Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: The Age of Tennyson
Author: Walker, Hugh
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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Age of Tennyson" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



Internet Archive (http://www.archive.org)



Note: Images of the original pages are available through
      Internet Archive. See
      http://www.archive.org/details/ageoftennyson00walkiala



THE AGE OF TENNYSON

       *       *       *       *       *

HANDBOOKS OF ENGLISH LITERATURE.

EDITED BY PROFESSOR HALES.

_Crown 8vo, 5s. net each._


THE AGE OF ALFRED (664-1154). By F. J. SNELL, M.A.

THE AGE OF CHAUCER (1346-1400). By F. J. SNELL, M.A. With an Introduction
by Professor HALES. _3rd Edition, revised._

THE AGE OF TRANSITION (1400-1579). By F. J. SNELL, M.A. 2 vols. Vol. I.
The Poets. Vol. II. The Dramatists and Prose Writers. With an Introduction
by Professor HALES. _3rd Edition._

THE AGE OF SHAKESPEARE (1579-1631). By THOMAS SECCOMBE and J. W. ALLEN
With an Introduction by Professor HALES. 2 vols. Vol. I. Poetry and Prose.
Vol. II. The Drama. _8th Edition, revised._

THE AGE OF MILTON (1632-1660). By the Rev. Canon J. H. B. MASTERMAN, M.A.
With Introduction, etc., by J. BASS MULLINGER, M.A. _8th Edition._

THE AGE OF DRYDEN (1660-1700). By R. GARNETT, C.B., LL.D. _8th Edition._

THE AGE OF POPE (1700-1748). By JOHN DENNIS. _10th Edition._

THE AGE OF JOHNSON (1748-1798). By THOMAS SECCOMBE. _7th Edition,
revised._

THE AGE OF WORDSWORTH (1798-1832). By Professor C. H. HERFORD, Litt.D.
_12th Edition._

THE AGE OF TENNYSON (1830-1870). By Professor HUGH WALKER. _9th Edition._

LONDON: G. BELL AND SONS, LTD. PORTUGAL STREET, KINGSWAY, W.C.2.

       *       *       *       *       *

Handbooks of English Literature
Edited by Professor Hales

THE AGE OF TENNYSON

LONDON: G. BELL AND SONS, LTD.
PORTUGAL STREET, KINGSWAY, W.C.
CAMBRIDGE: DEIGHTON, BELL & CO.
NEW YORK: HARCOURT BRACE & HOWE
BOMBAY: A. H. WHEELER AND CO.

       *       *       *       *       *


THE AGE OF TENNYSON

by HUGH WALKER, M.A.

Professor of English Literature at St. David's College
Lampeter



London
G. Bell and Sons, Ltd.
1921

First Published, September, 1897.
Reprinted, December, 1897; 1900, 1904, 1908, 1909, 1921.



PREFACE.


The age of Tennyson is defined, for the purpose of the present volume, as
extending from 1830 to 1870. The date selected as the beginning of the
period needs no explanation; but perhaps the question may be asked why the
age of Tennyson should be supposed to end more than twenty years before
Tennyson died. The answer is twofold. First, I may plead the strong law of
necessity. Sixty years, among the most fertile and varied in our literary
history, could be compressed within the limits of a volume like the
present only by completely changing the scale of treatment; and this again
would have put it out of harmony with the other volumes of the series.
But, secondly, about the year 1870 or before it there took place a change
in the _personnel_ of literature, less complete perhaps than that which
marked the beginning of the epoch, but still sufficiently remarkable.
Among the historians, Macaulay was dead and Carlyle had done his work.
Among the novelists, Dickens died in 1870, Thackeray seven years before,
and Charlotte Brontë still earlier; while, though George Eliot survived
till 1880, the only great work of hers which lies beyond the limits of the
period is _Middlemarch_. Mill, who had been so long the dominant power in
philosophy, died in 1873. The poets, Tennyson, Browning, Matthew Arnold
and Rossetti, survived. In poetry however Arnold's voice was by this time
almost dumb. Browning continued to produce copiously; but after _The Ring
and the Book_ his style changed, and changed decidedly for the worse.
Tennyson changed too, but in his case there was some gain to balance what
was lost. The best of the younger poets, like William Morris and
Swinburne, clearly show the influence of new ideals. The old order was
changing, and new ambitions were beginning to sway men's minds. In short,
if by the age of Tennyson we mean the period during which the influences
which formed Tennyson and his contemporaries were dominant, we find that
it came to an end long before Tennyson's life closed.

Tennyson and Browning, Arnold and Ruskin, therefore, have to be treated as
survivors into a new period. But it is obviously undesirable to split a
man's work in two; and consequently, though my period ends at 1870, I have
included a sketch of the later work of these men as well. I have very
rarely treated only a part of a man's work. I have preferred to leave
wholly to my successor those writers who, though they had begun to write
before 1870, seem on the whole to belong rather to the period still
current.

In the plan of this book I have tried to follow out as faithfully as
possible the general idea of the series to which it belongs; and thus I
have been led rather to emphasise the thought of the greater men than to
concern myself about including notices of a great number of minor writers.
In a period so prolific it has therefore been necessary to enforce a
somewhat rigid law of exclusion. The law has been made especially rigid in
the case of fiction; because there is nothing that bears the test of time
so ill as bad or mediocre fiction.

Variety is, after copiousness, the most striking feature of the period
under review; and this variety somewhat obscures the operation of ruling
principles and ideas. I have taken as my guide the conviction that the key
to the period is to be found in its search for truth and its resolve to
understand. We see this everywhere, in the development of science, in the
inquiry into the causes of the growth and decay of nations, in the
intellectual quality of the best poetry, in the analytical psychology of
so much prose fiction. It is the reaction against the extreme romanticism
of the revolutionary period. The writers of the Revolution sought to grasp
truth by an act of faith. In the Victorian period emotion plays a less and
logic a greater part. Or we may describe the change as a partial reversion
to the spirit of the eighteenth century. The imaginative glamour of the
romantic movement is not lost, but there is conjoined with it a juster
appreciation of the clearness and precision and the logical coherency of
the age of Pope. Next to the eighteenth century the age of Tennyson has
been the most critical in our literature.

I owe thanks to Professor Hales for his uniform courtesy and kindness in
reading and considering my proofs, and for many valuable and helpful
suggestions.

H. W.

  LAMPETER,
    _July, 1897_.



CONTENTS.


                                                                PAGE

  INTRODUCTION                                                     1

  Depression after the Napoleonic struggle--Social
  problems--Spread of democracy--Popular education--Rise of
  periodical literature--Physical science--Tractarianism--
  Pre-Raphaelitism.


  CHAPTER I. THOMAS CARLYLE                                       12


  CHAPTER II. POETRY FROM 1830 TO 1850. THE GREATER POETS:
  TENNYSON AND BROWNING                                           36

  Introduction--Tennyson's first period--Browning's first
  period


  CHAPTER III. THE MINOR POETS, 1830 TO 1850                      52

  Mrs. Hemans and L. E. Landon--Charles Tennyson Turner--
  Thomas Hood--Laman Blanchard--Praed--Lord Houghton--R. H.
  Barham--Hartley Coleridge--Sara Coleridge--William
  Motherwell--Henry Taylor--Philip James Bailey--R. H.
  Horne--William Barnes--Mangan--Whitehead--Wade--Ebenezer
  Jones.


  CHAPTER IV. THE EARLIER FICTION                                 68

  Introduction--Maginn--Lord Lytton--Disraeli--Ainsworth--G.
  P. R. James--Marryat--Michael Scott--Warren.


  CHAPTER V. FICTION: THE INTERMEDIATE PERIOD                     82

  Dickens--Thackeray--The Brontës--Mrs. Gaskell.


  CHAPTER VI. THE HISTORIANS AND BIOGRAPHERS                     109

  Introduction--Macaulay--Thomas Arnold--Thirlwall--Grote--
  Milman--Finlay--Neale--Merivale--Froude--Kinglake--
  Buckle--Maine--Lockhart--Stanley--Minor Historians and
  Biographers.


  CHAPTER VII. THEOLOGY AND PHILOSOPHY                           144

  Keble--Newman--Pusey--Wilberforce--Maurice--F. W.
  Robertson--Mark Pattison--Jowett--Mill--N. W. Senior--
  J. E. Cairnes--Whewell--Sir W. Hamilton--Ferrier--Mansel--
  Harriet Martineau--G. H. Lewes--Sir G. Cornewall Lewis--
  Herbert Spencer.


  CHAPTER VIII. SCIENCE                                          175

  Introduction--Lyell--Hugh Miller--Robert Chambers--Darwin--
  A. R. Wallace.


  CHAPTER IX. CRITICISM, SCHOLARSHIP, AND MISCELLANEOUS PROSE    191

  Introduction--J. P. Collier--Mrs. Jameson--J. O.
  Halliwell-Phillipps--Helps--Ruskin--Matthew Arnold--Dr. John
  Brown--Rands--George Borrow.


  CHAPTER X. POETRY FROM 1850 TO 1870: THE INTELLECTUAL
  MOVEMENT                                                       213

  Introduction--Matthew Arnold--Clough--Tennyson--Robert
  Browning--E. B. Browning--Edward FitzGerald.


  CHAPTER XI. POETRY FROM 1850 TO 1870: THE PRE-RAPHAELITES;
  THE SPASMODIC SCHOOL; MINOR POETS                              240

  D. G. Rossetti--Christina Rossetti--W. E. Aytoun--Dobell--
  Alexander Smith--Coventry Patmore--'Owen Meredith'--Lord de
  Tabley--William Morris--Minor Poets.


  CHAPTER XII. THE LATER FICTION                                 262

  Introduction--George Eliot--Mrs. Henry Wood--D. M. Craik--
  Charles Kingsley--Anthony Trollope--James Grant--
  Whyte-Melville--Wilkie Collins--G. A. Lawrence--Charles
  Reade--Conclusion.


  CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE                                            279

  ALPHABETICAL LIST OF WRITERS                                   289

  INDEX                                                          295



THE AGE OF TENNYSON.



INTRODUCTION.


The epoch of literature which opened about the year 1830 is perhaps best
described, in the first place, by negatives. It is distinguished from the
previous period, when the spirit which gave rise to the French Revolution
was dominant, by the absence of certain characteristics then conspicuous.
First and chiefly, it is distinguished by the failure of the hopes which
at once produced and were produced by the Revolution. On the border-land
between the two centuries literature was marked by buoyant and often
extravagant expectation. Even pessimists like Byron were somewhat
superficial in their pessimism. Byron looked upon the evils from which he
and others suffered as due largely to the perversity of society. But this
perversity might be cured, and if it were cured an earthly Elysium seemed
a thing not wholly unreasonable to expect. To all who were animated by the
spirit of Rousseau the problem, how to secure happiness, appeared almost
identical with the comparatively simple one, how to remove obstructions.
Nature unimpeded was perfect: it was the vain imaginings and evil
contrivances of man that did the mischief. There were not wanting, even in
the Revolutionary period, men who thought more deeply and who saw more
clearly. The speculations of Malthus, destined afterwards, both directly,
and still more through the impulse they gave to Darwin, to prove among the
most influential of the century, showed that some, at least, of the roots
of evil reached far deeper than the orthodox Revolutionists and
speculators of the type of Godwin had imagined. The exhaustion of Europe
after the great struggle with Napoleon brought dimly home to multitudes
who knew nothing about and cared nothing for abstruse speculation a sense
of the difficulty and complexity of social problems. Exaggerated
expectations bring their own Nemesis in the shape of proportionate
depression and gloom; and the men of the new era set themselves somewhat
wearily and with little elasticity of spirit to climb the toilsome steep
of progress. The way seemed all the rougher because they had hoped to win
the summit by a rush. Failure left them in the mood of Cleopatra on the
death of Antony,--

            'There is nothing left remarkable
  Beneath the visiting moon.'

Hence in the beginning of the period there is on the part of all but the
greatest a tendency to trifle. Sometimes even the greatest are not quite
free from it; and in the early poetry of Tennyson we may detect evidence
that the writer was as yet unmoved by any great interest.

But, though it was not clear at the moment, sixty years of subsequent
history make it manifest that the generation then beginning had great work
to do. In the first place, it had to work out, not the ideal of the
Revolution as conceived by the Revolutionists, but that in it which was
vital, and which had given it the power to move Europe. Modern democracy,
though its roots stretch farther into the past, has been, as a realised
political system, the work of the Age of Tennyson. The process whereby
democracy has become dominant in the West of Europe has been marked by no
great political convulsion comparable to the French Revolution. Even on
the Continent the movement which in 1848 shook so many thrones was
trifling in comparison with it; and in England the agitations of the
Reform Bill, of the Anti-Corn Law League, and even of the Chartists,
either kept within the limits of the law or merely rippled the surface of
social order. Nevertheless, the work done has been momentous. At the
opening of the period we see political power placed by the first Reform
Bill in the hands of the middle class; at its close, this power is by the
operation of the second Reform Bill, logically completed by the third,
transferred to the working class. If we believe at all in the influence of
social circumstances upon literature, we must believe that great changes
such as these have left their stamp upon it; and there is ample evidence
that they have done so. Though Carlyle had little faith in popular
government, his writings are everywhere influenced by the democratic
movement. John Stuart Mill's works, and the whole literature of sociology,
indicate how pressing the problem of the structure of society has been
felt to be. Hood's _Song of the Shirt_, Mrs. Browning's _Cry of the
Children_, Ebenezer Elliott's _Corn Law Rhymes_ and Kingsley's _Alton
Locke_, are a few examples of the way in which the social, political and
economic condition of the poor pressed upon the imaginative writers of the
time. Others in earlier days had been interested too. No reader of the
_Canterbury Tales_ can doubt that Chaucer was keenly alive to the state of
all the grades of society. Shakespeare by a few vivid words in _King Lear_
proves himself a humanitarian before humanitarianism became fashionable.
Crabbe was the stern, and perhaps, after all, only half-truthful painter
of humble life in the generation which had just closed. Burns gave to the
peasant a citizenship in literature more sure than that conferred by
Crabbe, because he knew from personal experience that the life hardest
pressed by poverty need not be wholly sordid. The interest is not new, but
it has become more universal and has grown in importance, and the
proportion it bears to other things is changed. The political revolution
brought this in its train. He who possesses power is sure of consideration
and respect; and the classes which, to the Elizabethans, were the 'rascal
multitude,' have for sixty years been struggling towards mastership, and
have at last attained it.

Among other results incident to this process, there has been a great
change in the character of the audience appealed to by literature. That
audience is now far wider than it ever before was. The spread of education
through all classes has vastly increased the number of those who must and
will read something. It was not till the year 1870 that the State took the
great step which brought primary education fully under its control; but
for many years before that date the elementary schools had been partially
supervised by the State, and from the year 1851 one of the greatest men of
letters of the time, Matthew Arnold, had laboured as an inspector in the
cause of popular education. The movement for the education of women and
for political equality between the sexes, if it has not added a new class
of readers, has certainly tended to widen the range of interest among
female readers.

It would be rash to assert that this increase in the number of readers has
been an unmixed benefit to literature. The proportion of those who have
neither the culture nor the time and inclination to study serious books is
probably greater now than at any former period. The taste of such persons
is gratified by the mass of fiction and of periodicals which has grown and
is still growing year by year, not only in absolute, but in relative
quantity; and it cannot be considered satisfactory that growth is most
vigorous just in those forms of literature which are least able to stand
the test of time. It may be freely conceded that much of this growth would
have taken place apart from any democratic movement or any extension of
popular education; but nevertheless it has been stimulated by these
causes.

In respect of periodicals the change, as compared with even the generation
immediately preceding 1830, has been very great. The _Edinburgh Review_
was for some years the only great critical periodical in Britain. The
_Quarterly Review_ was established to redress the political balance,
shaken by the organ of the Whigs. A little later, _Blackwood's Magazine_
gave scope to the fun and humour for which there was no place in the
graver pages of its contemporaries. The _London Magazine_ and the
_Westminster Review_ likewise did valuable service to literature and
thought. But the great development of the magazines and critical journals
has taken place during the last sixty years. In the course of it two
tendencies have become manifest: first, a tendency to shorten the
intervals of publication; and secondly, a tendency to multiply the organs
of this periodical literature. The old quarterly has almost given place to
the monthly magazine; the latter in its turn has had to abandon no small
share of its province to the weekly journal; and recently the daily
newspaper has been encroaching more and more upon the sphere of the
weekly. Partly, no doubt, the change has been due to differentiation of
function; partly too it has been brought about by impatience, and
necessarily implies greater hurry and less mature consideration. The
multiplication of organs has been equally remarkable. In early days a few
magazines held the field alone; now their name is legion. One result is
that there will probably never again be concentrated on a single paper as
much talent and genius as we find in the early numbers of _Fraser's
Magazine_. Another is that in ever growing ratio the literary talent of
the age finds its outlet in the periodical. If Horace was right in his
celebrated maxim, the change is not one to rejoice over.

The increase of the magazines has influenced all literature, but
especially fiction. It has greatly stimulated the demand, and it has
changed the manner of publication. In earlier days a book was as a matter
of course finished before the publication began. Chiefly by reason of the
example of Dickens it became common to publish in parts; and the magazines
have made this the normal rather than the exceptional form of publication,
at least for authors of sufficient reputation to command an audience first
in the periodical and afterwards when the parts are gathered into a
volume. Lately there have been indications that this may come to be the
mode of publication, not of fiction only, but of serious historical and
biographical works as well.

We see then that a large popular audience, the majority with little time,
little money and little culture, is the environment in which the man of
letters in these days has to live. For purposes of art it is neither the
best nor the worst possible. It is not so good as that of the Elizabethan
dramatists; for while many of the drawbacks are common to the two, there
is wanting in this later time that living contact between author and
public which invigorated almost every page written then. Still less is it
equal to that of the golden age of Athens, when, as the commonest remains
of art still indicate, the mere journey-work of the ordinary artisan
proved the existence of culture in the man himself, and of culture
generally diffused among those to whom his work appealed. In a less
degree, but for similar reasons, it is inferior to the environment of the
Italian Renaissance. On the other hand, it is better than patronage,
whether individual or political, and better than the terrible struggle out
of patronage through which Johnson passed. It is, in fact, the logical
development of that freedom which Johnson's struggle won. But the kind of
'natural selection' it implies is rough in its process and crude in its
results. The popular audience nourishes and feeds fat a few classes who
minister to its wants, but there are many others, in a literary sense
nobler and more valuable, whom it barely enables to live. Darwin himself,
though he made earthworms far more fascinating than many novelists can
make the most romantic tale of love, could not have lived if he had been
really subject to this competition. As late as the year 1870 Matthew
Arnold was assessed for £1,000 a year; but the evidence satisfied the
Commissioners that the assessment must be cut down to £200; and the author
said that he must write more articles to prevent his being a loser even on
the smaller sum. Browning's _Paracelsus_, _Sordello_ and _Bells and
Pomegranates_ were all published at his father's expense and brought no
return whatever. Edward FitzGerald, one of the greatest poets of the age,
lived and died almost unknown, and is even now known to comparatively few.
Tennyson alone among the greater poets of the time was really successful
in the financial sense. Even in fiction there has been but little
proportion between merit and remuneration. Dickens and George Eliot
deserved and won success; Thackeray's reward was comparatively inadequate;
and it is hardly probable that Mr. George Meredith ever received anything
approaching the sums paid to not a few of the favourites of a day. Evils
such as these--the accumulation of material rewards upon one class of
writers, want of discrimination even within that class, and neglect, more
or less complete, of others--must necessarily tend to cramp and fetter
literature. They are not new; perhaps they have been as bad in former
times; but at best we have done little or nothing towards finding a
remedy.

The development of physical science is another feature of the time plainly
visible in its literature. It is needless to discuss its effect upon the
material conditions of life; for that has been not only fully recognised,
but its importance, for the present purpose, has been greatly exaggerated.
Besides this however, the direct contributions of science to literature
have been considerable, and some of them possess literary qualities rarely
equalled among the scientific writings of past times. Moreover, science
has so filled the minds and possessed the imagination of men that its
indirect has been far greater than its direct influence. Whatever its
ultimate creed may prove to be, science has certainly been in part
responsible for the growth of a spirit of materialism, and has caused
those who do not share that spirit to examine themselves and to remould
their arguments. Science has therefore tended to depress and to give a
tone of stoic resignation if not of pessimism to many who, without
accepting materialistic opinions, have been affected by them.

But in another way science has been an elevating and inspiring power. Its
discoveries have stimulated men's minds, and have done more than anything
else to rouse them from the lethargy consequent upon the apparent failure
of the Revolution. They have profoundly influenced literature, both
directly, and also through those philosophical and theological
speculations which inevitably colour all poetry and all imaginative prose.
The new facts of astronomy and geology have shaken many old theories and
suggested many new ones; and the results of biological discovery have
been still more striking. The transforming power upon thought of the
theory of evolution may be measured by the fact that the majority even of
those who dislike and deny Darwinian evolution still believe that there
has been evolution of some kind. For thoughtful men, unless they are
heavily fettered by preconceptions, the old view has become impossible;
and no other except an evolutionary one has hitherto been even imagined.
Here therefore there is a great unsettlement of popular ideas, and no
little energy has been expended in fitting men's minds to the new
conditions. Tractarianism, Pre-Raphaelitism, the satire, tempered with
mysticism, of Carlyle, the idealistic optimism of Browning, and the
creedless Christianity of Matthew Arnold, are all attempts to satisfy
either the intellectual or the moral and artistic needs of modern times,
and all show the influence of the scientific thought of the age.

Some of these forces however have been in the main reactionary. Side by
side with the movement of science, which has on the whole tended to
positivism, agnosticism, and in a word to negative views of things
spiritual, there has gone on a remarkable revival of conceptions
diametrically opposed to these. The old narrow Protestantism of England
was powerful enough to struggle against Catholic Emancipation until the
delay became a danger to the state. Yet hardly was this act of justice
done when the great reaction known as the Oxford Movement began. It was,
as its consummate literary expression, the _Apologia_ of Newman, proves,
the product of a double discontent,--a discontent, on the one hand, with
that movement of science just spoken of; and a discontent, on the other
hand, with what was felt to be the 'creed outworn' of English
Protestantism. As against the latter it has achieved, among those who
hungered for a more emotional religion, a wonderful success. As against
the former its utter failure has been veiled only by that success.

Kindred in spirit and almost contemporaneous in origin was the movement of
the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. On the surface, this seems quite unrelated
to Tractarianism; for while the Tractarians were all for dogma, the
Pre-Raphaelites were indifferent to it. But both movements were in essence
protests on behalf of the imaginative and æsthetic in human nature against
the exclusive nourishment of the intellectual element; and they proved
their kinship by each in its own way seeking to bring about a revival of
Mediævalism. In this fact moreover we see wherein their value consisted.
They fought a battle on behalf of aspects of the truth temporarily
threatened with neglect. In so far as they asserted or implied the
incompleteness of the scientific view of life they were almost wholly
right. In so far as they asserted its positive falsity they were almost
wholly wrong. The latter was however the error principally of the
religious movement. The Pre-Raphaelites may have been wrong in many
respects in their conceptions of art; but at least they generally confined
themselves within their own domain.

Both of these schools, though they differ in degree of guilt, are
chargeable with the sin of 'rending the seamless garment of thought.' The
Pre-Raphaelite, implicitly if not in words, teaches that there is an
intellectual world _and_ an æsthetic world. The Tractarians not merely
implied but insisted that there is a domain of reason _and_ a domain of
authority.[1] Because of this fundamental error we must look for the main
current of modern thought elsewhere; for if there is any one thing that
modern philosophy unequivocally teaches, it is that all such divisions
are unsound. And we find that all the greatest men of letters of the
period are on this point in agreement with the philosophers. Carlyle,
Browning, Matthew Arnold, Thackeray and George Eliot, all in various ways
teach that art must not ignore the intellectual problem. Tennyson seemed
for a time to hold aloof and to live in a lotos-land of artistic beauty,
but he soon became restless, and all his greater works are charged with an
intellectual as well as an artistic meaning. These men are not in all
respects self-consistent. Browning in particular turned his back in his
old age upon the principle which inspired his more youthful work. But in
spite of inconsistencies he and the rest must all be classed as teaching,
with the philosophers, the unity of intellectual and spiritual life, and
the impossibility of ministering to the one without satisfying the other;
and for this reason it is to them rather than to writers of more limited
view that we must look for guidance in the labyrinth of contemporary
life.



CHAPTER I.

THOMAS CARLYLE.


Poetry is so clearly the head and front of literature that in most periods
the first and chief attention must be paid to the poets. The Victorian age
is an exception, at least as regards the order in which prose and poetry
claim notice, and perhaps partly as regards their relative prominence. The
man who first gives us a key to the significance of the age of Tennyson is
not Tennyson himself, nor Browning, nor any writer of verse, but one who
believed that the day of poetry was past,--Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881).
Considerably older than the poets, he had, notwithstanding his early
difficulties, notwithstanding too the slow ripening of his own genius,
made a name in literature and stamped his mark on his generation before
either of them was widely known.

