest toil on the other, bind and blend the orders of
society into the confused tissue of half-felt obligation,
sullenly-rendered obedience, and variously-directed, or mis-directed
toil, which form the warp of daily life. But this great law rules all
the wild design: that success (while society is guided by laws of
competition) _signifies always so much victory over your neighbour_ as
to obtain the direction of his work, and to take the profits of it.
_This is the real source of all great riches._ No man can become largely
rich by his personal toil.[82] The work of his own hands, wisely
directed, will indeed always maintain himself and his family, and make
fitting provision for his age. _But it is only by the discovery of some
method of taxing the labour of others that he can become opulent._ Every
increase of his capital enables him to extend this taxation more widely;
that is, to invest larger funds in the maintenance of labourers,--to
direct, accordingly, vaster and yet vaster masses of labour, and to
appropriate its profits.

140. There is much confusion of idea on the subject of this
appropriation. It is, of course, the interest of the employer to
disguise it from the persons employed; and, for his own comfort and
complacency, he often desires no less to disguise it from himself. And
it is matter of much doubt with me, how far the foul and foolish
arguments used habitually on this subject are indeed the honest
expression of foul and foolish convictions;--or rather (as I am
sometimes forced to conclude from the irritation with which they are
advanced) are resolutely dishonest, wilful, and malicious sophisms,
arranged so as to mask, to the last moment, the real laws of economy,
and future duties of men. By taking a simple example, and working it
thoroughly out, the subject may be rescued from all but such determined

141. Let us imagine a society of peasants, living on a rivershore,
exposed to destructive inundation at somewhat extended intervals; and
that each peasant possesses of this good, but imperilled, ground, more
than he needs to cultivate for immediate subsistence. We will assume
farther (and with too great probability of justice), that the greater
part of them indolently keep in tillage just as much land as supplies
them with daily food;--that they leave their children idle, and take no
precautions against the rise of the stream. But one of them, (we will
say but one, for the sake of greater clearness) cultivates carefully
_all_ the ground of his estate; makes his children work hard and
healthily; uses his spare time and theirs in building a rampart against
the river; and, at the end of some years, has in his storehouses large
reserves of food and clothing,--in his stables a well-tended breed of
cattle, and around his fields a wedge of wall against flood.

The torrent rises at last--sweeps away the harvests, and half the
cottages of the careless peasants, and leaves them destitute. They
naturally come for help to the provident one, whose fields are unwasted,
and whose granaries are full. He has the right to refuse it to them: no
one disputes this right.[83] But he will probably _not_ refuse it; it is
not his interest to do so, even were he entirely selfish and cruel. The
only question with him will be on what terms his aid is to be granted.

142. Clearly, not on terms of mere charity. To maintain his neighbours
in idleness would be not only his ruin, but theirs. He will require work
from them, in exchange for their maintenance; and, whether in kindness
or cruelty, all the work they can give. Not now the three or four hours
they were wont to spend on their own land, but the eight or ten hours
they ought to have spent.[84] But how will he apply this labour? The men
are now his slaves;--nothing less, and nothing more. On pain of
starvation, he can force them to work in the manner, and to the end, he
chooses. And it is by his wisdom in this choice that the worthiness of
his mastership is proved, or its unworthiness. Evidently, he must first
set them to bank out the water in some temporary way, and to get their
ground cleansed and resown; else, in any case, their continued
maintenance will be impossible. That done, and while he has still to
feed them, suppose he makes them raise a secure rampart for their own
ground against all future flood, and rebuild their houses in safer
places, with the best material they can find; being allowed time out of
their working hours to fetch such material from a distance. And for the
food and clothing advanced, he takes security in land that as much shall
be returned at a convenient period.

143. We may conceive this security to be redeemed, and the debt paid at
the end of a few years. The prudent peasant has sustained no loss; _but
is no richer than he was, and has had all his trouble for nothing_. But
he has enriched his neighbours materially; bettered their houses,
secured their land, and rendered them, in worldly matters, equal to
himself. In all rational and final sense, he has been throughout their
true Lord and King.

144. We will next trace his probable line of conduct, presuming his
object to be exclusively the increase of his own fortune. After roughly
recovering and cleansing the ground, he allows the ruined peasantry only
to build huts upon it, such as he thinks protective enough from the
weather to keep them in working health. The rest of their time he
occupies, first in pulling down, and rebuilding on a magnificent scale,
his own house, and in adding large dependencies to it. This done, in
exchange for his continued supply of corn, he buys as much of his
neighbours' land as he thinks he can superintend the management of; and
makes the former owners securely embank and protect the ceded portion.
By this arrangement, he leaves to a certain number of the peasantry only
as much ground as will just maintain them in their existing numbers; as
the population increases, he takes the extra hands, who cannot be
maintained on the narrowed estates, for his own servants; employs some
to cultivate the ground he has bought, giving them of its produce merely
enough for subsistence; with the surplus, which, under his energetic and
careful superintendence, will be large, he maintains a train of servants
for state, and a body of workmen, whom he educates in ornamental arts.
He now can splendidly decorate his house, lay out its grounds
magnificently, and richly supply his table, and that of his household
and retinue. And thus, without any abuse of right, we should find
established all the phenomena of poverty and riches, which (it is
supposed necessarily) accompany modern civilization. In one part of the
district, we should have unhealthy land, miserable dwellings, and
half-starved poor; in another, a well-ordered estate, well-fed servants,
and refined conditions of highly educated and luxurious life.

145. I have put the two cases in simplicity, and to some extremity. But
though in more complex and qualified operation, all the relations of
society are but the expansion of these two typical sequences of conduct
and result. I do not say, observe, that the first procedure is entirely
recommendable; or even entirely right; still less, that the second is
wholly wrong. Servants, and artists, and splendour of habitation and
retinue, have all their use, propriety, and office. But I am determined
that the reader shall understand clearly what they cost; and see that
the condition of having them is the subjection to us of a certain number
of imprudent or unfortunate persons (or, it may be, more fortunate than
their masters), over whose destinies we exercise a boundless control.
"Riches" mean eternally and essentially this; and God send at last a
time when those words of our best-reputed economist shall be true, and
we _shall_ indeed "all know what it is to be rich;"[85] that it is to
be slave-master over farthest earth, and over all ways and thoughts of
men. Every operative you employ is your true servant: distant or near,
subject to your immediate orders, or ministering to your
widely-communicated caprice,--for the pay he stipulates, or the price he
tempts,--all are alike under this great dominion of the gold. The
milliner who makes the dress is as much a servant (more so, in that she
uses more intelligence in the service) as the maid who puts it on; the
carpenter who smooths the door, as the footman who opens it; the
tradesmen who supply the table, as the labourers and sailors who supply
the tradesmen. Why speak of these lower services? Painters and singers
(whether of note or rhyme,) jesters and storytellers, moralists,
historians, priests,--so far as these, in any degree, paint, or sing, or
tell their tale, or charm their charm, or "perform" their rite, _for
pay_,--in so far, they are all slaves; abject utterly, if the service be
for pay only; abject less and less in proportion to the degrees of love
and of wisdom which enter into their duty, or _can_ enter into it,
according as their function is to do the bidding and the work of a manly
people;--or to amuse, tempt, and deceive, a childish one.

146. There is always, in such amusement and temptation, to a certain
extent, a government of the rich by the poor, as of the poor by the
rich; but the latter is the prevailing and necessary one, and it
consists, when it is honourable, in the collection of the profits of
labour from those who would have misused them, and the administration of
those profits for the service either of the same persons in future, or
of others; and when it is dishonourable, as is more frequently the case
in modern times, it consists in the collection of the profits of labour
from those who would have rightly used them, and their appropriation to
the service of the collector himself.

147. The examination of these various modes of collection and use of
riches will form the third branch of our future inquiries; but the key
to the whole subject lies in the clear understanding of the difference
between selfish and unselfish expenditure. It is not easy, by any
course of reasoning, to enforce this on the generally unwilling hearer;
yet the definition of unselfish expenditure is brief and simple. It is
expenditure which, if you are a capitalist, does not pay _you_, but pays
somebody else; and if you are a consumer, does not please _you_, but
pleases somebody else. Take one special instance, in further
illustration of the general type given above. I did not invent that
type, but spoke of a real river, and of real peasantry, the languid and
sickly race which inhabits, or haunts--for they are often more like
spectres than living men--the thorny desolation of the banks of the Arve
in Savoy. Some years ago, a society, formed at Geneva, offered to embank
the river for the ground which would have been recovered by the
operation; but the offer was refused by the (then Sardinian) government.
The capitalists saw that this expenditure would have "paid" if the
ground saved from the river was to be theirs. But if, when the offer
that had this aspect of profit was refused, they had nevertheless
persisted in the plan, and merely taking security for the return of
their outlay, lent the funds for the work, and thus saved a whole race
of human souls from perishing in a pestiferous fen (as, I presume, some
among them would, at personal risk, have dragged any one drowning
creature out of the current of the stream, and not expected payment
therefor), such expenditure would have precisely corresponded to the use
of his power made, in the first instance, by our supposed richer
peasant--it would have been the king's, of grace, instead of the
usurer's, for gain.

148. "Impossible, absurd, Utopian!" exclaim nine-tenths of the few
readers whom these words may find.

No, good reader, _this_ is not Utopian: but I will tell you what would
have seemed, if we had not seen it, Utopian on the side of evil instead
of good; that ever men should have come to value their money so much
more than their lives, that if you call upon them to become soldiers,
and take chance of a bullet through their heart, and of wife and
children being left desolate, for their pride's sake, they will do it
gaily, without thinking twice; but if you ask them, for their country's
sake, to spend a hundred pounds without security of getting back a
hundred-and-five,[86] they will laugh in your face.

149. Not but that also this game of life-giving and taking is, in the
end, somewhat more costly than other forms of play might be. Rifle
practice is, indeed, a not unhealthy pastime, and a feather on the top
of the head is a pleasing appendage; but while learning the stops and
fingering of the sweet instrument, does no one ever calculate the cost
of an overture? What melody does Tityrus meditate on his tenderly spiral
pipe? The leaden seed of it, broadcast, true conical "Dents de Lion"
seed--needing less allowance for the wind than is usual with that kind
of herb--what crop are you likely to have of it? Suppose, instead of
this volunteer marching and countermarching, you were to do a little
volunteer ploughing and counter-ploughing? It is more difficult to do it
straight: the dust of the earth, so disturbed, is more grateful than for
merely rhythmic footsteps. Golden cups, also, given for good ploughing,
would be more suitable in colour: (ruby glass, for the wine which
"giveth his colour" on the ground, might be fitter for the rifle prize
in ladies' hands). Or, conceive a little volunteer exercise with the
spade, other than such as is needed for moat and breastwork, or even
for the burial of the fruit of the leaden avena-seed, subject to the
shrill Lemures' criticism--

    Wer hat das Haus so schlecht gebauet?

If you were to embank Lincolnshire more stoutly against the sea? or
strip the peat of Solway, or plant Plinlimmon moors with larch--then, in
due season, some amateur reaping and threshing?

     "Nay, we reap and thresh by steam, in these advanced days."

I know it, my wise and economical friends. The stout arms God gave you
to win your bread by, you would fain shoot your neighbours, and God's
sweet singers with;[87] then you invoke the fiends to your farm-service;

    When young and old come forth to play
    On a sulphurous holiday,
    Tell how the darkling goblin sweat
    (His feast of cinders duly set),
    And, belching night, where breathed the morn,
    His shadowy flail hath threshed the corn
    That ten day-labourers could not end.

150. Going back to the matter in hand, we will press the example closer.
On a green knoll above that plain of the Arve, between Cluse and
Bonneville, there was, in the year 1860, a cottage, inhabited by a
well-doing family--man and wife, three children, and the grandmother. I
call it a cottage, but in truth, it was a large chimney on the ground,
wide at the bottom, so that the family might live round the fire;
lighted by one small broken window, and entered by an unclosing door.
The family, I say, was "well-doing;" at least it was hopeful and
cheerful; the wife healthy, the children, for Savoyards, pretty and
active, but the husband threatened with decline, from exposure under the
cliffs of the Mont Vergi by day, and to draughts between every plank of
his chimney in the frosty nights.

"Why could he not plaster the chinks?" asks the practical reader. For
the same reason that your child cannot wash its face and hands till you
have washed them many a day for it, and will not wash them when it can,
till you force it.

151. I passed this cottage often in my walks, had its window and door
mended; sometimes mended also a little the meal of sour bread and broth,
and generally got kind greeting and smile from the face of young or old;
which greeting this year, narrowed itself into the half-recognizing
stare of the elder child, and the old woman's tears; for the father and
mother were both dead,--one of sickness, the other of sorrow. It
happened that I passed not alone, but with a companion, a practised
English joiner, who, while these people were dying of cold, had been
employed from six in the morning to six in the evening, for two months,
in fitting, without nails, the panels of a single door in a large house
in London. Three days of his work taken, at the right time from
fastening the oak panels with useless precision, and applied to fasten
the larch timbers with decent strength, would have saved these
Savoyards' lives. _He_ would have been maintained equally; (I suppose
him equally paid for his work by the owner of the greater house, only
the work not consumed selfishly on his own walls;) and the two peasants,
and eventually, probably their children, saved.

152. There are, therefore,--let me finally enforce, and leave with the
reader, this broad conclusion,--three things to be considered in
employing any poor person. It is not enough to give him employment. You
must employ him first to produce useful things; secondly, of the several
(suppose equally useful) things he can equally well produce, you must
set him to make that which will cause him to lead the healthiest life;
lastly, of the things produced, it remains a question of wisdom and
conscience how much you are to take yourself, and how much to leave to
others. A large quantity, remember, unless you destroy it, _must_ always
be so left at one time or another; the only questions you have to decide
are, not _what_ you will give, but _when_, and _how_, and _to whom_, you
will give. The natural law of human life is, of course, that in youth a
man shall labour and lay by store for his old age, and when age comes,
shall use what he has laid by, gradually slackening his toil, and
allowing himself more frank use of his store; taking care always to
leave himself as much as will surely suffice for him beyond any possible
length of life. What he has gained, or by tranquil and unanxious toil
continues to gain, more than is enough for his own need, he ought so to
administer, while he yet lives, as to see the good of it again
beginning, in other hands; for thus he has himself the greatest sum of
pleasure from it, and faithfully uses his sagacity in its control.
Whereas most men, it appears, dislike the sight of their fortunes going
out into service again, and say to themselves,--"I can indeed nowise
prevent this money from falling at last into the hands of others, nor
hinder the good of it from becoming theirs, not mine; but at least let a
merciful death save me from being a witness of their satisfaction; and
may God so far be gracious to me as to let no good come of any of this
money of mine before my eyes."

153. Supposing this feeling unconquerable, the safest way of rationally
indulging it would be for the capitalist at once to spend all his
fortune on himself, which might actually, in many cases, be quite the
rightest as well as the pleasantest thing to do, if he had just tastes
and worthy passions. But, whether for himself only, or through the
hands, and for the sake, of others also, the law of wise life is, that
the maker of the money shall also be the spender of it, and spend it,
approximately, all, before he dies; so that his true ambition as an
economist should be, to die, not as rich, but as poor, as possible,[88]
calculating the ebb tide of possession in true and calm proportion to
the ebb tide of life. Which law, checking the wing of accumulative
desire in the mid-volley,[89] and leading to peace of possession and
fulness of fruition in old age, is also wholesome, in that by the
freedom of gift, together with present help and counsel, it at once
endears and dignifies age in the sight of youth, which then no longer
strips the bodies of the dead, but receives the grace of the living. Its
chief use would (or will be, for men are indeed capable of attaining to
this much use of their reason), that some temperance and measure will be
put to the acquisitiveness of commerce.[90] For as things stand, a man
holds it his duty to be temperate in his food, and of his body, but for
no duty to be temperate in his riches, and of his mind. He sees that he
ought not to waste his youth and his flesh for luxury; but he will waste
his age, and his soul, for money, and think he does no wrong, nor know
the _delirium tremens_ of the intellect for disease. But the law of life
is, that a man should fix the sum he desires to make annually, as the
food he desires to eat daily; and stay when he has reached the limit,
refusing increase of business, and leaving it to others, so obtaining
due freedom of time for better thoughts.[91] How the gluttony of
business is punished, a bill of health for the principals of the richest
city houses, issued annually, would show in a sufficiently impressive

154. I know, of course, that these statements will be received by the
modern merchant as an active border rider of the sixteenth century would
have heard of its being proper for men of the Marches to get their
living by the spade, instead of the spur. But my business is only to
state veracities and necessities; I neither look for the acceptance of
the one, nor hope for the nearness of the other. Near or distant, the
day _will_ assuredly come when the merchants of a state shall be its
true ministers of exchange, its porters, in the double sense of carriers
and gate-keepers, bringing all lands into frank and faithful
communication, and knowing for their master of guild, Hermes the herald,
instead of Mercury the gain-guarder.

155. And now, finally, for immediate rule to all who will accept it.

The distress of any population means that they need food, house-room,
clothes, and fuel. You can never, therefore, be wrong in employing any
labourer to produce food, house-room, clothes, or fuel; but you are
_always_ wrong if you employ him to produce nothing, (for then some
other labourer must be worked double time to feed him); and you are
generally wrong, at present, if you employ him (unless he can do nothing
else) to produce works of art or luxuries; because modern art is mostly
on a false basis, and modern luxury is criminally great.[92]

156. The way to produce more food is mainly to bring in fresh ground,
and increase facilities of carriage;--to break rock, exchange earth,
drain the moist, and water the dry, to mend roads, and build harbours of
refuge. Taxation thus spent will annihilate taxation, but spent in war,
it annihilates revenue.

157. The way to produce house-room is to apply your force first to the
humblest dwellings. When your brick-layers are out of employ, do not
build splendid new streets, but better the old ones; send your paviours
and slaters to the poorest villages, and see that your poor are
healthily lodged, before you try your hand on stately architecture. You
will find its stateliness rise better under the trowel afterwards; and
we do do not yet build so well that we need hasten to display our skill
to future ages. Had the labour which has decorated the Houses of
Parliament filled, instead, rents in walls and roofs throughout the
county of Middlesex; and our deputies met to talk within massive walls
that would have needed no stucco for five hundred years,--the decoration
might have been afterwards, and the talk now. And touching even our
highly conscientious church building, it may be well to remember that in
the best days of church plans, their masons called themselves "logeurs
du bon Dieu;" and that since, according to the most trusted reports, God
spends a good deal of His time in cottages as well as in churches, He
might perhaps like to be a little better lodged there also.

158. The way to get more clothes is--not, necessarily, to get more
cotton. There were words written twenty years ago[93] which would have
saved many of us some shivering, had they been minded in time. Shall we
read them again?

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

"My friends, suppose we quitted that stand; suppose we came honestly
down from it and said--'This is our minimum of cotton prices; we care
not, for the present, to make cotton any cheaper. Do you, if it seem so
blessed to you, make cotton cheaper. Fill your lungs with cotton fur,
your heart with copperas fumes, with rage and mutiny; become ye the
general gnomes of Europe, slaves of the lamp!' I admire a nation which
fancies it will die if it do not undersell all other nations to the end
of the world. Brothers, we will cease to undersell them; we will be
content to equal-sell them; to be happy selling equally with them! I do
not see the use of underselling them: cotton-cloth is already twopence a
yard, or lower; and yet bare backs were never more numerous among us.
Let inventive men cease to spend their existence incessantly contriving
how cotton can be made cheaper; and try to invent a little how cotton at
its present cheapness could be somewhat justlier divided among us.

"Let inventive men consider--whether the secret of this universe does
after all consist in making money. With a hell which means--'failing to
make money,' I do not think there is any heaven possible that would suit
one well. In brief, all this Mammon gospel of supply-and-demand,
competition _laissez faire_, and devil take the hindmost (foremost, is
it not, rather, Mr. Carlyle?), 'begins to be one of the shabbiest
gospels ever preached.'"

159. The way to produce more fuel[94] is first to make your coal mines
safer, by sinking more shafts; then set all your convicts to work in
them, and if, as is to be hoped, you succeed in diminishing the supply
of that sort of labourer, consider what means there may be, first, of
growing forest where its growth will improve climate; secondly, of
splintering the forests which now make continents of fruitful land
pathless and poisonous, into fagots for fire;--so gaining at once
dominion icewards and sunwards. Your steam power has been given (you
will find eventually) for work such as that: and not for excursion
trains, to give the labourer a moment's breath, at the peril of his
breath for ever, from amidst the cities which it has crushed into masses
of corruption. When you know how to build cities, and how to rule them,
you will be able to breathe in their streets, and the "excursion" will
be the afternoon's walk or game in the fields round them.

160. "But nothing of this work will pay?"

No; no more than it pays to dust your rooms, or wash your doorsteps. It
will pay; not at first in currency, but in that which is the end and the
source of currency,--in life; (and in currency richly afterwards). It
will pay in that which is more than life,--in light, whose true price
has not yet been reckoned in any currency, and yet into the image of
which, all wealth, one way or other, must be cast. For your riches must
either be as the lightning, which,

                Begot but in a cloud,
    Though shining bright, and speaking loud,
    Whilst it begins, concludes its violent race;
    And, where it gilds, it wounds the place;--

or else, as the lightning of the sacred sign, which shines from one part
of the heaven to the other. There is no other choice; you must either
take dust for deity, spectre for possession, fettered dream for life,
and for epitaph, this reversed verse of the great Hebrew hymn of economy
(Psalm cxii.):--"He hath gathered together, he hath stripped the poor,
his iniquity remaineth for ever:"--or else, having the sun of justice to
shine on you, and the sincere substance of good in your possession, and
the pure law and liberty of life within you, leave men to write this
better legend over your grave:--

"He hath dispersed abroad. He hath given to the poor. His righteousness
remaineth for ever."


[78] In the present general examination, I concede so much to ordinary
economists as to ignore all _innocent_ poverty. I adapt my reasoning,
for once, to the modern English practical mind, by assuming poverty to
be always criminal; the conceivable exceptions we will examine

[79] [I have no terms of English, and can find none in Greek nor Latin,
nor in any other strong language known to me, contemptuous enough to
attach to the bestial idiotism of the modern theory that wages are to be
measured by competition.]

[80] I say nothing yet of the quality of the servants, which,
nevertheless, is the gist of the business. Will you have Paul Veronese
to paint your ceiling, or the plumber from over the way? Both will work
for the same money; Paul, if anything, a little the cheaper of the two,
if you keep him in good humour; only you have to discern him first,
which will need eyes.

[81] [I have not altered a syllable in these three paragraphs, 137, 138,
139, on revision; but have much italicised: the principles stated being
as vital, as they are little known.]

[82] By his art he may; but only when its produce, or the sight or
hearing of it, becomes a subject of dispute, so as to enable the artist
to tax the labour of multitudes highly, in exchange for his own.

[83] [Observe this; the legal right to keep what you have worked for,
and use it as you please, is the corner-stone of all economy: compare
the end of Chap. II.]

[84] [I should now put the time of necessary labour rather under than
over the third of the day.]

[85] [See Preface to _Unto this Last_.]

[86] I have not hitherto touched on the subject of interest of money; it
is too complex, and must be reserved for its proper place in the body of
the work. The definition of interest (apart from compensation for risk)
is, "the exponent of the comfort of accomplished labour, separated from
its power;" the power being what is lent: and the French economists who
have maintained the entire illegality of interest are wrong; yet by no
means so curiously or wildly wrong as the English and French ones
opposed to them, whose opinions have been collected by Dr. Whewell at
page 41 of his _Lectures_; it never seeming to occur to the mind of the
compiler, any more than to the writers whom he quotes, that it is quite
possible, and even (according to Jewish proverb) prudent, for men to
hoard as ants and mice do, for use, not usury; and lay by something for
winter nights, in the expectation of rather sharing than lending the
scrapings. My Savoyard squirrels would pass a pleasant time of it under
the snow-laden pine branches, if they always declined to economize
because no one would pay them interest on nuts.

[I leave this note as it stood: but, as I have above stated, should now
side wholly with the French economists spoken of, in asserting the
absolute illegality of interest.]

[87] Compare Chaucer's feeling respecting birds (from Canace's falcon,
to the nightingale, singing, "Domine, labia--" to the Lord of Love),
with the usual modern British sentiments on this subject. Or even

    "What prince's choir of music can excel
    That which within this shade does dwell,
    To which we nothing pay, or give,
    They, like all other poets, live
    Without reward, or thanks for their obliging pains!
    'Tis well if they become not prey."

Yes; it Is better than well; particularly since the seed sown by the
wayside has been protected by the peculiar appropriation of part of the
church-rates in our country parishes. See the remonstrance from a
"Country parson," in _The Times_ of June 4th (or 5th; the letter is
dated June 3rd,) 1862:--"I have heard at a vestry meeting a good deal of
higgling over a few shillings' outlay in cleaning the church; but I have
never heard any dissatisfaction expressed on account of that part of the
rate which is invested in 50 or 100 dozens of birds' heads."

[If we could trace the innermost of all causes of modern war, I believe
it would be found, not in the avarice nor ambition of nations, but in
the mere idleness of the upper classes. They have nothing to do but to
teach the peasantry to kill each other.]

[88] [See the _Life of Fenelon_. "The labouring peasantry were at all
times the objects of his tenderest care; his palace at Cambray, with all
his books and writings, being consumed by fire, he bore the misfortune
with unruffled calmness, and said it was better his palace should be
burnt than the cottage of a poor peasant." (These thoroughly good men
always go too far, and lose their power over the mass.) He died
exemplifying the mean he had always observed between prodigality and
avarice, leaving neither debts nor money.]

[89] [Greek: kai penian hêgoumenous einai mê to tên ousian elattô poiein
alla to têi aplêstian pleiô]. "And thinking (wisely) that poverty
consists not in making one's possessions less, but one's avarice
more."--_Laws_, v. 8. Read the context, and compare. "He who spends for
all that is noble, and gains by nothing but what is just, will hardly be
notably wealthy, or distressfully poor."--_Laws_, v. 42.

[90] The fury of modern trade arises chiefly out of the possibility of
making sudden fortunes by largeness of transaction, and accident of
discovery or contrivance. I have no doubt that the final interest of
every nation is to check the action of these commercial lotteries; and
that all great accidental gains or losses should be national,--not
individual. But speculation absolute, unconnected with commercial
effort, is an unmitigated evil in a state, and the root of countless
evils beside.

[91] [I desire in the strongest terms to reinforce all that is contained
in this paragraph.]

[92] It is especially necessary that the reader should keep his mind
fixed on the methods of consumption and destruction, as the true sources
of national poverty. Men are apt to call every exchange "expenditure,"
but it is only consumption which is expenditure. A large number of the
purchases made by the richer classes are mere forms of interchange of
unused property, wholly without effect on national prosperity. It
matters nothing to the state whether, if a china pipkin be rated as
worth a hundred pounds, A has the pipkin and B the pounds, or A the
pounds and B the pipkin. But if the pipkin is pretty, and A or B breaks
it, there is national loss, not otherwise. So again, when the loss has
really taken place, no shifting of the shoulders that bear it will do
away with the reality of it. There is an intensely ludicrous notion in
the public mind respecting the abolishment of debt by denying it. When a
debt is denied, the lender loses instead of the borrower, that is all;
the loss is precisely, accurately, everlastingly the same. The Americans
borrow money to spend in blowing up their own houses. They deny their
debt, by one-third already [1863], gold being at fifty premium; and they
will probably deny it wholly. That merely means that the holders of the
notes are to be the losers instead of the issuers. The quantity of loss
is precisely equal, and irrevocable; it is the quantity of human
industry spent in effecting the explosion, plus the quantity of goods
exploded. Honour only decides _who_ shall pay the sum lost not whether
it is to be paid or not. Paid it must be, and to the uttermost farthing.

[93] [(_Past and Present._ Chap. IX. of Third Section.) To think that
for these twenty--now twenty-six--years, this one voice of Carlyle's has
been the only faithful and useful utterance in all England, and has
sounded through all these years in vain! See _Fors Clavigera_, Letter

[94] [We don't want to produce more fuel just now, but much less; and to
use what we get for cooking and warming ourselves, instead of for
running from place to place.]


I have brought together in these last pages a few notes, which were not
properly to be incorporated with the text, and which, at the bottom of
pages, checked the reader's attention to the main argument. They
contain, however, several statements to which I wish to be able to
refer, or have already referred, in other of my books, so that I think
right to preserve them.

APPENDIX I.--(p. 22.)

The greatest of all economists are those most opposed to the doctrine of
"laissez faire," namely, the fortifying virtues, which the wisest men of
all time have arranged under the general heads of Prudence, or
Discretion (the spirit which discerns and adopts rightly); Justice (the
spirit which rules and divides rightly); Fortitude (the spirit which
persists and endures rightly); and Temperance (the spirit which stops
and refuses rightly). These cardinal and sentinel virtues are not only
the means of protecting and prolonging life itself, but they are the
chief guards, or sources, of the material means of life, and the
governing powers and princes of economy. Thus, precisely according to
the number of just men in a nation, is their power of avoiding either
intestine or foreign war. All disputes may be peaceably settled, if a
sufficient number of persons have been trained to submit to the
principles of justice, while the necessity for war is in direct ratio to
the number of unjust persons who are incapable of determining a quarrel
but by violence. Whether the injustice take the form of the desire of
dominion, or of refusal to submit to it, or of lust of territory, or
lust of money, or of mere irregular passion and wanton will, the result
is economically the same;--loss of the quantity of power and life
consumed in repressing the injustice, added to the material and moral
destruction caused by the fact of war. The early civil wars of England,
and the existing[95] war in America, are curious examples--these under
monarchical, this under republican, institutions--of the results on
large masses of nations of the want of education in principles of
justice. But the mere dread or distrust resulting from the want of the
inner virtues of Faith and Charity prove often no less costly than war
itself. The fear which France and England have of each other costs each
nation about fifteen millions sterling annually, besides various
paralyses of commerce; that sum being spent in the manufacture of means
of destruction instead of means of production. There is no more reason
in the nature of things that France and England should be hostile to
each other than that England and Scotland should be, or Lancashire and
Yorkshire; and the reciprocal terrors of the opposite sides of the
English Channel are neither more necessary, more economical, nor more
virtuous, than the old riding and reiving on the opposite flanks of the
Cheviots, or than England's own weaving for herself of crowns of thorn,
from the stems of her Red and White roses.

APPENDIX II.--(p. 34.)

Few passages of the book which at least some part of the nations at
present most advanced in civilization accept as an expression of final
truth, have been more distorted than those bearing on Idolatry. For the
idolatry there denounced is neither sculpture, nor veneration of
sculpture. It is simply the substitution of an "Eidolon," phantasm, or
imagination of Good, for that which is real and enduring; from the
Highest Living Good, which gives life, to the lowest material good
which ministers to it. The Creator, and the things created, which He is
said to have "seen good" in creating, are in this their eternal goodness
appointed always to be "worshipped,"--_i. e._, to have goodness and
worth ascribed to them from the heart; and the sweep and range of
idolatry extend to the rejection of any or all of these, "calling evil
good, and good evil,--putting bitter for sweet, and sweet for
bitter."[96] For in that rejection and substitution we betray the first
of all Loyalties, to the fixed Law of life, and with resolute opposite
loyalty serve our own imagination of good, which is the law, not of the
House, but of the Grave, (otherwise called the law of "mark missing,"
which we translate "law of Sin"); these "two masters," between whose
services we have to choose, being otherwise distinguished as God and
Mammon, which Mammon, though we narrowly take it as the power of
money only, is in truth the great evil Spirit of false and
fond desire, or "Covetousness, which is Idolatry." So that
Iconoclasm--_image_-breaking--is easy; but an Idol cannot be broken--it
must be forsaken; and this is not so easy, either to do, or persuade to
doing. For men may readily be convinced of the weakness of an image; but
not of the emptiness of an imagination.

APPENDIX III.--(p. 36.)

I have not attempted to support, by the authority of other writers, any
of the statements made in these papers; indeed, if such authorities were
rightly collected, there would be no occasion for my writing at all.
Even in the scattered passages referring to this subject in three books
of Carlyle's--Sartor Resartus, Past and Present, and the Latter Day
Pamphlets,--all has been said that needs to be said, and far better than
I shall ever say it again. But the habit of the public mind at present
is to require everything to be uttered diffusely, loudly, and a hundred
times over, before it will listen; and it has revolted against these
papers of mine as if they contained things daring and new, when there
is not one assertion in them of which the truth has not been for ages
known to the wisest, and proclaimed by the most eloquent of men. It
would be [I had written _will_ be; but have now reached a time of life
for which there is but one mood--the conditional,] a far greater
pleasure to me hereafter, to collect their words than to add to mine;
Horace's clear rendering of the substance of the passages in the text
may be found room for at once,

    Si quis emat citharas, emptas comportet in unum
    Nec studio citharae, nec Musae deditus ulli;
    Si scalpra et formas non sutor, nautica vela
    Aversus mercaturis, delirus et amens
    Undique dicatur merito. Qui discrepat istis
    Qui nummos aurumque recondit, nescius uti
    Compositis; metuensque velut contingere sacrum?

[Which may be roughly thus translated:--

     "Were anybody to buy fiddles, and collect a number, being in
     no wise given to fiddling, nor fond of music: or if, being
     no cobbler, he collected awls and lasts, or, having no mind
     for sea-adventure, bought sails, every one would call him a
     madman, and deservedly. But what difference is there between
     such a man and one who lays by coins and gold, and does not
     know how to use, when he has got them?"]

With which it is perhaps desirable also to give Xenophon's statement, it
being clearer than any English one can be, owing to the power of the
general Greek term for wealth, "useable things."

[I have cut out the Greek because I can't be troubled to correct the
accents, and am always nervous about them; here it is in English, as
well as I can do it:--

"This being so, it follows that things are only property to the man who
knows how to use them; as flutes, for instance, are property to the man
who can pipe upon them respectably; but to one who knows not how to
pipe, they are no property, unless he can get rid of them
advantageously.... For if they are not sold, the flutes are no property
(being serviceable for nothing); but, sold, they become property. To
which Socrates made answer,--'and only then if he knows how to sell
them, for if he sell them to another man who cannot play on them, still
they are no property.'"]

APPENDIX IV.--(p. 39.)

The reader is to include here in the idea of "Government," any branch of
the Executive, or even any body of private persons, entrusted with the
practical management of public interests unconnected directly with their
own personal ones. In theoretical discussions of legislative
interference with political economy, it is usually, and of course
unnecessarily, assumed that Government must be always of that form and
force in which we have been accustomed to see it;--that its abuses can
never be less, nor its wisdom greater, nor its powers more numerous.
But, practically, the custom in most civilized countries is, for every
man to deprecate the interference of Government as long as things tell
for his personal advantage, and to call for it when they cease to do so.
The request of the Manchester Economists to be supplied with cotton by
Government (the system of supply and demand having, for the time, fallen
sorrowfully short of the expectations of scientific persons from it), is
an interesting case in point. It were to be wished that less wide and
bitter suffering, suffering, too, of the innocent, had been needed to
force the nation, or some part of it, to ask itself why a body of men,
already confessedly capable of managing matters both military and
divine, should not be permitted, or even requested, at need, to provide
in some wise for sustenance as well as for defence; and secure, if it
might be,--(and it might, I think, even the _rather_ be),--purity of
bodily, as well as of spiritual, aliment? Why, having made many roads
for the passage of armies, may they not make a few for the conveyance of
food; and after organizing, with applause, various schemes of
theological instruction for the Public, organize, moreover, some
methods of bodily nourishment for them? Or is the soul so much less
trustworthy in its instincts than the stomach, that legislation is
necessary for the one, but inapplicable to the other.

APPENDIX V.--(p. 70.)

I debated with myself whether to make the note on Homer longer by
examining the typical meaning of the shipwreck of Ulysses, and his
escape from Charybdis by help of her fig-tree; but as I should have had
to go on to the lovely myth of Leucothea's veil, and did not care to
spoil this by a hurried account of it, I left it for future examination;
and, three days after the paper was published, observed that the
reviewers, with their customary helpfulness, were endeavouring to throw
the whole subject back into confusion by dwelling on this single (as
they imagined) oversight. I omitted also a note on the sense of the word
[Greek: lygron], with respect to the pharmacy of Circe, and herb-fields
of Helen, (compare its use in Odyssey, xvii., 473, &c.), which would
farther have illustrated the nature of the Circean power. But, not to be
led too far into the subtleties of these myths, observe respecting them
all, that even in very simple parables, it is not always easy to attach
indisputable meaning to every part of them. I recollect some years ago,
throwing an assembly of learned persons who had met to delight
themselves with interpretations of the parable of the prodigal son,
(interpretations which had up to that moment gone very smoothly,) into
mute indignation, by inadvertently asking who the _un_prodigal son was,
and what was to be learned by _his_ example. The leading divine of the
company, Mr. Molyneux, at last explained to me that the unprodigal son
was a lay figure, put in for dramatic effect, to make the story
prettier, and that no note was to be taken of him. Without, however,
admitting that Homer put in the last escape of Ulysses merely to make
his story prettier, this is nevertheless true of all Greek myths, that
they have many opposite lights and shades; they are as changeful as
opal, and like opal, usually have one colour by reflected, and another
by transmitted light. But they are true jewels for all that, and full of
noble enchantment for those who can use them; for those who cannot, I am
content to repeat the words I wrote four years ago, in the appendix to
the _Two Paths_--

"The entire purpose of a great thinker may be difficult to fathom, and
we may be over and over again more or less mistaken in guessing at his
meaning; but the real, profound, nay, quite bottomless and unredeemable
mistake, is the fool's thought, that he had _no_ meaning."

APPENDIX VI.--(p. 84)

The derivation of words is like that of rivers: there is one real
source, usually small, unlikely, and difficult to find, far up among the
hills; then, as the word flows on and comes into service, it takes in
the force of other words from other sources, and becomes quite another
word--often much more than one word, after the junction--a word as it
were of many waters, sometimes both sweet and bitter. Thus the whole
force of our English "charity" depends on the guttural in "charis"
getting confused with the c of the Latin "carus;" thenceforward
throughout the middle ages, the two ideas ran on together, and both got
confused with St. Paul's [Greek: agapê], which expresses a different
idea in all sorts of ways; our "charity" having not only brought in the
entirely foreign sense of alms-giving, but lost the essential sense of
contentment, and lost much more in getting too far away from the
"charis" of the final Gospel benedictions. For truly it is fine
Christianity we have come to, which, professing to expect the perpetual
grace or charity of its Founder, has not itself grace or charity enough
to hinder it from overreaching its friends in sixpenny bargains; and
which, supplicating evening and morning the forgiveness of its own
debts, goes forth at noon to take its fellow-servants by the throat,
saying,--not merely "Pay me that thou owest," but "Pay me that thou
owest me _not_."

It is true that we sometimes wear Ophelia's rue with a difference, and
call it "Herb o' grace o' Sundays," taking consolation out of the
offertory with--"Look, what he layeth out; it shall be paid him again."
Comfortable words indeed, and good to set against the old royalty of

    Whose moste joie was, I wis,
    When that she gave, and said, "Have this."

[I am glad to end, for this time, with these lovely words of Chaucer. We
have heard only too much lately of "Indiscriminate charity," with
implied reproval, not of the Indiscrimination merely, but of the Charity
also. We have partly succeeded in enforcing on the minds of the poor the
idea that it is disgraceful to receive; and are likely, without much
difficulty, to succeed in persuading not a few of the rich that it is
disgraceful to give. But the political economy of a great state makes
both giving and receiving graceful; and the political economy of true
religion interprets the saying that "it is more blessed to give than to
receive," not as the promise of reward in another life for mortified
selfishness in this, but as pledge of bestowal upon us of that sweet and
better nature, which does not mortify itself in giving.]

    _Brantwood, Coniston,_
    _5th October, 1871._



[95] [Written in 1862. I little thought that when I next corrected my
type, the "existing" war best illustrative of the sentence would be
between Frenchmen in the Elysian Fields of Paris.]

[96] Compare the close of the Fourth Lecture in _Aratra Pentelici_.





Eight years ago, in the close of the first volume of "Modern Painters,"
I ventured to give the following advice to the young artists of

"They should go to nature in all singleness of heart, and walk with her
laboriously and trustingly, having no other thought but how best to
penetrate her meaning; rejecting nothing, selecting nothing, and
scorning nothing." Advice which, whether bad or good, involved infinite
labor and humiliation in the following it; and was therefore, for the
most part, rejected.

It has, however, at last been carried out, to the very letter, by a
group of men who, for their reward, have been assailed with the most
scurrilous abuse which I ever recollect seeing issue from the public
press. I have, therefore, thought it due to them to contradict the
directly false statements which have been made respecting their works;
and to point out the kind of merit which, however deficient in some
respects, those works possess beyond the possibility of dispute.

    Denmark Hill,

    Aug. 1851.


It may be proved, with much certainty, that God intends no man to live
in this world without working: but it seems to me no less evident that
He intends every man to be happy in his work. It is written, "in the
sweat of thy brow," but it was never written, "in the breaking of thine
heart," thou shalt eat bread; and I find that, as on the one hand,
infinite misery is caused by idle people, who both fail in doing what
was appointed for them to do, and set in motion various springs of
mischief in matters in which they should have had no concern, so on the
other hand, no small misery is caused by over-worked and unhappy people,
in the dark views which they necessarily take up themselves, and force
upon others, of work itself. Were it not so, I believe the fact of their
being unhappy is in itself a violation of divine law, and a sign of some
kind of folly or sin in their way of life. Now in order that people may
be happy in their work, these three things are needed: They must be fit
for it: They must not do too much of it: and they must have a sense of
success in it--not a doubtful sense, such as needs some testimony of
other people for its confirmation, but a sure sense, or rather
knowledge, that so much work has been done well, and fruitfully done,
whatever the world may say or think about it. So that in order that a
man may be happy, it is necessary that he should not only be capable of
his work, but a good judge of his work.

The first thing then that he has to do, if unhappily his parents or
masters have not done it for him, is to find out what he is fit for. In
which inquiry a man may be very safely guided by his likings, if he be
not also guided by his pride. People usually reason in some such
fashion as this: "I don't seem quite fit for a head-manager in the firm
of ---- & Co., therefore, in all probability, I am fit to be Chancellor
of the Exchequer." Whereas, they ought rather to reason thus: "I don't
seem quite fit to be head-manager in the firm of ---- & Co., but I
daresay I might do something in a small green-grocery business; I used
to be a good judge of peas;" that is to say, always trying lower instead
of trying higher, until they find bottom: once well set on the ground, a
man may build up by degrees, safely, instead of disturbing every one in
his neighborhood by perpetual catastrophes. But this kind of humility is
rendered especially difficult in these days, by the contumely thrown on
men in humble employments. The very removal of the massy bars which once
separated one class of society from another, has rendered it tenfold
more shameful in foolish people's, i. e. in most people's eyes, to
remain in the lower grades of it, than ever it was before. When a man
born of an artisan was looked upon as an entirely different species of
animal from a man born of a noble, it made him no more uncomfortable or
ashamed to remain that different species of animal, than it makes a
horse ashamed to remain a horse, and not to become a giraffe. But now
that a man may make money, and rise in the world, and associate himself,
unreproached, with people once far above him, not only is the natural
discontentedness of humanity developed to an unheard-of extent, whatever
a man's position, but it becomes a veritable shame to him to remain in
the state he was born in, and everybody thinks it his _duty_ to try to
be a "gentleman." Persons who have any influence in the management of
public institutions for charitable education know how common this
feeling has become. Hardly a day passes but they receive letters from
mothers who want all their six or eight sons to go to college, and make
the grand tour in the long vacation, and who think there is something
wrong in the foundations of society, because this is not possible. Out
of every ten letters of this kind, nine will allege, as the reason of
the writers' importunity, their desire to keep their families in such
and such a "station of life." There is no real desire for the safety,
the discipline, or the moral good of the children, only a panic horror
of the inexpressibly pitiable calamity of their living a ledge or two
lower on the molehill of the world--a calamity to be averted at any cost
whatever, of struggle, anxiety, and shortening of life itself. I do not
believe that any greater good could be achieved for the country, than
the change in public feeling on this head, which might be brought about
by a few benevolent men, undeniably in the class of "gentlemen," who
would, on principle, enter into some of our commonest trades, and make
them honorable; showing that it was possible for a man to retain his
dignity, and remain, in the best sense, a gentleman, though part of his
time was every day occupied in manual labor, or even in serving
customers over a counter. I do not in the least see why courtesy, and
gravity, and sympathy with the feelings of others, and courage, and
truth, and piety, and what else goes to make up a gentleman's character,
should not be found behind a counter as well as elsewhere, if they were
demanded, or even hoped for, there.

Let us suppose, then, that the man's way of life and manner of work have
been discreetly chosen; then the next thing to be required is, that he
do not over-work himself therein. I am not going to say anything here
about the various errors in our systems of society and commerce, which
appear (I am not sure if they ever do more than appear) to force us to
over-work ourselves merely that we may live; nor about the still more
fruitful cause of unhealthy toil--the incapability, in many men, of
being content with the little that is indeed necessary to their
happiness. I have only a word or two to say about one special cause of
over-work--the ambitious desire of doing great or clever things, and the
hope of accomplishing them by immense efforts: hope as vain as it is
pernicious; not only making men over-work themselves, but rendering all
the work they do unwholesome to them. I say it is a vain hope, and let
the reader be assured of this (it is a truth all-important to the best
interests of humanity). _No great intellectual thing was ever done by
great effort_; a great thing can only be done by a great man, and he
does it _without_ effort. Nothing is, at present, less understood by us
than this--nothing is more necessary to be understood. Let me try to say
it as clearly, and explain it as fully as I may.

I have said no great _intellectual_ thing: for I do not mean the
assertion to extend to things moral. On the contrary, it seems to me
that just because we are intended, as long as we live, to be in a state
of intense moral effort, we are _not_ intended to be in intense physical
or intellectual effort. Our full energies are to be given to the soul's
work--to the great fight with the Dragon--the taking the kingdom of
heaven by force. But the body's work and head's work are to be done
quietly, and comparatively without effort. Neither limbs nor brain are
ever to be strained to their utmost; that is not the way in which the
greatest quantity of work is to be got out of them: they are never to be
worked furiously, but with tranquillity and constancy. We are to follow
the plough from sunrise to sunset, but not to pull in race-boats at the
twilight: we shall get no fruit of that kind of work, only disease of
the heart.

How many pangs would be spared to thousands, if this great truth and law
were but once sincerely, humbly understood,--that if a great thing can
be done at all, it can be done easily; that, when it is needed to be
done, there is perhaps only one man in the world who can do it; but _he_
can do it without any trouble--without more trouble, that is, than it
costs small people to do small things; nay, perhaps, with less. And yet
what truth lies more openly on the surface of all human phenomena? Is
not the evidence of Ease on the very front of all the greatest works in
existence? Do they not say plainly to us, not, "there has been a great
_effort_ here," but, "there has been a great _power_ here"? It is not
the weariness of mortality, but the strength of divinity, which we have
to recognise in all mighty things; and that is just what we now _never_
recognise, but think that we are to do great things, by help of iron
bars and perspiration:--alas! we shall do nothing that way but lose some
pounds of our own weight.

Yet, let me not be misunderstood, nor this great truth be supposed
anywise resolvable into the favorite dogma of young men, that they need
not work if they have genius. The fact is, that a man of genius is
always far more ready to work than other people, and gets so much more
good from the work that he does, and is often so little conscious of the
inherent divinity in himself, that he is very apt to ascribe all his
capacity to his work, and to tell those who ask how he came to be what
he is: "If I _am_ anything, which I much doubt, I made myself so merely
by labor." This was Newton's way of talking, and I suppose it would be
the general tone of men whose genius had been devoted to the physical
sciences. Genius in the Arts must commonly be more self-conscious, but
in whatever field, it will always be distinguished by its perpetual,
steady, well-directed, happy, and faithful labor in accumulating and
disciplining its powers, as well as by its gigantic, incommunicable
facility in exercising them. Therefore, literally, it is no man's
business whether he has genius or not: work he must, whatever he is, but
quietly and steadily; and the natural and unforced results of such work
will be always the things that God meant him to do, and will be his
best. No agonies nor heart-rendings will enable him to do any better. If
he be a great man, they will be great things; if a small man, small
things; but always, if thus peacefully done, good and right; always, if
restlessly and ambitiously done, false, hollow, and despicable.

Then the third thing needed was, I said, that a man should be a good
judge of his work; and this chiefly that he may not be dependent upon
popular opinion for the manner of doing it, but also that he may have
the just encouragement of the sense of progress, and an honest
consciousness of victory: how else can he become

    "That awful independent on to-morrow,
    Whose yesterdays look backwards with a smile."

I am persuaded that the real nourishment and help of such a feeling as
this is nearly unknown to half the workmen of the present day. For
whatever appearance of self-complacency there may be in their outward
bearing, it is visible enough, by their feverish jealousy of each
other, how little confidence they have in the sterling value of their
several doings. Conceit may puff a man up, but never prop him up; and
there is too visible distress and hopelessness in men's aspects to admit
of the supposition that they have any stable support of faith in

I have stated these principles generally, because there is no branch of
labor to which they do not apply: But there is one in which our
ignorance or forgetfulness of them has caused an incalculable amount of
suffering: and I would endeavor now to reconsider them with especial
reference to it,--the branch of the Arts.

In general, the men who are employed in the Arts have freely chosen
their profession, and suppose themselves to have special faculty for it;
yet, as a body, they are not happy men. For which this seems to me the
reason, that they are expected, and themselves expect, to make their
bread _by being clever_--not by steady or quiet work; and are,
therefore, for the most part, trying to be clever, and so living in an
utterly false state of mind and action.

This is the case, to the same extent, in no other profession or
employment. A lawyer may indeed suspect that, unless he has more wit
than those around him, he is not likely to advance in his profession;
but he will not be always thinking how he is to display his wit. He will
generally understand, early in his career, that wit must be left to take
care of itself, and that it is hard knowledge of law and vigorous
examination and collation of the facts of every case entrusted to him,
which his clients will mainly demand; this it is which he has to be paid
for; and this is healthy and measurable labor, payable by the hour. If
he happen to have keen natural perception and quick wit, these will come
into play in their due time and place, but he will not think of them as
his chief power; and if he have them not, he may still hope that
industry and conscientiousness may enable him to rise in his profession
without them. Again in the case of clergymen: that they are sorely
tempted to display their eloquence or wit, none who know their own
hearts will deny, but then they _know_ this to _be_ a temptation: they
never would suppose that cleverness was all that was to be expected from
them, or would sit down deliberately to write a clever sermon: even the
dullest or vainest of them would throw some veil over their vanity, and
pretend to some profitableness of purpose in what they did. They would
not openly ask of their hearers--Did you think my sermon ingenious, or
my language poetical? They would early understand that they were not
paid for being ingenious, nor called to be so, but to preach truth; that
if they happened to possess wit, eloquence, or originality, these would
appear and be of service in due time, but were not to be continually
sought after or exhibited: and if it should happen that they had them
not, they might still be serviceable pastors without them.

Not so with the unhappy artist. No one expects any honest or useful work
of him; but every one expects him to be ingenious. Originality,
dexterity, invention, imagination, every thing is asked of him except
what alone is to be had for asking--honesty and sound work, and the due
discharge of his function as a painter. What function? asks the reader
in some surprise. He may well ask; for I suppose few painters have any
idea what their function is, or even that they have any at all.

And yet surely it is not so difficult to discover. The faculties, which
when a man finds in himself, he resolves to be a painter, are, I
suppose, intenseness of observation and facility of imitation. The man
is created an observer and an imitator; and his function is to convey
knowledge to his fellow-men, of such things as cannot be taught
otherwise than ocularly. For a long time this function remained a
religious one: it was to impress upon the popular mind the reality of
the objects of faith, and the truth of the histories of Scripture, by
giving visible form to both. That function has now passed away, and none
has as yet taken its place. The painter has no profession, no purpose.
He is an idler on the earth, chasing the shadows of his own fancies.

But he was never meant to be this. The sudden and universal Naturalism,
or inclination to copy ordinary natural objects, which manifested
itself among the painters of Europe, at the moment when the invention of
printing superseded their legendary labors, was no false instinct. It
was misunderstood and misapplied, but it came at the right time, and has
maintained itself through all kinds of abuse; presenting in the recent
schools of landscape, perhaps only the first fruits of its power. That
instinct was urging every painter in Europe at the same moment to his
true duty--_the faithful representation of all objects of historical
interest, or of natural beauty existent at the period_; representations
such as might at once aid the advance of the sciences, and keep faithful
record of every monument of past ages which was likely to be swept away
in the approaching eras of revolutionary change.

The instinct came, as I said, exactly at the right moment; and let the
reader consider what amount and kind of general knowledge might by this
time have been possessed by the nations of Europe, had their painters
understood and obeyed it. Suppose that, after disciplining themselves so
as to be able to draw, with unerring precision, each the particular kind
of subject in which he most delighted, they had separated into two great
armies of historians and naturalists;--that the first had painted with
absolute faithfulness every edifice, every city, every battle-field,
every scene of the slightest historical interest, precisely and
completely rendering their aspect at the time; and that their
companions, according to their several powers, had painted with like
fidelity the plants and animals, the natural scenery, and the
atmospheric phenomena of every country on the earth--suppose that a
faithful and complete record were now in our museums of every building
destroyed by war, or time, or innovation, during these last 200
years--suppose that each recess of every mountain chain of Europe had
been penetrated, and its rocks drawn with such accuracy that the
geologist's diagram was no longer necessary--suppose that every tree of
the forest had been drawn in its noblest aspect, every beast of the
field in its savage life--that all these gatherings were already in our
national galleries, and that the painters of the present day were
laboring, happily and earnestly, to multiply them, and put such means of
knowledge more and more within reach of the common people--would not
that be a more honorable life for them, than gaining precarious bread by
"bright effects?" They think not, perhaps. They think it easy, and
therefore contemptible, to be truthful; they have been taught so all
their lives. But it is not so, whoever taught it them. It is most
difficult, and worthy of the greatest men's greatest effort, to render,
as it should be rendered, the simplest of the natural features of the
earth; but also be it remembered, no man is confined to the simplest;
each may look out work for himself where he chooses, and it will be
strange if he cannot find something hard enough for him. The excuse is,
however, one of the lips only; for every painter knows that when he
draws back from the attempt to render nature as she is, it is oftener in
cowardice than in disdain.

I must leave the reader to pursue this subject for himself; I have not
space to suggest to him the tenth part of the advantages which would
follow, both to the painter from such an understanding of his mission,
and to the whole people, in the results of his labor. Consider how the
man himself would be elevated: how content he would become, how earnest,
how full of all accurate and noble knowledge, how free from
envy--knowing creation to be infinite, feeling at once the value of what
he did, and yet the nothingness. Consider the advantage to the people;
the immeasurably larger interest given to art itself; the easy,
pleasurable, and perfect knowledge conveyed by it, in every subject; the
far greater number of men who might be healthily and profitably occupied
with it as a means of livelihood; the useful direction of myriads of
inferior talents, now left fading away in misery. Conceive all this, and
then look around at our exhibitions, and behold the "cattle pieces," and
"sea pieces," and "fruit pieces," and "family pieces;" the eternal brown
cows in ditches, and white sails in squalls, and sliced lemons in
saucers, and foolish faces in simpers;--and try to feel what we are, and
what we might have been.

Take a single instance in one branch of archæology. Let those who are
interested in the history of religion consider what a treasure we should
now have possessed, if, instead of painting pots, and vegetables, and
drunken peasantry, the most accurate painters of the seventeenth and
eighteenth centuries had been set to copy, line for line, the religious
and domestic sculpture on the German, Flemish, and French cathedrals and
castles; and if every building destroyed in the French or in any other
subsequent revolution, had thus been drawn in all its parts with the
same precision with which Gerard Douw or Mieris paint bas-reliefs of
Cupids. Consider, even now, what incalculable treasure is still left in
ancient bas-reliefs, full of every kind of legendary interest, of subtle
expression, of priceless evidence as to the character, feelings habits,
histories, of past generations, in neglected and shattered churches and
domestic buildings, rapidly disappearing over the whole of
Europe--treasure which, once lost, the labor of all men living cannot
bring back again; and then look at the myriads of men, with skill
enough, if they had but the commonest schooling, to record all this
faithfully, who are making their bread by drawing dances of naked women
from academy models, or idealities of chivalry fitted out with Wardour
Street armor, or eternal scenes from Gil Blas, Don Quixote, and the
Vicar of Wakefield, or mountain sceneries with young idiots of Londoners
wearing Highland bonnets and brandishing rifles in the foregrounds. Do
but think of these things in the breadth of their inexpressible
imbecility, and then go and stand before that broken bas-relief in the
southern gate of Lincoln Cathedral, and see if there is no fibre of the
heart in you that will break too.