Carlyle was born at Ecclefechan (the Entepfuhl of _Sartor Resartus_) in
Dumfriesshire. He was educated first at the local schools, and afterwards
at the University of Edinburgh, to which he refers in _Sartor_ as 'the
worst of all hitherto discovered universities.' The purpose he had in view
was to take the divinity course and enter the ministry of the Scottish
Church. But this was rather the design of his parents than his own; as
time went on 'grave prohibitive doubts' accumulated; and about the year
1817 Carlyle definitely abandoned his purpose. He was already supporting
himself by school-mastering, an occupation which grew more and more
irksome, and which in turn was thrown up in December, 1818. For some time
he drifted, oppressed by doubts and dyspepsia, until in 1821 occurred the
one fact recorded in _Sartor Resartus_, the incident in the Rue St. Thomas
de l'Enfer (Leith Walk), wherein Carlyle, shaking off his doubts, stands
up and confronts the Everlasting No and its claim, 'Behold, thou art
fatherless, outcast, and the Universe is mine (the Devil's),' with the
answer, '_I_ am not thine, but Free, and forever hate thee.' This he ranks
as his 'spiritual new birth;' and as such it ought to receive attention in
any account, however brief, of a life which was mainly inward and
spiritual.

But spiritual regeneration could not supply the need of daily bread.
Carlyle supported himself partly by the tutorship of private pupils, a
form of teaching less distasteful to him than his school work had been. He
was at the same time studying hard and reading widely, in French, Italian,
Spanish, and afterwards in German, as well as in English, and was slowly
gravitating towards the profession of literature. He contributed articles
to Brewster's _Encyclopædia_. Through Edward Irving, who had been for
several years a generous friend, he was introduced to Taylor, the
proprietor of the _London Magazine_, who published for him the _Life of
Schiller_. About the same time the translation of _Wilhelm Meister_ was
issued through the agency of an Edinburgh publisher.

Carlyle's marriage occurred in 1826, and he was for a short time happy.
But there still remained difficulties of finance as well as difficulties
of temper. Literary occupation did not prove either as easy to get or as
remunerative as Carlyle had hoped. His _German Romance_ was financially a
failure, and publishers were on that account the less disposed to
consider his books. He made unsuccessful attempts to find employment as a
professor, first in the London University, and again at St. Andrews. He
had lived since his marriage at Comely Bank, but had cherished more or
less all the time the purpose of retiring to his wife's farm of
Craigenputtock, a solitary moorland place in Dumfriesshire. Moved probably
by these disappointments, he carried out his purpose in 1828. 'Hinaus ins
freie Feld,' to escape that necessity which 'makes blue-stockings of
women, magazine hacks of men,'--this had been the impulse which drove him
thither. In less than four months it was 'this Devil's den,
Craigenputtock.' But 'this Devil's den' was his home from 1828 to 1834,
and, whatever doubts may be entertained as to the wisdom and kindness of
Carlyle in taking his wife there, if we judge by the result, we must
pronounce that he did what was best for his own literary development. It
was during those years that Carlyle grew to his full intellectual stature.
There and then were composed a great number of his essays; notably, among
the literary class, the essay on Burns, written at the beginning of the
Craigenputtock period, and, among the historical class, _The Diamond
Necklace_, written near the end. There too was written that autobiography
of 'symbolical myth' which, after being hawked in vain from one publisher
to another, at last appeared piecemeal in _Fraser's Magazine_. There too
the _French Revolution_ was, not indeed written, but planned and brooded
over; and it was with a mind already full of the subject that Carlyle in
1834 made his migration to London, his home for the rest of his life. His
character, moral and literary, was now formed; all the influences
subsequently brought to bear upon it were of subordinate importance; and
though in length of years the future period exceeded the period past, it
may be briefly dismissed.

The _History of the French Revolution_, delayed though it was by the
accidental burning of the manuscript of the first volume, was finished in
January, 1837, and published shortly afterwards. It was the turning point
in Carlyle's literary life. Hitherto it had been a long, hard, almost
fierce struggle; but the _History_ at once established him as one of the
foremost men of letters of his day. Success came none too soon. His
resources were all but exhausted, and, like his countryman Burns, so close
to him in some of the circumstances of his early life, he contemplated
emigration to America. From this he was saved by the project, devised by
Harriet Martineau, which produced his lectures on German literature. The
popularity of the _History_ reacted on his earlier works; publishers
sought him instead of waiting to be approached; a proposal was made for
republishing even _Sartor_; and for the future Carlyle was sure, at any
rate, of a competence. His next work of moment was _Chartism_ (1839),
written with a view to publication in the _Quarterly Review_. It was
declined by Lockhart, but in such a way that the author and the editor
retained for the future a strong mutual regard. In the year following
Carlyle delivered the last of his courses of lectures, afterwards (1841)
printed as _Heroes and Hero-Worship_. He was already deep in study for his
_Cromwell_, and finding, as usual, great difficulty in beginning. Very
different was his experience with _Past and Present_. This book, inspired
by the same sense of social evils to which we owe _Chartism_, 'was written
off with singular ease in the first seven weeks of 1843.' _Cromwell_ was
not finished till 1845. It was no sooner out than Carlyle began to think
of _Frederick_; but of all the long 'valleys of the shadow' of his
literary life, that was the longest. Before it took shape there appeared
his _Latter-Day Pamphlets_ (1850), of which the celebrated paper on _The
Nigger Question_ was the precursor. The _Life of Sterling_ (1851) is a
strange contrast in tone and temper; for while the _Pamphlets_ are among
the most violent of Carlyle's writings, the _Life of Sterling_ is one of
the calmest. It was not until after the publication of _Sterling_ that he
seriously took to _Frederick the Great_, which had hitherto been only a
project floating in his mind with many others. He visited Germany to see
the scenes with which he had to deal and to gather materials. The first
and second volumes were published in 1858, and the third followed in 1862.
In the interval Carlyle had visited Germany a second time. _Frederick_,
finished in January, 1865, set the seal on Carlyle's reputation as the
head of the literature, at least the prose literature, of his time. It was
also practically the end of his literary career. The world was ready to
shower honours upon him. He was chosen Rector of the University of
Edinburgh; but the triumph of his great inaugural speech was dashed almost
immediately by the news of the sudden death of his wife. He wrote one or
two minor articles, such as _Shooting Niagara_, and left the vivid and
interesting, but frequently uncharitable, _Reminiscences_. With such
exceptions, he lived henceforth, till his death on the 5th of February,
1881, the quiet, retired life of a man whose work was done.

This man, so long neglected, was during a considerable part of his life,
and especially in the years between the publication of the _Frederick the
Great_ and his death, the greatest literary force in England. The reasons
which ultimately secured for him this power are in part just the reasons
which so long stood in the way of his advancement. He was eminently
original in his matter, and perhaps even more in his style. But there is
always some difficulty in appraising the value of originality; and the
difficulty is all the greater when the originality is defiant and even
borders on eccentricity. To a great extent Carlyle's early struggles were
necessary because no party, creed or faction could attach him to itself or
claim him as its champion. Every party in turn found it possible to assent
to his negations, yet each in turn had to disapprove of what he affirmed.
In politics, how could such an explosive force work in harmony with
orthodox Toryism? He was constantly ridiculing and denouncing a mere
fox-hunting and partridge-shooting aristocracy. 'Si monumentum quaeris,
fimetum adspice.' On the other hand, if the Radicals thought they had his
sympathy, they soon found that the gulf between him and them was even
wider, if possible, than that which separated him from their opponents. It
was the disclosure of this gulf which led to the breach with their best
man, and one of his best friends, Mill. They believed almost wholly in the
machinery of government, and he believed in it not at all. They were
economists, and he denounced economics as a mere pretended science. They
believed in government by majorities, and he considered it 'the most
absurd superstition which had ever bewitched the human imagination--at
least, outside Africa.' Again, he would admit no accepted theological
creed, and was consequently looked on askance by the accredited leaders of
religion. Anything like superstition he abominated. Newman, he thought,
had 'not the intellect of a moderate-sized rabbit.' On the other hand, he
had no sympathy with the liberal party of the Church of England. He
condemned the writers of _Essays and Reviews_. He respected Thirlwall, but
wished him anywhere but where he was. 'There goes Stanley,' said he of a
man whom he personally liked, 'boring holes in the bottom of the Church of
England.' He thought Arnold of Rugby fortunate in being taken away before
he was forced to choose between an honest abandonment of an untenable
position and a trifling with his own conscience. He liked best the
clergymen who could still honestly and literally and without misgiving
accept the Prayer Book, but he did not respect their intellect. Again, if
he did not like the 'liberals' within the Church, he liked still less the
liberals outside it. However much he dissented from the champions of
belief, he dissented still more from the apostles of unbelief. He had a
faith, though not a creed. Separated thus from the orthodox by what he did
not believe, and from the heterodox by what he believed, from one
political party because he saw it would be fatal to remain inactive and
leave _ill_ alone, and from the other because he was convinced that
movement in the direction they desired would be futile or worse, Carlyle
stood alone. He had to create his own party, and the process was
necessarily a slow one. But the very cause which made the work slow made
it also great when it was accomplished.

One aspect of Carlyle's work not always duly recognised is its
concentration of purpose. Superficially viewed, it has the appearance of a
heterogeneous miscellany. Essays, literary, historical and mixed,
biographies and mythical autobiography, histories drawn from different
centuries and different peoples, idealised pictures of the past, and
fierce pamphlets, not at all idealised, on questions emphatically of the
present, succeed each other in his volumes. The very records of his
literary life help to confirm this impression. No sooner has he finished
one important work than he casts about to discover a subject for another.
He makes no nation and no century specially his own, as it is the custom
of the modern historian to do. In his longer works he jumps from the
French Revolution to Cromwell, and from Cromwell to Frederick the Great.
He seems to have been turned to the second subject almost by accident. He
had been asked by Mill to write on Cromwell in the _London and
Westminster Review_. 'There is nothing,' says his biographer, 'in his
journals or letters to show that Cromwell had been hitherto an interesting
figure to him.' The projected magazine article was turned into a book
through the impertinence of Mill's substitute, who in the absence of his
superior wrote to Carlyle that he 'need not go on, for "he meant to do
Cromwell himself."' The choice of Frederick seems to have been hardly less
fortuitous, and in itself it was more surprising than the choice of
Cromwell.

Yet under this diversity it is always possible to detect a unity both of
purpose and of effect. In the first place, there is the unity of Carlyle's
own character. Everything he wrote was self-revealing; and it is scarcely
too much to say that his whole works are an expansion and, as
circumstances demanded, a modification, of the autobiographic _Sartor
Resartus_. We see this in many ways. Carlyle is best when the conditions
under which he works are such as to allow himself to appear freely,
naturally, spontaneously, without fierce invectives and exaggeration.
This, in his case, generally implies similarity without personal contact,
or with contact from which the aspect of possible competition is removed.
He is worst of all where there is a partial similarity without sympathy.
Thus, the best perhaps of Carlyle's literary essays is that on Burns; and
the reason why it is best is that Burns was in some ways so like himself.
Both sprang from the Scottish peasantry, and the minds of both were deeply
coloured by the experiences of their early youth. In writing of Burns and
his father, Carlyle never forgets himself and his own father. On the other
hand, the essay on Scott is certainly among the worst of his essays, just
because Scott is at once too near to him and too far from him. Scott
belonged to a different class in society, pursued different aims, and had
a widely different literary history from Carlyle. Yet both were Scotch,
and in the blood which they inherited as well as in the mental and moral
food on which they were nourished there was much to bring them together.
The same contrast is illustrated by the _Reminiscences_. There, every
reference to his own family is distinguished by clear comprehension and
profound sympathy; while, unfortunately, nearly every reference to
contemporaries not related to him by blood is disfigured by acrimony and
depreciation. In the _Life of Sterling_ friendship performs the function
which blood-relationship performs in the _Reminiscences_. The essays on
foreign writers, both French and German, deal with men much farther
removed from Carlyle than Scott was; and if they have not that depth of
sympathy and that fineness of perception which are the charm of the essay
on Burns, they are free from the bitterness and ungenerous depreciation
which mar the essay on Scott. Take, for example, Carlyle's treatment of
Goethe. In many ways the great German was almost as far removed as it was
possible to be from his Scotch disciple. Yet Carlyle's comprehension is
clear, his appreciation ready, his criticism wise. We see himself in it
all, but just because of their wide differences his own image never blurs
that of Goethe.

It will be found that the principle underlying Carlyle's choice of
historical themes was similar. He was bound to reveal _himself_; but
Carlyle's _self_ was a particular view of the universe. His subject
therefore must illustrate this. He was naturally attracted to the French
Revolution. It is the greatest movement of recent history; and Carlyle
invariably sought for lessons for the present. It dealt the death-blow to
many shams and hypocrisies; and Carlyle waged a life-long war against
these. While its creed was the equality of men, no great movement has
ever more vividly illustrated their great and inevitable inequality; and
Carlyle rejoiced to see the truth assert itself in spite of the
prepossessions of a victorious mob, and rejoiced to point to the
confirmation of his own favourite doctrine. Again, though Cromwell seems
to have been brought to his mind almost by chance, the points of contact
between the hero and his historian are sufficiently obvious. Cromwell's
strength, his thoroughness, his roughness, his veracity, his piety, all
contributed to endear him to Carlyle. The 'Calvinist without the theology'
was fundamentally in sympathy with the great English Puritan. His boyhood
and early training fitted him, better perhaps than any other training of
the nineteenth century could possibly have done, to sympathise with the
opinions of the Puritan of the seventeenth. It was the instinct which
draws like to like that made him welcome the first suggestion of Cromwell
as a subject; just as the same instinct made him afterwards ponder upon
Knox as another possible subject.

The choice of Frederick is certainly that which requires most explanation,
for in many ways his character seems strangely foreign to anything likely,
_a priori_, to attract Carlyle. Complete explanation is perhaps not
possible, but partial explanation certainly is. We must remember Carlyle's
worship of force. He had been preaching all his life a form of the
doctrine, might is right; and, as was usual with him, the doctrine had
grown more extreme under contradiction and opposition. Thus we have the
_Nigger Question_ and the _Iliad in a Nutshell_. There is an element of
truth in the doctrine, and under Carlyle's original application of it
there had been a well-marked moral foundation, so that it could have been
in many cases altered to read, 'right is might.' He meant not merely that
'Providence is on the side of the heaviest battalion,' but quite as much
that the battalion is heaviest because Providence is on its side. In
other words, he believed that the forces of the universe are moral forces
and that true and permanent success mean being in harmony with them. As
time went on however the qualifications were gradually stripped off, and
latterly what Carlyle worshipped was little better than naked force. Now,
in all the eighteenth century he could hardly have found a better example
of successful force than Frederick. Destitute as he was of the piety of
Carlyle's previous hero, he was at least an eminently successful governor,
and Carlyle respected nothing so much as the faculty for the genuine
government of men, not what he would have called sham government, the kind
of government which follows while it seems to lead. If Frederick had not
created a state, he had raised it from a position bordering on
insignificance to one not far from the front in the European system.
Moreover, this state was peculiarly interesting to Carlyle, for he saw in
Prussia the future head of Germany, and in Germany a possible leader of
Europe. These reasons induced him to turn to Frederick, and perhaps
tempted him to clothe Frederick with attributes which were not all his.
For the method of hero-worship has its dangers, and only prejudice would
assert that the great hero-worshipper, keen as was his insight into
character, has wholly escaped those dangers.

It was through these barriers, the barriers of an original and not
infrequently eccentric genius, and of a personality strange and uncouth to
the majority of his readers, that Carlyle had to fight his way to fame. It
is true that at first the uncouthness and eccentricity were less
prominent. The style of his earliest writings--the _Life of Schiller_ for
example--is simple and almost limpid; the arrangement is orderly, the
development obeys the rules of a logic easily comprehended. But Carlyle
speedily worked his way out of this style, and seldom used it afterwards.
_Sartor Resartus_, the great product of the Craigenputtock period,
presents all his peculiarities in their most aggressive form. Partly in
fact, but still more in appearance, it is lawless and chaotic. Its style,
difficult even now to a generation accustomed to and partly formed by
Carlyle, was then unparalleled and, except after serious study, almost
incomprehensible. It is full of evidences of German studies, German
sympathies, and the influence of German thought. Carlyle has done more
than anyone else to make these familiar in England; but before _Sartor_
was published almost the only interpreters of Germany to England were men
like Coleridge and De Quincey, who not only made the form English, but
gave an English stamp to the matter as well. _Sartor_, moreover, was full
of a humour deep and genuine but unfamiliar in kind, and, as regards the
first impression produced, almost sardonic in character. Its subject was
not calculated to arrest immediate attention. It was not the history of a
nation or of a national hero. What it actually was could not be
immediately perceived; but after bestowing some attention the reader
discovered it to be the spiritual biography of a man then unknown, and his
thoughts on human life and human society, presented humorously,
whimsically, often enigmatically. It is not therefore altogether matter
for wonder that this strange book with difficulty found a publisher, nor
even that it threatened with ruin the magazine which at last received it.
America, more tolerant of novelties, to her honour welcomed it; but in
England the current opinion seems to have been expressed by the 'oldest
subscriber,' who said to Fraser, 'If there is any more of that d----d
stuff, I will, etc., etc.' We frequently boast of our progress. Is it
certain that even now a phenomenon as strange as _Sartor_ would meet with
any better reception? John Stuart Mill, a man as open-minded as he was
intelligent, for a long time saw nothing in Carlyle's early essays but
'insane rhapsody;' and, though he was afterwards one of the warmest
panegyrists of _Sartor_, which he thought Carlyle's greatest work, he read
the manuscript unmoved. Not once nor twice, either in this island's story
or in the history of the world, has the prophet been rejected by the
generation he was sent to serve. Rather, rejection has been the general
fate of prophets ever since the time when the children of Israel rebelled
against Moses in the wilderness.

What redeemed _Sartor_ in the eyes of those who had the patience to study
it, was the discovery that the inner history of this unknown man had, in
the first place, the interest which always belongs to human experiences
told with absolute sincerity. For though _Sartor_ contains little or no
truth of fact, it is wholly true in idea. Carlyle, now as always, was
intolerant of the very shadow of falsehood; and it was to his unswerving
truth that he ultimately owed the greater part of his influence.

In the second place, the small band of careful readers discovered that
_Sartor_ was not only true and sincere, but that its truth was capable of
an immediate and practical application. It was not something applicable
only to a distant past or to another state of existence; its sphere was
here and now. This is characteristic of Carlyle in all his works. He was
always in intention, and generally in effect, the teacher first of his own
generation, and secondly of the future. His interest in ancient history
and literature was comparatively feeble, because he saw not how to bring
them to bear so directly on the present. It was modern England, France and
Germany, rather than ancient Greece and Rome, that nourished his mind. And
for this reason, though his influence was of slow growth, it was deep
rooted when it did spring.

_Sartor Resartus_ is peculiarly important because of its chronological
position. We have seen in the Introduction that the failure of the
revolutionary ideal gives to the new period its most prominent
characteristic. 'The gospel according to Jean Jacques' was accepted no
longer. _Sartor_ may be called a grim sort of gospel according to Thomas
Carlyle. Carlyle himself had written before this; Macaulay had begun his
brilliant career; among the poets, Tennyson, Browning and Elizabeth
Barrett had published their earlier works; but _Sartor_ is the first great
book which faces the difficulties, and, in a way, embodies the aspirations
of the new period. Its grimness no one will dispute. It is also a gospel,
because the Everlasting No is routed, and under all the enigmas there is
the promise of success and, if not Happiness, Blessedness, in work. It
deals with quite a surprising range of modern problems. All the principal
social, political and religious questions of the century are treated in
greater or less detail. Carlyle's attitude towards economic and other
science, his views on religion, the outline of his opinions as to the
position and proper treatment of the poor, his conviction of the need of a
better and stronger government, may all be seen in _Sartor_. He expanded
greatly and illustrated in his later writings, but he did not add much.
_Sartor_ is his most original and probably his greatest work. It is
peculiarly interesting to notice that in it the central point of his creed
is the need of reconstruction. Religion must be reconstructed: the 'Hebrew
old-clothes' have had their day and will serve for human garments no
longer. But this is equally true of the tailoring of the French
Revolution: society itself has to be reconstructed. And the
reconstruction, in Carlyle's view, is a complex task. The salvation of
mankind must be sought by the positive, not by the negative method. The
way will be long and difficult, not short and simple as the
Revolutionists supposed. Neither will any amount of political machinery
suffice. Not by majorities, however numerous, nor by ballot-boxes, however
ingenious, can sound government be carried on, but only by something which
goes to the root of character. Carlyle, writing in the midst of a great
agitation for improvement in political machinery, merely looks on in
contemptuous indifference, convinced that at least the true solution lies
not there. He was too contemptuous, for the true solution lies not in any
one thing but in the union of many, and of these political machinery is
one.

Carlyle was not the only writer of this period who gave thought to such
problems, nor the only one who appreciated their complexity, but it was he
who first adequately expressed them; and it is _Sartor Resartus_, written
in solitude on the Dumfriesshire moors, that summons the crowds of modern
cities to face and solve them. If the voice is the voice of one crying in
the wilderness, it is addressed to the multitudes of human society
wherever they are gathered together.

The principle at the root of all Carlyle's other works is the same. It has
been already pointed out how his own character forms, as it were, a
background even to his histories. As that character had been built up in
the struggle with, and continued to be absorbed in the contemplation of,
those problems, it follows that the histories are just the presentation of
the same problems under the wider and more varied conditions of national
existence. There was artistic gain to Carlyle in the new conditions. A
longer dwelling in the regions of _Sartor_ would have fed the morbid blood
in him. History, without smothering his own personality, took him
sufficiently out of it to check this tendency. The _History of the French
Revolution_ is much purer as an artistic conception than _Sartor_. It is
more orderly in development, it has more artistic unity. Indeed, with the
exception of one or two of Carlyle's smaller works, like the _Life of
Sterling_, it is in this respect the best he ever wrote. Among histories
it is quite singular for its coherence. Few histories have the unity of
works of imaginative art. Among early works we may find one or two, like
the history of Herodotus, which simulate the character and rival the
proportions of a national epic. Among later works we may find one or two,
like Gibbon's, which derive an impressive unity from the stately march of
events to a great far-off catastrophe. But probably nowhere is there a
history which in every chapter, and almost in every sentence, breathes the
artistic purpose as Carlyle's _History of the French Revolution_ does. It
has been frequently called the 'epic' of the Revolution. In point of fact,
as Froude justly says, the conception is rather dramatic, and the best
comparison is to Æschylus.

Carlyle had an infinite respect for facts, and as far as he could by
industry and care, he assured himself that all he wrote as history was
exactly true. It is of small moment that, like all the historians who have
ever lived or ever will live, he has been proved to have made mistakes.
But it is well to notice that, much as he revered facts, no one is farther
removed than he from the school of Dryasdust. Few were so bold in making
selection of their facts. The artistic principle always underlying his
work saved him from the mistake into which so many recent historians seem
prone to fall, the mistake of attempting to tell everything. To Carlyle,
the fact must be illuminative, or he cast it aside. Moreover, while he
denounced theorists, few bolder theorists than himself have ever written.
Behind almost every sentence of his _French Revolution_ there lies a
theory, of character or motive, if not of cause and effect. The difference
between him and the theorists he railed at was really that he presented
poetically what, they presented logically. He was aware of the limited
truth attainable by their method; he was not perhaps fully aware of the
dangers of his own. We see this imaginative element in the great part
which character plays in the development of the French Revolution as
Carlyle conceived it. It is in men, not in political machinery, that we
must seek the clue to it. Hence the prominence, perhaps exaggerated, given
to Mirabeau. Carlyle's facts are never left bare facts. He reverences
them, not so much in themselves, as for the insight they give into the
souls of men. This is the key-note of Carlyle's histories. They are
essentially imaginative; and the writer spends his strength less in a
narrative of events than in delineation of characters, and in the tracing
of moral forces.

Carlyle's _Cromwell_ is, more than either of the other histories, an
illustration of his own doctrine of heroes, and less than either of the
others is it a history of a nation as well as of a man. Cromwell to a
great extent speaks for himself, and Carlyle expounds and comments on his
uncouth and sometimes obsolete manner of expression. The commentary is
free and even ample, yet there is less of Carlyle himself in this than in
any other of his works. The great features of it are its delineation of
the man Cromwell and the proof it presents of Carlyle's skill in the use
of documents. Carlyle has not converted everybody to his own view of
Cromwell, but he has at least coloured the opinion of everybody who has
since studied the period.