But is there to be no place left, it will be indignantly asked, for
imagination and invention, for poetical power, or love of ideal beauty?
Yes; the highest, the noblest place--that which these only can attain
when they are all used in the cause, and with the aid of truth. Wherever
imagination and sentiment are, they will either show themselves without
forcing, or, if capable of artificial development, the kind of training
which such a school of art would give them would be the best they could
receive. The infinite absurdity and failure of our present training
consists mainly in this, that we do not rank imagination and invention
high enough, and suppose that they _can_ be taught. Throughout every
sentence that I ever have written, the reader will find the same rank
attributed to these powers,--the rank of a purely divine gift, not to be
attained, increased, or in any wise modified by teaching, only in
various ways capable of being concealed or quenched. Understand this
thoroughly; know once for all, that a poet on canvas is exactly the same
species of creature as a poet in song, and nearly every error in our
methods of teaching will be done away with. For who among us now thinks
of bringing men up to be poets?--of producing poets by any kind of
general recipe or method of cultivation? Suppose even that we see in
youth that which we hope may, in its development, become a power of this
kind, should we instantly, supposing that we wanted to make a poet of
him, and nothing else, forbid him all quiet, steady, rational labor?
Should we force him to perpetual spinning of new crudities out of his
boyish brain, and set before him, as the only objects of his study, the
laws of versification which criticism has supposed itself to discover in
the works of previous writers? Whatever gifts the boy had, would much be
likely to come of them so treated? unless, indeed, they were so great as
to break through all such snares of falsehood and vanity, and build
their own foundation in spite of us; whereas if, as in cases numbering
millions against units, the natural gifts were too weak to do this,
could any thing come of such training but utter inanity and spuriousness
of the whole man? But if we had sense, should we not rather restrain and
bridle the first flame of invention in early youth, heaping material on
it as one would on the first sparks and tongues of a fire which we
desired to feed into greatness? Should we not educate the whole
intellect into general strength, and all the affections into warmth and
honesty, and look to heaven for the rest? This, I say, we should have
sense enough to do, in order to produce a poet in words: but, it being
required to produce a poet on canvas, what is our way of setting to
work? We begin, in all probability, by telling the youth of fifteen or
sixteen, that Nature is full of faults, and that he is to improve her;
but that Raphael is perfection, and that the more he copies Raphael the
better; that after much copying of Raphael, he is to try what he can do
himself in a Raphaelesque, but yet original, manner: that is to say, he
is to try to do something very clever, all out of his own head, but yet
this clever something is to be properly subjected to Raphaelesque rules,
is to have a principal light occupying one-seventh of its space, and a
principle shadow occupying one-third of the same; that no two people's
heads in the picture are to be turned the same way, and that all the
personages represented are to possess ideal beauty of the highest order,
which ideal beauty consists partly in a Greek outline of nose, partly in
proportions expressible in decimal fractions between the lips and chin;
but partly also in that degree of improvement which the youth of sixteen
is to bestow upon God's work in general. This I say is the kind of
teaching which through various channels, Royal Academy lecturings, press
criticisms, public enthusiasm, and not least by solid weight of gold, we
give to our young men. And we wonder we have no painters!

But we do worse than this. Within the last few years some sense
of the real tendency of such teaching has appeared in some of
our younger painters. It only _could_ appear in the younger ones,
our older men having become familiarised with the false system,
or else having passed through it and forgotten it, not well knowing
the degree of harm they had sustained. This sense appeared, among our
youths,--increased,--matured into resolute action. Necessarily, to exist
at all, it needed the support both of strong instincts and of
considerable self-confidence, otherwise it must at once have been borne
down by the weight of general authority and received canon law. Strong
instincts are apt to make men strange, and rude; self-confidence,
however well founded, to give much of what they do or say the appearance
of impertinence. Look at the self-confidence of Wordsworth, stiffening
every other sentence of his prefaces into defiance; there is no more of
it than was needed to enable him to do his work, yet it is not a little
ungraceful here and there. Suppose this stubbornness and self-trust in
a youth, laboring in an art of which the executive part is confessedly
to be best learnt from masters, and we shall hardly wonder that much of
his work has a certain awkwardness and stiffness in it, or that he
should be regarded with disfavor by many, even the most temperate, of
the judges trained in the system he was breaking through, and with utter
contempt and reprobation by the envious and the dull. Consider, farther,
that the particular system to be overthrown was, in the present case,
one of which the main characteristic was the pursuit of beauty at the
expense of manliness and truth; and it will seem likely, _à priori_,
that the men intended successfully to resist the influence of such a
system should be endowed with little natural sense of beauty, and thus
rendered dead to the temptation it presented. Summing up these
conditions, there is surely little cause for surprise that pictures
painted, in a temper of resistance, by exceedingly young men, of
stubborn instincts and positive self-trust, and with little natural
perception of beauty, should not be calculated, at the first glance, to
win us from works enriched by plagiarism, polished by convention,
invested with all the attractiveness of artificial grace, and
recommended to our respect by established authority.

We should, however, on the other hand, have anticipated, that in
proportion to the strength of character required for the effort, and to
the absence of distracting sentiments, whether respect for precedent, or
affection for ideal beauty, would be the energy exhibited in the pursuit
of the special objects which the youths proposed to themselves, and
their success in attaining them.

All this has actually been the case, but in a degree which it would have
been impossible to anticipate. That two youths, of the respective ages
of eighteen and twenty, should have conceived for themselves a totally
independent and sincere method of study, and enthusiastically persevered
in it against every kind of dissuasion and opposition, is strange
enough; that in the third or fourth year of their efforts they should
have produced works in many parts not inferior to the best of Albert
Durer, this is perhaps not less strange. But the loudness and
universality of the howl which the common critics of the press have
raised against them, the utter absence of all generous help or
encouragement from those who can both measure their toil and appreciate
their success, and the shrill, shallow laughter of those who can do
neither the one nor the other,--these are strangest of all--unimaginable
unless they had been experienced.

And as if these were not enough, private malice is at work against them,
in its own small, slimy way. The very day after I had written my second
letter to the Times in the defence of the Pre-Raphaelites, I received an
anonymous letter respecting one of them, from some person apparently
hardly capable of spelling, and about as vile a specimen of petty
malignity as ever blotted paper. I think it well that the public should
know this, and so get some insight into the sources of the spirit which
is at work against these men--how first roused it is difficult to say,
for one would hardly have thought that mere eccentricity in young
artists could have excited an hostility so determined and so
cruel;--hostility which hesitated at no assertion, however impudent.
That of the "absence of perspective" was one of the most curious pieces
of the hue and cry which began with the Times, and died away in feeble
maundering in the Art Union; I contradicted it in the Times--I here
contradict it directly for the second time. There was not a single error
in perspective in three out of the four pictures in question. But if
otherwise, would it have been anything remarkable in them? I doubt, if
with the exception of the pictures of David Roberts, there were one
architectural drawing in perspective on the walls of the Academy; I
never met but with two men in my life who knew enough of perspective to
draw a Gothic arch in a retiring plane, so that its lateral dimensions
and curvatures might be calculated to scale from the drawing. Our
architects certainly do not, and it was but the other day that, talking
to one of the most distinguished among them, the author of several most
valuable works, I found he actually did not know how to draw a circle in
perspective. And in this state of general science our writers for the
press take it upon them to tell us, that the forest trees in Mr. Hunt's
_Sylvia_, and the bunches of lilies in Mr. Collins's _Convent Thoughts_,
are out of perspective.[97]

It might not, I think, in such circumstances, have been ungraceful or
unwise in the Academicians themselves to have defended their young
pupils, at least by the contradiction of statements directly false
respecting them,[98] and the direction of the mind and sight of the
public to such real merit as they possess. If Sir Charles Eastlake,
Mulready, Edwin and Charles Landseer, Cope, and Dyce would each of them
simply state their own private opinion respecting their paintings, sign
it and publish it, I believe the act would be of more service to English
art than any thing the Academy has done since it was founded. But as I
cannot hope for this, I can only ask the public to give their pictures
careful examination, and look at them at once with the indulgence and
the respect which I have endeavored to show they deserve.

Yet let me not be misunderstood. I have adduced them only as examples of
the kind of study which I would desire to see substituted for that of
our modern schools, and of singular success in certain characters,
finish of detail, and brilliancy of color. What faculties, higher than
imitative, may be in these men, I do not yet venture to say; but I do
say that if they exist, such faculties will manifest themselves in due
time all the more forcibly because they have received training so

For it is always to be remembered that no one mind is like another,
either in its powers or perceptions; and while the main principles of
training must be the same for all, the result in each will be as various
as the kinds of truth which each will apprehend; therefore, also, the
modes of effort, even in men whose inner principles and final aims are
exactly the same. Suppose, for instance, two men, equally honest,
equally industrious, equally impressed with a humble desire to render
some part of what they saw in nature faithfully; and, otherwise trained
in convictions such as I have above endeavored to induce. But one of
them is quiet in temperament, has a feeble memory, no invention, and
excessively keen sight. The other is impatient in temperament, has a
memory which nothing escapes, an invention which never rests, and is
comparatively near-sighted.

Set them both free in the same field in a mountain valley. One sees
everything, small and large, with almost the same clearness; mountains
and grasshoppers alike; the leaves on the branches, the veins in the
pebbles, the bubbles in the stream: but he can remember nothing, and
invent nothing. Patiently he sets himself to his mighty task; abandoning
at once all thoughts of seizing transient effects, or giving general
impressions of that which his eyes present to him in microscopical
dissection, he chooses some small portion out of the infinite scene, and
calculates with courage the number of weeks which must elapse before he
can do justice to the intensity of his perceptions, or the fulness of
matter in his subject.

Meantime, the other has been watching the change of the clouds, and the
march of the light along the mountain sides; he beholds the entire scene
in broad, soft masses of true gradation, and the very feebleness of his
sight is in some sort an advantage to him, in making him more sensible
of the aërial mystery of distance, and hiding from him the multitudes of
circumstances which it would have been impossible for him to represent.
But there is not one change in the casting of the jagged shadows along
the hollows of the hills, but it is fixed on his mind for ever; not a
flake of spray has broken from the sea of cloud about their bases, but
he has watched it as it melts away, and could recall it to its lost
place in heaven by the slightest effort of his thoughts. Not only so,
but thousands and thousands of such images, of older scenes, remain
congregated in his mind, each mingling in new associations with those
now visibly passing before him, and these again confused with other
images of his own ceaseless, sleepless imagination, flashing by in
sudden troops. Fancy how his paper will be covered with stray symbols
and blots, and undecipherable shorthand:--as for his sitting down to
"draw from Nature," there was not one of the things which he wished to
represent that stayed for so much as five seconds together: but none of
them escaped, for all that: they are sealed up in that strange
storehouse of his; he may take one of them out, perhaps, this day twenty
years, and paint it in his dark room, far away. Now, observe, you may
tell both of these men, when they are young, that they are to be honest,
that they have an important function, and that they are not to care what
Raphael did. This you may wholesomely impress on them both. But fancy
the exquisite absurdity of expecting either of them to possess any of
the qualities of the other.

I have supposed the feebleness of sight in the last, and of invention in
the first painter, that the contrast between them might be more
striking; but, with very slight modification, both the characters are
real. Grant to the first considerable inventive power, with exquisite
sense of color; and give to the second, in addition to all his other
faculties, the eye of an eagle; and the first is John Everett Millais,
the second Joseph Mallard William Turner.

They are among the few men who have defied all false teaching, and have,
therefore, in great measure, done justice to the gifts with which they
were entrusted. They stand at opposite poles, marking culminating points
of art in both directions; between them, or in various relations to
them, we may class five or six more living artists who, in like manner,
have done justice to their powers. I trust that I may be pardoned for
naming them, in order that the reader may know how the strong innate
genius in each has been invariably accompanied with the same humility,
earnestness, and industry in study.

It is hardly necessary to point out the earnestness or humility in the
works of William Hunt; but it may be so to suggest the high value they
possess as records of English rural life, and _still_ life. Who is there
who for a moment could contend with him in the unaffected, yet humorous
truth with which he has painted our peasant children? Who is there who
does not sympathize with him in the simple love with which he dwells on
the brightness and bloom of our summer fruit and flowers? And yet there
is something to be regretted concerning him: why should he be allowed
continually to paint the same bunches of hot-house grapes, and supply
to the Water Color Society a succession of pineapples with the
regularity of a Covent Garden fruiterer? He has of late discovered that
primrose banks are lovely; but there are other things grow wild besides
primroses: what undreamt-of loveliness might he not bring back to us, if
he would lose himself for a summer in Highland foregrounds; if he would
paint the heather as it grows, and the foxglove and the harebell as they
nestle in the clefts of the rocks, and the mosses and bright lichens of
the rocks themselves. And then, cross to the Jura, and bring back a
piece of Jura pasture in spring; with the gentians in their earliest
blue, and the soldanelle beside the fading snow! And return again, and
paint a gray wall of Alpine crag, with budding roses crowning it like a
wreath of rubies. That is what he was meant to do in this world; not to
paint bouquets in china vases.

I have in various other places expressed my sincere respect for the
works of Samuel Prout: his shortness of sight has necessarily prevented
their possessing delicacy of finish or fulness of minor detail; but I
think that those of no other living artist furnish an example so
striking of innate and special instinct, sent to do a particular work at
the exact and only period when it was possible. At the instant when
peace had been established all over Europe, but when neither national
character nor national architecture had as yet been seriously changed by
promiscuous intercourse or modern "improvement;" when, however, nearly
every ancient and beautiful building had been long left in a state of
comparative neglect, so that its aspect of partial ruinousness, and of
separation from recent active life, gave to every edifice a peculiar
interest--half sorrowful, half sublime;--at that moment Prout was
trained among the rough rocks and simple cottages of Cornwall, until his
eye was accustomed to follow with delight the rents and breaks, and
irregularities which, to another man, would have been offensive; and
then, gifted with infinite readiness in composition, but also with
infinite affection for the kind of subjects he had to portray, he was
sent to preserve, in an almost innumerable series of drawings, _every
one made on the spot_, the aspect borne, at the beginning of the
nineteenth century, by cities which, in a few years more, rekindled
wars, or unexpected prosperities, were to ravage, or renovate, into

It seems strange to pass from Prout to John Lewis; but there is this
fellowship between them, that both seem to have been intended to
appreciate the characters of foreign countries more than of their
own--nay, to have been born in England chiefly that the excitement of
strangeness might enhance to them the interest of the scenes they had to
represent. I believe John Lewis to have done more entire justice to all
his powers (and they are magnificent ones) than any other man amongst
us. His mission was evidently to portray the comparatively animal life
of the southern and eastern families of mankind. For this he was
prepared in a somewhat singular way--by being led to study, and endowed
with altogether peculiar apprehension of, the most sublime characters of
animals themselves. Rubens, Rembrandt, Snyders, Tintoret, and Titian,
have all, in various ways, drawn wild beasts magnificently; but they
have in some sort humanized or demonized them, making them either
ravenous fiends or educated beasts, that would draw cars, and had
respect for hermits. The sullen isolation of the brutal nature; the
dignity and quietness of the mighty limbs; the shaggy mountainous power,
mingled with grace, as of a flowing stream; the stealthy restraint of
strength and wrath in every soundless motion of the gigantic frame; all
this seems never to have been seen, much less drawn, until Lewis drew
and himself engraved a series of animal subjects, now many years ago.
Since then, he has devoted himself to the portraiture of those European
and Asiatic races, among whom the refinements of civilization exist
without its laws or its energies, and in whom the fierceness, indolence,
and subtlety of animal nature are associated with brilliant imagination
and strong affections. To this task he has brought not only intense
perception of the kind of character, but powers of artistical
composition like those of the great Venetians, displaying, at the same
time, a refinement of drawing almost miraculous, and appreciable only,
as the minutiæ of nature itself are appreciable, by the help of the
microscope. The value, therefore, of his works, as records of the aspect
of the scenery and inhabitants of the south of Spain and of the East, in
the earlier part of the nineteenth century, is quite above all estimate.

I hardly know how to speak of Mulready: in delicacy and completion of
drawing, and splendor of color, he takes place beside John Lewis and the
pre-Raphaelites; but he has, throughout his career, displayed no
definiteness in choice of subject. He must be named among the painters
who have studied with industry, and have made themselves great by doing
so; but having obtained a consummate method of execution, he has thrown
it away on subjects either altogether uninteresting, or above his
powers, or unfit for pictorial representation. "The Cherry Woman,"
exhibited in 1850, may be named as an example of the first kind; the
"Burchell and Sophia" of the second (the character of Sir William
Thornhill being utterly missed); the "Seven Ages" of the third; for this
subject cannot be painted. In the written passage, the thoughts are
progressive and connected; in the picture they must be co-existent, and
yet separate; nor can all the characters of the ages be rendered in
painting at all. One may represent the soldier at the cannon's mouth,
but one cannot paint the "bubble reputation" which he seeks. Mulready,
therefore, while he has always produced exquisite pieces of painting,
has failed in doing anything which can be of true or extensive use. He
has, indeed, understood how to discipline his genius, but never how to
direct it.

Edwin Landseer is the last painter but one whom I shall name: I need not
point out to any one acquainted with his earlier works, the labor, or
watchfulness of nature which they involve, nor need I do more than
allude to the peculiar faculties of his mind. It will at once be granted
that the highest merits of his pictures are throughout found in those
parts of them which are least like what had before been accomplished;
and that it was not by the study of Raphael that he attained his eminent
success, but by a healthy love of Scotch terriers.

None of these painters, however, it will be answered, afford examples
of the rise of the highest imaginative power out of close study of
matters of fact. Be it remembered, however, that the imaginative power,
in its magnificence, is not to be found every day. Lewis has it in no
mean degree; but we cannot hope to find it at its highest more than once
in an age. We _have_ had it once, and must be content.

Towards the close of the last century, among the various drawings
executed, according to the quiet manner of the time, in greyish blue,
with brown foregrounds, some began to be noticed as exhibiting rather
more than ordinary diligence and delicacy, signed W. Turner.[99] There
was nothing, however, in them at all indicative of genius, or even of
more than ordinary talent, unless in some of the subjects a large
perception of space, and excessive clearness and decision in the
arrangement of masses. Gradually and cautiously the blues became mingled
with delicate green, and then with gold; the browns in the foreground
became first more positive, and then were slightly mingled with other
local colors; while the touch, which had at first been heavy and broken,
like that of the ordinary drawing masters of the time, grew more and
more refined and expressive, until it lost itself in a method of
execution often too delicate for the eye to follow, rendering, with a
precision before unexampled, both the texture and the form of every
object. The style may be considered as perfectly formed about the year
1800, and it remained unchanged for twenty years.

During that period the painter had attempted, and with more or less
success had rendered, every order of landscape subject, but always on
the same principle, subduing the colors of nature into a harmony of
which the key-notes are greyish green and brown; pure blues and delicate
golden yellows being admitted in small quantity, as the lowest and
highest limits of shade and light: and bright local colors in extremely
small quantity in figures or other minor accessories.

Pictures executed on such a system are not, properly speaking, works in
_color_ at all; they are studies of light and shade, in which both the
shade and the distance are rendered in the general hue which best
expresses their attributes of coolness and transparency; and the lights
and the foreground are executed in that which best expresses their
warmth and solidity. This advantage may just as well be taken as not, in
studies of light and shadow to be executed with the hand: but the use of
two, three, or four colors, always in the same relations and places,
does not in the least constitute the work a study of color, any more
than the brown engravings of the Liber Studiorum; nor would the idea of
color be in general more present to the artist's mind, when he was at
work on one of these drawings, than when he was using pure brown in the
mezzotint engraving. But the idea of space, warmth, and freshness being
not successfully expressible in a single tint, and perfectly expressible
by the admission of three or four, he allows himself this advantage when
it is possible, without in the least embarrassing himself with the
actual color of the objects to be represented. A stone in the fore
ground might in nature have been cold grey, but it will be drawn
nevertheless of a rich brown, because it is in the foreground; a hill in
the distance might in nature be purple with heath, or golden with furze;
but it will be drawn nevertheless of a cool grey, because it is in the

This at least was the general theory,--carried out with great severity
in many, both of the drawings and pictures executed by him during the
period: in others more or less modified by the cautious introduction of
color, as the painter felt his liberty increasing; for the system was
evidently never considered as final, or as anything more than a means of
progress: the conventional, easily manageable color, was visibly
adopted, only that his mind might be at perfect liberty to address
itself to the acquirement of the first and most necessary knowledge in
all art--that of form. But as form, in landscape, implies vast bulk and
space, the use of the tints which enabled him best to express them, was
actually auxiliary to the mere drawing; and, therefore, not only
permissible, but even necessary, while more brilliant or varied tints
were never indulged in, except when they might be introduced without
the slightest danger of diverting his mind for an instant from his
principal object. And, therefore, it will be generally found in the
works of this period, that exactly in proportion to the importance and
general toil of the composition, is the severity of the tint; and that
the play of color begins to show itself first in slight and small
drawings, where he felt that he could easily secure all that he wanted
in form.

Thus the "Crossing the Brook," and such other elaborate and large
compositions, are actually painted in nothing but grey, brown, and blue,
with a point or two of severe local color in the figures; but in the
minor drawings, tender passages of complicated color occur not
unfrequently in easy places; and even before the year 1800 he begins to
introduce it with evident joyfulness and longing in his rude and simple
studies, just as a child, if it could be supposed to govern itself by a
fully developed intellect, would cautiously, but with infinite pleasure,
add now and then a tiny dish of fruit or other dangerous luxury to the
simple order of its daily fare. Thus, in the foregrounds of his most
severe drawings, we not unfrequently find him indulging in the luxury of
a peacock; and it is impossible to express the joyfulness with which he
seems to design its graceful form, and deepen with soft pencilling the
bloom of its blue, after he has worked through the stern detail of his
almost colorless drawing. A rainbow is another of his most frequently
permitted indulgences; and we find him very early allowing the edges of
his evening clouds to be touched with soft rose-color or gold; while,
whenever the hues of nature in anywise fall into his system, and can be
caught without a dangerous departure from it, he instantly throws his
whole soul into the faithful rendering of them. Thus the usual brown
tones of his foreground become warmed into sudden vigor, and are varied
and enhanced with indescribable delight, when he finds himself by the
shore of a moorland stream, where they truly express the stain of its
golden rocks, and the darkness of its clear, Cairngorm-like pools, and
the usual serenity of his aërial blue is enriched into the softness and
depth of the sapphire, when it can deepen the distant slumber of some
Highland lake, or temper the gloomy shadows of the evening upon its

The system of his color being thus simplified, he could address all the
strength of his mind to the accumulation of facts of form; his choice of
subject, and his methods of treatment, are therefore as various as his
color is simple; and it is not a little difficult to give the reader who
is unacquainted with his works, an idea either of their infinitude of
aims, on the one hand, or of the kind of feeling which prevades them
all, on the other. No subject was too low or too high for him; we find
him one day hard at work on a cock and hen, with their family of
chickens in a farm-yard; and bringing all the refinement of his
execution into play to express the texture of the plumage; next day, he
is drawing the Dragon of Colchis. One hour he is much interested in a
gust of wind blowing away an old woman's cap; the next he is painting
the fifth plague of Egypt. Every landscape painter before him had
acquired distinction by confining his efforts to one class of subject.
Hobbima painted oaks; Ruysdael, waterfalls and copses; Cuyp, river or
meadow scenes in quiet afternoons; Salvator and Poussin, such kind of
mountain scenery as people could conceive, who lived in towns in the
seventeenth century. But I am well persuaded that if all the works of
Turner, up to the year 1820, were divided into classes (as he has
himself divided them in the Liber Studiorum), no preponderance could be
assigned to one class over another. There is architecture, including a
large number of formal "gentlemen's seats," I suppose drawings
commissioned by the owners; then lowland pastoral scenery of every kind,
including nearly all farming operations,--ploughing, harrowing, hedging
and ditching, felling trees, sheep-washing, and I know not what else;
then all kinds of town life--court-yards of inns, starting of mail
coaches, interiors of shops, house-buildings, fairs, elections, &c.;
then all kinds of inner domestic life--interiors of rooms, studies of
costumes, of still life, and heraldry, including multitudes of
symbolical vignettes; then marine scenery of every kind, full of local
incident; every kind of boat and method of fishing for particular fish,
being specifically drawn, round the whole coast of England;--pilchard
fishing at St. Ives, whiting fishing at Margate, herring at Loch Fyne;
and all kinds of shipping, including studies of every separate part of
the vessels, and many marine battle-pieces, two in particular of
Trafalgar, both of high importance,--one of the Victory after the
battle, now in Greenwich Hospital; another of the Death of Nelson, in
his own gallery; then all kinds of mountain scenery, some idealised into
compositions, others of definite localities; together with classical
compositions, Romes and Carthages and such others, by the myriad, with
mythological, historical, or allegorical figures,--nymphs, monsters, and
spectres; heroes and divinities.[100]

What general feeling, it may be asked incredulously, can possibly
pervade all this? This, the greatest of all feelings--an utter
forgetfulness of self. Throughout the whole period with which we are at
present concerned, Turner appears as a man of sympathy absolutely
infinite--a sympathy so all-embracing, that I know nothing but that of
Shakespeare comparable with it. A soldier's wife resting by the roadside
is not beneath it; Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah, watching the dead
bodies of her sons, not above it. Nothing can possibly be so mean as
that it will not interest his whole mind, and carry away his whole
heart; nothing so great or solemn but that he can raise himself into
harmony with it; and it is impossible to prophesy of him at any moment,
whether, the next, he will be in laughter or in tears.

This is the root of the man's greatness; and it follows as a matter of
course that this sympathy must give him a subtle power of expression,
even of the characters of mere material things, such as no other painter
ever possessed. The man who can best feel the difference between
rudeness and tenderness in humanity, perceives also more difference
between the branches of an oak and a willow than any one else would; and
therefore, necessarily the most striking character of the drawings
themselves is the speciality of whatever they represent--the thorough
stiffness of what is stiff, and grace of what is graceful, and vastness
of what is vast; but through and beyond all this, the condition of the
mind of the painter himself is easily enough discoverable by comparison
of a large number of the drawings. It is singularly serene and peaceful:
in itself quite passionless, though entering with ease into the external
passion which it contemplates. By the effort of its will it sympathises
with tumult or distress, even in their extremes, but there is no tumult,
no sorrow in itself, only a chastened and exquisitely peaceful
cheerfulness, deeply meditative; touched without loss of its own perfect
balance, by sadness on the one side, and stooping to playfulness upon
the other. I shall never cease to regret the destruction, by fire, now
several years ago, of a drawing which always seemed to me to be the
perfect image of the painter's mind at this period,--the drawing of
Brignal Church near Rokeby, of which a feeble idea may still be gathered
from the engraving (in the Yorkshire series). The spectator stands on
the "Brignal banks," looking down into the glen at twilight; the sky is
still full of soft rays, though the sun is gone; and the Greta glances
brightly in the valley, singing its evening-song; two white clouds,
following each other, move without wind through the hollows of the
ravine, and others lie couched on the far away moorlands; every leaf of
the woods is still in the delicate air; a boy's kite, incapable of
rising, has become entangled in their branches, he is climbing to
recover it; and just behind it in the picture, almost indicated by it,
the lowly church is seen in its secluded field between the rocks and the
stream; and around it the low churchyard wall, and the few white stones
which mark the resting places of those who can climb the rocks no more,
nor hear the river sing as it passes.

There are many other existing drawings which indicate the same character
of mind, though I think none so touching or so beautiful; yet they are
not, as I said above, more numerous than those which express his
sympathy with sublimer or more active scenes; but they are almost always
marked by a tenderness of execution, and have a look of being beloved in
every part of them, which shows them to be the truest expression of his
own feelings.

One other characteristic of his mind at this period remains to be
noticed--its reverence for talent in others. Not the reverence which
acts upon the practices of men as if they were the laws of nature, but
that which is ready to appreciate the power, and receive the assistance,
of every mind which has been previously employed in the same direction,
so far as its teaching seems to be consistent with the great text-book
of nature itself. Turner thus studied almost every preceding landscape
painter, chiefly Claude, Poussin, Vandevelde, Loutherbourg, and Wilson.
It was probably by the Sir George Beaumonts and other feeble
conventionalists of the period, that he was persuaded to devote his
attention to the works of these men; and his having done so will be
thought, a few scores of years hence, evidence of perhaps the greatest
modesty ever shown by a man of original power. Modesty at once admirable
and unfortunate, for the study of the works of Vandevelde and Claude was
productive of unmixed mischief to him; he spoiled many of his marine
pictures, as for instance Lord Ellesmere's, by imitation of the former;
and from the latter learned a false ideal, which confirmed by the
notions of Greek art prevalent in London in the beginning of this
century, has manifested itself in many vulgarities in his composition
pictures, vulgarities which may perhaps be best expressed by the general
term "Twickenham Classicism," as consisting principally in conceptions
of ancient or of rural life such as have influenced the erection of most
of our suburban villas. From Nicolo Poussin and Loutherbourg he seems to
have derived advantage; perhaps also from Wilson; and much in his
subsequent travels from far higher men, especially Tintoret and Paul
Veronese. I have myself heard him speaking with singular delight of the
putting in of the beech leaves in the upper right-hand corner of
Titian's Peter Martyr. I cannot in any of his works trace the slightest
influence of Salvator; and I am not surprised at it, for though Salvator
was a man of far higher powers than either Vandevelde or Claude, he was
a wilful and gross caricaturist. Turner would condescend to be helped by
feeble men, but could not be corrupted by false men. Besides, he had
never himself seen classical life, and Claude was represented to him as
competent authority for it. But he _had_ seen mountains and torrents,
and knew therefore that Salvator could not paint them.

One of the most characteristic drawings of this period fortunately bears
a date, 1818, and brings us within two years of another dated drawing,
no less characteristic of what I shall henceforward call Turner's Second
period. It is in the possession of Mr. Hawkesworth Fawkes of Farnley,
one of Turner's earliest and truest friends; and bears the inscription,
unusually conspicuous, heaving itself up and down over the eminences of
the foreground--"PASSAGE OF MONT CENIS. J. M. W. TURNER, January 15th,

The scene is on the summit of the pass close to the hospice, or what
seems to have been a hospice at that time,--I do not remember such at
present,--a small square-built house, built as if partly for a fortress,
with a detached flight of stone steps in front of it, and a kind of
drawbridge to the door. This building, about 400 or 500 yards off, is
seen in a dim, ashy grey against the light, which by help of a violent
blast of mountain wind has broken through the depth of clouds which
hangs upon the crags. There is no sky, properly so called, nothing but
this roof of drifting cloud; but neither is there any weight of
darkness--the high air is too thin for it,--all savage, howling, and
luminous with cold, the massy bases of the granite hills jutting out
here and there grimly through the snow wreaths. There is a
desolate-looking refuge on the left, with its number 16, marked on it in
long ghastly figures, and the wind is drifting the snow off the roof and
through its window in a frantic whirl; the near ground is all wan with
half-thawed, half-trampled snow; a diligence in front, whose horses,
unable to face the wind, have turned right round with fright, its
passengers struggling to escape, jammed in the window; a little farther
on is another carriage off the road, some figures pushing at its wheels,
and its driver at the horses' heads, pulling and lashing with all his
strength, his lifted arm stretched out against the light of the
distance, though too far off for the whip to be seen.

Now I am perfectly certain that any one thoroughly accustomed to the
earlier works of the painter, and shown this picture for the first time,
would be struck by two altogether new characters in it.

The first, a seeming enjoyment of the excitement of the scene, totally
different from the contemplative philosophy with which it would formerly
have been regarded. Every incident of motion and of energy is seized
upon with indescribable delight, and every line of the composition
animated with a force and fury which are now no longer the mere
expression of a contemplated external truth, but have origin in some
inherent feeling in the painter's mind.

The second, that although the subject is one in itself almost incapable
of color, and although, in order to increase the wildness of the
impression, all brilliant local color has been refused even where it
might easily have been introduced, as in the figures; yet in the low
minor key which has been chosen, the melodies of color have been
elaborated to the utmost possible pitch, so as to become a leading,
instead of a subordinate, element in the composition; the subdued warm
hues of the granite promontories, the dull stone color of the walls of
the buildings, clearly opposed, even in shade, to the grey of the snow
wreaths heaped against them, and the faint greens and ghastly blues of
the glacier ice, being all expressed with delicacies of transition
utterly unexampled in any previous drawings.

These, accordingly, are the chief characteristics of the works of
Turner's second period, as distinguished from the first,--a new energy
inherent in the mind of the painter, diminishing the repose and exalting
the force and fire of his conceptions, and the presence of Color, as at
least an essential, and often a principal, element of design.

Not that it is impossible, or even unusual, to find drawings of serene
subject, and perfectly quiet feeling, among the compositions of this
period; but the repose is in them, just as the energy and tumult were in
the earlier period, an external quality, which the painter images by an
effort of the will: it is no longer a character inherent in himself. The
"Ulleswater," in the England series, is one of those which are in most
perfect peace: in the "Cowes," the silence is only broken by the dash
of the boat's oars, and in the "Alnwick" by a stag drinking; but in at
least nine drawings out of ten, either sky, water, or figures are in
rapid motion, and the grandest drawings are almost always those which
have even violent action in one or other, or in all: e. g. high force of
Tees, Coventry, Llanthony, Salisbury, Llanberis, and such others.

The color is, however, a more absolute distinction; and we must return
to Mr. Fawkes's collection in order to see how the change in it was
effected. That such a change would take place at one time or other was
of course to be securely anticipated, the conventional system of the
first period being, as above stated, merely a means of Study. But the
immediate cause was the journey of the year 1820. As might be guessed
from the legend on the drawing above described, "Passage of Mont Cenis,
January 15th, 1820," that drawing represents what happened on the day in
question to the painter himself. He passed the Alps then in the winter
of 1820; and either in the previous or subsequent summer, but on the
same journey, he made a series of sketches on the Rhine, in body color,
now in Mr. Fawkes's collection. Every one of those sketches is the
almost instantaneous record of an _effect_ of color or atmosphere, taken
strictly from nature, the drawing and the details of every subject being
comparatively subordinate, and the color nearly as principal as the
light and shade had been before,--certainly the leading feature, though
the light and shade are always exquisitely harmonized with it. And
naturally, as the color becomes the leading object, those times of day
are chosen in which it is most lovely; and whereas before, at least five
out of six of Turner's drawings represented ordinary daylight, we now
find his attention directed constantly to the evening: and, for the
first time, we have those rosy lights upon the hills, those gorgeous
falls of sun through flaming heavens, those solemn twilights, with the
blue moon rising as the western sky grows dim, which have ever since
been the themes of his mightiest thoughts.

I have no doubt, that the _immediate_ reason of this change was the
impression made upon him by the colors of the continental skies. When
he first travelled on the Continent (1800), he was comparatively a young
student; not yet able to draw form as he wanted, he was forced to give
all his thoughts and strength to this primary object. But now he was
free to receive other impressions; the time was come for perfecting his
art, and the first sunset which he saw on the Rhine taught him that all
previous landscape art was vain and valueless, that in comparison with
natural color, the things that had been called paintings were mere ink
and charcoal, and that all precedent and all authority must be cast away
at once, and trodden under foot. He cast them away: the memories of
Vandevelde and Claude were at once weeded out of the great mind they had
encumbered; they and all the rubbish of the schools together with them;
the waves of the Rhine swept them away for ever; and a new dawn rose
over the rocks of the Siebengebirge.

There was another motive at work, which rendered the change still more
complete. His fellow artists were already conscious enough of his
superior power in drawing, and their best hope was, that he might not be
able to color. They had begun to express this hope loudly enough for it
to reach his ears. The engraver of one of his most important marine
pictures told me, not long ago, that one day about the period in
question, Turner came into his room to examine the progress of the
plate, not having seen his own picture for several months. It was one of
his dark early pictures, but in the foreground was a little piece of
luxury, a pearly fish wrought into hues like those of an opal. He stood
before the picture for some moments; then laughed, and pointed joyously
to the fish;--"They say that Turner can't color!" and turned away.

Under the force of these various impulses the change was total. _Every
subject thenceforth was primarily conceived in color_; and no engraving
ever gave the slightest idea of any drawing of this period.

The artists who had any perception of the truth were in despair; the
Beaumontites, classicalists, and "owl species" in general, in as much
indignation as their dulness was capable of. They had deliberately
closed their eyes to all nature, and had gone on inquiring, "Where do
you put your brown tree?" A vast revelation was made to them at once,
enough to have dazzled any one; but to _them_, light unendurable as
incomprehensible. They "did to the moon complain," in one vociferous,
unanimous, continuous "Tu whoo." Shrieking rose from all dark places at
the same instant, just the same kind of shrieking that is now raised
against the Pre-Raphaelites. Those glorious old Arabian Nights, how true
they are! Mocking and whispering, and abuse loud and low by turns, from
all the black stones beside the road, when one living soul is toiling up
the hill to get the golden water. Mocking and whispering, that he may
look back, and become a black stone like themselves.

Turner looked not back, but he went on in such a temper as a strong man
must be in, when he is forced to walk with his fingers in his ears. He
retired into himself; he could look no longer for help, or counsel, or
sympathy from any one; and the spirit of defiance in which he was forced
to labor led him sometimes into violences, from which the slightest
expression of sympathy would have saved him. The new energy that was
upon him, and the utter isolation into which he was driven, were both
alike dangerous, and many drawings of the time show the evil effects of
both; some of them being hasty, wild, or experimental, and others little
more than magnificent expressions of defiance of public opinion.

But all have this noble virtue--they are in everything his own: there
are no more reminiscences of dead masters, no more trials of skill in
the manner of Claude or Poussin; every faculty of his soul is fixed upon
nature only, as he saw her, or as he remembered her.

I have spoken above of his gigantic memory: it is especially necessary
to notice this, in order that we may understand the kind of grasp which
a man of real imagination takes of all things that are once brought
within his reach--grasp thenceforth not to be relaxed for ever.

On looking over any catalogues of his works, or of particular series of
them, we shall notice the recurrence of the same subject two, three, or
even many times. In any other artist this would be nothing remarkable.
Probably most modern landscape painters multiply a favorite subject
twenty, thirty, or sixty fold, putting the shadows and the clouds in
different places, and "inventing," as they are pleased to call it, a new
"effect" every time. But if we examine the successions of Turner's
subjects, we shall find them either the records of a succession of
impressions actually perceived by him at some favorite locality, or else
repetitions of one impression received in early youth, and again and
again realised as his increasing powers enabled him to do better justice
to it. In either case we shall find them records of _seen facts_;
_never_ compositions in his room to fill up a favorite outline.

For instance, every traveller, at least every traveller of thirty years'
standing, must love Calais, the place where he first felt himself in a
strange world. Turner evidently loved it excessively. I have never
catalogued his studies of Calais, but I remember, at this moment, five:
there is first the "Pas de Calais," a very large oil painting, which is
what he saw in broad daylight as he crossed over, when he got near the
French side. It is a careful study of French fishing boats running for
the shore before the wind, with the picturesque old city in the
distance. Then there is the "Calais Harbor" in the Liber Studiorum: that
is what he saw just as he was going into the harbor,--a heavy brig
warping out, and very likely to get in his way, or run against the pier,
and bad weather coming on. Then there is the "Calais Pier," a large
painting, engraved some years ago by Mr. Lupton:[101] that is what he
saw when he had landed, and ran back directly to the pier to see what
had become of the brig. The weather had got still worse, the fishwomen
were being blown about in a distressful manner on the pier head, and
some more fishing boats were running in with all speed. Then there is
the "Fortrouge," Calais: that is what he saw after he had been home to
Dessein's, and dined, and went out again in the evening to walk on the
sands, the tide being down. He had never seen such a waste of sands
before, and it made an impression on him. The shrimp girls were all
scattered over them too, and moved about in white spots on the wild
shore; and the storm had lulled a little, and there was a sunset--such a
sunset,--and the bars of Fortrouge seen against it, skeleton-wise.

He did not paint that directly; thought over it,--painted it a long
while afterwards.

Then there is the vignette in the illustrations to Scott. That is what
he saw as he was going home, meditatively; and the revolving lighthouse
came blazing out upon him suddenly, and disturbed him. He did not like
that so much; made a vignette of it, however, when he was asked to do a
bit of Calais, twenty or thirty years afterwards, having already done
all the rest.

Turner never told me all this, but any one may see it if he will compare
the pictures. They might, possibly, not be impressions of a single day,
but of two days or three; though in all human probability they were seen
just as I have stated them;[102] but they _are_ records of successive
impressions, as plainly written as ever traveller's diary. All of them
pure veracities. Therefore immortal.

I could multiply these series almost indefinitely from the rest of his
works. What is curious, some of them have a kind of private mark running
through all the subjects. Thus I know three drawings of Scarborough, and
all of them have a starfish in the foreground: I do not remember any
others of his marine subjects which have a starfish.

The other kind of repetition--the recurrence to one early impression--is
however still more remarkable. In the collection of F. H. Bale, Esq.,
there is a small drawing of Llanthony Abbey. It is in his boyish manner,
its date probably about 1795; evidently a sketch from nature, finished
at home. It had been a showery day; the hills were partially concealed
by the rain, and gleams of sunshine breaking out at intervals. A man was
fishing in the mountain stream. The young Turner sought a place of some
shelter under the bushes; made his sketch, took great pains when he got
home to imitate the rain, as he best could; added his child's luxury of
a rainbow; put in the very bush under which he had taken shelter, and
the fisherman, a somewhat ill-jointed and long-legged fisherman, in the
courtly short breeches which were the fashion of the time.

Some thirty years afterwards, with all his powers in their strongest
training, and after the total change in his feelings and principles
which I have endeavored to describe, he undertook the series of "England
and Wales," and in that series introduced the subject of Llanthony
Abbey. And behold, he went back to his boy's sketch, and boy's thought.
He kept the very bushes in their places, but brought the fisherman to
the other side of the river, and put him, in somewhat less courtly
dress, under their shelter, instead of himself. And then he set all his
gained strength and new knowledge at work on the well-remembered shower
of rain, that had fallen thirty years before, to do it better. The
resultant drawing[103] is one of the very noblest of his second period.

Another of the drawings of the England series, Ulleswater, is the
repetition of one in Mr. Fawkes's collection, which, by the method of
its execution, I should conjecture to have been executed about the year
1808, or 1810: at all events, it is a very quiet drawing of the first
period. The lake is quite calm; the western hills in grey shadow, the
eastern massed in light. Helvellyn rising like a mist between them, all
being mirrored in the calm water. Some thin and slightly evanescent cows
are standing in the shallow water in front; a boat floats motionless
about a hundred yards from the shore: the foreground is of broken rocks,
with lovely pieces of copse on the right and left.

This was evidently Turner's record of a quiet evening by the shore of
Ulleswater, but it was a feeble one. He could not at that time render
the sunset colors: he went back to it therefore in the England series,
and painted it again with his new power. The same hills are there, the
same shadows, the same cows,--they had stood in his mind, on the same
spot, for twenty years,--the same boat, the same rocks, only the copse
is cut away--it interfered with the masses of his color: some figures
are introduced bathing, and what was grey, and feeble gold in the first
drawing, becomes purple, and burning rose-color in the last.

But perhaps one of the most curious examples is in the series of
subjects from Winchelsea. That in the Liber Studiorum, "Winchelsea,
Sussex," bears date 1812, and its figures consist of a soldier speaking
to a woman, who is resting on the bank beside the road. There is another
small subject, with Winchelsea in the distance, of which the engraving
bears date 1817. It has _two_ women with bundles, and _two_ soldiers
toiling along the embankment in the plain, and a baggage waggon in the
distance. Neither of these seems to have satisfied him, and at last he
did another for the England series, of which the engraving bears date
1830. There is now a regiment on the march; the baggage waggon is there,
having got no further on in the thirteen years, but one of the women is
tired, and has fainted on the bank; another is supporting her against
her bundle, and giving her drink; a third sympathetic woman is added,
and the two soldiers have stopped, and one is drinking from his canteen.

Nor is it merely of entire scenes, or of particular incidents, that
Turner's memory is thus tenacious. The slightest passages of color or
arrangement that have pleased him--the fork of a bough, the casting of a
shadow, the fracture of a stone--will be taken up again and again, and
strangely worked into new relations with other thoughts. There is a
single sketch from nature in one of the portfolios at Farnley, of a
common wood-walk on the estate, which has furnished passages to no fewer
than three of the most elaborate compositions in the Liber Studiorum.

I am thus tedious in dwelling on Turner's powers of memory, because I
wish it to be thoroughly seen how all his greatness, all his infinite
luxuriance of invention, depends on his taking possession of everything
that he sees,--on his grasping all, and losing hold of nothing,--on his
forgetting himself, and forgetting nothing else. I wish it to be
understood how every great man paints what he sees or did see, his
greatness being indeed little else than his intense sense of fact. And
thus Pre-Raphaelitism and Raphaelitism, and Turnerism, are all one and
the same, so far as education can influence them. They are different in
their choice, different in their faculties, but all the same in this,
that Raphael himself, so far as he was great, and all who preceded or
followed him who ever were great, became so by painting the truths
around them as they appeared to each man's own mind, not as he had been
taught to see them, except by the God who made both him and them.

There is, however, one more characteristic of Turner's second period, on
which I have still to dwell, especially with reference to what has been
above advanced respecting the fallacy of overtoil; namely, the
magnificent ease with which all is done when it is _successfully_ done.
For there are one or two drawings of this time which are _not_ done
easily. Turner had in these set himself to do a fine thing to exhibit
his powers; in the common phrase, to excel himself; so sure as he does
this, the work is a failure. The worst drawings that have ever come from
his hands are some of this second period, on which he has spent much
time and laborious thought; drawings filled with incident from one side
to the other, with skies stippled into morbid blue, and warm lights set
against them in violent contrast; one of Bamborough Castle, a large
water-color, may be named as an example. But the truly noble works are
those in which, without effort, he has expressed his thoughts as they
came, and forgotten himself; and in these the outpouring of invention is
not less miraculous than the swiftness and obedience of the mighty hand
that expresses it. Any one who examines the drawings may see the
evidence of this facility, in the strange freshness and sharpness of
every touch of color; but when the multitude of delicate touches, with
which all the aërial tones are worked, is taken into consideration, it
would still appear impossible that the drawing could have been completed
with _ease_, unless we had direct evidence in the matter: fortunately,
it is not wanting. There is a drawing in Mr. Fawkes's collection of a
man-of-war taking in stores: it is of the usual size of those of the
England series, about sixteen inches by eleven: it does not appear one
of the most highly finished, but is still farther removed from
slightness. The hull of a first-rate occupies nearly one-half of the
picture on the right, her bows towards the spectator, seen in sharp
perspective from stem to stern, with all her portholes, guns, anchors,
and lower rigging elaborately detailed; there are two other ships of the
line in the middle distance, drawn with equal precision; a noble breezy
sea dancing against their broad bows, full of delicate drawing in its
waves; a store-ship beneath the hull of the larger vessel, and several
other boats, and a complicated cloudy sky. It might appear no small
exertion of mind to draw the detail of all this shipping down to the
smallest ropes, from memory, in the drawing-room of a mansion in the
middle of Yorkshire, even if considerable time had been given for the
effort. But Mr. Fawkes sat beside the painter from the first stroke to
the last. Turner took a piece of blank paper one morning after
breakfast, outlined his ships, finished the drawing in three hours, and
went out to shoot.

Let this single fact be quietly meditated upon by our ordinary painters,
and they will see the truth of what was above asserted,--that if a great
thing can be done at all, it can be done easily; and let them not
torment themselves with twisting of compositions this way and that, and
repeating, and experimenting, and scene-shifting. If a man can compose
at all, he can compose at once, or rather he must compose in spite of
himself. And this is the reason of that silence which I have kept in
most of my works, on the subject of Composition. Many critics,
especially the architects, have found fault with me for not "teaching
people how to arrange masses;" for not "attributing sufficient
importance to composition." Alas! I attribute far more importance to it
than they do;--so much importance, that I should just as soon think of
sitting down to teach a man how to write a Divina Commedia, or King
Lear, as how to "compose," in the true sense, a single building or
picture. The marvellous stupidity of this age of lecturers is, that
they do not see that what they call "principles of composition," are
mere principles of common sense in everything, as well as in pictures
and buildings;--A picture is to have a principal light? Yes; and so a
dinner is to have a principal dish, and an oration a principal point,
and an air of music a principal note, and every man a principal object.
A picture is to have harmony of relation among its parts? Yes; and so is
a speech well uttered, and an action well ordered, and a company well
chosen, and a ragout well mixed. Composition! As if a man were not
composing every moment of his life, well or ill, and would not do it
instinctively in his picture as well as elsewhere, if he could.
Composition of this lower or common kind is of exactly the same
importance in a picture that it is in any thing else,--no more. It is
well that a man should say what he has to say in good order and
sequence, but the main thing is to say it truly. And yet we go on
preaching to our pupils as if to have a principal light was every thing,
and so cover our academy walls with Shacabac feasts, wherein the courses
are indeed well ordered, but the dishes empty.

It is not, however, only in invention that men over-work themselves, but
in execution also; and here I have a word to say to the Pre-Raphaelites
specially. They are working too hard. There is evidence in failing
portions of their pictures, showing that they have wrought so long upon
them that their very sight has failed for weariness, and that the hand
refused any more to obey the heart. And, besides this, there are certain
qualities of drawing which they miss from over-carefulness. For, let
them be assured, there is a great truth lurking in that common desire of
men to see things done in what they call a "masterly," or "bold," or
"broad," manner: a truth oppressed and abused, like almost every other
in this world, but an eternal one nevertheless; and whatever mischief
may have followed from men's looking for nothing else but this facility
of execution, and supposing that a picture was assuredly all right if
only it were done with broad dashes of the brush, still the truth
remains the same:--that because it is not intended that men shall
torment or weary themselves with any earthly labor, it is appointed
that the noblest results should only be attainable by a certain ease and
decision of manipulation. I only wish people understood this much of
sculpture, as well as of painting, and could see that the finely
finished statue is, in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, a far more
vulgar work than that which shows rough signs of the right hand laid to
the workman's hammer: but at all events, in painting it is felt by all
men, and justly felt. The freedom of the lines of nature can only be
represented by a similar freedom in the hand that follows them; there
are curves in the flow of the hair, and in the form of the features, and
in the muscular outline of the body, which can in no wise be caught but
by a sympathetic freedom in the stroke of the pencil. I do not care what
example is taken, be it the most subtle and careful work of Leonardo
himself, there will be found a play and power and ease in the outlines,
which no _slow_ effort could ever imitate. And if the Pre-Raphaelites do
not understand how this kind of power, in its highest perfection, may be
united with the most severe rendering of all other orders of truth, and
especially of those with which they themselves have most sympathy, let
them look at the drawings of John Lewis.

These then are the principal lessons which we have to learn from Turner,
in his second or central period of labor. There is one more, however, to
be received; and that is a warning; for towards the close of it, what
with doing small conventional vignettes for publishers, making showy
drawings from sketches taken by other people of places he had never
seen, and touching up the bad engravings from his works submitted to him
almost every day,--engravings utterly destitute of animation, and which
had to be raised into a specious brilliancy by scratching them over with
white, spotty lights, he gradually got inured to many conventionalities,
and even falsities; and, having trusted for ten or twelve years almost
entirely to his memory and invention, living I believe mostly in London,
and receiving a new sensation only from the burning of the Houses of
Parliament, he painted many pictures between 1830 and 1840 altogether
unworthy of him. But he was not thus to close his career.

In the summer either of 1840 or 1841, he undertook another journey into
Switzerland. It was then at least forty years since he had first seen
the Alps; (the source of the Arveron, in Mr. Fawkes's collection, which
could not have been painted till he had seen the thing itself, bears
date 1800,) and the direction of his journey in 1840 marks his fond
memory of that earliest one; for, if we look over the Swiss studies and
drawings executed in his first period, we shall be struck with his
fondness for the pass of the St. Gothard; the most elaborate drawing in
the Farnley collection is one of the Lake of Lucerne from Fluelen; and,
counting the Liber Studiorum subjects, there are, to my knowledge, six
compositions taken at the same period from the pass of St. Gothard, and,
probably, several others are in existence. The valleys of Sallenche, and
Chamouni, and Lake of Geneva, are the only other Swiss scenes which seem
to have made very profound impressions on him.

He returned in 1841 to Lucerne; walked up Mont Pilate on foot, crossed
the St. Gothard, and returned by Lausanne and Geneva. He made a large
number of colored sketches on this journey, and realised several of them
on his return. The drawings thus produced are different from all that
had preceded them, and are the first which belong definitely to what I
shall henceforth call his Third period.

The perfect repose of his youth had returned to his mind, while the
faculties of imagination and execution appeared in renewed strength; all
conventionality being done away with by the force of the impression
which he had received from the Alps, after his long separation from
them. The drawings are marked by a peculiar largeness and simplicity of
thought: most of them by deep serenity, passing into melancholy; all by
a richness of color, such as he had never before conceived. They, and
the works done in following years, bear the same relation to those of
the rest of his life that the colors of sunset do to those of the day;
and will be recognised, in a few years more, as the noblest landscapes
ever yet conceived by human intellect.

Such has been the career of the greatest painter of this century. Many
a century may pass away before there rises such another; but what
greatness any among us may be capable of, will, at least, be best
attained by following in his path; by beginning in all quietness and
hopefulness to use whatever powers we may possess to represent the
things around us as we see and feel them; trusting to the close of life
to give the perfect crown to the course of its labors, and knowing
assuredly that the determination of the degree in which watchfulness is
to be exalted into invention, rests with a higher will than our own.
And, if not greatness, at least a certain good, is thus to be achieved;
for though I have above spoken of the mission of the more humble artist,
as if it were merely to be subservient to that of the antiquarian or the
man of science, there is an ulterior aspect in which it is not
subservient, but superior. Every archæologist, every natural
philosopher, knows that there is a peculiar rigidity of mind brought on
by long devotion to logical and analytical inquiries. Weak men, giving
themselves to such studies, are utterly hardened by them, and become
incapable of understanding anything nobler, or even of feeling the value
of the results to which they lead. But even the best men are in a sort
injured by them, and pay a definite price, as in most other matters, for
definite advantages. They gain a peculiar strength, but lose in
tenderness, elasticity, and impressibility. The man who has gone, hammer
in hand, over the surface of a romantic country, feels no longer, in the
mountain ranges he has so laboriously explored, the sublimity or mystery
with which they were veiled when he first beheld them, and with which
they are adorned in the mind of the passing traveller. In his more
informed conception, they arrange themselves like a dissected model:
where another man would be awe-struck by the magnificence of the
precipice, he sees nothing but the emergence of a fossiliferous rock,
familiarised already to his imagination as extending in a shallow
stratum, over a perhaps uninteresting district; where the unlearned
spectator would be touched with strong emotion by the aspect of the
snowy summits which rise in the distance, he sees only the culminating
points of a metamorphic formation, with an uncomfortable web of
fan-like fissures radiating, in his imagination, through their
centres[104]. That in the grasp he has obtained of the inner relations
of all these things to the universe, and to man, that in the views which
have been opened to him of natural energies such as no human mind would
have ventured to conceive, and of past states of being, each in some new
way bearing witness to the unity of purpose and everlastingly consistent
providence of the Maker of all things, he has received reward well
worthy the sacrifice, I would not for an instant deny; but the sense of
the loss is not less painful to him if his mind be rightly constituted;
and it would be with infinite gratitude that he would regard the man,
who, retaining in his delineation of natural scenery a fidelity to the
facts of science so rigid as to make his work at once acceptable and
credible to the most sternly critical intellect, should yet invest its
features again with the sweet veil of their daily aspect; should make
them dazzling with the splendor of wandering light, and involve them in
the unsearchableness of stormy obscurity; should restore to the divided
anatomy its visible vitality of operation, clothe naked crags with soft
forests, enrich the mountain ruins with bright pastures, and lead the
thoughts from the monotonous recurrence of the phenomena of the physical
world, to the sweet interests and sorrows of human life and death.



[97] It was not a little curious, that in the very number of the Art
Union which repeated this direct falsehood about the Pre-Raphaelite
rejection of "linear perspective" (by-the-bye, the next time J. B. takes
upon him to speak of any one connected with the Universities, he may as
well first ascertain the difference between a Graduate and an
Under-Graduate), the second plate given should have been of a picture of
Bonington's,--a professional landscape painter, observe,--for the want
of _aërial_ perspective in which the Art Union itself was obliged to
apologise, and in which the artist has committed nearly as many blunders
in _linear_ perspective as there are lines in the picture.

[98] These false statements may be reduced to three principal heads, and
directly contradicted in succession.

The first, the current fallacy of society as well as of the press, was,
that the Pre-Raphaelites imitated the _errors_ of early painters.

A falsehood of this kind could not have obtained credence anywhere but
in England, few English people, comparatively, having ever seen a
picture of early Italian Masters. If they had, they would have known
that the Pre-Raphaelite pictures are just as superior to the early
Italian in skill of manipulation, power of drawing, and knowledge of
effect, as inferior to them in grace of design; and that in a word,
there is not a shadow of resemblance between the two styles. The
Pre-Raphaelites imitate no pictures: they paint from nature only. But
they have opposed themselves as a body to that kind of teaching above
described, which only began after Raphael's time: and they have opposed
themselves as sternly to the entire feeling of the Renaissance schools;
a feeling compounded of indolence, infidelity, sensuality, and shallow
pride. Therefore they have called themselves Pre-Raphaelites. If they
adhere to their principles, and paint nature as it is around them, with
the help of modern science, with the earnestness of the men of the
thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, they will, as I said, found a new
and noble school in England. If their sympathies with the early artists
lead them into mediævalism or Romanism, they will of course come to
nothing. But I believe there is no danger of this, at least for the
strongest among them. There may be some weak ones, whom the Tractarian
heresies may touch; but if so, they will drop off like decayed branches
from a strong stem. I hope all things from the school.

The second falsehood was, that the Pre-Raphaelites did not draw well.
This was asserted, and could have been asserted only by persons who had
never looked at the pictures.

The third falsehood was, that they had no system of light and shade. To
which it may be simply replied that their system of light and shade is
exactly the same as the Sun's; which is, I believe, likely to outlast
that of the Renaissance, however brilliant.

[99] He did not use his full signature, J. M. W., until about the year

[100] I shall give a _catalogue raisonnée_ of all this in the third
volume of "Modern Painters."

[101] The plate was, however, never published.

[102] And the more probably because Turner was never fond of staying
long at any place, and was least of all likely to make a pause of two or
three days at the beginning of his journey.

[103] Vide Modern Painters, Part II. Sect. III. Chap. IV. § 14.

[104] This state of mind appears to have been the only one which
Wordsworth had been able to discern in men of science; and in disdain of
which, he wrote that short-sighted passage in the Excursion, Book III.
l. 165-190, which is, I think, the only one in the whole range of his
works which his true friends would have desired to see blotted out. What
else has been found fault with as feeble or superfluous, is not so in
the intense distinctive relief which it gives to his character. But
these lines are written in mere ignorance of the matter they treat; in
mere want of sympathy with the men they describe; for, observe, though
the passage is put into the mouth of the Solitary, it is fully
confirmed, and even rendered more scornful, by the speech which follows.







I must pray the readers of the following Lectures to remember that the
duty at present laid on me at Oxford is of an exceptionally complex
character. Directly, it is to awaken the interest of my pupils in a
study which they have hitherto found unattractive, and imagined to be
useless; but more imperatively, it is to define the principles by which
the study itself should be guided; and to vindicate their security
against the doubts with which frequent discussion has lately encumbered
a subject which all think themselves competent to discuss. The
possibility of such vindication is, of course, implied in the original
consent of the universities to the establishment of Art Professorships.
Nothing can be made an element of education of which it is impossible to
determine whether it is ill done or well; and the clear assertion that
there is a canon law in formative Art is, at this time, a more important
function of each University than the instruction of its younger members
in any branch of practical skill. It matters comparatively little
whether few or many of our students learn to draw; but it matters much
that all who learn should be taught with accuracy. And the number who
may be justifiably advised to give any part of the time they spend at
college to the study of painting or sculpture ought to depend, and
finally _must_ depend, on their being certified that painting and
sculpture, no less than language or than reasoning, have grammar and
method,--that they permit a recognizable distinction between scholarship
and ignorance, and enforce a constant distinction between Right and

This opening course of Lectures on Sculpture is therefore restricted to
the statement, not only of first principles, but of those which were
illustrated by the practice of one school, and by that practice in its
simplest branch, the analysis of which could be certified by easily
accessible examples, and aided by the indisputable evidence of

The exclusion of the terminal Lecture of the course from the series now
published, is in order to mark more definitely this limitation of my
subject; but in other respects the Lectures have been amplified in
arranging them for the press, and the portions of them trusted at the
time to extempore delivery, (not through indolence, but because
explanations of detail are always most intelligible when most familiar,)
have been in substance to the best of my power set down, and in what I
said too imperfectly, completed.

In one essential particular I have felt it necessary to write what I
would not have spoken. I had intended to make no reference, in my
University Lectures, to existing schools of Art, except in cases where
it might be necessary to point out some undervalued excellence. The
objects specified in the eleventh paragraph of my inaugural Lecture,
might, I hoped, have been accomplished without reference to any works
deserving of blame; but the Exhibition of the Royal Academy in the
present year showed me a necessity of departing from my original
intention. The task of impartial criticism[106] is now, unhappily, no
longer to rescue modest skill from neglect; but to withstand the errors
of insolent genius, and abate the influence of plausible mediocrity.

The Exhibition of 1871 was very notable in this important particular,
that it embraced some representation of the modern schools of nearly
every country in Europe; and I am well assured that looking back upon it
after the excitement of that singular interest has passed away, every
thoughtful judge of Art will confirm my assertion, that it contained not
a single picture of accomplished merit; while it contained many that
were disgraceful to Art, and some that were disgraceful to humanity.

It becomes, under such circumstances, my inevitable duty to speak of the
existing conditions of Art with plainness enough to guard the youths
whose judgments I am entrusted to form, from being misled, either by
their own naturally vivid interest in what represents, however
unworthily, the scenes and persons of their own day, or by the cunningly
devised, and, without doubt, powerful allurements of Art which has long
since confessed itself to have no other object than to allure. I have,
therefore, added to the second of these Lectures such illustration of
the motives and course of modern industry as naturally arose out of its
subject, and shall continue in future to make similar applications;
rarely, indeed, permitting myself, in the Lectures actually read before
the University, to introduce subjects of instant, and therefore too
exciting, interest; but completing the addresses which I prepare for
publication in these, and in any other particulars which may render them
more widely serviceable.

The present course of Lectures will be followed, if I am able to fulfil
the design of them, by one of a like elementary character on
Architecture; and that by a third series on Christian Sculpture: but, in
the meantime, my effort is to direct the attention of the resident
students to Natural History, and to the higher branches of ideal
Landscape: and it will be, I trust, accepted as sufficient reason for
the delay which has occurred in preparing the following sheets for the
press, that I have not only been interrupted by a dangerous illness, but
engaged, in what remained to me of the summer, in an endeavour to
deduce, from the overwhelming complexity of modern classification in the
Natural Sciences, some forms capable of easier reference by Art
students, to whom the anatomy of brutal and floral nature is often no
less important than that of the human body.

The preparation of examples for manual practice, and the arrangement of
standards for reference, both in Painting and Sculpture, had to be
carried on meanwhile, as I was able. For what has already been done, the
reader is referred to the _Catalogue of the Educational Series_,
published at the end of the Spring Term; of what remains to be done I
will make no anticipatory statement, being content to have ascribed to
me rather the fault of narrowness in design, than of extravagance in


    _25th November, 1871._


[105] Photography cannot exhibit the character of large and finished
sculpture; but its audacity of shadow is in perfect harmony with the
more roughly picturesque treatment necessary in coins. For the rendering
of all such frank relief, and for the better explanation of forms
disturbed by the lustre of metal or polished stone, the method employed
in the plates of this volume will be found, I believe, satisfactory.
Casts are first taken from the coins, in white plaster; these are
photographed, and the photograph printed by the heliotype process of
Messrs. Edwards and Kidd. Plate XII. is exceptional, being a pure
mezzotint engraving of the old school, excellently carried through by my
assistant, Mr. Allen, who was taught, as a personal favour to myself, by
my friend, and Turner's fellow-worker, Thomas Lupton. Plate IV. was
intended to be a photograph from the superb vase in the British Museum,
No. 564 in Mr. Newton's Catalogue; but its variety of colour defied
photography, and after the sheets had gone to press I was compelled to
reduce Le Normand's plate of it, which is unsatisfactory, but answers my
immediate purpose.

The enlarged photographs for use in the Lecture Room were made for me
with most successful skill by Sergeant Spackman, of South Kensington;
and the help throughout rendered to me by Mr. Burgess is acknowledged in
the course of the Lectures; though with thanks which must remain
inadequate lest they should become tedious; for Mr. Burgess drew the
subjects of Plates III., X., and XIII.; drew and engraved every woodcut
in the book; and printed all the plates with his own hand.

[106] A pamphlet by the Earl of Southesk, "_Britain's Art Paradise_,"
(Edmonston and Douglas, Edinburgh) contains an entirely admirable
criticism of the most faultful pictures of the 1871 Exhibition. It is to
be regretted that Lord Southesk speaks only to condemn; but indeed, in
my own three days' review of the rooms, I found nothing deserving of
notice otherwise, except Mr. Hook's always pleasant sketches from fisher
life, and Mr. Pettie's graceful and powerful, though too slightly
painted, study from _Henry VI_.




_November, 1870._

1. If, as is commonly believed, the subject of study which it is my
special function to bring before you had no relation to the great
interests of mankind, I should have less courage in asking for your
attention to-day, than when I first addressed you; though, even then, I
did not do so without painful diffidence. For at this moment, even
supposing that in other places it were possible for men to pursue their
ordinary avocations undisturbed by indignation or pity; here, at least,
in the midst of the deliberative and religious influences of England,
only one subject, I am well assured, can seriously occupy your
thoughts--the necessity, namely, of determining how it has come to pass,
that in these recent days, iniquity the most reckless and monstrous can
be committed unanimously, by men more generous than ever yet in the
world's history were deceived into deeds of cruelty; and that prolonged
agony of body and spirit, such as we should shrink from inflicting
wilfully on a single criminal, has become the appointed and accepted
portion of unnumbered multitudes of innocent persons, inhabiting the
districts of the world which, of all others, as it seemed, were best
instructed in the laws of civilization, and most richly invested with
the honour, and indulged in the felicity, of peace.

Believe me, however, the subject of Art--instead of being foreign to
these deep questions of social duty and peril,--is so vitally connected
with them, that it would be impossible for me now to pursue the line of
thought in which I began these lectures, because so ghastly an emphasis
would be given to every sentence by the force of passing events. It is
well, then, that in the plan I have laid down for your study, we shall
now be led into the examination of technical details, or abstract
conditions of sentiment; so that the hours you spend with me may be
times of repose from heavier thoughts. But it chances strangely that, in
this course of minutely detailed study, I have first to set before you
the most essential piece of human workmanship, the plough, at the very
moment when--(you may see the announcement in the journals either of
yesterday or the day before)--the swords of your soldiers have been sent
for _to be sharpened_, and not at all to be beaten into ploughshares. I
permit myself, therefore, to remind you of the watchword of all my
earnest writings--"Soldiers of the Ploughshare, instead of Soldiers of
the Sword"--and I know it my duty to assert to you that the work we
enter upon to-day is no trivial one, but full of solemn hope; the hope,
namely, that among you there may be found men wise enough to lead the
national passions towards the arts of peace, instead of the arts of war.

I say the work "we enter upon," because the first four lectures I gave
in the spring were wholly prefatory; and the following three only
defined for you methods of practice. To-day we begin the systematic
analysis and progressive study of our subject.

2. In general, the three great, or fine, Arts of Painting, Sculpture,
and Architecture, are thought of as distinct from the lower and more
mechanical formative arts, such as carpentry or pottery. But we cannot,
either verbally, or with any practical advantage, admit such
classification. How are we to distinguish painting on canvas from
painting on china?--or painting on china from painting on glass?--or
painting on glass from infusion of colour into any vitreous substance,
such as enamel?--or the infusion of colour into glass and enamel from
the infusion of colour into wool or silk, and weaving of pictures in
tapestry, or patterns in dress? You will find that although, in
ultimately accurate use of the word, painting must be held to mean only
the laying of a pigment on a surface with a soft instrument; yet, in
broad comparison of the functions of Art, we must conceive of one and
the same great artistic faculty, as governing _every mode of disposing
colours in a permanent relation on, or in, a solid substance_; whether
it be by tinting canvas, or dyeing stuffs; inlaying metals with fused
flint, or coating walls with coloured stone.

3. Similarly the word "Sculpture,"--though in ultimate accuracy it is to
be limited to the development of form in hard substances by cutting away
portions of their mass--in broad definition, must be held to signify
_the reduction of any shapeless mass of solid matter into an intended
shape_, whatever the consistence of the substance, or nature of the
instrument employed; whether we carve a granite mountain, or a piece of
box-wood, and whether we use, for our forming instrument axe, or hammer,
or chisel, or our own hands, or water to soften, or fire to
fuse;--whenever and however we bring a shapeless thing into shape, we do
so under the laws of the one great Art of Sculpture.

4. Having thus broadly defined painting and sculpture, we shall see that
there is, in the third place, a class of work separated from both, in a
specific manner, and including a great group of arts which neither, of
necessity, _tint_, nor for the sake of form merely, _shape_, the
substances they deal with; but construct or arrange them with a view to
the resistance of some external force. We construct, for instance, a
table with a flat top, and some support of prop, or leg, proportioned in
strength to such weights as the table is intended to carry. We construct
a ship out of planks, or plates of iron, with reference to certain
forces of impact to be sustained, and of inertia to be overcome; or we
construct a wall or roof with distinct reference to forces of pressure
and oscillation, to be sustained or guarded against; and therefore, in
every case, with especial consideration of the strength of our
materials, and the nature of that strength, elastic, tenacious, brittle,
and the like.

Now although this group of arts nearly always involves the putting of
two or more separate pieces together, we must not define it by that
accident. The blade of an oar is not less formed with reference to
external force than if it were made of many pieces; and the frame of a
boat, whether hollowed out of a tree-trunk, or constructed of planks
nailed together, is essentially the same piece of art; to be judged by
its buoyancy and capacity of progression. Still, from the most wonderful
piece of all architecture, the human skeleton, to this simple one,[107]
the ploughshare, on which it depends for its subsistence, _the putting
of two or more pieces together_ is curiously necessary to the
perfectness of every fine instrument; and the peculiar mechanical work
of Dædalus,--inlaying,--becomes all the more delightful to us in
external aspect, because, as in the jawbone of a Saurian, or the wood of
a bow, it is essential to the finest capacities of tension and

5. And observe how unbroken the ascent from this, the simplest
architecture, to the loftiest. The placing of the timbers in a ship's
stem, and the laying of the stones in a bridge buttress, are similar in
art to the construction of the ploughshare, differing in no essential
point, either in that they deal with other materials, or because, of the
three things produced, one has to divide earth by advancing through it,
another to divide water by advancing through it, and the third to divide
water which advances against it. And again, the buttress of a bridge
differs only from that of a cathedral in having less weight to sustain,
and more to resist. We can find no term in the gradation, from the
ploughshare to the cathedral buttress, at which we can set a logical

6. Thus then we have simply three divisions of Art--one, that of giving
colours to substance; another, that of giving form to it without
question of resistance to force; and the third, that of giving form or
position which will make it capable of such resistance. All the fine
arts are embraced under these three divisions. Do not think that it is
only a logical or scientific affectation to mass them together in this
manner; it is, on the contrary, of the first practical importance to
understand that the painter's faculty, or masterhood over colour, being
as subtle as a musician's over sound, must be looked to for the
government of every operation in which colour is employed; and that, in
the same manner, the appliance of any art whatsoever to minor objects
cannot be right, unless under the direction of a true master of that
art. Under the present system, you keep your Academician occupied only
in producing tinted pieces of canvas to be shown in frames, and smooth
pieces of marble to be placed in niches; while you expect your builder
or constructor to design coloured patterns in stone and brick, and your
china-ware merchant to keep a separate body of workwomen who can paint
china, but nothing else. By this division of labour, you ruin all the
arts at once. The work of the Academician becomes mean and effeminate,
because he is not used to treat colour on a grand scale and in rough
materials; and your manufactures become base because no well educated
person sets hand to them. And therefore it is necessary to understand,
not merely as a logical statement, but as a practical necessity, that
wherever beautiful colour is to be arranged, you need a Master of
Painting; and wherever noble form is to be given, a Master of Sculpture;
and wherever complex mechanical force is to be resisted, a Master of

7. But over this triple division there must rule another yet more
important. Any of these three arts may be either imitative of natural
objects or limited to useful appliance. You may either paint a picture
that represents a scene, or your street door, to keep it from rotting;
you may mould a statue, or a plate; build the resemblance of a cluster
of lotus stalks, or only a square pier. Generally speaking, Painting and
Sculpture will be imitative, and Architecture merely useful; but there
is a great deal of Sculpture--as this crystal ball[108] for instance,
which is not imitative, and a great deal of Architecture which, to some
extent is so, as the so called foils of Gothic apertures; and for many
other reasons you will find it necessary to keep distinction clear in
your minds between the arts--of whatever kind--which are imitative, and
produce a resemblance or image of something which is not present; and
those which are limited to the production of some useful reality, as the
blade of a knife, or the wall of a house. You will perceive also, as we
advance, that sculpture and painting are indeed in this respect only one
art; and that we shall have constantly to speak and think of them as
simply _graphic_, whether with chisel or colour, their principal
function being to make us, in the words of Aristotle, "[Greek:
theôrêtikoi tou peri ta sômata kallous]" (Polit. 8, 3.), "having
capacity and habit of contemplation of the beauty that is in material
things;" while Architecture, and its co-relative arts, are to be
practised under quite other conditions of sentiment.

8. Now it is obvious that so far as the fine arts consist either in
imitation or mechanical construction, the right judgment of them must
depend on our knowledge of the things they imitate, and forces they
resist: and my function of teaching here would (for instance) so far
resolve itself, either into demonstration that this painting of a
peach,[109] does resemble a peach, or explanation of the way in which
this ploughshare (for instance) is shaped so as to throw the earth aside
with least force of thrust. And in both of these methods of study,
though of course your own diligence must be your chief master, to a
certain extent your Professor of Art can always guide you securely, and
can show you, either that the image does truly resemble what it attempts
to resemble, or that the structure is rightly prepared for the service
it has to perform. But there is yet another virtue of fine art which is,
perhaps, exactly that about which you will expect your Professor to
teach you most, and which, on the contrary, is exactly that about which
you must teach yourselves all that it is essential to learn.

9. I have here in my hand one of the simplest possible examples of the
union of the graphic and constructive powers,--one of my breakfast
plates. Since all the finely architectural arts, we said, began in the
shaping of the cup and the platter, we will begin, ourselves, with the

Why has it been made round? For two structural reasons: first, that the
greatest holding surface may be gathered into the smallest space; and
secondly, that in being pushed past other things on the table, it may
come into least contact with them.

[Illustration: FIG. 1.]

Next, why has it a rim? For two other structural reasons; first, that it
is convenient to put salt or mustard upon; but secondly and chiefly,
that the plate may be easily laid hold of. The rim is the simplest form
of continuous handle.

Farther, to keep it from soiling the cloth, it will be wise to put this
ridge beneath, round the bottom; for as the rim is the simplest possible
form of continuous handle, so this is the simplest form of continuous
leg. And we get the section given beneath the figure for the essential
one of a rightly made platter.

10. Thus far our art has been strictly utilitarian having respect to
conditions of collision, of carriage, and of support. But now, on the
surface of our piece of pottery, here are various bands and spots of
colour which are presumably set there to make it pleasanter to the eye.
Six of the spots, seen closely, you discover are intended to represent
flowers. These then have as distinctly a graphic purpose as the other
properties of the plate have an architectural one, and the first
critical question we have to ask about them is, whether they are like
roses or not. I will anticipate what I have to say in subsequent
lectures so far as to assure you that, if they are to be like roses at
all, the liker they can be, the better. Do not suppose, as many people
will tell you, that because this is a common manufactured article, your
roses on it are the better for being ill-painted, or half-painted. If
they had been painted by the same hand that did this peach, the plate
would have been all the better for it; but, as it chanced, there was no
hand such as William Hunt's to paint them, and their graphic power is
not distinguished. In any case, however, that graphic power must have
been subordinate to their effect as pink spots, while the band of
green-blue round the plate's edge, and the spots of gold, pretend to no
graphic power at all, but are meaningless spaces of colour or metal.
Still less have they any mechanical office: they add nowise to the
serviceableness of the plate; and their agreeableness, if they possess
any, depends, therefore, neither on any imitative, nor any structural,
character; but on some inherent pleasantness in themselves, either of
mere colours to the eye (as of taste to the tongue), or in the placing
of those colours in relations which obey some mental principle of order,
or physical principle of harmony.

11. These abstract relations and inherent pleasantnesses, whether in
space, number, or time, and whether of colours or sounds, form what we
may properly term the musical or harmonic element in every art; and the
study of them is an entirely separate science. It is the branch of
art-philosophy to which the word "æsthetics" should be strictly limited,
being the inquiry into the nature of things that in themselves are
pleasant to the human senses or instincts, though they represent
nothing, and serve for nothing, their only service _being_ their
pleasantness. Thus it is the province of æsthetics to tell you, (if you
did not know it before,) that the taste and colour of a peach are
pleasant, and to ascertain, if it be ascertainable, (and you have any
curiosity to know,) why they are so.

12. The information would, I presume, to most of you, be gratuitous. If
it were not, and you chanced to be in a sick state of body in which you
disliked peaches, it would be, for the time, to you false information,
and, so far as it was true of other people, to you useless. Nearly the
whole study of æsthetics is in like manner either gratuitous or useless.
Either you like the right things without being recommended to do so, or
if you dislike them, your mind cannot be changed by lectures on the laws
of taste. You recollect the story of Thackeray, provoked, as he was
helping himself to strawberries, by a young coxcomb's telling him that
"he never took fruit or sweets." "That" replied, or is said to have
replied, Thackeray, "is because you are a sot, and a glutton." And the
whole science of æsthetics is, in the depth of it, expressed by one
passage of Goethe's in the end of the 2nd part of Faust;--the notable
one that follows the song of the Lemures, when the angels enter to
dispute with the fiends for the soul of Faust. They enter
singing--"Pardon to sinners and life to the dust." Mephistopheles hears
them first, and exclaims to his troop, "Discord I hear, and filthy
jingling"--"Mistöne höre ich; garstiges Geklimper." This, you see, is
the extreme of bad taste in music. Presently the angelic host begin
strewing roses, which discomfits the diabolic crowd altogether.
Mephistopheles in vain calls to them--"What do you duck and shrink
for--is that proper hellish behaviour? Stand fast, and let them
strew"--"Was duckt und zuckt ihr; ist das Hellen-brauch? So haltet
stand, und lasst sie streuen." There you have, also, the extreme of bad
taste in sight and smell. And in the whole passage is a brief embodiment
for you of the ultimate fact that all æsthetics depend on the health of
soul and body, and the proper exercise of both, not only through years,
but generations. Only by harmony of both collateral and successive
lives can the great doctrine of the Muses be received which enables men
"[Greek: chairein orthôs]," "to have pleasures rightly;" and there is no
other definition of the beautiful, nor of any subject of delight to the
æsthetic faculty, than that it is what one noble spirit has created,
seen and felt by another of similar or equal nobility. So much as there
is in you of ox, or of swine, perceives no beauty, and creates none:
what is human in you, in exact proportion to the perfectness of its
humanity, can create it, and receive.

13. Returning now to the very elementary form in which the appeal to our
æsthetic virtue is made in our breakfast-plate, you notice that there
are two distinct kinds of pleasantness attempted. One by hues of colour;
the other by proportions of space. I have called these the musical
elements of the arts relating to sight; and there are indeed two
complete sciences, one of the combinations of colour, and the other of
the combinations of line and form, which might each of them separately
engage us in as intricate study as that of the science of music. But of
the two, the science of colour is, in the Greek sense, the more musical,
being one of the divisions of the Apolline power; and it is so
practically educational, that if we are not using the faculty for colour
to discipline nations, they will infallibly use it themselves as a means
of corruption. Both music and colour are naturally influences of peace;
but in the war trumpet, and the war shield, in the battle song and
battle standard, they have concentrated by beautiful imagination the
cruel passions of men; and there is nothing in all the Divina Commedia
of history more grotesque, yet more frightful, than the fact that, from
the almost fabulous period when the insanity and impiety of war wrote
themselves in the symbols of the shields of the Seven against Thebes,
colours have been the sign and stimulus of the most furious and fatal
passions that have rent the nations: blue against green, in the decline
of the Roman Empire; black against white, in that of Florence; red
against white, in the wars of the Royal houses in England; and at this
moment, red against white, in the contest of anarchy and loyalty, in all
the world.

14. On the other hand, the directly ethical influence of colour in the
sky, the trees, flowers, and coloured creatures round us, and in our own
various arts massed under the one name of painting, is so essential and
constant that we cease to recognize it, because we are never long enough
altogether deprived of it to feel our need; and the mental diseases
induced by the influence of corrupt colour are as little suspected, or
traced to their true source, as the bodily weaknesses resulting from
atmospheric miasmata.

15. The second musical science which belongs peculiarly to sculpture
(and to painting, so far as it represents form), consists in the
disposition of beautiful masses. That is to say, beautiful surfaces
limited by beautiful lines. Beautiful _surfaces_, observe; and remember
what is noted in my fourth lecture of the difference between a space and
a mass. If you have at any time examined carefully, or practised from,
the drawings of shells placed in your copying series, you cannot but
have felt the difference in the grace between the aspects of the same
line, when enclosing a rounded or unrounded space. The exact science of
sculpture is that of the relations between outline and the solid form it
limits; and it does not matter whether that relation be indicated by
drawing or carving, so long as the expression of solid form is the
mental purpose; it is the science always of the beauty of relation in
three dimensions. To take the simplest possible line of continuous
limit--the circle: the flat disc enclosed by it may indeed be made an
element of decoration, though a very meagre one but its relative mass,
the ball, being gradated in three dimensions, is always delightful.
Here[110] is at once the simplest, and in mere patient mechanism, the
most skilful, piece of sculpture I can possibly show you,--a piece of
the purest rock-crystal, chiselled, (I believe, by mere toil of hand,)
into a perfect sphere. Imitating nothing, constructing nothing;
sculpture for sculpture's sake, of purest natural substance into
simplest primary form.

16. Again. Out of the nacre of any mussel or oyster-shell you might cut,
at your pleasure, any quantity of small flat circular discs of the
prettiest colour and lustre. To some extent, such tinsel or foil of
shell _is_ used pleasantly for decoration. But the mussel or oyster
becoming itself an unwilling modeller, agglutinates its juice into three
dimensions, and the fact of the surface being now geometrically
gradated, together with the savage instinct of attributing value to what
is difficult to obtain, make the little boss so precious in men's sight
that wise eagerness of search for the kingdom of heaven can be likened
to their eagerness of search for _it_; and the gates of Paradise can be
no otherwise rendered so fair to their poor intelligence, as by telling
them that every several gate was of "one pearl."

17. But take note here. We have just seen that the sum of the perceptive
faculty is expressed in those words of Aristotle's "to take pleasure
rightly" or straightly--[Greek: chairein orthôs]. Now, it is not
possible to do the direct opposite of that,--to take pleasure
iniquitously or obliquely--[Greek: chairein adikôs] or [Greek:
skoliôs]--more than you do in enjoying a thing because your neighbour
cannot get it. You may enjoy a thing legitimately because it is rare,
and cannot be seen often, (as you do a fine aurora, or a sunset, or an
unusually lovely flower); that is Nature's way of stimulating your
attention. But if you enjoy it because your neighbour cannot have
it--and, remember, all value attached to pearls more than glass beads,
is merely and purely for that cause,--then you rejoice through the worst
of idolatries, covetousness; and neither arithmetic, nor writing, nor
any other so-called essential of education, is now so vitally necessary
to the population of Europe, as such acquaintance with the principles of
intrinsic value, as may result in the iconoclasm of jewellery; and in
the clear understanding that we are not in that instinct, civilized, but
yet remain wholly savage, so far as we care for display of this selfish

You think, perhaps, I am quitting my subject, and proceeding, as it is
too often with appearance of justice alleged against me, into irrelevant
matter. Pardon me; the end, not only of these lectures, but of my whole
professorship, would be accomplished,--and far more than that,--if only
the English nation could be made to understand that the beauty which is
indeed to be a joy for ever, must be a joy for all; and that though the
idolatry may not have been wholly divine which sculptured gods, the
idolatry is wholly diabolic, which, for vulgar display, sculptures

18. To go back to the point under discussion. A pearl, or a glass bead,
may owe its pleasantness in some degree to its lustre as well as to its
roundness. But a mere and simple ball of unpolished stone is enough for
sculpturesque value. You may have noticed that the quatrefoil used in
the Ducal Palace of Venice owes its complete loveliness in distant
effect to the finishing of its cusps. The extremity of the cusp is a
mere ball of Istrian marble; and consider how subtle the faculty of
sight must be, since it recognizes at any distance, and is gratified by,
the mystery of the termination of cusp obtained by the gradated light on
the ball.

In that Venetian tracery this simplest element of sculptured form is
used sparingly, as the most precious that can be employed to finish the
façade. But alike in our own, and the French, central Gothic, the
ball-flower is lavished on every line--and in your St. Mary's spire, and
the Salisbury spire, and the towers of Notre Dame of Paris, the rich
pleasantness of decoration,--indeed, their so-called "decorated
style,"--consists only in being daintily beset with stone balls. It is
true the balls are modified into dim likeness of flowers; but do you
trace the resemblance to the rose in their distant, which is their
intended effect?

19. But farther, let the ball have motion; then the form it generates
will be that of a cylinder. You have, perhaps, thought that pure Early
English Architecture depended for its charm on visibility of
construction. It depends for its charm altogether on the abstract
harmony of groups of cylinders,[111] arbitrarily bent into mouldings,
and arbitrarily associated as shafts, having no _real_ relation to
construction whatsoever, and a theoretical relation so subtle that none
of us had seen it, till Professor Willis worked it out for us.

20. And now, proceeding to analysis of higher sculpture, you may have
observed the importance I have attached to the porch of San Zenone, at
Verona, by making it, among your standards, the first of the group which
is to illustrate the system of sculpture and architecture founded on
faith in a future life. That porch, fortunately represented in the
photograph, from which Plate I. has been engraved, under a clear and
pleasant light, furnishes you with examples of sculpture of every kind
from the flattest incised bas-relief to solid statues, both in marble
and bronze. And the two points I have been pressing upon you are
conclusively exhibited here, namely,--(1). That sculpture is essentially
the production of a pleasant bossiness or roundness of surface; (2) that
the pleasantness of that bossy condition to the eye is irrespective of
imitation on one side, and of structure on the other.

21. (1.) Sculpture is essentially the production of a pleasant bossiness
or roundness of surface.

If you look from some distance at these two engravings of Greek coins,
(place the book open so that you can see the opposite plate three or
four yards off,) you will find the relief on each of them simplifies
itself into a pearl-like portion of a sphere, with exquisitely gradated
light on its surface. When you look at them nearer, you will see that
each smaller portion into which they are divided--cheek, or brow, or
leaf, or tress of hair--resolves itself also into a rounded or
undulated surface, pleasant by gradation of light. Every several surface
is delightful in itself, as a shell, or a tuft of rounded moss, or the
bossy masses of distant forest would be. That these intricately
modulated masses present some resemblance to a girl's face, such as the
Syracusans imagined that of the water-goddess Arethusa, is entirely a
secondary matter; the primary condition is that the masses shall be
beautifully rounded, and disposed with due discretion and order.


22. (2.) It is difficult for you, at first, to feel this order and
beauty of surface, apart from the imitation. But you can see there is a
pretty disposition of, and relation between, the projections of a
fir-cone, though the studded spiral imitates nothing. Order exactly the
same in kind, only much more complex; and an abstract beauty of surface
rendered definite by increase and decline of light--(for every curve of
surface has its own luminous law, and the light and shade on a parabolic
solid differs, specifically, from that on an elliptical or spherical
one)--it is the essential business of the sculptor to obtain; as it is
the essential business of a painter to get good colour, whether he
imitates anything or not. At a distance from the picture, or carving,
where the things represented become absolutely unintelligible, we must
yet be able to say, at a glance, "That is good painting, or good

And you will be surprised to find, when you try the experiment, how much
the eye must instinctively judge in this manner. Take the front of San
Zenone for instance, Plate I. You will find it impossible without a
lens, to distinguish in the bronze gates, and in great part of the wall,
anything that their bosses represent. You cannot tell whether the
sculpture is of men, animals, or trees; only you feel it to be composed
of pleasant projecting masses; you acknowledge that both gates and wall
are, somehow, delightfully roughened; and only afterwards, by slow
degrees, can you make out what this roughness means; nay, though here
(Plate III.) I magnify[112] one of the bronze plates of the gate to a
scale, which gives you the same advantage as if you saw it quite close,
in the reality,--you may still be obliged to me for the information,
that _this_ boss represents the Madonna asleep in her little bed, and
this smaller boss, the Infant Christ in His; and this at the top, a
cloud with an angel coming out of it, and these jagged bosses, two of
the Three Kings, with their crowns on, looking up to the star, (which is
intelligible enough I admit); but what this straggling, three-legged
boss beneath signifies, I suppose neither you nor I can tell, unless it
be the shepherd's dog, who has come suddenly upon the Kings with their
crowns on, and is greatly startled at them.

23. Farther, and much more definitely, the pleasantness of the surface
decoration is independent of structure; that is to say, of any
architectural requirement of stability. The greater part of the
sculpture here is exclusively ornamentation of a flat wall, or of door
panelling; only a small portion of the church front is thus treated, and
the sculpture has no more to do with the form of the building than a
piece of a lace veil would have, suspended beside its gates on a festal
day; the proportions of shaft and arch might be altered in a hundred
different ways, without diminishing their stability; and the pillars
would stand more safely on the ground than on the backs of these carved

24. I wish you especially to notice these points, because the false
theory that ornamentation should be merely decorated structure is so
pretty and plausible, that it is likely to take away your attention from
the far more important abstract conditions of design. Structure should
never be contradicted, and in the best buildings it is pleasantly
exhibited and enforced; in this very porch the joints of every stone are
visible, and you will find me in the Fifth Lecture insisting on this
clearness of its anatomy as a merit; yet so independent is the
mechanical structure of the true design, that when I begin my Lectures
on Architecture, the first building I shall give you as a standard will
be one in which the structure is wholly concealed. It will be the
Baptistry of Florence, which is, in reality, as much a buttressed chapel
with a vaulted roof, as the Chapter House of York--but round it, in
order to conceal that buttressed structure, (not to decorate, observe,
but to _conceal_) a flat external wall is raised; simplifying the whole
to a mere hexagonal box, like a wooden piece of Tunbridge ware, on the
surface of which the eye and intellect are to be interested by the
relations of dimension and curve between pieces of encrusting marble of
different colours, which have no more to do with the real make of the
building than the diaper of a Harlequin's jacket has to do with his



San Zenone. Verona.]

25. The sense of abstract proportion, on which the enjoyment of such a
piece of art entirely depends, is one of the æsthetic faculties which
nothing can develop but time and education. It belongs only to
highly-trained nations; and, among them, to their most strictly refined
classes, though the germs of it are found, as part of their innate
power, in every people capable of art. It has for the most part vanished
at present from the English mind, in consequence of our eager desire for
excitement, and for the kind of splendour that exhibits wealth, careless
of dignity; so that, I suppose, there are very few now even of our
best-trained Londoners who know the difference between the design of
Whitehall and that of any modern club-house in Pall-mall. The order and
harmony which, in his enthusiastic account of the Theatre of Epidaurus,
Pausanias insists on before beauty, can only be recognized by stern
order and harmony in our daily lives; and the perception of them is as
little to be compelled, or taught suddenly, as the laws of still finer
choice in the conception of dramatic incident which regulate poetic

26. And now, at last, I think, we can sketch out the subject before us
in a clear light. We have a structural art, divine, and human, of which
the investigation comes under the general term, Anatomy; whether the
junctions or joints be in mountains, or in branches of trees, or in
buildings, or in bones of animals. We have next a musical art, falling
into two distinct divisions--one using colours, the other masses, for
its elements of composition; lastly, we have an imitative art, concerned
with the representation of the outward appearances of things. And, for
many reasons, I think it best to begin with imitative Sculpture; that
being defined as _the art which, by the musical disposition of masses,
imitates anything of which the imitation is justly pleasant to us; and
does so in accordance with structural laws having due reference to the
materials employed_.

So that you see our task will involve the immediate inquiry what the
things are of which the imitation is justly pleasant to us: what, in few
words,--if we are to be occupied in the making of graven images--we
ought to like to make images _of_. Secondly, after having determined its
subject, what degree of imitation or likeness we ought to desire in our
graven image; and lastly, under what limitations demanded by structure
and material, such likeness may be obtained.

These inquiries I shall endeavour to pursue with you to some practical
conclusion, in my next four lectures, and in the sixth, I will briefly
sketch the actual facts that have taken place in the development of
sculpture by the two greatest schools of it that hitherto have existed
in the world.

27. The tenor of our next lecture then must be an inquiry into the real
nature of Idolatry; that is to say, the invention and service of Idols:
and, in the interval, may I commend to your own thoughts this question,
not wholly irrelevant, yet which I cannot pursue; namely, whether the
God to whom we have so habitually prayed for deliverance "from battle,
murder, and sudden death," _is_ indeed, seeing that the present state of
Christendom is the result of a thousand years' praying to that effect,
"as the gods of the heathen who were but idols;" or whether--(and
observe, one or other of these things _must_ be true)--whether our
prayers to Him have been, by this much, worse than Idolatry;--that
heathen prayer was true prayer to false gods; and our prayers have been
false prayers to the True One.


[107] I had a real ploughshare on my lecture table; but it would
interrupt the drift of the statements in the text too long if I
attempted here to illustrate by figures the relation of the coulter to
the share, and of the hard to the soft pieces of metal in the share

[108] A sphere of rock crystal, cut in Japan, enough imaginable by the
reader, without a figure.

[109] One of William Hunt's peaches; not, I am afraid, imaginable
altogether, but still less representable by figure.

[110] The crystal ball above mentioned.

[111] All grandest effects in mouldings may be, and for the most part
have been, obtained by rolls and cavettos of circular (segmental)
section. More refined sections, as that of the fluting of a Doric shaft,
are only of use near the eye and in beautiful stone; and the pursuit of
them was one of the many errors of later Gothic. The statement in the
text that the mouldings, even of best time, "have no real relation to
construction," is scarcely strong enough: they in fact contend with, and
deny the construction, their principal purpose seeming to be the
concealment of the joints of the voussoirs.

[112] Some of the most precious work done for me by my assistant Mr.
Burgess, during the course of these lectures, consisted in making
enlarged drawings from portions of photographs. Plate III. is engraved
from a drawing of his, enlarged from the original photograph of which
Plate I. is a reduction.



_November, 1870._

28. Beginning with the simple conception of sculpture as the art of
fiction in solid substance, we are now to consider what its subjects
should be. What--having the gift of imagery--should we by preference
endeavour to image? A question which is, indeed, subordinate to the
deeper one--why we should wish to image anything at all.

29. Some years ago, having been always desirous that the education of
women should begin in learning how to cook, I got leave, one day, for a
little girl of eleven years old to exchange, much to her satisfaction,
her schoolroom for the kitchen. But as ill fortune would have it, there
was some pastry toward, and she was left unadvisedly in command of some
delicately rolled paste; whereof she made no pies, but an unlimited
quantity of cats and mice.

Now you may read the works of the gravest critics of art from end to
end; but you will find, at last, they can give you no other true account
of the spirit of sculpture than that it is an irresistible human
instinct for the making of cats and mice, and other imitable living
creatures, in such permanent form that one may play with the images at

Play with them, or love them, or fear them, or worship them. The cat may
become the goddess Pasht, and the mouse, in the hand of the sculptured
king, enforce his enduring words "[Greek: es eme tis oreôn eusebês
estô];" but the great mimetic instinct underlies all such purpose; and
is zooplastic,--life-shaping,--alike in the reverent and the impious.

30. Is, I say, and has been, hitherto; none of us dare say that it will
be. I shall have to show you hereafter that the greater part of the
technic energy of men, as yet, has indicated a kind of childhood; and
that the race becomes, if not more wise, at least more manly,[113] with
every gained century. I can fancy that all this sculpturing and painting
of ours may be looked back upon, in some distant time, as a kind of
doll-making, and that the words of Sir Isaac Newton may be smiled at no
more: only it will not be for stars that we desert our stone dolls, but
for men. When the day comes, as come it must, in which we no more deface
and defile God's image in living clay, I am not sure that we shall any
of us care so much for the images made of Him, in burnt clay.

31. But, hitherto, the energy of growth in any people may be almost
directly measured by their passion for imitative art; namely, for
sculpture, or for the drama, which is living and speaking sculpture, or,
as in Greece, for both; and in national as in actual childhood, it is
not merely the _making_, but the _making-believe_; not merely the acting
for the sake of the scene, but acting for the sake of acting, that is
delightful. And, of the two mimetic arts, the drama, being more
passionate, and involving conditions of greater excitement and luxury,
is usually in its excellence the sign of culminating strength in the
people; while fine sculpture, requiring always submission to severe law,
is an unfailing proof of their being in early and active progress.
_There is no instance of fine sculpture being produced by a nation
either torpid, weak, or in decadence._ Their drama may gain in grace and
wit; but their sculpture, in days of decline, is _always_ base.

32. If my little lady in the kitchen had been put in command of colours,
as well as of dough, and if the paste would have taken the colours, we
may be sure her mice would have been painted brown, and her cats
tortoise-shell; and this, partly indeed for the added delight and
prettiness of colour itself, but more for the sake of absolute
realization to her eyes and mind. Now all the early sculpture of the
most accomplished nations has been thus coloured, rudely or finely; and,
therefore, you see at once how necessary it is that we should keep the
term "graphic" for imitative art generally; since no separation can at
first be made between carving and painting, with reference to the mental
powers exerted in, or addressed by, them. In the earliest known art of
the world, a reindeer hunt may be scratched in outline on the flat side
of a clean-picked bone, and a reindeer's head carved out of the end of
it; both these are flint-knife work, and, strictly speaking, sculpture:
but the scratched outline is the beginning of drawing, and the carved
head of sculpture proper. When the spaces enclosed by the scratched
outline are filled with colour, the colouring soon becomes a principal
means of effect; so that, in the engraving of an Egyptian-colour
bas-relief (S. 101), Rosellini has been content to miss the outlining
incisions altogether, and represent it as a painting only. Its proper
definition is, "painting accented by sculpture;" on the other hand, in
solid coloured statues,--Dresden china figures, for example,--we have
pretty sculpture accented by painting; the mental purpose in both kinds
of art being to obtain the utmost degree of realization possible, and
the ocular impression being the same, whether the delineation is
obtained by engraving or painting. For, as I pointed out to you in my
fifth lecture, everything is seen by the eye as patches of colour, and
of colour only; a fact which the Greeks knew well; so that when it
becomes a question in the dialogue of Minos, "[Greek: tini onti tê opsei
horatai ta hoômena]," the answer is "[Greek: aisthêsei tautê tê dia tôn
ophthalmôn dêloisê hêmin ta chrômata]."--"What kind of power is the
sight with which we see things? It is that sense which, through the
eyes, can reveal _colours_ to us."

33. And now observe that while the graphic arts begin in the mere
mimetic effort, they proceed, as they obtain more perfect realization,
to act under the influence of a stronger and higher instinct. They begin
by scratching the reindeer, the most interesting object of sight. But
presently, as the human creature rises in scale of intellect, it
proceeds to scratch, not the most interesting object of sight only, but
the most interesting object of imagination; not the reindeer, but the
Maker and Giver of the reindeer. And the second great condition for the
advance of the art of sculpture is that the race should possess, in
addition to the mimetic instinct, the realistic or idolizing instinct;
the desire to see as substantial the powers that are unseen, and bring
near those that are far off, and to possess and cherish those that are
strange. To make in some way tangible and visible the nature of the
gods--to illustrate and explain it by symbols; to bring the immortals
out of the recesses of the clouds, and make them Penates; to bring back
the dead from darkness, and make them Lares.

34. Our conception of this tremendous and universal human passion has
been altogether narrowed by the current idea that Pagan religious art
consisted only, or chiefly, in giving personality to the gods. The
personality was never doubted; it was visibility, interpretation, and
possession that the hearts of men sought. Possession, first of all--the
getting hold of some hewn log of wild olive-wood that would fall on its
knees if it was pulled from its pedestal--and, afterwards, slowly
clearing manifestation; the exactly right expression is used in Lucian's
dream,--[Greek: Pheidias edeixe ton Dia]; "Showed[114] Zeus;" manifested
him, nay, in a certain sense, brought forth, or created, as you have it,
in Anacreon's ode to the Rose, of the birth of Athena herself--

    [Greek: polemoklonon t' Athênên
    koruphês edeiknye Zeus.]

But I will translate the passage from Lucian to you at length--it is in
every way profitable.

35. "There came to me, in the healing[115] night, a divine dream, so
clear that it missed nothing of the truth itself; yes, and still after
all this time, the shapes of what I saw remain in my sight, and the
sound of what I heard dwells in my ears"--note the lovely sense of
[Greek: enaulos]--the sound being as of a stream passing always by in
the same channel,--"so distinct was everything to me. Two women laid
hold of my hands and pulled me, each towards herself, so violently, that
I had like to have been pulled asunder; and they cried out against one
another,--the one, that she was resolved to have me to herself, being
indeed her own, and the other that it was vain for her to claim what
belonged to others;--and the one who first claimed me for her own was
like a hard worker, and had strength as a man's; and her hair was dusty,
and her hand full of horny places, and her dress fastened tight about
her, and the folds of it loaded with white marble-dust, so that she
looked just as my uncle used to look when he was filing stones: but the
other was pleasant in features, and delicate in form, and orderly in her
dress; and so in the end, they left it to me to decide, after hearing
what they had to say, with which of them I would go; and first the hard
featured and masculine one spoke:--

[Illustration: IV


36. "'Dear child, I am the Art of Image-sculpture, which yesterday you
began to learn; and I am as one of your own people, and of your house,
for your grandfather,' (and she named my mother's father) 'was a
stone-cutter; and both your uncles had good name through me: and if you
will keep yourself well clear of the sillinesses and fluent follies that
come from this creature,' (and she pointed to the other woman) 'and will
follow me, and live with me, first of all, you shall be brought up as a
man should be, and have strong shoulders; and, besides that, you shall
be kept well quit of all restless desires, and you shall never be
obliged to go away into any foreign places, leaving your own country and
the people of your house; _neither shall all men praise you for your
talk_.[116] And you must not despise this rude serviceableness of my
body, neither this meanness of my dusty dress; for, pushing on in their
strength from such things as these, that great Phidias revealed Zeus,
and Polyclitus wrought out Hera, and Myron was praised, and Praxiteles
marvelled at: therefore are these men worshipped with the gods.'"

37. There is a beautiful ambiguity in the use of the preposition with
the genitive in this last sentence. "Pushing on from these things" means
indeed, justly, that the sculptors rose from a mean state to a noble
one; but not as _leaving_ the mean state;--not as, from a hard life,
attaining to a soft one,--but as being helped and strengthened by the
rough life to do what was greatest. Again, "worshipped with the gods"
does not mean that they are thought of as in any sense equal to, or like
to, the gods, but as being on the side of the gods against what is base
and ungodly; and that the kind of worth which is in them is therefore
indeed worshipful, as having its source with the gods. Finally, observe
that every one of the expressions, used of the four sculptors, is
definitely the best that Lucian could have chosen. Phidias carved like
one who had seen Zeus, and had only to _reveal_ him; Polyclitus, in
labour of intellect, completed his sculpture by just law, and _wrought_
out Hera; Myron was of all most _praised_, because he did best what
pleased the vulgar; and Praxiteles, the most _wondered at_ or admired,
because he bestowed utmost exquisiteness of beauty.

38. I am sorry not to go on with the dream; the more refined lady, as
you may remember, is liberal or gentlemanly Education, and prevails at
last; so that Lucian becomes an author instead of a sculptor, I think to
his own regret, though to our present benefit. One more passage of his I
must refer you to, as illustrative of the point before us; the
description of the temple of the Syrian Hieropolis, where he explains
the absence of the images of the sun and moon. "In the temple itself,"
he says, "on the left hand as one goes in, there is set first the throne
of the sun; but no form of him is thereon, for of these two powers
alone, the sun and the moon, they show no carved images. And I also
learned why this is their law, for they say that it is permissible,
indeed, to make of the other gods, graven images, since the forms of
them are not visible to all men. But Helios and Selenaia are everywhere
clear-bright, and all men behold them; what need is there therefore for
sculptured work of these, who appear in the air?"

39. This, then, is the second instinct necessary to sculpture; the
desire for the manifestation, description, and companionship of unknown
powers; and for possession of a bodily substance--the "bronze
Strasbourg," which you can embrace, and hang immortelles on the head
of--instead of an abstract idea. But if you get nothing more in the
depth of the national mind than these two feelings, the mimetic and
idolizing instincts, there may be still no progress possible for the
arts except in delicacy of manipulation and accumulative caprice of
design. You must have not only the idolizing instinct, but an [Greek:
êthos] which chooses the right thing to idolize! Else, you will get
states of art like those in China or India, non-progressive, and in
great part diseased and frightful, being wrought under the influence of
foolish terror, or foolish admiration. So that a third condition,
completing and confirming both the others, must exist in order to the
development of the creative power.

40. This third condition is that the heart of the nation shall be set on
the discovery of just or equal law, and shall be from day to day
developing that law more perfectly. The Greek school of sculpture is
formed during, and in consequence of, the national effort to discover
the nature of justice; the Tuscan, during, and in consequence of, the
national effort to discover the nature of justification. I assert to you
at present briefly, what will, I hope, be the subject of prolonged
illustration hereafter.

41. Now when a nation with mimetic instinct and imaginative longing is
also thus occupied earnestly in the discovery of Ethic law, that effort
gradually brings precision and truth into all its manual acts; and the
physical progress of sculpture as in the Greek, so in the Tuscan,
school, consists in gradually _limiting_ what was before indefinite, in
_verifying_ what was inaccurate, and in _humanizing_ what was monstrous.
I might perhaps content you by showing these external phenomena, and by
dwelling simply on the increasing desire of naturalness, which compels,
in every successive decade of years, literally, in the sculptured
images, the mimicked bones to come together, bone to his bone; and the
flesh to come up upon them, until from a flattened and pinched handful
of clay, respecting which you may gravely question whether it was
intended for a human form at all;--by slow degrees, and added touch to
touch, in increasing consciousness of the bodily truth,--at last the
Aphrodite of Melos stands before you, a perfect woman. But all that
search for physical accuracy is merely the external operation, in the
arts, of the seeking for truth in the inner soul; it is impossible
without that higher effort, and the demonstration of it would be worse
than useless to you, unless I made you aware at the same time of its
spiritual cause.

42. Observe farther; the increasing truth in representation is
co-relative with increasing beauty in the thing to be represented. The
pursuit of justice which regulates the imitative effort, regulates also
the development of the race into dignity of person, as of mind; and
their culminating art-skill attains the grasp of entire truth at the
moment when the truth becomes most lovely. And then, ideal sculpture may
go on safely into portraiture. But I shall not touch on the subject of
portrait sculpture to-day; it introduces many questions of detail, and
must be a matter for subsequent consideration.

43. These then are the three great passions which are concerned in true
sculpture. I cannot find better, or, at least, more easily remembered,
names for them than "the Instincts of Mimicry, Idolatry, and
Discipline;" meaning, by the last, the desire of equity and wholesome
restraint, in all acts and works of life. Now of these, there is no
question but that the love of Mimicry is natural and right, and the love
of Discipline is natural and right. But it looks a grave question
whether the yearning for Idolatry, (the desire of companionship with
images,) is right. Whether, indeed, if such an instinct be essential to
good sculpture, the art founded on it can possibly be "fine" art.

44. I must now beg for your close attention, because I have to point out
distinctions in modes of conception which will appear trivial to you,
unless accurately understood; but of an importance in the history of art
which cannot be overrated.

When the populace of Paris adorned the statue of Strasbourg with
immortelles, none, even the simplest of the pious decorators, would
suppose that the city of Strasbourg itself, or any spirit or ghost of
the city, was actually there, sitting in the Place de la Concorde. The
figure was delightful to them as a visible nucleus for their fond
thoughts about Strasbourg; but never for a moment supposed to _be_

Similarly, they might have taken delight in a statue purporting to
represent a river instead of a city,--the Rhine, or Garonne,
suppose,--and have been touched with strong emotion in looking at it, if
the real river were dear to them, and yet never think for an instant
that the statue _was_ the river.

And yet again, similarly, but much more distinctly, they might take
delight in the beautiful image of a god, because it gathered and
perpetuated their thoughts about that god; and yet never suppose, nor be
capable of being deceived by any arguments into supposing, that the
statue _was_ the god.

On the other hand, if a meteoric stone fell from the sky in the sight of
a savage, and he picked it up hot, he would most probably lay it aside
in some, to him, sacred place, and believe _the stone itself_ to be a
kind of god, and offer prayer and sacrifice to it.

In like manner, any other strange or terrifying object, such, for
instance, as a powerfully noxious animal or plant, he would be apt to
regard in the same way; and very possibly also construct for himself
frightful idols of some kind, calculated to produce upon him a vague
impression of their being alive; whose imaginary anger he might
deprecate or avert with sacrifice, although incapable of conceiving in
them any one attribute of exalted intellectual or moral nature.

45. If you will now refer to § 52-59 of my Introductory Lectures, you
will find this distinction between a resolute conception, recognized for
such, and an involuntary apprehension of spiritual existence, already
insisted on at some length. And you will see more and more clearly as we
proceed, that the deliberate and intellectually commanded conception is
not idolatrous in any evil sense whatever, but is one of the grandest
and wholesomest functions of the human soul; and that the essence of
evil idolatry begins only in the idea or belief of a real presence of
any kind, in a thing in which there is no such presence.

46. I need not say that the harm of the idolatry must depend on the
certainty of the negative. If there be a real presence in a pillar of
cloud, in an unconsuming flame, or in a still small voice, it is no sin
to bow down before these.

But, as matter of historical fact, the idea of such presence has
generally been both ignoble and false, and confined to nations of
inferior race, who are often condemned to remain for ages in conditions
of vile terror, destitute of thought. Nearly all Indian architecture and
Chinese design arise out of such a state: so also, though in a less
gross degree, Ninevite and Phoenician art, early Irish, and
Scandinavian; the latter, however, with vital elements of high intellect
mingled in it from the first.

But the greatest races are never grossly subject to such terror, even in
their childhood, and the course of their minds is broadly divisible into
three distinct stages.

47. (I.) In their infancy they begin to imitate the real animals about
them, as my little girl made the cats and mice, but with an undercurrent
of partial superstition--a sense that there must be more in the
creatures than they can see; also they catch up vividly any of the
fancies of the baser nations round them, and repeat these more or less
apishly, yet rapidly naturalizing and beautifying them. They then
connect all kinds of shapes together, compounding meanings out of the
old chimeras, and inventing new ones with the speed of a running
wild-fire; but always getting more of man into their images, and
admitting less of monster or brute; their own characters, meanwhile,
expanding and purging themselves, and shaking off the feverish fancy, as
springing flowers shake the earth off their stalks.

48. (II.) In the second stage, being now themselves perfect men and
women, they reach the conception of true and great gods as existent in
the universe; and absolutely cease to think of them as in any wise
present in statues or images; but they have now learned to make these
statues beautifully human, and to surround them with attributes that may
concentrate their thoughts of the gods. This is, in Greece, accurately
the Pindaric time, just a little preceding the Phidian; the Phidian is
already dimmed with a faint shadow of infidelity; still, the Olympic
Zeus may be taken as a sufficiently central type of a statue which was
no more supposed to _be_ Zeus, than the gold or elephants' tusks it was
made of; but in which the most splendid powers of human art were
exhausted in representing a believed and honoured God to the happy and
holy imagination of a sincerely religious people.

49. (III.) The third stage of national existence follows, in which, the
imagination having now done its utmost, and being partly restrained by
the sanctities of tradition, which permit no farther change in the
conceptions previously created, begins to be superseded by logical
deduction and scientific investigation. At the same moment, the elder
artists having done all that is possible in realizing the national
conceptions of the Gods, the younger ones, forbidden to change the
scheme of existing representations, and incapable of doing anything
better in that kind, betake themselves to refine and decorate the old
ideas with more attractive skill. Their aims are thus more and more
limited to manual dexterity, and their fancy paralyzed. Also, in the
course of centuries, the methods of every art continually improving, and
being made subjects of popular inquiry, praise is now to be got, for
eminence in these, from the whole mob of the nation; whereas
intellectual design can never be discerned but by the few. So that in
this third æra, we find every kind of imitative and vulgar dexterity
more and more cultivated; while design and imagination are every day
less cared for, and less possible.

50. Meanwhile, as I have just said, the leading minds in literature and
science become continually more logical and investigative; and, once
that they are established in the habit of testing facts accurately, a
very few years are enough to convince all the strongest thinkers that
the old imaginative religion is untenable, and cannot any longer be
honestly taught in its fixed traditional form, except by ignorant
persons. And at this point the fate of the people absolutely depends on
the degree of moral strength into which their hearts have been already
trained. If it be a strong, industrious, chaste, and honest race, the
taking its old gods, or at least the old forms of them, away from it,
will indeed make it deeply sorrowful and amazed; but will in no whit
shake its will, nor alter its practice. Exceptional persons, naturally
disposed to become drunkards, harlots, and cheats, but who had been
previously restrained from indulging these dispositions by their fear of
God, will, of course, break out into open vice, when that fear is
removed. But the heads of the families of the people, instructed in the
pure habits and perfect delights of an honest life, and to whom the
thought of a Father in heaven had been a comfort, not a restraint, will
assuredly not seek relief from the discomfort of their orphanage by
becoming uncharitable and vile. Also the high leaders of their thought
gather their whole strength together in the gloom; and at the first
entrance of this valley of the Shadow of Death, look their new enemy
full in the eyeless face of him, and subdue him, and his terror, under
their feet. "Metus omnes, et inexorabile fatum,... strepitumque
Acherontis avari." This is the condition of national soul expressed by
the art, and the words, of Holbein, Durer, Shakspeare, Pope, and Goethe.

51. But if the people, at the moment when the trial of darkness
approaches, be not confirmed in moral character, but are only
maintaining a superficial virtue by the aid of a spectral religion; the
moment the staff of their faith is broken, the character of the race
falls like a climbing plant cut from its hold: then all the earthliest
vices attack it as it lies in the dust; every form of sensual and insane
sin is developed, and half a century is sometimes enough to close, in
hopeless shame, the career of the nation in literature, art, and war.

52. Notably, within the last hundred years, all religion has perished
from the practically active national mind of France and England. No
statesman in the senate of either country would dare to use a sentence
out of their acceptedly divine Revelation, as having now a literal
authority over them for their guidance, or even a suggestive wisdom for
their contemplation. England, especially, has cast her Bible full in the
face of her former God; and proclaimed, with open challenge to Him, her
resolved worship of His declared enemy, Mammon. All the arts, therefore,
founded on religion, and sculpture chiefly, are here in England effete
and corrupt, to a degree which arts never were hitherto in the history
of mankind: and it is possible to show you the condition of sculpture
living, and sculpture dead, in accurate opposition, by simply comparing
the nascent Pisan school in Italy with the existing school in England.

53. You were perhaps surprised at my placing in your educational
series, as a type of original Italian sculpture, the pulpit by Niccola
Pisano in the Duomo of Siena. I would rather, had it been possible, have
given the pulpit by Giovanni Pisano in the Duomo of Pisa; but that
pulpit is dispersed in fragments through the upper galleries of the
Duomo, and the cloister of the Campo Santo; and the casts of its
fragments now put together at Kensington are too coarse to be of use to
you. You may partly judge, however, of the method of their execution by
the eagle's head, which I have sketched from the marble in the Campo
Santo (Edu., No. 113), and the lioness with her cubs, (Edu., No. 103,
more carefully studied at Siena); and I will get you other illustrations
in due time. Meanwhile, I want you to compare the main purpose of the
Cathedral of Pisa, and its associated Bell Tower, Baptistery, and Holy
Field, with the main purpose of the principal building lately raised for
the people of London. In these days, we indeed desire no cathedrals; but
we have constructed an enormous and costly edifice, which, in claiming
educational influence over the whole London populace, and middle class,
is verily the Metropolitan cathedral of this century,--the Crystal

54. It was proclaimed, at its erection, an example of a newly discovered
style of architecture, greater than any hitherto known,--our best
popular writers, in their enthusiasm, describing it as an edifice of
Fairyland. You are nevertheless to observe that this novel production of
fairy enchantment is destitute of every kind of sculpture, except the
bosses produced by the heads of nails and rivets; while the Duomo of
Pisa, in the wreathen work of its doors, in the foliage of its capitals,
inlaid colour designs of its façade, embossed panels of its baptistery
font, and figure sculpture of its two pulpits, contained the germ of a
school of sculpture which was to maintain, through a subsequent period
of four hundred years, the greatest power yet reached by the arts of the
world in description of Form, and expression of Thought.