If _Cromwell_ is narrower in its scope than the _French Revolution_,
_Frederick the Great_ is even wider. The Revolution expanded into a
European movement, but within the limits Carlyle set to himself it was
essentially French. Frederick was the centre of a movement which Carlyle
found could only be treated as a European one. He was led by the
relations, alliances and wars of his hero, to deal at greater or less
length with all the principal countries of Europe, and his book, instead
of being merely the history of a man, became the history of one of the
most momentous series of events of the eighteenth century. In this respect
therefore the history of Frederick is his most ambitious historical work;
and either to it or to the _French Revolution_ must be adjudged the palm
of excellence in its class. Various arguments might be adduced on both
sides, and it would be rash to pronounce definitely. For the earlier work
it might be pleaded that it is clearly the more perfect in artistic
conception. It is also true that, interesting as is the Seven Years' War,
and interesting as, in Carlyle's hands, the growth of the Prussian
Monarchy becomes, there is nothing in the subject-matter of _Frederick_
quite as enthralling as the volcanic scenes of the _French Revolution_. It
may also be pleaded that passages of eloquent writing are more frequent,
and individual passages probably greater in the latter. The art in it
moreover is purer, less intermixed with the grotesque, and with what can
only be set down to Carlyle's individual eccentricities. On the other
hand, _Frederick_ is even more forcible than the _French Revolution_.
Carlyle gathered power as years went on, and he never expended it more
lavishly than on this latest and most ambitious of his works. Nowhere,
except perhaps in _Sartor_, are all his peculiarities more conspicuous;
nowhere is his gospel preached with more uncompromising energy; nowhere is
his strange style more unrestrained and less amenable to the ordinary laws
of English composition. For these reasons, combined with the wide range of
the work, which tasked his power of construction as it had never been
tasked before, _Frederick the Great_ will probably always win the
suffrages of a large proportion of Carlylean devotees. For the same
reasons, those who, acknowledging Carlyle's original genius and admiring
his power, are only half reconciled to his sometimes wanton
eccentricities, will doubtless continue to prefer the more regular _French
Revolution_.

Regarding the purely historical essays as minor examples of the kind of
works just discussed, Carlyle's remaining writings may be divided into two
classes. These, in the order of their importance in his own eyes, and
probably to the world, are, (1) works dealing with or bearing directly
upon contemporary social and political problems; and (2) literary essays,
including under the latter head the translations and the two biographies
of Schiller and Sterling.

Under the first class rank such works as _Chartism_, _Past and Present_
and _Latter-day Pamphlets_. Under it too might be fairly brought some of
the essays, such, for example, as the essay on the _Corn Law Rhymes_,
which, though it deals primarily with a literary subject, was written
because that subject opened immediately into a social one. But indeed all
Carlyle's works are closely cognate to this section; for if he was not
directly treating of such themes, his thoughts were never far away from
them. Still, there is a difference between dealing directly with a subject
and illustrating it by a borrowed light. In Carlyle's case the latter was
the preferable method, and his wisest teaching on matters of immediate
practical moment is not contained in the class of works here considered.
The reason is that in discussing such questions he usually became violent
and one-sided. Carlyle, as much as any man who ever lived, had 'the
defects of his qualities.' We see in his own life how force and
directness, his greatest qualities both literary and personal, become on
occasion vices instead of virtues. He recognised the fact himself, and
once humorously warned his own people, whom he had alarmed by his
outcries, that they ought to know him too well to believe that he was
being killed merely because he cried murder. But this habit of crying
murder, trifling perhaps in itself, had no little influence for evil on
his own life and on the life of her who was most closely associated with
him. Just the same fault may be observed in all his works to some degree,
but especially in the section of them now under discussion. Carlyle
habitually saw through a magnifying glass. As he made an outcry if his own
finger ached, so he did in the case of the evils of his own time. The
'something in the state of Denmark' he could contemplate with comparative
equanimity, and the lesson he drew from that state was apt to be more just
because more temperate than that which he drew directly from the present
time itself. Compare, for instance, the 'past' with the 'present' in _Past
and Present_. The former is calm, pure, beautiful, and, we feel convinced,
true. The latter is lurid, turbid, exaggerated, repellent, only in part
true. We cannot accept as true at all the contrast between the one age and
the other; only a most enthusiastic disciple can fail to note that a
select specimen of the past is pitted against the average, or worse than
the average, of the present. But not thus is truth reached, and not thus
is conviction carried to the candid mind. Doubtless Carlyle wished to
reform, and the way to reform, it may be urged, is rather to point out
what needs amendment than to insist upon the advantages of 'our
incomparable civilisation.' This is true, but justice is the prime
requisite as a preliminary to reform. The way to win men's acquiescence is
not to paint Hyperion on the one hand and a satyr on the other. The better
way is to point out how a society faulty, troubled, but, it may be, not
hopelessly corrupt, may be made in this point and in that a little less
faulty, less troubled, less corrupt.

There is no such contrast in Carlyle's other works to drive the sense of
his error home; but the same error is present in them. It is far from
being the case that their matter is essentially bad, or that Carlyle is
essentially wrong. There is much that is wholly sound and good in
_Chartism_; but it is unrelieved and unbalanced. The same is true of the
_Latter-day Pamphlets_. Even the much-abused _Nigger Question_ is
fundamentally right. What it means is that unless we organise free labour
we had better give up boasting that we have set it free. The liberation of
the West Indian slaves had brought to the verge of bankruptcy what had
previously been the richest of British colonial possessions, robbed them
of a prosperity which they have never fully recovered, ruined the whites,
and deprived the blacks themselves of a government and discipline which
Carlyle believed to be morally necessary to them, and therefore their
right. There are several points of contact between this and the theory of
Aristotle; there is also a general resemblance between it and the bold
doctrine of Carlyle's countryman, Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun, who,
impressed by the evil of unorganised free labour degenerating into
vagabondage, advocated the re-introduction of slavery. It does not follow
from the evils pointed out by Carlyle that slavery ought to have been
maintained; but it does seem a fair inference that the process of
liberation actually adopted was ill considered, and was no subject for
unqualified jubilation. If Carlyle had advanced such ideas in a moderate
and conciliatory way he might have made converts. Instead of that, he was
aggressive. He sowed the wind of provocation, and he reaped the whirlwind
of opposition, rejection, sometimes of vituperation. It is vain to wish
that he had done otherwise; he could only do as his character allowed him
to do; but we shall do well to recognise that violence proved to be not
strength but weakness, and that with more self-control he would probably
have produced greater practical effect.

The class of writings dealing with literature and literary men is that to
which Carlyle himself would have attached least importance. He was a man
of letters by necessity rather than by choice. He would do nothing which
did not promise him an opening into the sphere of the ideal, and
literature was the only profession within his reach which seemed to do
that. He would have preferred a life of action, provided the action had
not for its end mere money-getting; and he declared there were few
occupations for which he was not better fitted by nature than for that in
which he spent his life. There may have been some exaggeration in this. If
Carlyle had not by nature the faculty for writing, he made a marvellous
faculty for himself. In favour of his own view, however, we may call to
mind his well-known contempt for poetry, or rather verse, as it existed,
and as he conceived it could alone exist, in his own day. Probably no born
man of letters ever cherished such contempt, or ever submitted to be a
writer of prose without some regret that he could not be a poet. Carlyle's
half-dislike and more than half-disbelief in his own profession shows
itself in the fact that he escapes as soon as possible from the region of
pure literature; and, while he remains himself a man of letters, he writes
by preference about action and as little as may be about books and
authors. His literary essays therefore belong principally to the first
period of his authorship. Moreover, he betrays his tendency by his choice
of subjects. He writes with most satisfaction on authors whom he can
regard as teachers; on others he writes only of necessity and with little
sympathy.

Carlyle's creed was that a critic must first stand where his subject stood
before criticism could be other than misleading. The way to write either
fruitful criticism or true history was to read and reflect until it was
possible to think the thoughts of men of the time or of the country to be
commented on. He carried out these precepts by way of biography as well as
of critical essays. Of his two biographies, the _Life of Schiller_, though
good, is much the less interesting and valuable. The _Life of Sterling_ by
common consent ranks among the best in English literature. Carlyle's work
is, as a rule, remarkable rather for the presence of merits than for the
absence of faults, but the _Life of Sterling_ has few faults. It is
exceedingly well proportioned, both in its several parts and with
reference to its subject. Carlyle has moreover, while showing sincere
friendship everywhere, preserved a wonderful sanity of judgment. It is
impossible to rank Sterling's performances high, and his biographer, while
respecting the man and steadily believing him greater than his works,
steadily refuses to eulogise mediocre writings. An air of moderation, of
charity and of kindliness breathes over the whole, as if Carlyle still
felt the influence of his dead friend. He has written greater things, but
none perhaps equally delightful.

It is necessary to add a word about Carlyle's much-debated style. But, in
the first place, we ought in propriety to speak of Carlyle's _styles_. He
had two, practised mainly, though not exclusively, in different periods of
his life. His early style was a clear, strong, simple English, almost
wholly free from the ellipses, inversions and mannerisms associated with
his name. These gradually grew, and appeared fully developed for the first
time in _Sartor Resartus_. Carlyle retained but seldom exercised the power
of writing in his earlier style. The _Life of Sterling_ has more affinity
to it than to his later mode. But when Carlyle's style is spoken of, what
is meant is invariably the style of his later books. It is over this that
the battle has raged. There is no style more strange and unexampled in
English, or more at war with ordinary rules. It is in the highest degree
mannered, it seems to be affected, it is anything but simple. Certainly it
is the last and worst of all styles to select for imitation. No man would
ever advise another to give his days and nights to the study of Carlyle in
order to learn how to write English. In the abstract, if it were possible
to take it in the abstract, it would be described as an exceedingly bad
style; but whether it was bad for Carlyle is less clear. Though it is not
natural in the sense of being born with him, it is natural in the sense
that it seems peculiarly adapted to his turn of thought. Could Carlyle
have expressed his humour and irony otherwise? It is difficult to say; but
at least he never did it with perfect success until he developed this
style. If the style was really necessary to the complete expression of
what was in Carlyle, then that is its sufficient justification. Among the
various 'supreme virtues' which have been assigned to style, the only
genuine one is just this, that it and it alone, whether simple or ornate,
curt or periodic, best expresses the thought of the writer. Yet we are apt
to exclaim after all, 'the pity of it!' If only the humour and irony, the
intensity and passion, could have found a voice more nearly in the key of
other voices! This style will almost certainly tell against the permanence
of Carlyle's fame. The world is a busy world, and the simple, clear,
direct writer, the man whom he who runs may read, has a double chance of
the busy world's attention. Swift, whom Carlyle resembled in not a few
ways, wrote a style unsurpassed for clearness and simplicity, yet he is
not much read. How much less would he be read were _Gulliver's Travels_
written in the style of _Sartor Resartus_!



CHAPTER II.

POETRY FROM 1830 TO 1850. THE GREATER POETS: TENNYSON AND BROWNING.


While it is in the prose of Thomas Carlyle that we first find a key to the
ultimate and deeper tendencies of literature, it is in verse that we see
most clearly its characteristics for the moment. In the interesting
preface to _Philip van Artevelde_, published in 1834, Henry (afterwards
Sir Henry) Taylor remarked that the poetry which had been recently
popular, of which he took Byron's as typical, was marked by great
sensibility and fervour, profusion of imagery and easy and adroit
versification; while it showed inadequate appreciation of what he called
the intellectual and immortal part, and a want of subject-matter. 'No
man,' he adds, 'can be a very great poet who is not also a great
philosopher.' About the poetry of his own days, he says that 'whilst it is
greatly inferior in quality, it continues to be like his [Byron's] in
kind.'

The criticism is just, and the aspiration is not only towards a desirable
reform, but towards that which in point of fact has redeemed literature in
the later decades of the century, and has given the Victorian age a
position among the great poetic epochs of English literature. At the
moment when Taylor wrote, the sinking so frequently noticeable between two
great periods of literature was plainly to be seen, and it was far deeper
in poetry than in prose. The great poets were somewhat later in coming
than their brethren in prose, Macaulay and Carlyle; and, still more, it
was longer before they proved to the satisfaction of criticism their title
to be considered great. The field was for the time in possession of a band
of minor poets, some of them not merely minor but insignificant. It is not
enough to say that they are inferior to Byron, they belong to a different
order altogether; for Byron, with all his faults, was great. It was
however in his footsteps that they trod. As Keats and Shelley and
Wordsworth have been the ruling powers since 1840, so during his brilliant
life, and from his death down to about that year, was Byron. The poetry of
the opening years of this period is therefore rightly affiliated to him.
Even Tennyson, a man of wholly alien genius, felt the influence, as the
_Poems by Two Brothers_ shows; while the verse of Letitia Elizabeth Landon
proves that sex was no barrier to it.

Want of subject-matter and of capacity for the intellectual and immortal
part is precisely the defect of the poetry of those years. It is
essentially trivial. It leaves the impression that the poet is writing not
because he must, but because he has determined to do so. For the present
purpose it is safer to draw conclusions from the work of a single great
man than from that of many mediocre writers; and when we find Tennyson,
already great in technical skill and graceful in style, sinking to
triviality in subject and to commonplace sentiment, we look for an
explanation not wholly confined to himself. We find it in the fact that
those years were an interregnum between the philosophy of Rousseau and
that gospel of work of which even Carlyle was as yet only half master, and
which no one else had then grasped at all. Men were oppressed by a sense
that the Revolution had shattered the old foundations of society; and they
had scarcely gathered courage to attempt the task of reconstruction. To
call therefore for a philosophy in poetry was right; but to supply it was
impossible until the hour had come, and the man. Meanwhile the ordinary
writer of verse groped in darkness or walked by a borrowed light. But in a
sense, the man, or the men, had come, and the hour was rapidly
approaching. Just three years before the beginning of the period Alfred
Tennyson began to write, and just three years after it Robert Browning
published his first poem.

[Sidenote: Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892).]

Alfred, Lord Tennyson, was born at Somersby in Lincolnshire, of which
place his father was rector. He was educated at Trinity College,
Cambridge, where he was contemporary with and made the acquaintance of an
unusual number of men afterwards highly distinguished. Tennyson's most
intimate friend was Arthur Henry Hallam (1811-1833), son of the historian,
and himself a writer of high promise, both in verse and prose. The
literary remains published after Hallam's death can only be regarded as
the promise of something that might have been. There is nothing great in
them, but there is evidence of power which would probably have led the
writer to greatness. Dying so young however, Hallam is memorable not so
much for anything he did himself, as for his influence on his friend, and
especially for the fact that he inspired _In Memoriam_.

During his course at Cambridge Tennyson won the Chancellor's prize with
the poem of _Timbuctoo_, a piece above the ordinary prize-poem level, but
not in itself remarkable. Still earlier, in 1827, he had joined with his
brother Charles in a small volume entitled _Poems by Two Brothers_. But
these compositions were merely boyish, and Tennyson's first noteworthy
contribution to literature was the _Poems, chiefly Lyrical_, of 1830. This
was followed by another volume bearing the date 1833, and entitled simply
_Poems_. Then came nine years of almost complete silence, broken, in 1842,
by two volumes entitled once more, _Poems_. These mark the end of
Tennyson's first period of authorship. In the volumes of 1830 and 1833 we
may look upon him as in many respects an apprentice in poetry; in those of
1842 he has passed far beyond mere apprenticeship. _The Princess_ (1847)
indicates a change in his method and in the nature of his ambitions; while
_In Memoriam_ (1850), though it has its roots in the early life of
Tennyson, and was in part at least written when the grief it commemorates
was fresh, is connected by its subject-matter rather with Tennyson's later
work and with the interests of the second half of the century. In the year
when _In Memoriam_ was published Tennyson succeeded Wordsworth in the
laureateship, an office which he held for a longer period than any of his
predecessors. His appointment was the public recognition of him as the
chief poet of his time.

The most interesting feature of Tennyson's writings during those years is
the evidence of development they present; and this is especially important
in any attempt to gauge the tendencies of the time. This evidence has been
much obscured by changes and omissions. Part of the contents of the
volumes of 1830 and 1833 has been incorporated in the collected editions
of Tennyson's poems. About half of the collection of 1842 consisted of
select poems from the earlier volumes; but many pieces were omitted, and
of those retained almost all were freely changed, and some nearly
re-written. For this reason it is difficult for the reader of the present
day to appreciate fairly the early criticisms of Tennyson. It is well
known that he was severely handled, especially by Lockhart in the
_Quarterly Review_; and it is supposed, on the ground of the poet's great
achievements, that this is only another example of perverse and utterly
mistaken criticism. But such a judgment is hardly fair to the critic.
Carlyle long afterwards condensed the criticism in his expressive way into
a word,--'lollipops.' A great many of Tennyson's early poems were
'lollipops,' dainty, exquisite, delicious to taste, but not food. They are
elegant, not strong. They are deficient in two things essential to great
poetry, depth of thought, and fervour of passion. The need of passion to
poetry will be universally admitted; and to the need of thought,
especially in the present century, one of the greatest of English critics
has borne emphatic testimony. 'I do not think,' says Matthew Arnold in his
_Letters_, 'that any poet of our day can make much of his business unless
he is intellectual.'

Now, among the early poems of Tennyson there are many pieces in which the
want of these qualities is felt. He was certainly not in those days a poet
of passion. His pulse temperately keeps time all the while he is drawing
his Lilian, his Margaret and his Adeline. Though these pieces deserve,
within certain limits, warm praise, they cannot be ranked as great poetry.
They are masterpieces of grace, but they want depth. The writer is himself
unmoved, and in consequence he leaves his readers equally calm. The same
holds true of the thought in these volumes. It is usually cold and
somewhat superficial. The critics, alive to these defects, were, it is
true, both incautious and unfair. The early volumes contained a few poems
showing no small force of mind, as well as a technical skill remarkable in
so young a man. They contained, in particular, _The Palace of Art_ and _A
Dream of Fair Women_, both, even in their original shape, indubitably the
productions of a strong intellect. In them also we find the exquisite
_Lotos-Eaters_, with its wonderful melody, one of the most poetic poems
Tennyson ever wrote, and one which, for suggestive beauty of thought as
well as for rhythm, ranks among the masterpieces of the English language.

Tennyson then, judged by those early volumes, was a man who might prove to
be less gifted intellectually than artistically. He certainly had grace,
but it might be reasonably questioned whether he had much strength. On the
other hand, it might prove that the surface show of weakness was the fault
rather of the time than the man. For the production of truly great poetry
two things must co-operate,--great gifts in the individual, and a great
life in the community in which his lot is cast. Without the latter the
former will lie dormant, like the strength of Samson till the Philistines
are upon him. Now, this is exactly what has been described as the position
of matters when Tennyson began to write. The old impulse which had stirred
the giants of the Revolution was failing or was undergoing transformation;
the new impulse was only beginning to be felt.

As the poet was, so to speak, in the balance, his next publication is an
object of special interest. He had taken plenty of time; and an interval
of nine years, considerable at any time of life, is great in the space
between twenty and thirty. He had moreover undergone a great personal
sorrow in the death of his friend Hallam. If any change was ever to take
place in his work it might be expected now. And we do find a great change,
partly in the tone of the new poems, and hardly less in the omissions and
revisions of the old. The purely trivial pieces are not reprinted. It is
hardly less instructive to note that in the lighter pieces which are
retained the changes made are comparatively slight; for they were already
nearly perfect of their kind. Very different is the treatment of the more
weighty poems. Tennyson evidently felt that he had been less successful
with these; and accordingly he freely revised all, and nearly rewrote some
of them. The new pieces present similar evidence of development. The poet
is still an artist first of all, but in a large proportion of the pieces
he is a thinker as well. The whole tone of these volumes is therefore more
thoughtful and more profoundly serious than that of their predecessors.
_Ulysses_, _Locksley Hall_, _Morte d'Arthur_ and the _Vision of Sin_ may
be mentioned as typical of the new work. Edward FitzGerald thought that
Tennyson never rose above, nor even equalled, the poems of 1842; and, if
we judge by the perfect balance of thought and expression, much might be
said in defence of this view. At any rate, he had proved himself a poet
who must be taken seriously, and it is from this date that we may regard
his position among the greater English poets as assured. We have glimpses
of artistic ideals to be realised and of intellectual problems to be
solved. On the artistic side, the ideals are fundamentally a development
from Keats, but they are a development by an original genius. On the
intellectual side, _Locksley Hall_ presents social problems, and the
_Vision of Sin_ raises moral and religious difficulties similar, it is
true, in essence to those which men had discussed in former days, but seen
in the light of the poet's own time.

Hitherto Tennyson's pieces had all been short. In 1847 he published his
first long poem, the medley of _The Princess_. This serio-comic production
on what is called 'the woman question' will probably not hold for long a
high place among Tennyson's works. The main body of it contains no great
illuminating thought. The reflexions upon the position of women and the
relations of the sexes are not beyond the range of an intelligence
considerably short of genius, and the jest and earnest are not very
happily mingled. The poem is remarkable rather for fine passages than for
greatness as a whole. In point of length it was the most important
experiment Tennyson had yet made in the most difficult but most flexible
form of English metre, blank verse. There is however no part of _The
Princess_ of similar length which can be ranked as equal to _Morte
d'Arthur_; and its best feature, the lyrics between the parts, were a
subsequent addition. But whatever may be the intrinsic merit of _The
Princess_, it is valuable as a symptom. The poet who had at first held so
far aloof from the interests of everyday life is now found devoting his
longest work to a social question of the day. He is at least endeavouring
to be what Sir Henry Taylor says the great poet must be, a philosopher as
well as an artist. If 'art for art's sake' be the proper creed of the
poet, then Tennyson is wrong, and he remains wrong all the rest of his
life. We must rank him among those poets who seek to base their work on an
intellectual foundation, not among those who hold that feeling alone is
sufficient. He seeks to see Truth as well as Beauty, instead of resting
satisfied, like Keats, with their ultimate identity.

[Sidenote: Robert Browning (1812-1889).]

Robert Browning is the only poet of that time who can be placed beside
Tennyson, and it is only in respect of greatness that the two can be
conjoined; for in the great features of his poetry Browning stands apart,
not only from Tennyson, but from all contemporary writers. The Browning
family were dissenters in religion, and in those days dissenters were to a
large extent cut off from society and from the usual course of education.
The young poet went to no public school, and his higher education was
given not at Oxford or Cambridge, but in the University of London,
afterwards University College. There he remained only one year, and the
travels on the continent which followed were unquestionably more important
for his intellectual development. On his return he settled down to a
literary life, and, notwithstanding narrow means and want of appreciation,
became a poet by profession. His works consequently are the landmarks of
his life. The most important event, outside the record of his
publications, is his marriage in 1846 to Elizabeth Moulton Barrett, who
was already known as a poetess. This union is unique in the records of
English literature, and indeed, it would be hardly too much to say, of all
literature. It has been said that men of genius usually marry commonplace
wives. The two Brownings were, the one certainly among the greatest of
nineteenth century poets, the other generally regarded as the greatest of
English poetesses. The health of Mrs. Browning necessitated their living
abroad; and the works of both bear deep marks of the influence of their
long residence of fifteen years at Florence.

Browning, like Tennyson, lived and worked all through the present period,
and far beyond its lower limit; but, unlike Tennyson, he neither
illustrates in his own writings the characteristic influence of the time,
nor did he in the early years make any deep mark upon it. One reason for
his escape from the influence was that his interests were during those
years more purely intellectual than those of any other poet. He had
moreover a native buoyancy which saved him from the paralysing effect of
disappointment and of fading hopes. He was an idealistic optimist born
into a world where pessimism, or faith only in material prosperity and
material progress, prevailed. Hence we find that from the start his works,
unlike those of Tennyson or his contemporaries in general, were
characterised by an even extravagant largeness of design. His first work,
_Pauline_ (1833), though it contains more than one thousand lines, is a
mere fragment of a most ambitious scheme, which the poet afterwards
admitted to have been far beyond his strength. _Paracelsus_, _Sordello_,
_Strafford_, and the other dramas, all exhibit a similar boldness. While
the other poets of the time had to be slowly made conscious of their
strength and encouraged to undertake great things, Browning had by degrees
to become aware of the limits of his powers, and to learn that he must
reach through small things up to great. It was after what we may call an
apprenticeship in the shorter dramatic monologue, such as we find in
_Dramatic Romances_, _Dramatic Lyrics_ and _Men and Women_, that he
achieved his greatest triumph, _The Ring and the Book_.