55. Now it is easy to show you the essential cause of the vast
discrepancy in the character of these two buildings.

In the vault of the apse of the Duomo of Pisa, was a colossal image of
Christ, in coloured mosaic, bearing to the temple, as nearly as
possible, the relation which the statue of Athena bore to the Parthenon;
and in the same manner, concentrating the imagination of the Pisan on
the attributes of the God in whom he believed.

In precisely the same position with respect to the nave of the building,
but of larger size, as proportioned to the three or four times greater
scale of the whole, a colossal piece of sculpture was placed by English
designers, at the extremity of the Crystal Palace, in preparation for
their solemnities in honour of the birthday of Christ, in December, 1867
or 1868.

That piece of sculpture was the face of the clown in a pantomime, some
twelve feet high from brow to chin, which face, being moved by the
mechanism which is our pride, every half minute opened its mouth from
ear to ear, showed its teeth, and revolved its eyes, the force of these
periodical seasons of expression being increased and explained by the
illuminated inscription underneath "Here we are again."

56. When it is assumed, and with too good reason, that the mind of the
English populace is to be addressed, in the principal Sacred Festival of
its year, by sculpture such as this, I need scarcely point out to you
that the hope is absolutely futile of advancing their intelligence by
collecting within this building, (itself devoid absolutely of every kind
of art, and so vilely constructed that those who traverse it are
continually in danger of falling over the cross-bars that bind it
together) examples of sculpture filched indiscriminately from the past
work, bad and good, of Turks, Greeks, Romans, Moors, and Christians,
miscoloured, misplaced, and misinterpreted;[117] here thrust into
unseemly corners, and there mortised together into mere confusion of
heterogeneous obstacle; pronouncing itself hourly more intolerable in
weariness, until any kind of relief is sought from it in steam
wheelbarrows or cheap toy-shops; and most of all in beer and meat, the
corks and the bones being dropped through the chinks in the damp deal
flooring of the English Fairy Palace.

57. But you will probably think me unjust in assuming that a building
prepared only for the amusement of the people can typically represent
the architecture or sculpture of modern England. You may urge, that I
ought rather to describe the qualities of the refined sculpture which is
executed in large quantities for private persons belonging to the upper
classes, and for sepulchral and memorial purposes. But I could not now
criticise that sculpture with any power of conviction to you, because I
have not yet stated to you the principles of good sculpture in general.
I will, however, in some points, tell you the facts by anticipation.

58. We have much excellent portrait sculpture; but portrait sculpture,
which is nothing more, is always third-rate work, even when produced by
men of genius;--nor does it in the least require men of genius to
produce it. To paint a portrait, indeed, implies the very highest gifts
of painting; but any man, of ordinary patience and artistic feeling, can
carve a satisfactory bust.

59. Of our powers in historical sculpture, I am, without question, just,
in taking for sufficient evidence the monuments we have erected to our
two greatest heroes by sea and land; namely, the Nelson Column, and the
statue of the Duke of Wellington opposite Apsley House. Nor will you, I
hope, think me severe,--certainly, whatever you may think me, I am using
only the most temperate language, in saying of both these monuments,
that they are absolutely devoid of high sculptural merit. But, consider
how much is involved in the fact thus dispassionately stated, respecting
the two monuments in the principal places of our capital, to our two
greatest heroes.

60. Remember that we have before our eyes, as subjects of perpetual
study and thought, the art of all the world for three thousand years
past: especially, we have the best sculpture of Greece, for example of
bodily perfection; the best of Rome, for example of character in
portraiture; the best of Florence, for example of romantic passion: we
have unlimited access to books and other sources of instruction; we have
the most perfect scientific illustrations of anatomy, both human and
comparative; and, we have bribes for the reward of success, large, in
the proportion of at least twenty to one, as compared with those offered
to the artists of any other period. And with all these advantages, and
the stimulus also of fame carried instantly by the press to the remotest
corners of Europe, the best efforts we can make, on the grandest of
occasions, result in work which it is impossible in any one particular
to praise.

Now consider for yourselves what an intensity of the negation of the
faculty of sculpture this implies in the national mind! What measures
can be assigned to the gulf of incapacity, which can deliberately
swallow up in the gorge of it the teaching and example of three thousand
years, and produce as the result of that instruction, what it is
courteous to call "nothing?"

61. That is the conclusion at which we arrive, on the evidence presented
by our historical sculpture. To complete the measure of ourselves, we
must endeavour to estimate the rank of the two opposite schools of
sculpture employed by us in the nominal service of religion, and in the
actual service of vice.

I am aware of no statue of Christ, nor of any apostle of Christ, nor of
any scene related in the New Testament, produced by us within the last
three hundred years, which has possessed even superficial merit enough
to attract public attention.

Whereas the steadily immoral effect of the formative art which we learn,
more or less apishly, from the French schools, and employ, but too
gladly, in manufacturing articles for the amusement of the luxurious
classes, must be ranked as one of the chief instruments used by joyful
fiends and angry fates, for the ruin of our civilization.

If, after I have set before you the nature and principles of true
sculpture, in Athens, Pisa, and Florence, you reconsider these
facts,--(which you will then at once recognize as such),--you will find
that they absolutely justify my assertion that the state of sculpture in
modern England, as compared with that of the great Ancients, is
literally one of corrupt and dishonourable death, as opposed to bright
and fameful life.

62. And now, will you bear with me, while I tell you finally why this is

The cause with which you are personally concerned is your own frivolity;
though essentially this is not your fault, but that of the system of
your early training. But the fact remains the same, that here, in
Oxford, you, a chosen body of English youth, in no wise care for the
history of your country, for its present dangers, or its present duties.
You still, like children of seven or eight years old, are interested
only in bats, balls, and oars: nay, including with you the students of
Germany and France, it is certain that the general body of modern
European youth have their minds occupied more seriously by the sculpture
and painting of the bowls of their tobacco-pipes, than by all the
divinest workmanship and passionate imagination of Greece, Rome, and
Mediæval Christendom.

63. But the elementary causes, both of this frivolity in you, and of
worse than frivolity in older persons, are the two forms of deadly
Idolatry which are now all but universal in England.

The first of these is the worship of the Eidolon, or Phantasm of Wealth;
worship of which you will find the nature partly examined in the 37th
paragraph of my _Munera Pulveris_; but which is briefly to be defined as
the servile apprehension of an active power in Money, and the submission
to it as the God of our life.

64. The second elementary cause of the loss of our nobly imaginative
faculty, is the worship of the Letter, instead of the Spirit, in what we
chiefly accept as the ordinance and teaching of Deity; and the
apprehension of a healing sacredness in the act of reading the Book
whose primal commands we refuse to obey.

No feather idol of Polynesia was ever a sign of a more shameful
idolatry, than the modern notion in the minds of certainly the majority
of English religious persons, that the Word of God, by which the heavens
were of old, and the earth, standing out of the water and in the
water,--the Word of God which came to the prophets, and comes still for
ever to all who will hear it, (and to many who will forbear); and which,
called Faithful and True, is to lead forth, in the judgment, the armies
of heaven,--that this "Word of God" may yet be bound at our pleasure in
morocco, and carried about in a young lady's pocket, with tasselled
ribands to mark the passages she most approves of.

65. Gentlemen, there has hitherto been seen no instance, and England is
little likely to give the unexampled spectacle, of a country successful
in the noble arts, yet in which the youths were frivolous, the maidens
falsely religious, the men, slaves of money, and the matrons, of vanity.
Not from all the marble of the hills of Luni will such a people ever
shape one statue that may stand nobly against the sky; not from all the
treasures bequeathed to them by the great dead, will they gather, for
their own descendants, any inheritance but shame.


[113] Glance forward at once to § 75, read it, and return to this.

[114] There is a primary and vulgar sense of "exhibited" in Lucian's
mind; but the higher meaning is involved in it.

[115] In the Greek, "ambrosial." Recollect always that ambrosia, as food
of gods, is the continual restorer of strength; that all food is
ambrosial when it nourishes, and that the night is called "ambrosial"
because it restores strength to the soul through its peace, as, in the
23rd Psalm, the stillness of waters.

[116] I have italicised this final promise of blessedness, given by the
noble Spirit of Workmanship. Compare Carlyle's 5th Latter-day pamphlet,
throughout; but especially pp. 12-14, in the first edition.

[117] "Falsely represented," would be the better expression. In the cast
of the tomb of Queen Eleanor, for a single instance, the Gothic foliage
of which one essential virtue is its change over every shield, is
represented by a repetition of casts from one mould, of which the design
itself is entirely conjectural.



_November, 1870._

66. The principal object of the preceding lecture (and I choose rather
to incur your blame for tediousness in repeating, than for obscurity in
defining it), was to enforce the distinction between the ignoble and
false phase of Idolatry, which consists in the attribution of a
spiritual power to a material thing; and the noble and truth-seeking
phase of it, to which I shall in these lectures[118] give the general
term of Imagination;--that is to say, the invention of material symbols
which may lead us to contemplate the character and nature of gods,
spirits, or abstract virtues and powers, without in the least implying
the actual presence of such Beings among us, or even their possession,
in reality, of the forms we attribute to them.

[Illustration: FIG. 2.]

67. For instance, in the ordinarily received Greek type of Athena, on
vases of the Phidian time (sufficiently represented in the opposite
woodcut), no Greek would have supposed the vase on which this was
painted to be itself Athena, nor to contain Athena inside of it, as the
Arabian fisherman's casket contained the genie; neither did he think
that this rude black painting, done at speed as the potter's fancy urged
his hand, represented anything like the form or aspect of the Goddess
herself. Nor would he have thought so, even had the image been ever so
beautifully wrought. The goddess might, indeed, visibly appear under the
form of an armed virgin, as she might under that of a hawk or a swallow,
when it pleased her to give such manifestation of her presence; but it
did not, therefore, follow that she was constantly invested with any of
these forms, or that the best which human skill could, even by her own
aid, picture of her, was, indeed, a likeness of her. The real use, at
all events, of this rude image, was only to signify to the eye and heart
the facts of the existence, in some manner, of a Spirit of wisdom,
perfect in gentleness, irresistible in anger; having also physical
dominion over the air which is the life and breadth of all creatures,
and clothed, to human eyes, with ægis of fiery cloud, and raiment of
falling dew.

68. In the yet more abstract conception of the Spirit of agriculture, in
which the wings of the chariot represent the winds of spring, and its
crested dragons are originally a mere type of the seed with its twisted
root piercing the ground, and sharp-edged leaves rising above it; we are
in still less danger of mistaking the symbol for the presumed form of an
actual Person. But I must, with persistence, beg of you to observe that
in all the noble actions of imagination in this kind, the distinction
from idolatry consists, not in the denial of the being, or presence of
the Spirit, but only in the due recognition of our human incapacity to
conceive the one, or compel the other.

[Illustration: FIG. 3.]

69. Farther--and for this statement I claim your attention still more
earnestly. As no nation has ever attained real greatness during periods
in which it was subject to any condition of Idolatry, so no nation has
ever attained or persevered in greatness, except in reaching and
maintaining a passionate Imagination of a spiritual estate higher than
that of men; and of spiritual creatures nobler than men, having a quite
real and personal existence, however imperfectly apprehended by us.

And all the arts of the present age deserving to be included under the
name of sculpture have been degraded by us, and all principles of just
policy have vanished from us,--and that totally,--for this double
reason; that we are on one side, given up to idolatries of the most
servile kind, as I showed you in the close of the last lecture,--while,
on the other hand, we have absolutely ceased from the exercise of
faithful imagination; and the only remnants of the desire of truth which
remain in us have been corrupted into a prurient itch to discover the
origin of life in the nature of the dust, and prove that the source of
the order of the universe is the accidental concurrence of its atoms.

70. Under these two calamities of our time, the art of sculpture has
perished more totally than any other, because the object of that art is
exclusively the representation of form as the exponent of life. It is
essentially concerned only with the human form, which is the exponent of
the highest life we know; and with all subordinate forms only as they
exhibit conditions of vital power which have some certain relation to
humanity. It deals with the "particula undique desecta" of the animal
nature, and itself contemplates, and brings forward for its disciples'
contemplation, all the energies of creation which transform the [Greek:
pêlos], or lower still, the [Greek: borboros] of the _trivia_, by
Athena's help, into forms of power;--([Greek: to men holon architektôn
autos ên. syneirgazeto de toi kai ê 'Athêna empneousa ton pêlon kai
empsycha poiousa einai ta plasmata];)[119]--but it has nothing whatever
to do with the representation of forms not living, however beautiful,
(as of clouds or waves); nor may it condescend to use its perfect skill,
except in expressing the noblest conditions of life.

These laws of sculpture, being wholly contrary to the practice of our
day, I cannot expect you to accept on my assertion, nor do I wish you to
do so. By placing definitely good and bad sculpture before you, I do not
doubt but that I shall gradually prove to you the nature of all
excelling and enduring qualities; but to-day I will only confirm my
assertions by laying before you the statement of the Greeks themselves
on the subject; given in their own noblest time, and assuredly
authoritative, in every point which it embraces, for all time to come.

71. If any of you have looked at the explanation I have given of the
myth of Athena in my _Queen of the Air_, you cannot but have been
surprised that I took scarcely any note of the story of her birth. I did
not, because that story is connected intimately with the Apolline myths;
and is told of Athena, not essentially as the goddess of the air, but as
the goddess of Art-Wisdom.

You have probably often smiled at the legend itself, or avoided thinking
of it, as revolting. It is indeed, one of the most painful and childish
of sacred myths; yet remember, ludicrous and ugly as it seems to us,
this story satisfied the fancy of the Athenian people in their highest
state; and if it did not satisfy--yet it was accepted by, all later
mythologists: you may also remember I told you to be prepared to find
that, given a certain degree of national intellect, the ruder the
symbol, the deeper would be its purpose. And this legend of the birth of
Athena is the central myth of all that the Greeks have left us
respecting the power of their arts; and in it they have expressed, as it
seemed good to them, the most important things they had to tell us on
these matters. We may read them wrongly; but we must read them here, if

72. There are so many threads to be gathered up in the legend, that I
cannot hope to put it before you in total clearness, but I will take
main points. Athena is born in the island of Rhodes; and that island is
raised out of the sea by Apollo, after he had been left without
inheritance among the gods. Zeus[120] would have cast the lot again, but
Apollo orders the golden-girdled Lachesis to stretch out her hands; and
not now by chance or lot, but by noble enchantment, the island rises out
of the sea.

Physically, this represents the action of heat and light on chaos,
especially on the deep sea. It is the "Fiat lux" of Genesis, the first
process in the conquest of Fate by Harmony. The island is dedicated to
the Nymph Rhodos, by whom Apollo has the seven sons who teach [Greek:
sophôtata noêmata]; because the rose is the most beautiful organism
existing in matter not vital, expressive of the direct action of light
on the earth, giving lovely form and colour at once; (compare the use of
it by Dante as the form of the sainted crowd in highest heaven) and
remember that, therefore, the rose is in the Greek mind, essentially a
Doric flower, expressing the worship of Light, as the Iris or Ion is an
Ionic one, expressing the worship of the Winds and Dew.

73. To understand the agency of Hephæstus at the birth of Athena, we
must again return to the founding of the arts on agriculture by the
hand. Before you can cultivate land you must clear it; and the
characteristic weapon of Hephæstus,--which is as much his attribute as
the trident is of Poseidon, and the rhabdos of Hermes, is not, as you
would have expected, the hammer, but the clearing-axe--the doubled-edged
[Greek: pélekys], the same that Calypso gives Ulysses with which to cut
down the trees for his home voyage; so that both the naval and
agricultural strength of the Athenians are expressed by this weapon,
with which they had to hew out their fortune. And you must keep in mind
this agriculturally laborious character of Hephæstus, even when he is
most distinctly the god of serviceable fire; thus Horace's perfect
epithet for him "avidus" expresses at once the devouring eagerness of
fire, and the zeal of progressive labour, for Horace gives it to him
when he is fighting against the giants. And this rude symbol of his
cleaving the forehead of Zeus with the axe, and giving birth to Athena
signifies, indeed, physically the thrilling power of heat in the
heavens, rending the clouds, and giving birth to the blue air; but far
more deeply it signifies the subduing of adverse Fate by true labour;
until, out of the chasm, cleft by resolute and industrious fortitude,
springs the Spirit of Wisdom.

74. Here (Fig. 4) is an early drawing of the myth, to which I shall have
to refer afterwards in illustration of the childishness of the Greek
mind at the time when its art-symbols were first fixed; but it is of
peculiar value, because the physical character of Vulcan, as fire, is
indicated by his wearing the [Greek: endromides] of Hermes, while the
antagonism of Zeus, as the adverse chaos, either of cloud or of fate, is
shown by his striking at Hephæstus with his thunderbolt. But Plate IV.
gives you (as far as the light on the rounded vase will allow it to be
deciphered) a characteristic representation of the scene, as conceived
in later art.

[Illustration: FIG. 4.]

75. I told you in a former lecture of this course that the entire Greek
intellect was in a childish phase as compared to that of modern times.
Observe, however, childishness does not necessarily imply universal
inferiority: there may be a vigorous, acute, pure, and solemn childhood,
and there may be a weak, foul, and ridiculous condition of advanced
life; but the one is still essentially the childish, and the other the
adult phase of existence.

76. You will find, then, that the Greeks were the first people that were
born into complete humanity. All nations before them had been, and all
around them still were, partly savage, bestial, clay-encumbered,
inhuman; still semi-goat, or semi-ant, or semi-stone, or semi-cloud. But
the power of a new spirit came upon the Greeks, and the stones were
filled with breath, and the clouds clothed with flesh; and then came the
great spiritual battle between the Centaurs and Lapithæ; and the living
creatures became "Children of Men." Taught, yet, by the Centaur--sown,
as they knew, in the fang--from the dappled skin of the brute, from the
leprous scale of the serpent, their flesh came again as the flesh of a
little child, and they were clean.

Fix your mind on this as the very central character of the Greek
race--the being born pure and human out of the brutal misery of the
past, and looking abroad, for the first time, with their children's
eyes, wonderingly open, on the strange and divine world.

77. Make some effort to remember, so far as may be possible to you,
either what you felt in yourselves when you were young, or what you have
observed in other children, of the action of thought and fancy. Children
are continually represented as living in an ideal world of their own. So
far as I have myself observed, the distinctive character of a child is
to live always in the tangible present, having little pleasure in
memory, and being utterly impatient and tormented by anticipation: weak
alike in reflection and forethought, but having an intense possession of
the actual present, down to the shortest moments and least objects of
it; possessing it, indeed, so intensely that the sweet childish days are
as long as twenty days will be; and setting all the faculties of heart
and imagination on little things, so as to be able to make anything out
of them he chooses. Confined to a little garden, he does not imagine
himself somewhere else, but makes a great garden out of that; possessed
of an acorn-cup, he will not despise it and throw it away, and covet a
golden one in its stead: it is the adult who does so. The child keeps
his acorn-cup as a treasure, and makes a golden one out of it in his
mind; so that the wondering grown-up person standing beside him is
always tempted to ask concerning his treasures, not, "What would you
have more than these?" but "What possibly can you see _in_ these?" for,
to the bystander, there is a ludicrous and incomprehensible
inconsistency between the child's words and the reality. The little
thing tells him gravely, holding up the acorn-cup, that "this is a
queen's crown, or a fairy's boat," and, with beautiful effrontery,
expects him to believe the same. But observe--the acorn-cup must be
_there_, and in his own hand. "Give it me;" then I will make more of it
for myself. That is the child's one word, always.

[Illustration: FIG. 5.]

78. It is also the one word of the Greek--"Give it me." Give me _any_
thing definite here in my sight, then I will make more of it.


I cannot easily express to you how strange it seems to me that I am
obliged, here in Oxford, to take the position of an apologist for Greek
art; that I find, in spite of all the devotion of the admirable scholars
who have so long maintained in our public schools the authority of Greek
literature, our younger students take no interest in the manual work of
the people upon whose thoughts the tone of their early intellectual life
has exclusively depended. But I am not surprised that the interest, if
awakened, should not at first take the form of admiration. The
inconsistency between an Homeric description of a piece of furniture or
armour, and the actual rudeness of any piece of art approximating within
even three or four centuries, to the Homeric period, is so great, that
we at first cannot recognize the art as elucidatory of, or in any way
related to, the poetic language.

79. You will find, however, exactly the same kind of discrepancy between
early sculpture, and the languages of deed and thought, in the second
birth, and childhood, of the world, under Christianity. The same fair
thoughts and bright imaginations arise again; and similarly, the fancy
is content with the rudest symbols by which they can be formalized to
the eyes. You cannot understand that the rigid figure (2) with chequers
or spots on its breast, and sharp lines of drapery to its feet, could
represent, to the Greek, the healing majesty of heaven: but can you any
better understand how a symbol so haggard as this (Fig. 5) could
represent to the noblest hearts of the Christian ages the power and
ministration of angels? Yet it not only did so, but retained in the rude
undulatory and linear ornamentation of its dress, record of the thoughts
intended to be conveyed by the spotted ægis and falling chiton of
Athena, eighteen hundred years before. Greek and Venetian alike, in
their noble childhood, knew with the same terror the coiling wind and
congealed hail in heaven--saw with the same thankfulness the dew shed
softly on the earth, and on its flowers; and both recognized, ruling
these, and symbolized by them, the great helpful spirit of Wisdom, which
leads the children of men to all knowledge, all courage, and all art.

80. Read the inscription written on the sarcophagus (Plate V.), at the
extremity of which this angel is sculptured. It stands in an open recess
in the rude brick wall of the west front of the church of St. John and
Paul at Venice, being the tomb of the two doges, father and son, Jacopo
and Lorenzo Tiepolo. This is the inscription:--

    "Quos natura pares studiis, virtutibus, arte
    Edidit, illustres genitor natusque, sepulti
    Hác sub rupe Duces. Venetum charissima proles
    Theupula collatis dedit hos celebranda triumphis.
    Omnia presentis donavit predia templi
    Dux Jacobus: valido fixit moderamine leges
    Urbis, et ingratam redimens certamine Jadram
    Dalmatiosque dedit patrie, post, Marte subactas
    Graiorum pelago maculavit sanguine classes.
    Suscipit oblatos princeps Laurentius Istros,
    Et domuit rigidos, ingenti strage cadentes,
    Bononie populos. Hinc subdita Cervia cessit.
    Fundavere vias pacis; fortique relictá
    Re, superos sacris petierunt mentibus ambo.

    "Dominus Jachobus hobiit[121] M.CCLI.
     Dominus Laurentius hobiit M.CCLXXVIII."

You see, therefore, this tomb is an invaluable example of thirteenth
century sculpture in Venice. In Plate VI., you have an example of the
(coin) sculpture of the date accurately corresponding in Greece to the
thirteenth century in Venice, when the meaning of symbols was everything
and the workmanship comparatively nothing. The upper head is an Athena,
of Athenian work in the seventh or sixth century--(the coin itself may
have been struck later, but the archaic type was retained). The two
smaller impressions below are the front and obverse of a coin of the
same age from Corinth, the head of Athena on one side, and Pegasus, with
the archaic Koppa, on the other. The smaller head is bare, the hair
being looped up at the back and closely bound with an olive branch. You
are to note this general outline of the head, already given in a more
finished type in Plate II., as a most important elementary form in the
finest sculpture, not of Greece only, but of all Christendom. In the
upper head the hair is restrained still more closely by a round helmet,
for the most part smooth, but embossed with a single flower tendril,
having one bud, one flower, and above it, two olive leaves. You have
thus the most absolutely restricted symbol possible to human thought of
the power of Athena over the flowers and trees of the earth. An olive
leaf by itself could not have stood for the sign of a tree, but the two
can, when set in position of growth.


I would not give you the reverse of the coin on the same plate, because
you would have looked at it only, laughed at it, and not examined the
rest; but here it is, wonderfully engraved for you (Fig. 6): of it we
shall have more to say afterwards.

[Illustration: FIG. 6.]

81. And now as you look at these rude vestiges of the religion of
Greece, and at the vestiges, still ruder, on the Ducal tomb, of the
religion of Christendom, take warning against two opposite errors.

There is a school of teachers who will tell you that nothing but Greek
art is deserving of study, and that all our work at this day should be
an imitation of it.

Whenever you feel tempted to believe them, think of these portraits of
Athena and her owl, and be assured that Greek art is not in all respects
perfect, nor exclusively deserving of imitation.

There is another school of teachers who will tell you that Greek art is
good for nothing; that the soul of the Greek was outcast, and that
Christianity entirely superseded its faith, and excelled its works.

Whenever you feel tempted to believe _them_, think of this angel on the
tomb of Jacopo Tiepolo; and remember, that Christianity, after it had
been twelve hundred years existent as an imaginative power on the earth,
could do no better work than this, though with all the former power of
Greece to help it; nor was able to engrave its triumph in having stained
its fleets in the seas of Greece with the blood of her people, but
between barbarous imitations of the pillars which that people had

82. Receiving these two warnings, receive also this lesson; In both
examples, childish though it be, this Heathen and Christian art is alike
sincere, and alike vividly imaginative: the actual work is that of
infancy; the thoughts, in their visionary simplicity, are also the
thoughts of infancy, but in their solemn virtue, they are the thoughts
of men.

We, on the contrary, are now, in all that we do, absolutely without
sincerity;--absolutely, therefore, without imagination, and without
virtue. Our hands are dexterous with the vile and deadly dexterity of
machines; our minds filled with incoherent fragments of faith, which we
cling to in cowardice, without believing, and make pictures of in
vanity, without loving. False and base alike, whether we admire or
imitate, we cannot learn from the Heathen's art, but only pilfer it; we
cannot revive the Christian's art, but only galvanize it; we are, in the
sum of us, not human artists at all, but mechanisms of conceited clay,
masked in the furs and feathers of living creatures, and convulsed with
voltaic spasms, in mockery of animation.

83. You think, perhaps, that I am using terms unjustifiable in violence.
They would, indeed, be unjustifiable, if, spoken from this chair, they
were violent at all. They are, unhappily, temperate and
accurate,--except in shortcoming of blame. For we are not only impotent
to restore, but strong to defile, the work of past ages. Of the
impotence, take but this one, utterly humiliatory, and, in the full
meaning of it, ghastly, example. We have lately been busy embanking, in
the capital of the country, the river which, of all its waters, the
imagination of our ancestors had made most sacred, and the bounty of
nature most useful. Of all architectural features of the metropolis,
that embankment will be, in future, the most conspicuous; and in its
position and purpose it was the most capable of noble adornment.

For that adornment, nevertheless, the utmost which our modern poetical
imagination has been able to invent, is a row of gas-lamps. It has,
indeed, farther suggested itself to our minds as appropriate to
gas-lamps set beside a river, that the gas should come out of fishes'
tails; but we have not ingenuity enough to cast so much as a smelt or a
sprat for ourselves; so we borrow the shape of a Neapolitan marble,
which has been the refuse of the plate and candlestick shops in every
capital of Europe for the last fifty years. We cast _that_ badly, and
give lustre to the ill-cast fish with lacquer in imitation of bronze. On
the base of their pedestals, towards the road, we put for
advertisement's sake, the initials of the casting firm; and, for farther
originality and Christianity's sake, the caduceus of Mercury; and to
adorn the front of the pedestals towards the river, being now wholly at
our wit's end, we can think of nothing better than to borrow the
door-knocker which--again for the last fifty years--has disturbed and
decorated two or three millions of London street-doors; and magnifying
the marvellous device of it, a lion's head with a ring in its mouth
(still borrowed from the Greek), we complete the embankment with a row
of heads and rings, on a scale which enables them to produce, at the
distance at which only they can be seen, the exact effect of a row of
sentry boxes.

84. Farther. In the very centre of the city, and at the point where the
Embankment commands a view of Westminster Abbey on one side and of St.
Paul's on the other--that is to say, at precisely the most important and
stately moment of its whole course--it has to pass under one of the
arches of Waterloo Bridge, which, in the sweep of its curve, is as
vast--it alone--as the Rialto at Venice, and scarcely less seemly in
proportions. But over the Rialto, though of late and debased Venetian
work, there still reigns some power of human imagination: on the two
flanks of it are carved the Virgin and the Angel of the Annunciation; on
the keystone the descending Dove. It is not, indeed, the fault of living
designers that the Waterloo arch is nothing more than a gloomy and
hollow heap of wedged blocks of blind granite. But just beyond the damp
shadow of it, the new Embankment is reached by a flight of stairs, which
are, in point of fact, the principal approach to it, a-foot, from
central London; the descent from the very midst of the metropolis of
England to the banks of the chief river of England; and for this
approach, living designers _are_ answerable.

85. The principal decoration of the descent is again a gas-lamp, but a
shattered one, with a brass crown on the top of it or, rather,
half-crown, and that turned the wrong way, the back of it to the river
and causeway, its flame supplied by a visible pipe far wandering along
the wall; the whole apparatus being supported by a rough cross-beam.
Fastened to the centre of the arch above is a large placard, stating
that the Royal Humane Society's drags are in constant readiness, and
that their office is at 4, Trafalgar Square. On each side of the arch
are temporary, but dismally old and battered boardings, across two
angles capable of unseemly use by the British public. Above one of these
is another placard, stating that this is the Victoria Embankment. The
steps themselves--some forty of them--descend under a tunnel, which the
shattered gas-lamp lights by night, and nothing by day. They are covered
with filthy dust, shaken off from infinitude of filthy feet; mixed up
with shreds of paper, orange-peel, foul straw, rags, and cigar ends, and
ashes; the whole agglutinated, more or less, by dry saliva into slippery
blotches and patches; or, when not so fastened, blown dismally by the
sooty wind hither and thither, or into the faces of those who ascend and
descend. The place is worth your visit, for you are not likely to find
elsewhere a spot which, either in costly and ponderous brutality of
building, or in the squalid and indecent accompaniment of it, is so far
separated from the peace and grace of nature, and so accurately
indicative of the methods of our national resistance to the Grace,
Mercy, and Peace of Heaven.

86. I am obliged always to use the English word "Grace" in two senses,
but remember that the Greek [Greek: charis] includes them both (the
bestowing, that is to say of Beauty and Mercy); and especially it
includes these in the passage of Pindar's first ode, which gives us the
key to the right interpretation of the power of sculpture in Greece. You
remember that I told you, in my Sixth Introductory Lecture (§ 151), that
the mythic accounts of Greek sculpture begin in the legends of the
family of Tantalus; and especially in the most grotesque legend of them
all, the inlaying of the ivory shoulder of Pelops. At that story Pindar
pauses--not, indeed, without admiration, nor alleging any impossibility
in the circumstances themselves, but doubting the careless hunger of
Demeter--and gives his own reading of the event, instead of the ancient
one. He justifies this to himself, and to his hearers, by the plea that
myths have, in some sort, or degree, ([Greek: pou ti]), led the mind of
mortals beyond the truth: and then he goes on:--

"Grace, which creates everything that is kindly and soothing for
mortals, adding honour, has often made things at first untrustworthy,
become trustworthy through Love."

87. I cannot, except in these lengthened terms, give you the complete
force of the passage; especially of the [Greek: apiston emêsato
pioton]--"made it trustworthy by passionate desire that it should be
so"--which exactly describes the temper of religious persons at the
present day, who are kindly and sincere, in clinging to the forms of
faith which either have long been precious to themselves, or which they
feel to have been without question instrumental in advancing the dignity
of mankind. And it is part of the constitution of humanity--a part
which, above others, you are in danger of unwisely contemning under the
existing conditions of our knowledge, that the things thus sought for
belief with eager passion, do, indeed, become trustworthy to us; that,
to each of us, they verily become what we would have them; the force of
the [Greek: mênis] and [Greek: mnêmê] with which we seek after them,
does, indeed, make them powerful to us for actual good or evil; and it
is thus granted to us to create not only with our hands things that
exalt or degrade our sight, but with our hearts also, things that exalt
or degrade our souls; giving true substance to all that we hoped for;
evidence to things that we have not seen, but have desired to see; and
calling, in the sense of creating, things that are not, as though they

88. You remember that in distinguishing Imagination from Idolatry, I
referred you to the forms of passionate affection with which a noble
people commonly regards the rivers and springs of its native land. Some
conception of personality or of spiritual power in the stream, is almost
necessarily involved in such emotion; and prolonged [Greek: charis] in
the form of gratitude, the return of Love for benefits continually
bestowed, at last alike in all the highest and the simplest minds, when
they are honourable and pure, makes this untrue thing trustworthy;
[Greek: apiston emêsato piston], until it becomes to them the safe basis
of some of the happiest impulses of their moral nature. Next to the
marbles of Verona, given you as a primal type of the sculpture of
Christianity, moved to its best energy in adorning the entrance of its
temples, I have not unwillingly placed, as your introduction to the best
sculpture of the religion of Greece, the forms under which it
represented the personality of the fountain Arethusa. But, without
restriction to those days of absolute devotion, let me simply point out
to you how this untrue thing, made true by Love, has intimate and
heavenly authority even over the minds of men of the most practical
sense, the most shrewd wit, and the most severe precision of moral
temper. The fair vision of Sabrina in _Comus_, the endearing and tender
promise, "Fies nobilium tu quoque fontium," and the joyful and proud
affection of the great Lombard's address to the lakes of his enchanted

                 Te, Lari maxume, teque
    Fluctibus et fremitu assurgens, Benace, marino,

may surely be remembered by you with regretful piety, when you stand by
the blank stones which at once restrain and disgrace your native river,
as the final worship rendered to it by modern philosophy. But a little
incident which I saw last summer on its bridge at Wallingford, may put
the contrast of ancient and modern feeling before you still more

89. Those of you who have read with attention (none of us can read with
too much attention), Molière's most perfect work, the _Misanthrope_,
must remember Celiméne's description of her lovers, and her excellent
reason for being unable to regard with any favour, "notre grand flandrin
de vicomte,--depuis que je l'ai vu, trois quarts d'heure durant, cracher
dans un puits pour faire des ronds." That sentence is worth noting, both
in contrast to the reverence paid by the ancients to wells and springs,
and as one of the most interesting traces of the extension of the
loathsome habit among the upper classes of Europe and America, which now
renders all external grace, dignity, and decency, impossible in the
thoroughfares of their principal cities. In connection with that
sentence of Molière's you may advisably also remember this fact, which I
chanced to notice on the bridge of Wallingford. I was walking from end
to end of it, and back again, one Sunday afternoon of last May, trying
to conjecture what had made this especial bend and ford of the Thames so
important in all the Anglo-Saxon wars. It was one of the few sunny
afternoons of the bitter spring, and I was very thankful for its light,
and happy in watching beneath it the flow and the glittering of the
classical river, when I noticed a well-dressed boy, apparently just out
of some orderly Sunday-school, leaning far over the parapet; watching,
as I conjectured, some bird or insect on the bridge-buttress. I went up
to him to see what he was looking at; but just as I got close to him, he
started over to the opposite parapet, and put himself there into the
same position, his object being, as I then perceived, to spit from both
sides upon the heads of a pleasure party who were passing in a boat

90. The incident may seem to you too trivial to be noticed in this
place. To me, gentlemen, it was by no means trivial. It meant, in the
depth of it, such absence of all true [Greek: charis], reverence, and
intellect, as it is very dreadful to trace in the mind of any human
creature, much more in that of a child educated with apparently every
advantage of circumstance in a beautiful English country town, within
ten miles of our University. Most of all, is it terrific when we regard
it as the exponent (and this, in truth, it is), of the temper which, as
distinguished from former methods, either of discipline or recreation,
the present tenor of our general teaching fosters in the mind of
youth;--teaching which asserts liberty to be a right, and obedience a
degradation; and which, regardless alike of the fairness of nature and
the grace of behaviour, leaves the insolent spirit and degraded senses
to find their only occupation in malice, and their only satisfaction in

91. You will, I hope, proceed with me, not scornfully any more, to
trace, in the early art of a noble heathen nation, the feeling of what
was at least a better childishness than this of ours; and the efforts to
express, though with hands yet failing, and minds oppressed by ignorant
phantasy, the first truth by which they knew that they lived; the birth
of wisdom and of all her powers of help to man, as the reward of his
resolute labour.

92. "[Greek: Aphaistou technaisi]." Note that word of Pindar in the
Seventh Olympic. This axe-blow of Vulcan's was to the Greek mind truly
what Clytemnestra falsely asserts hers to have been "[Greek: tês de
dexias cheros ergon dikaias tektonos]"; physically, it meant the opening
of the blue through the rent clouds of heaven, by the action of local
terrestrial heat of Hephæstus as opposed to Apollo, who shines on the
surface of the upper clouds, but cannot pierce them; and, spiritually,
it meant the first birth of prudent thought out of rude labour, the
clearing-axe in the hand of the woodman being the practical elementary
sign of his difference from the wild animals of the wood. Then he goes
on, "From the high head of her Father, Athenaia rushing forth, cried
with her great and exceeding cry; and the Heaven trembled at her, and
the Earth Mother." The cry of Athena, I have before pointed out,
physically distinguishes her, as the spirit of the air, from silent
elemental powers; but in this grand passage of Pindar it is again the
mythic cry of which he thinks; that is to say, the giving articulate
words, by intelligence, to the silence of Fate. "Wisdom crieth aloud,
she uttereth her voice in the streets," and Heaven and Earth tremble at
her reproof.

93. Uttereth her voice in "the streets." For all men, that is to say;
but to what work did the Greeks think that her voice was to call them?
What was to be the impulse communicated by her prevailing presence; what
the sign of the people's obedience to her?

This was to be the sign--"But she, the goddess herself, gave to them to
prevail over the dwellers upon earth, _with best-labouring hands in
every art. And by their paths there were the likenesses of living and of
creeping things_; and the glory was deep. For to the cunning workman,
greater knowledge comes, undeceitful."

94. An infinitely pregnant passage, this, of which to-day you are to
note mainly these three things: First, that Athena is the goddess of
Doing, not at all of sentimental inaction. She is begotten, as it were,
of the woodman's axe; her purpose is never in a word only, but in a word
and a blow. She guides the hands that labour best, in every art.

95. Secondly. The victory given by Wisdom, the worker, to the hands that
labour best, is that the streets and ways, [Greek: keleuthoi], shall be
filled by likenesses of living and creeping things?

Things living, and creeping! Are the Reptile things not alive then? You
think Pindar wrote that carelessly? or that, if he had only known a
little modern anatomy, instead of "reptile" things, he would have said
"monochondylous" things? Be patient, and let us attend to the main
points first.

Sculpture, it thus appears, is the only work of wisdom that the Greeks
care to speak of; they think it involves and crowns every other.
Image-making art; _this_ is Athena's, as queenliest of the arts.
Literature, the order and the strength of word, of course belongs to
Apollo and the Muses; under Athena are the Substances and the Forms of

96, Thirdly. By this forming of Images there is to be gained a
"deep"--that is to say--a weighty, and prevailing, glory; not a floating
nor fugitive one. For to the cunning workman, greater knowledge comes,

"[Greek: Daenti]" I am forced to use two English words to translate that
single Greek one. The "cunning" workman, thoughtful in experience,
touch, and vision of the thing to be done; no machine, witless, and of
necessary motion; yet not cunning only, but having perfect habitual
skill of hand also; the confirmed reward of truthful doing. Recollect,
in connection with this passage of Pindar, Homer's three verses about
getting the lines of ship-timber true, (_Il._ xv. 410)

    "All' ôste stathmê dory nêion exithynei
    tektonos en palamêsi daêmonos, hos ra te pasês
    ed eidê sophiês, upothêmosynêsin Athênês,"]

and the beautiful epithet of Persephone, "[Greek: daeira]," as the Tryer
and Knower of good work; and remembering these, trust Pindar for the
truth of his saying, that to the cunning workman--(and let me solemnly
enforce the words by adding--that to him _only_,) knowledge comes

97. You may have noticed, perhaps, and with a smile, as one of the
paradoxes you often hear me blamed for too fondly stating, what I told
you in the close of my Third Introductory Lecture, that "so far from
art's being immoral, little else except art is moral." I have now
farther to tell you, that little else, except art, is wise; that all
knowledge, unaccompanied by a habit of useful action, is too likely to
become deceitful, and that every habit of useful action must resolve
itself into some elementary practice of manual labour. And I would, in
all sober and direct earnestness advise you, whatever may be the aim,
predilection, or necessity of your lives, to resolve upon this one thing
at least, that you will enable yourselves daily to do actually with your
hands, something that is useful to mankind. To do anything well with
your hands, useful or not;--to be, even in trifling, [Greek: palamêsi
daêmôn] is already much;--when we come to examine the art of the middle
ages I shall be able to show you that the strongest of all influences of
right then brought to bear upon character was the necessity for
exquisite manual dexterity in the management of the spear and bridle;
and in your own experience most of you will be able to recognize the
wholesome effect, alike on body and mind, of striving, within proper
limits of time, to become either good batsmen, or good oarsmen. But the
bat and the racer's oar are children's toys. Resolve that you will be
men in usefulness, as well as in strength; and you will find that then
also, but not till then, you can become men in understanding; and that
every fine vision and subtle theorem will present itself to you
thenceforward undeceitfully, [Greek: hypothêmosynêsin Athênês].

98. But there is more to be gathered yet from the words of Pindar. He is
thinking, in his brief, intense way, at once of Athena's work on the
soul, and of her literal power on the dust of the Earth. His "[Greek:
keleuthoi]" is a wide word meaning all the paths of sea and land.
Consider, therefore, what Athena's own work _actually is_--in the
literal fact of it. The blue, clear air _is_ the sculpturing power upon
the earth and sea. Where the surface of the earth is reached by that,
and its matter and substance inspired with, and filled by that, organic
form becomes possible. You must indeed have the sun, also, and moisture;
the kingdom of Apollo risen out of the sea: but the sculpturing of
living things, shape by shape, is Athena's, so that under the brooding
spirit of the air, what was without form, and void brings forth the
moving creature that hath life.

99. That is her work then--the giving of Form; then the separately
Apolline work is the giving of Light; or, more strictly, Sight: giving
that faculty to the retina to which we owe not merely the idea of light,
but the existence of it; for light is to be defined only as the
sensation produced in the eye of an animal, under given conditions;
those same conditions being, to a stone, only warmth or chemical
influence, but not light. And that power of seeing, and the other
various personalities and authorities of the animal body, in pleasure
and pain, have never, hitherto, been, I do not say, explained, but in
any wise touched or approached by scientific discovery. Some of the
conditions of mere external animal form and of muscular vitality have
been shown; but for the most part that is true, even of external form,
which I wrote six years ago. "You may always stand by Form against
Force. To a painter, the essential character of anything is the form of
it, and the philosophers cannot touch that. They come and tell you, for
instance, that there is as much heat, or motion, or calorific energy (or
whatever else they like to call it), in a tea-kettle, as in a
gier-eagle. Very good: that is so; and it is very interesting. It
requires just as much heat as will boil the kettle, to take the
gier-eagle up to his nest, and as much more to bring him down again on a
hare or a partridge. But we painters, acknowledging the equality and
similarity of the kettle and the bird in all scientific respects,
attach, for our part, our principal interest to the difference in their
forms. For us, the primarily cognisable facts, in the two things, are,
that the kettle has a spout, and the eagle a beak; the one a lid on its
back, the other a pair of wings; not to speak of the distinction also of
volition, which the philosophers may properly call merely a form or mode
of force--but, then to an artist, the form or mode is the gist of the

100. As you will find that it is, not to the artist only, but to all of
us. The laws under which matter is collected and constructed are the
same throughout the universe: the substance so collected, whether for
the making of the eagle, or the worm, may be analyzed into gaseous
identity; a diffusive vital force, apparently so closely related to
mechanically measurable heat as to admit the conception of its being
itself mechanically measurable, and unchanging in total quantity, ebbs
and flows alike through the limbs of men, and the fibres of insects.
But, above all this, and ruling every grotesque or degraded accident of
this, are two laws of beauty in form, and of nobility in character,
which stand in the chaos of creation between the Living and the Dead, to
separate the things that have in them a sacred and helpful, from those
that have in them an accursed and destroying, nature; and the power of
Athena, first physically put forth in the sculpturing of these [Greek:
zôa and erpeta], these living and reptile things, is put forth, finally,
in enabling the hearts of men to discern the one from the other; to know
the unquenchable fires of the Spirit from the unquenchable fires of
Death; and to choose, not unaided, between submission to the Love that
cannot end, or to the Worm that cannot die.

101. The unconsciousness of their antagonism is the most notable
characteristic of the modern scientific mind; and I believe no credulity
or fallacy admitted by the weakness (or it may sometimes rather have
been the strength) of early imagination, indicates so strange a
depression beneath the due scale of human intellect, as the failure of
the sense of beauty in form, and loss of faith in heroism of conduct,
which have become the curses of recent science,[122] art, and policy.

102. That depression of intellect has been alike exhibited in the mean
consternation confessedly felt on one side, and the mean triumph
apparently felt on the other, during the course of the dispute now
pending as to the origin of man. Dispute for the present, not to be
decided, and of which the decision is to persons in the modern temper of
mind, wholly without significance: and I earnestly desire that you, my
pupils, may have firmness enough to disengage your energies from
investigation so premature and so fruitless, and sense enough to
perceive that it does not matter how you have been made, so long as you
are satisfied with being what you are. If you are dissatisfied with
yourselves, it ought not to console, but humiliate you, to imagine that
you were once seraphs; and if you are pleased with yourselves, it is not
any ground of reasonable shame to you if, by no fault of your own, you
have passed through the elementary condition of apes.

103. Remember, therefore, that it is of the very highest importance that
you should know what you _are_, and determine to be the best that you
may be; but it is of no importance whatever, except as it may contribute
to that end, to know what you have been. Whether your Creator shaped you
with fingers, or tools, as a sculptor would a lump of clay, or gradually
raised you to manhood through a series of inferior forms, is only of
moment to you in this respect--that in the one case you cannot expect
your children to be nobler creatures than you are yourselves--in the
other, every act and thought of your present life may be hastening the
advent of a race which will look back to you, their fathers (and you
ought at least to have attained the dignity of desiring that it may be
so), with incredulous disdain.

104. But that you _are_ yourselves capable of that disdain and dismay;
that you are ashamed of having been apes, if you ever were so; that you
acknowledge instinctively, a relation of better and worse, and a law
respecting what is noble and base, which makes it no question to you
that the man is worthier than the baboon--_this_ is a fact of infinite
significance. This law of preference in your hearts is the true essence
of your being, and the consciousness of that law is a more positive
existence than any dependent on the coherence or forms of matter.

105. Now, but a few words more of mythology, and I have done. Remember
that Athena holds the weaver's shuttle, not merely as an instrument of
_texture_, but as an instrument of _picture_; the ideas of clothing, and
of the warmth of life, being thus inseparably connected with those of
graphic beauty and the brightness of life. I have told you that no art
could be recovered among us without perfectness in dress, nor without
the elementary graphic art of women, in divers colours of needlework.
There has been no nation of any art-energy, but has strenuously occupied
and interested itself in this household picturing, from the web of
Penelope to the tapestry of Queen Matilda, and the meshes of Arras and

106. We should then naturally ask what kind of embroidery Athena put on
her own robe; "[Greek: peplon heanon, poikilon hou r autê poiêsato kai
kame chersin]."

The subject of that [Greek: poikilia] of hers, as you know, was the war
of the giants and gods. Now the real name of these giants, remember, is
that used by Hesiod, "[Greek: pêlochonoi]," "mud-begotten," and the
meaning of the contest between these and Zeus, [Greek: pêlogonôn
elatêr], is, again, the inspiration of life into the clay, by the
goddess of breath; and the actual confusion going on visibly before you,
daily, of the earth, heaping itself into cumbrous war with the powers
above it.

107. Thus briefly, the entire material of Art, under Athena's hand, is
the contest of life with clay; and all my task in explaining to you the
early thought of both the Athenian and Tuscan schools will only be the
tracing of this battle of the giants into its full heroic form, when,
not in tapestry only--but in sculpture--and on the portal of the Temple
of Delphi itself, you have the "[Greek: klonos en teichesi lainoisi
gigantôn]," and their defeat hailed by the passionate cry of delight
from the Athenian maids, beholding Pallas in her full power, "[Greek:
leussô Pallad' eman theon]," my own goddess. All our work, I repeat,
will be nothing but the inquiry into the development of this the
subject, and the pressing fully home the question of Plato about that
embroidery--"And think you that there is verily war with each other
among the Gods? and dreadful enmities and battle, such as the poets have
told, and such as our painters set forth in graven scripture, to adorn
all our sacred rites and holy places; yes, and in the great Panathenaea
themselves, the Peplus, full of such wild picturing, is carried up into
the Acropolis--shall we say that these things are true, oh Euthuphron,
right-minded friend?"

108. Yes, we say, and know, that these things are true; and true for
ever: battles of the gods, not among themselves, but against the
earth-giants. Battle prevailing age by age, in nobler life and lovelier
imagery; creation, which no theory of mechanism, no definition of force,
can explain, the adoption and completing of individual form by
individual animation, breathed out of the lips of the Father of Spirits.
And to recognize the presence in every knitted shape of dust, by which
it lives and moves and has its being--to recognize it, revere, and show
it forth, is to be our eternal Idolatry.

"Thou shalt not bow down to them, nor worship them."

"Assuredly no," we answered once, in our pride; and through porch and
aisle, broke down the carved work thereof, with axes and hammers.

Who would have thought the day so near when we should bow down to
worship, not the creatures, but their atoms,--not the forces that form,
but those that dissolve them? Trust me, gentlemen, the command which is
stringent against adoration of brutality, is stringent no less against
adoration of chaos, nor is faith in an image fallen from heaven to be
reformed by a faith only in the phenomenon of decadence. We have ceased
from the making of monsters to be appeased by sacrifice;--it is
well,--if indeed we have also ceased from making them in our thoughts.
We have learned to distrust the adorning of fair phantasms, to which we
once sought for succour;--it is well, if we learn to distrust also the
adorning of those to which we seek, for temptation; but the verity of
gains like these can only be known by our confession of the divine seal
of strength and beauty upon the tempered frame, and honour in the
fervent heart, by which, increasing visibly, may yet be manifested to
us the holy presence, and the approving love, of the Loving God, who
visits the iniquities of the Fathers upon the Children, unto the third
and fourth generation of them that hate Him, and shows mercy unto
thousands in them that love Him, and keep His Commandments.


[118] I shall be obliged in future lectures, as hitherto in my other
writings, to use the terms, Idolatry and Imagination in a more
comprehensive sense; but here I use them for convenience sake,
limitedly, to avoid the continual occurrence of the terms, noble and
ignoble, or false and true, with reference to modes of conception.

[119] "And in sum, he himself (Prometheus) was the master-maker, and
Athena worked together with him, breathing into the clay, and caused the
moulded things to have soul (psyche) in them."--LUCIAN, PROMETHEUS.

[120] His relations with the two great Titans, Themis and Mnemosyne,
belong to another group of myths. The father of Athena is the lower and
nearer physical Zeus, from whom Metis, the mother of Athena, long
withdraws and disguises herself.

[121] The Latin verses are of later date; the contemporary plain prose
retains the Venetian gutturals and aspirates.

[122] The best modern illustrated scientific works show perfect faculty
of representing monkeys, lizards, and insects; absolute incapability of
representing either a man, a horse, or a lion.



_November, 1870._

109. You were probably vexed, and tired, towards the close of my last
lecture, by the time it took us to arrive at the apparently simple
conclusion, that sculpture must only represent organic form, and the
strength of life in its contest with matter. But it is no small thing to
have that "[Greek: leussô Pallada]" fixed in your minds, as the one
necessary sign by which you are to recognize right sculpture, and
believe me you will find it the best of all things, if you can take for
yourselves the saying from the lips of the Athenian maids, in its
entirety, and say also--[Greek: leussô Pallad' eman theon]. I proceed
to-day into the practical appliance of this apparently speculative, but
in reality imperative, law.

110. You observe, I have hitherto spoken of the power of Athena, as over
painting no less than sculpture. But her rule over both arts is only so
far as they are zoographic;--representative, that is to say, of animal
life, or of such order and discipline among other elements, as may
invigorate and purify it. Now there is a speciality of the art of
painting beyond this, namely, the representation of phenomena of colour
and shadow, as such, without question of the nature of the things that
receive them. I am now accordingly obliged to speak of sculpture and
painting as distinct arts, but the laws which bind sculpture, bind no
less the painting of the higher schools which has, for its main purpose,
the showing beauty in human or animal form; and which is therefore
placed by the Greeks equally under the rule of Athena, as the Spirit,
first, of Life, and then of Wisdom in conduct.

111. First, I say, you are to "see Pallas" in all such work, as the
Queen of Life; and the practical law which follows from this, is one of
enormous range and importance, namely, that nothing must be represented
by sculpture, external to any living form, which does not help to
enforce or illustrate the conception of life. Both dress and armour may
be made to do this, by great sculptors, and are continually so used by
the greatest. One of the essential distinctions between the Athenian and
Florentine schools is dependent on their treatment of drapery in this
respect; an Athenian always sets it to exhibit the action of the body,
by flowing with it, or over it, or from it, so as to illustrate both its
form and gesture; a Florentine, on the contrary, always uses his drapery
to conceal or disguise the forms of the body, and exhibit mental
emotion: but both use it to enhance the life, either of the body or
soul; Donatello and Michael Angelo, no less than the sculptors of Gothic
chivalry, ennoble armour in the same way; but base sculptors carve
drapery and armour for the sake of their folds and picturesqueness only,
and forget the body beneath. The rule is so stern that all delight in
mere incidental beauty, which painting often triumphs in, is wholly
forbidden to sculpture;--for instance, in _painting_ the branch of a
tree, you may rightly represent and enjoy the lichens and moss on it,
but a sculptor must not touch one of them: they are inessential to the
tree's life,--he must give the flow and bending of the branch only, else
he does not enough "see Pallas" in it.

Or to take a higher instance, here is an exquisite little painted poem,
by Edward Frere; a cottage interior, one of the thousands which within
the last two months[123] have been laid desolate in unhappy France.
Every accessory in the painting is of value--the fireside, the tiled
floor, the vegetables lying upon it, and the basket hanging from the
roof. But not one of these accessories would have been admissible in
sculpture. You must carve nothing but what has life. "Why"? you probably
feel instantly inclined to ask me.--You see the principle we have got,
instead of being blunt or useless, is such an edged tool that you are
startled the moment I apply it. "Must we refuse every pleasant accessory
and picturesque detail, and petrify nothing but living creatures"?--Even
so: I would not assert it on my own authority. It is the Greeks who say
it, but whatever they say of sculpture, be assured, is true.

112. That then is the first law--you must see Pallas as the Lady of
Life--the second is, you must see her as the Lady of Wisdom; or [Greek:
sophia]--and this is the chief matter of all. I cannot but think, that
after the considerations into which we have now entered, you will find
more interest than hitherto in comparing the statements of Aristotle, in
the Ethics, with those of Plato in the Polity, which are authoritative
as Greek definitions of goodness in art, and which you may safely hold
authoritative as constant definitions of it. You remember, doubtless,
that the [Greek: sophia] or [Greek: aretê technês], for the sake of
which Phidias is called [Greek: sophos] as a sculptor, and Polyclitus as
an image-maker, Eth. 6. 7. (the opposition is both between ideal and
portrait sculpture, and between working in stone and bronze) consists in
the "[Greek: nous tôn timiôtatôn tê physei]" "the mental apprehension of
the things that are most honourable in their nature." Therefore what is,
indeed, most lovely, the true image-maker will most love; and what is
most hateful, he will most hate, and in all things discern the best and
strongest part of them, and represent that essentially, or, if the
opposite of that, then with manifest detestation and horror. That is his
art wisdom; the knowledge of good and evil, and the love of good, so
that you may discern, even in his representation of the vilest thing,
his acknowledgment of what redemption is possible for it, or latent
power exists in it; and, contrariwise, his sense of its present misery.
But for the most part, he will idolize, and force us also to idolize,
whatever is living, and virtuous, and victoriously right; opposing to it
in some definite mode the image of the conquered [Greek: herpeton].

113. This is generally true of both the great arts; but in severity and
precision, true of sculpture. To return to our illustration: this poor
little girl was more interesting to Edward Frere, he being a painter,
because she was poorly dressed, and wore these clumsy shoes, and old red
cap, and patched gown. May we sculpture her so? No. We may sculpture her
naked, if we like; but not in rags.

But if we may not put her into marble in rags, may we give her a pretty
frock with ribands and flounces to it, and put her into marble in that?
No. We may put her simplest peasant's dress, so it be perfect and
orderly, into marble; anything finer than that would be more
dishonourable in the eyes of Athena than rags. If she were a French
princess, you might carve her embroidered robe and diadem; if she were
Joan of Arc you might carve her armour--for then these also would be
"[Greek: tôn timiôtatôn]," not otherwise.

114. Is not this an edge-tool we have got hold of, unawares? and a
subtle one too; so delicate and scimitar-like in decision. For note,
that even Joan of Arc's armour must be only sculptured, _if she has it
on_; it is not the honourableness or beauty of it that are enough, but
the direct bearing of it by her body. You might be deeply, even
pathetically, interested by looking at a good knight's dinted coat of
mail, left in his desolate hall. May you sculpture it where it hangs?
No; the helmet for his pillow, if you will--no more.

You see we did not do our dull work for nothing in last lecture. I
define what we have gained once more, and then we will enter on our new

115. The proper subject of sculpture, we have determined, is the
spiritual power seen in the form of any living thing, and so represented
as to give evidence that the sculptor has loved the good of it and hated
the evil.

"_So_ represented," we say; but how is that to be done? Why should it
not be represented, if possible, just as it is seen? What mode or limit
of representation may we adopt? We are to carve things that have
life;--shall we try so to imitate them that they may indeed seem
living,--or only half living, and like stone instead of flesh?

It will simplify this question if I show you three examples of what the
Greeks actually did: three typical pieces of their sculpture, in order
of perfection.