_Pauline_ is interesting chiefly for the evidence it presents of the
poet's early tastes. Shelley was the poet to whom in this piece he owed
most; but Shelley's genius was not in harmony with Browning's, and
afterwards his influence vanished almost as completely as did that of
Byron from the works of Tennyson. _Pauline_ was followed by _Paracelsus_
(1835), a poem in which the writer seemed to spring all at once to the
full maturity of his powers. He failed however to maintain his ground.
_Strafford_ (1837) was the first of a series of dramas published between
that year and 1846, when the last number of _Bells and Pomegranates_,
containing _Luria_ and _A Soul's Tragedy_, appeared. Browning never
afterwards attempted the drama proper, for _In a Balcony_, first published
among _Men and Women_, is rather a dramatic episode than a drama. Besides
the dramas, there had appeared during those years _Sordello_ (1840), the
most enigmatical poem Browning ever wrote. Despite the beauty of the
descriptive passages in the poem, it may be questioned whether the enigma
is worth the trouble of solution; at any rate, all the ingenuity bestowed
upon it has not yet suggested a satisfactory explanation. There had
appeared also, as parts of the series of _Bells and Pomegranates_,
_Dramatic Lyrics_ (1842) and _Dramatic Romances and Lyrics_ (1845).
_Pippa Passes_ (1841) is sometimes misleadingly classed as a drama. It is
far more closely akin to the dramatic romances and dramatic lyrics.

The decade between _Strafford_ and _A Soul's Tragedy_ may be described
then as, for Browning, a period of dramatic experiment. The result was to
demonstrate that, though his genius was in some respects intensely
dramatic, he was not fitted to write for the stage. His failure is all the
more remarkable because of his keen interest in character and his great
success, under certain conditions, in understanding and interpreting it.
The question naturally arises whether there is any connexion between
Browning's failure and the often noted incapacity of the present century
to nourish a dramatic literature. This incapacity is conspicuous in the
preceding period as well as in that now under discussion. Scott failed
completely as a dramatist. The once great reputation of Joanna Baillie has
withered away. The dramas of Byron are striking, but their centre is
always George Gordon. Shelley succeeded once, in _The Cenci_; for, great
as is _Prometheus Unbound_, its greatness is not dramatic. With respect to
the present period, the most convincing proof of the scarcity of dramatic
talent is the fact that there is no need to devote a separate section to
the criticism of this form of literature. To most writers the drama has
been a mere interlude among other literary work, and this in spite of the
fact that fiction alone can compare with it in respect of the material
rewards it offers. Almost the sole exception, among those who can be
regarded as rising into the ranks of literature, is James Sheridan Knowles
who belongs more to the preceding period than to this. As literature, his
plays are far from remarkable. His tragedies are of little interest, and
his comedies, while ingenious, are pieces of skilful mechanism rather
than works inspired by the poetic spirit. Men like Tom Taylor and James
Robinson Planché and Douglas Jerrold, gifted with fluency, and capable of
writing as many dramas as the theatres might demand, have a place only in
ephemeral literature. Even better men, such as Thomas Noon Talfourd
(1795-1854) and John Westland Marston (1819-1890), hold but a low position
in its annals. The cold dignity of Talfourd's style hardly atones for the
commonplace character of his thought; and Marston betrays an incapacity,
fatal in a dramatist, to draw clear and consistent characters. Henry
Taylor, who ranks much higher, will be considered elsewhere. As a rule,
such drama as there is in the period comes under names more conspicuous in
other departments. Great as are his literary defects, Bulwer Lytton is
pretty nearly the best in the dramatic list; and, like Charles Reade, he
is a novelist first and a dramatist only in the second place.

In some of these cases it might be fairly urged that the cause of failure
is want of dramatic talent in the man himself; but this does not explain
the strange fact that in one age, the Elizabethan, nearly all writers
should prove themselves capable of producing dramas, always respectable
and often great; while in another, our own, no one, except Tennyson in his
old age, has written a drama that is likely to rank permanently among the
treasures of literature. We can only account for this by the operation of
the law of development in literature. We observe, in point of fact, that
particular literary forms flourish at particular times. We observe,
further, that in ancient Greece and in modern France and Spain, as well as
in England, the golden age of the drama is neither at the beginning nor at
the end, and that in each case it coincides with a period of great
national activity and exaltation. The fact is susceptible of a
psychological explanation. The drama requires an even balance between the
spirit of action and the spirit of reflexion. On the one hand, we can
hardly conceive of the drama being as naïve as the poems of Homer; on the
other hand, the growth of self-consciousness is apt to interfere, as it
did in Byron's case, with true dramatic portraiture.

Herein we find the secret of Browning's failure. Though he rightly
proclaimed that all his poetry was 'dramatic in principle,' yet he never
wrote a successful drama. The reason is that in him the spirit of
reflexion predominates unduly over the spirit of action. In his plays the
action stagnates, because he has no interest in it. All his wealth of
intellect is devoted to the unfolding of motive and inner feeling,
because, little as he cares for what a man does, he cares very much for
what he _is_ and _why_ he does it. The characters therefore, in Browning's
mode of conception, are seen individually, each in himself; they are not
developed, in accordance with the true dramatic method, by mutual
interaction. Hence too it comes that Browning's stage is never more than
half filled, and that even of the sparse _dramatis personæ_ only one as a
rule, or at most two or three, are brought out with tolerable fulness of
detail.

In the dramas then we may say that Browning was merely learning what he
could not do. Side by side with them he was doing work which taught him
what he could do eminently well. His name is associated, more than that of
any other poet, with the dramatic monologue. Excluding the regular dramas,
nearly all his work of the period under consideration is either dramatic
monologue or closely akin to it. _Pippa Passes_ is only slightly
different, a series of dramatic scenes, bound together by a lyric thread
and by the character and doings of the girl Pippa. Most of the _Dramatic
Lyrics_ and _Dramatic Romances_ are pure monologues. _Paracelsus_ may be
described as modified monologue. And not only during these years, but
throughout his life, Browning's success depended principally upon two
things; first, on the fidelity with which he kept to monologue; and
secondly, on his remembrance of the fact that the poet must be not only
intellectual, but artistic. With few exceptions Browning's greatest
things--in _Men and Women_, in _Dramatis Personæ_ and in _The Ring and the
Book_, as well as in the works above named--are monologues in which he
bears this fact in mind. With few exceptions his failures in later days
are due to the fact that he forgets the poet in the philosopher.

Reasons may easily be found to account for the fact that dramatic
monologue proved so much more suitable to the genius of Browning than
either the regular drama or any other form of verse. It gave scope to his
interest in character, without demanding of him that interest in action
which he only showed spasmodically. Moreover, it suited his analytic
method. For Browning is not, like Shakespeare, an intuitive but a
reflective artist. His delineations are the result of a conscious mental
process; and hence he can hardly call up more than one character at a
time. Further, he does not care to trace character through a train of
events. His pictures are usually limited to moments of time, to single
moods. They reveal the inner depth seen through some crisis in life; and
therefore, though they are highly impressive, they do not exhibit growth.
Now, for purposes such as these the monologue is admirably adapted. It
leaves the poet free to choose his own moment, to begin when he likes and
end when he likes; and this is essential to the effect of many of
Browning's poems, as for instance _In a Gondola_ and _The Lost Mistress_.
It explains likewise the extraordinary suddenness of his style, which is
one among the many causes of the difficulty so often felt in understanding
him. There is no preparation, no working up to the crisis. The scene
opens abruptly on some tempest of the soul, and the reader has to
penetrate the mystery amidst thunder-claps and lightning-flashes. Yet the
method does not always give rise to difficulty. There is no better example
of it in Browning than the magnificent sketch of _Ottima and Sebald_ in
_Pippa Passes_. It is not a monologue, for there are two interlocutors;
but they stand isolated from all the world, bound together by crime, and
are seen only in their moment of supreme tension. Yet everything is so
clear that dulness itself could hardly mistake the meaning.

_Paracelsus_ is so much the most important of the works of this period
that it demands separate notice. Although several characters appear in the
course of it the method is fundamentally that of monologue. The whole
interest is concentrated on the fortunes and spiritual development of
Paracelsus; but in this instance they are followed through a life. The
poem may be described as a poetical treatise on the necessity of a union
of love with knowledge and of feeling with thought. But though loaded with
reflexion it never, like Browning's later works, ceases to be poetical,
and it must be ranked very nearly at the head of its author's writings.
The intellectual theory of the universe which underlies all Browning's
poetry is never afterwards as fairly stated, nor are the difficulties as
fully faced, as in _Paracelsus_. It has the advantage therefore, not only
as poetry but also as philosophy, over the works written after _The Ring
and the Book_.

Boldness of design then, and an even excessive opulence of intellect, were
from the first the characteristics of Browning. He did not acquire them,
they were his birthright. Carlyle stood out from among his contemporaries
by virtue of conquests won through toil and pain, Browning entered into
his inheritance at once and without effort. The one might have said, like
the chief captain, "With a great sum obtained I this freedom;" and the
other might have answered, with St. Paul, "But I was free born." Yet the
advantage was not all on one side. Carlyle had the deeper sympathy with
the difficulties of the time, and laborious as was his way upwards he had
far more power over his own generation than Browning. The latter was for
many years one of the least popular of poets, and what influence he
possessed operated slowly and unseen. It was men of less vigorous
intellect who stamped their character upon this early part of the period.



CHAPTER III.

THE MINOR POETS, 1830 to 1850.


The view presented in the last chapter is that even Tennyson in his early
works displays the qualities to be expected in a time of lowered energy,
and gradually, by native force, rises superior to its limits. If this view
be sound we should expect the characteristics in question to be much more
prominent in lesser men. And this we find to be the case. Besides Tennyson
himself and his brothers, the principal poets who had begun to write
before 1830, and who may be taken as representative of the early years of
the period, were: Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Mrs. Hemans, Elizabeth Moulton
Barrett, Thomas Hood, Henry Taylor, and William Motherwell. We may include
also Winthrop Mackworth Praed, for, though his poems were not collected
and published till long afterwards, a number of them were written before
this date. The _Poems_ of Hartley Coleridge came a little later; and in
the last year of the decade then beginning Philip James Bailey won by the
long and ambitious poem of _Festus_, a great reputation which has for many
years been fading away.

These writers are unusually hard to classify, because of the absence of
any dominant note or of any absorbing interest. The two women first named,
Mrs. Hemans and 'L. E. L.,' belong rather to the preceding period, though
they overlap this. Both are sentimentalists, and time has taken from
their work the charm it once possessed. Mrs. Hemans is now unduly
depreciated, but the difference between the most favourable and the least
favourable critic can only be with regard to the degree of weakness
charged against her. L. E. Landon (1802-1838), who became by marriage Mrs.
Maclean, was in her own day even more popular than Mrs. Hemans, but she
has since been much more completely forgotten. Even the mystery of her
death, which was believed by many to be due to foul play, but which in all
probability occurred through misadventure, has failed to keep alive the
interest in her. Yet, though her verse is of little value, she is one of
the best examples of the tendencies of the time. She followed Byron as far
as her talents and the restraints of her sex would allow. Her longer poems
are on the whole poor; some of her shorter pieces are very readable, but
they are chargeable with the fault of an excess of rhetoric. Such as she
was in poetry, her work was mostly done before 1830. After that date she
wrote some mediocre prose stories, but was comparatively inactive in
verse.

[Sidenote: Charles Tennyson Turner (1808-1879).]

Both of Tennyson's brothers, Charles and Frederick, were, like himself,
poets. It has but recently become known that Frederick as well as Charles
had a share in the _Poems by Two Brothers_. Except for this the eldest
brother's publications were of much later date; but Charles Tennyson,
afterwards Charles Tennyson Turner, followed up the joint venture with
another of his own, a slim volume of _Sonnets and Fugitive Pieces_,
published in 1830. This attracted the attention of Coleridge, who bestowed
warm but discriminating praise upon the sonnets. Both as to fame, and
probably as to his own productiveness, Charles Tennyson Turner was
crushed, as it were, under his greater brother. He wrote little more,
though he carefully revised and in some respects decidedly improved his
sonnets. It is by virtue of them that he takes his place among English
poets. They are graceful and sweet, but the substance is not always worthy
of the form. They reveal everywhere the interests and the pursuits of the
Vicar of Grasby, and they are honourable to his peaceful piety. It is
evident that both Charles and Frederick Tennyson, and especially the
latter, might have been disposed to adapt to themselves the humorous
complaint of the second Duke of Wellington, and exclaim, 'What can a man
do with such a brother?' Though the eldest of the three, Mr. Frederick
Tennyson belongs by the date of his publications rather to the period
after than to the period before 1870.

Of the other writers, Praed, accomplished and exceedingly clever, but
never impelled to do anything really great, may be regarded as a victim of
the prevalent want of purpose. So may Hood, in respect of that section of
his works which naturally goes along with those of Praed. Hood, it is
true, was too great a man to be dismissed as merely a writer of the
transition; yet, just because of his greatness, his history shows better
than that of any other man how earnestness was discouraged and triviality
fostered. Seldom have so great poetic gifts been so squandered--with no
dishonour to Hood--on mere puns. The poet, as an early critic pointed out,
was a man of essentially serious mind; but he had to earn bread for
himself and his children, and as jesting paid, while serious poetry did
not, he was compelled to jest.

[Sidenote: Thomas Hood (1799-1845).]

Thomas Hood inherited from a consumptive family a feeble constitution, and
the latter part of his life was a gallant but painful struggle against
disease. His literary life began in 1821, when he was made 'a sort of
sub-editor' of the _London Magazine_. _Lycus the Centaur_, a boldly
imaginative piece for so young a man, appeared in 1822. _The Plea of the
Midsummer Fairies_, a fine specimen of graceful fancy deservedly ranked
high by himself, and the powerful and terrible _Eugene Aram's Dream_, were
likewise early pieces. The latter may be contrasted for its treatment of
crime with Bulwer Lytton's well-known novel on the story of the same
murderer. The advantage in imaginative force and insight, as well as in
moral wholesomeness, is all on the side of Hood.

These pieces prove that the vein of serious poetry was present from the
first in Hood. The vein of jest and pun was equally natural to him. Jokes
of all kinds, practical and other, enlivened and sometimes distracted his
own household. This liking for fun inspired the _Odes and Addresses to
Great People_, written in conjunction with John Hamilton Reynolds, the
_Whims and Oddities_, and the succession of _Comic Annuals_, the first of
which appeared in 1830. The presence of such a light and playful element
in a great man's work is by no means to be regretted; but in Hood's case,
unfortunately, there was for many years little else. Hood was blameless,
for he had to live. With characteristic modesty he seems for a time to
have been persuaded that the public were right, and that nature meant him
for a professional jester. It was fortunate that he lived to change this
opinion, for much of his finest poetry belongs to his closing years.

Perhaps the most original fruit of Hood's genius is _Miss Kilmansegg_,
which conceals under a grotesque exterior deep feeling and effective
satire. It has been sometimes ranked as Hood's greatest work; and if
comparison be made with his longer pieces only, or if we look principally
to the uniqueness of the poem, the judgment will hardly be disputed; but
probably the popular instinct which has seized upon _The Song of the
Shirt_ and _The Bridge of Sighs_, and the criticism which exalts _The
Haunted House_, are in this instance sounder. The grotesque element cannot
be employed freely without damage to the pure poetic beauty of the piece
in which it occurs; and _Miss Kilmansegg_ certainly does suffer such
damage.

The _Song of the Shirt_ and _The Bridge of Sighs_ are by far the most
popular of Hood's poems. They have the great merit of perfect truth of
feeling. Handling subjects which tempt to sentiment, and even to that
excess of sentiment known in the language of slang as 'gush,' they are
wholly free from anything false or weak or merely lachrymose. Pity makes
the verse, but it is the pity of a manly man. _The Haunted House_, first
published in the opening number of _Hood's Magazine_, stands at the head
of the writer's poetry of pure imagination. Few pieces can rival it for
eeriness of impression, and few exhibit such delicate skill in the choice
of details in description. The centipede, the spider, the maggots, the
emmets, the bats, the rusty armour and the tattered flags, all help to
deepen the sense of desolation and decay. This piece, with the more
serious ones already mentioned, and a few others, such as _Ruth_ and _The
Death-Bed_, are Hood's best title to fame. The growth in their relative
number as time went on, the increasing wealth of imagination and the
greater flexibility of verse, all show that Hood was to the end a
progressive poet. If he had lived longer and enjoyed better health his
fame might have been very great. He was the victim of the transition, and
through tardiness of recognition and the want of any influence to draw him
out, he failed to leave a sufficient body of pure and great poetry to
sustain permanently a high reputation. As the author of a few pieces with
the unmistakable note of poetry he can never be quite forgotten.

[Sidenote: Laman Blanchard (1804-1845).]

Passing mention may be accorded along with Hood to Laman Blanchard, a very
minor poet, who showed the same combination of seriousness with fun. He
was an agreeable writer, but not, even at his best, a distinguished one.

[Sidenote: Winthrop Mackworth Praed (1802-1839).]

The man of closest affinity to Hood was Winthrop Mackworth Praed, who
began by contributing at school to _The Etonian_, and continued at
Cambridge to write for Knight's _Quarterly Magazine_. He entered
Parliament, and if he had lived he would probably have risen to eminence
there. Praed belongs to the class of writers of _vers de société_ of which
Prior is the earlier and Locker-Lampson the later master; and it is not
too much to say that he surpasses both. It is a species of verse well
adapted to such a period as that in which Praed lived. Great earnestness
is not required, and is even fatal to it. The qualities essential to
success are culture, good-breeding, wit and lightness of touch. Praed had
them all. The cleverness and wit and delicacy which nature had given him
were all increased by the influence of his school and university, where he
acquired all the grace of scholarship without any of the ponderosity of
learning. But Praed had one more gift, without which his verses must have
taken a lower place--the gift of a refined poetic fancy. It is this that
gives his wit its special charm, and it is this too that saves his verse
from being that merely of a very clever and refined jester. The well-known
character of _The Vicar_ is one of the best examples of this combination
of feeling with lightness. Herein we detect the difference between Praed's
wit and the wit of Hood. The latter commonly separated jest from earnest,
and gave himself wholly over to one or the other. He is far the more
pronounced punster. The pleasant surprises of Praed's verse usually arise
from some delicate turn of thought rather than from a twisting of words.
Hood's fun is sometimes almost boisterous, Praed's is never so. As regards
the lighter verse, the advantage on comparison is all on the side of the
younger man. But there is no other aspect to Praed. Notwithstanding the
undertone of seriousness, notwithstanding too the strange power of that
masterpiece of the grotesque, _The Red Fisherman_, it remains doubtful
whether he had the capacity to be more than what he is, the prince of
elegant and refined writers of light verse. Hood is indubitably a poet.

[Sidenote: Richard Monckton Milnes, Lord Houghton (1809-1885).]

It is likewise as a writer of _vers de société_ that Richard Monckton
Milnes, Lord Houghton, is best known, and is happiest. But though he
shines as a writer of what may be called, without disparagement, poetical
trifles, there is also a serious strain by no means contemptible in his
verse. _Strangers Yet_ is a fine specimen of pathos. In _Poems, Legendary
and Historical_, however, Houghton is less successful, and the best of
them do not bear comparison with Aytoun's _Lays of the Scottish
Cavaliers_, which belong to the same class. Houghton's critical work in
prose is on the whole more valuable than his verse, for there his culture
told, and the lack of high imagination is less felt.

[Sidenote: Richard Harris Barham (1788-1845).]

Richard Harris Barham represents a type of humour much broader than that
of Praed. His _Ingoldsby Legends_ have enjoyed a popularity wider,
probably, than that of any other humorous verse of the century. They are
clever, rapid in narrative, and resourceful in phrase and in rhyme. Yet a
certain want of delicacy in the wit and of melody in the verse is evident
when we compare them with the work of Hood and Praed, or that of such
later humorists as Calverley, or J. K. Stephen, or Lewis Carroll.
Barham's last composition, 'As I laye a-thynkynge,' contains the promise
of success if he had written serious poetry.

[Sidenote: Hartley Coleridge (1796-1849).]

Hartley Coleridge was a poet of a totally different type; and we must
ascribe the fact that he never redeemed his early promise to hereditary
weakness of will rather than to any adverse influence of the time. Against
the latter he had a defence that did not in the same measure shield any
other contemporary. He was the special inheritor of the great traditions
of the so-called Lake school; and he was cradled in poetry. His infancy
and childhood are celebrated both by his father and by Wordsworth. Derwent
Coleridge tells a story of his brother, which shows that Wordsworth
accurately described Hartley as one 'whose fancies from afar are brought,'
and who made 'a mock apparel' of his words. 'Hartley, when about five
years old, was asked a question about himself being called Hartley. "Which
Hartley?" asked the boy. "Why! is there more than one Hartley?" "Yes," he
replied, "there's a deal of Hartleys." "How so?" "There's Picture-Hartley
(Hazlitt had painted a portrait of him) and Shadow-Hartley, and there's
Echo-Hartley, and there's Catch-me-fast Hartley"; at the same time seizing
his own arm very eagerly.' Evidently this boy lived in a world of
day-dreams, in a 'perpetual perspective.' The problem of the education of
such a young idealist is a difficult one; but it seems clear that its
principle ought to have been a judicious, not a harsh or pedantic,
regularity. His father's aspiration of 'wandering like a breeze' was not
for him. But instead, Hartley's actual education was irregular and
desultory. Nothing was done to improve his natural defect and to
discipline his will; and weakness of will wrecked his life. The
fellowship he had won at Oriel College was forfeited for intemperance, and
he never conquered the habit, but sank from depth to depth, a pitiable
example of genius gone to waste.

Though Hartley Coleridge wrote prose as well, his name is now associated
only with his poems. A volume of these was published in 1833. It was
marked Vol. I., but no second ever appeared. The poems however were
re-edited, with additions, by Derwent Coleridge, in 1851. Hartley
Coleridge nowhere shows the supreme poetic gift his father possessed; but
as in sheer genius the elder Coleridge was probably superior to any
contemporary, so Hartley seems to have been the superior by endowment of
any poet then writing, Tennyson and Browning alone excepted. Weakness of
will, unfortunately, doomed him to excel only in short pieces, and to be
far from uniform in these. It would have been wiser to omit the section of
'playful and humorous' pieces. But the sonnets are very good, and some of
them are excellent. A few of the songs take an equally high rank,
especially the well-known _She is not fair to outward view_, and _'Tis
sweet to hear the merry lark_. There are many suggestions of Wordsworth,
but Hartley Coleridge is not an imitative poet. Without any striking
originality he is fresh and independent. His verse betrays a gentle and
kindly as well as a sensitive character. He evidently felt affection for
all living things, and especially for all that was weak, whether from
nature, age, or circumstance. Some of this feeling turns back, as it were,
upon himself, in the numerous and often pathetic poems in which he appears
to be contemplating his own history. He is of the school of Wordsworth in
his love for and his familiar communion with nature; and here at least he
gathered some fruit from the 'unchartered freedom' of his existence.

[Sidenote: Sara Coleridge (1802-1852).]

Hartley Coleridge belonged to a family unique in its power of
transmitting genius. His sister Sara likewise inherited intellectual and
imaginative gifts probably little if at all inferior to his; but
circumstances prevented her from making a great name. She married another
Coleridge of genius, her cousin, Henry Nelson, whose untimely death threw
a burden upon her, as editor of her father's literary remains, that
absorbed her time and energies. Her only book is _Phantasmion_, a fairy
tale, whose lyric snatches prove her worthy of remembrance among English
poetesses.

[Sidenote: William Motherwell (1797-1835).]

Of the other poets who have been named, William Motherwell was the least
considerable both in achievement and in gifts. He had a taste for research
in old popular poetry, but he took such liberties that his versions are
not to be trusted. He also allowed the pseudo-antique to mar some of his
own work, especially the fine _Cavalier Song_. He is happiest in the vein
of pathetic Scotch verse, of which the best specimen he left is his
_Jeanie Morison_. He had the feeling and sensibility of a minor Burns, but
not the force. Contemporary with Motherwell and, on the Scotch side of his
work, not dissimilar, was William Thom (1798-1848), 'the weaver poet,'
best known for _The Blind Boy's Pranks_. Dialect alone unites with these
two George Outram (1805-1856) a man little known out of Scotland, but, in
his best pieces, one of the most irresistibly humorous of comic poets.
Nothing but unfamiliarity with the legal processes and phrases on which
the wit frequently turns, prevents him from being widely popular. For rich
fun _The Annuity_, his masterpiece, has seldom been surpassed.

[Sidenote: Henry Taylor (1800-1886).]

Henry Taylor lifts us once more into a higher sphere of art. He lived an
even and unruffled life, the spirit of which seems to have passed into his
works. The son of a country gentleman, he procured an appointment in the
Colonial office, gradually rose in it, was knighted, and after nearly half
a century of service, retired in 1872. The comfortable and easy life of
office permitted Taylor to develop his powers to the uttermost. For a
greater man its very smoothness might have been damaging. Great poetry
requires passion: either the passion of the emotional nature, or that
passion of thought which, as Mr. William Watson has lately reminded the
world, is no less valuable for the purposes of art. Official life fosters
neither; but it would seem that Sir Henry Taylor's nature contained the
germ of neither. Hence perhaps, in part, his disapproval of the school of
Byron. His practice would have been as excellent as his theory had he been
one of those who know

  'A deeper transport and a mightier thrill
  Than comes of commerce with mortality.'