116. And now, observe that in all our historical work, I will endeavour
to do, myself, what I have asked you to do in your drawing exercises;
namely, to outline firmly in the beginning, and then fill in the detail
more minutely. I will give you first, therefore, in a symmetrical form,
absolutely simple and easily remembered, the large chronology of the
Greek school; within that unforgettable scheme we will place, as we
discover them, the minor relations of arts and times.

I number the nine centuries before Christ thus, upwards, and divide them
into three groups of three each.

                          { 9
    A. ARCHAIC.           { 8
                          { 7
                          { 6
    B. BEST.              { 5
                          { 4
                          { 3
    C. CORRUPT.           { 2
                          { 1

Then the ninth, eighth, and seventh centuries are the period of Archaic
Greek Art, steadily progressive wherever it existed.

The sixth, fifth, and fourth are the period of central Greek Art; the
fifth, or central century producing the finest. That is easily
recollected by the battle of Marathon. And the third, second, and first
centuries are the period of steady decline.


Learn this A B C thoroughly, and mark, for yourselves, what you, at
present, think the vital events in each century. As you know more, you
will think other events the vital ones; but the best historical
knowledge only approximates to true thought in that matter; only be sure
that what is truly vital in the character which governs events, is
always expressed by the art of the century; so that if you could
interpret that art rightly, the better part of your task in reading
history would be done to your hand.

117. It is generally impossible to date with precision art of the
archaic period--often difficult to date even that of the central three
hundred years. I will not weary you with futile minor divisions of time;
here are three coins (Plate VII.) roughly, but decisively,
characteristic of the three ages. The first is an early coin of
Tarentum. The city was founded as you know, by the Spartan Phalanthus,
late in the eighth century. I believe the head is meant for that of
Apollo Archegetes, it may however be Taras, the son of Poseidon; it is
no matter to us at present whom it is meant for, but the fact that we
cannot know, is itself of the greatest import. We cannot say, with any
certainty, unless by discovery of some collateral evidence, whether this
head is intended for that of a god, or demi-god, or a mortal warrior.
Ought not that to disturb some of your thoughts respecting Greek
idealism? Farther, if by investigation we discover that the head is
meant for that of Phalanthus, we shall know nothing of the character of
Phalanthus from the face; for there is no portraiture at this early

118. The second coin is of Ænus in Macedonia; probably of the fifth or
early fourth century, and entirely characteristic of the central period.
This we know to represent the face of a god--Hermes. The third coin is a
king's, not a city's. I will not tell you, at this moment, what king's;
but only that it is a late coin of the third period, and that it is as
distinct in purpose as the coin of Tarentum is obscure. We know of this
coin, that it represents no god nor demi-god, but a mere mortal; and we
know precisely, from the portrait, what that mortal's face was like.

119. A glance at the three coins, as they are set side by side, will now
show you the main differences in the three great Greek styles. The
archaic coin is sharp and hard; every line decisive and numbered, set
unhesitatingly in its place; nothing is wrong, though everything
incomplete, and, to us who have seen finer art, ugly. The central coin
is as decisive and clear in arrangement of masses, but its contours are
completely rounded and finished. There is no character in its execution
so prominent that you can give an epithet to the style. It is not hard,
it is not soft, it is not delicate, it is not coarse, it is not
grotesque, it is not beautiful; and I am convinced, unless you had been
told that this is fine central Greek art, you would have seen nothing at
all in it to interest you. Do not let yourselves be anywise forced into
admiring it; there is, indeed, nothing more here, than an approximately
true rendering of a healthy youthful face, without the slightest attempt
to give an expression of activity, cunning, nobility, or any other
attribute of the Mercurial mind. Extreme simplicity, unpretending vigour
of work, which claims no admiration either for minuteness or dexterity,
and suggests no idea of effort at all; refusal of extraneous ornament,
and perfectly arranged disposition of counted masses in a sequent order,
whether in the beads, or the ringlets of hair; this is all you have to
be pleased with; neither will you ever find, in the best Greek Art,
more. You might at first suppose that the chain of beads round the cap
was an extraneous ornament; but I have little doubt that it is as
definitely the proper fillet for the head of Hermes, as the olive for
Zeus, or corn for Triptolemus. The cap or petasus cannot have expanded
edges, there is no room for them on the coin; these must be understood,
therefore; but the nature of the cloud-petasus is explained by edging it
with beads, representing either dew or hail. The shield of Athena often
bears white pellets for hail, in like manner.

120. The third coin will, I think, at once strike you by what we moderns
should call its "vigour of character." You may observe also that the
features are finished with great care and subtlety, but at the cost of
simplicity and breadth. But the _essential_ difference between it and
the central art, is its disorder in design--you see the locks of hair
cannot be counted any longer--they are entirely dishevelled and
irregular. Now the individual character may, or may not be, a sign of
decline; but the licentiousness, the casting loose of the masses in the
design, is an infallible one. The effort at portraiture is good for art
if the men to be portrayed are good men, not otherwise. In the instance
before you, the head is that of Mithridates VI. of Pontus, who had,
indeed, the good qualities of being a linguist and a patron of the arts;
but as you will remember, murdered, according to report, his mother,
certainly his brother, certainly his wives and sisters, I have not
counted how many of his children, and from a hundred to a hundred and
fifty thousand persons besides; these last in a single day's massacre.
The effort to represent this kind of person is not by any means a method
of study from life ultimately beneficial to art.

121. This however is not the point I have to urge to-day. What I want
you to observe is that, though the master of the great time does not
attempt portraiture, he _does_ attempt animation. And as far as his
means will admit, he succeeds in making the face--you might almost
think--vulgarly animated; as like a real face, literally, "as it can
stare." Yes: and its sculptor meant it to be so; and that was what
Phidias meant his Jupiter to be, if he could manage it. Not, indeed, to
be taken for Zeus himself; and yet, to be as like a living Zeus as art
could make it. Perhaps you think he tried to make it look living only
for the sake of the mob, and would not have tried to do so for
connoisseurs. Pardon me; for real connoisseurs, he would, and did; and
herein consists a truth which belongs to all the arts, and which I will
at once drive home in your minds, as firmly as I can.

122. All second-rate artists--(and remember, the second-rate ones are a
loquacious multitude, while the great come only one or two in a century;
and then, silently)--all second-rate artists will tell you that the
object of fine art is not resemblance, but some kind of abstraction more
refined than reality. Put that out of your heads at once. The object of
the great Resemblant Arts is, and always has been, to resemble; and to
resemble as closely as possible. It is the function of a good portrait
to set the man before you in habit as he lived, and I would we had a few
more that did so. It is the function of a good landscape to set the
scene before you in its reality, to make you, if it may be, think the
clouds are flying, and the streams foaming. It is the function of the
best sculptor--the true Dædalus--to make stillness look like breathing,
and marble look like flesh.

123. And in all great times of art, this purpose is as naïvely expressed
as it is steadily held. All the talk about abstraction belongs to
periods of decadence. In living times, people see something living that
pleases them; and they try to make it live for ever, or to make it
something as like it as possible, that will last for ever. They paint
their statues, and inlay the eyes with jewels, and set real crowns on
their heads; they finish, in their pictures, every thread of embroidery,
and would fain, if they could, draw every leaf upon the trees. And their
only verbal expression of conscious success is, that they have made
their work "look real."

124. You think all that very wrong. So did I, once; but it was I that
was wrong. A long time ago, before ever I had seen Oxford, I painted a
picture of the Lake of Como, for my father. It was not at all like the
Lake of Como; but I thought it rather the better for that. My father
differed with me; and objected particularly to a boat with a red and
yellow awning, which I had put into the most conspicuous corner of my
drawing. I declared this boat to be "necessary to the composition." My
father not the less objected, that he had never seen such a boat, either
at Como or elsewhere; and suggested that if I would make the lake look a
little more like water, I should be under no necessity of explaining its
nature by the presence of floating objects. I thought him at the time a
very simple person for his pains; but have since learned, and it is the
very gist of all practical matters, which, as professor of fine art, I
have now to tell you, that the great point in painting a lake is--to get
it to look like water.

125. So far, so good. We lay it down for a first principle, that our
graphic art, whether painting or sculpture, is to produce something
which shall look as like Nature as possible. But now we must go one step
farther, and say that it is to produce what shall look like Nature to
people who know what Nature is like! You see this is at once a great
restriction, as well as a great exaltation of our aim. Our business is
not to deceive the simple; but to deceive the wise! Here, for instance,
is a modern Italian print, representing, to the best of its power, St.
Cecilia, in a brilliantly realistic manner. And the fault of the work is
not in its earnest endeavour to show St. Cecilia in habit as she lived,
but in that the effort could only be successful with persons unaware of
the habit St. Cecilia lived in. And this condition of appeal only to the
wise increases the difficulty of imitative resemblance so greatly, that,
with only average skill or materials, we must surrender all hope of it,
and be content with an imperfect representation, true as far as it
reaches, and such as to excite the imagination of a wise beholder to
complete it; though falling very far short of what either he or we
should otherwise have desired. For instance, here is a suggestion, by
Sir Joshua Reynolds, of the general appearance of a British
Judge--requiring the imagination of a very wise beholder indeed, to fill
it up, or even at first to discover what it is meant for. Nevertheless,
it is better art than the Italian St. Cecilia, because the artist,
however little he may have done to represent his knowledge, does,
indeed, know altogether what a Judge is like, and appeals only to the
criticism of those who know also.

126. There must be, therefore, two degrees of truth to be looked for in
the good graphic arts; one, the commonest, which, by any partial or
imperfect sign conveys to you an idea which you must complete for
yourself; and the other, the finest, a representation so perfect as to
leave you nothing to be farther accomplished by this independent
exertion; but to give you the same feeling of possession and presence
which you would experience from the natural object itself. For instance
of the first, in this representation of a rainbow,[124] the artist has
no hope that, by the black lines of engraving, he can deceive you into
any belief of the rainbow's being there, but he gives indication enough
of what he intends, to enable you to supply the rest of the idea
yourself, providing always you know beforehand what a rainbow is like.
But in this drawing of the falls of Terni,[125] the painter has
strained his skill to the utmost to give an actually deceptive
resemblance of the iris, dawning and fading among the foam. So far as he
has not actually deceived you, it is not because he would not have done
so if he could; but only because his colours and science have fallen
short of his desire. They have fallen so little short that, in a good
light, you may all but believe the foam and the sunshine are drifting
and changing among the rocks.

127. And after looking a little while, you will begin to regret that
they are not so: you will feel that, lovely as the drawing is, you would
like far better to see the real place, and the goats skipping among the
rocks, and the spray floating above the fall. And this is the true sign
of the greatest art--to part voluntarily with its greatness;--to make
_itself_ poor and unnoticed; but so to exalt and set forth its theme
that you may be fain to see the theme instead of it. So that you have
never enough admired a great workman's doing till you have begun to
despise it. The best homage that could be paid to the Athena of Phidias
would be to desire rather to see the living goddess; and the loveliest
Madonnas of Christian art fall short of their due power, if they do not
make their beholders sick at heart to see the living Virgin.

128. We have then, for our requirement of the finest art (sculpture, or
anything else), that it shall be so like the thing it represents as to
please those who best know or can conceive the original; and, if
possible, please them deceptively--its final triumph being to deceive
even the wise; and (the Greeks thought) to please even the Immortals,
who were so wise as to be undeceivable. So that you get the Greek, thus
far entirely true, idea of perfectness in sculpture, expressed to you by
what Phalaris says, at first sight of the bull of Perilaus, "It only
wanted motion and bellowing to seem alive; and as soon as I saw it, I
cried out, it ought to be sent to the god." To Apollo, for only he, the
undeceivable, could thoroughly understand such sculpture, and perfectly
delight in it.

129. And with this expression of the Greek ideal of sculpture, I wish
you to join the early Italian, summed in a single line by Dante--"non
vide me' di me, chi vide 'l vero." Read the 12th canto of the
"Purgatory," and learn that whole passage by heart; and if ever you
chance to go to Pistoja, look at La Robbia's coloured porcelain
bas-reliefs of the seven works of Mercy on the front of the hospital
there; and note especially the faces of the two sick men--one at the
point of death, and the other in the first peace and long-drawn
breathing of health after fever--and you will know what Dante meant by
the preceding line, "Morti li morti, e i vivi parèn vivi."

130. But now, may we not ask farther,--is it impossible for art such as
this, prepared for the wise, to please the simple also? Without entering
on the awkward questions of degree, how many the wise can be, or how
much men should know, in order to be rightly called wise, may we not
conceive an art to be possible, which would deceive _every_body, or
everybody worth deceiving? I showed you at my first lecture, a little
ringlet of Japan ivory, as a type of elementary bas-relief touched with
colour; and in your rudimentary series you have a drawing by Mr.
Burgess, of one of the little fishes enlarged, with every touch of the
chisel facsimiled on the more visible scale; and showing the little
black bead inlaid for the eye, which in the original is hardly to be
seen without a lens. You may, perhaps be surprised, when I tell you,
that (putting the question of _subject_ aside for the moment, and
speaking only of the mode of execution and aim at resemblance), you have
there a perfect example of the Greek ideal of method in sculpture. And
you will admit that, to the simplest person whom we could introduce as a
critic, that fish would be a satisfactory, nay, almost a deceptive fish;
while to any one caring for subtleties of art, I need not point out that
every touch of the chisel is applied with consummate knowledge, and that
it would be impossible to convey more truth and life with the given
quantity of workmanship.

[Illustration: FIG. 7.]

131. Here is, indeed, a drawing by Turner, (Edu. 131), in which with
some fifty times the quantity of labour, and far more highly educated
faculty of sight, the artist has expressed some qualities of lustre and
colour which only very wise persons indeed could perceive in a John
Dory; and this piece of paper contains, therefore, much more, and more
subtle, art, than the Japan ivory; but are we sure that it is therefore
_greater_ art? or that the painter was better employed in producing this
drawing, which only one person can possess, and only one in a hundred
enjoy, than he would have been in producing two or three pieces on a
larger scale, which should have been at once accessible to, and
enjoyable by, a number of simpler persons? Suppose for instance, that
Turner, instead of faintly touching this outline, on white paper, with
his camel's hair pencil, had struck the main forms of his fish into
marble, thus (Fig. 7): and instead of colouring the white paper so
delicately that, perhaps, only a few of the most keenly observant
artists in England can see it at all, had, with his strong hand, tinted
the marble with a few colours, deceptive to the people, and harmonious
to the initiated; suppose that he had even conceded so much to the
spirit of popular applause as to allow of a bright glass bead being
inlaid for the eye, in the Japanese manner; and that the enlarged,
deceptive, and popularly pleasing work had been carved on the outside of
a great building,--say Fishmongers' Hall,--where everybody commercially
connected with Billingsgate could have seen it, and ratified it with the
wisdom of the market;--might not the art have been greater, worthier,
and kinder in such use?

132. Perhaps the idea does not once approve itself to you of having your
public buildings covered with ornaments like this; but pray, remember
that the choice of _subject_ is an ethical question, not now before us.
All I ask you to decide is whether the method is right, and would be
pleasant in giving the distinctiveness to pretty things, which it has
here given to what, I suppose it may be assumed, you feel to be an ugly
thing. Of course, I must note parenthetically, such realistic work is
impossible in a country where the buildings are to be discoloured by
coal-smoke; but so is all fine sculpture, whatsoever; and the whiter,
the worse its chance. For that which is prepared for private persons, to
be kept under cover, will, of necessity, degenerate into the copyism of
past work, or merely sensational and sensual forms of present life,
unless there be a governing school addressing the populace, for their
instruction, on the outside of buildings. So that, as I partly warned
you in my third lecture, you can simply have _no_ sculpture in a coal
country. Whether you like coals or carvings best, is no business of
mine. I merely have to assure you of the fact that they are

But, assuming that we are again, some day, to become a civilized and
governing race, deputing ironmongery, coal-digging, and lucre-digging,
to our slaves in other countries, it is quite conceivable that, with an
increasing knowledge of natural history, and desire for such knowledge,
what is now done by careful, but inefficient, woodcuts, and in
ill-coloured engravings, might be put in quite permanent sculptures,
with inlay of variegated precious stones, on the outside of buildings,
where such pictures would be little costly to the people; and in a more
popular manner still, by Robbia ware and Palissy ware, and inlaid
majolica, which would differ from the housewives' present favourite
decoration of plates above her kitchen dresser, by being every piece of
it various, instructive, and universally visible.

133. You hardly know, I suppose, whether I am speaking in jest or
earnest. In the most solemn earnest, I assure you; though such is the
strange course of our popular life that all the irrational arts of
destruction are at once felt to be earnest; while any plan for those of
instruction on a grand scale, sounds like a dream or jest. Still, I do
not absolutely propose to decorate our public buildings with sculpture
wholly of this character; though beast, and fowl, and creeping things,
and fishes, might all find room on such a building as the Solomon's
House of a New Atlantis; and some of them might even become symbolic of
much to us again. Passing through the Strand, only the other day, for
instance, I saw four highly finished and delicately coloured pictures of
cock-fighting, which, for imitative quality, were nearly all that could
be desired, going far beyond the Greek cock of Himera; and they would
have delighted a Greek's soul, if they had meant as much as a Greek
cock-fight; but they were only types of the "[Greek: endomachas
alektôr]," and of the spirit of home contest, which has been so fatal
lately to the Bird of France; and not of the defence of one's own
barnyard, in thought of which the Olympians set the cock on the pillars
of their chariot course; and gave it goodly alliance in its battle, as
you may see here, in what is left of the angle of mouldering marble in
the chair of the priest of Dionusos. The cast of it, from the centre of
the theatre under the Acropolis, is in the British Museum; and I wanted
its spiral for you, and this kneeling Angel of Victory;--it is late
Greek art, but nobly systematic flat bas-relief. So I set Mr. Burgess to
draw it; but neither he nor I for a little while, could make out what
the Angel of Victory was kneeling for. His attitude is an ancient and
grandly conventional one among the Egyptians; and I was tracing it back
to a kneeling goddess of the greatest dynasty of the Pharaohs--a goddess
of Evening, or Death, laying down the sun out of her right hand;--when,
one bright day, the shadows came out clear on the Athenian throne, and I
saw that my Angel of Victory was only backing a cock at a cock-fight.

134. Still, as I have said, there is no reason why sculpture, even for
simplest persons, should confine itself to imagery of fish, or fowl, or
four-footed things.

We go back to our first principle: we ought to carve nothing but what is
honourable. And you are offended, at this moment, with my fish, (as I
believe, when the first sculptures appeared on the windows of this
museum, offence was taken at the unnecessary introduction of cats),
these dissatisfactions being properly felt by your "[Greek: nous tôn
timiôtatôn]." For indeed, in all cases, our right judgment must depend
on our wish to give honour only to things and creatures that deserve it.

135. And now I must state to you another principle of veracity, both in
sculpture, and all following arts, of wider scope than any hitherto
examined. We have seen that sculpture is to be a true representation of
true external form. Much more is it to be a representation of true
internal emotion. You must carve only what you yourself see as you see
it; but, much more, you must carve only what you yourself feel, as you
feel it. You may no more endeavour to feel through other men's souls,
than to see with other men's eyes. Whereas generally now in Europe and
America, every man's energy is bent upon acquiring some false emotion,
not his own, but belonging to the past, or to other persons, because he
has been taught that such and such a result of it will be fine. Every
attempted sentiment in relation to art is hypocritical; our notions of
sublimity, of grace, or pious serenity, are all second hand; and we are
practically incapable of designing so much as a bell-handle or a
door-knocker without borrowing the first notion of it from those who are
gone--where we shall not wake them with our knocking. I would we could.

136. In the midst of this desolation we have nothing to count on for
real growth, but what we can find of honest liking and longing, in
ourselves and in others. We must discover, if we would healthily
advance, what things are verily [Greek: timiôtata] among us; and if we
delight to honour the dishonourable, consider how, in future, we may
better bestow our likings. Now it appears to me from all our popular
declarations, that we, at present, honour nothing so much as liberty and
independence; and no person so much as the Free man and Self-made man,
who will be ruled by no one, and has been taught, or helped, by no one.
And the reason I chose a fish for you as the first subject of sculpture,
was that in men who are free and self-made, you have the nearest
approach, humanly possible, to the state of the fish, and finely
organized [Greek: herpeton]. You get the exact phrase in Habakkuk, if
you take the Septuagint text.--"[Greek: poiêseis tous anthrôpous hôs
tous ichthyas tês thalassês, kai hôs ta herpeta ta ouk echonta
hêgoumenon."] "Thou wilt make men as the fishes of the sea, and as the
reptile things, _that have no ruler over them_." And it chanced that as
I was preparing this lecture, one of our most able and popular prints
gave me a woodcut of the "self-made man," specified as such, so
vigorously drawn, and with so few touches, that Phidias or Turner
himself could scarcely have done it better; so that I had only to ask my
assistant to enlarge it with accuracy, and it became comparable with my
fish at once. Of course it is not given by the caricaturist as an
admirable face; only, I am enabled by his skill to set before you,
without any suspicion of unfairness on _my_ part, the expression to
which the life we profess to think most honourable, naturally leads. If
we were to take the hat off, you see how nearly the profile corresponds
with that of the typical fish.


137. Such, then, being the definition by your best popular art, of the
ideal of feature at which we are gradually arriving by self-manufacture;
when I place opposite to it (in Plate VIII.) the profile of a man not in
any wise self-made, neither by the law of his own will, nor by the love
of his own interest--nor capable, for a moment, of any kind of
"Independence," or of the idea of independence; but wholly dependent
upon, and subjected to, external influence of just law, wise teaching,
and trusted love and truth, in his fellow-spirits;--setting before you,
I say, this profile of a God-made instead of a self-made, man, I know
that you will feel, on the instant, that you are brought into contact
with the vital elements of human art; and that this, the sculpture of
the good, is indeed the only permissible sculpture.

138. A God-made _man_, I say. The face, indeed, stands as a symbol of
more than man in its sculptor's mind. For as I gave you, to lead your
first effort in the form of leaves, the sceptre of Apollo, so this,
which I give you as the first type of rightness in the form of flesh, is
the countenance of the holder of that sceptre, the Sun-God of Syracuse.
But there is nothing in the face (nor did the Greek suppose there was)
more perfect than might be seen in the daily beauty of the creatures the
Sun-God shone upon, and whom his strength and honour animated. This is
not an ideal, but a quite literally true, face of a Greek youth; nay, I
will undertake to show you that it is not supremely beautiful, and even
to surpass it altogether with the literal portrait of an Italian one. It
is in verity no more than the form habitually taken by the features of a
well educated young Athenian or Sicilian citizen; and the one
requirement for the sculptors of to-day is not, as it has been thought,
to invent the same ideal, but merely to see the same reality.

Now, you know I told you in my fourth lecture, that the beginning of art
was in getting our country clean and our people beautiful, and you
supposed that to be a statement irrelevant to my subject; just as, at
this moment, you perhaps think, I am quitting the great subject of this
present lecture--the method of likeness-making--and letting myself
branch into the discussion of what things we are to make likeness of.
But you shall see hereafter that the method of imitating a beautiful
thing must be different from the method of imitating an ugly one; and
that, with the change in subject from what is dishonourable to what is
honourable, there will be involved a parallel change in the management
of tools, of lines, and of colours. So that before I can determine for
you _how_ you are to imitate, you must tell me what kind of face you
wish to imitate. The best draughtsmen in the world could not draw this
Apollo in ten scratches, though he can draw the self-made man. Still
less this nobler Apollo of Ionian Greece, (Plate IX.) in which the
incisions are softened into a harmony like that of Correggio's painting.
So that you see the method itself,--the choice between black incision or
fine sculpture, and perhaps, presently, the choice between colour or no
colour, will depend on what you have to represent. Colour may be
expedient for a glistening dolphin or a spotted fawn;--perhaps
inexpedient for white Poseidon, and gleaming Dian. So that, before
defining the laws of sculpture, I am compelled to ask you, _what you
mean to carve_; and that, little as you think it, is asking you how you
mean to live, and what the laws of your State are to be, for _they_
determine those of your statue. You can only have this kind of face to
study from, in the sort of state that produced it. And you will find
that sort of state described in the beginning of the fourth book of the
laws of Plato; as founded, for one thing, on the conviction that of all
the evils that can happen to a state, quantity of money is the greatest!
[Greek: meizon kakon, ôs epos eipein, polei ouden an gignoito, eis
gennaiôn kai dikaiôn êthôn ktêsin], "for, to speak shortly, no greater
evil, matching each against each, can possibly happen to a city, as
adverse to its forming just or generous character," than its being full
of silver and gold.

139. Of course, the Greek notion may be wrong, and ours right,
only--[Greek: ôs epos eipein]--you can have Greek sculpture only on that
Greek theory: shortly expressed by the words put into the mouth of
Poverty herself, in the Plutus of Aristophanes "[Greek: Tou ploutou
parechô beltionas andras, kai tên gnômên, kai tên idean]," "I deliver to
you better men than the God of Money can, both in imagination and
feature." So on the other hand, this ichthyoid, reptilian, or
mono-chondyloid ideal of the self-made man can only be reached,
universally, by a nation which holds that poverty, either of purse or
spirit,--but especially the spiritual character of being [Greek: ptôchoi
tô pneumati], is the lowest of degradations; and which believes that the
desire of wealth is the first of manly and moral sentiments. As I have
been able to get the popular ideal represented by its own living art, so
I can give you this popular faith in its own living words; but in words
meant seriously and not at all as caricature, from one of our leading
journals, professedly æsthetic also in its very name, the _Spectator_,
of August 6th, 1870.


"Mr. Ruskin's plan," it says, "would make England poor, in order that
she might be cultivated, and refined and artistic. A wilder proposal was
never broached by a man of ability; and it might be regarded as a proof
that the assiduous study of art emasculates the intellect, _and even the
moral sense_. Such a theory almost warrants the contempt with which art
is often regarded by essentially intellectual natures, like Proudhon"
(sic). "Art is noble as the flower of life, and the creations of a
Titian are a great heritage of the race; but if England could secure
high art and Venetian glory of colour only by the sacrifice of her
manufacturing supremacy, and _by the acceptance of national poverty_,
then the pursuit of such artistic achievements would imply that we had
ceased to possess natures of manly strength, _or to know the meaning of
moral aims_. If we must choose between a Titian and a Lancashire cotton
mill, then, in the name of manhood and of morality, give us the cotton
mill. Only the dilettantism of the studio; that dilettantism which
loosens the moral no less than the intellectual fibre, and which is as
fatal to rectitude of action as to correctness of reasoning power, would
make a different choice."

You see also, by this interesting and most memorable passage, how
completely the question is admitted to be one of ethics--the only real
point at issue being, whether this face or that is developed on the
truer moral principle.

140. I assume, however, for the present, that this Apolline type is the
kind of form you wish to reach and to represent. And now observe,
instantly, the whole question of manner of imitation is altered for us.
The fins of the fish, the plumes of the swan, and the flowing of the
Sun-God's hair are all represented by incisions--but the incisions do
sufficiently represent the fin and feather,--they _in_sufficiently
represent the hair. If I chose, with a little more care and labor, I
could absolutely get the surface of the scales and spines of the fish,
and the expression of its mouth; but no quantity of labor would obtain
the real surface of a tress of Apollo's hair, and the full expression of
his mouth. So that we are compelled at once to call the imagination to
help us, and say to it, _You_ know what the Apollo Chrysocomes must be
like; finish all this for yourself. Now, the law under which imagination
works, is just that of other good workers. "You must give me clear
orders; show me what I have to do, and where I am to begin, and let me
alone." And the orders can be given, quite clearly, up to a certain
point, in form; but they cannot be given clearly in color, now that the
subject is subtle. All beauty of this high kind depends on harmony; let
but the slightest discord come into it, and the finer the thing is, the
more fatal will be the flaw. Now, on a flat surface, I can command my
color to be precisely what and where I mean it to be; on a round one I
cannot. For all harmony depends, first, on the fixed proportion of the
color of the light to that of the relative shadow; and therefore if I
fasten my color, I must fasten my shade. But on a round surface the
shadow changes at every hour of the day; and therefore all coloring
which is expressive of form, is impossible; and if the form is fine,
(and here there is nothing but what is fine,) you may bid farewell to

141. Farewell to color; that is to say, if the thing is to be seen
distinctly, and you have only wise people to show it to; but if it is to
be seen indistinctly, at a distance, color may become explanatory; and
if you have simple people to show it to, color may be necessary to
excite _their_ imaginations, though not to excite yours. And the art is
great always by meeting its conditions in the straightest way; and if it
is to please a multitude of innocent and bluntly-minded persons, must
express itself in the terms that will touch them; else it is not good.
And I have to trace for you through the history of the past, and
possibilities of the future, the expedients used by great sculptors to
obtain clearness, impressiveness, or splendor; and the manner of their
appeal to the people, under various light and shadow, and with reference
to different degrees of public intelligence: such investigation
resolving itself again and again, as we proceed, into questions
absolutely ethical; as, for instance, whether color is to be bright or
dull,--that is to say, for a populace cheerful or heartless;--whether it
is to be delicate or strong,--that is to say, for a populace attentive
or careless; whether it is to be a background like the sky, for a
procession of young men and maidens, because your populace revere
life--or the shadow of the vault behind a corpse stained with drops of
blackened blood, for a populace taught to worship Death. Every critical
determination of rightness depends on the obedience to some ethic law,
by the most rational and, therefore, simplest means. And you see how it
depends most, of all things, on whether you are working for chosen
persons, or for the mob; for the joy of the boudoir, or of the Borgo.
And if for the mob, whether the mob of Olympia, or of St. Antoine.
Phidias, showing his Jupiter for the first time, hides behind the temple
door to listen, resolved afterwards "[Greek: rhythmizein to agalma pros
to tois pleistois dokoun, ou gar hêgeito mikran einai symboulên dêmou
tosoutou]," and truly, as your people is, in judgment, and in multitude,
so must your sculpture be, in glory. An elementary principle which has
been too long out of mind.

142. I leave you to consider it, since, for some time, we shall not
again be able to take up the inquiries to which it leads. But,
ultimately, I do not doubt that you will rest satisfied in these
following conclusions:

1. Not only sculpture, but all the other fine arts, must be for the

2. They must be didactic to the people, and that as their chief end. The
structural arts, didactic in their manner; the graphic arts, in their
matter also.

3. And chiefly the great representative and imaginative arts--that is to
say, the drama and sculpture--are to teach what is noble in past
history, and lovely in existing human and organic life.

4. And the test of right manner of execution in these arts, is that
they strike, in the most emphatic manner, the rank of popular minds
to which they are addressed.

5. And the test of utmost fineness in execution in these arts, is that
they make themselves be forgotten in what they represent; and so fulfil
the words of their greatest Master,



[123] See date of delivery of Lecture. The picture was of a peasant girl
of eleven or twelve years old, peeling carrots by a cottage fire.

[124] In Durer's "Melencholia."

[125] Turner's, in the Hakewill series.



_December, 1870._

143. On previous occasions of addressing you, I have endeavoured to show
you, first, how sculpture is distinguished from other arts; then its
proper subjects, then its proper method in the realization of these
subjects. To-day, we must, in the fourth place, consider the means at
its command for the accomplishment of these ends; the nature of its
materials; and the mechanical or other difficulties of their treatment.

And however doubtful we may have remained, as to the justice of Greek
ideals, or propriety of Greek methods of representing them, we may be
certain that the example of the Greeks will be instructive in all
practical matters relating to this great art, peculiarly their own. I
think even the evidence I have already laid before you is enough to
convince you, that it was by rightness and reality, not by idealism or
delightfulness only, that their minds were finally guided; and I am sure
that, before closing the present course, I shall be able so far to
complete that evidence, as to prove to you that the commonly received
notions of classic art are, not only unfounded, but even in many
respects, directly contrary to the truth. You are constantly told that
Greece idealized whatever she contemplated. She did the exact contrary:
she realized and verified it. You are constantly told she sought only
the beautiful. She sought, indeed, with all her heart; but she found,
because she never doubted that the search was to be consistent with
propriety and common sense. And the first thing you will always discern
in Greek work is the first which you _ought_ to discern in all work;
namely, that the object of it has been rational, and has been obtained
by simple and unostentatious means.

144. "That the object of the work has been rational!" Consider how much
that implies. That it should be by all means seen to have been
determined upon, and carried through, with sense and discretion; these
being gifts of intellect far more precious than any knowledge of
mathematics, or of the mechanical resources of art. Therefore, also,
that it should be a modest and temperate work, a structure fitted to the
actual state of men; proportioned to their actual size, as animals,--to
their average strength,--to their true necessities,--and to the degree
of easy command they have over the forces and substances of nature.

145. You see how much this law excludes! All that is fondly magnificent,
insolently ambitious, or vainly difficult. There is, indeed, such a
thing as Magnanimity in design, but never unless it be joined also with
modesty and _Equ_animity. Nothing extravagant, monstrous, strained, or
singular, can be structurally beautiful. No towers of Babel envious of
the skies; no pyramids in mimicry of the mountains of the earth; no
streets that are a weariness to traverse, nor temples that make pigmies
of the worshippers.

It is one of the primal merits and decencies of Greek work that it was,
on the whole, singularly small in scale, and wholly within reach of
sight, to its finest details. And, indeed, the best buildings that I
know are thus modest; and some of the best are minute jewel cases for
sweet sculpture. The Parthenon would hardly attract notice, if it were
set by the Charing Cross Railway Station: the Church of the Miracoli, at
Venice, the Chapel of the Rose, at Lucca, and the Chapel of the Thorn,
at Pisa, would not, I suppose, all three together, fill the tenth part,
cube, of a transept of the Crystal Palace. And they are better so.

146. In the chapter on Power in the "Seven Lamps of Architecture," I
have stated what seems, at first, the reverse of what I am saying now;
namely, that it is better to have one grand building than any number of
mean ones. And that is true, but you cannot command grandeur by size
till you can command grace in minuteness; and least of all, remember,
will you so command it to-day, when magnitude has become the chief
exponent of folly and misery, co-ordinate in the fraternal enormities of
the Factory and Poorhouse,--the Barracks and Hospital. And the final law
in this matter is, that if you require edifices only for the grace and
health of mankind, and build them without pretence and without
chicanery, they will be sublime on a modest scale, and lovely with
little decoration.

147. From these principles of simplicity and temperance, two very
severely fixed laws of construction follow; namely, first, that our
structure, to be beautiful, must be produced with tools of men; and
secondly, that it must be composed of natural substances. First, I say,
produced with tools of men. All fine art requires the application of the
whole strength and subtlety of the body, so that such art is not
possible to any sickly person, but involves the action and force of a
strong man's arm from the shoulder, as well as the delicatest touch of
his finger: and it is the evidence that this full and fine strength has
been spent on it which makes the art executively noble; so that no
instrument must be used, habitually, which is either too heavy to be
delicately restrained, or too small and weak to transmit a vigorous
impulse; much less any mechanical aid, such as would render the
sensibility of the fingers ineffectual.[126]

148. Of course, any kind of work in glass, or in metal, on a large
scale, involves some painful endurance of heat; and working in clay,
some habitual endurance of cold; but the point beyond which the effort
must not be carried is marked by loss of power of manipulation. As long
as the eyes and fingers have complete command of the material (as a
glass blower has, for instance, in doing fine ornamental work)--the law
is not violated; but all our great engine and furnace work, in
gun-making and the like, is degrading to the intellect; and no nation
can long persist in it without losing many of its human faculties. Nay,
even the use of machinery, other than the common rope and pully, for the
lifting of weights, is degrading to architecture; the invention of
expedients for the raising of enormous stones has always been a
characteristic of partly savage or corrupted races. A block of marble
not larger than a cart with a couple of oxen could carry, and a
cross-beam, with a couple of pulleys, raise, is as large as should
generally be used in any building. The employment of large masses is
sure to lead to vulgar exhibitions of geometrical arrangement,[127] and
to draw away the attention from the sculpture. In general, rocks
naturally break into such pieces as the human beings that have to build
with them can easily lift, and no larger should be sought for.

149. In this respect, and in many other subtle ways, the law that the
work is to be with tools of men is connected with the farther condition
of its modesty, that it is to be wrought in substance provided by
Nature, and to have a faithful respect to all the essential qualities of
such substance.

And here I must ask your attention to the idea, and, more than
idea,--the fact, involved in that infinitely misused term,
"Providentia," when applied to the Divine Power. In its truest sense and
scholarly use, it is a human virtue, [Greek: Promêtheia]; the personal
type of it is in Prometheus, and all the first power of [Greek: technê],
is from him, as compared to the weakness of days when men without
foresight "[Greek: ephyron eikê panta]." But, so far as we use the word
"Providence" as an attribute of the Maker and Giver of all things, it
does not mean that in a shipwreck He takes care of the passengers who
are to be saved and takes none of those who are to be drowned; but it
_does_ mean that every race of creatures is born into the world under
circumstances of approximate adaptation to its necessities; and, beyond
all others, the ingenious and observant race of man is surrounded with
elements naturally good for his food, pleasant to his sight, and
suitable for the subjects of his ingenuity;--the stone, metal, and clay
of the earth he walks upon lending themselves at once to his hand, for
all manner of workmanship.

150. Thus, his truest respect for the law of the entire creation is
shown by his making the most of what he can get most easily; and there
is no virtue of art, nor application of common sense, more sacredly
necessary than this respect to the beauty of natural substance, and the
ease of local use; neither are there any other precepts of construction
so vital as these--that you show all the strength of your material,
tempt none of its weaknesses, and do with it only what can be simply and
permanently done.

151. Thus, all good building will be with rocks, or pebbles, or burnt
clay, but with no artificial compound; all good painting, with common
oils and pigments on common canvas, paper, plaster, or wood,--admitting,
sometimes for precious work, precious things, but all applied in a
simple and visible way. The highest imitative art should not, indeed, at
first sight, call attention to the means of it; but even that, at
length, should do so distinctly, and provoke the observer to take
pleasure in seeing how completely the workman is master of the
particular material he has used, and how beautiful and desirable a
substance it was, for work of that kind. In oil painting its unctious
quality is to be delighted in; in fresco, its chalky quality; in glass,
its transparency; in wood, its grain; in marble, its softness; in
porphyry, its hardness; in iron, its toughness. In a flint country, one
should feel the delightfulness of having flints to pick up, and fasten
together into rugged walls. In a marble country one should be always
more and more astonished at the exquisite colour and structure of
marble; in a slate country one should feel as if every rock cleft itself
only for the sake of being built with conveniently.


152. Now, for sculpture, there are, briefly, two materials--Clay, and
Stone; for glass is only a clay that gets clear and brittle as it cools,
and metal a clay that gets opaque and tough as it cools. Indeed, the
true use of gold in this world is only as a very pretty and very ductile
clay, which you can spread as flat as you like, spin as fine as you
like, and which will neither crack, nor tarnish.

All the arts of sculpture in clay may be summed up under the word
"Plastic," and all of those in stone, under the word "Glyptic."

153. Sculpture in clay will accordingly include all cast brick-work,
pottery, and tile-work[128]--a somewhat important branch of human skill.
Next to the potter's work, you have all the arts in porcelain, glass,
enamel, and metal; everything, that is to say, playful and familiar in
design, much of what is most felicitously inventive, and, in bronze or
gold, most precious and permanent.

154. Sculpture in stone, whether granite, gem, or marble, while we
accurately use the general term "glyptic" for it, may be thought of
with, perhaps, the most clear force under the English word "engraving."
For, from the mere angular incision which the Greek consecrated in the
triglyphs of his greatest order of architecture, grow forth all the arts
of bas-relief, and methods of localized groups of sculpture connected
with each other and with architecture: as, in another direction, the
arts of engraving and wood-cutting themselves.

155. Over all this vast field of human skill the laws which I have
enunciated to you rule with inevitable authority, embracing the
greatest, and consenting to the humblest, exertion; strong to repress
the ambition of nations, if fantastic and vain, but gentle to approve
the efforts of children, made in accordance with the visible intention
of the Maker of all flesh, and the Giver of all Intelligence. These
laws, therefore, I now repeat, and beg of you to observe them as

1. That the work is to be with tools of men.

2. That it is to be in natural materials.

3. That it is to exhibit the virtues of those materials, and aim at no
quality inconsistent with them.

4. That its temper is to be quiet and gentle, in harmony with common
needs, and in consent to common intelligence.

We will now observe the bearing of these laws on the elementary
conditions of the art at present under discussion.

156. There is, first, work in baked clay, which contracts as it dries,
and is very easily frangible. Then you must put no work into it
requiring niceness in dimension, nor any so elaborate that it would be a
great loss if it were broken, but as the clay yields at once to the
hand, and the sculptor can do anything with it he likes, it is a
material for him to sketch with and play with,--to record his fancies
in, before they escape him--and to express roughly, for people who can
enjoy such sketches, what he has not time to complete in marble. The
clay, being ductile, lends itself to all softness of line; being easily
frangible, it would be ridiculous to give it sharp edges, so that a
blunt and massive rendering of graceful gesture will be its natural
function; but as it can be pinched, or pulled, or thrust in a moment
into projection which it would take hours of chiselling to get in stone,
it will also properly be used for all fantastic and grotesque form, not
involving sharp edges. Therefore, what is true of chalk and charcoal,
for painters, is equally true of clay, for sculptors; they are all most
precious materials for true masters, but tempt the false ones into fatal
license; and to judge rightly of terra-cotta work is a far higher reach
of skill in sculpture-criticism than to distinguish the merits of a
finished statue.

157. We have, secondly, work in bronze, iron, gold, and other metals; in
which the laws of structure are still more definite.

All kinds of twisted and wreathen work on every scale become delightful
when wrought in ductile or tenacious metal, but metal which is to be
_hammered_ into form separates itself into two great divisions--solid,
and flat.


Incised Outline and Opened Space.]

(A.) In solid metal work, _i. e._, metal cast thick enough to resist
bending, whether it be hollow or not, violent and various projection may
be admitted, which would be offensive in marble; but no sharp edges,
because it is difficult to produce them with the hammer. But since the
permanence of the material justifies exquisiteness of workmanship,
whatever delicate ornamentation can be wrought with rounded surfaces may
be advisedly introduced; and since the colour of bronze or any other
metal is not so pleasantly representative of flesh as that of marble, a
wise sculptor will depend less on flesh contour, and more on picturesque
accessories, which, though they would be vulgar if attempted in stone,
are rightly entertaining in bronze or silver. Verrochio's statue of
Colleone at Venice, Cellini's Perseus at Florence, and Ghiberti's gates
at Florence, are models of bronze treatment.

(B.) When metal is beaten thin, it becomes what is technically called
"plate," (the _flattened_ thing) and may be treated advisably in two
ways; one, by beating it out into bosses, the other by cutting it into
strips and ramifications. The vast schools of goldsmith's work and of
iron decoration, founded on these two principles, have had the most
powerful influences over general taste in all ages and countries. One of
the simplest and most interesting elementary examples of the treatment
of flat metal by cutting is the common branched iron bar, Fig. 8, used
to close small apertures in countries possessing any good primitive
style of iron-work, formed by alternate cuts on its sides, and the
bending down of the several portions. The ordinary domestic window
balcony of Verona is formed by mere ribands of iron, bent into curves as
studiously refined as those of a Greek vase, and decorated merely by
their own terminations in spiral volutes.

[Illustration: FIG. 8.]

All cast work in metal, unfinished by hand, is inadmissible in any
school of living art, since it cannot possess the perfection of form due
to a permanent substance; and the continual sight of it is destructive
of the faculty of taste: but metal stamped with precision, as in coins,
is to sculpture what engraving is to painting.

158. Thirdly. Stone-sculpture divides itself into three schools: one in
very hard material; one in very soft, and one in that of centrally
useful consistence.

A. The virtue of work in hard material is the expression of form in
shallow relief, or in broad contours; deep cutting in hard material is
inadmissible, and the art, at once pompous and trivial, of gem
engraving, has been in the last degree destructive of the honour and
service of sculpture.

B. The virtue of work in soft material is deep cutting, with studiously
graceful disposition of the masses of light and shade. The greater
number of flamboyant churches of France are cut out of an adhesive
chalk; and the fantasy of their latest decoration was, in great part,
induced by the facility of obtaining contrast of black space, undercut,
with white tracery easily left in sweeping and interwoven rods--the
lavish use of wood in domestic architecture materially increasing the
habit of delight in branched complexity of line. These points, however,
I must reserve for illustration in my lectures on architecture. To-day,
I shall limit myself to the illustration of elementary sculptural
structure in the best material;--that is to say, in crystalline marble,
neither soft enough to encourage the caprice of the workman, nor hard
enough to resist his will.

159. C. By the true "Providence" of Nature, the rock which is thus
submissive has been in some places stained with the fairest colours, and
in others blanched into the fairest absence of colour, that can be found
to give harmony to inlaying, or dignity to form. The possession by the
Greeks of their [Greek: leukos lithos] was indeed the first circumstance
regulating the development of their art; it enabled them at once to
express their passion for light by executing the faces, hands, and feet
of their dark wooden statues in white marble, so that what we look upon
only with pleasure for fineness of texture was to them an imitation of
the luminous body of the deity shining from behind its dark robes; and
ivory afterwards is employed in their best statues for its yet more soft
and flesh-like brightness, receptive also of the most delicate
colour--(therefore to this day the favourite ground of miniature
painters). In like manner, the existence of quarries of peach-coloured
marble within twelve miles of Verona, and of white marble and green
serpentine between Pisa and Genoa, defined the manner both of sculpture
and architecture for all the Gothic buildings of Italy. No subtlety of
education could have formed a high school of art without these

160. Next to the colour, the fineness of substance which will take a
perfectly sharp edge, is essential; and this not merely to admit fine
delineation in the sculpture itself, but to secure a delightful
precision in placing the blocks of which it is composed. For the
possession of too fine marble, as far as regards the work itself, is a
temptation instead of an advantage to an inferior sculptor; and the
abuse of the facility of undercutting, especially of undercutting so as
to leave profiles defined by an edge against shadow, is one of the chief
causes of decline of style in such encrusted bas-reliefs as those of the
Certosa of Pavia and its contemporary monuments. But no undue temptation
ever exists as to the fineness of block fitting; nothing contributes to
give so pure and healthy a tone to sculpture as the attention of the
builder to the jointing of his stones; and his having both the power to
make them fit so perfectly as not to admit of the slightest portion of
cement showing externally, and the skill to insure, if needful, and to
suggest always, their stability in cementless construction. Plate X.
represents a piece of entirely fine Lombardic building, the central
portion of the arch in the Duomo of Verona, which corresponds to that of
the porch of San Zenone, represented in Plate I. In both these pieces of
building, the only line that traces the architrave round the arch, is
that of the masonry joint; yet this line is drawn with extremest
subtlety, with intention of delighting the eye by its relation of varied
curvature to the arch itself; and it is just as much considered as the
finest pen-line of a Raphael drawing. Every joint of the stone is used,
in like manner, as a thin black line, which the slightest sign of cement
would spoil like a blot. And so proud is the builder of his fine
jointing, and so fearless of any distortion or strain spoiling the
adjustment afterwards, that in one place he runs his joint quite
gratuitously through a bas-relief, and gives the keystone its only sign
of pre-eminence by the minute inlaying of the head of the Lamb, into the
stone of the course above.

161. Proceeding from this fine jointing to fine draughtsmanship, you
have, in the very outset and earliest stage of sculpture, your flat
stone surface given you as a sheet of white paper, on which you are
required to produce the utmost effect you can with the simplest means,
cutting away as little of the stone as may be, to save both time and
trouble; and, above all, leaving the block itself, when shaped, as solid
as you can, that its surface may better resist weather, and the carved
parts be as much protected as possible by the masses left around them.

162. The first thing to be done is clearly to trace the outline of
subject with an incision approximating in section to that of the furrow
of a plough, only more equal-sided. A fine sculptor strikes it, as his
chisel leans, freely, on marble; an Egyptian, in hard rock, cuts it
sharp, as in cuneiform inscriptions. In any case, you have a result
somewhat like the upper figure, Plate XI., in which I show you the most
elementary indication of form possible, by cutting the outline of the
typical archaic Greek head with an incision like that of a Greek
triglyph, only not so precise in edge or slope, as it is to be modified

163. Now, the simplest thing we can do next, is to round off the flat
surface _within_ the incision, and put what form we can get into the
feebler projection of it thus obtained. The Egyptians do this, often
with exquisite skill, and then, as I showed you in a former lecture,
colour the whole--using the incision as an outline. Such a method of
treatment is capable of good service in representing, at little cost of
pains, subjects in distant effect, and common, or merely picturesque,
subjects even near. To show you what it is capable of, and what
coloured sculpture would be in its rudest type, I have prepared the
coloured relief of the John Dory[129] as a natural history drawing for
distant effect. You know, also, that I meant him to be ugly--as ugly as
any creature can well be. In time, I hope to show you prettier
things--peacocks and kingfishers,--butterflies and flowers, on grounds
of gold, and the like, as they were in Byzantine work. I shall expect
you, in right use of your æsthetic faculties, to like those better than
what I show you to-day. But it is now a question of method only; and if
you will look, after the lecture, first at the mere white relief, and
then see how much may be gained by a few dashes of colour, such as a
practised workman could lay in a quarter of an hour,--the whole forming,
if well done, almost a deceptive image--you will, at least, have the
range of power in Egyptian sculpture clearly expressed to you.

164. But for fine sculpture, we must advance by far other methods. If we
carve the subject with real delicacy, the cast shadow of the incision
will interfere with its outline, so that, for representation of
beautiful things, you must clear away the ground about it, at all events
for a little distance. As the law of work is to use the least pains
possible, you clear it only just as far back as you need, and then for
the sake of order and finish, you give the space a geometrical outline.
By taking, in this case, the simplest I can,--a circle,--I can clear the
head with little labor in the removal of surface round it; (see the
lower figure in Plate XI.)

165. Now, these are the first terms of all well-constructed bas-relief.
The mass you have to treat consists of a piece of stone, which, however
you afterwards carve it, can but, at its most projecting point, reach
the level of the external plane surface out of which it was mapped, and
defined by a depression round it; that depression being at first a mere
trench, then a moat of certain width, of which the outer sloping bank is
in contact, as a limiting geometrical line, with the laterally salient
portions of sculpture. This, I repeat, is the primal construction of
good bas-relief, implying, first, perfect protection to its surface from
any transverse blow, and a geometrically limited space to be occupied by
the design, into which it shall pleasantly (and as you shall ultimately
see, ingeniously,) contract itself: implying, secondly, a determined
depth of projection, which it shall rarely reach, and never exceed: and
implying, finally, the production of the whole piece with the least
possible labor of chisel and loss of stone.

166. And these, which are the first, are very nearly the last
constructive laws of sculpture. You will be surprised to find how much
they include, and how much of minor propriety in treatment their
observance involves.

In a very interesting essay on the architecture of the Parthenon, by the
professor of architecture of the Ecole Polytechnique, M. Emile Boutmy,
you will find it noticed that the Greeks do not usually weaken, by
carving, the constructive masses of their building; but put their chief
sculpture in the empty spaces between the triglyphs, or beneath the
roof. This is true; but in so doing, they merely build their panel
instead of carving it; they accept no less than the Goths, the laws of
recess and limitation, as being vital to the safety and dignity of their
design; and their noblest recumbent statues are, constructively, the
fillings of the acute extremity of a panel in the form of an obtusely
summitted triangle.

167. In gradual descent from that severest type, you will find that an
immense quantity of sculpture of all times and styles may be generally
embraced under the notion of a mass hewn out of, or, at least, placed
in, a panel or recess, deepening, it may be, into a niche; the sculpture
being always designed with reference to its position in such recess;
and, therefore, to the effect of the building out of which the recess is

But, for the sake of simplifying our inquiry, I will at first suppose no
surrounding protective ledge to exist, and that the area of stone we
have to deal with is simply a flat slab, extant from a flat surface
depressed all round it.

168. A _flat_ slab, observe. The flatness of surface is essential to the
problem of bas-relief. The lateral limit of the panel may, or may not,
be required; but the vertical limit of surface _must_ be expressed; and
the art of bas-relief is to give the effect of true form on that
condition. For observe, if nothing more were needed than to make first a
cast of a solid form, then cut it in half, and apply the half of it to
the flat surface;--if, for instance, to carve a bas-relief of an apple,
all I had to do was to cut my sculpture of the whole apple in half, and
pin it to the wall, any ordinary trained sculptor, or even a mechanical
workman, could produce bas-relief; but the business is to carve a
_round_ thing out of _flat_ thing; to carve an apple out of a
biscuit!--to conquer, as a subtle Florentine has here conquered,[130]
his marble, so as not only to get motion into what is most rigidly
fixed, but to get boundlessness into what is most narrowly bounded; and
carve Madonna and Child, rolling clouds, flying angels, and space of
heavenly air behind all, out of a film of stone not the third of an inch
thick where it is thickest.

169. Carried, however, to such a degree of subtlety as this, and with so
ambitious and extravagant aim, bas-relief becomes a tour-de-force; and,
you know, I have just told you all tours-de-force are wrong. The true
law of bas-relief is to begin with a depth of incision proportioned
justly to the distance of the observer and the character of the subject,
and out of that rationally determined depth, neither increased for
ostentation of effect, nor diminished for ostentation of skill, to do
the utmost that will be easily visible to an observer, supposing him to
give an average human amount of attention, but not to peer into, or
critically scrutinize the work.

170. I cannot arrest you to-day by the statement of any of the laws of
sight and distance which determine the proper depth of bas-relief.
Suppose that depth fixed; then observe what a pretty problem, or,
rather, continually varying cluster of problems, will be offered to us.
You might, at first, imagine that, given what we may call our scale of
solidity, or scale of depth, the diminution from nature would be in
regular proportion, as for instance, if the real depth of your subject
be, suppose a foot, and the depth of your bas-relief an inch, then the
parts of the real subject which were six inches round the side of it
would be carved, you might imagine, at the depth of half-an-inch, and so
the whole thing mechanically reduced to scale. But not a bit of it. Here
is a Greek bas-relief of a chariot with two horses (upper figure, Plate
XXI). Your whole subject has therefore the depth of two horses side by
side, say six or eight feet. Your bas-relief has, on the scale,[131] say
the depth of the third of an inch. Now, if you gave only the sixth of an
inch for the depth of the off horse, and, dividing him again, only the
twelfth of an inch for that of each foreleg, you would make him look a
mile away from the other, and his own forelegs a mile apart. Actually,
the Greek has made the _near leg of the off horse project much beyond
the off leg of the near horse_; and has put nearly the whole depth and
power of his relief into the breast of the off horse, while for the
whole distance from the head of the nearest to the neck of the other, he
has allowed himself only a shallow line; knowing that, if he deepened
that, he would give the nearest horse the look of having a thick nose;
whereas, by keeping that line down, he has not only made the head itself
more delicate, but detached it from the other by giving no cast shadow,
and left the shadow below to serve for thickness of breast, cutting it
as sharp down as he possibly can, to make it bolder.

171. Here is a fine piece of business we have got into!--even supposing
that all this selection and adaptation were to be contrived under
constant laws, and related only to the expression of given forms. But
the Greek sculptor, all this while, is not only debating and deciding
how to show what he wants, but, much more, debating and deciding what,
as he can't show everything, he will choose to show at all. Thus, being
himself interested, and supposing that you will be, in the manner of
the driving, he takes great pains to carve the reins, to show you where
they are knotted, and how they are fastened round the driver's waist
(you recollect how Hippolytus was lost by doing that), but he does not
care the least bit about the chariot, and having rather more geometry
than he likes in the cross and circle of one wheel of it, entirely omits
the other!

172. I think you must see by this time that the sculptor's is not quite
a trade which you can teach like brickmaking; nor its produce an article
of which you can supply any quantity "demanded" for the next railroad
waiting-room. It may perhaps, indeed, seem to you that, in the
difficulties thus presented by it, bas-relief involves more direct
exertion of intellect than finished solid sculpture. It is not so,
however. The questions involved by bas-relief are of a more curious and
amusing kind, requiring great variety of expedients; though none except
such as a true workmanly instinct delights in inventing and invents
easily; but design in solid sculpture involves considerations of weight
in mass, of balance, of perspective and opposition, in projecting forms,
and of restraint for those which must not project, such as none but the
greatest masters have ever completely solved; and they, not always; the
difficulty of arranging the composition so as to be agreeable from
points of view on all sides of it, being, itself, arduous enough.

173. Thus far, I have been speaking only of the laws of structure
relating to the projection of the mass which becomes itself the
sculpture. Another most interesting group of constructive laws governs
its relation to the line that contains or defines it.

In your Standard Series I have placed a photograph of the south transept
of Rouen Cathedral. Strictly speaking, all standards of Gothic are of
the thirteenth century; but, in the fourteenth, certain qualities of
richness are obtained by the diminution of restraint; out of which we
must choose what is best in their kinds. The pedestals of the statues
which once occupied the lateral recesses are, as you see, covered with
groups of figures, enclosed each in a quatrefoil panel; the spaces
between this panel and the enclosing square being filled with sculptures
of animals.

You cannot anywhere find a more lovely piece of fancy, or more
illustrative of the quantity of result that may be obtained with low and
simple chiselling. The figures are all perfectly simple in drapery, the
story told by lines of action only in the main group, no accessories
being admitted. There is no undercutting anywhere, nor exhibition of
technical skill, but the fondest and tenderest appliance of it; and one
of the principal charms of the whole is the adaptation of every subject
to its quaint limit. The tale must be told within the four petals of the
quatrefoil, and the wildest and playfullest beasts must never come out
of their narrow corners. The attention with which spaces of this kind
are filled by the Gothic designers is not merely a beautiful compliance
with architectural requirements, but a definite assertion of their
delight in the restraint of law; for, in illuminating books, although,
if they chose it, they might have designed floral ornaments, as we now
usually do, rambling loosely over the leaves, and although, in later
works, such license is often taken by them, in all books of the fine
time the wandering tendrils are enclosed by limits approximately
rectilinear, and in gracefullest branching often detach themselves from
the right line only by curvature of extreme severity.