But he was wanting in the second kind of passion, as well as in the first.
His work is like his life, smooth, calm, unchargeable with faults; but it
is not the kind that animates mankind.

Sir Henry Taylor wrote prose as well as verse, in particular a very
readable autobiography. It is however chiefly as a dramatist that he is
memorable. His plays are the closet studies of a cultured man of letters,
who knew little and cared little about the conditions of the stage. _Isaac
Comnenus_ (1827) was followed by his masterpiece, _Philip Van Artevelde_
(1834). _Edwin the Fair_ appeared in 1842, and his last play, _St.
Clement's Eve_, in 1862. He also wrote one other piece, _A Sicilian
Summer_, a kind of comedy, not very successful.

_Philip Van Artevelde_ is so clearly Taylor's best work that his literary
faculty may be judged, certainly without danger of depreciation, from it
alone. It is a historical drama, and the title sufficiently indicates the
age and country in which the scene is laid. The whole drama is long, and
the slow movement adapts it rather for reading than for representation. It
is composed of two parts, separated by _The Lay of Elena_, a lyrical piece
in which may be detected echoes both of Wordsworth and Coleridge, with an
occasional suggestion of Scott. The weakest element of the drama is the
treatment of passion. Taylor's incapacity to comprehend it is strikingly
illustrated in the passage where Philip, immediately after his declaration
of love to Elena, reflects upon the caprice of a woman's fancy which

                  'Takes no distinction but of sex,
  And ridicules the very name of choice.'

The thought is a little trite, and the words are extraordinary in the
mouth of a newly-accepted lover. We may confidently look to Taylor for
careful and workmanlike delineation of character, but we shall find in him
no profound insight. Philip proses about the burden he takes up and the
cares he endures. But notwithstanding defects, the interest is fairly well
sustained, some of the situations are impressive, and the verse is
frequently lit with flashes of imaginative power. A man of talent with a
touch of genius, Taylor saw clearly what the poetry of his time needed,
but for want of the 'passion of thought' he failed to supply it.

[Sidenote: Philip James Bailey (1816-1902).]

One contemporary at least showed by his practice that he agreed with
Taylor as to the necessity of setting poetry on a philosophical basis.
Philip James Bailey published _Festus_ in 1839. It has been the work of
his life, for though he wrote other pieces afterwards, most of them have
been incorporated, wholly or in part, with _Festus_. The consequence is
that the poem, long originally, has grown to enormous dimensions. It is an
ambitious attempt to settle all the fundamental problems of the universe,
and it was once hailed with a chorus of praise that would almost have
sufficed for Homer or Milton. This praise remains one of the curiosities
of criticism for later days to marvel at. _Festus_ is not profound
philosophy, and still less is it true poetry. The thought when probed is
commonplace. A vigorous expression here and there is hardly enough to
redeem the weak echoes of Goethe and Byron. Frequently the verse is
distinguishable from prose only by the manner of printing. 'Swearers and
swaggerers jeer at my name' is supposed to be an iambic line. We are told
that a thing is in our 'soul-blood' and our 'soul-bones;' and we hear of
'marmoreal floods' that 'spread their couch of perdurable snow.' Yet this
passes for poetry, and _Festus_ has gone through many editions in this
country, and still more in America. The aberration of taste is not quite
as great as that which raised Martin Farquhar Tupper and his _Proverbial
Philosophy_ to the highest popularity, but it is similar in kind.

[Sidenote: Richard Hengist Horne (1803-1884).]

A more interesting and far superior example of the class of thoughtful
poets was Richard Henry, or, as he called himself in later life, Richard
Hengist Horne. Horne was a man of versatile talent who, after an
adventurous youth in which he saw something of warfare and passed through
many adventures on the coasts of America and, at a later date, in the
Australian bush, settled down to a literary life. His first memorable
works were two tragedies, _Cosmo de' Medici_ and _The Death of Marlowe_,
both published in the year 1837. A third tragedy, _Gregory VII._, appeared
in 1840. Horne's dramas are thoughtful, and they have the vigour which
marked his own character. Yet Horne seems to have felt that there was
something not wholly satisfactory in his dramatic work, and, except _Judas
Iscariot_ (1848), his more noteworthy writings in later days are either
prose, or lyrical verse, or epic blank verse. He is best known by _Orion,
an Epic Poem_ (1843). It is an epic with a philosophic groundwork,
'intended,' as the author himself explains, 'to work out a special design,
applicable to all time, by means of antique or classical imagery and
associations.... Orion, the hero of my fable, is meant to present a type
of the struggle of man with himself, _i.e._, the contest between the
intellect and the senses.' Horne sarcastically hinted his sense of the
improbability that such a poem would find a sale by publishing the first
three editions at a farthing, with the explanation that he did so 'to
avoid the trouble and greatly additional expense of forwarding
presentation copies.'

_Orion_ is Horne's masterpiece. The philosophic thought clogs the epic
movement, but the thought is weighty enough, and expressed with sufficient
terseness and force, to be worthy of attention for its own sake. The verse
is almost always good and sometimes excellent. Horne is indebted more to
Keats than to anyone else. Sometimes he appears to echo him consciously;
at other times the reminiscence is probably unconscious. But as Horne was
always a bold and original thinker his discipleship was altogether good
for him. The sonorous quality of his verse is partly due to his model; the
meaning remains his own.

[Sidenote: William Barnes (1801-1886).]

Another true poet whose work belongs largely to this early period was
William Barnes, author of _Poems of Rural Life in the Dorset Dialect_.
This collection, published in 1879, and embracing the work of more than
forty years, may be said to sum up his literary life; for, though he
wrote prose as well as poetry, it is only by his verses in dialect that he
has any chance to be remembered. Barnes began writing his Dorset poems in
1833, and continued to do so at intervals all through his life. The great
charm of his poetry is its perfect freshness. The Dorset poems are
eclogues, wholly free from the artificiality which commonly mars
compositions of that class; they are clear, simple, rapid and natural.
There is no affectation of profound thought, and no straining after
passion, but a wholly unaffected love for the country and all that lives
and grows there. The vital importance of language to poetry is nowhere
more clearly seen than in Barnes, for all the spirit of the Dorset poems
evaporates, and all the colour fades from the specimens the poet was
induced to publish in literary English.

There were numerous inferior writers, a few of whom claim a passing
notice. James Clarence Mangan (1803-1849) is one of those Irishmen with
regard to whose work a wide difference of opinion exists between his
countrymen and English critics. He had certainly an ear for verse and a
gift for making it, and if his equipment of ideas had been proportionate
he would have been a great poet. His weakness is that, while he can say
things pleasantly, he has but little to say. Charles Whitehead (1804-1862)
was one of those who attempted dramatic composition, but his best work was
_The Solitary_ (1831), a reflective poem in the Spenserian stanza,
thoughtful but slow in movement, and as a whole somewhat tiring. Thomas
Wade (1805-1875) was likewise a mediocre dramatist, whose name is now
associated only with _Mundi et Cordis Carmina_, a book which bears many
traces of the influence of Shelley.

Ebenezer Jones (1820-1860) also, though much younger than these men,
falls, by reason of his principal work, _Studies of Sensation and Event_
(1843), within the same period. Jones was crushed by circumstances and the
want of appreciation, otherwise his sensitive nature might have produced
good, though hardly great poetry.



CHAPTER IV.

THE EARLIER FICTION.


The characteristic literary form of the last two generations has been the
novel. After a certain interval Scott was followed zealously, and by
constantly increasing numbers; so that for every novelist who was writing
in the first decade of the century, there were probably ten in the fourth;
and, as the great increase of readers has been principally in the readers
of fiction, the growth has naturally continued down to the present day. No
one can believe that this immense preponderance of fiction has been
altogether wholesome. It is questionable whether the novel is capable of
producing the highest results in art; certainly we do not find in prose
fiction the equivalent of _Hamlet_ or of _Faust_, of the _Iliad_ or the
_Divine Comedy_. It may be that the Shakespeare of novelists has not yet
come; but it may also be that the form is inherently inferior to the drama
and the epic. The latter is the conclusion suggested by the fact that of
all kinds of imaginative art the novel is the one which has least
permanence. Novels are like light wine in respect that, while pleasant to
the taste, they do not keep long; they resemble it too in the fact that a
man may read much, as the disappointed toper found he could drink much,
without making great progress. Notwithstanding the hostility, avouched by
Horace, of gods and men and booksellers to the mediocre poet, the
versifier who has just a little of the poetic spirit is, after two or
three generations, far more readable than the merely competent novelist.
There are few literary experiences more melancholy than to turn to an old
novel, once famous, but not quite the work of genius. Moreover, the novel
has yielded more than any other form of literature to certain influences
of the time inimical to high art. It is in fiction above all that the
periodical system of publication has been adopted; and we can trace its
evil effects in the work even of men like Thackeray and Dickens. The novel
tends at the best to looseness of structure, and periodical publication
fosters the tendency.

In at least one other way the influence of the novel must have been partly
evil. The gains of literature have been to an altogether disproportionate
extent showered upon novelists; and the ordinary laws of human action
force us to believe that some talent must have been thus diverted to
fiction which would have been better employed otherwise. Theologians like
Newman and historians like Froude are tempted from their own domain into
the field of fiction. Yet on the other hand it must be said that the
greater writers have been on the whole remarkably faithful to their true
vocation. The leading novelists are those whose talents find freest scope
in fiction. Historians, philosophers, novelists, poets, the great men
everywhere remain what nature intended them to be. Still, the evil, though
not as great as it might have been expected to be, is real. Matthew
Arnold, it is said, ceased to write verse because he could not afford it.
But for the absorption of the mass of readers in fiction he probably could
have afforded it.

[Sidenote: William Maginn (1793-1842).]

In the year 1830 literature in general, but especially fiction and the
more fugitive forms both of verse and prose, received a notable stimulus
from the establishment of _Fraser's Magazine_. The idea of the magazine
originated with William Maginn and a Bohemian acquaintance of his, Hugh
Fraser, from whom, and not from the publisher James Fraser, it received
its name. Maginn had been a contributor to _Blackwood_, and partly through
his connexions with its staff he soon drew around him a band as brilliant
as that of _Blackwood_ itself. Coleridge, Carlyle, Lockhart, Thackeray and
Southey were among the early contributors. Theodore Hook, famous for his
somewhat coarse but copious and ready wit, also wrote for it. He was at
that time one of the most popular of the novelists; but though he could
tell a story well he could not draw a character, and it is for impromptu
jests and for the clever fun of his articles that he is now remembered.
Maginn himself was no mean contributor. He was never the editor of the
magazine, but he was one of the most energetic and effective of its staff.
Thackeray has immortalised him in Captain Shandon; but if he had the
weaknesses of that well-known character he had certainly all his
cleverness and more than all his accomplishments. For Maginn's more
serious articles show no inconsiderable learning; while his best humorous
articles are simply excellent. _Bob Burke's Duel with Ensign Brady_ is a
model of what the Irish story ought to be. Maginn was helped by others in
giving an Irish flavour to the early _Fraser_. Crofton Croker, author of
the _Fairy Legends and Traditions of the South of Ireland_, was one of his
colleagues; and the witty Francis Mahony was another. The famous _Reliques
of Father Prout_ first appeared in _Fraser_.

Men like Theodore Hook and Mahony were however merely the free lances of
fiction, and it was Scott who moulded the legitimate novel. It is strange
that his great success did not more speedily produce a crop of imitations.
A few appeared during the twenties, but Scott's life was near its close
before any writers came forward of calibre sufficient to be called his
successors. Of those who had begun to write before 1830, the chief were
Bulwer Lytton, Disraeli and Marryat. Two others, worthy of mention though
inferior to these, were the prolific but commonplace G. P. R. James and
Harrison Ainsworth. All of these men were stimulated by Scott, but the
greater ones were more than mere imitators.

[Sidenote: Lord Lytton (1803-1873).]

The first Lord Lytton was by baptism Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer. On
succeeding to his mother's estate of Knebworth he became Bulwer Lytton;
and in 1866 he was raised to the peerage as Viscount Lytton. The union of
politics with fiction is one of the points of contact between him and
Disraeli; but while in the case of Disraeli the politician is first and
the man of letters second, the order of importance is reversed in the case
of Lytton. In politics, Lytton was at the start a Whig, but afterwards
attached himself to the Conservative party, and became, under Lord Derby,
Colonial Secretary.

Lytton's literary career began in boyhood with _Ismail and other Poems_
(1820), and it ended only with his death. Perhaps fluency and versatility
were his most remarkable characteristics. He distinguished himself as a
novelist and as a dramatist, achieved a certain success as a lyric poet,
believed that his greatest work was an epic, and attempted criticism and
history. He had however the good sense and good taste to leave his
historical work, _Athens, its Rise and Fall_, unfinished on the appearance
of the histories of Thirlwall and Grote. It is only as a novelist and
dramatist that he demands serious consideration; and in these departments
he is the more worthy of attention because he is perhaps the best literary
weather-gauge of his time.

Lytton's first novel was _Falkland_ (1827), which he afterwards called
his Sorrows of Werther. It proves his literary affiliation to Byron, and
the proof is strengthened by subsequent works. Lytton, who was not proud
of the relationship, both thought and said that he had done much to put
Byron out of fashion. Possibly he was right, but the kinship is none the
less real. The posing and foppery of _Pelham_ are both like and unlike the
attitudinising of Byron; and the similarity of the sentimental and
romantic criminals, Eugene Aram and Paul Clifford, to the heroes of
Byron's tales is obvious. Moreover, as Lytton once at least, in _Pelham_,
sat for his own portrait, and Byron did so many times, the likeness was
recognised as a personal one, so that one of Lytton's early lady
correspondents nicknamed him Childe Harold. Lytton was too sensitive to
influences to escape the Byronic fever. But his Byronism is Byronism a
little damaged. 'The Hero as Criminal,' as presented by him, is a being
more sentimental and sickly, less violent and less forcible, but not a
whit less dangerous to society, than his Byronic prototype.

Lytton's excursions into the domains of dandyism and criminality drew down
upon him the satire of Carlyle and Thackeray, both sworn foes of
affectation, from which Lytton was never free. But in spite of hostile
criticism the new novelist had caught the popular taste; and he retained
it, perhaps because his own never remained long constant. Shortly after
the publication of _Eugene Aram_ (1832) he underwent a marked change, due
immediately to a journey to Italy, the influence of which is seen both in
the subject and the treatment of _The Last Days of Pompeii_ (1834), and of
_Rienzi_ (1835). These, with _The Last of the Barons_ (1843), form a group
of historical romances, glittering and clever, but destitute of charm.
The strength and the weakness of Lytton is nowhere more easily detected
than in these novels. They show abundance of talent, supported by
a quality not usually associated with such powers as those of Lord
Lytton--indefatigable industry. Yet they fall short of excellence. To
say that Lytton's treatment of history will not bear comparison with
Shakespeare's, or with Scott's, or with Thackeray's, is only to say that
he is not equal to the greatest masters. But there are other men, markedly
inferior to these, who yet overtop Lytton. Such, for instance, is Charles
Reade, in his _Cloister and the Hearth_. What Reade has in common with his
greater brethren, and Lytton has not, is the light and shade of life. In
Lytton all is polished glittering brilliance. The light is neither the
sunlight of common day nor 'the moonlight of romance,' but the glare of
innumerable gas lamps,--the rays from the footlights to which he was about
to betake himself. All the softer shades disappear, and quiet effects are
impossible. There is nowhere in these novels, and there is rarely in
Lytton's later works, that atmosphere of a home which we always breathe in
the novels of the greater writers.

After the Italian novels Lytton for a time turned his energies to dramatic
writing. The fantastic romance of _Zanoni_ (1842) and _The Last of the
Barons_, which followed it, are exceptions. With _The Caxtons_ (1849) we
find him entering upon a new period of prose fiction. _My Novel_ (1853)
was a sequel to it; and these two are generally ranked with _What will He
do with It?_ (1859) as a group devoted to contemporary life. Perhaps
_Kenelm Chillingly_ (1873) ought to be added. These novels are altogether
mellower than the historical romances, and wholesomer than what may be
called the criminal group. To a great extent the theatrical glare has
disappeared. It is clear that in writing these novels Lytton was catering
for the taste which had been partly indicated and partly created by
Dickens and Thackeray. The difference is that, whereas Dickens and
Thackeray are habitually in touch with nature, Lytton is so only in
moments of inspiration. His true field was not the natural, but rather the
fanciful and fantastic. Two of his most successful works are _Zanoni_,
which flings probability to the winds, and _The Coming Race_ (1871), in
which the faculty exercised is that of prophecy. In the latter Lytton
showed again his extraordinary sensitiveness. Forecasts like _The Coming
Race_ have been characteristic of recent literature, and he seems to have
divined their approach.

Lytton's dramas are remarkably like in tone to his novels, and the
popularity they have enjoyed has been due to much the same causes. But
whereas the novels are overshadowed, in critical opinion at least, and
largely even in popularity, the dramas remain what they were when they
were written, among the best plays of a non-dramatic age. Not that they
can compare in literary merit with even such semi-failures as Browning's
plays, still less with Tennyson's one great success, _Becket_. They are
melodramatic, and the striving for stage effect is evident; but yet they
are interesting and well adapted for representation, and the melodrama is
good of its kind. Lytton's first play, _The Duchess de la Vallière_, was a
failure; but _The Lady of Lyons_ (1838) speedily became, and still
remains, a favourite on the stage. It is the best specimen of Lytton's
dramatic work. Attempts have been made to put the prose comedy, _Money_
(1840) above it; but, though effective, _Money_ is very flimsy in
construction and characterisation. Lytton's third drama, _Cardinal
Richelieu_ (1838), is like one of the historical novels adapted to the
stage; though, curiously enough, it is less meretricious than they are.

The epic of _King Arthur_ is scarcely worthy of mention; but Lytton's
lyrics deserve a few words, if only because they are in danger of being
forgotten. They are not original; perhaps indeed it is as echoes that
they are most interesting. We have already seen how Lytton appears to veer
with every breath of popular taste; and it is curious to detect in a man
so different by nature the occasional echo of the pensive reflexion of
Arnold, and sometimes even a suggestion of the philosophy of Browning. It
will appear hereafter that this faculty proved hereditary and descended to
Owen Meredith. Two stanzas from _Is it all Vanity?_ deserve to be quoted,
because the modern note sounds so clear in them:

  'Rise, then, my soul, take comfort from thy sorrow;
    Thou feel'st thy treasure when thou feel'st thy load;
  Life without thought, the day without the morrow,
                    God on the brute bestow'd;

  'Longings obscure as for a native clime,
    Flight from what is to live in what may be,
  God gave the Soul;--thy discontent with time
                    Proves thine eternity.'

[Sidenote: Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield (1804-1881).]

Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield, was the man of letters most
closely related in spirit and methods to Lytton; but even from the
beginning his ambition was for eminence in the state. Political interests
and a political purpose are features in his earlier works, and they are
the essence of the intermediate novels, _Coningsby_ and _Sybil_. Disraeli
began his career with _Vivian Grey_, the first part of which was published
in 1826, and the second in the following year. He next spent three years
in the south of Europe; after which, in the interval between his return
and his entrance into Parliament in 1837, came the period of his greatest
literary activity. Between 1831 and 1837 there appeared, besides some
minor works, five novels,--_The Young Duke_, _Contarini Fleming_, _The
Wondrous Tale of Alroy_, _Venetia_ and _Henrietta Temple_. Parliamentary
work checked his pen and profoundly influenced what he did write, as we
see in _Coningsby_ (1844), _Sybil_ (1845), and _Tancred_ (1847). After
_Tancred_ Disraeli wrote no fiction till _Lothair_ appeared in 1870,
followed by the disappointing _Endymion_ (1880).

As literature, Disraeli's novels are not great, because, using the word in
an artistic and not in a moral sense, they are not pure. They are
pretentious and unreal, and the rhetoric rings false. The impression of
insincerity, conveyed to so many by his statesmanship, is conveyed also by
his novels. But notwithstanding all defects, Disraeli's novels have that
interest which must belong to the works of a man who has played a great
part in history. They throw light upon his character, they mark the
development of his ambition, it may even be said that they have helped to
make English history. It is worth remembering that _Tancred_ foretells the
occupation of Cyprus; and it is quite consistent with the character of
Disraeli to believe that, when the opportunity came, the desire to make
his own prophecy come to pass influenced him to add to the British crown
one of its most worthless possessions, and to burden it with one of its
most intolerable responsibilities, the care of Armenia. Indeed, the most
remarkable feature in Disraeli's novels is the way in which they reflect
his life and interpret his statesmanship. The magniloquence, the flash and
the glitter of the early novels seem of a piece with the tales current
regarding the author's manners and character, his dress designed to
attract attention, and his opinions cut after the pattern of his dress. So
in the _Coningsby_ group we are struck with the forecast of the writer's
future political action. His later policy seems to be just the realisation
of his earlier dreams.

Impartially considered, these novels, notwithstanding their air of
unreality, tell in favour of Disraeli's sincerity. Many even of his own
party believed him to be cynically indifferent to the real effect of his
measures, and to aim only at party, and, above all, at personal success.
But it ought to be remembered that the originator of Tory democracy was
also the leader of Young England. _Coningsby_, and still more _Sybil_,
advocate the claims of the people to a more careful consideration than
they had hitherto received at the hands of government; and their advocacy
was no mere passing thought. In the case of _Sybil_, at least, Disraeli's
views were the outcome of personal observation during a tour in the north
of England. When he afterwards declared that sanitation and the social
improvement of the working classes were the real task of government, he
was only repeating what he had written many years before. Men who knew
Disraeli well have said that his most wonderful quality was an almost
portentous power of forecast. This is certainly confirmed by his literary
works. There are no writings of the century which so distinctly foreshadow
the actual course of politics and legislation as this group of Disraeli's
novels.

Of the other men selected as representative of this early period,
Ainsworth and James, though younger than Marryat, claim treatment first,
because their work is more closely connected with the novels of the
preceding period. They were direct imitators of Scott, as Scott himself
perceived in the case of Ainsworth at least;[2] and criticism of one side
of their work could not be better expressed than in his words. The great
novelist compares himself to Captain Bobadil, who trained up a hundred
gentlemen to fight very nearly, if not quite, as well as himself. He goes
on: 'One advantage, I think, I still have over all of them. They may do
their fooling with a better grace; but I, like Sir Andrew Aguecheek, do it
more natural. They have to read old books and consult antiquarian
collections to get their knowledge; I write because I have long since read
such works, and possess, thanks to a strong memory, the information they
have to seek for. This leads to a dragging-in of historical details by
head and shoulders, so that the interest of the main piece is lost in
minute descriptions of events which do not affect its progress.'

[Sidenote: William Harrison Ainsworth (1805-1882).]

Little or nothing need be added about the historical novels of William
Harrison Ainsworth. What Scott says is strictly true of _The Tower of
London_ (1840), reputed to be Ainsworth's masterpiece, of _Old St. Paul's_
(1841), and of _St. James's, or the Court of Queen Anne_ (1844). The
censure is indeed too mildly expressed.

Ainsworth had another side. Like Lytton, he showed a kind of perverse
regard for interesting criminals. _Rookwood_ (1834), with its famous
description of Turpin's ride to York, and _Jack Sheppard_ (1839), are
studies of the highwayman. The latter was severely criticised as
demoralising in tendency, and the censure induced Ainsworth to abandon
this species of story.

[Sidenote: George Paine Rainsford James (1801-1860).]

George Paine Rainsford James was even more prolific than Ainsworth. He is
said to have written more than one hundred novels, besides historical
books and poetry. No wonder therefore that the name of James became a
by-word for conventionality of opening and for diffuse weakness of style.
More perhaps than Ainsworth he has suffered from time, because he remains
more constantly on a dead level of mediocrity. James trusted, and in his
own day trusted not in vain, to adventure; but unless there is some saving
virtue of style, or of thought, or of character, each generation insists
on making its own adventures. James has sunk under the operation of this
law, and he is not likely to be revived.

[Sidenote: Frederick Marryat (1792-1848).]

Frederick Marryat was a man of altogether higher merit than these two.
Indeed there are several points, of vital moment for permanence of fame,
wherein he surpasses Disraeli and Lytton as well. He was by far the most
natural and genuine of the whole group. He was also, _qua_ novelist, the
most original. There is no affectation, no pretentiousness, in Marryat.
Through his breezy style there blows the freshness of an Atlantic gale,
rude and boisterous, but invigorating. He is moreover the best painter of
the naval life of that day, and the fact that it has passed away for ever,
by closing the subject to future writers, or condemning them to write at
second-hand, gives to his works a special promise of permanence.