174 Since the darkness and extent of shadow by which the sculpture is
relieved necessarily vary with the depth of the recess, there arise a
series of problems, in deciding which the wholesome desire for emphasis
by means of shadow is too often exaggerated by the ambition of the
sculptor to show his skill in undercutting. The extreme of vulgarity is
usually reached when the entire bas-relief is cut hollow underneath, as
in much Indian and Chinese work, so as to relieve its forms against an
absolute darkness; but no formal law can ever be given; for exactly the
same thing may be beautifully done for a wise purpose, by one person,
which is basely done, and to no purpose, or to a bad one, by another.
Thus, the desire for emphasis itself may be the craving of a deadened
imagination, or the passion of a vigorous one; and relief against
shadow may be sought by one man only for sensation, and by another for
intelligibility. John of Pisa undercuts fiercely, in order to bring out
the vigour of life which no level contour could render; the Lombardi of
Venice undercut delicately, in order to obtain beautiful lines, and
edges of faultless precision; but the base Indian craftsmen undercut
only that people may wonder how the chiselling was done through the
holes, or that they may see every monster white against black.

175. Yet, here again we are met by another necessity for discrimination.
There may be a true delight in the inlaying of white on dark, as there
is a true delight in vigorous rounding. Nevertheless, the general law is
always, that, the lighter the incisions, and the broader the surface,
the grander, cæteris paribus, will be the work. Of the structural terms
of that work you now know enough to understand that the schools of good
sculpture, considered in relation to projection, divide themselves into
four entirely distinct groups:--

     1st. Flat Relief, in which the surface is, in many places,
     absolutely flat; and the expression depends greatly on the
     lines of its outer contour, and on fine incisions within

     2nd. Round Relief, in which, as in the best coins, the
     sculptured mass projects so as to be capable of complete
     modulation into form, but is not anywhere undercut. The
     formation of a coin by the blow of a die necessitates, of
     course, the severest obedience to this law.

     3rd. Edged Relief. Undercutting admitted, so as to throw out
     the forms against a background of shadow.

     4th. Full Relief. The statue completely solid in form, and
     unreduced in retreating depth of it, yet connected locally
     with some definite part of the building, so as to be still
     dependent on the shadow of its background and direction of
     protective line.

176. Let me recommend you at once to take what pains may be needful to
enable you to distinguish these four kinds of sculpture, for the
distinctions between them are not founded on mere differences in
gradation of depth. They are truly four species, or orders, of
sculpture, separated from each other by determined characters. I have
used, you may have noted, hitherto in my Lectures, the word "bas-relief"
almost indiscriminately for all, because the degree of lowness or
highness of relief is not the question, but the _method_ of relief.
Observe again, therefore--

A. If a portion of the surface is absolutely flat, you have the first
order--Flat Relief.

B. If every portion of the surface is rounded, but none undercut, you
have Round Relief--essentially that of seals and coins.

C. If any part of the edges be undercut, but the general projection of
solid form reduced, you have what I think you may conveniently call
Foliate Relief,--the parts of the design overlapping each other in
places, like edges of leaves.

D. If the undercutting is bold and deep, and the projection of solid
form unreduced, you have full relief.

Learn these four names at once by heart:--

    Flat Relief.
    Round Relief.
    Foliate Relief.
    Full Relief.

And whenever you look at any piece of sculpture, determine first to
which of these classes it belongs; and then consider how the sculptor
has treated it with reference to the necessary structure--that
reference, remember, being partly to the mechanical conditions of the
material, partly to the means of light and shade at his command.


177. To take a single instance. You know, for these many years, I have
been telling our architects with all the force of voice I had in me,
that they could design nothing until they could carve natural forms
rightly. Many imagine that work was easy; but judge for yourselves
whether it be or not. In Plate XII., I have drawn, with approximate
accuracy, a cluster of Phillyrea leaves as they grow. Now, if we wanted
to cut them in bas-relief, the first thing we should have to consider
would be the position of their outline on the marble;--here it is, as
far down as the spring of the leaves. But do you suppose that is what an
ordinary sculptor could either lay for his first sketch, or contemplate
as a limit to be worked down to? Then consider how the interlacing and
springing of the leaves can be expressed within this outline. It must be
done by leaving such projection in the marble as will take the light in
the same proportion as the drawing does;--and a Florentine workman could
do it, for close sight, without driving one incision deeper, or raising
a single surface higher, than the eighth of an inch. Indeed, no sculptor
of the finest time would design such a complex cluster of leaves as
this, except for bronze or iron work; they would take simpler contours
for marble; but the laws of treatment would, under these conditions,
remain just as strict: and you may, perhaps, believe me now when I tell
you that, in any piece of fine structural sculpture by the great
masters, there is more subtlety and noble obedience to lovely laws than
could be explained to you if I took twenty lectures to do it in, instead
of one.

[Illustration: FIG. 9.]

178. There remains yet a point of mechanical treatment, on which I have
not yet touched at all; nor that the least important,--namely, the
actual method and style of handling. A great sculptor uses his tools
exactly as a painter his pencil, and you may recognize the decision of
his thought, and glow of his temper, no less in the workmanship than the
design. The modern system of modelling the work in clay, getting it into
form by machinery, and by the hands of subordinates, and touching it at
last, if indeed the (so called) sculptor touch it at all, only to
correct their inefficiencies, renders the production of good work in
marble a physical impossibility. The first result of it is that the
sculptor thinks in clay instead of marble, and loses his instinctive
sense of the proper treatment of a brittle substance. The second is that
neither he nor the public recognize the touch of the chisel as
expressive of personal feeling or power, and that nothing is looked for
except mechanical polish.

179. The perfectly simple piece of Greek relief represented in Plate
XIII., will enable you to understand at once,--examination of the
original, at your leisure, will prevent you, I trust, from ever
forgetting--what is meant by the virtue of handling in sculpture.


The projection of the heads of the four horses, one behind the other, is
certainly not more, altogether, than three-quarters of an inch from the
flat ground, and the one in front does not in reality project more than
the one behind it, yet, by mere drawing,[132] you see the sculptor has
got them to appear to recede in due order, and by the soft rounding of
the flesh surfaces, and modulation of the veins, he has taken away all
look of flatness from the necks. He has drawn the eyes and nostrils with
dark incision, careful as the finest touches of a painter's pencil: and
then, at last, when he comes to the manes, he has let fly hand and
chisel with their full force, and where a base workman, (above all, if
he had modelled the thing in clay first,) would have lost himself in
laborious imitation of hair, the Greek has struck the tresses out with
angular incisions, deep driven, every one in appointed place and
deliberate curve, yet flowing so free under his noble hand that you
cannot alter, without harm, the bending of any single ridge, nor
contract, nor extend, a point of them. And if you will look back to
Plate IX. you will see the difference between this sharp incision, used
to express horse-hair, and the soft incision with intervening rounded
ridge, used to express the hair of Apollo Chrysocomes; and, beneath, the
obliquely ridged incision used to express the plumes of his swan; in
both these cases the handling being much more slow, because the
engraving is in metal; but the structural importance of incision, as the
means of effect, never lost sight of. Finally, here are two actual
examples of the work in marble of the two great schools of the world;
one, a little Fortune, standing tiptoe on the globe of the Earth, its
surface traced with lines in hexagons; not chaotic under Fortune's feet;
Greek, this, and by a trained workman;--dug up in the temple of Neptune
at Corfu;--and here, a Florentine portrait-marble, found in the recent
alterations, face downwards, under the pavement of St'a Maria
Novella;[133] both of them first-rate of their kind; and both of them,
while exquisitely finished at the telling points, showing, on all their
unregarded surfaces, the rough furrow of the fast-driven chisel, as
distinctly as the edge of a common paving-stone.

180. Let me suggest to you, in conclusion, one most interesting point of
mental expression in these necessary aspects of finely executed
sculpture. I have already again and again pressed on your attention the
beginning of the arts of men in the make and use of the ploughshare.
Read more carefully--you might indeed do well to learn at once by
heart,--the twenty-seven lines of the Fourth Pythian, which describe the
ploughing of Jason. There is nothing grander extant in human fancy, nor
set down in human words: but this great mythical expression of the
conquest of the earth-clay, and brute-force, by vital human energy, will
become yet more interesting to you when you reflect what enchantment has
been cut, on whiter clay, by the tracing of finer furrows;--what the
delicate and consummate arts of man have done by the ploughing of
marble, and granite, and iron. You will learn daily more and more, as
you advance in actual practice, how the primary manual art of engraving,
in the steadiness, clearness, and irrevocableness of it, is the best
art-discipline that can be given either to mind or hand;[134] you will
recognize one law of right, pronouncing itself in the well-resolved work
of every age; you will see the firmly traced and irrevocable incision
determining not only the forms, but, in great part, the moral temper, of
all vitally progressive art; you will trace the same principle and power
in the furrows which the oblique sun shows on the granite of his own
Egyptian city,--in the white scratch of the stylus through the colour on
a Greek vase--in the first delineation, on the wet wall, of the groups
of an Italian fresco; in the unerring and unalterable touch of the great
engraver of Nüremberg,--and in the deep driven and deep bitten ravines
of metal by which Turner closed, in embossed limits, the shadows of the
Liber Studiorum.

Learn, therefore, in its full extent, the force of the great Greek word,
[Greek: charassô];--and, give me pardon--if you think pardon needed,
that I ask you also to learn the full meaning of the English word
derived from it. Here, at the Ford of the Oxen of Jason, are other
furrows to be driven than these in the marble of Pentelicus. The
fruitfullest, or the fatallest of all ploughing is that by the thoughts
of your youth, on the white field of its imagination. For by these,
either down to the disturbed spirit, "[Greek: kekoptai kai charassetai
pedon];" or around the quiet spirit, and on all the laws of conduct that
hold it, as a fair vase its frankincense, are ordained the pure colours,
and engraved the just Characters, of Æonian life.


[126] Nothing is more wonderful, or more disgraceful among the forms of
ignorance engendered by modern vulgar occupations in pursuit of gain,
than the unconsciousness, now total, that fine art is essentially
Athletic. I received a letter from Birmingham, some little time since,
inviting me to see how much, in glass manufacture, "machinery excelled
rude hand work." The writer had not the remotest conception that he
might as well have asked me to come and see a mechanical boat-race rowed
by automata, and "how much machinery excelled rude arm-work."

[127] Such as the sculptureless arch of Waterloo Bridge, for instance,
referred to in the Third Lecture, § 84.

[128] It is strange, at this day, to think of the relation of the
Athenian Ceramicus to the French Tile-fields, Tileries, or Tuileries;
and how these last may yet become--have already partly become--"the
Potter's field," blood-bought (December, 1870.)

[129] This relief is now among the other casts which I have placed in
the lower school in the University galleries.

[130] The reference is to a cast from a small and low relief of
Florentine work in the Kensington Museum.

[131] The actual bas-relief is on a coin, and the projection not above
the twentieth of an inch, but I magnified it in photograph, for this
Lecture, so as to represent a relief with about the third of an inch for
maximum projection.

[132] This plate has been executed from a drawing by Mr. Burgess, in
which he has followed the curves of incision with exquisite care, and
preserved the effect of the surface of the stone, where a photograph
would have lost it by exaggerating accidental stains.

[133] These two marbles will always, henceforward, be sufficiently
accessible for reference in my room at Corpus Christi College.

[134] That it was also, in, some cases, the earliest that the Greeks
gave, is proved by Lucian's account of his first lesson at his uncle's;
the [Greek: enkopeus], literally "in-cutter"--being the first tool put
into his hand, and an earthenware tablet to cut upon, which the boy
pressing too hard, presently breaks;--gets beaten--goes home crying, and
becomes, after his dream above quoted, a philosopher instead of a



_December, 1870._

181. It can scarcely be needful for me to tell even the younger members
of my present audience, that the conditions necessary for the production
of a perfect school of sculpture have only twice been met in the history
of the world, and then for a short time; nor for short time only, but
also in narrow districts, namely, in the valleys and islands of Ionian
Greece, and in the strip of land deposited by the Arno, between the
Apennine crests and the sea.

All other schools, except these two, led severally by Athens in the
fifth century before Christ, and by Florence in the fifteenth of our own
era, are imperfect; and the best of them are derivative: these two are
consummate in themselves, and the origin of what is best in others.

182. And observe, these Athenian and Florentine schools are both of
equal rank, as essentially original and independent. The Florentine,
being subsequent to the Greek, borrowed much from it; but it would have
existed just as strongly--and, perhaps, in some respects, more
nobly--had it been the first, instead of the latter of the two. The task
set to each of these mightiest of the nations was, indeed, practically
the same, and as hard to the one as to the other. The Greeks found
Phoenician and Etruscan art monstrous, and had to make them human. The
Italians found Byzantine and Norman art monstrous, and had to make them
human. The original power in the one case is easily traced; in the other
it has partly to be unmasked, because the change at Florence was, in
many points, suggested and stimulated by the former school. But we
mistake in supposing that Athens taught Florence the laws of design; she
taught her, in reality, only the duty of truth.

183. You remember that I told you the highest art could do no more than
rightly represent the human form. This is the simple test, then, of a
perfect school,--that it has represented the human form, so that it is
impossible to conceive of its being better done. And that, I repeat, has
been accomplished twice only: once in Athens, once in Florence. And so
narrow is the excellence even of these two exclusive schools, that it
cannot be said of either of them that they represented the entire human
form. The Greeks perfectly drew, and perfectly moulded the body and
limbs; but there is, so far as I am aware, no instance of their
representing the face as well as any great Italian. On the other hand,
the Italian painted and carved the face insuperably; but I believe there
is no instance of his having perfectly represented the body, which, by
command of his religion, it became his pride to despise, and his safety
to mortify.

184. The general course of your study here renders it desirable that you
should be accurately acquainted with the leading principles of Greek
sculpture; but I cannot lay these before you without giving undue
prominence to some of the special merits of that school, unless I
previously indicate the relation it holds to the more advanced, though
less disciplined, excellence of Christian art.

In this and the last lecture of the present course,[135] I shall
endeavour, therefore, to mass for you, in such rude and diagram-like
outline as may be possible or intelligible, the main characteristics of
the two schools, completing and correcting the details of comparison
afterwards; and not answering, observe, at present, for any
generalization I give you, except as a ground for subsequent closer and
more qualified statements.

And in carrying out this parallel, I shall speak indifferently of works
of sculpture, and of the modes of painting which propose to themselves
the same objects as sculpture. And this indeed Florentine, as opposed to
Venetian, painting, and that of Athens in the fifth century, nearly
always did.

185. I begin, therefore, by comparing two designs of the simplest
kind--engravings, or, at least, linear drawings, both; one on clay, one
on copper, made in the central periods of each style, and representing
the same goddess--Aphrodite. They are now set beside each other in your
Rudimentary Series. The first is from a patera lately found at Camirus,
authoritatively assigned by Mr. Newton, in his recent catalogue, to the
best period of Greek art. The second is from one of the series of
engravings executed, probably, by Baccio Baldini, in 1485, out of which
I chose your first practical exercise--the Sceptre of Apollo. I cannot,
however, make the comparison accurate in all respects, for I am obliged
to set the restricted type of the Aphrodite Urania of the Greeks beside
the universal Deity conceived by the Italian as governing the air,
earth, and sea; nevertheless the restriction in the mind of the Greek,
and expatiation in that of the Florentine, are both characteristic. The
Greek Venus Urania is flying in heaven, her power over the waters
symbolized by her being borne by a swan, and her power over the earth by
a single flower in her right hand; but the Italian Aphrodite is rising
out of the actual sea, and only half risen: her limbs are still in the
sea, her merely animal strength filling the waters with their life; but
her body to the loins is in the sunshine, her face raised to the sky;
her hand is about to lay a garland of flowers on the earth.

186. The Venus Urania of the Greeks, in her relation to men, has power
only over lawful and domestic love; therefore, she is fully dressed, and
not only quite dressed, but most daintily and trimly: her feet
delicately sandalled, her gown spotted with little stars, her hair
brushed exquisitely smooth at the top of her head, trickling in minute
waves down her forehead; and though, because there's such a quantity of
it, she can't possibly help having a chignon, look how tightly she has
fastened it in with her broad fillet. Of course she is married, so she
must wear a cap with pretty minute pendant jewels at the border; and a
very small necklace, all that her husband can properly afford, just
enough to go closely round the neck, and no more. On the contrary, the
Aphrodite of the Italian, being universal love, is pure-naked; and her
long hair is thrown wild to the wind and sea.

These primal differences in the symbolism, observe, are only because the
artists are thinking of separate powers: they do not necessarily involve
any national distinction in feeling. But the differences I have next to
indicate are essential, and characterize the two opposed national modes
of mind.

187. First, and chiefly. The Greek Aphrodite is a very pretty person,
and the Italian a decidedly plain one. That is because a Greek thought
no one could possibly love any but pretty people; but an Italian thought
that love could give dignity to the meanest form that it inhabited, and
light to the poorest that it looked upon. So his Aphrodite will not
condescend to be pretty.

188. Secondly. In the Greek Venus the breasts are broad and full, though
perfectly severe in their almost conical profile;--(you are allowed on
purpose to see the outline of the right breast, under the chiton:)--also
the right arm is left bare, and you can just see the contour of the
front of the right limb and knee; both arm and limb pure and firm, but
lovely. The plant she holds in her hand is a branching and flowering
one, the seed vessel prominent. These signs all mean that her essential
function is child-bearing.

On the contrary, in the Italian Venus the breasts are so small as to be
scarcely traceable; the body strong, and almost masculine in its angles;
the arms meagre and unattractive, and she lays a decorative garland of
flowers on the earth. These signs mean that the Italian thought of love
as the strength of an eternal spirit, for ever helpful; and for ever
crowned with flowers, that neither know seed-time nor harvest, and bloom
where there is neither death, nor birth.

189. Thirdly. The Greek Aphrodite is entirely calm, and looks straight
forward. Not one feature of her face is disturbed, or seems ever to have
been subject to emotion. The Italian Aphrodite looks up, her face all
quivering and burning with passion and wasting anxiety. The Greek one
is quiet, self-possessed, and self-satisfied; the Italian incapable of
rest, she has had no thought nor care for herself; her hair has been
bound by a fillet like the Greeks; but it is now all fallen loose, and
clotted with the sea, or clinging to her body; only the front tress of
it is caught by the breeze from her raised forehead, and lifted, in the
place where the tongues of fire rest on the brows, in the early
Christian pictures of Pentecost, and the waving fires abide upon the
heads of Angelico's seraphim.

190. There are almost endless points of interest, great and small, to be
noted in these differences of treatment. This binding of the hair by the
single fillet marks the straight course of one great system of art
method, from that Greek head which I showed you on the archaic coin of
the seventh century before Christ, to this of the fifteenth of our own
era--nay, when you look close, you will see the entire action of the
head depends on one lock of hair falling back from the ear, which it
does in compliance with the old Greek observance of its being bent there
by the pressure of the helmet. That rippling of it down her shoulders
comes from the Athena of Corinth; the raising of it on her forehead,
from the knot of the hair of Diana, changed into the vestal fire of the
angels. But chiefly, the calmness of the features in the one face, and
their anxiety in the other, indicate first, indeed, the characteristic
difference in every conception of the schools, the Greek never
representing expression, the Italian primarily seeking it; but far more,
mark for us here the utter change in the conception of love; from the
tranquil guide and queen of a happy terrestrial domestic life, accepting
its immediate pleasures and natural duties, to the agonizing hope of an
infinite good, and the ever mingled joy and terror of a love divine in
jealousy, crying, "Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon
thine arm; for love is strong as death, jealousy is cruel as the grave."

The vast issues dependent on this change in the conception of the ruling
passion of the human soul, I will endeavour to show you, on a future
occasion: in my present lecture, I shall limit myself to the definition
of the temper of Greek sculpture, and of its distinctions from
Florentine in the treatment of any subject whatever, be it love or
hatred, hope or despair.

These great differences are mainly the following.

191. 1. A Greek never expresses momentary passion; a Florentine looks to
momentary passion as the ultimate object of his skill.

When you are next in London, look carefully in the British Museum at the
casts from the statues in the pediment of the Temple of Minerva at
Ægina. You have there Greek work of definite date;--about 600 B.C.,
certainly before 580--of the purest kind; and you have the
representation of a noble ideal subject, the combats of the Æacidæ at
Troy, with Athena herself looking on. But there is no attempt whatever
to represent expression in the features, none to give complexity of
action or gesture; there is no struggling, no anxiety, no visible
temporary exertion of muscles. There are fallen figures, one pulling a
lance out of his wound, and others in attitudes of attack and defence;
several kneeling to draw their bows. But all inflict and suffer, conquer
or expire, with the same smile.

192. Plate XIV. gives you examples, from more advanced art, of true
Greek representation; the subjects being the two contests of leading
import to the Greek heart--that of Apollo with the Python, and of
Hercules with the Nemean Lion. You see that in neither case is there the
slightest effort to represent the [Greek: lyssa] or agony of contest. No
good Greek artist would have you behold the suffering, either of gods,
heroes, or men; nor allow you to be apprehensive of the issue of their
contest with evil beasts, or evil spirits. All such lower sources of
excitement are to be closed to you; your interest is to be in the
thoughts involved by the fact of the war; and in the beauty or rightness
of form, whether active or inactive. I have to work out this subject
with you afterwards, and to compare with the pure Greek method of
thought, that of modern dramatic passion, engrafted on it, as typically
in Turner's contest of Apollo and the Python: in the meantime, be
content with the statement of this first great principle--that a Greek,
as such, never expresses momentary passion.




193. Secondly. The Greek, as such, never expresses personal character,
while a Florentine holds it to be the ultimate condition of beauty. You
are startled, I suppose, at my saying this, having had it often pointed
out to you, as a transcendent piece of subtlety in Greek art, that you
could distinguish Hercules from Apollo by his being stout, and Diana
from Juno by her being slender. That is very true; but those are general
distinctions of class, not special distinctions of personal character.
Even as general, they are bodily, not mental. They are the distinctions,
in fleshly aspect, between an athlete and a musician,--between a matron
and a huntress; but in no wise distinguish the simple-hearted hero from
the subtle Master of the Muses, nor the wilful and fitful girl-goddess
from the cruel and resolute matron-goddess. But judge for
yourselves;--In the successive plates, XV.--XVIII., I show you,[136]
typically represented as the protectresses of nations, the Argive,
Cretan, and Lacinian Hera, the Messenian Demeter, the Athena of Corinth,
the Artemis of Syracuse, the fountain Arethusa of Syracuse, and the
Sirem Ligeia of Terina. Now, of these heads, it is true that some are
more delicate in feature than the rest, and some softer in expression:
in other respects, can you trace any distinction between the Goddesses
of Earth and Heaven, or between the Goddess of Wisdom and the Water
Nymph of Syracuse? So little can you do so, that it would have remained
a disputed question--had not the name luckily been inscribed on some
Syracusan coins--whether the head upon them was meant for Arethusa at
all; and, continually, it becomes a question respecting finished
statues, if without attributes, "Is this Bacchus or Apollo--Zeus or
Poseidon?" There is a fact for you; noteworthy, I think! There is no
personal character in true Greek art:--abstract ideas of youth and age,
strength and swiftness, virtue and vice,--yes: but there is no
individuality; and the negative holds down to the revived
conventionalism of the Greek school by Leonardo, when he tells you how
you are to paint young women, and how old ones; though a Greek would
hardly have been so discourteous to age as the Italian is in his canon
of it,--"old women should be represented as passionate and hasty, after
the manner of Infernal Furies."

194. "But at least, if the Greeks do not give character, they give ideal
beauty?" So it is said, without contradiction. But will you look again
at the series of coins of the best time of Greek art, which I have just
set before you? Are any of these goddesses or nymphs very beautiful?
Certainly the Junos are not. Certainly the Demeters are not. The Siren,
and Arethusa, have well-formed and regular features; but I am quite sure
that if you look at them without prejudice, you will think neither
reach even the average standard of pretty English girls. The Venus
Urania suggests at first, the idea of a very charming person, but you
will find there is no real depth nor sweetness in the contours, looked
at closely. And remember, these are chosen examples; the best I can find
of art current in Greece at the great time; and if even I were to take
the celebrated statues, of which only two or three are extant, not one
of them excels the Venus of Melos; and she, as I have already asserted,
in _The Queen of the Air_, has nothing notable in feature except dignity
and simplicity. Of Athena I do not know one authentic type of great
beauty; but the intense ugliness which the Greeks could tolerate in
their symbolism of her will be convincingly proved to you by the coin
represented in Plate VI. You need only look at two or three vases of the
best time, to assure yourselves that beauty of feature was, in popular
art, not only unattained, but unattempted; and finally,--and this you
may accept as a conclusive proof of the Greek insensitiveness to the
most subtle beauty--there is little evidence even in their literature,
and none in their art, of their having ever perceived any beauty in
infancy, or early childhood.




195. The Greeks, then, do not give passion, do not give character, do
not give refined or naïve beauty. But you may think that the absence of
these is intended to give dignity to the gods and nymphs; and that their
calm faces would be found, if you long observed them, instinct with some
expression of divine mystery or power.

I will convince you of the narrow range of Greek thought in these
respects, by showing you, from the two sides of one and the same coin,
images of the most mysterious of their Deities, and the most
powerful,--Demeter and Zeus.

Remember, that just as the west coasts of Ireland and England catch
first on their hills the rain of the Atlantic, so the western
Peloponnese arrests, in the clouds of the first mountain ranges of
Arcadia, the moisture of the Mediterranean; and over all the plains of
Elis, Pylos, and Messene, the strength and sustenance of men was
naturally felt to be granted by Zeus; as, on the east coast of Greece,
the greater clearness of the air by the power of Athena. If
you will recollect the prayer of Rhea, in the single line of
Callimachus--"[Greek: Gaia philê, teke kai su teai d' ôdines elaphrai],"
(compare Pausanias iv. 33, at the beginning,)--it will mark for you the
connection, in the Greek mind, of the birth of the mountain springs of
Arcadia with the birth of Zeus. And the centres of Greek thought on this
western coast are necessarily Elis, and, (after the time of
Epaminondas,) Messene.

196. I show you the coin of Messene, because the splendid height and
form of Mount Ithome were more expressive of the physical power of Zeus
than the lower hills of Olympia; and also because it was struck just at
the time of the most finished and delicate Greek art--a little after the
main strength of Phidias, but before decadence had generally pronounced
itself. The coin is a silver didrachm, bearing on one side a head of
Demeter (Plate XVI., at the top); on the other a full figure of Zeus
Aietophoros (Plate XIX., at the top); the two together signifying the
sustaining strength of the earth and heaven. Look first at the head of
Demeter. It is merely meant to personify fulness of harvest; there is no
mystery in it, no sadness, no vestige of the expression which we should
have looked for in any effort to realize the Greek thoughts of the Earth
Mother, as we find them spoken by the poets. But take it merely as
personified abundance;--the goddess of black furrow and tawny grass--how
commonplace it is, and how poor! The hair is grand, and there is one
stalk of wheat set in it, which is enough to indicate the goddess who is
meant; but, in that very office, ignoble, for it shows that the artist
could only inform you that this was Demeter by such a symbol. How easy
it would have been for a great designer to have made the hair lovely
with fruitful flowers, and the features noble in mystery of gloom, or of
tenderness. But here you have nothing to interest you, except the common
Greek perfections of a straight nose and a full chin.

197. We pass, on the reverse of the die, to the figure of Zeus
Aietophoros. Think of the invocation to Zeus in the Suppliants, (525),
"King of Kings, and Happiest of the Happy, Perfectest of the Perfect in
strength, abounding in all things, Jove--hear us and be with us;" and
then, consider what strange phase of mind it was, which, under the very
mountain-home of the god, was content with this symbol of him as a
well-fed athlete, holding a diminutive and crouching eagle on his fist.
The features and the right hand have been injured in this coin, but the
action of the arms shows that it held a thunderbolt, of which, I
believe, the twisted rays were triple. In the, presumably earlier, coin
engraved by Millingen, however,[137] it is singly pointed only; and the
added inscription "[Greek: ITHÔM]," in the field, renders the conjecture
of Millingen probable, that this is a rude representation of the statue
of Zeus Ithomates, made by Ageladas, the master of Phidias; and I think
it has, indeed, the aspect of the endeavour, by a workman of more
advanced knowledge, and more vulgar temper, to put the softer anatomy of
later schools into the simple action of an archaic figure. Be that as it
may, here is one of the most refined cities of Greece content with the
figure of an athlete as the representative of their own mountain god;
marked as a divine power merely by the attributes of the eagle and




198. Lastly. The Greeks have not, it appears, in any supreme way, given
to their statues character, beauty, or divine strength. Can they give
divine sadness? Shall we find in their artwork any of that pensiveness
and yearning for the dead, which fills the chants of their tragedy? I
suppose if anything like nearness or firmness of faith in afterlife is
to be found in Greek legend, you might look for it in the stories about
the Island of Leuce, at the mouth of the Danube, inhabited by the ghosts
of Achilles, Patroclus, Ajax the son of Oïleus, and Helen; and in which
the pavement of the Temple of Achilles was washed daily by the sea-birds
with their wings, dipping them in the sea.

Now it happens that we have actually on a coin of the Locrians the
representation of the ghost of the Lesser Ajax. There is nothing in the
history of human imagination more lovely, than their leaving always a
place for his spirit, vacant in their ranks of battle. But here is their
sculptural representation of the phantom; (lower figure, Plate XIX.),
and I think you will at once agree with me in feeling that it would be
impossible to conceive anything more completely unspiritual. You might
more than doubt that it could have been meant for the departed soul,
unless you were aware of the meaning of this little circlet between the
feet. On other coins you find his name inscribed there, but in this you
have his habitation, the haunted Island of Leuce itself, with the waves
flowing round it.

199. Again and again, however, I have to remind you, with respect to
these apparently frank and simple failures, that the Greek always
intends you to think for yourself, and understand, more than he can
speak. Take this instance at our hands, the trim little circlet for the
Island of Leuce. The workman knows very well it is not like the island,
and that he could not make it so; that at its best, his sculpture can be
little more than a letter; and yet, in putting this circlet, and its
encompassing fretwork of minute waves, he does more than if he had
merely given you a letter L, or written "Leuce." If you know anything of
beaches and sea, this symbol will set your imagination at work in
recalling them; then you will think of the temple service of the
novitiate sea-birds, and of the ghosts of Achilles and Patroclus
appearing, like the Dioscuri, above the storm-clouds of the Euxine. And
the artist, throughout his work, never for an instant loses faith in
your sympathy and passion being ready to answer his;--if you have none
to give, he does not care to take you into his counsel; on the whole,
would rather that you should not look at his work.

200. But if you have this sympathy to give, you may be sure that
whatever he does for you will be right, as far as he can render it so.
It may not be sublime, nor beautiful, nor amusing; but it will be full
of meaning, and faithful in guidance. He will give you clue to myriads
of things that he cannot literally teach; and, so far as he does teach,
you may trust him. Is not this saying much?

And as he strove only to teach what was true, so, in his sculptured
symbol, he strove only to carve what was--Right. He rules over the arts
to this day, and will for ever, because he sought not first for beauty,
nor first for passion, or for invention, but for Rightness; striving to
display, neither himself nor his art, but the thing that he dealt with,
in its simplicity. That is his specific character as a Greek. Of course,
every nation's character is connected with that of others surrounding or
preceding it; and in the best Greek work you will find some things that
are still false, or fanciful; but whatever in it is false or fanciful,
is not the Greek part of it--it is the Phoenician, or Egyptian, or
Pelasgian part. The essential Hellenic stamp is veracity:--Eastern
nations drew their heroes with eight legs, but the Greeks drew them with
two;--Egyptians drew their deities with cats' heads, but the Greeks drew
them with men's; and out of all fallacy, disproportion, and
indefiniteness, they were, day by day, resolvedly withdrawing and
exalting themselves into restricted and demonstrable truth.

201. And now, having cut away the misconceptions which encumbered our
thoughts, I shall be able to put the Greek school into some clearness of
its position for you, with respect to the art of the world. That
relation is strangely duplicate; for on one side, Greek art is the root
of all simplicity; and on the other, of all complexity.


On one side I say, it is the root of all simplicity. If you were for
some prolonged period to study Greek sculpture exclusively in the Elgin
Room of the British Museum, and were then suddenly transported to the
Hôtel de Cluny, or any other museum of Gothic and barbarian workmanship,
you would imagine the Greeks were the masters of all that was grand,
simple, wise, and tenderly human, opposed to the pettiness of the toys
of the rest of mankind.

202. On one side of their work they are so. From all vain and mean
decoration--all weak and monstrous error, the Greeks rescue the forms of
man and beast, and sculpture them in the nakedness of their true flesh,
and with the fire of their living soul. Distinctively from other races,
as I have now, perhaps to your weariness, told you, this is the work of
the Greek, to give health to what was diseased, and chastisement to what
was untrue. So far as this is found in any other school, hereafter, it
belongs to them by inheritance from the Greeks, or invests them with the
brotherhood of the Greek. And this is the deep meaning of the myth of
Dædalus as the giver of motion to statues. The literal change from the
binding together of the feet to their separation, and the other
modifications of action which took place, either in progressive skill,
or often, as the mere consequence of the transition from wood to stone,
(a figure carved out of one wooden log must have necessarily its feet
near each other, and hands at its sides), these literal changes are as
nothing, in the Greek fable, compared to the bestowing of apparent life.
The figures of monstrous gods on Indian temples have their legs separate
enough; but they are infinitely more dead than the rude figures at
Branchidæ sitting with their hands on their knees. And, briefly, the
work of Dædalus is the giving of deceptive life, as that of Prometheus
the giving of real life; and I can put the relation of Greek to all
other art, in this function, before you in easily compared and
remembered examples.

203. Here, on the right, in Plate XX., is an Indian bull, colossal, and
elaborately carved, which you may take as a sufficient type of the bad
art of all the earth. False in form, dead in heart, and loaded with
wealth, externally. We will not ask the date of this; it may rest in the
eternal obscurity of evil art, everywhere and for ever. Now, besides
this colossal bull, here is a bit of Dædalus work, enlarged from a coin
not bigger than a shilling: look at the two together, and you ought to
know, henceforward, what Greek art means, to the end of your days.

204. In this aspect of it then, I say, it is the simplest and nakedest
of lovely veracities. But it has another aspect, or rather another pole,
for the opposition is diametric. As the simplest, so also it is the most
complex of human art. I told you in my fifth Lecture, showing you the
spotty picture of Velasquez, that an essential Greek character is a
liking for things that are dappled. And you cannot but have noticed how
often and how prevalently the idea which gave its name to the Porch of
Polygnotus, "[Greek: stoa poikilê]," occurs to the Greeks as connected
with the finest art. Thus, when the luxurious city is opposed to the
simple and healthful one, in the second book of Plato's Polity, you find
that, next to perfumes, pretty ladies, and dice, you must have in it
"[Greek: poikilia]," which observe, both in that place and again in the
third book, is the separate art of joiners' work, or inlaying; but the
idea of exquisitely divided variegation or division, both in sight and
sound--the "ravishing division to the lute," as in Pindar's "[Greek:
poikiloi hymnoi]"--runs through the compass of all Greek
art-description; and if, instead of studying that art among marbles you
were to look at it only on vases of a fine time, (look back, for
instance, to Plate IV. here), your impression of it would be, instead of
breadth and simplicity, one of universal spottiness and chequeredness,
"[Greek: en angeôn Herkesin pampoikilois];" and of the artist's
delighting in nothing so much as in crossed or starred or spotted
things; which, in right places, he and his public both do unlimitedly.
Indeed they hold it complimentary even to a trout, to call him a
"spotty." Do you recollect the trout in the tributaries of the Ladon,
which Pausanias says were spotted, so that they were like thrushes and
which, the Arcadians told him, could speak? In this last [Greek:
poikilia], however, they disappointed him. "I, indeed, saw some of them
caught," he says, "but I did not hear any of them speak, though I waited
beside the river till sunset."


205. I must sum roughly now, for I have detained you too long.

The Greeks have been thus the origin not only of all broad, mighty, and
calm conception, but of all that is divided, delicate, and tremulous;
"variable as the shade, by the light quivering aspen made." To them, as
first leaders of ornamental design, belongs, of right, the praise of
glistenings in gold, piercings in ivory, stainings in purple,
burnishings in dark blue steel; of the fantasy of the Arabian
roof--quartering of the Christian shield,--rubric and arabesque of
Christian scripture; in fine, all enlargement, and all diminution of
adorning thought, from the temple to the toy, and from the mountainous
pillars of Agrigentum to the last fineness of fretwork in the Pisan
Chapel of the Thorn.

And in their doing all this, they stand as masters of human order and
justice, subduing the animal nature guided by the spiritual one, as you
see the Sicilian Charioteer stands, holding his horse-reins, with the
wild lion racing beneath him, and the flying angel above, on the
beautiful coin of early Syracuse; (lowest in Plate XXI).

And the beginnings of Christian chivalary were in that Greek bridling of
the dark and the white horses.

206. Not that a Greek never made mistakes. He made as many as we do
ourselves, nearly;--he died of his mistakes at last--as we shall die of
them; but so far he was separated from the herd of more mistaken and
more wretched nations--so far as he was Greek--it was by his rightness.
He lived, and worked, and was satisfied with the fatness of his land,
and the fame of his deeds, by his justice, and reason, and modesty. He
became _Græculus esuriens_, little, and hungry, and every man's
errand-boy, by his iniquity, and his competition, and his love of talk.
But his Græcism was in having done, at least at one period of his
dominion, more than anybody else, what was modest, useful, and eternally
true; and as a workman, he verily did, or first suggested the doing of,
everything possible to man.

Take Dædalus, his great type of the practically executive craftsman, and
the inventor of expedients in craftsmanship, (as distinguished from
Prometheus, the institutor of moral order in art). Dædalus invents,--he,
or his nephew,--

The potter's wheel, and all work in clay;

The saw, and all work in wood;

The masts and sails of ships, and all modes of motion; (wings only
proving too dangerous!)

The entire art of minute ornament;

And the deceptive life of statues.

By his personal toil, he involves the fatal labyrinth for Minos; builds
an impregnable fortress for the Agrigentines; adorns healing baths among
the wild parsley fields of Selinus; buttresses the precipices of Eryx,
under the temple of Aphrodite; and for her temple itself--finishes in
exquisiteness the golden honeycomb.

207. Take note of that last piece of his art: it is connected with many
things which I must bring before you when we enter on the study of
architecture. That study we shall begin at the foot of the Baptistery of
Florence, which, of all buildings known to me, unites the most perfect
symmetry with the quaintest [Greek: poikilia]. Then, from the tomb of
your own Edward the Confessor, to the farthest shrine of the opposite
Arabian and Indian world, I must show you how the glittering and
iridescent dominion of Dædalus prevails; and his ingenuity in division,
interposition, and labyrinthine sequence, more widely still. Only this
last summer I found the dark red masses of the rough sandstone of
Furness Abbey had been fitted by him, with no less pleasure than he had
in carving them, into wedged hexagons--reminiscences of the honeycomb of
Venus Erycina. His ingenuity plays around the framework of all the
noblest things; and yet the brightness of it has a lurid shadow. The
spot of the fawn, of the bird, and the moth, may be harmless. But
Dædalus reigns no less over the spot of the leopard and snake. That
cruel and venomous power of his art is marked, in the legends of him,
by his invention of the saw from the serpent's tooth; and his seeking
refuge, under blood-guiltiness, with Minos, who can judge evil, and
measure, or remit, the penalty of it, but not reward good: Rhadamanthus
only can measure _that_; but Minos is essentially the recognizer of evil
deeds "conoscitor delle peccata," whom, therefore, you find in Dante
under the form of the [Greek: erpeton]. "Cignesi con la coda tante
volte, quantunque gradi vuol che giu sia messa."

And this peril of the influence of Dædalus is twofold; first in leading
us to delight in glitterings and semblances of things, more than in
their form, or truth;--admire the harlequin's jacket more than the
hero's strength; and love the gilding of the missal more than its
words;--but farther, and worse, the ingenuity of Dædalus may even become
bestial, an instinct for mechanical labour only, strangely involved with
a feverish and ghastly cruelty:--(you will find this distinct in the
intensely Dædal work of the Japanese); rebellious, finally, against the
laws of nature and honour, and building labyrinths for monsters,--not
combs for bees.

208. Gentlemen, we of the rough northern race may never, perhaps, be
able to learn from the Greek his reverence for beauty: but we may at
least learn his disdain of mechanism:--of all work which he felt to be
monstrous and inhuman in its imprudent dexterities.

We hold ourselves, we English, to be good workmen. I do not think I
speak with light reference to recent calamity, (for I myself lost a
young relation, full of hope and good purpose, in the foundered ship
_London_,) when I say that either an Æginetan or Ionian shipwright built
ships that could be fought from, though they were under water; and
neither of them would have been proud of having built one that would
fill and sink helplessly if the sea washed over her deck, or turn upside
down if a squall struck her topsail.

Believe me, gentlemen, good workmanship consists in continence and
common sense, more than in frantic expatiation of mechanical ingenuity;
and if you would be continent and rational, you had better learn more of
Art than you do now, and less of Engineering. What is taking place at
this very hour,[138] among the streets, once so bright, and avenues
once so pleasant, of the fairest city in Europe, may surely lead us all
to feel that the skill of Dædalus, set to build impregnable fortresses,
is not so wisely applied as in framing the [Greek: trêton ponou]--the
golden honeycomb.


[135] The closing Lecture, on the religious temper of the Florentine,
though necessary for the complete explanation of the subject to my
class, at the time, introduced new points of inquiry which I do not
choose to lay before the general reader until they can be examined in
fuller sequence. The present volume, therefore, closes with the Sixth
Lecture, and that on Christian art will be given as the first of the
published course on Florentine Sculpture.

[136] These plates of coins are given for future reference and
examination, not merely for the use made of them in this place. The
Lacinian Hera, if a coin could be found unworn in surface, would be very
noble; her hair is thrown free because she is the goddess of the cape of
storms though in her temple, there, the wind never moved the ashes on
its altar. (Livy, xxiv. 3.)

[137] Ancient Cities and Kings, Plate IV. No. 20.

[138] The siege of Paris, at the time of the delivery of this Lecture,
was in one of its most destructive phases.


(_Delivered at the R. A. Institution, Woolwich, December 14, 1869._)

I would fain have left to the frank expression of the moment, but fear I
could not have found clear words--I cannot easily find them, even
deliberately,--to tell you how glad I am, and yet how ashamed, to accept
your permission to speak to you. Ashamed of appearing to think that I
can tell you any truth which you have not more deeply felt than I; but
glad in the thought that my less experience, and way of life sheltered
from the trials, and free from the responsibilities of yours, may have
left me with something of a child's power of help to you; a sureness of
hope, which may perhaps be the one thing that can be helpful to men who
have done too much not to have often failed in doing all that they
desired. And indeed, even the most hopeful of us, cannot but now be in
many things apprehensive. For this at least we all know too well, that
we are on the eve of a great political crisis, if not of political
change. That a struggle is approaching between the newly-risen power of
democracy and the apparently departing power of feudalism; and another
struggle, no less imminent, and far more dangerous, between wealth and
pauperism. These two quarrels are constantly thought of as the same.
They are being fought together, and an apparently common interest unites
for the most part the millionaire with the noble, in resistance to a
multitude, crying, part of it for bread and part of it for liberty.

And yet no two quarrels can be more distinct. Riches--so far from being
necessary to noblesse--are adverse to it. So utterly adverse, that the
first character of all the Nobilities which have founded great dynasties
in the world is to be poor;--often poor by oath--always poor by
generosity. And of every true knight in the chivalric ages, the first
thing history tells you is, that he never kept treasure for himself.

Thus the causes of wealth and noblesse are not the same; but opposite.
On the other hand, the causes of anarchy and of the poor are not the
same, but opposite. Side by side, in the same rank, are now indeed set
the pride that revolts against authority, and the misery that appeals
against avarice. But, so far from being a common cause, all anarchy is
the forerunner of poverty, and all prosperity begins in obedience. So
that thus, it has become impossible to give due support to the cause of
order, without seeming to countenance injury; and impossible to plead
justly the claims of sorrow, without seeming to plead also for those of

Let me try, then, to put in very brief terms, the real plan of this
various quarrel, and the truth of the cause on each side. Let us face
that full truth, whatever it may be, and decide what part, according to
our power, we should take in the quarrel.

First. For eleven hundred years, all but five, since Charlemagne set on
his head the Lombard crown, the body of European people have submitted
patiently to be governed; generally by kings--always by single leaders
of some kind. But for the last fifty years they have begun to suspect,
and of late they have many of them concluded, that they have been on the
whole ill-governed, or misgoverned, by their kings. Whereupon they say,
more and more widely, "Let us henceforth have no kings; and no
government at all."

Now we said, we must face the full truth of the matter, in order to see
what we are to do. And the truth is that the people _have_ been
misgoverned;--that very little is to be said, hitherto, for most of
their masters--and that certainly in many places they will try their new
system of "no masters:"--and as that arrangement will be delightful to
all foolish persons, and, at first, profitable to all wicked ones,--and
as these classes are not wanting or unimportant in any human
society,--the experiment is likely to be tried extensively. And the
world may be quite content to endure much suffering with this fresh
hope, and retain its faith in anarchy, whatever comes of it, till it can
endure no more.

Then, secondly. The people have begun to suspect that one particular
form of this past misgovernment has been, that their masters have set
them to do all the work, and have themselves taken all the wages. In a
word, that what was called governing them, meant only wearing fine
clothes, and living on good fare at their expense. And I am sorry to
say, the people are quite right in this opinion also. If you inquire
into the vital fact of the matter, this you will find to be the constant
structure of European society for the thousand years of the feudal
system; it was divided into peasants who lived by working; priests who
lived by begging; and knights who lived by pillaging; and as the
luminous public mind becomes gradually cognizant of these facts, it will
assuredly not suffer things to be altogether arranged that way any more;
and the devising of other ways will be an agitating business; especially
because the first impression of the intelligent populace is, that
whereas, in the dark ages, half the nation lived idle, in the bright
ages to come, the whole of it may.

Now, thirdly--and here is much the worst phase of the crisis. This past
system of misgovernment, especially during the last three hundred years,
has prepared, by its neglect, a class among the lower orders which it is
now peculiarly difficult to govern. It deservedly lost their
respect--but that was the least part of the mischief. The deadly part of
it was, that the lower orders lost their habit, and at last their
faculty, of respect;--lost the very capability of reverence, which is
the most precious part of the human soul. Exactly in the degree in which
you can find creatures greater than yourself, to look up to, in that
degree, you are ennobled yourself, and, in that degree, happy. If you
could live always in the presence of archangels, you would be happier
than in that of men; but even if only in the company of admirable
knights and beautiful ladies, the more noble and bright they were, and
the more you could reverence their virtue the happier you would be. On
the contrary, if you were condemned to live among a multitude of idiots,
dumb, distorted and malicious, you would not be happy in the constant
sense of your own superiority. Thus all real joy and power of progress
in humanity depend on finding something to reverence; and all the
baseness and misery of humanity begin in a habit of disdain. Now, by
general misgovernment, I repeat, we have created in Europe a vast
populace, and out of Europe a still vaster one, which has lost even the
power and conception of reverence;[139]--which exists only in the
worship of itself--which can neither see anything beautiful around it,
nor conceive anything virtuous above it; which has, towards all goodness
and greatness, no other feelings than those of the lowest
creatures--fear, hatred, or hunger a populace which has sunk below your
appeal in their nature, as it has risen beyond your power in their
multitude;--whom you can now no more charm than you can the adder, nor
discipline, than you can the summer fly.

It is a crisis, gentlemen; and time to think of it. I have roughly and
broadly put it before you in its darkness. Let us look what we may find
of light.

Only the other day, in a journal which is a fairly representative
exponent of the Conservatism of our day, and for the most part not at
all in favor of strikes or other popular proceedings; only about three
weeks since, there was a leader, with this, or a similar, title--"What
is to become of the House of Lords?" It startled me, for it seemed as if
we were going even faster than I had thought, when such a question was
put as a subject of quite open debate, in a journal meant chiefly for
the reading of the middle and upper classes. Open or not--the debate is
near. What _is_ to become of them? And the answer to such question
depends first on their being able to answer another question--"What is
the _use_ of them!" For some time back, I think the theory of the nation
has been, that they are useful as impediments to business, so as to give
time for second thoughts. But the nation is getting impatient of
impediments to business; and certainly, sooner or later, will think it
needless to maintain these expensive obstacles to its humors. And I
have not heard, either in public, or from any of themselves, a clear
expression of their own conception of their use. So that it seems thus
to become needful for all men to tell them, as our one quite
clear-sighted teacher, Carlyle, has been telling us for many a year,
that the use of the Lords of a country is to _govern_ the country. If
they answer that use, the country will rejoice in keeping them; if not,
that will become of them which must of all things found to have lost
their serviceableness.

Here, therefore, is the one question, at this crisis, for them, and for
us. Will they be lords indeed, and give us laws--dukes indeed, and give
us guiding--princes indeed, and give us beginning, of truer dynasty,
which shall not be soiled by covetousness, nor disordered by iniquity?
Have they themselves sunk so far as not to hope this? Are there yet any
among them who can stand forward with open English brows, and say,--So
far as in me lies, I will govern with my might, not for Dieu et _mon_
Droit, but for the first grand reading of the war cry, from which that
was corrupted, "Dieu et Droit?" Among them I know there are some--among
you, soldiers of England, I know there are many, who can do this; and in
you is our trust. I, one of the lower people of your country, ask of you
in their name--you whom I will not any more call soldiers, but by the
truer name of Knights;--Equites of England. How many yet of you are
there, knights errant now beyond all former fields of danger--knights
patient now beyond all former endurance; who still retain the ancient
and eternal purpose of knighthood, to subdue the wicked, and aid the
weak? To them, be they few or many, we English people call for help to
the wretchedness, and for rule over the baseness, of multitudes desolate
and deceived, shrieking to one another this new gospel of their new
religion. "Let the weak do as they can, and the wicked as they will."

I can hear you saying in your hearts, even the bravest of you, "The time
is past for all that." Gentlemen, it is not so. The time has come for
_more_ than all that. Hitherto, soldiers have given their lives for
false fame, and for cruel power. The day is now when they must give
their lives for true fame, and for beneficent power: and the work is
near every one of you--close beside you--the means of it even thrust
into your hands. The people are crying to you for command, and you stand
there at pause, and silent. You think they don't want to be commanded;
try them; determine what is needful for them--honorable for them; show
it them, promise to bring them to it, and they will follow you through
fire. "Govern us," they cry with one heart, though many minds. They
_can_ be governed still, these English; they are men still; not gnats,
nor serpents. They love their old ways yet, and their old masters, and
their old land. They would fain live in it, as many as may stay there,
if you will show them how, there, to live;--or show them even, how,
there, like Englishmen, to die.

"To live in it, as many as may!" How many do you think may? How many
_can_? How many do you want to live there? As masters, your first object
must be to increase your power; and in what does the power of a country
consist? Will you have dominion over its stones, or over its clouds, or
over its souls? What do you mean by a great nation, but a great
multitude of men who are true to each other, and strong, and of worth?
Now you can increase the multitude only definitely--your island has only
so much standing room--but you can increase the _worth in_definitely. It
is but a little island;--suppose, little as it is, you were to fill it
with friends? You may, and that easily. You must, and that speedily; or
there will be an end to this England of ours, and to all its loves and

To fill this little island with true friends--men brave, wise, and
happy! Is it so impossible, think you, after the world's eighteen
hundred years of Christianity, and our own thousand years of toil, to
fill only this little white gleaming crag with happy creatures, helpful
to each other? Africa, and India, and the Brazilian wide-watered plain,
are these not wide enough for the ignorance of our race? have they not
space enough for its pain? Must we remain _here_ also savage,--_here_
at enmity with each other,--_here_ foodless, houseless, in rags, in
dust, and without hope, as thousands and tens of thousands of us are
lying? Do not think it, gentlemen. The thought that it is inevitable is
the last infidelity; infidelity not to God only, but to every creature
and every law that He has made. Are we to think that the earth was only
shaped to be a globe of torture; and that there cannot be one spot of it
where peace can rest, or justice reign? Where are men ever to be happy,
if not in England? by whom shall they ever be taught to do right, if not
by you? Are we not of a race first among the strong ones of the earth;
the blood in us incapable of weariness, unconquerable by grief? Have we
not a history of which we can hardly think without becoming insolent in
our just pride of it? Can we dare, without passing every limit of
courtesy to other nations, to say how much more we have to be proud of
in our ancestors than they? Among our ancient monarchs, great crimes
stand out as monstrous and strange. But their valor, and, according to
their understanding, their benevolence, are constant. The Wars of the
Roses, which are as a fearful crimson shadow on our land, represent the
normal condition of other nations; while from the days of the Heptarchy
downwards we have had examples given us, in all ranks, of the most
varied and exalted virtue; a heap of treasure that no moth can corrupt,
and which even our traitorship, if we are to become traitors to it,
cannot sully.

And this is the race, then, that we know not any more how to govern! and
this the history which we are to behold broken off by sedition! and this
is the country, of all others, where life is to become difficult to the
honest, and ridiculous to the wise! And the catastrophe, forsooth, is to
come just when we have been making swiftest progress beyond the wisdom
and wealth of the past. Our cities are a wilderness of spinning wheels
instead of palaces; yet the people have not clothes. We have blackened
every leaf of English greenwood with ashes, and the people die of cold;
our harbors are a forest of merchant ships, and the people die of

Whose fault is it? Yours, gentlemen; yours only. You alone can feed
them, and clothe, and bring into their right minds, for you only can
govern--that is to say, you only can educate them.

Educate, or govern, they are one and the same word. Education does not
mean teaching people to know what they do not know. It means teaching
them to behave as they do not behave. And the true "compulsory
education" which the people now ask of you is not catechism, but drill.
It is not teaching the youth of England the shapes of letters and the
tricks of numbers; and then leaving them to turn their arithmetic to
roguery, and their literature to lust. It is, on the contrary, training
them into the perfect exercise and kingly continence of their bodies and
souls. It is a painful, continual, and difficult work; to be done by
kindness, by watching, by warning, by precept, and by praise,--but above
all--by example.

Compulsory! Yes, by all means! "Go ye out into the highways and hedges,
and _compel_ them to come in." Compulsory! Yes, and gratis also. _Dei
Gratia_, they must be taught, as, _Dei Gratia_, you are set to teach
them. I hear strange talk continually, "how difficult it is to make
people pay for being educated!" Why, I should think so! Do you make your
children pay for their education, or do you give it them compulsorily,
and gratis? You do not expect _them_ to pay you for their teaching,
except by becoming good children. Why should you expect a peasant to pay
for his, except by becoming a good man?--payment enough, I think, if we
knew it. Payment enough to himself, as to us. For that is another of our
grand popular mistakes--people are always thinking of education as a
means of livelihood. Education is not a profitable business, but a
costly one; nay, even the best attainments of it are always
unprofitable, in any terms of coin. No nation ever made its bread either
by its great arts, or its great wisdoms. By its minor arts or
manufactures, by its practical knowledges, yes: but its noble
scholarship, its noble philosophy, and its noble art, are always to be
bought as a treasure, not sold for a livelihood. You do not learn that
you may live--you live that you may learn. You are to spend on National
Education, and to be spent for it, and to make by it, not more money,
but better men;--to get into this British Island the greatest possible
number of good and brave Englishmen. _They_ are to be your "money's

But where is the money to come from? Yes, that is to be asked. Let us,
as quite the first business in this our national crisis, look not only
into our affairs, but into our accounts, and obtain some general notion
how we annually spend our money, and what we are getting for it.
Observe, I do not mean to inquire into the public revenue only; of that
some account is rendered already. But let us do the best we can to set
down the items of the national _private_ expenditure; and know what we
spend altogether, and how.

To begin with this matter of education. You probably have nearly all
seen the admirable lecture lately given by Captain Maxse, at
Southampton. It contains a clear statement of the facts at present
ascertained as to our expenditure in that respect. It appears that of
our public moneys, for every pound that we spend on education we spend
twelve either in charity or punishment;--ten millions a year in
pauperism and crime, and eight hundred thousand in instruction. Now
Captain Maxse adds to this estimate of ten millions public money spent
on crime and want, a more or less conjectural sum of eight millions for
private charities. My impression is that this is much beneath the truth,
but at all events it leaves out of consideration much the heaviest and
saddest form of charity--the maintenance, by the working members of
families, of the unfortunate or ill-conducted persons whom the general
course of misrule now leaves helpless to be the burden of the rest.

Now I want to get first at some, I do not say approximate, but at all
events some suggestive, estimate of the quantity of real distress and
misguided life in this country. Then next, I want some fairly
representative estimate of our private expenditure in luxuries. We won't
spend more, publicly, it appears, than eight hundred thousand a year, on
educating men gratis. I want to know, as nearly as possible, what we
spend privately a year, in educating horses gratis. Let us, at least,
quit ourselves in this from the taunt of Rabshakeh, and see that for
every horse we train also a horseman; and that the rider be at least as
high-bred as the horse, not jockey, but chevalier. Again, we spend eight
hundred thousand, which is certainly a great deal of money, in making
rough _minds_ bright. I want to know how much we spend annually in
making rough _stones_ bright; that is to say, what may be the united
annual sum, or near it, of our jewellers' bills. So much we pay for
educating children gratis;--how much for educating diamonds gratis? and
which pays best for brightening, the spirit or the charcoal? Let us get
those two items set down with some sincerity, and a few more of the same
kind. _Publicly_ set down. We must not be ashamed of the way we spend
our money. If our right hand is not to know what our left does, it must
not be because it would be ashamed if it did.

That is, therefore, quite the first practical thing to be done. Let
every man who wishes well to his country, render it yearly an account of
his income, and of the main heads of his expenditure; or, if he is
ashamed to do so, let him no more impute to the poor their poverty as a
crime, nor set them to break stones in order to frighten them from
committing it. To lose money ill is indeed often a crime; but to get it
ill is a worse one, and to spend it ill, worst of all. You object, Lords
of England, to increase, to the poor, the wages you give them, because
they spend them, you say, unadvisedly. Render them, therefore, an
account of the wages which _they_ give _you_; and show them, by your
example, how to spend theirs, to the last farthing advisedly.

It is indeed time to make this an acknowledged subject of instruction,
to the workingman,--how to spend his wages. For, gentlemen, we _must_
give that instruction, whether we will or no, one way or the other. We
have given it in years gone by; and now we find fault with our peasantry
for having been too docile, and profited too shrewdly by our tuition.
Only a few days since I had a letter from the wife of a village rector,
a man of common sense and kindness, who was greatly troubled in his
mind because it was precisely the men who got highest wages in summer
that came destitute to his door in the winter. Destitute, and of riotous
temper--for their method of spending wages in their period of prosperity
was by sitting two days a week in the tavern parlor, ladling port wine,
not out of bowls, but out of buckets. Well, gentlemen, who taught them
that method of festivity? Thirty years ago, I, a most inexperienced
freshman, went to my first college supper; at the head of the table sat
a nobleman of high promise and of admirable powers, since dead of palsy;
there also we had in the midst of us, not buckets, indeed, but bowls as
large as buckets; there also, we helped ourselves with ladles. There
(for this beginning of college education was compulsory), I choosing
ladlefuls of punch instead of claret, because I was then able,
unperceived to pour them into my waistcoat instead of down my throat,
stood it out to the end, and helped to carry four of my fellow-students,
one of them the son of the head of a college, head foremost, down stairs
and home.

Such things are no more; but the fruit of them remains, and will for
many a day to come. The laborers whom you cannot now shut out of the
ale-house are only the too faithful disciples of the gentlemen who were
wont to shut themselves into the dining-room. The gentlemen have not
thought it necessary, in order to correct their own habits, to diminish
their incomes; and, believe me, the way to deal with your drunken
workman is not to lower his wages,--but to mend his wits.[140]

And if indeed we do not yet see quite clearly how to deal with the sins
of our poor brother, it is possible that our dimness of sight may still
have other causes that can be cast out. There are two opposite cries of
the great liberal and conservative parties, which are both most right,
and worthy to be rallying cries. On their side "let every man have his
chance;" on yours "let every man stand in his place." Yes, indeed, let
that be so, every man in his place, and every man fit for it. See that
he holds that place from Heaven's Providence; and not from his family's
Providence. Let the Lords Spiritual quit themselves of simony, we laymen
will look after the heretics for them. Let the Lords Temporal quit
themselves of nepotism, and we will take care of their authority for
them. Publish for us, you soldiers, an army gazette, in which the one
subject of daily intelligence shall be the grounds of promotion; a
gazette which shall simply tell us, what there certainly can be no
detriment to the service in our knowing, when any officer is appointed
to a new command,--what his former services and successes have
been,--whom he has superseded,--and on what ground. It will be always a
satisfaction to us; it may sometimes be an advantage to you: and then,
when there is really necessary debate respecting reduction of wages, let
us always begin not with the wages of the industrious classes, but with
those of the idle ones. Let there be honorary titles, if people like
them; but let there be no honorary incomes.

So much for the master's motto, "Every man in his place." Next for the
laborer's motto, "Every man his chance." Let us mend that for them a
little, and say, "Every man his certainty"--certainty, that if he does
well, he will be honored, and aided, and advanced in such degree as may
be fitting for his faculty and consistent with his peace; and equal
certainty that if he does ill, he will by sure justice be judged, and by
sure punishment be chastised; if it may be, corrected; and if that may
not be, condemned. That is the right reading of the Republican motto,
"Every man his chance." And then, with such a system of government,
pure, watchful and just, you may approach your great problem of national
education, or in other words, of national employment. For all education
begins in work. What we think, or what we know; or what we believe, is
in the end, of little consequence. The only thing of consequence is what
we _do;_ and for man, woman, or child, the first point of education is
to make them do their best. It is the law of good economy to make the
best of everything. How much more to make the best of every creature!
Therefore, when your pauper comes to you and asks for bread, ask of him
instantly--What faculty have you? What can you do best? Can you drive a
nail into wood? Go and mend the parish fences. Can you lay a brick? Mend
the walls of the cottages where the wind comes in. Can you lift a
spadeful of earth? Turn this field up three feet deep all over. Can you
only drag a weight with your shoulders? Stand at the bottom of this hill
and help up the overladen horses. Can you weld iron and chisel stone?
Fortify this wreck-strewn coast into a harbor; and change these shifting
sands into fruitful ground. Wherever death was, bring life; that is to
be your work; that your parish refuge; that your education. So and no
otherwise can we meet existent distress. But for the continual education
of the whole people, and for their future happiness, they must have such
consistent employment as shall develop all the powers of the fingers,
and the limbs, and the brain: and that development is only to be
obtained by hand-labor, of which you have these four great
divisions--hand-labor on the earth, hand-labor on the sea, hand-labor in
art, hand-labor in war. Of the last two of these I cannot speak
to-night, and of the first two only with extreme brevity.

I. Hand-labor on the earth, the work of the husbandman and of the
shepherd;--to dress the earth and to keep the flocks of it--the first
task of man, and the final one--the education always of noblest
lawgivers, kings and teachers; the education of Hesiod, of Moses, of
David, of all the true strength of Rome; and all its tenderness: the
pride of Cincinnatus, and the inspiration of Virgil. Hand-labor on the
earth, and the harvest of it brought forth with singing:--not
steam-piston labor on the earth, and the harvest of it brought forth
with steam-whistling. You will have no prophet's voice accompanied by
that shepherd's pipe, and pastoral symphony. Do you know that lately, in
Cumberland, in the chief pastoral district of England--in Wordsworth's
own home--a procession of villagers on their festa day provided for
themselves, by way of music, a steam-plough whistling at the head of

Give me patience while I put the principle of machine labor before you,
as clearly and in as short compass as possible; it is one that should be
known at this juncture. Suppose a farming proprietor needs to employ a
hundred men on his estate, and that the labor of these hundred men is
enough, but not more than enough, to till all his land, and to raise
from it food for his own family, and for the hundred laborers. He is
obliged, under such circumstances, to maintain all the men in moderate
comfort, and can only by economy accumulate much for himself. But,
suppose he contrive a machine that will easily do the work of fifty men,
with only one man to watch it. This sounds like a great advance in
civilization. The farmer of course gets his machine made, turns off the
fifty men, who may starve or emigrate at their choice, and now he can
keep half of the produce of his estate, which formerly went to feed
them, all to himself. That is the essential and constant operation of
machinery among us at this moment.

Nay, it is at first answered; no man can in reality keep half the
produce of an estate to himself, nor can he in the end keep more than
his own human share of anything; his riches must diffuse themselves at
some time; he must maintain somebody else with them, however he spends
them. That is mainly true (not altogether so), for food and fuel are in
ordinary circumstances personally wasted by rich people, in quantities
which would save many lives. One of my own great luxuries, for instance,
is candlelight--and I probably burn, for myself alone, as many candles
during the winter, as would comfort the old eyes, or spare the young
ones, of a whole rushlighted country village. Still, it is mainly true,
that it is not by their personal waste that rich people prevent the
lives of the poor. This is the way they do it. Let me go back to my
farmer. He has got his machine made, which goes creaking, screaming, and
occasionally exploding, about modern Arcadia. He has turned off his
fifty men to starve. Now, at some distance from his own farm, there is
another on which the laborers were working for their bread in the same
way, by tilling the land. The machinist sends over to these, saying--"I
have got food enough for you without your digging or ploughing any more.
I can maintain you in other occupations instead of ploughing that land;
if you rake in its gravel you will find some hard stones--you shall
grind those on mills till they glitter; then, my wife shall wear a
necklace of them. Also, if you turn up the meadows below you will find
some fine white clay, of which you shall make a porcelain service for
me: and the rest of the farm I want for pasture for horses for my
carriage--and you shall groom them, and some of you ride behind the
carriage with staves in your hands, and I will keep you much fatter for
doing that than you can keep yourselves by digging."

Well--but it is answered, are we to have no diamonds, nor china, nor
pictures, nor footmen, then--but all to be farmers? I am not saying what
we ought to do, I want only to show you with perfect clearness first
what we _are doing_; and that, I repeat, is the upshot of
machine-contriving in this country. And observe its effect on the
national strength. Without machines, you have a hundred and fifty yeomen
ready to join for defence of the land. You get your machine, starve
fifty of them, make diamond-cutters or footmen of as many more, and for
your national defence against an enemy, you have now, and _can_ have,
only fifty men, instead of a hundred and fifty; these also now with
minds much alienated from you as their chief,[141] and the rest,
lapidaries or footmen; and a steam plough.

That is one effect of machinery; but at all events, if we have thus lost
in men, we have gained in riches; instead of happy human souls, we have
at least got pictures, china, horses, and are ourselves better off than
we were before. But very often, and in much of our machine-contriving,
even _that_ result does not follow. We are not one whit the richer for
the machine, we only employ it for our amusement. For observe, our
gaining in riches depends on the men who are out of employment
consenting to be starved, or sent out of the country. But suppose they
do not consent passively to be starved, but some of them become
criminals, and have to be taken charge of and fed at a much greater cost
than if they were at work, and, others, paupers, rioters, and the like,
then you attain the real outcome of modern wisdom and ingenuity. You
have your hundred men honestly at country work; but you don't like the
sight of human beings in your fields; you like better to see a smoking
kettle. You pay, as an amateur, for that pleasure, and you employ your
fifty men in picking oakum, or begging, rioting, and thieving.

By hand-labor, therefore, and that alone, we are to till the ground. By
hand-labor also to plough the sea; both for food, and in commerce, and
in war: not with floating kettles there neither, but with hempen bridle,
and the winds of heaven in harness. That is the way the power of Greece
rose on her Egean, the power of Venice on her Adria, of Amalfi in her
blue bay, of the Norman sea-riders from the North Cape to Sicily:--so,
your own dominion also of the past. Of the past mind you. On the Baltic
and the Nile, your power is already departed. By machinery you would
advance to discovery; by machinery you would carry your commerce;--you
would be engineers instead of sailors; and instantly in the North seas
you are beaten among the ice, and before the very Gods of Nile, beaten
among the sand. Agriculture, then, by the hand or by the plough drawn
only by animals; and shepherd and pastoral husbandry, are to be the
chief schools of Englishmen. And this most royal academy of all
academies you have to open over all the land, purifying your heaths and
hills, and waters, and keeping them full of every kind of lovely natural
organism, in tree, herb, and living creature. All land that is waste and
ugly, you must redeem into ordered fruitfulness; all ruin, desolateness,
imperfectness of hut or habitation, you must do away with; and
throughout every village and city of your English dominion there must
not be a hand that cannot find a helper, nor a heart that cannot find a

"How impossible!" I know, you are thinking. Ah! So far from impossible,
it is easy, it is natural, it is necessary, and I declare to you that,
sooner or later, it _must be done_, at our peril. If now our English
lords of land will fix this idea steadily before them; take the people
to their hearts, trust to their loyalty, lead their labor;--then indeed
there will be princes again in the midst of us, worthy of the island

    "This royal throne of kings--this sceptred isle--
    This fortress built by nature for herself
    Against infection, and the hand of war;
    This precious stone set in the silver sea;
    This happy breed of men--this little world:
    This other Eden--Demi-Paradise."

But if they refuse to do this, and hesitate and equivocate, clutching
through the confused catastrophe of all things only at what they can
still keep stealthily for themselves--their doom is nearer than even
their adversaries hope, and it will be deeper than even their despisers

That, believe me, is the work you have to do in England; and out of
England you have room for everything else you care to do. Are her
dominions in the world so narrow that she can find no place to spin
cotton in but Yorkshire? We may organize emigration into an infinite
power. We may assemble troops of the more adventurous and ambitious of
our youth; we may send them on truest foreign service, founding new
seats of authority, and centres of thought, in uncultivated and
unconquered lands; retaining the full affection to the native country no
less in our colonists than in our armies, teaching them to maintain
allegiance to their fatherland in labor no less than in battle; aiding
them with free hand in the prosecution of discovery, and the victory
over adverse natural powers; establishing seats of every manufacture in
the climates and places best fitted for it, and bringing ourselves into
due alliance and harmony of skill with the dexterities of every race,
and the wisdoms of every tradition and every tongue.

And then you may make England itself the centre of the learning, of the
arts, of the courtesies and felicities of the world. Yon may cover her
mountains with pasture; her plains with corn, her valleys with the lily,
and her gardens with the rose. You may bring together there in peace
the wise and the pure, and the gentle of the earth, and by their word,
command through its farthest darkness the birth of "God's first
creature, which was Light." You know whose words those are; the words of
the wisest of Englishmen. He, and with him the wisest of all other great
nations, have spoken always to men of this hope, and they would not
hear. Plato, in the dialogue of Critias, his last, broken off at his
death--Pindar, in passionate singing of the fortunate islands--Virgil,
in the prophetic tenth eclogue--Bacon, in his fable of the New
Atlantis--More, in the book which, too impatiently wise, became the
bye-word of fools--these, all, have told us with one voice what we
should strive to attain; _they_ not hopeless of it, but for our follies
forced, as it seems, by heaven, to tell us only partly and in parables,
lest we should hear them and obey.

Shall we never listen to the words of these wisest of men? Then listen
at least to the words of your children--let us in the lips of babes and
sucklings find our strength; and see that we do not make them mock
instead of pray, when we teach them, night and morning, to ask for what
we believe never can be granted;--that the will of the Father,--which
is, that His creatures may be righteous and happy--should be done, _on
earth_, as it is in Heaven.


[139] Compare _Time and Tide_, § 169, _and Fors Clavigera_, Letter XIV,
page 9.

[140] See Appendix, "Modern Education," and compare § 70 of _Time and

[141] [They were deserting, I am informed, in the early part of this
year, 1873, at the rate of a regiment a week.]


I am often accused of inconsistency; but believe myself defensible
against the charge with respect to what I have said on nearly every
subject except that of war. It is impossible for me to write
consistently of war, for the groups of facts I have gathered about it
lead me to two precisely opposite conclusions.

When I find this the case, in other matters, I am silent, till I can
choose my conclusion: but, with respect to war, I am forced to speak, by
the necessities of the time; and forced to act, one way or another. The
conviction on which I act is, that it causes an incalculable amount of
avoidable human suffering, and that it ought to cease among Christian
nations; and if therefore any of my boy-friends desire to be soldiers, I
try my utmost to bring them into what I conceive to be a better mind.
But, on the other hand, I know certainly that the most beautiful
characters yet developed among men have been formed in war;--that all
great nations have been warrior nations, and that the only kinds of
peace which we are likely to get in the present age are ruinous alike to
the intellect, and the heart.

The lecture on "War," in this volume, addressed to young soldiers, had
for its object to strengthen their trust in the virtue of their
profession. It is inconsistent with itself, in its closing appeal to
women, praying them to use their influence to bring wars to an end. And
I have been hindered from completing my long intended notes on the
economy of the Kings of Prussia by continually increasing doubt how far
the machinery and discipline of war, under which they learned the art
of government, was essential for such lesson; and what the honesty and
sagacity of the Friedrich who so nobly repaired his ruined Prussia,
might have done for the happiness of his Prussia, unruined.

In war, however, or in peace, the character which Carlyle chiefly loves
him for, and in which Carlyle has shown him to differ from all kings up
to this time succeeding him, is his constant purpose to use every power
entrusted to him for the good of his people; and be, not in name only,
but in heart and hand, their king.

Not in ambition, but in natural instinct of duty. Friedrich, born to
govern, determines to govern to the best of his faculty. That "best" may
sometimes be unwise; and self-will, or love of glory, may have their
oblique hold on his mind, and warp it this way or that; but they are
never principal with him. He believes that war is necessary, and
maintains it; sees that peace is necessary, and calmly persists in the
work of it to the day of his death, not claiming therein more praise
than the head of any ordinary household, who rules it simply because it
is his place, and he must not yield the mastery of it to another.

How far, in the future, it may be possible for men to gain the strength
necessary for kingship without either fronting death, or inflicting it,
seems to me not at present determinable. The historical facts are that,
broadly speaking, none but soldiers, or persons with a soldierly
faculty, have ever yet shown themselves fit to be kings; and that no
other men are so gentle, so just, or so clear-sighted. Wordsworth's
character of the happy warrior cannot be reached in the height of it
_but by_ a warrior; nay, so much is it beyond common strength that I had
supposed the entire meaning of it to be metaphorical, until one of the
best soldiers of England himself read me the poem,[142] and taught me,
what I might have known, had I enough watched his own life, that it was
entirely literal. There is nothing of so high reach distinctly
demonstrable in Friedrich: but I see more and more, as I grow older,
that the things which are the most worth, encumbered among the errors
and faults of every man's nature, are never clearly demonstrable; and
are often most forcible when they are scarcely distinct to his own
conscience,--how much less, clamorous for recognition by others!

Nothing can be more beautiful than Carlyle's showing of this, to any
careful reader of Friedrich. But careful readers are but one in the
thousand; and by the careless, the masses of detail with which the
historian must deal are insurmountable.

My own notes, made for the special purpose of hunting down the one point
of economy, though they cruelly spoil Carlyle's own current and method
of thought, may yet be useful in enabling readers, unaccustomed to books
involving so vast a range of conception, to discern what, on this one
subject only, may be gathered from that history. On any other subject of
importance, similar gatherings might be made of other passages. The
historian has to deal with all at once.

I therefore have determined to print here, as a sequel to the Essay on
War, my notes from the first volume of Friedrich, on the economies of
Brandenburg, up to the date of the establishment of the Prussian
monarchy. The economies of the first three Kings of Prussia I shall then
take up in _Fors Clavigera_, finding them fitter for examination in
connection with the subject of that book than of this.

I assume, that the reader will take down his first volume of Carlyle,
and read attentively the passages to which I refer him. I give the
reference first to the largest edition, in six volumes (1858-1865);
then, in parenthesis, to the smallest or "people's edition" (1872-1873).
The pieces which I have quoted in my own text are for the use of readers
who may not have ready access to the book; and are enough for the
explanation of the points to which I wish them to direct their thoughts
in reading such histories of soldiers or soldier-kingdoms.


_Year_ 928 to 936.--_Dawn of Order in Christian Germany._

Book II. Chap. i. p. 67 (47).

Henry the Fowler, "the beginning of German kings," is a mighty soldier
_in the cause of peace_; his essential work the building and
organization of fortified towns for the protection of men.

Read page 72 with utmost care (51), "He fortified towns," to end of
small print. I have added some notes on the matter in my lecture on
Giovanni Pisano; but whether you can glance at them or not, fix in your
mind this institution of truly civil or civic building in Germany, as
distinct from the building of baronial castles for the security of
_robbers_: and of a standing army consisting of every ninth man, called
a "burgher" ("townsman")--a soldier, appointed to learn that profession
that he may guard the walls--the exact reverse of _our_ notion of a

Frederick's final idea of his army is, indeed, only this.

Brannibor, a chief fortress of the Wends, is thus taken, and further
strengthened by Henry the Fowler; wardens appointed for it; and thus the
history of Brandenburg begins. On all frontiers, also, this "beginning
of German kings" has his "Markgraf." "Ancient of the marked place." Read
page 73, measuredly, learning it by heart, if it may be. (51-2.)


936-1000.--_History of Nascent Brandenburg._

The passage I last desired you to read ends with this sentence: "The
sea-wall you build, and what main floodgates you establish in it, will
depend on the state of the outer sea."

From this time forward you have to keep clearly separate in your minds,
(A) the history of that outer sea, Pagan Scandinavia, Russia, and
Bor-Russia, or Prussia proper; (B) the history of Henry the Fowler's
Eastern and Western Marches; asserting themselves gradually as Austria
and the Netherlands; and (C) the history of this inconsiderable fortress
of Brandenburg, gradually becoming considerable, and the capital city of
increasing district between them. That last history, however, Carlyle is
obliged to leave vague and gray for two hundred years after Henry's
death. Absolutely dim for the first century, in which nothing is evident
but that its wardens or Markgraves had no peaceable possession of the
place. Read the second paragraph in page 74 (52-3), "in old books" to
"reader," and the first in page 83 (59) "meanwhile" to "substantial,"
consecutively. They bring the story of Brandenburg itself down, at any
rate, from 936 to 1000.


936-1000.--_State of the Outer Sea._

Read now Chapter II. beginning at page 76 (54), wherein you will get
account of the beginning of vigorous missionary work on the outer sea,
in Prussia proper; of the death of St. Adalbert, and of the purchase of
his dead body by the Duke of Poland.

You will not easily understand Carlyle's laugh in this chapter, unless
you have learned yourself to laugh in sadness, and to laugh in love.

"No Czech blows his pipe in the woodlands without certain precautions
and preliminary fuglings of a devotional nature." (Imagine St. Adalbert,
in spirit, at the railway station in Birmingham!)

My own main point for notice in the chapter is the purchase of his body
for its "weight in gold." Swindling angels held it up in the scales; it
did not weigh so much as a web of gossamer. "Had such excellent odor,
too, and came for a mere nothing of gold," says Carlyle. It is one of
the first commercial transactions of Germany, but I regret the conduct
of the angels on the occasion. Evangelicalism has been proud of ceasing
to invest in relics, its swindling angels helping it to better things,
as it supposes. For my own part, I believe Christian Germany could not
have bought at this time any treasure more precious; nevertheless, the
missionary work itself you find is wholly vain. The difference of
opinion between St. Adalbert and the Wends, on Divine matters, does not
signify to the Fates. They will not have it disputed about; and end the
dispute adversely, to St. Adalbert--adversely, even, to Brandenburg and
its civilizing power, as you will immediately see.


1000-1030.--_History of Brandenburg in Trouble._

Book II. Chap. iii. p. 83 (59).

The adventures of Brandenburg in contest with Pagan Prussia, irritated,
rather than amended, by St. Adalbert. In 1023, roughly, a hundred years
after Henry the Fowler's death, Brandenburg is taken by the Wends, and
its first line of Markgraves ended; its population mostly butchered,
especially the priests; and the Wends' God, Triglaph, "something like
three whales' cubs combined by boiling," set up on the top of St. Mary's

Here is an adverse "Doctrine of the Trinity" which has its supporters!
It is wonderful,--this Tripod and Triglyph--three-footed, three-cut
faith of the North and South, the leaf of the oxalis, and strawberry,
and clover, fostering the same in their simple manner. I suppose it to
be the most savage and natural of notions about Deity; a prismatic
idol-shape of Him, rude as a triangular log, as a trefoil grass. I do
not find how long Triglaph held his state on St. Mary's Hill. "For a
time," says Carlyle, "the priests all slain or fled--shadowy Markgraves
the like--church and state lay in ashes, and Triglaph, like a triple
porpoise under the influence of laudanum, stood, I know not whether on
his head or his tail, aloft on the Harlungsberg, as the Supreme of this
Universe for the time being."


1030-1130.--_Brandenburg under the Ditmarsch Markgraves, or
Ditmarsch-Stade Markgraves._

Book II. Chap. iii. p. 85 (60).

Of Anglish, or Saxon breed. They attack Brandenburg, under its
Triglyphic protector, take it--dethrone him, and hold the town for a
hundred years, their history "stamped beneficially on the face of
things, Markgraf after Markgraf getting killed in the business.
'Erschlagen,' 'slain,' fighting with the Heathen--say the old books, and
pass on to another." If we allow seven years to Triglaph--we get a clear
century for these--as above indicated. They die out in 1130.


1130-1170.--_Brandenburg under Albert the Bear._

Book II. Chap iv. p. 91 (64).

He is the first of the Ascanien Markgraves, whose castle of Ascanica is
on the northern slope of the Hartz Mountains, "ruins still dimly

There had been no soldier or king of note among the Ditmarsch
Markgraves, so that you will do well to fix in your mind successively
the three men, Henry the Fowler, St. Adalbert, and Albert the Bear. A
soldier again, and a strong one. Named the Bear only from the device on
his shield, first wholly definite Markgraf of Brandenburg that there is,
"and that the luckiest of events for Brandenburg." Read page 93 (66)
carefully, and note this of his economies.

       *       *       *       *       *

Nothing better is known to me of Albert the Bear than his introducing
large numbers of Dutch Netherlanders into those countries; men thrown
out of work, who already knew how to deal with bog and sand, by mixing
and delving, and who first taught Brandenburg what greenness and
cow-pasture was. The Wends, in presence of such things, could not but
consent more and more to efface themselves--either to become German, and
grow milk and cheese in the Dutch manner, or to disappear from the

       *       *       *       *       *

After two-hundred and fifty years of barking and worrying, the Wends are
now finally reduced to silence; their anarchy well buried and wholesome
Dutch cabbage planted over it; Albert did several great things in the
world; but this, for posterity, remains his memorable feat. Not done
quite easily, but done: big destinies of nations or of persons are not
founded gratis in this world, He had a sore, toilsome time of it,
coercing, warring, managing among his fellow-creatures, while his day's
work lasted--fifty years or so, for it began early. He died in his
castle of Ballenstädt, peaceably among the Hartz Mountains at last, in
the year 1170, age about sixty-five.

       *       *       *       *       *

Now, note in all this the steady gain of soldiership enforcing order and
agriculture, with St. Adalbert giving higher strain to the imagination.
Henry the Fowler establishes walled towns, fighting for mere peace.
Albert the Bear plants the country with cabbages, fighting for his
cabbage-fields. And the disciples of St. Adalbert, generally, have
succeeded in substituting some idea of Christ for the idea of Triglaph.
Some idea only; other ideas than of Christ haunt even to this day those
Hartz Mountains among which Albert the Bear dies so peacefully.
Mephistopheles, and all his ministers, inhabit there, commanding
mephitic clouds and earth-born dreams.


1170-1320.--_Brandenburg 150 years under the Ascanien Markgraves._

Vol. I. Book II Chap. viii. p. 135 (96).

"Wholesome Dutch cabbages continued to be more and more planted by them
in the waste sand: intrusive chaos, and Triglaph held at bay by them,"
till at last in 1240, seventy years after the great Bear's death, they
fortify a new Burg, a "_little_ rampart," Wehrlin, diminutive of Wehr
(or vallum), gradually smoothing itself, with a little echo of the Bear
in it too, into Ber-lin, the oily river Spree flowing by, "in which you
catch various fish;" while trade over the flats and by the dull streams,
is widely possible. Of the Ascanien race, the notablest is Otto with the
Arrow, whose story see, pp. 138-141 (98-100), noting that Otto is one of
the first Minnesingers; that, being a prisoner to the Archbishop of
Magdeburg, his wife rescues him, selling her jewels to bribe the canons;
and that the Knight, set free on parole and promise of farther ransom,
rides back with his own price in his hand; holding himself thereat
cheaply bought, though no angelic legerdemain happens to the scales now.
His own estimate of his price--"Rain gold ducats on my war-horse and me,
till you cannot see the point of my spear atop."

Emptiness of utter pride, you think?

Not so. Consider with yourself, reader, how much you dare to say, aloud,
_you_ are worth. If you have _no_ courage to name any price whatsoever
for yourself, believe me, the cause is not your modesty, but that in
very truth you feel in your heart there would be no bid for you at
Lucian's sale of lives, were that again possible, at Christie and

Finally (1319 exactly; say 1320, for memory), the Ascanien line expired
in Brandenburg, and the little town and its electorate lapsed to the
Kaiser: meantime other economical arrangements had been in progress; but
observe first how far we have got.

The Fowler, St. Adalbert and the Bear have established order, and some
sort of Christianity; but the established persons begin to think
somewhat too well of themselves. On quite honest terms, a dead saint or
a living knight ought to be worth their true "weight in gold." But a
pyramid, with only the point of the spear seen at top, would be many
times over one's weight in gold. And although men were yet far enough
from the notion of modern days, that the gold is better than the flesh,
and from buying it with the clay of one's body, and even the fire of
one's soul, instead of soul and body with _it_, they were beginning to
fight for their own supremacy, or for their own religious fancies, and
not at all to any useful end, until an entirely unexpected movement is
made in the old useful direction forsooth, only by some kind
ship-captains of Lübeck!


1210-1320.--_Civil work, aiding military, during the Ascanien period._

Vol. I. Book II. Chap. vi. p. 109 (77).

In the year 1190, Acre not yet taken, and the crusading army wasting by
murrain on the shore, the German soldiers especially having none to look
after them, certain compassionate ship-captains of Lübeck, one Walpot
von Bassenheim taking the lead, formed themselves into an union for
succor of the sick and the dying, set up canvas tents from the Lübeck
ship stores, and did what utmost was in them silently in the name of
mercy and heaven. Finding its work prosper, the little medicinal and
weather-fending company took vows on itself, strict chivalry forms, and
decided to become permanent "Knights Hospitallers of our dear Lady of
Mount Zion," separate from the former Knights Hospitallers, as being
entirely German: yet soon, as the German Order of St. Mary, eclipsing in
importance Templars, Hospitallers, and every other chivalric order then
extant; no purpose of battle in them, but much strength for it; their
purpose only the helping of German pilgrims. To this only they are
bound by their vow, "gelübde," and become one of the usefullest of clubs
in all the Pall Mall of Europe.

Finding pilgrimage in Palestine falling slack, and more need for them on
the homeward side of the sea, their Hochmeister, Hermann of the Salza,
goes over to Venice in 1210. There the titular bishop of still
unconverted Preussen advises him of that field of work for his idle
knights. Hermann thinks well of it: sets his St. Mary's riders at
Triglaph, with the sword in one hand and a missal in the other.

Not your modern way of affecting conversion! Too illiberal, you think;
and what would Mr. J. S. Mill say?

But if Triglaph _had_ been verily "three whales' cubs combined by
boiling," you would yourself have promoted attack upon him for the sake
of his oil, would not you? The Teutsch Ritters, fighting him for
charity, are they so much inferior to you?

       *       *       *       *       *

They built, and burnt, innumerable stockades for and against; built
wooden forts which are now stone towns. They fought much and
prevalently; galloped desperately to and fro, ever on the alert. In
peaceabler ulterior times, they fenced in the Nogat and the Weichsel
with dams, whereby unlimited quagmire might become grassy meadow--as it
continues to this day. Marienburg (Mary's Burg), with its grand stone
Schloss still visible and even habitable: this was at length their
headquarter. But how many Burgs of wood and stone they built, in
different parts; what revolts, surprisals, furious fights in woody,
boggy places they had, no man has counted.

But always some preaching by zealous monks, accompanied the chivalrous
fighting. And colonists came in from Germany; trickling in, or at times
streaming. Victorious Ritterdom offers terms to the beaten heathen:
terms not of tolerant nature, but which _will be punctually kept by
Ritterdom_. When the flame of revolt or general conspiracy burnt up
again too extensively, high personages came on crusade to them. Ottocar,
King of Bohemia, with his extensive far-shining chivalry, "conquered
Samland in a month;" tore up the Romova where Adalbert had been
massacred, and burned it from the face of the earth. A certain fortress
was founded at that time, in Ottocar's presence; and in honor of him
they named it King's Fortress, "Königsberg." Among King Ottocar's
esquires, or subaltern junior officials, on this occasion, is one
Rudolf, heir of a poor Swiss lordship and gray hill castle, called
Hapsburg, rather in reduced circumstances, whom Ottocar likes for his
prudent, hardy ways; a stout, modest, wise young man, who may chance to
redeem Hapsburg a little, if he lives.

Conversion, and complete conquest once come, there was a happy time for
Prussia; ploughshare instead of sword: busy sea-havens, German towns,
getting built; churches everywhere rising; grass growing, and peaceable
cows, where formerly had been quagmire and snakes, and for the Order a
happy time. On the whole, this Teutsch Ritterdom, for the first century
and more, was a grand phenomenon, and flamed like a bright blessed
beacon through the night of things, in those Northern countries. For
above a century, we perceive, it was the rallying place of all brave men
who had a career to seek on terms other than vulgar. The noble soul,
aiming beyond money, and sensible to more than hunger in this world, had
a beacon burning (as we say), if the night chanced to overtake it, and
the earth to grow too intricate, as is not uncommon. Better than the
career of stump-oratory, I should fancy, and its Hesperides apples,
golden, and of gilt horse-dung. Better than puddling away one's poor
spiritual gift of God (loan, not gift), such as it may be, in building
the lofty rhyme, the lofty review article, for a discerning public that
has sixpence to spare! Times alter greatly.[143]

       *       *       *       *       *

We must pause here again for a moment to think where we are, and who is
_with us_. The Teutsch Ritters have been fighting, independently of all
states, for their own hand, or St. Adalbert's; partly for mere love of
fight, partly for love of order, partly for love of God. Meantime, other
Riders have been fighting wholly for what they could get by it; and
other persons, not Riders, have not been fighting at all, but in their
own towns peacefully manufacturing and selling.

Of Henry the Fowler's Marches, Austria has become a military power,
Flanders a mercantile one, pious only in the degree consistent with
their several occupations. Prussia is now a practical and farming
country, more Christian than its longer-converted neighbors.

       *       *       *       *       *

Towns are built, Königsberg (King Ottocar's town), Thoren (Thorn, City
of the Gates), with many others; so that the wild population and the
tame now lived tolerably together, under Gospel and Lübeck law; and all
was ploughing and trading.

       *       *       *       *       *

But Brandenburg itself, what of it?

The Ascanien Markgraves rule it on the whole prosperously down to 1320,
when their line expires, and it falls into the power of Imperial


1320-1415.--_Brandenburg under the Austrians._

A century--the fourteenth--of miserable anarchy and decline for
Brandenburg, its Kurfürsts, in deadly succession, making what they can
out of it for their own pockets. The city itself and its territory
utterly helpless. Read pp. 180, 181 (129, 130). "The towns suffered
much, any trade they might have had going to wreck. Robber castles
flourished, all else decayed, no highway safe. What are Hamburg pedlars
made for but to be robbed?"


1415-1440.--_Brandenburg under Friedrich of Nüremberg._

This is the fourth of the men whom you are to remember as creators of
the Prussian monarchy, Henry the Fowler, St. Adalbert, Albert the Bear,
of Ascanien, and Friedrich of Nüremberg; (of Hohenzollern, by name, and
by country, of the Black Forest, north of the Lake of Constance).

Brandenburg is sold to him at Constance, during the great Council, for
about 200,000_l._ of our money, worth perhaps a million in that day;
still, with its capabilities, "dog cheap." Admitting, what no one at the
time denied, the general marketableness of states as private property,
this is the one practical result, thinks Carlyle (not likely to think
wrong), of that oecumenical deliberation, four years long, of the
"elixir of the intellect and dignity of Europe. And that one thing was
not its doing; but a pawnbroking job, intercalated," putting, however,
at last, Brandenburg again under the will of one strong man. On St.
John's day, 1412, he first set foot in his town, "and Brandenburg, under
its wise Kurfürst, begins to be cosmic again." The story of Heavy Peg,
pages 195-198 (138, 140), is one of the most brilliant and important
passages of the first volume; page 199, specially to our purpose, must
be given entire:--

     The offer to be Kaiser was made him in his old days; but he
     wisely declined that too. It was in Brandenburg, by what he
     silently founded there, that he did his chief benefit to
     Germany and mankind. He understood the noble art of
     governing men; had in him the justness, clearness, valor,
     and patience needed for that. A man of sterling probity, for
     one thing. _Which indeed is the first requisite in said
     art_:--if you will have your laws obeyed without mutiny, see
     well that they be pieces of God Almighty's law; otherwise
     all the artillery in the world will not keep down mutiny.

     Friedrich "travelled much over Brandenburg;" looking into
     everything with his own eyes; making, I can well fancy,
     innumerable crooked things straight; reducing more and more
     that famishing dog-kennel of a Brandenburg into a fruitful
     arable field. His portraits represent a square-headed,
     mild-looking, solid gentleman, with a certain twinkle of
     mirth in the serious eyes of him. Except in those Hussite
     wars for Kaiser Sigismund and the Reich, in which no man
     could prosper, he may be defined as constantly prosperous.
     To Brandenburg he was, very literally, the blessing of
     blessings; redemption out of death into life. In the ruins
     of that old Friesack Castle, battered down by Heavy Peg,
     antiquarian science (if it had any eyes) might look for the
     taproot of the Prussian nation, and the beginning of all
     that Brandenburg has since grown to under the sun.

Which growth is now traced by Carlyle in its various budding and
withering, under the succession of the twelve Electors, of whom
Friedrich, with his heavy Peg, is first, and Friedrich, first King of
Prussia, grandfather of Friedrich the Great, the twelfth.


1416-1701.--_Brandenburg under the Hohenzollern Kurfürsts._

Book III.

Who the Hohenzollerns were, and how they came to power in Nüremberg, is
told in Chap. v. of Book II.

Their succession in Brandenburg is given in brief at page 377 (269). I
copy it, in absolute barrenness of enumeration, for our momentary
convenience, here:

    Friedrich 1st of Brandenburg (6th of Nüremberg), 1412-1440
    Friedrich II., called "Iron Teeth,"              1440-1472
    Albert,                                          1472-1486
    Johann,                                          1486-1499
    Joachim I.,                                      1499-1535
    Joachim II.,                                     1535-1571
    Johann George,                                   1571-1598
    Joachim Friedrich,                               1598-1608
    Johann Sigismund,                                1608-1619
    George Wilhelm,                                  1619-1640
    Friedrich Wilhelm (the Great Elector),           1640-1688
    Friedrich, first King; crowned 18th January,       1701

Of this line of princes we have to say they followed generally in their
ancestor's steps, and had success of the like kind more or less;
Hohenzollerns all of them, by character and behaviour as well as by
descent. No lack of quiet energy, of thrift, sound sense. There was
likewise solid fair-play in general, no founding of yourself on ground
that will not carry, _and there was instant, gentle, but inexorable
crushing of mutiny_, if it showed itself, which after the Second
Elector, or at most the Third, it had altogether ceased to do.

This is the general account of them; of special matters note the

II. Friedrich, called "Iron-teeth," from his firmness, proves a notable
manager and governor. Builds the palace at Berlin in its first form, and
makes it his chief residence. Buys Neumark from the fallen Teutsch
Ritters, and generally establishes things on securer footing.

III. Albert, "a fiery, tough old Gentlemen," called the Achilles of
Germany in his day; has half-a-century of fighting with his own
Nürembergers, with Bavaria, France, Burgundy, and its fiery Charles,
besides being head constable to the Kaiser among any disorderly persons
in the East. His skull, long shown on his tomb, "marvellous for strength
and with no visible sutures."

IV. John, the orator of his race; (but the orations unrecorded). His
second son, Archbishop of Maintz, for whose piece of memorable work see
page 223 (143) and read in connection with that the history of Margraf
George, pp. 237-241 (152-154), and the 8th chapter of the third book.

V. Joachim I., of little note; thinks there has been enough Reformation,
and checks proceedings in a dull stubbornness, causing him at least
grave domestic difficulties.--Page 271 (173).

VI. Joachim II. Again active in the Reformation, and staunch,

     though generally in a cautious, weighty, never in a rash,
     swift way, to the great cause of Protestantism and to all
     good causes. He was himself a solemnly devout man; deep,
     awe-stricken reverence dwelling in his view of this
     universe. Most serious, though with a jocose dialect,
     commonly having a cheerful wit in speaking to men. Luther's
     books he called his Seelenschatz, (soul's treasure); Luther
     and the Bible were his chief reading. Fond of profane
     learning, too, and of the useful or ornamental arts; given
     to music, and "would himself sing aloud" when he had a
     melodious leisure hour.

VII. Johann George, a prudent thrifty Herr; no mistresses, no luxuries
allowed; at the sight of a new-fashioned coat he would fly out on an
unhappy youth and pack him from his presence. Very strict in point of
justice; a peasant once appealing to him in one of his inspection
journeys through the country--

     "Grant me justice, Durchlaucht, against so and so; I am your
     Highness's born subject." "Thou shouldst have it, man, wert
     thou a born Turk!" answered Johann George.

Thus, generally, we find this line of Electors representing in Europe
the Puritan mind of England in a somewhat duller, but less dangerous,
form; receiving what Protestantism could teach of honesty and common
sense, but not its anti-Catholic fury, or its selfish spiritual anxiety.
Pardon of sins is not to be had from Tetzel; neither, the Hohenzollern
mind advises with itself, from even Tetzel's master, for either the
buying, or the asking. On the whole, we had better commit as few as
possible, and live just lives and plain ones.

     A conspicuous thrift, veracity, modest solidity, looks
     through the conduct of this Herr; a determined Protestant he
     too, as indeed all the following were and are.

VIII. Joachim Friedrich. Gets hold of Prussia, which hitherto, you
observe, has always been spoken of as a separate country from
Brandenburg. March 11, 1605--"squeezed his way into the actual
guardianship of Preussen and its imbecile Duke, which was his by right."

For my own part, I do not trouble myself much about these rights, never
being able to make out any single one, to begin with, except the right
to keep everything and every place about you in as good order as you
can--Prussia, Poland, or what else. I should much like, for instance,
just now, to hear of any honest Cornish gentleman of the old Drake breed
taking a fancy to land in Spain, and trying what he could make of his
rights as far round Gibraltar as he could enforce them. At all events,
Master Joachim has somehow got hold of Prussia; and means to keep it.

IX. Johann Sigismund. Only notable for our economical purposes, as
getting the "guardianship" of Prussia confirmed to him. The story at
page 317 (226), "a strong flame of choler," indicates a new order of
things among the knights of Europe--"princely etiquettes melting all
into smoke." Too literally so, that being one of the calamitous
functions of the plain lives we are living, and of the busy life our
country is living. In the Duchy of Cleve, especially, concerning which
legal dispute begins in Sigismund's time. And it is well worth the
lawyers' trouble, it seems.

     It amounted, perhaps, to two Yorkshires in extent. A
     naturally opulent country of fertile meadows, shipping
     capabilities, metalliferous hills, and at this time, in
     consequence of the Dutch-Spanish war, and the multitude of
     Protestant refugees, it was getting filled with ingenious
     industries, and rising to be what it still is, the busiest
     quarter of Germany. A country lowing with kine; the hum of
     the flax-spindle heard in its cottages in those old
     days--"much of the linen called Hollands is made in Jülich,
     and only bleached, stamped, and sold by the Dutch," says
     Büsching. A country in our days which is shrouded at short
     intervals with the due canopy of coal-smoke, and loud with
     sounds of the anvil and the loom.

The lawyers took two hundred and six years to settle the question
concerning this Duchy, and the thing Johann Sigismund had claimed
legally in 1609 was actually handed over to Johann Sigismund's
descendant in the seventh generation. "These litigated duchies are now
the Prussian provinces, Jülich, Berg, Cleve, and the nucleus of
Prussia's possessions in the Rhine country."

X. George Wilhelm. Read pp. 325 to 327 (231, 233) on this Elector and
German Protestantism, now fallen cold, and somewhat too little
dangerous. But George Wilhelm is the only weak prince of all the twelve.
For another example how the heart and life of a country depend upon its
prince, not on its council, read this, of Gustavus Adolphus, demanding
the cession of Spandau and Küstrin:

     Which cession Kurfürst George Wilhelm, though giving all his
     prayers to the good cause, could by no means grant. Gustav
     had to insist, with more and more emphasis, advancing at
     last with military menace upon Berlin itself. He was met by
     George Wilhelm and his Council, "in the woods of Cöpenick,"
     short way to the east of that city; there George Wilhelm and
     his Council wandered about, sending messages, hopelessly
     consulting, saying among each other, "Que faire? ils ont des
     canons." For many hours so, round the inflexible Gustav, who
     was there like a fixed mile-stone, and to all questions and
     comers had only one answer.

On our special question of war and its consequences, read this of the
Thirty Years' one:

     But on the whole, the grand weapon in it, and towards the
     latter times, the exclusive one, was hunger. The opposing
     armies tried to starve one another; at lowest, tried each
     not to starve. Each trying to eat the country or, at any
     rate, to leave nothing eatable in it; what that will mean
     for the country we may consider. As the armies too
     frequently, and the Kaiser's armies habitually, lived
     without commissariat, often enough without pay, all horrors
     of war and of being a seat of war, that have been since
     heard of, are poor to those then practised, the detail of
     which is still horrible to read. Germany, in all eatable
     quarters of it, had to undergo the process; tortured, torn
     to pieces, wrecked, and brayed as in a mortar, under the
     iron mace of war. Brandenburg saw its towns seized and
     sacked, its country populations driven to despair by the one
     party and the other. Three times--first in the
     Wallenstein-Mecklenburg times, while fire and sword were the
     weapons, and again, twice over, in the ultimate stages of
     the struggle, when starvation had become the
     method--Brandenburg fell to be the principal theatre of
     conflict, where all forms of the dismal were at their
     height. In 1638, three years after that precious "Peace of
     Prag,"... the ravages of the starving Gallas and his
     Imperialists excelled all precedent,... men ate human flesh,
     nay, human creatures ate their own children. "Que faire? ils
     ont des canons!"

"We have now arrived at the lowest nadir point" (says Carlyle) "of the
history of Brandenburg under the Hohenzollerns." Is this then all that
Heavy Peg and our nine Kurfürsts have done for us?

Carlyle does not mean that; but even he, greatest of historians since
Tacitus, is not enough careful to mark for us the growth of national
character, as distinct from the prosperity of dynasties.

A republican historian would think of this development only, and suppose
it to be possible without any dynasties.

Which is indeed in a measure so, and the work now chiefly needed in
moral philosophy, as well as history, is an analysis of the constant and
prevalent, yet unthought of, influences, which, without any external
help from kings, and in a silent and entirely necessary manner, form, in
Sweden, in Bavaria, in the Tyrol, in the Scottish border, and on the
French sea-coast, races of noble peasants; pacific, poetic, heroic,
Christian-hearted in the deepest sense, who may indeed perish by sword
or famine in any cruel thirty years' war, or ignoble thirty years'
peace, and yet leave such strength to their children that the country,
apparently ravaged into hopeless ruin, revives, under any prudent king,
as the cultivated fields do under the spring rain. How the rock to which
no seed can cling, and which no rain can soften, is subdued into the
good ground which can bring forth its hundredfold, we forget to watch,
while we follow the footsteps of the sower, or mourn the catastrophes of
storm. All this while, the Prussian earth--the Prussian soul--has been
thus dealt upon by successive fate; and now, though laid, as it seems,
utterly desolate, it can be revived by a few years of wisdom and of

Vol. I. Book III. Chap, xviii.--The Great Elector, Friedrich Wilhelm.
Eleventh of the dynasty:--

     There hardly ever came to sovereign power a young man of
     twenty under more distressing, hopeless-looking
     circumstances. Political significance Brandenburg had none;
     a mere Protestant appendage, dragged about by a Papist
     Kaiser. His father's Prime Minister, as we have seen, was in
     the interest of his enemies; not Brandenburg's servant, but
     Austria's. The very commandants of his fortresses,
     Commandant of Spandau more especially, refused to obey
     Friedrich Wilhelm on his accession; "were bound to obey the
     Kaiser in the first place."

     For twenty years past Brandenburg had been scoured by
     hostile armies, which, especially the Kaiser's part of
     which, committed outrages new in human history. In a year or
     two hence, Brandenburg became again the theatre of business,
     Austrian Gallas advancing thither again (1644) with intent
     "to shut up Torstenson and his Swedes in Jutland." Gallas
     could by no means do what he intended; on the contrary, he
     had to run from Torstenson--what feet could do; was hunted,
     he and his Merode Brüder (beautiful inventors of the
     "marauding" art), till they pretty much all died (crepirten)
     says Köhler. No great loss to society, the death of these
     artists, but we can fancy what their life, and especially
     what the process of their dying, may have cost poor
     Brandenburg again!

     Friedrich Wilhelm's aim, in this as in other emergencies,
     was sun-clear to himself, but for most part dim to everybody
     else. He had to walk very warily, Sweden on one hand of him,
     suspicious Kaiser on the other: he had to wear semblances,
     to be ready with evasive words, and advance noiselessly by
     many circuits. More delicate operation could not be
     imagined. But advance he did; advance and arrive. With
     extraordinary talent, diligence, and felicity the young man
     wound himself out of this first fatal position, got those
     foreign armies pushed out of his country, and kept them out.
     His first concern had been to find some vestige of revenue,
     to put that upon a clear footing, and by loans or otherwise
     to scrape a little ready-money together. On the strength _of
     which a small body of soldiers could be collected about him,
     and drilled into real ability to fight and obey_. This as a
     basis: on this followed all manner of things, freedom from
     Swedish-Austrian invasions, as the first thing. He was
     himself, as appeared by-and-by, a fighter of the first
     quality, when it came to that; but never was willing to
     fight if he could help it. Preferred rather to shift,
     manoeuvre, and negotiate, which he did in most vigilant,
     adroit, and masterly manner. But by degrees he had grown to
     have, and could maintain it, an army of twenty-four thousand
     men, among the best troops then in being.

To wear semblances, to be ready with evasive words, how is this, Mr.
Carlyle? thinks perhaps the rightly thoughtful reader.

Yes, such things have to be; There are lies and lies, and there are
truths and truths. Ulysses cannot ride on the ram's back, like Phryxus;
but must ride under his belly. Read also this, presently following:

     Shortly after which, Friedrich Wilhelm, who had shone much
     in the battle of Warsaw, into which he was dragged against
     his will, changed sides. An inconsistent, treacherous man?
     Perhaps not, O reader! perhaps a man advancing "in
     circuits," the only way he has; spirally, face now to east,
     now to west, with his own reasonable private aim sun-clear
     to him all the while?

The battle of Warsaw, three days long, fought with Gustavus, the
grandfather of Charles XII., against the Poles, virtually ends the
Polish power:

     Old Johann Casimir, not long after that peace of Oliva,
     getting tired of his unruly Polish chivalry and their ways,
     abdicated--retired to Paris, and "and lived much with Ninon
     de l'Enclos and her circle," for the rest of his life. He
     used to complain of his Polish chivalry, that there was no
     solidity in them; nothing but outside glitter, with tumult
     and anarchic noise; fatal want of one essential talent, _the
     talent of obeying_; and has been heard to prophesy that a
     glorious Republic, persisting in such courses, would arrive
     at results which would surprise it.

     Onward from this time, Friedrich Wilhelm figures in the
     world; public men watching his procedure; kings anxious to
     secure him--Dutch print-sellers sticking up his portraits
     for a hero-worshipping public. Fighting hero, had the public
     known it, was not his essential character, though he had to
     fight a great deal. He was essentially an industrial man;
     great in organizing, regulating, in constraining chaotic
     heaps to become cosmic for him. He drains bogs, settles
     colonies in the waste places of his dominions, cuts canals;
     unweariedly encourages trade and work. The Friedrich
     Wilhelm's Canal, which still carries tonnage from the Oder
     to the Spree, is a monument of his zeal in this way;
     creditable with the means he had. To the poor French
     Protestants in the Edict-of-Nantes affair, he was like an
     express benefit of Heaven; one helper appointed to whom the
     help itself was profitable. He munificently welcomed them
     to Brandenburg; showed really a noble piety and human pity,
     as well as judgment; nor did Brandenburg and he want their
     reward. Some twenty thousand nimble French souls, evidently
     of the best French quality, found a home there; made "waste
     sands about Berlin into potherb gardens;" and in spiritual
     Brandenburg, too, did something of horticulture which is
     still noticeable.

Now read carefully the description of the man, p. 352 (224-5); the story
of the battle of Fehrbellin, "the Marathon of Brandenburg," p. 354
(225); and of the winter campaign of 1679, p. 356 (227), beginning with
its week's marches at sixty miles a day; his wife, as always, being with

     Louisa, honest and loving Dutch girl, aunt to our William of
     Orange, who trimmed up her own "Orange-burg"
     (country-house), twenty miles north of Berlin, into a little
     jewel of the Dutch type, potherb gardens, training-schools
     for young girls, and the like, a favorite abode of hers when
     she was at liberty for recreation. But her life was busy and
     earnest; she was helpmate, not in name only, to an ever busy
     man. They were married young; a marriage of love withal.
     Young Friedrich Wilhelm's courtship; wedding in Holland; the
     honest, trustful walk and conversation of the two sovereign
     spouses, their journeyings together, their mutual hopes,
     fears, and manifold vicissitudes, till death, with stern
     beauty, shut it in; all is human, true, and wholesome in it,
     interesting to look upon, and rare among sovereign persons.

Louisa died in 1667, twenty-one years before her husband, who married
again--(little to his contentment)--died in 1688; and Louisa's second
son, Friedrich, ten years old at his mother's death, and now therefore
thirty-one, succeeds, becoming afterwards Friedrich I. of Prussia.

And here we pause on two great questions. Prussia is assuredly at this
point a happier and better country than it was, when inhabited by Wends.
But is Friedrich I. a happier and better man than Henry the Fowler? Have
all these kings thus improved their country, but never themselves? Is
this somewhat expensive and ambitious Herr, Friedrich I. buttoned in
diamonds, indeed the best that Protestantism can produce, as against
Fowlers, Bears, and Red Beards? Much more, Friedrich Wilhelm, orthodox
on predestination; most of all, his less orthodox son;--have we, in
these, the highest results which Dr. Martin Luther can produce for the
present, in the first circles of society? And if not, how is it that the
country, having gained so much in intelligence and strength, lies more
passively in their power than the baser country did under that of nobler

These, and collateral questions, I mean to work out as I can, with
Carlyle's good help;--but must pause for this time; in doubt, as
heretofore. Only of this one thing I doubt not, that the name of all
great kings, set over Christian nations, must at last be, in fufilment,
the hereditary one of these German princes, "Rich in Peace;" and that
their coronation will be with Wild olive, not with gold.


[142] The late Sir Herbert Edwardes.

[143] I would much rather print these passages of Carlyle in large
golden letters than small black ones; but they are only here at all for
unlucky people who can't read them with the context.










LECTURE I.                          PAGE

THE VALLEY OF DIAMONDS                 1


THE PYRAMID BUILDERS                  21


THE CRYSTAL LIFE                      31


THE CRYSTAL ORDERS                    43


CRYSTAL VIRTUES                       56


CRYSTAL QUARRELS                      70


HOME VIRTUES                          82


CRYSTAL CAPRICE                       98


CRYSTAL SORROWS                      111


THE CRYSTAL REST                     125

NOTES                                143

FICTION--FAIR AND FOUL               153



ON FIRST PRACTICE                    233


SKETCHING FROM NATURE                293






FIGURE                                                       PAGE

1. SQUARES                                                    237

2. GRADATED SPACES                                            241

3. OUTLINE OF LETTER                                          245

4. OUTLINE OF BOUGH OF TREE                                   248

5. CHARRED LOG                                                257

6. SHOOT OF LILAC                                             272

7. LEAF                                                       274

8. BOUGH OF PHILLYREA                                         275

9. SPRAY OF PHILLYREA                                         276

10. TRUNK OF TREE, BY TITIAN                                  284

11. SKETCH FROM RAPHAEL                                       285

12. OUTLINES OF A BALL                                        287

13. WOODCUT OF DURER'S                                        289

14, 15, 16. MASSES OF LEAVES                             290, 291

17, 18, 19. CURVATURES IN LEAVES                         295, 296

20. FROM AN ETCHING, BY TURNER                                297

21. ALPINE BRIDGE                                             307


23. OUTLINES EXPRESSIVE OF FOLIAGE                            314

24. SHOOT OF SPANISH CHESTNUT                                 315

25. YOUNG SHOOT OF OAK                                        316

26, 27, 28. WOODCUTS AFTER TITIAN                        321, 322

29. DIAGRAM OF WINDOW                                         339

30. SWISS COTTAGE                                             355

31. GROUPS OF LEAVE                                           350

32. PAINTING, by Turner                                       361

33. SKETCH ON CALAIS SANDS, by Turner                         365

34. DRAWING OF AN IDEAL BRIDGE, by Turner                     369


36. CURVES                                                    371

37, 38, 39. CURVES FOUND IN LEAVES                            372

40. OUTLINES OF A TREE TRUNK                                  373

41-44. TREE RADIATION                                    374, 375

45, 46. WOODCUTS OF LEAF                                      376

47. LEAF OF COLUMBINE                                         378

48. TOP OF AN OLD TOWER                                       385


OLD LECTURER (of incalculable age)

FLORRIE, on astronomical evidence presumed to be aged 9.

ISABEL                                            "  11.

MAY                                               "  11.

LILY                                              "  12.

KATHLEEN                                          "  14.

LUCILLA                                           "  15.

VIOLET                                            "  16.

DORA (who has the keys and is housekeeper)        "  17.

EGYPT (so called from her dark eyes)              "  17.

JESSIE (who somehow always makes the room look
       brighter when she is in it)                "  18.

MARY (of whom everybody, including the Old Lecturer,
       is in great awe)                           "  20.


I have seldom been more disappointed by the result of my best pains
given to any of my books, than by the earnest request of my publisher,
after the opinion of the public had been taken on the 'Ethics of the
Dust,' that I would "write no more in dialogue!" However, I bowed to
public judgment in this matter at once, (knowing also my inventive
powers to be of the feeblest,); but in reprinting the book, (at the
prevailing request of my kind friend, Mr. Henry Willett,) I would pray
the readers whom it may at first offend by its disconnected method, to
examine, nevertheless, with care, the passages in which the principal
speaker sums the conclusions of any dialogue: for these summaries were
written as introductions, for young people, to all that I have said on
the same matters in my larger books; and, on re-reading them, they
satisfy me better, and seem to me calculated to be more generally
useful, than anything else I have done of the kind.

The summary of the contents of the whole book, beginning, "You may at
least earnestly believe," at p. 130, is thus the clearest exposition I
have ever yet given of the general conditions under which the Personal
Creative Power manifests itself in the forms of matter; and the analysis
of heathen conceptions of Deity, beginning at p. 131, and closing at p.
138, not only prefaces, but very nearly supersedes, all that in more
lengthy terms I have since asserted, or pleaded for, in 'Aratra
Pentelici,' and the 'Queen of the Air.'

And thus, however the book may fail in its intention of suggesting new
occupations or interests to its younger readers, I think it worth
reprinting, in the way I have also reprinted 'Unto this Last,'--page for
page; that the students of my more advanced works may be able to refer
to these as the original documents of them; of which the most essential
in this book are these following.

I. The explanation of the baseness of the avaricious functions of the
Lower Pthah, p. 39, with his beetle-gospel, p. 41, "that a nation can
stand on its vices better than on its virtues," explains the main motive
of all my books on Political Economy.