Marryat's literary career reaches from _Frank Mildmay_ (1829) to the
posthumous _Valerie_ (1849). His stories embody many incidents of his own
life, and his characters are often reproductions of actual men. Thus, the
Captain Savage of Peter Simple is partly a picture of Marryat's first
commander, the great Cochrane, to whose adventurous spirit he owed an
experience richer, though crowded within a few years, than a lifetime of
the 'weak piping time of peace.' This was his literary stock-in-trade. His
rattling adventure, his energetic description, his fun and liveliness, are
the charm of his best books--_Peter Simple_, _Jacob Faithful_, _Midshipman
Easy_, _Japhet in Search of a Father_. His plots are rough but sufficient;
his characters show little penetration; but the habit of drawing from the
life prevented him from going far wrong.

From the nature of his subjects and from his mode of treatment Marryat
invites comparison with his predecessors, Smollett and Fenimore Cooper, as
well as with his contemporary, Michael Scott, who, next to Marryat
himself, is the best of the naval story-tellers of that time. Marryat is
by no means the equal of Smollett in richness of humour. His is rather the
humour of boisterous spirits than that intellectual quality which gives so
fine a flavour to books. On the other hand, Marryat is much more humane
than Smollett. The life depicted by both is rough to the last degree. In
Smollett, the roughness frequently passes over into brutality; while
Marryat, though he depicts brutality, never seems to share it. As against
the American, Cooper, Marryat has the advantage, in his sea stories, of
greater familiarity with the life he paints; Cooper's strength is
elsewhere, and there he reaches higher than Marryat's highest point.

[Sidenote: Michael Scott (1789-1835).]

Michael Scott, one of the _Blackwood_ group of writers, would be not
unworthy to be bracketed with Marryat if a man could be judged by parts of
his books without regard to the whole; but unfortunately _Tom Cringle's
Log_ (1829-30) and _The Cruise of the Midge_ (1836) are little more than
scenes and incidents loosely strung together. Perhaps Scott was influenced
by the _genius loci_; at any rate his books resemble the _Noctes
Ambrosianæ_ in so far as they are the outlet to every riotous fancy and
every lawless freak of the writer's humour.

Marryat had several imitators, the best of whom were Glascock and Chamier,
the latter still fairly well known by name as the author of _Ben Brace_
and _The Arethusa_. But though they had practical experience of sea life,
like Marryat, Glascock and Chamier had not his literary faculty. At a
later date, James Hannay, the essayist and critic, essayed the naval tale
with more literary skill, but without the practical knowledge possessed by
these men.

[Sidenote: Samuel Warren (1807-1877).]

To a wholly different class belonged the once famous Samuel Warren. He was
a barrister and the author of several legal works, but his literary career
was determined rather by a short period of medical study in Edinburgh,
before he resolved to be a barrister. His acquaintance with Christopher
North opened the pages of _Blackwood_ to him, and he utilised his medical
training in the _Diary of a Late Physician_, an unpleasantly realistic
book which first appeared in that magazine. _Ten Thousand a Year_ (1841),
though commonplace in substance, was interesting. Warren lived upon the
reputation of this book. His subsequent attempts were failures, and he was
known through life as the author of _Ten Thousand a Year_.



CHAPTER V.

FICTION: THE INTERMEDIATE PERIOD.


Where dates so overlap it is impossible to find, and therefore misleading
to seek for, absolute divisions. Some of the writers to be treated in this
chapter began to publish only a few years after those dealt with in the
last, and great part of their career was strictly contemporaneous. The
division only means that, on the whole, we can recognise in the earlier
writers a closer relationship with the preceding period, a more direct
debt to Scott and Byron. In the fourth decade of the century we begin to
see the romance of the Middle Ages and of the East giving place to the
humours of low life in Dickens, to satire on society in Thackeray, and to
the novel of passion in the Brontës. These writers may be said to form
ideals of their own, and though they do not constitute a school they are
each distinguished by characteristics which we recognise as the growth of
the present period.

[Sidenote: Charles Dickens (1812-1870).]

The difference between good work and excellent work is seen when we turn
from even the best of the earlier writers to Charles Dickens. The
novelist's father, John Dickens, was a clerk in the navy pay-office; and
the circumstances of the lad's early life are universally known from
_David Copperfield_, a novel largely autobiographical. Forster's biography
proves that the picture of the miserable little drudge, David, is even
painfully accurate. The sordid life, both of his home, with its mysterious
'deeds' leading up to his father's imprisonment in the Marshalsea, and of
the London streets and the blacking warehouse, was the best possible for
the development of his talents; but the bitterness of it never faded from
his memory. Neither can it be denied that certain of the faults of Dickens
may with probability be explained by his early life. His many fine
qualities were marred by a slight strain of vulgarity, visible both in his
works and in his life, from which the surroundings of a happier home would
almost certainly have preserved a nature so sensitive.

The family circumstances improved, and in 1824 Dickens was sent to a
school at once poor and pretentious, where he remained for two years. He
afterwards spent some time in a lawyer's office, but left it to become a
reporter. After much toil he became, in his own words, which are confirmed
by the estimate of others, 'the best and most rapid reporter ever known.'
Journalism is akin to literature, and Dickens gradually drifted into
authorship. His first article, _A Dinner at Poplar Walk_, now entitled
_Mr. Minns and his Cousin_, appeared in the old _Monthly Magazine_ for
December, 1833; and the collected papers were published in 1836, under the
title of _Sketches by Boz_. They were in some respects crude, but they
contained the promise of genius. The first drafts of some of Dickens's
best characters are to be found in them, and the sketches are eminently
fresh and independent. Few books owe less to other books than the early
works of Dickens. His book was the streets of London; and even what he
read was best assimilated if it had some connexion with them. George
Colman's description of Covent Garden captivated him. 'He remembered,'
says Forster, 'snuffing up the flavour of the faded cabbage-leaves as if
it were the very breath of comic fiction;' and Forster adds, with
justice, 'it was reserved for himself to give a sweeter and fresher breath
to it.' For to the honour of Dickens it may be said that, despite certain
lapses of taste, he seldom forgot that 'there is as much reality in the
scent of a rose as in the smell of a sewer.'

The extraordinary rapidity with which Dickens rose to popularity is
indicated by the advance in the value of his copyrights. He sold the
copyright of _Sketches by Boz_ for £150, and before _Pickwick_ was
finished in the following year, he found reason to buy it back for no less
than £2,000. _Pickwick_, scarcely equalled for broad humour in the English
language, was published in monthly parts, and finished in November, 1837.
It was _Pickwick_ that led to the first meeting between Dickens and
Thackeray; for on the suicide of Seymour, the original illustrator,
Thackeray was one of those who offered to execute the sketches. _Oliver
Twist_ was begun before _Pickwick_ was finished; and in the same way
_Nicholas Nickleby_ overlapped _Oliver_. Thus the stream flowed on for
many years; and though towards the close of his life the rate of
production was slower, Dickens, like Thackeray, was writing to the last.

The life of Dickens was purely literary, and was diversified by few
incidents. But he was liable to overstrain, as men of great nervous energy
are apt to be, and was consequently forced to allow himself occasional
holidays. During one of these, in 1842, he visited America, and wrote, in
consequence, the not very wise or generous _American Notes_. This journey
bore fruit in _Martin Chuzzlewit_. Two years later he made a journey to
Italy, and subsequently he was several times on the continent and once
again in America. The influence of the continental journeys can be traced
in _A Tale of Two Cities_, though the story is rather due to Carlyle's
_French Revolution_ than to the personal observation of Dickens. A more
serious interruption than any holiday he ever allowed himself was his
indulgence, for so it may be described, in public readings. They increased
his wealth, and they gratified the vanity which, in spite of his
biographer, was one of the weaknesses of Dickens; but they impaired his
literary work, and in all probability they hastened his death. Besides
these readings, the nervous strain of which was very great, Dickens
encumbered himself with editorial work. He conducted _Household Words_
from its start in 1850; and when it stopped in 1859 he started _All the
Year Round_, with which he was connected till his death. Through these
various distractions both the quantity and the quality of his original
work declined. Probably after _David Copperfield_ he never wrote anything
altogether first-rate. His health too gave way under the strain, and he
died at the age of 58, on June 9th, 1870.

Dickens has enjoyed a popularity probably unparalleled among English
writers. Forster has calculated that during the twelve years succeeding
his death no fewer than 4,239,000 volumes of his works were sold in
Britain. The secret was in the first place originality. Dickens had lived
the life he depicted. With a strong memory and keen powers of observation
he had been storing up from early boyhood information which in his maturer
years served him well. 'Sam's knowledge of London was extensive and
peculiar,' he writes of Weller, when Mr. Pickwick addresses him with a
sudden query about the nearest public house; and he illustrates Sam's
knowledge by making him answer without a moment's hesitation. Dickens
himself, if put down suddenly in any quarter of London, could probably
have answered the question with equal readiness. He was emphatically a man
of cities, was restless when he was long away from streets, and loved
above all things the streets of London.

But he was still more an observer of persons than an observer of places.
Even in boyhood he judged men with great accuracy; and after he had won
fame he asserted that he had never seen cause to change the secret
impression of his boyhood with regard to anyone whom he had known then.
Moreover, he never forgot. In his troubled and wretched boyhood,
therefore, he was 'making himself,' though involuntarily and in an
unpleasant fashion, as much as Scott was by his Liddesdale raids.

It is however the something added to observation that gives literary
value; and had Dickens added nothing he would have been far on the way to
oblivion now. Shakespeare may have based Falstaff on observation; but
probably no man, except Shakespeare himself, was ever quite as humorous as
the fat knight. Similarly, it is safe to assert that Dickens never met a
Londoner with all the wit and resource of Sam Weller. 'The little more,
and how much it is.' What the artist adds creates the character. Incidents
he has seen, phrases he has heard, are only the raw material for his
imagination. Humour is practically non-existent unless it is understood;
and, as a more recent humourist has whimsically insisted, there may be
here a kind of division of labour, the humour being lodged in one mind and
the comprehension of it in another. It is so with Dickens. He sympathises,
appreciates, interprets, and thus in part creates. He frequently makes the
fun by his own keen sense of it.

But while Dickens was excellent within his own sphere, that sphere was
comparatively small. He was good only as a painter of his own generation
and of what had come under his own experience. Living in the days of the
historical novel, Dickens nevertheless felt that his talent lay in the
delineation of contemporary manners. Neither his education nor the bent of
his mind fitted him to excel in the historical romance. Twice he tried
the experiment--in _Barnaby Rudge_, and in _A Tale of Two Cities_; but on
both occasions he wisely kept pretty close to his own time. _Barnaby
Rudge_ is, by general consent, second-rate, and whatever may be the true
value of _A Tale of Two Cities_, its merit is not essentially of the
historical kind. It is Scott who has written the history of the Porteous
riot and of the rebellion of '45; and our most vivid impression of society
in Queen Anne's time comes from _Esmond_. But there is no danger of
Carlyle's _French Revolution_ being superseded by _A Tale of Two Cities_.

Neither has Dickens command over a wide range of character. He is
completely at home only in one grade of society, and, as a rule, the
farther he moves from the lower ranks of Londoners the more he falls short
of excellence. Coachmen, showmen, servants of all kinds, beadles,
self-made men of imperfect education, he could depict with wonderful force
and vivacity; but his triumphs in the higher ranks are few. The reason
lies partly in the character of the experience he had acquired, partly in
his manner of conception. Dickens was theatrical and had a tendency to
farce; above all, he was by nature a caricaturist. If anyone, man or
woman, presented some conspicuous peculiarity, whether of disposition, or
of physical appearance, or of dress, Dickens was happy and made the most
of it. But education and social convention tend to smooth away
angularities and prominences, and hence among the classes influenced by
them he rarely found the material he needed.

The characters of Dickens, then, are personified humours, his method is
the method not of Shakespeare, but of Ben Jonson. Pecksniff is just
another name for hypocrisy, Jonas Chuzzlewit for avarice, Quilp for
cruelty. The result is excellent of its kind. The repetitions and
catch-words are, within limits, highly effective. Sometimes they are
genuinely illuminative; but sometimes, on the other hand, they reveal
nothing and are used to weariness. The 'waiting for something to turn up'
of the Micawber family goes to the root of their character. But 'ain't I
volatile?' 'Donkeys, Janet,' the sleepiness of the Fat Boy, Pecksniff and
Salisbury Cathedral, even the jollity of Mark Tapley, are worn threadbare.
Mrs. Harris herself is heard of rather too often. Exaggeration has no law,
it is rather the abrogation of law; and the writer who adopts the method
of exaggeration pays the price in losing all check upon himself.

In exaggeration too we find the defect of Dickens's highest quality. His
humour, like the humour of the country he at first satirised so bitterly,
rests too much on exaggeration. It is ready, copious, irresistible; but,
while it wins and deserves admiration, it rarely provokes the exclamation,
'how natural,' or 'how true.' Micawber is one of the most comical
characters in fiction, but we are not struck by his fidelity to nature.
Though he is drawn from the life he is not representative, but rather
belongs to the class of curiosities whose natural resting-place is a
museum.

The mannerism of which this is one form runs through the whole of the work
of Dickens, affecting style as well as substance, the description of
nature as well as the delineation of character. The English is nervous and
vivid, but little regard is paid to proportion. The minutest detail, if it
happens to strike the writer's fancy, is elaborated as if it were vital to
the story. The moaning of the sea, the freaks of the wind, the fluttering
of a leaf, are dilated upon in paragraph after paragraph. It is the
romantic method liberated from all restraint. There is no poetry more
heavily charged with the 'pathetic fallacy' than the prose of Dickens;
and in prose it is more dangerous because of the absence of the trammels
of verse.

The dangers of this style and this manner of conception become more
conspicuous when we turn to other manifestations of them. Dickens was in
his own time thought to be a master of the pathetic equally with the
mirthful strain. It was correct taste to weep over little Nell; and
Jeffrey, no very indulgent critic of contemporaries, declared that there
had been nothing so good since Cordelia. Dickens has been dead only a
quarter of a century, but few critics would pronounce such a judgment now.
His humour so far retains its power; but the veneer has already worn off
his pathos. Little Nell and little Emily may still draw tears, more tears
perhaps than were ever shed for the fate of Cordelia. But this is not the
best test of the quality of pathos. That which, from Homer to Shakespeare,
has conquered the suffrages of the world, is solemnising and saddening,
rather than tear-compelling. Tears are within the range of a very ordinary
writer, but to produce a tragic Cordelia or Antigone is only possible to a
Shakespeare or a Sophocles. The truth is that the faults of Dickens,
apparent in his humour but pardonable there, become offensive in his
pathos. His touch is not sufficiently delicate, he does not know when to
leave off, he unduly prolongs the agony. The death-scene of Cordelia and
Lear, perhaps the most tragically pathetic in all literature, occupies
some sixty or seventy lines. How different from this are the scenes
relating to the death of Little Nell! Their very diffuseness has
contributed to their popularity, but it damages them as literature.

Many of the other faults of Dickens are cognate to this. He sacrifices
everything for effect, and hence his proneness to horrors. The pictures
are often wonderfully done, but they are unwholesome. The murder by Jonas
Chuzzlewit, and still more the murder of Nancy, are examples. Sometimes
Dickens goes wholly beyond the reach of pardon, as in the purely horrible
and sickening description of spontaneous combustion in _Bleak House_. More
frequently the sin is rather against proportion. We hear too much of the
dragging of the river for dead bodies in _Our Mutual Friend_. Dickens
never could learn where to stop. His highly pictorial imagination
presented to him every detail of the scene; and, like a Pre-Raphaelite, he
forgot that to the reader a general impression conveyed more truth than
minute accuracy in every detail.

The faults of Dickens grew with time, his merits tended to decline; but
even to the end the characteristic merits are to be found. It was not
unjustly said that his death had once more eclipsed the gaiety of nations.

[Sidenote: William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1863).]

While Dickens, as has been seen, leaped into fame, his only contemporary
rival, William Makepeace Thackeray, slowly and with difficulty forced his
way to it. He was the senior of Dickens by rather more than half a year,
having been born at Calcutta on July 18th, 1811. He was educated at the
Charterhouse; and if his feelings may be inferred from his works they must
have changed considerably. In his earlier writings it is Slaughter House;
in _The Newcomes_ it is the celebrated Grey Friars. After leaving school
Thackeray went in 1829 to Cambridge, but he left the University in 1830
without taking his degree. While he was there he contributed to _The
Snob_, the name of which suggested to him a title in after years. One of
his papers was an amusing burlesque on _Timbuctoo_, the subject for the
prize poem, won by Tennyson, for 1829. In 1830 Thackeray went to Weimar,
and he spent a considerable time there and in Paris training himself as an
artist. The inaccuracy of his drawing was a fatal bar to his success in
art; but he turned his studies to account afterwards in illustrating his
own books; and there are probably no works in English in which the
illustrations throw more light upon the text. In 1832 he became master of
his little fortune of about £500 per annum, all of which was lost within a
year or two. Most of it was sunk in an unprofitable newspaper adventure,
reference to which is made in _Lovel the Widower_, and, with less accuracy
of circumstance, in _Pendennis_. But if he lost his money by a newspaper,
it was by journalism that he first gained his livelihood. He wrote for
_The Times_, for _Fraser's Magazine_, and for the _New Monthly Magazine_,
contributing to the second some of the most important of his early works;
and for about eight years (1842-1850) he was one of the principal literary
contributors to _Punch_. In these periodicals there appeared during the
ten years, 1837-1847, _The Yellowplush Papers_, _The Great Hoggarty
Diamond_, _Barry Lyndon_, _The Book of Snobs_ and _The Ballads of
Policeman X_. Thackeray had also published independently _The Paris
Sketch-Book_ and _The Irish Sketch-Book_.

_Vanity Fair_ (1847-1848) was Thackeray's first novel on the great scale.
_Barry Lyndon_ was indeed an exhibition of the highest intellectual power;
but it was not of the orthodox length, and it failed to bring the writer
wide fame. _Vanity Fair_ did bring him fame among the more thoughtful
readers, though not a popularity rivalling that of Dickens. It was
followed by _Pendennis_ (1849-1850), _Esmond_ (1852) and _The Newcomes_
(1854-1855). _Esmond_ was the only one that was published as a whole, and
it is significant that it is by far the best constructed of the four
usually accepted as Thackeray's greatest novels. The periodical method of
publication had peculiar dangers for him. He was constitutionally
indolent, almost always left his work to the last moment, and sometimes
had to patch up his part anyhow.

In 1851 Thackeray delivered the lectures on the _Humourists of the
Eighteenth Century_, and repeated the course in America in 1852-1853. The
lectures on _The Four Georges_ were delivered first in America
(1855-1856). Of all Thackeray's writings these two courses have probably
had the most scanty justice meted out to them. Critics are frequently
apologetic, sometimes condescending. Nobody need apologise, and few can
afford to condescend with respect to what are really among the richest and
best criticisms of this century. Thackeray knew not only the literature
but the life of the eighteenth century as few have known it. In minute
acquaintance with facts he has doubtless been surpassed by many
professional historians; but there is no book to be compared to _Esmond_
as a picture of life in the age of Queen Anne; and the lectures on the
humourists are saturated, as _Esmond_ is, with the eighteenth century
spirit. The figures of the humourists live and move before our eyes. We
may not always agree with the critic's opinion, but we can hardly fail to
understand the subject better through his mode of treatment. Strong
objection has been taken, perhaps in some respects with justice, to his
handling of Swift. Yet, much as has been written about Swift, where does
there exist a picture of him so vivid, so suggestive and so memorable? Who
else has done such justice to Steele? Who has written better about
Hogarth? Thackeray succeeded because he not only knew the work of these
men but felt with them. He was at bottom of the eighteenth century type.
Much of Swift himself, softened and humanised, something of Fielding, whom
he justly regarded as a model, and a great deal of Hogarth may be detected
in Thackeray. The best criticism is always sympathetic; and it is because
sympathy is so easy to him here that Thackeray is so excellent. The
treatment even of Swift is far from being unsympathetic.

With the four Georges Thackeray was certainly not in sympathy. But they
afforded him an ample field for the exercise of his satiric gifts, and he
found occasion in his treatment of them for some passages of his most
eloquent writing. The objection taken to this course of lectures has been
as much political as literary. Thackeray is supposed to have treated the
throne with scanty reverence; but it is the throne itself that is lacking
in reverence when such lives are led; and the day for the concealment of
disagreeable truths has long gone by.

_The Virginians_, a continuation of _Esmond_, ran its periodical course
from 1857 to 1859. In the latter year Thackeray became editor of the
_Cornhill_, for which he wrote _Lovel the Widower_ (1860), _The Adventures
of Philip_ (1861-1862), and the delicious _Roundabout Papers_, which he
contributed occasionally from the beginning of his editorship to his
death. _Denis Duval_ had not even begun to appear in the magazine, and
only a small part had been written when the author was suddenly cut off at
the age of fifty-two.

It would not be easy to name two great contemporary writers, working in
the same field of letters, more radically unlike than Dickens and
Thackeray. Even the qualities they possess in common diverge as far as
qualities bearing the same name can do. Both are humourists; but the
humour of Thackeray is permeated through and through with satire; that of
Dickens has not infrequently a touch of satire, but its essential
principle is pure fun, and it is largely burlesque. We look for it in the
absurdities of the Micawber family, in the Jarley wax-works, in the
ridiculous adventures of the Pickwick Club, and in the solemn fatuity of
Silas Wegg. Thackeray was a master of burlesque too, as his imitations of
contemporary novels--_Phil Fogarty_, _Codlingsby_, _Rebecca and
Rowena_--and his _Ballads of Policeman X_ prove. But it is a totally
different burlesque. That of Dickens moves to laughter, and the laughter
is frequently uproarious; Thackeray only excites a smile and a chuckle of
intellectual enjoyment.

The two writers differ equally in their pathos. Dickens, as we have seen,
draws it out, paragraph after paragraph, chapter piled on chapter.
Thackeray concentrates, partly from the artist's knowledge that
concentration is necessary to permanent effect, in greater degree because
of a personal dignity, accompanied by reticence, in which Dickens was
certainly deficient. Just as there are substances which will not bear
light, so there are feelings which seem to be profaned if they are too
long exposed to view. All art involves exposure; but the difference
between perfect taste and defective taste lies in knowing just in what
manner and how long to make the exposure. In _The Four Georges_ two
paragraphs contain all we are told about the last tragic years of George
III.; and just a few lines of eloquence and pathos rarely equalled close
the story.

When we search back from symptom to cause we find the secret of these and
many other differences in the fact that the work of Dickens is primarily
sentimental, while Thackeray's is primarily intellectual. This is by no
means equivalent to saying that Dickens is deficient in intellect, or
Thackeray in sentiment. It means rather that the strong intellect of
Dickens is the servant of sentiment, the strong sentiment of Thackeray the
servant of intellect. It is another way of saying that Thackeray is
essentially of the eighteenth century, the century of predominant
understanding. It follows from his satirical way of viewing life; for the
satirist must not wholly lose himself even in his _sæva indignatio_. The
effect of his satire depends upon his keeping aloof, critical, superior.
The Romans were great satirists because they did so; the English are great
satirists in so far as they do so likewise. Something is lost in emotion,
as art, something is gained in comprehension, for practical application.

No one can doubt that Thackeray is thus reflective and satirical. Critic
after critic has called attention to his habit of staying the course of
his story for comment and exposition. Not only so, but there is subdued
and disguised comment all through. The artist makes each character
criticise itself; and the effect is as if we were walking constantly in
the light of those rays which pierce through the opaque and reveal what
lies beneath. Thackeray's satire plays continually over the characters he
creates for warning and example. Blanche Amory, Becky Sharp, Major
Pendennis, all have their inner motives exposed by this searching and
pitiless light. So much is this the case that Thackeray has been described
as not properly a novelist at all, but first of all a satirist. The
difference is that the novelist primarily exhibits life as it is, while
the satirist comments upon it. That Thackeray does the latter is obvious;
but it seems an exaggeration to say that he is not properly a novelist.
Though most of his stories are loosely constructed, though plot and
incident are of subordinate importance, yet without the story his books
would be vitally different. Moreover, the pure satirist commonly deals
with types rather than individuals. Juvenal does so, Horace does so, Swift
does so. So does Thackeray himself in _The Book of Snobs_. But Becky Sharp
and Major Pendennis and Beatrix Esmond all have individuality.

Further, in what may fairly be regarded as Thackeray's highest effort,
satire sinks to a secondary place. _Esmond_, though not the best known of
Thackeray's works, is his purest piece of art. It is so, partly at least,
because the conditions presupposed by the story put a curb upon the
satirical tendency, in which undeniably Thackeray was too prone to
indulge. In _Esmond_ the writer is restrained in two ways. First, as the
hero is himself the narrator, the sentiments have to be fitted to his
character. And Henry Esmond was not the familiar compound of weakness and
selfishness, crossed with some good nature and with occasional higher
impulses, but, on the contrary, Thackeray's ideal man. He is endowed with
a power of satire, but it is rarely exercised. The second restraint arose
from the need of unceasing watchfulness to use language consistent with
the time in which the story is laid. If Thackeray was tempted to be
careless, this necessity must have kept him constantly in check. And so
well did he satisfy the requirements that _Esmond_ is admitted on all
hands to be, of all books in English, that which most accurately
reproduces the style of a past age.

It is remarkable that the same book which contains the noblest figure
Thackeray ever drew contains also the most lovable of his good women, and
the most brilliant and fascinating of the class that cannot be called
good. All critics have been struck with Thackeray's tendency to make his
good women weak and colourless, or else sermons incarnate. Amelia and
Helen Pendennis are examples of the former class, Laura of the latter.
Lady Castlewood escapes the censure. She has greater strength of character
than Amelia or Helen; and her human weaknesses win a sympathy Laura does
not command. Moreover, there is no other woman of her type shown in the
light of passion as she is in that perfect chapter, _The 29th December_.
Beatrix, on the contrary, ranks among the reprobate. She is not so
wonderfully clever as Becky Sharp, but she has what Becky has not,
fascination. Becky has only her intellect. Beatrix, clever too, has,
besides her social position, splendid beauty, and above all the
indescribable magnetic power of attraction. She can win men against
themselves, and though they are alive to all the evil of her character.
Becky can only win those whom she has blinded.

The other novels, less perfect as pictures of life, are not inferior in
sheer intellect. _Vanity Fair_ and _Barry Lyndon_ are superlative examples
of force of mind. The latter is so faithfully written from the scoundrel's
point of view that only the excess of scoundrelism prevents Barry from
commanding sympathy. The former contains in Becky Sharp the cleverest and
most resourceful of all Thackeray's characters. It also contains,
especially in the chapters on the Waterloo campaign, some of the finest
English he ever wrote. _Pendennis_ has its special interest in the thread
of autobiography interwoven with it; while _The Newcomes_ has its crowning
glory in the old colonel, and in the famous scene in Grey Friars. After
_The Newcomes_ the quality of Thackeray's work, or at least of his novels
(for the lectures and the _Roundabout Papers_ stand apart) declined. He
did not live long enough to demonstrate whether the decline was permanent
or not; but certainly there is no lack of power in the _Roundabout
Papers_; and in spite of his own dictum that no man ought to write a novel
after fifty, Thackeray should have been just at his best when he died.

Thackeray was a poet and an artist as well as a novelist; and sometimes in
a copy of verses or in a sketch the inner spirit of the man may be seen
more compendiously, if not more truly and surely, than in longer and more
ambitious works. It is so here. The spirit that pervades _Vanity Fair_ is
the same that inspired the _Ballad of Bouillabaisse_, the concluding
stanzas of _The Chronicle of the Drum_, _The End of the Play_, _Vanitas
Vanitatum_, and others of his more serious verses. There is a touch of
satire in these verses, but there is far more of pity than scorn. Still
more vividly this spirit shines through a triplet of sketches labelled
respectively Ludovicus, Rex and Ludovicus Rex, the shivering little atom
of humanity, the imposing trappings of royalty, and then the poor little
mortal clothed in this magnificence. Here we have the quintessence of
Thackeray's sermon through all his books, the difference between the
humble reality and the vast pretensions, moral, intellectual and social,
too often based on it. There is frequently scorn in the sermon, the more
in proportion to the greatness of the pretensions. But there is almost
always pity behind the scorn. Ludovicus Rex is, after all, the sport of
fate. It is fate that decrees

  'How very weak the very wise,
  How very small the very great are!'

It is the neglect of this fact that has led to the common judgment that
Thackeray is a cynic. The gulf that divides him from cynicism is seen when
we compare him with Swift. There is always in Thackeray a sensitive
kindliness not to be found in the older writer. Thackeray's bitterest
satire is on individuals who are worse than their neighbours. There is
something amiss with society when Barry Lyndon and Becky Sharp are
possible; but we are not led to think that all men are Barry Lyndons, or
all women Becky Sharps. _Gulliver_, on the contrary, is a satire on the
human race.

[Sidenote: William Carleton (1794-1869).]

[Sidenote: Samuel Lover (1797-1868).]

A group of Irish novelists, rather older than Thackeray and Dickens, may
be noticed together for the sake of certain features they have in common.
If fineness of literary quality alone were in question, the first place
must be assigned to William Carleton, whose _Traits and Stories of the
Irish Peasantry_ are the most carefully executed of their class. Carleton
however had neither the verve nor the copiousness of Lever, who has been
fixed upon by popular judgment as the leading Irish novelist of his time.
Still less can the versatile Samuel Lover, song-writer, dramatist and
painter as well as novelist, compete with Lever; for although the former
did many things with a certain dexterity he did nothing really well. His
_Handy Andy_ is a formless book, and the fun of it grows tedious.

[Sidenote: Charles James Lever (1806-1872).]

Charles James Lever came in direct literary descent from neither of these,
but from William Hamilton Maxwell (1792-1850), whose _Stories from
Waterloo_ turned Lever's attention to the literary possibilities of the
great war. This book begot _Harry Lorrequer_, begun in the _Dublin
University Magazine_ in 1837; and _Lorrequer_ was followed by _Charles
O'Malley_ (1840). The former derived its name from the 'rollicking'
quality generally recognised as characteristic of Lever. Both books have
whatever attraction high spirits and plenty of fun and fighting and
adventure can give; but in the literary sense they are rough and
unpolished to the last degree. _Tom Burke of Ours_ (1844) shows the same
qualities slightly chastened and reduced to a more literary shape. The
change went on, and Lever paid more and more attention to construction and
to literary law and rule. He himself considered _Sir Brook Fossbrooke_
(1866) his best book; but it may be questioned whether the gain in
smoothness and regularity is sufficient to compensate for the partial loss
of that rush of adventure and copiousness of anecdote which won for Lever
his reputation, and still preserves it.

[Sidenote: Charlotte Brontë (1816-1855),

Emily Jane Brontë (1818-1848),

Anne Brontë (1820-1849).]

It is singular that this typically Irish novelist was by blood more
English than Irish. But the debt which Ireland owed to England in Lever
was repaid with interest in that family of genius, the Brontës. Their
father, himself a minor poet, left behind him, when he left Ireland, the
name by which he was known, Brunty, from O'Prunty, and was afterwards
known as Brontë. He married a Cornish girl, and settled as a clergyman at
Haworth, on the wild moors of the West Riding of Yorkshire. All his
children who grew to maturity possessed talent, if not genius. His son,
Patrick Branwell Brontë, who was in boyhood considered the most promising
of all, squandered his own life and clouded the lives of his sisters by
his debauchery. The three sisters, Charlotte, Emily Jane and Anne, all won
a place in literature, and two of them a conspicuous one. Their lives were
uneventful, but gloomy and sometimes tragic. They were poor, they had a
dissipated brother, they were constitutionally liable to consumption, and
their story is a record of dauntless efforts frustrated by failing health.
Their works bear deep marks of the people and the place amidst which they
were conceived, but even more of their own family history. This was in
fact inevitable. The sisters had no wide culture; still less were they
accustomed to mingle in society and meet many types of men and women.
Besides their few books, greedily read until the favourites were so
tattered and worn that they had to be hidden away on private shelves, the
men dwelling near them, the scenes around them and the tales current in
their family were the only food for their imagination.

An outline of Charlotte's life can be easily traced in her writings. Her
first place of education, Cowan Bridge School, for the daughters of
clergymen, appears in _Jane Eyre_; and Helen Burns represents her hapless
eldest sister Maria, who died at eleven. A residence in Brussels to
improve their French and qualify them for higher teaching, furnished much
matter for _The Professor_ and _Villette_. They meant to receive pupils at
the parsonage; but their brother's intemperance made that impossible, even
if pupils had offered themselves, and, until his death in 1848, he was a
heavy burden and a bitter grief.

The sisters had long loved to write as well as to read; and Charlotte has
told how, in the autumn of 1845, the thought of publication was suggested
by a MS. volume of Emily's poetry. Her criticism of the verses is
generous, but by no means extravagant. 'I thought them,' she says,
'condensed and terse, vigorous and genuine. To my ear they had also a
peculiar music, wild, melancholy, and elevating.' The other sisters had
written poems also, and after various difficulties a small volume of
_Poems_ by Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell was published in 1846. It
attracted little attention, and Charlotte says with truth that only the
poems of Emily deserved much. Hers display a genuine poetic gift. Had she
lived to write much more verse she would certainly have been one of the
greatest of English poetesses, and might have been the first of all.
Strength, sincerity and directness are the characteristics of her verse;
and the individuality of the writer gives it distinction:

  'I'll walk where my own nature would be leading:
    It vexes me to choose another guide:
  Where the grey flocks in ferny glens are feeding;
    Where the wild wind blows on the mountain side.

  'What have these lonely mountains worth revealing?
    More glory and more grief than I can tell:
  The earth that wakes _one_ human heart to feeling
    Can centre both the worlds of heaven and hell.'

The volume of verse was followed by several volumes of prose. Each sister
had a story ready, and the three were offered simultaneously for
publication. Emily's novel, _Wuthering Heights_, and Anne's, _Agnes Grey_,
were accepted, though 'on terms somewhat impoverishing to the two
authors.' Charlotte's, _The Professor_, was rejected by one publisher
after another, and ten years passed before it appeared. Meanwhile the
dauntless author set to work and wrote _Jane Eyre_. This was accepted, and
was published, like the stories by the other sisters, in 1847. Unlike
theirs, it won a rapid and remarkable success and finally fixed the career
of Charlotte Brontë.

It will be convenient to take the work of the three sisters in the reverse
order. That of Anne Brontë may be speedily dismissed. She was a gentle,
delicate creature both in mind and body; and but for her greater sisters
her writings would now be forgotten. Her pleasing but commonplace tale of
_Agnes Grey_ was followed by _The Tenant of Wildfell Hall_, in which she
attempted, without success, to depict a profligate.

In sheer genius Emily Brontë probably surpassed Charlotte, though in art
she was certainly the inferior of her elder sister. All that she wrote
bears the stamp of her sombre imagination and of the gloomy strength of
her character. Despite the Celtic strain in her blood, she, like the rest
of her family, had more in common with the austere Yorkshire character
than with that of the typical Irishman. She had a perfect comprehension of
it. She was, as the northern character is by so many felt to be,
personally unattractive. She was almost savagely reserved. Even her
sisters, in her last illness, dared not notice 'the failing step, the
laboured breathing, the frequent pauses' with which she climbed the
staircase. But she had also the better qualities of the northern nature.
She never shrank from duty or evaded a burden; and her courage was
boundless. With her own hand she applied cautery to the bite of a dog she
believed to be mad; and she conquered a savage bull-dog by beating it with
the bare hands, though she had been warned that if struck it would fly at
her throat.

Such a character explains all that Emily Brontë is in literature.
_Wuthering Heights_ is her only novel, for she died the year after its
publication. It remains therefore uncertain whether she would have
mastered her errors, or whether, as in her sister's case, her first work
was to be her greatest. The probability is that she would have improved.
She was only thirty; and the defects of _Wuthering Heights_ are
artistic,--faulty construction, want of proportion, absence of restraint.
These are defects which experience might be expected to overcome;
especially as Emily Brontë's verse showed that she was by no means without
taste. There are flaws in the substance too; and it is less likely that
these would have disappeared. Even Mrs. Gaskell could not deny that there
is some foundation for the charge of coarseness brought against Charlotte;
and there is more in the case of Emily. It is not merely that her
characters are harsh and repulsive: there are not a few such characters in
life, and there were many of them within the experience of the Brontë
family. But besides, Emily Brontë appears to sympathise with, and
sometimes to admire, the harsher and less lovable features of the
characters she draws. Heathcliff is spoilt for most readers by the
seemingly loving minuteness with which the author elaborates the worst
characteristics of his nature, characteristics familiar to her from family
legend.

For several reasons Charlotte Brontë holds a higher place in literature
than her sister. She has not to be judged by one work only. _Jane Eyre_
was followed by _Shirley_ (1849), by _Villette_ (1853), by _The Professor_
(1857), published posthumously, and by the fragment, _Emma_ (1860). In
none of these did she equal her first novel, but she exhibited different
sides and aspects of her genius, she multiplied her creations, and she
proved, as long as life was given her, that she had what in the language
of sport is called 'staying power.' Moreover, Charlotte was decidedly more
of the artist than Emily. She understood better the importance of relief.
Her imagination too was prevailingly sombre; yet though _Jane Eyre_ is
sufficiently gloomy, it is less uniformly so than _Wuthering Heights_. The
shadow is flecked here and there with light. Again, Charlotte is more
versatile in her imagination and much more pictorial than Emily. All the
members of the Brontë family had a love and apparently some talent for
art; but it is in the works of Charlotte that this talent leaves the
clearest traces. There are few things in _Jane Eyre_ more impressive than
her description in words of the picture her imagination, if not her brush,
drew. More ample scope, greater variety, a more humane tone,--these then
are the points in which Charlotte surpasses Emily.

Notwithstanding the wonderful force and vividness of their imagination,
the Brontës were in several respects singularly limited, largely because
their experience was so limited. It was only genius that saved them from
the narrowest provinciality. Even genius did not enable them to reach
beyond a few well-marked types of character, nor did it save them from
errors in the drawing of these. Both Rochester and Heathcliff would have
been more endurable, as members of society, if their creators had
themselves known more of society. They are brutal because the Brontës had
seen and heard about much brutality, and had not learned that polish is by
no means synonymous with weakness, and that gentleness is quite consistent
with manliness and strength of will.

Partly however the narrowness was in the Brontës themselves. They show
little power of invention. Not only are their types few, but the
individual characters are nearly all reproductions from life. Probably no
English writer of equal rank has transcribed so much from experience as
Charlotte Brontë. Many of her characters were so like the originals as to
be immediately recognised by themselves or by their neighbours. Shirley
Keeldar was her sister Emily, Mr. Helstone was her father, the three
curates were real men, and some of Charlotte's school friends were
depicted, it is said, with the accuracy of daguerreotypes. This minute
fidelity to fact occasionally brought Miss Brontë into trouble; for she
was not particularly sagacious in estimating the effect of what she wrote.
We may argue from it, moreover, that if she had lived she would soon have
exhausted her material.

Charlotte Brontë was likewise deficient in humour. This might be safely
inferred from her works, where there are hardly any humorous characters or
situations; and the inference would be confirmed by her life. Her letters,
often excellent for their common sense and their high standard of duty,
and sometimes for their dignity, are almost destitute of playfulness.
Neither does she seem to have readily recognised humour in others. She
admired Thackeray above almost all men of her time, but she was completely
puzzled by him when they met. She lectured him on his faults, and quaintly
adds that his excuses made them worse. The humourist was playing with the
too serious mind. Had Miss Brontë been as Irish in nature as she was by
blood she would not have made this mistake.

In the case of the Brontës it would be peculiarly ungenerous to insist on
defects. All life long they fought against odds. With inadequate means and
imperfect training, without friends and without advice, they won by their
own force and genius alone a position in literature which is higher now
than it was forty years ago. Charlotte is one of the half-dozen or so of
great English novelists of the present century; and in all probability it
is only her early death that has made Emily's place somewhat lower.

[Sidenote: Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell (1810-1865).]

Senior in years to the Brontës was the biographer of Charlotte, Elizabeth
Cleghorn Gaskell. Mrs. Gaskell's fame was won chiefly as a novelist, but,
both for its intrinsic merits and as a memorial of a most interesting
literary friendship, her _Life of Charlotte Brontë_ deserves mention. If
not equal to the best biographies in the language, it is worthy of a place
in the class nearest to that small group. It gives a delightful impression
both of the subject of the memoir and of her biographer. There was
sufficient difference between the two to make Mrs. Gaskell's generous
appreciation peculiarly creditable to her. Two contemporaries of the same
sex, reared amidst men closely akin in character, and confronted, as _Mary
Barton_ and _Shirley_ prove, by similar social problems, could hardly
present a greater contrast than there is between Charlotte Brontë and Mrs.
Gaskell; the former austere, intense, prone to exaggeration and deficient
in humour; the latter genial, balanced, and among the most successful of
female humourists. The contrast extended to the personal appearance of the
two women. Charlotte Brontë was plain and diminutive, while in her youth
Mrs. Gaskell was strikingly beautiful.

The events of Mrs. Gaskell's life were almost wholly literary. Her first
novel, _Mary Barton_, published in 1848, remains to this day probably her
best known, though not her most perfect book. It deals with the industrial
state of Lancashire during the crisis of 1842, and it won, by its vivid
and touching picture of the life of the poor, the admiration of some of
the most distinguished literary men of the time. The subject was
gradually drawing more attention. The evils which begot the socialism of
Robert Owen and drew the protests of Carlyle and of Ebenezer Elliott had
been brought into prominence by the Luddite riots and by Chartism. Most of
the novelists were awakening to a sense of them. Disraeli had anticipated
Mrs. Gaskell; and Kingsley as well as Charlotte Brontë followed her. The
treatment varies greatly. Mrs. Gaskell, like Kingsley, has much more
sympathy with socialism than Charlotte Brontë has. The social aspects of
_Mary Barton_ caused it to be admired and praised on the one hand, and to
be censured on the other, for reasons outside the domain of art; but on
the whole they certainly increased its popularity.

The success of _Mary Barton_ won for Mrs. Gaskell an invitation from
Dickens to contribute to _Household Words_, and some of her best work,
including _Cranford_ (1851-1853) and _North and South_ (1854-1855), first
appeared there. She was also a contributor to the _Cornhill_, where her
last story, _Wives and Daughters_, was running when she died, with
startling suddenness, in 1865.

'George Sand, only a few months before Mrs. Gaskell's death, observed to
Lord Houghton: "Mrs. Gaskell has done what neither I nor other female
writers in France can accomplish; she has written novels which excite the
deepest interest in men of the world, and yet which every girl will be the
better for reading."' This is high praise; and it is deserved. It must not
indeed be pressed to mean that Mrs. Gaskell is the equal in genius, far
less the superior, of writers like George Sand or George Eliot. Neither is
she the equal of her friend, Charlotte Brontë. There is a sweep of
imagination and a touch of poetry in _Jane Eyre_ quite beyond the reach of
Mrs. Gaskell. But her work is at once free from weakness and wholly
innocent. She is of all the more remarkable female novelists of this
period the most feminine. The traits of sex are numerous in her books, but
they never appear unpleasantly. Her women are generally better than her
men; yet her men are not such monsters as the Brontës loved to depict. On
the contrary, she is fond of painting men of quiet worth, such as the
country doctor whose 'virtues walk their narrow round,' who lives unknown,
but who is sadly missed when he dies. Her best stories are quiet tales of
the life of villages and small towns, and they show the shrewd, kindly,
genial observation with which all her life she regarded those around her.
She was happy in her own domestic life, and she believed that life in
general, though chequered, was happy too. In her picture of human nature
the virtues on the whole prevail over the vices.

Mrs. Gaskell saw everything in the light of a sympathetic humour. It is
this quality that has served hitherto as salt to her books and has
preserved their flavour while that of a great deal of more ambitious
literature has been lost. If her humour is not equal to the best specimens
of that of George Eliot, it is more diffused; if less powerful, it is
gentler and quite as subtle. In style she is easy and flowing; and her
later books show more freedom than her first attempt. At the same time,
her writing rarely rises to eloquence. She had more talent than genius.
She has created many good, but no great characters; and she stands midway
between Thackeray and Dickens, who are emphatically men of genius, and
writers like Trollope who, with abundant talent and exhaustless industry,
have no genius whatever.



CHAPTER VI.

THE HISTORIANS AND BIOGRAPHERS.


Carlyle was so much besides being a historian, and seems, when we look
back from a distance of sixty years, so clearly the leader of thought in
the early part of this period, that it has been deemed advisable to treat
him by himself. But even without him the volume and the quality of
historical work accomplished during those forty years is very great.
Besides Macaulay, who surpassed Carlyle in popular estimation, Thomas
Arnold, Grote, Thirlwall and Froude were all men who, in most periods,
might well have filled the first place in historical literature.

Several reasons may be assigned for the concentration of talent upon
history. In the first place, the circumstances of the time made an
examination of the foundations of society imperative. This necessity
reveals itself everywhere, in poetry, in philosophy, and in theology, as
well as in history. The cry is on all sides for reconstruction; and there
is a growing sense that the reconstruction must take place upon a
groundwork of fact, discoverable only by a study of the past. The
pre-Revolutionary writers had relied upon _a priori_ theory, but the
immediate results were so different from their anticipations that their
successors were little disposed to repeat the mistake. Modern history
teaches above all things the lesson of continuity. Institutions change and
grow, but they never spring up suddenly like a Jonah's gourd; and even
revolutions only modify, they do not annul the past.

Science too has had a powerful influence, and the success of the
scientific method has encouraged the application of a method similar in
principle, though necessarily different in minor points, to the facts of
history. The last two generations have witnessed a great extension of the
principle of induction in the sphere of history; and as the first step in
a complex process of induction is the accumulation of masses of facts, we
have here perhaps an explanation of some of the weaknesses of the modern
school of history. It is apt to lose itself in detail. The reach of
Tacitus or of Gibbon seems no longer attainable, because their successors
must know everything, and can with difficulty restrain themselves from
stating everything. Some one, doubtless, whether he be called a
philosopher or a historian, will ultimately assimilate the masses of
information thus laboriously compiled, and the world will once more have
the principal results compactly stated and in orderly sequence. Buckle's
experiment proves that it is possible to attempt this too soon; but at the
same time the welcome that experiment received is an indication that we
shall not be permanently satisfied with the fragments and aspects of
history which alone the new method as yet yields. Unity of treatment is
ultimately as essential in history as codification is in law; and it is
essential for much the same reason. The old proverb tells us that the wood
may be invisible by reason of the trees.

We may trace the influence of science also in the greatly deepened sense
of the importance of origins. In science the chief triumphs have been won
by tracing things to their beginnings; in physical structure to atoms and
molecules, in animal life to nerve cells, protoplasm, or whatever is
simplest and most primitive. Exactly the same effort is made in modern
history; and nothing is more distinctive of it, in contrast with the
comparatively superficial historical school of the eighteenth century,
than the determination to trace the starting-point and original meaning of
institutions. Ages which had been previously left to legend and myth have
been patiently investigated, and it is to them that we are now referred
for the explanation of our own times.

But not only has the ideal of history changed; the material from which it
is written, old in one sense, is to a large extent new in the sense that
it is now for the first time accessible. The men of earlier times, even
when they had the industry and the will for minute investigation, had
seldom the means. The vast increase of accessible documents has caused
history to be written afresh, to an extent best measured by the fact that,
except those who rank as original authorities, Gibbon alone among
historians prior to the present century still holds his ground.

[Sidenote: Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-1859).]

Thomas Babington Macaulay felt these modern influences, though not quite
in their full force. He was the son of Zachary Macaulay, celebrated for
his exertions in the Anti-Slavery crusade. At Cambridge, whither he went
in 1818, young Macaulay had for contemporaries a very brilliant set of
young men, including Derwent and Henry Nelson Coleridge, Moultrie, Praed
and Charles Austin, 'the only man,' says Sir George Trevelyan, 'who ever
succeeded in dominating Macaulay,' the man who weaned him from the Toryism
in which he had been brought up, and 'brought him nearer to Radicalism
than he ever was before or since.' A constitutional incapacity for and
hatred of mathematics was punished by the omission of his name from the
Tripos list of 1822. He had been 'gulfed.' Nevertheless, in 1824, he was
elected to a Fellowship of Trinity College. He was called to the bar in
1826, but never took seriously to the law as a profession. He had received
an earlier call to another profession, and during his stay at Cambridge he
had been a frequent contributor to _Knights Quarterly Magazine_. But we
may date from 1825, when his essay on Milton appeared in the _Edinburgh
Review_, the opening of his career in literature. For many years
afterwards he was a frequent and certainly the most effective contributor
to the review.

Macaulay's connexion with Jeffrey's review was profitable in several ways
to himself as well as to it. He gained money, and fame, and political
connexions which determined the course of his life for many years, and
which by doing so unquestionably influenced his historical work. Through
the influence of Lord Lansdowne, who had been struck by his articles on
Mill, Macaulay became, in 1830, member for Calne. He soon made his mark,
rather as a speaker of set speeches than as a debater. His speeches have
much the character of his essays, the rhetorical style of which is not ill
adapted to verbal utterance. The clearness which Macaulay never failed to
give made the rhetoric effective. His great knowledge, and especially his
wonderful command of historical illustration, enabled him often to clinch
his argument where abstract discussion would have failed. The most telling
passage in one of his best known speeches, the speech on copyright, is a
long list of concrete instances of the effect of the proposal he was
advocating as contrasted with that of the proposal he was combating. At
the close, with well-founded confidence, he challenges his opponent to
match it. While therefore Macaulay had but a small share of the highest
faculty of the orator, the power to sway the passions of his audience, he
had in a high degree the power to interest their intellect. For neat,
crisp statement, apt and copious illustration, and effective rhetoric
occasionally rising into eloquence, his speeches have few equals.