II. The examination of the connexion between stupidity and crime, pp.
57-62, anticipated all that I have had to urge in Fors Clavigera against
the commonly alleged excuse for public wickedness,--"They don't mean
it--they don't know any better."

III. The examination of the roots of Moral Power, pp. 90-92, is a
summary of what is afterwards developed with utmost care in my inaugural
lecture at Oxford on the relation of Art to Morals; compare in that
lecture, §§ 83-85, with the sentence in p. 91 of this book, "Nothing is
ever done so as really to please our Father, unless we would also have
done it, though we had had no Father to know of it."

This sentence, however, it must be observed, regards only the general
conditions of action in the children of God, in consequence of which it
is foretold of them by Christ that they will say at the Judgment, "When
saw we thee?" It does not refer to the distinct cases in which virtue
consists in faith given to command, appearing to foolish human judgment
inconsistent with the Moral Law, as in the sacrifice of Isaac; nor to
those in which any directly-given command requires nothing more of
virtue than obedience.

IV. The subsequent pages, 92-97, were written especially to check the
dangerous impulses natural to the minds of many amiable young women, in
the direction of narrow and selfish religious sentiment: and they
contain, therefore, nearly everything which I believe it necessary that
young people should be made to observe, respecting the errors of
monastic life. But they in nowise enter on the reverse, or favourable
side: of which indeed I did not, and as yet do not, feel myself able to
speak with any decisiveness; the evidence on that side, as stated in the
text, having "never yet been dispassionately examined."

V. The dialogue with Lucilla, beginning at p. 63, is, to my own fancy,
the best bit of conversation in the book, and the issue of it, at p. 67,
the most practically and immediately useful. For on the idea of the
inevitable weakness and corruption of human nature, has logically
followed, in our daily life, the horrible creed of modern "Social
science," that all social action must be scientifically founded on
vicious impulses. But on the habit of measuring and reverencing our
powers and talents that we may kindly use them, will be founded a true
Social science, developing, by the employment of them, all the real
powers and honourable feelings of the race.

VI. Finally, the account given in the second and third lectures, of the
real nature and marvellousness of the laws of crystallization, is
necessary to the understanding of what farther teaching of the beauty of
inorganic form I may be able to give, either in 'Deucalion,' or in my
'Elements of Drawing.' I wish however that the second lecture had been
made the beginning of the book; and would fain now cancel the first
altogether, which I perceive to be both obscure and dull. It was meant
for a metaphorical description of the pleasures and dangers in the
kingdom of Mammon, or of worldly wealth; its waters mixed with blood,
its fruits entangled in thickets of trouble, and poisonous when
gathered; and the final captivity of its inhabitants within frozen walls
of cruelty and disdain. But the imagery is stupid and ineffective
throughout; and I retain this chapter only because I am resolved to
leave no room for any one to say that I have withdrawn, as erroneous in
principle, so much as a single sentence of any of my books written since

One license taken in this book, however, though often permitted to
essay-writers for the relief of their dulness, I never mean to take
more,--the relation of composed metaphor as of actual dream, pp. 23 and
104. I assumed, it is true, that in these places the supposed dream
would be easily seen to be an invention; but must not any more, even
under so transparent disguise, pretend to any share in the real powers
of Vision possessed by great poets and true painters.


    _10th October, 1877._


The following lectures were really given, in substance, at a girls'
school (far in the country); which in the course of various experiments
on the possibility of introducing some better practice of drawing into
the modern scheme of female education, I visited frequently enough to
enable the children to regard me as a friend. The lectures always fell
more or less into the form of fragmentary answers to questions; and they
are allowed to retain that form, as, on the whole, likely to be more
interesting than the symmetries of a continuous treatise. Many children
(for the school was large) took part, at different times, in the
conversations; but I have endeavoured, without confusedly multiplying
the number of imaginary[144] speakers, to represent, as far as I could,
the general tone of comment and enquiry among young people.

It will be at once seen that these Lectures were not intended for an
introduction to mineralogy. Their purpose was merely to awaken in the
minds of young girls, who were ready to work earnestly and
systematically, a vital interest in the subject of their study. No
science can be learned in play; but it is often possible, in play, to
bring good fruit out of past labour, or show sufficient reasons for the
labour of the future.

The narrowness of this aim does not, indeed, justify the absence of all
reference to many important principles of structure, and many of the
most interesting orders of minerals; but I felt it impossible to go far
into detail without illustrations; and if readers find this book useful,
I may, perhaps, endeavour to supplement it by illustrated notes of the
more interesting phenomena in separate groups of familiar
minerals;--flints of the chalk;--agates of the basalts;--and the
fantastic and exquisitely beautiful varieties of the vein-ores of the
two commonest metals, lead and iron. But I have always found that the
less we speak of our intentions, the more chance there is of our
realizing them; and this poor little book will sufficiently have done
its work, for the present, if it engages any of its young readers in
study which may enable them to despise it for its shortcomings.


    _Christmas, 1865._


[144] I do not mean, in saying 'imaginary,' that I have not permitted to
myself, in several instances, the affectionate discourtesy of some
reminiscence of personal character; for which I must hope to be forgiven
by my old pupils and their friends, as I could not otherwise have
written the book at all. But only two sentences in all the dialogues,
and the anecdote of 'Dotty,' are literally 'historical.'




     _A very idle talk, by the dining-room fire, after
     raisin-and-almond time._


OLD LECTURER (L.). Come here, Isabel, and tell me what the make-believe
was, this afternoon.

ISABEL (_arranging herself very primly on the foot-stool_). Such a
dreadful one! Florrie and I were lost in the Valley of Diamonds.

L. What! Sindbad's, which nobody could get out of?

ISABEL. Yes; but Florrie and I got out of it.

L. So I see. At least, I see you did; but are you sure Florrie did?

ISABEL. Quite sure.

FLORRIE (_putting her head round from behind_ L.'s _sofa-cushion_).
Quite sure. (_Disappears again._)

L. I think I could be made to feel surer about it.

     (FLORRIE _reappears, gives_ L. _a kiss, and again exit._)

L. I suppose it's all right; but how did you manage it?

ISABEL. Well, you know, the eagle that took up Sindbad was very
large--very, very large--the largest of all the eagles.

L. How large were the others?

ISABEL. I don't quite know--they were so far off. But this one was, oh,
so big! and it had great wings, as wide as--twice over the ceiling. So,
when it was picking up Sindbad, Florrie and I thought it wouldn't know
if we got on its back too: so I got up first, and then I pulled up
Florrie, and we put our arms round its neck, and away it flew.

L. But why did you want to get out of the valley? and why haven't you
brought me some diamonds?

ISABEL. It was because of the serpents. I couldn't pick up even the
least little bit of a diamond, I was so frightened.

L. You should not have minded the serpents.

ISABEL. Oh, but suppose that they had minded me?

L. We all of us mind you a little too much, Isabel, I'm afraid.

ISABEL. No--no--no, indeed.

L. I tell you what, Isabel--I don't believe either Sindbad, or Florrie,
or you, ever were in the Valley of Diamonds.

ISABEL. You naughty! when I tell you we were!

L. Because you say you were frightened at the serpents.

ISABEL. And wouldn't you have been?

L. Not at those serpents. Nobody who really goes into the valley is ever
frightened at them--they are so beautiful.

ISABEL (_suddenly serious_). But there's no real Valley of Diamonds, is

L. Yes, Isabel; very real indeed.

FLORRIE (_reappearing_). Oh, where? Tell me about it.

L. I cannot tell you a great deal about it; only I know it is very
different from Sindbad's. In his valley, there was only a diamond lying
here and there; but, in the real valley, there are diamonds covering the
grass in showers every morning, instead of dew: and there are clusters
of trees, which look like lilac trees; but, in spring, all their
blossoms are of amethyst.

FLORRIE. But there can't be any serpents there, then?

L. Why not?

FLORRIE. Because they don't come into such beautiful places.

L. I never said it was a beautiful place.

FLORRIE. What! not with diamonds strewed about it like dew?

L. That's according te your fancy, Florrie. For myself, I like dew

ISABEL. Oh, but the dew won't stay; it all dries!

L. Yes; and it would be much nicer if the diamonds dried too, for the
people in the valley have to sweep them off the grass, in heaps,
whenever they want to walk on it; and then the heaps glitter so, they
hurt one's eyes.

FLORRIE. Now you're just playing, you know.

L. So are you, you know.

FLORRIE. Yes, but you mustn't play.

L. That's very hard, Florrie; why mustn't I, if you may?

FLORRIE. Oh, I may, because I'm little, but you mustn't, because
you're--(_hesitates for a delicate expression of magnitude_).

L. (_rudely taking the first that comes_). Because I'm big? No; that's
not the way of it at all, Florrie. Because you're little, you should
have very little play; and because I'm big I should have a great deal.

ISABEL _and_ FLORRIE (_both_). No--no--no--no. That isn't it at all.
(ISABEL _sola, quoting Miss Ingelow._) 'The lambs play always--they know
no better.' (_Putting her head very much on one side._) Ah,
now--please--please--tell us true; we want to know.

L. But why do you want me to tell you true, any more than the man who
wrote the 'Arabian Nights?'

ISABEL. Because--because we like to know about real things; and you can
tell us, and we can't ask the man who wrote the stories.

L. What do you call real things?

ISABEL. Now, you know! Things that really are.

L. Whether you can see them or not?

ISABEL. Yes, if somebody else saw them.

L. But if nobody has ever seen them?

ISABEL (_evading the point_.) Well, but, you know, if there were a real
Valley of Diamonds, somebody _must_ have seen it.

L. You cannot be so sure of that, Isabel. Many people go to real places,
and never see them; and many people pass through this valley, and never
see it.

FLORRIE. What stupid people they must be!

L. No, Florrie. They are much wiser than the people who do see it.

MAY. I think I know where it is.

ISABEL. Tell us more about it, and then we'll guess.

L. Well. There's a great broad road, by a river-side, leading up into

MAY (_gravely cunning, with emphasis on the last word_). Does the road
really go _up_?

L. You think it should go down into a valley? No, it goes up; this is a
valley among the hills, and it is as high as the clouds, and is often
full of them; so that even the people who most want to see it, cannot,

ISABEL. And what is the river beside the road like?

L. It ought to be very beautiful, because it flows over diamond
sand--only the water is thick and red.

ISABEL. Red water?

L. It isn't all water.

MAY. Oh, please never mind that, Isabel, just now; I want to hear about
the valley.

L. So the entrance to it is very wide, under a steep rock; only such
numbers of people are always trying to get in, that they keep jostling
each other, and manage it but slowly. Some weak ones are pushed back,
and never get in at all; and make great moaning as they go away: but
perhaps they are none the worse in the end.

MAY. And when one gets in, what is it like?

L. It is up and down, broken kind of ground: the road stops directly;
and there are great dark rocks, covered all over with wild gourds and
wild vines; the gourds, if you cut them, are red, with black seeds, like
water-melons, and look ever so nice; and the people of the place make a
red pottage of them: but you must take care not to eat any if you ever
want to leave the valley (though I believe putting plenty of meal in it
makes it wholesome). Then the wild vines have clusters of the colour of
amber; and the people of the country say they are the grape of Eshcol;
and sweeter than honey; but, indeed, if anybody else tastes them, they
are like gall. Then there are thickets of bramble, so thorny that they
would be cut away directly, anywhere else; but here they are covered
with little cinque-foiled blossoms of pure silver; and, for berries,
they have clusters of rubies. Dark rubies, which you only see are red
after gathering them. But you may fancy what blackberry parties the
children have! Only they get their frocks and hands sadly torn.

LILY. But rubies can't spot one's frocks as blackberries do?

L. No; but I'll tell you what spots them--the mulberries. There are
great forests of them, all up the hills, covered with silkworms, some
munching the leaves so loud that it is like mills at work; and some
spinning. But the berries are the blackest you ever saw; and, wherever
they fall, they stain a deep red; and nothing ever washes it out again.
And it is their juice, soaking through the grass, which makes the river
so red, because all its springs are in this wood. And the boughs of the
trees are twisted, as if in pain, like old olive branches; and their
leaves are dark. And it is in these forests that the serpents are; but
nobody is afraid of them. They have fine crimson crests, and they are
wreathed about the wild branches, one in every tree, nearly; and they
are singing serpents, for the serpents are, in this forest, what birds
are in ours.

FLORRIE. Oh, I don't want to go there at all, now.

L. You would like it very much indeed, Florrie, if you were there. The
serpents would not bite you; the only fear would be of your turning into

FLORRIE. Oh, dear, but that's worse.

L. You wouldn't think so if you really were turned into one, Florrie;
you would be very proud of your crest. And as long as you were yourself
(not that you could get there if you remained quite the little Florrie
you are now), you would like to hear the serpents sing. They hiss a
little through it, like the cicadas in Italy; but they keep good time,
and sing delightful melodies; and most of them have seven heads, with
throats which each take a note of the octave; so that they can sing
chords--it is very fine indeed. And the fire-flies fly round the edge of
the forests all the night long; you wade in fire-flies, they make the
fields look like a lake trembling with reflection of stars; but you must
take care not to touch them, for they are not like Italian fireflies,
but burn, like real sparks.

FLORRIE. I don't like it at all; I'll never go there.

L. I hope not, Florrie; or at least that you will get out again if you
do. And it is very difficult to get out, for beyond these serpent
forests there are great cliffs of dead gold, which form a labyrinth,
winding always higher and higher, till the gold is all split asunder by
wedges of ice; and glaciers, welded, half of ice seven times frozen, and
half of gold seven times frozen, hang down from them, and fall in
thunder, cleaving into deadly splinters, like the Cretan arrowheads; and
into a mixed dust of snow and gold, ponderous, yet which the mountain
whirlwinds are able to lift and drive in wreaths and pillars, hiding the
paths with a burial cloud, fatal at once with wintry chill, and weight
of golden ashes. So the wanderers in the labyrinth fall, one by one, and
are buried there:--yet, over the drifted graves, those who are spared
climb to the last, through coil on coil of the path;--for at the end of
it they see the king of the valley, sitting on his throne: and beside
him (but it is only a false vision), spectra of creatures like
themselves, set on thrones, from which they seem to look down on all the
kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them. And on the canopy of his
throne there is an inscription in fiery letters, which they strive to
read, but cannot; for it is written in words which are like the words of
all languages, and yet are of none. Men say it is more like their own
tongue to the English than it is to any other nation; but the only
record of it is by an Italian, who heard the King himself cry it as a
war cry, 'Pape Satan, Pape Satan Aleppe.'[145]

SIBYL. But do they all perish there? You said there was a way through
the valley, and out of it.

L. Yes; but few find it. If any of them keep to the grass paths, where
the diamonds are swept aside; and hold their hands over their eyes so as
not to be dazzled, the grass paths lead forward gradually to a place
where one sees a little opening in the golden rocks. You were at
Chamouni last year, Sibyl; did your guide chance to show you the pierced
rock of the Aiguille du Midi?

SIBYL. No, indeed, we only got up from Geneva on Monday night; and it
rained all Tuesday; and we had to be back at Geneva again, early on
Wednesday morning.

L. Of course. That is the way to see a country in a Sibylline manner, by
inner consciousness: but you might have seen the pierced rock in your
drive up, or down, if the clouds broke: not that there is much to see in
it; one of the crags of the aiguille-edge, on the southern slope of it,
is struck sharply through, as by an awl, into a little eyelet hole;
which you may see, seven thousand feet above the valley (as the clouds
flit past behind it, or leave the sky), first white, and then dark blue.
Well, there's just such an eyelet hole in one of the upper crags of the
Diamond Valley; and, from a distance, you think that it is no bigger
than the eye of a needle. But if you get up to it, they say you may
drive a loaded camel through it, and that there are fine things on the
other side, but I have never spoken with anybody who had been through.

SIBYL. I think we understand it now. We will try to write it down, and
think of it.

L. Meantime, Florrie, though all that I have been telling you is very
true, yet you must not think the sort of diamonds that people wear in
rings and necklaces are found lying about on the grass. Would you like
to see how they really are found?

FLORRIE. Oh, yes--yes.

L. Isabel--or Lily--run up to my room and fetch me the little box with a
glass lid, out of the top drawer of the chest of drawers. (_Race
between_ LILY _and_ ISABEL.)

     (_Re-enter_ ISABEL _with the box, very much out of breath._
     LILY _behind._)

L. Why, you never can beat Lily in a race on the stairs, can you,

ISABEL (_panting_). Lily--beat me--ever so far--but she gave me--the
box--to carry in.

L. Take off the lid, then; gently.

FLORRIE (_after peeping in, disappointed_). There's only a great ugly
brown stone!

L. Not much more than that, certainly, Florrie, if people were wise. But
look, it is not a single stone; but a knot of pebbles fastened together
by gravel; and in the gravel, or compressed sand, if you look close, you
will see grains of gold glittering everywhere, all through; and then, do
you see these two white beads, which shine, as if they had been covered
with grease?

FLORRIE. May I touch them?

L. Yes; you will find they are not greasy, only very smooth. Well, those
are the fatal jewels; native here in their dust with gold, so that you
may see, cradled here together, the two great enemies of mankind,--the
strongest of all malignant physical powers that have tormented our race.

SIBYL. Is that really so? I know they do great harm; but do they not
also do great good?

L. My dear child, what good? Was any woman, do you suppose, ever the
better for possessing diamonds? but how many have been made base,
frivolous, and miserable by desiring them? Was ever man the better for
having coffers full of gold? But who shall measure the guilt that is
incurred to fill them? Look into the history of any civilised nations;
analyse, with reference to this one cause of crime and misery, the lives
and thoughts of their nobles, priests, merchants, and men of luxurious
life. Every other temptation is at last concentrated into this; pride,
and lust, and envy, and anger all give up their strength to avarice. The
sin of the whole world is essentially the sin of Judas. Men do not
disbelieve their Christ; but they sell Him.

SIBYL. But surely that is the fault of human nature? it is not caused by
the accident, as it were, of there being a pretty metal, like gold, to
be found by digging. If people could not find that, would they not find
something else, and quarrel for it instead?

L. No. Wherever legislators have succeeded in excluding, for a time,
jewels and precious metals from among national possessions, the national
spirit has remained healthy. Covetousness is not natural to
man--generosity is; but covetousness must be excited by a special cause,
as a given disease by a given miasma; and the essential nature of a
material for the excitement of covetousness is, that it shall be a
beautiful thing which can be retained _without a use_. The moment we
can use our possessions to any good purpose ourselves, the instinct of
communicating that use to others rises side by side with our power. If
you can read a book rightly, you will want others to hear it; if you can
enjoy a picture rightly, you will want others to see it: learn how to
manage a horse, a plough, or a ship, and you will desire to make your
subordinates good horsemen, ploughmen, or sailors; you will never be
able to see the fine instrument you are master of, abused; but, once fix
your desire on anything useless, and all the purest pride and folly in
your heart will mix with the desire, and make you at last wholly
inhuman, a mere ugly lump of stomach and suckers, like a cuttle-fish.

SIBYL. But surely, these two beautiful things, gold and diamonds, must
have been appointed to some good purpose?

L. Quite conceivably so, my dear: as also earthquakes and pestilences;
but of such ultimate purposes we can have no sight. The practical,
immediate office of the earthquake and pestilence is to slay us, like
moths; and, as moths, we shall be wise to live out of their way. So, the
practical, immediate office of gold and diamonds is the multiplied
destruction of souls (in whatever sense you have been taught to
understand that phrase); and the paralysis of wholesome human effort and
thought on the face of God's earth: and a wise nation will live out of
the way of them. The money which the English habitually spend in cutting
diamonds would, in ten years, if it were applied to cutting rocks
instead, leave no dangerous reef nor difficult harbour round the whole
island coast. Great Britain would be a diamond worth cutting, indeed, a
true piece of regalia. (_Leaves this to their thoughts for a little
while._) Then, also, we poor mineralogists might sometimes have the
chance of seeing a fine crystal of diamond unhacked by the jeweller.

SIBYL. Would it be more beautiful uncut?

L. No; but of infinite interest. We might even come to know something
about the making of diamonds.

SIBYL. I thought the chemists could make them already?

L. In very small black crystals, yes; but no one knows how they are
formed where they are found; or if indeed they are formed there at all.
These, in my hand, look as if they had been swept down with the gravel
and gold; only we can trace the gravel and gold to their native rocks,
but not the diamonds. Read the account given of the diamond in any good
work on mineralogy;--you will find nothing but lists of localities of
gravel, or conglomerate rock (which is only an old indurated gravel).
Some say it was once a vegetable gum; but it may have been charred wood;
but what one would like to know is, mainly, why charcoal should make
itself into diamonds in India, and only into black lead in Borrowdale.

SIBYL. Are they wholly the same, then?

L. There is a little iron mixed with our black lead but nothing to
hinder its crystallisation. Your pencils in fact are all pointed with
formless diamond, though they would be HHH pencils to purpose, if it

SUBYL. But what _is_ crystallisation?

L. A pleasant question, when one's half asleep, and it has been tea time
these two hours. What thoughtless things girls are!

SIBYL. Yes, we are; but we want to know, for all that.

L. My dear, it would take a week to tell you.

SIBYL. Well, take it, and tell us.

L. But nobody knows anything about it.

SIBYL. Then tell us something that nobody knows.

L. Get along with you, and tell Dora to make tea.

     (_The house rises; but of course the_ LECTURER _wanted to be
     forced to lecture again, and was._)


[145] Dante, Inf. 7. 1.



     _In the large Schoolroom, to which everybody has been
     summoned by ringing of the great bell._

L. So you have all actually come to hear about crystallisation! I cannot
conceive why, unless the little ones think that the discussion may
involve some reference to sugar-candy.

     (_Symptoms of high displeasure among the younger members of
     council._ ISABEL _frowns severely at L., and shakes her head

My dear children, if you knew it, you are yourselves, at this moment, as
you sit in your ranks, nothing, in the eye of a mineralogist, but a
lovely group of rosy sugar-candy, arranged by atomic forces. And even
admitting you to be something more, you have certainly been
crystallising without knowing it. Did I not hear a great hurrying and
whispering, ten minutes ago, when you were late in from the playground;
and thought you would not all be quietly seated by the time I was
ready:--besides some discussion about places--something about 'it's not
being fair that the little ones should always be nearest?' Well, you
were then all being crystallised. When you ran in from the garden, and
against one another in the passages, you were in what mineralogists
would call a state of solution, and gradual confluence; when you got
seated in those orderly rows, each in her proper place, you became
crystalline. That is just what the atoms of a mineral do, if they can,
whenever they get disordered: they get into order again as soon as may

I hope you feel inclined to interrupt me, and say, 'But we know our
places; how do the atoms know theirs? And sometimes we dispute about
our places; do the atoms--(and, besides, we don't like being compared to
atoms at all)--never dispute about theirs?' Two wise questions these, if
you had a mind to put them! it was long before I asked them myself, of
myself. And I will not call you atoms any more. May I call you--let me
see--'primary molecules?' (_General dissent, indicated in subdued but
decisive murmurs._) No! not even, in familiar Saxon, 'dust?'

     (_Pause, with expression on faces of sorrowful doubt_; LILY
     _gives voice to the general sentiment in a timid 'Please

No, children, I won't call you that; and mind, as you grow up, that you
do not get into an idle and wicked habit of calling yourselves that. You
are something better than dust, and have other duties to do than ever
dust can do; and the bonds of affection you will enter into are better
than merely 'getting into order.' But see to it, on the other hand, that
you always behave at least as well as 'dust;' remember, it is only on
compulsion, and while it has no free permission to do as it likes, that
_it_ ever gets out of order; but sometimes, with some of us, the
compulsion has to be the other way--hasn't it? (_Remonstratory whispers,
expressive of opinion that the_ LECTURER _is becoming too personal._)
I'm not looking at anybody in particular--indeed I am not. Nay, if you
blush so, Kathleen, how can one help looking? We'll go back to the

'How do they know their places?' you asked, or should have asked. Yes,
and they have to do much more than know them: they have to find their
way to them, and that quietly and at once, without running against each

We may, indeed, state it briefly thus:--Suppose you have to build a
castle, with towers and roofs and buttresses, out of bricks of a given
shape, and that these bricks are all lying in a huge heap at the bottom,
in utter confusion, upset out of carts at random. You would have to draw
a great many plans, and count all your bricks, and be sure you had
enough for this and that tower, before you began, and then you would
have to lay your foundation, and add layer by layer, in order, slowly.

But how would you be astonished, in these melancholy days, when children
don't read children's books, nor believe any more in fairies, if
suddenly a real benevolent fairy, in a bright brick-red gown, were to
rise in the midst of the red bricks, and to tap the heap of them with
her wand, and say: 'Bricks, bricks, to your places!' and then you saw in
an instant the whole heap rise in the air, like a swarm of red bees,
and--you have been used to see bees make a honeycomb, and to think that
strange enough, but now you would see the honeycomb make itself!--You
want to ask something, Florrie, by the look of your eyes.

FLORRIE. Are they turned into real bees, with stings?

L. No, Florrie; you are only to fancy flying bricks, as you saw the
slates flying from the roof the other day in the storm; only those
slates didn't seem to know where they were going, and, besides, were
going where they had no business: but my spell-bound bricks, though they
have no wings, and what is worse, no heads and no eyes, yet find their
way in the air just where they should settle, into towers and roofs,
each flying to his place and fastening there at the right moment, so
that every other one shall fit to him in his turn.

LILY. But who are the fairies, then, who build the crystals?

L. There is one great fairy, Lily, who builds much more than crystals;
but she builds these also. I dreamed that I saw her building a pyramid,
the other day, as she used to do, for the Pharaohs.

ISABEL. But that was only a dream?

L. Some dreams are truer than some wakings, Isabel; but I won't tell it
you unless you like.

ISABEL. Oh, please, please.

L. You are all such wise children, there's no talking to you; you won't
believe anything.

LILY. No, we are not wise, and we will believe anything, when you say we

L. Well, it came about this way. Sibyl, do you recollect that evening
when we had been looking at your old cave by Cumæ, and wondering why you
didn't live there still; and then we wondered how old you were; and
Egypt said you wouldn't tell, and nobody else could tell but she; and
you laughed--I thought very gaily for a Sibyl--and said you would
harness a flock of cranes for us, and we might fly over to Egypt if we
liked, and see.

SIBYL. Yes, and you went, and couldn't find out after all!

L. Why, you know, Egypt had been just doubling that third pyramid of
hers;[146] and making a new entrance into it; and a fine entrance it
was! First, we had to go through an ante-room, which had both its doors
blocked up with stones; and then we had three granite portcullises to
pull up, one after another; and the moment we had got under them, Egypt
signed to somebody above; and down they came again behind us, with a
roar like thunder, only louder; then we got into a passage fit for
nobody but rats, and Egypt wouldn't go any further herself, but said we
might go on if we liked; and so we came to a hole in the pavement, and
then to a granite trap-door--and then we thought we had gone quite far
enough, and came back, and Egypt laughed at us.

EGYPT. You would not have had me take my crown off, and stoop all the
way down a passage fit only for rats?

L. It was not the crown, Egypt--you know that very well. It was the
flounces that would not let you go any farther. I suppose, however, you
wear them as typical of the inundation of the Nile, so it is all right.

ISABEL. Why didn't you take me with you? Where rats can go, mice can. I
wouldn't have come back.

L. No, mousie; you would have gone on by yourself, and you might have
waked one of Pasht's cats.[147] and it would have eaten you. I was very
glad you were not there. But after all this, I suppose the imagination
of the heavy granite blocks and the underground ways had troubled me,
and dreams are often shaped in a strange opposition to the impressions
that have caused them; and from all that we had been reading in Bunsen
about stones that couldn't be lifted with levers, I began to dream about
stones that lifted themselves with wings.

SIBYL. Now you must just tell us all about it.

L. I dreamed that I was standing beside the lake, out of whose clay the
bricks were made for the great pyramid of Asychis.[148] They had just
been all finished, and were lying by the lake margin, in long ridges,
like waves. It was near evening; and as I looked towards the sunset, I
saw a thing like a dark pillar standing where the rock of the desert
stoops to the Nile valley. I did not know there was a pillar there, and
wondered at it; and it grew larger, and glided nearer, becoming like the
form of a man, but vast, and it did not move its feet, but glided like a
pillar of sand. And as it drew nearer, I looked by chance past it,
towards the sun; and saw a silver cloud, which was of all the clouds
closest to the sun (and in one place crossed it), draw itself back from
the sun, suddenly. And it turned, and shot towards the dark pillar;
leaping in an arch, like an arrow out of a bow. And I thought it was
lightning; but when it came near the shadowy pillar, it sank slowly down
beside it, and changed into the shape of a woman, very beautiful, and
with a strength of deep calm in her blue eyes. She was robed to the feet
with a white robe; and above that, to her knees, by the cloud which I
had seen across the sun; but all the golden ripples of it had become
plumes, so that it had changed into two bright wings like those of a
vulture, which wrapped round her to her knees. She had a weaver's
shuttle hanging over her shoulder, by the thread of it, and in her left
hand, arrows, tipped with fire.

ISABEL (_clapping her hands_). Oh! it was Neith, it was Neith! I know

L. Yes; it was Neith herself; and as the two great spirits came nearer
to me, I saw they were the Brother and Sister--the pillared shadow was
the Greater Pthah.[149] And I heard them speak, and the sound of their
words was like a distant singing. I could not understand the words one
by one; yet their sense came to me; and so I knew that Neith had come
down to see her brother's work, and the work that he had put into the
mind of the king to make his servants do. And she was displeased at it;
because she saw only pieces of dark clay: and no porphyry, nor marble,
nor any fair stone that men might engrave the figures of the gods upon.
And she blamed her brother, and said, 'Oh, Lord of truth! is this then
thy will, that men should mould only four-square pieces of clay: and the
forms of the gods no more?' Then the Lord of truth sighed, and said,
'Oh! sister, in truth they do not love us; why should they set up our
images? Let them do what they may, and not lie--let them make their clay
four-square; and labour; and perish.'

Then Neith's dark blue eyes grew darker, and she said, 'Oh, Lord of
truth! why should they love us? their love is vain; or fear us? for
their fear is base. Yet let them testify of us, that they knew we lived
for ever.'

But the Lord of truth answered, 'They know, and yet they know not. Let
them keep silence; for their silence only is truth.'

But Neith answered, 'Brother, wilt thou also make league with Death,
because Death is true? Oh! thou potter, who hast cast these human things
from thy wheel, many to dishonour, and few to honour; wilt thou not let
them so much as see my face; but slay them in slavery?'

But Pthah only answered, 'Let them build, sister, let them build.'

And Neith answered, 'What shall they build, if I build not with them?'

And Pthah drew with his measuring rod upon the sand. And I saw suddenly,
drawn on the sand, the outlines of great cities, and of vaults, and
domes, and aqueducts, and bastions, and towers, greater than obelisks,
covered with black clouds. And the wind blew ripples of sand amidst the
lines that Pthah drew, and the moving sand was like the marching of men.
But I saw that wherever Neith looked at the lines, they faded, and were

'Oh, Brother!' she said at last, 'what is this vanity? If I, who am
Lady of wisdom, do not mock the children of men, why shouldst thou mock
them, who art Lord of truth?' But Pthah answered, 'They thought to bind
me; and they shall be bound. They shall labour in the fire for vanity.'

And Neith said, looking at the sand, 'Brother, there is no true labour
here--there is only weary life and wasteful death.'

And Pthah answered, 'Is it not truer labour, sister, than thy sculpture
of dreams?'

Then Neith smiled; and stopped suddenly.

She looked to the sun; its edge touched the horizon-edge of the desert.
Then she looked to the long heaps of pieces of clay, that lay, each with
its blue shadow, by the lake shore.

'Brother,' she said, 'how long will this pyramid of thine be in

'Thoth will have sealed the scroll of the years ten times, before the
summit is laid.'

'Brother, thou knowest not how to teach thy children to labour,'
answered Neith. 'Look! I must follow Phre beyond Atlas; shall I build
your pyramid for you before he goes down?' And Pthah answered, 'Yea,
sister, if thou canst put thy winged shoulders to such work.' And Neith
drew herself to her height; and I heard a clashing pass through the
plumes of her wings, and the asp stood up on her helmet, and fire
gathered in her eyes. And she took one of the flaming arrows out of the
sheaf in her left hand, and stretched it out over the heaps of clay. And
they rose up like flights of locusts, and spread themselves in the air,
so that it grew dark in a moment. Then Neith designed them places with
her arrow point; and they drew into ranks, like dark clouds laid level
at morning. Then Neith pointed with her arrow to the north, and to the
south, and to the east, and to the west, and the flying motes of earth
drew asunder into four great ranked crowds; and stood, one in the north,
and one in the south, and one in the east, and one in the west--one
against another. Then Neith spread her wings wide for an instant, and
closed them with a sound like the sound of a rushing sea; and waved her
hand towards the foundation of the pyramid, where it was laid on the
brow of the desert. And the four flocks drew together and sank down,
like sea-birds settling to a level rock; and when they met, there was a
sudden flame, as broad as the pyramid, and as high as the clouds; and it
dazzled me; and I closed my eyes for an instant; and when I looked
again, the pyramid stood on its rock, perfect; and purple with the light
from the edge of the sinking sun.

THE YOUNGER CHILDREN (_variously pleased_). I'm so glad! How nice! But
what did Pthah say?

L. Neith did not wait to hear what he would say. When I turned back to
look at her, she was gone; and I only saw the level white cloud form
itself again, close to the arch of the sun as it sank. And as the last
edge of the sun disappeared, the form of Pthah faded into a mighty
shadow, and so passed away.

EGYPT. And was Neith's pyramid left?

L. Yes; but you could not think, Egypt, what a strange feeling of utter
loneliness came over me when the presence of the two gods passed away.
It seemed as if I had never known what it was to be alone before; and
the unbroken line of the desert was terrible.

EGYPT. I used to feel that, when I was queen: sometimes I had to carve
gods, for company, all over my palace. I would fain have seen real ones,
if I could.

L. But listen a moment yet, for that was not quite all my dream. The
twilight drew swiftly to the dark, and I could hardly see the great
pyramid; when there came a heavy murmuring sound in the air; and a
horned beetle, with terrible claws, fell on the sand at my feet, with a
blow like the beat of a hammer. Then it stood up on its hind claws, and
waved its pincers at me: and its fore claws became strong arms, and
hands; one grasping real iron pincers, and the other a huge hammer; and
it had a helmet on its head, without any eyelet holes, that I could see.
And its two hind claws became strong crooked legs, with feet bent
inwards. And so there stood by me a dwarf, in glossy black armour,
ribbed and embossed like a beetle's back, leaning on his hammer. And I
could not speak for wonder; but he spoke with a murmur like the dying
away of a beat upon a bell. He said, 'I will make Neith's great pyramid
small. I am the lower Pthah; and have power over fire. I can wither the
strong things, and strengthen the weak; and everything that is great I
can make small, and everything that is little I can make great.' Then he
turned to the angle of the pyramid and limped towards it. And the
pyramid grew deep purple; and then red like blood, and then pale
rose-colour, like fire. And I saw that it glowed with fire from within.
And the lower Pthah touched it with the hand that held the pincers; and
it sank down like the sand in an hour-glass,--then drew itself together,
and sank, still, and became nothing, it seemed to me; but the armed
dwarf stooped down, and took it into his hand, and brought it to me,
saying, 'Everything that is great I can make like this pyramid; and give
into men's hands to destroy.' And I saw that he had a little pyramid in
his hand, with as many courses in it as the large one; and built like
that, only so small. And because it glowed still, I was afraid to touch
it; but Pthah said, 'Touch it--for I have bound the fire within it, so
that it cannot burn.' So I touched it, and took it into my own hand; and
it was cold; only red, like a ruby. And Pthah laughed, and became like a
beetle again, and buried himself in the sand, fiercely; throwing it back
over his shoulders. And it seemed to me as if he would draw me down with
him into the sand; and I started back, and woke, holding the little
pyramid so fast in my hand that it hurt me.

EGYPT. Holding WHAT in your hand?

L. The little pyramid.

EGYPT. Neith's pyramid?

L. Neith's, I believe; though not built for Asychis. I know only that it
is a little rosy transparent pyramid, built of more courses of bricks
than I can count, it being made so small. You don't believe me, of
course, Egyptian infidel; but there it is. (_Giving crystal of rose

     (_Confused examination by crowded audience, over each
     other's shoulders and under each other's arms.
     Disappointment begins to manifest itself._)

SIBYL (_not quite knowing why she and others are disappointed_). But you
showed us this the other day!

L. Yes; but you would not look at it the other day.

SIBYL. But was all that fine dream only about this?

L. What finer thing could a dream be about than this! It is small, if
you will; but when you begin to think of things rightly, the ideas of
smallness and largeness pass away. The making of this pyramid was in
reality just as wonderful as the dream I have been telling you, and just
as incomprehensible. It was not, I suppose, as swift, but quite as grand
things are done as swiftly. When Neith makes crystals of snow, it needs
a great deal more marshalling of the atoms, by her flaming arrows, than
it does to make crystals like this one; and that is done in a moment.

EGYPT. But how you _do_ puzzle us! Why do you say Neith does it? You
don't mean that she is a real spirit, do you?

L. What _I_ mean, is of little consequence. What the Egyptians meant,
who called her 'Neith,'--or Homer, who called her 'Athena,'--or Solomon,
who called her by a word which the Greeks render as 'Sophia,' you must
judge for yourselves. But her testimony is always the same, and all
nations have received it: 'I was by Him as one brought up with Him, and
I was daily His delight; rejoicing in the habitable parts of the earth,
and my delights were with the sons of men.'

MARY. But is not that only a personification?

L. If it be, what will you gain by unpersonifying it, or what right have
you to do so? Cannot you accept the image given you, in its life; and
listen, like children, to the words which chiefly belong to you as
children: 'I love them that love me, and those that seek me early shall
find me?'

     (_They are all quiet for a minute or two; questions begin to
     appear in their eyes._)

I cannot talk to you any more to-day. Take that rose-crystal away with
you and think.


[146] Note i.

[147] Note iii.

[148] Note ii.

[149] Note iii.



     _A very dull Lecture, wilfully brought upon themselves by
     the elder children. Some of the young ones have, however,
     managed to get in by mistake._ SCENE, _the Schoolroom._

L. So I am to stand up here merely to be asked questions, to-day, Miss
Mary, am I?

MARY. Yes; and you must answer them plainly; without telling us any more
stories. You are quite spoiling the children: the poor little things'
heads are turning round like kaleidoscopes; and they don't know in the
least what you mean. Nor do we old ones, either, for that matter: to-day
you must really tell us nothing but facts.

L. I am sworn; but you won't like it, a bit.

MARY. Now, first of all, what do you mean by 'bricks?'--Are the smallest
particles of minerals all of some accurate shape, like bricks?

L. I do not know, Miss Mary; I do not even know if anybody knows. The
smallest atoms which are visibly and practically put together to make
large crystals, may better be described as 'limited in fixed directions'
than as 'of fixed forms.' But I can tell you nothing clear about
ultimate atoms: you will find the idea of little bricks, or, perhaps, of
little spheres, available for all the uses you will have to put it to.

MARY. Well, it's very provoking; one seems always to be stopped just
when one is coming to the very thing one wants to know.

L. No, Mary, for we should not wish to know anything but what is easily
and assuredly knowable. There's no end to it If I could show you, or
myself, a group of ultimate atoms, quite clearly, in this magnifying
glass, we should both be presently vexed because we could not break them
in two pieces, and see their insides.

MARY. Well then, next, what do you mean by the flying of the bricks?
What is it the atoms do, that is like flying?

L. When they are dissolved, or uncrystallised, they are really separated
from each other, like a swarm of gnats in the air, or like a shoal of
fish in the sea;--generally at about equal distances. In currents of
solutions, or at different depths of them, one part may be more full of
the dissolved atoms than another; but on the whole, you may think of
them as equidistant, like the spots in the print of your gown. If they
are separated by force of heat only, the substance is said to be melted;
if they are separated by any other substance, as particles of sugar by
water, they are said to be 'dissolved.' Note this distinction carefully,
all of you.

DORA. I will be very particular. When next you tell me there isn't sugar
enough in your tea, I will say, 'It is not yet dissolved, sir.'

L. I tell you what shall be dissolved, Miss Dora; and that's the present
parliament, if the members get too saucy.

     (DORA _folds her hands and casts down her eyes._)

L. (_proceeds in state_). Now, Miss Mary, you know already, I believe,
that nearly everything will melt, under a sufficient heat, like wax.
Limestone melts (under pressure); sand melts; granite melts; the lava of
a volcano is a mixed mass of many kinds of rocks, melted: and any melted
substance nearly always, if not always, crystallises as it cools; the
more slowly the more perfectly. Water melts at what we call the
freezing, but might just as wisely, though not as conveniently, call the
melting, point; and radiates as it cools into the most beautiful of all
known crystals. Glass melts at a greater heat, and will crystallise, if
you let it cool slowly enough, in stars, much like snow. Gold needs more
heat to melt it, but crystallises also exquisitely, as I will presently
show you. Arsenic and sulphur crystallise from their vapours. Now in any
of these cases, either of melted, dissolved, or vaporous bodies, the
particles are usually separated from each other, either by heat, or by
an intermediate substance; and in crystallising they are both brought
nearer to each other, and packed, so as to fit as closely as possible:
the essential part of the business being not the bringing together, but
the packing. Who packed your trunk for you, last holidays, Isabel?

ISABEL. Lily does, always.

L. And how much can you allow for Lily's good packing, in guessing what
will go into the trunk?

ISABEL. Oh! I bring twice as much as the trunk holds. Lily always gets
everything in.

LILY. Ah! but, Isey, if you only knew what a time it takes! and since
you've had those great hard buttons on your frocks, I can't do anything
with them. Buttons won't go anywhere, you know.

L. Yes, Lily, it would be well if she only knew what a time it takes;
and I wish any of us knew what a time crystallisation takes, for that is
consummately fine packing. The particles of the rock are thrown down,
just as Isabel brings her things--in a heap; and innumerable Lilies, not
of the valley, but of the rock, come to pack them. But it takes such a

However, the best--out and out the best--way of understanding the thing,
is to crystallise yourselves.

THE AUDIENCE. Ourselves!

L. Yes; not merely as you did the other day, carelessly, on the
schoolroom forms; but carefully and finely, out in the playground. You
can play at crystallisation there as much as you please.

KATHLEEN _and_ JESSIE. Oh! how?--how?

L. First, you must put yourselves together, as close as you can, in the
middle of the grass, and form, for first practice any figure you like.

JESSIE. Any dancing figure, do you mean?

L. No; I mean a square, or a cross, or a diamond. Any figure you like,
standing close together. You had better outline it first on the turf,
with sticks, or pebbles, so as to see that it is rightly drawn; then get
into it and enlarge or diminish it at one side, till you are all quite
in it, and no empty space left.

DORA. Crinoline and all?

L. The crinoline may stand eventually for rough crystalline surface,
unless you pin it in; and then you may make a polished crystal of

LILY. Oh, we'll pin it in--we'll pin it in!

L. Then, when you are all in the figure, let every one note her place,
and who is next her on each side; and let the outsiders count how many
places they stand from the corners.

KATHLEEN. Yes, yes,--and then?

L. Then you must scatter all over the playground--right over it from
side to side, and end to end; and put yourselves all at equal distances
from each other, everywhere. You needn't mind doing it very accurately,
but so as to be nearly equidistant; not less than about three yards
apart from each other, on every side.

JESSIE. We can easily cut pieces of string of equal length, to hold. And

L. Then, at a given signal, let everybody walk, at the same rate,
towards the outlined figure in the middle. You had better sing as you
walk; that will keep you in good time. And as you close in towards it,
let each take her place, and the next comers fit themselves in beside
the first ones, till you are all in the figure again.

KATHLEEN. Oh! how we shall run against each other! What fun it will be!

L. No, no, Miss Katie; I can't allow any running against each other. The
atoms never do that, whatever human creatures do. You must all know your
places, and find your way to them without jostling.

LILY. But how ever shall we do that?

ISABEL. Mustn't the ones in the middle be the nearest, and the outside
ones farther off--when we go away to scatter, I mean?

L. Yes; you must be very careful to keep your order; you will soon find
out how to do it; it is only like soldiers forming square, except that
each must stand still in her place as she reaches it, and the others
come round her; and you will have much more complicated figures,
afterwards, to form, than squares.

ISABEL. I'll put a stone at my place: then I shall know it.

L. You might each nail a bit of paper to the turf, at your place, with
your name upon it: but it would be of no use, for if you don't know your
places, you will make a fine piece of business of it, while you are
looking for your names. And, Isabel, if with a little head, and eyes,
and a brain (all of them very good and serviceable of their kind, as
such things go), you think you cannot know your place without a stone at
it, after examining it well,--how do you think each atom knows its
place, when it never was there before, and there's no stone at it?

ISABEL. But does every atom know its place?

L. How else could it get there?

MARY. Are they not attracted to their places?

L. Cover a piece of paper with spots, at equal intervals; and then
imagine any kind of attraction you choose, or any law of attraction, to
exist between the spots, and try how, on that permitted supposition, you
can attract them into the figure of a Maltese cross, in the middle of
the paper.

MARY (_having tried it_). Yes; I see that I cannot:--one would need all
kinds of attractions, in different ways, at different places. But you do
not mean that the atoms are alive?

L. What is it to be alive?

DORA. There now; you're going to be provoking, I know.

L. I do not see why it should be provoking to be asked what it is to be
alive. Do you think you don't know whether you are alive or not?

     (ISABEL _skips to the end of the room and back._)

L. Yes, Isabel, that's all very fine; and you and I may call that being
alive: but a modern philosopher calls it being in a 'mode of motion.' It
requires a certain quantity of heat to take you to the sideboard; and
exactly the same quantity to bring you back again. That's all.

ISABEL. No, it isn't. And besides, I'm not hot.

L. I am, sometimes, at the way they talk. However, you know, Isabel, you
might have been a particle of a mineral, and yet have been carried round
the room, or anywhere else, by chemical forces, in the liveliest way.

ISABEL. Yes; but I wasn't carried: I carried myself.

L. The fact is, mousie, the difficulty is not so much to say what makes
a thing alive, as what makes it a Self. As soon as you are shut off from
the rest of the universe into a Self, you begin to be alive.

VIOLET (_indignant_). Oh, surely--surely that cannot be so. Is not all
the life of the soul in communion, not separation?

L. There can be no communion where there is no distinction. But we shall
be in an abyss of metaphysics presently, if we don't look out; and
besides, we must not be too grand, to-day, for the younger children.
We'll be grand, some day, by ourselves, if we must. (_The younger
children are not pleased, and prepare to remonstrate; but, knowing by
experience, that all conversations in which the word 'communion' occurs,
are unintelligible, think better of it._) Meantime, for broad answer
about the atoms. I do not think we should use the word 'life,' of any
energy which does not belong to a given form. A seed, or an egg, or a
young animal are properly called 'alive' with respect to the force
belonging to those forms, which consistently develops that form, and no
other. But the force which crystallises a mineral appears to be chiefly
external, and it does not produce an entirely determinate and individual
form, limited in size, but only an aggregation, in which some limiting
laws must be observed.

MARY. But I do not see much difference, that way, between a crystal and
a tree.

L. Add, then, that the mode of the energy in a living thing implies a
continual change in its elements; and a period for its end. So you may
define life by its attached negative, death; and still more by its
attached positive, birth. But I won't be plagued any more about this,
just now; if you choose to think the crystals alive, do, and welcome.
Rocks have always been called 'living' in their native place.

MARY. There's one question more; then I've done.

L. Only one?

MARY. Only one.

L. But if it is answered, won't it turn into two?

MARY. No; I think it will remain single, and be comfortable.

L. Let me hear it.

MARY. You know, we are to crystallise ourselves out of the whole
playground. Now, what playground have the minerals? Where are they
scattered before they are crystallised; and where are the crystals
generally made?

L. That sounds to me more like three questions than one, Mary. If it is
only one, it is a wide one.

MARY. I did not say anything about the width of it.

L. Well, I must keep it within the best compass I can. When rocks either
dry from a moist state, or cool from a heated state, they necessarily
alter in bulk; and cracks, or open spaces, form in them in all
directions. These cracks must be filled up with solid matter, or the
rock would eventually become a ruinous heap. So, sometimes by water,
sometimes by vapour, sometimes nobody knows how, crystallisable matter
is brought from somewhere, and fastens itself in these open spaces, so
as to bind the rock together again, with crystal cement. A vast quantity
of hollows are formed in lavas by bubbles of gas, just as the holes are
left in bread well baked. In process of time these cavities are
generally filled with various crystals.

MARY. But where does the crystallising substance come from?

L. Sometimes out of the rock itself; sometimes from below or above,
through the veins. The entire substance of the contracting rock may be
filled with liquid, pressed into it so as to fill every pore;--or with
mineral vapour;--or it may be so charged at one place, and empty at
another. There's no end to the 'may be's.' But all that you need fancy,
for our present purpose, is that hollows in the rocks, like the caves in
Derbyshire, are traversed by liquids or vapour containing certain
elements in a more or less free or separate state, which crystallise on
the cave walls.

SIBYL. There now;--Mary has had all her questions answered: it's my turn
to have mine.

L. Ah, there's a conspiracy among you, I see. I might have guessed as

DORA. I'm sure you ask us questions enough! How can you have the heart,
when you dislike so to be asked them yourself?

L. My dear child, if people do not answer questions, it does not matter
how many they are asked, because they've no trouble with them. Now, when
I ask you questions, I never expect to be answered; but when you ask me,
you always do; and it's not fair.

DORA. Very well, we shall understand, next time.

SIBYL. No, but seriously, we all want to ask one thing more, quite

L. And I don't want to be asked it, quite dreadfully; but you'll have
your own way, of course.

SIBYL. We none of us understand about the lower Pthah. It was not merely
yesterday; but in all we have read about him in Wilkinson, or in any
book, we cannot understand what the Egyptians put their god into that
ugly little deformed shape for.

L. Well, I'm glad it's that sort of question; because I can answer
anything I like, to that.

EGYPT. Anything you like will do quite well for us; we shall be pleased
with the answer, if you are.

L. I am not so sure of that, most gracious queen; for I must begin by
the statement that queens seem to have disliked all sorts of work, in
those days, as much as some queens dislike sewing to-day.

EGYPT. Now, it's too bad! and just when I was trying to say the
civillest thing I could!

L. But, Egypt, why did you tell me you disliked sewing so?

EGYPT. Did not I show you how the thread cuts my fingers? and I always
get cramp, somehow, in my neck, if I sew long.

L. Well, I suppose the Egyptian queens thought every body got cramp in
their neck, if they sewed long; and that thread always cut people's
fingers. At all events, every kind of manual labour was despised both by
them, and the Greeks; and, while they owned the real good and fruit of
it, they yet held it a degradation to all who practised it. Also,
knowing the laws of life thoroughly, they perceived that the special
practice necessary to bring any manual art to perfection strengthened
the body distortedly; one energy or member gaining at the expense of the
rest. They especially dreaded and despised any kind of work that had to
be done near fire: yet, feeling what they owed to it in metal-work, as
the basis of all other work, they expressed this mixed reverence and
scorn in the varied types of the lame Hephæstus, and the lower Pthah.

SIBYL. But what did you mean by making him say 'everything great I can
make small, and everything small great?'

L. I had my own separate meaning in that. We have seen in modern times
the power of the lower Pthah developed in a separate way, which no Greek
nor Egyptian could have conceived. It is the character of pure and
eyeless manual labour to conceive everything as subjected to it: and, in
reality, to disgrace and diminish all that is so subjected; aggrandising
itself, and the thought of itself, at the expense of all noble things. I
heard an orator, and a good one too, at the Working Men's College, the
other day, make a great point in a description of our railroads; saying,
with grandly conducted emphasis, 'They have made man greater, and the
world less.' His working audience were mightily pleased; they thought it
so very fine a thing to be made bigger themselves; and all the rest of
the world less. I should have enjoyed asking them (but it would have
been a pity--they were so pleased), how much less they would like to
have the world made;--and whether, at present, those of them really felt
the biggest men, who lived in the least houses.

SIBYL. But then, why did you make Pthah say that he could make weak
things strong, and small things great?

L. My dear, he is a boaster and self-assertor, by nature; but it is so
far true. For instance, we used to have a fair in our neighbourhood--a
very fine fair we thought it. You never saw such an one; but if you look
at the engraving of Turner's 'St. Catherine's Hill,' you will see what
it was like. There were curious booths, carried on poles; and
peep-shows; and music, with plenty of drums and cymbals; and much
barley-sugar and gingerbread, and the like: and in the alleys of this
fair the London populace would enjoy themselves, after their fashion,
very thoroughly. Well, the little Pthah set to work upon it one day; he
made the wooden poles into iron ones, and put them across, like his own
crooked legs, so that you always fall over them if you don't look where
you are going; and he turned all the canvas into panes of glass, and put
it up on his iron cross-poles; and made all the little booths into one
great booth; and people said it was very fine, and a new style of
architecture; and Mr. Dickens said nothing was ever like it in
Fairyland, which was very true. And then the little Pthah set to work to
put fine fairings in it; and he painted the Nineveh bulls afresh, with
the blackest eyes he could paint (because he had none himself), and he
got the angels down from Lincoln choir, and gilded their wings like his
gingerbread of old times; and he sent for everything else he could think
of, and put it in his booth. There are the casts of Niobe and her
children; and the Chimpanzee; and the wooden Caffres and New-Zealanders;
and the Shakespeare House; and Le Grand Blondin, and Le Petit Blondin;
and Handel; and Mozart; and no end of shops, and buns, and beer; and all
the little-Pthah-worshippers say, never was anything so sublime!

SIBYL. Now, do you mean to say you never go to these Crystal Palace
concerts? They're as good as good can be.

L. I don't go to the thundering things with a million of bad voices in
them. When I want a song, I get Julia Mannering and Lucy Bertram and
Counsellor Pleydell to sing 'We be three poor Mariners' to me; then I've
no headache next morning. But I do go to the smaller concerts, when I
can; for they are very good, as you say, Sibyl: and I always get a
reserved seat somewhere near the orchestra, where I am sure I can see
the kettle-drummer drum.

SIBYL. Now _do_ be serious, for one minute.

L. I am serious--never was more so. You know one can't see the
modulation of violinists' fingers, but one can see the vibration of the
drummer's hand; and it's lovely.

SIBYL. But fancy going to a concert, not to hear, but to see!

L. Yes, it is very absurd. The quite right thing, I believe, is to go
there to talk. I confess, however, that in most music, when very well
done, the doing of it is to me the chiefly interesting part of the
business. I'm always thinking how good it would be for the fat,
supercilious people, who care so little for their half-crown's worth, to
be set to try and do a half-crown's worth of anything like it.

MARY. But surely that Crystal Palace is a great good and help to the
people of London?

L. The fresh air of the Norwood hills is, or was, my dear; but they are
spoiling that with smoke as fast as they can. And the palace (as they
call it) is a better place for them, by much, than the old fair; and it
is always there, instead of for three days only; and it shuts up at
proper hours of night. And good use may be made of the things in it, if
you know how: but as for its teaching the people, it will teach them
nothing but the lowest of the lower Pthah's work--nothing but hammer and
tongs. I saw a wonderful piece, of his doing, in the place, only the
other day. Some unhappy metal-worker--I am not sure if it was not a
metal-working firm--had taken three years to make a Golden eagle.

SIBYL. Of real gold?

L. No; of bronze, or copper, or some of their foul patent metal--it is
no matter what. I meant a model of our chief British eagle. Every
feather was made separately; and every filament of every feather
separately, and so joined on; and all the quills modelled of the right
length and right section, and at last the whole cluster of them fastened
together. You know, children, I don't think much of my own drawing; but
take my proud word for once, that when I go to the Zoological Gardens,
and happen to have a bit of chalk in my pocket, and the Gray Harpy will
sit, without screwing his head round, for thirty seconds,--I can do a
better thing of him in that time than the three years' work of this
industrious firm. For, during the thirty seconds, the eagle is my
object,--not myself; and during the three years, the firm's object, in
every fibre of bronze it made, was itself, and not the eagle. That is
the true meaning of the little Pthah's having no eyes--he can see only
himself. The Egyptian beetle was not quite the full type of him; our
northern ground beetle is a truer one. It is beautiful to see it at
work, gathering its treasures (such as they are) into little round
balls; and pushing them home with the strong wrong end of it,--head
downmost all the way,--like a modern political economist with his ball
of capital, declaring that a nation can stand on its vices better than
on its virtues. But away with you, children, now, for I'm getting cross.

DORA. I'm going down-stairs; I shall take care, at any rate, that there
are no little Pthahs in the kitchen cupboards.



     _A working Lecture, in the large Schoolroom; with
     experimental Interludes The great bell has rung

KATHLEEN (_entering disconsolate, though first at the summons_). Oh
dear, oh dear, what a day! Was ever anything so provoking! just when we
wanted to crystallise ourselves;--and I'm sure it's going to rain all
day long.

L. So am I, Kate. The sky has quite an Irish way with it But I don't see
why Irish girls should also look so dismal. Fancy that you don't want to
crystallise yourselves: you didn't, the day before yesterday, and you
were not unhappy when it rained then.

FLORRIE. Ah! but we do want to-day; and the rain's so tiresome.

L. That is to say, children, that because you are all the richer by the
expectation of playing at a new game, you choose to make yourselves
unhappier than when you had nothing to look forward to, but the old

ISABEL. But then, to have to wait--wait--wait; and before we've tried
it;--and perhaps it will rain to-morrow, too!

L. It may also rain the day after to-morrow. We can make ourselves
uncomfortable to any extent with perhapses, Isabel. You may stick
perhapses into your little minds, like pins, till you are as
uncomfortable as the Lilliputians made Gulliver with their arrows, when
he would not lie quiet.

ISABEL. But what _are_ we to do to-day?

L. To be quiet, for one thing, like Gulliver when he saw there was
nothing better to be done. And to practise patience. I can tell you
children, _that_ requires nearly as much practising as music; and we are