As a reward for his services in the cause of reform Macaulay was appointed
a member of the Supreme Council of India. In 1834 he sailed from England,
and he resided in India till the beginning of 1838. Soon after his return
to England he was elected M.P. for Edinburgh, and in 1839 was raised to
the Cabinet as Secretary at War. But he gradually became absorbed in his
history and devoted less and less time to politics. His defeat in 1847 in
the parliamentary election for Edinburgh contributed to wean him still
more from public life. He was hurt, and the smart of wounded pride is
apparent in the most beautiful verses he ever wrote. They were composed on
the night of his defeat, and they declare that the writer's true
allegiance belongs to that Spirit of Literature who, when all the 'wayward
sprites' of Gain, Fashion, Power and Pleasure have passed away, draws near
to bless his first infant sleep. The verses are transparently sincere.
Macaulay's love for letters was the passion of his life; and, acting on
such a character as his, the unmerited rebuff dealt by Edinburgh proved a
turning point in his career. He retired into private life, and though
after the repentance of Edinburgh in 1852 he sat again for his old
constituency, it was with the fixed intention not to immerse himself in
parliamentary work, and above all not to accept office. He was now
completely absorbed in his history; and as he gradually became conscious
of the greatness of his task, and felt that life was slipping away with
only a fragment of it accomplished, he grudged more and more any deduction
from the time which, he foresaw, must be too short at best. For his
previously excellent health had broken down soon after his election, and
he never fully recovered it. He resigned his seat in 1856. In the
following year he was raised to the peerage as Baron Macaulay of Rothley,
and he died on December 28th, 1859, leaving his history a fragment.

The works of Macaulay are remarkably easy to classify and not very
difficult to appraise. They fall under four heads,--speeches, essays,
including the biographical articles contributed to the _Encyclopædia
Britannica_, the _History of England_, and poetry.

The speeches have been already noticed. The essays, which are described as
'critical and historical,' are only to a very minor degree critical. The
well-known paper on Robert Montgomery, irresistibly amusing in its
severity, is exceptional in the fact that, starting with a literary
subject, it treats that subject throughout from a literary point of view.
In most of his essays, as he himself confessed, Macaulay escapes as soon
as possible from criticism and glides into history. This is the case even
in the essay on Milton, who would have enchained him to criticism if
anyone could. Where he is really critical, Macaulay always shows the
qualities of good sense, sound judgment and extensive knowledge; but few
will think that he shows any remarkable fineness of critical faculty. On
occasion he could characterise a style exceedingly well. His contrast
between the simple, nervous and picturesque expression of Johnson's
familiar letters and his Latinised pomposity when his sentences are done
out of English into Johnsonese, cannot be forgotten; and his treatment of
Bacon's style is as sound and excellent as his treatment of Bacon's
philosophy is mistaken and false. But his mind was of too positive a type
to admit of the finest kind of criticism. He saw nothing in half-light,
and he was deficient in sympathy. His criticism of the Queen Anne writers,
whom he knew best, will not bear comparison, in respect of insight and
sensitive appreciation, with Thackeray's criticism of them in the _English
Humourists_.

Macaulay's strength lay elsewhere; and though he carried into all he did
the deficiencies revealed by his criticism, as well as deficiencies due to
political prejudice and personal bias, yet all faults are forgotten, for
the time at least, in admiration of wide knowledge, boundless energy and
brilliant style. Macaulay's extensive reading, backed by his wonderful
memory, served him well. His knowledge was always at hand. If he wanted a
reference or an allusion he could in a moment supply it. Yet his
quotations, references and allusions are never pedantic, nor are they
allowed to clog and weight his style. They serve their proper purpose of
illustrating and enforcing his point. He defends his position by parallel
after parallel, contrast after contrast. It was this wealth of
illustration that forced acquiescence from men of less knowledge among his
contemporaries; it is the suspicion that the parallels are not always
accurate, and the contrasts not always sound, that has since caused so
many of his conclusions to be regarded with suspicion. But frequently the
historical illustrations are poured out, not to defend any thesis, but
simply because they crowd spontaneously into the writer's mind; and some
of the most effective passages in Macaulay's writings are of this
character. Take, for example, the well-known passage from _Warren
Hastings_ beginning, 'The place was worthy of such a trial,' or the
description in the _History_ of the spot where the dust of Monmouth was
laid. Less crowded with historical names and details, but still deriving
most of its charm from the same cause, is the almost equally well-known
paragraph in the essay on _Ranke's History of the Popes_, beginning,
'There is not, and there never was on this earth, a work of human policy
so well deserving of examination as the Roman Catholic Church.' There is a
rapidity, fire and vividness in such passages by which we may in great
measure account for Macaulay's popularity. He had no more marked literary
gift. It shows itself even more spontaneously in his letters than in his
formal writings; and the letters have sometimes moreover a touch of humour
rare in the works he intended for publication. Few things of his are more
purely delightful than the letter to his friend Ellis, describing the
division in the House of Commons in 1831, when the Reform Bill was carried
by a majority of one: 'You might have heard a pin drop as Duncannon read
the numbers. Then, again, the shouts broke out, and many of us shed tears.
And the jaw of Peel fell; and the face of Twiss was as the face of a
damned soul; and Herries looked like Judas taking his necktie off for the
last operation.'

It is true that the vivid colouring of the essays sometimes becomes too
glaring, that the characters, especially when they have relation to
politics, are apt to be too dark or too bright for human nature, and that
the writing is throughout that of a partisan. But if this detracts from it
is far from destroying their value; and Macaulay's biographer is
pardonably proud of their popularity, and insists, with justice, that it
is an element in their greatness as well as an evidence of it.

The first two volumes of the _History of England_ were published in 1848,
and the third and fourth in 1855, while the fifth was left unfinished at
Macaulay's death. The history repeats in great measure both the merits and
the defects of the essays. Written with a steady eye to permanence, it is
far purer and more perfect, better proportioned, more restrained and more
harmonious than they; but it is marked still by the same limitations. We
find the writer's strength in a great command of facts and in clearness
and force of style. His weaknesses are partisan bias, exaggeration and a
certain want of depth.

The story of Macaulay's ambition to write a history which every young lady
should read in preference to the latest novel has been often repeated and
often ridiculed. The ridicule is ill judged. To aim at popularity is in
itself innocent and even laudable; in truth it is universal. Carlyle
himself with reason felt aggrieved that he remained so long unrecognised.
The desire for popularity becomes vicious only when it leads the man who
cherishes it to pander to a taste which he knows to be depraved, or to
write something worse than his best, because he knows that his best would
not be as popular. There is no trace of such conduct in Macaulay. His
faults were inherent in his nature, and could have been eradicated only by
making him anew.

Of late years Macaulay's history has been often challenged on the score of
inaccuracy and untruth. The charge is brought against every historian in
turn; and we must remember, on the other hand, that Freeman, one of the
most competent of judges, warmly praised Macaulay for his command of
facts. It is necessary to distinguish three things: falsity of statement,
incompleteness of statement, and the drawing of disputable conclusions. In
the first respect Macaulay was rarely, in the second and third he was
frequently, at fault. His omissions are often indefensible. The whole
evidence of his character is against the supposition that they were due to
conscious dishonesty. It is far more probable that, approaching his
subject with a strong prepossession, he was positively blind to anything
that told against his own view. Partly for the same reason, and partly
because his philosophic endowment was not equal to his literary talent,
his inferences too are often questionable. And this perhaps will prove in
the end a more serious objection to his history than his partisanship;
for, after all, there are worse things, even in historical writing, than
partisanship. The man who is free from all temptation to take a side, if
not from political affinity then from moral sympathy, must run some risk
of being dull and colourless.

Macaulay did much to enlarge and liberalise the conception of history.
More than any of his predecessors, he attempted to base his views on a
wide consideration of the literature and life of the people, as well as on
their constitution and campaigns and treaties. He cast all pseudo-dignity
to the winds. His method was sound; and herein Carlyle, though he applied
the principle differently, was quite at one with Macaulay. Another
honourable characteristic, wherein the two historians likewise agreed, was
their care in visiting the scenes about which they had to write; and both
have gained in vividness and in topographical accuracy from this habit.
Macaulay's notes on the scenes of the Irish war were 'equal in bulk to a
first-class article in the _Edinburgh_ or _Quarterly Review_.'

The style of Macaulay is at its best in the _History_, where it is more
chastened, more varied and sonorous than in the _Essays_. The same tricks
and mannerisms reappear, but they are softened and restrained. The trick
of a rapid succession of curt sentences, at times so effective, but also
at times monotonous and jarring, is kept within bounds. Short and simple
are mingled with comparatively long and complex sentences; for Macaulay,
scornful of 'the dignity of history' when it is merely cramping and
obstructive, is scrupulously mindful of it when the phrase has a
legitimate application. He rejects as meretricious ornament and
illustration which, as he himself declared, he would have considered not
only admissible but desirable in a review. The just censure that his style
is hard and metallic applies with far more force against the _Essays_
than against the _History_. Greater care and higher finish deepen and
enrich the tone.

Macaulay's verse must be dismissed with few words. He is best known by his
_Lays of Ancient Rome_, compositions which, like his prose writings, are
historical in principle. They neither are nor pretend to be great, but
they rank high among the modern imitations of popular poetry. At the same
time, they display no such sympathetic genius as, for example, Scott's
ballad of Harlaw, no such loftiness of mind as his _Cadyow Castle_. They
are clear, rapid and vigorous, like their author's prose. The generous
judgment of Elizabeth Barrett, quoted in Ward's _English Poets_, is
essentially just: 'He has a noble, clear, metallic note in his soul, and
makes us ready by it for battle.' That he makes us ready by it for battle
is eminently true of the splendidly martial _Battle of Naseby_, the most
stirring piece of verse Macaulay ever wrote. It is interesting to note
that the historian of England thus, at the age of twenty-four, reached his
highest point in ballad verse in a subject taken from the country and the
century which all his life long attracted his most serious study.

In several respects Macaulay is the natural antithesis to Carlyle: to some
extent they may even be regarded as complementary. We may correct the
excess of the one by the opposite excess of the other. Macaulay was an
optimist, Carlyle a pessimist; Macaulay was the panegyrist of his own
time, Carlyle was its merciless critic; Macaulay devoutly believed all the
formulas of the Whig creed, and had great faith in Reform Bills and
improvements in parliamentary machinery, Carlyle accepted no formulas
whatsoever, and set small store by any reforms that were merely
parliamentary; Macaulay was orthodox in his literary tastes and methods,
Carlyle was revolutionary and scornful of rule. The contrast applies
equally to their personal history and character. Macaulay was sunny,
genial and healthy, Carlyle dyspeptic, irascible, 'gey ill to deal wi';'
Macaulay suddenly sprang into fame, Carlyle slowly and with difficulty
fought his way to it. They are contrasted in their very biographies.
Macaulay's is one of the pleasantest in the language; Carlyle's awoke an
acrimonious discussion, due in part certainly to the sins of the subject,
but in part also to his injudicious treatment by the biographer.

The truth lay between them. If Macaulay was too easily optimistic, Carlyle
was too gloomy. To paint a picture all shadow is as untrue to art, and
generally to fact, as it is to paint one all light. It is true that the
great problem of society, wise government, cannot be solved by franchises
and ballot-boxes; but proper regulations as to these may help to solve it.
Carlyle sometimes forgot that the practical problem usually is, not to
secure that complex and difficult thing, wise government, but to effect
some little improvement which will conduce to the comparative, wiser
government, if it does not lead us to the unattainable positive.

The example of German thoroughness had no small influence in fostering the
new movement in history. It acted most directly on the students of ancient
history, and Niebuhr was the channel through which it was transmitted to
England. Before the middle of the century his authority was hardly
questioned, though a little later we can trace the reaction in the works
of Sir George Cornewall Lewis and others; and now it is no longer possible
to conjure with the Pelasgians. But whatever doubts may cloud some of the
conclusions of Niebuhr, it was he who enabled the English historians to
breathe life into the dry bones of ancient history. Thomas Arnold,
Thirlwall and Grote were all inspired by him. Taking these writers as a
group, we may remark one important difference between them and the
writers of modern history. The historians of the ancient world are wider
in their range, and in their works it is still possible to trace the whole
life of a people. Thirlwall and Grote embrace all the history of Greece
down to the period of decay, and only Arnold's early death prevented him
from being equally comprehensive. The reason is that there is a certain
finality about ancient history. The materials are manageable in quantity,
and there neither have been nor can be such additions to them as to those
on which modern history is based.

[Sidenote: Thomas Arnold (1795-1842).]

Thomas Arnold was a man of untiring energy, and he found for his energies
three channels, two of them practical and one literary. It is as a
schoolmaster that he has won his widest, and what will probably prove his
most enduring fame. Some unfavourable critics have insisted that Arnold's
Rugby boy could only be described by the slang term, prig. But such
criticism is merely the revolt against excessive praise. There may have
been some intellectual and moral coxcombry developed in early years by
many of Arnold's pupils; but that is not the mature characteristic of men
like Clough and Stanley and Dean Vaughan. Moreover, Thomas Arnold was
emphatically one of those men from whom virtue goes out; and a result due
to affectation can hardly have come from a character so simple and so
sincere.

But Arnold was ambitious likewise to have a hand in determining the
doctrines and shaping the thought of England. He, a clergyman, naturally
took an ecclesiastical view of what would do that; but it was at the same
time a broad view. His position was singularly interesting. The two great
evils of the age, in his eyes, were that materialism which he believed to
be centred in the University of London, and the Catholic revival
associated with the University of Oxford. He stood upon a ground of
rationalism, but it was a rationalism which he firmly believed to be
consistent with faith. He hated materialism because it left no room for a
religious creed; he hated Tractarianism because it was irreconcilable with
reason, and he was convinced that whatever was irrational must and ought
to go to ruin. He would have accepted the aphorism of a living writer,
'Nothing that is intellectually unsound can be morally sound.' 'It is,'
says he, 'because I so earnestly desire the revival of the Church that I
abhor the doctrine of the priesthood.' It was this, the combination of
faith with fearless loyalty to reason, that gave him his peculiar interest
in the eyes of observers. The keenest of these however thought the
permanent maintenance of that position impossible; and Dr. Arnold's son,
Matthew, in his _Letters_ expresses in another way an opinion
substantially identical with that which Carlyle had expressed before.

Arnold's _History of Rome_, published between the years 1838 and 1843, has
in great part lost its importance through the researches of Mommsen and
other German scholars; but there are portions which can never lose their
importance. The point of view is essentially Arnold's own. The impulse to
write came to him because he found in Rome the ancient analogue to the
'kingly commonwealth of England.' He found in the great republic lessons
both of encouragement and of warning to his own country; but he sinned
less than some others, notably Grote, in the way of drawing these lessons
direct from the ancient state to the modern. In another respect, dignity
of style, he had an immense advantage over his more widely-read
contemporary. Arnold's English is always forcible, and in the best
passages it is eloquent. He is strongest in his account of military
operations, and his description of the campaigns of the Second Punic War
remains still the most vivid and readable in our language, and probably in
modern literature. Certainly Mommsen, powerful as his work is, cannot
rival Arnold as a military historian. It is rather in depth of
scholarship, in mastery of facts, in comprehension of the early history,
and consequently of the subsequent working, of the constitution, that
Arnold has been surpassed.

[Sidenote: Connop Thirlwall (1797-1875).]

The other two historians of the ancient world both chose Greece for their
subject. The more interesting and abler man of the two, and the profounder
scholar, had the singular ill fortune to see his work superseded, almost
as soon as he had written it, by that of his rival. Connop Thirlwall was
celebrated in his day as one of the best of English scholars; but no man
was ever less of the mere grammarian. Trenchant intellect and sound
judgment were his characteristics. He impressed all who encountered him
with his capacity to be a leader of men; and his early enterprises seemed
a guarantee that he would redeem his promise. As one of the translators of
Niebuhr he moulded English historical thought; and his translation of
Schleiermacher's essay on St. Luke made an equally deep impression on
English theology. It almost stopped his professional advancement. When, in
1840, Thirlwall was suggested to Lord Melbourne for the bishopric of St.
David's, Melbourne, with the characteristic oath, objected: 'He is not
orthodox in that preface to Schleiermacher.' After some investigation the
pious minister convinced himself that the writer of the preface was
sufficiently orthodox for the purpose. Thirlwall, perhaps to the cost of
his permanent fame, became Bishop of St. David's, and held the office till
the year before his death. As Bishop he was bold and independent in
judgment. On two memorable occasions he stood alone among his order. He
was the solitary bishop who refused to sign the address calling upon
Colenso to resign, and he alone voted for the disestablishment of the
Irish Church. Nevertheless he was in a position unfortunate for himself.
His nature demanded unfettered freedom of thought; and the controversy
with Rowland Williams over the question of _Essays and Reviews_ proved
that such freedom was not to be found on a bishop's throne.

Thirlwall's principal contribution to literature is his _History of
Greece_ (1835-1847). The completed work is unfortunately marred by traces
of the original design. It had been meant for _Lardner's Cyclopædia_, but
overflowed the limits set. Thirlwall thereupon revised the scheme; but he
never attained the freedom he would have had if he had begun to write on
his own plan and his own scale. His profound scholarship, penetrating
judgment, nervous though severe style, and critical acumen, all show to
advantage in the _History_. He is far more concentrated than Grote; and
though the latter caught the meaning of certain movements and certain
institutions which Thirlwall neglected or misinterpreted, he presents a
more luminous and a less prejudiced view of Greek history than his
successful rival.

But if the _History of Greece_ is Thirlwall's most solid contribution to
literature, that which gives the best impression of the man, regarded by
contemporaries as a rival of the greatest, is his _Letters to a Young
Friend_.[3] Few collections of letters give a more charming view of a
relation of pure friendship between two people of widely different age.
They are weighty too because they touch at many points on questions of
universal interest. It has been said that the letters a man writes ought
to be ascribed to his correspondent in equal measure with himself; and it
is certain that from the sympathy he found in this friendship Thirlwall
drew an inspiration nothing else in his life ever gave him.

[Sidenote: George Grote (1794-1871).]

George Grote, the schoolfellow, friend and rival of Thirlwall, was a man
in most respects widely different from the great Bishop. Thirlwall's
thought was German in origin, though it was coloured by English
ecclesiastical opinion. Grote was a Benthamite, and had all the hardness
without quite all the force of that school. It was the rising school, and
part of Grote's success was due to the fact that he was moving along the
line of least resistance. He was a persevering, clear-sighted, determined
man. As a historian of Greece he was patient and thorough. He had marked
out the subject as his own more than twenty years before the publication,
in 1846, of his first two volumes; and ten years more passed before the
work was finished. Indeed, we may say that his whole life was devoted to
it; for, according to his conception of history, _Plato and the other
Companions of Sokrates_ (1865), and the incomplete Aristotelian studies
issued posthumously in 1872, were parts and appendages of the history.

Grote was spurred on to this work by political feelings more nearly
related to the present time. He was irritated by the Toryism of Mitford's
_History of Greece_, which he exposed in an article in the _Westminster
Review_. Yet one of his own most conspicuous defects is that he too
evidently holds a brief on the opposite side. He does not slur facts,
still less does he falsify, but his arguments have sometimes the character
of special pleading. Democracy becomes a kind of fetish to him. Its
success in the Athens of the fifth century B.C. is made an argument for
extending the English franchise in the nineteenth century A.D.; and Grote
is wholly blind to the fact that the wide difference of circumstances
makes futile all reasoning from the one case to the other.

Grote's style is heavy and ungainly. He plods along, correct as a rule,
but uninspiring and unattractive. He is similarly clumsy in the use of
materials. Skilful selection might have appreciably shortened his history;
but Grote rarely prunes with sufficient severity, and often he does not
prune at all. His habit of pouring out the whole mass of his material in
the shape of notes lightens the labour of his successors, but injures his
own work as an artistic history. Nevertheless, though Grote had no genius,
and nothing that deserves to be called a style, his _History of Greece_
holds the field. It does so because of its solidity and conscientious
thoroughness, because of its patient investigation of the origin and
meaning of institutions, and because its very faults were, after all,
faults which sprang from sympathy. Grote was the first who did full
justice to the Athenian people; and he may be pardoned if he sometimes did
them more than justice.

As these three, Arnold, Thirlwall and Grote, dealt with the ancient world
in its glory and greatness, so there were two, Milman and Finlay, who
traced its decay, or the process of transition from the ancient to the
modern world.

[Sidenote: Henry Hart Milman (1791-1868).]

Henry Hart Milman in his earlier days wrote poetry. The turning-point in
his literary career was the publication of the _History of the Jews_
(1830), the first English work which adequately treats the Jews in their
actual historical setting, not in the traditional way as a 'peculiar
people' with practically no historical setting at all. Milman afterwards
edited Gibbon and wrote a life of the historian; and in 1840 the result of
his studies appeared in the _History of Christianity under the Empire_.
In 1855 the _History of Latin Christianity down to the Death of Pope
Nicholas V._ set the crown upon his labours. This work is Milman's best
title to remembrance, and though errors have been detected in it, the tone
and spirit are good, the method sound and the scholarship admirable.

[Sidenote: George Finlay (1799-1875).]

George Finlay has suffered from an unattractive theme, for few care about
the obscure fortunes of Greece after its conquest by the Romans. But
Finlay was an enthusiast who not only wrote about Greece but lived in it;
and this residence (continuous after 1854) imparts to his history its most
valuable qualities. Finlay published a series of works on Greece between
1844 and 1861, all of which were summed up in his _History of Greece from
its Conquest by the Romans to the Present Time_ (1877).

[Sidenote: John Mason Neale (1818-1866).]

[Sidenote: Charles Merivale (1808-1893).]

Among historians of less importance, John Mason Neale did for the Holy
Eastern Church a service similar to that performed by Milman for the Latin
Church; but he is more likely to be remembered as a hymn-writer than as a
historian. Charles Merivale was likewise a subordinate member of the group
of ancient historians. His principal work was a _History of the Romans
under the Empire_ (1850-1862). Its worst defect is that the author is not
quite equal to his subject. Merivale was a respectable historian, but the
successful treatment of the Romans under the Empire demanded a great one.

[Sidenote: James Anthony Froude (1818-1894).]

Among the writers of modern history the next in rank after Macaulay and
Carlyle is James Anthony Froude, the brother of Richard Hurrell Froude,
famous for his connexion with the Oxford movement. For a time J. A. Froude
himself was a Tractarian, and he took orders. But Newman's drift to Rome
forced him in the opposite direction. His first considerable book, _The
Nemesis of Faith_ (1849), records his change of mind and indicates how
impossible it must always have been for him to rest permanently in the
position of the Tractarians.

Leaving Oxford and the Tractarians, Froude fell under the spell of
Carlyle. They were introduced to each other soon after this, but it was
not till Froude's settlement in London in 1860 that they became intimate.
Carlyle's influence upon his disciple was almost wholly good. The younger
man had the good sense not to imitate his master's style, while he learnt
from him clear, sharply-outlined, fearless judgment; and the mists of
Tractarianism rolled away for ever.

The great work of Froude's life was his _History of England from the Fall
of Wolsey to the Defeat of the Spanish Armada_ (1856-1870). It was written
under the direct inspiration of Carlyle. 'If I wrote anything,' says
Froude, 'I fancied myself writing it to him, reflecting at each word what
he would think of it, as a check on affectations.' He submitted the first
two chapters, in print, to Carlyle; and the verdict, 'though not wanting
in severity,' was on the whole favourable. The critics were divided.
Froude was a man who usually either carried his readers wholly with him or
alienated them. Those who loved clear, vigorous, pointed English, keen
intelligence and life-like portraiture, were delighted with the book.
Students, familiar with the original documents and able to criticise
details, regarded it with very different eyes.

Both sides were right in their principal assertions, and both were prone
to forget that there was another aspect of the case. On the one hand, it
has been established beyond the reach of reasonable dispute that Froude
was habitually and grossly inaccurate. It is indeed doubtful whether any
other historian, with any title to be considered great, can be charged
with so many grave errors. Froude is inaccurate first of all in his facts.
He does not take the trouble to verify, he misquotes, he is not careful to
weigh evidence. But moreover, he is inaccurate in what may be called his
colour. He paints his picture in the light of his own emotions and
prejudices, he is rather the impassioned advocate than the calm judge. He
would not only have acknowledged this, but he would have defended himself;
and there is something to be said for his view. Absolute impartiality is,
in the first place, unattainable; and in the second place, so far as it is
attained, it is not always an unmixed good. Pure disinterestedness is apt
to mean absence of interest. It is certainly true that some of the
greatest histories in the world are all alive with the passions of the
writers. Those of Tacitus are so, and likewise those of Carlyle; and
Herodotus had undoubtedly a partiality for Athens. Froude therefore is not
to be wholly condemned on this score; but he ought to have remembered that
the adoption of such a theory of history made it doubly incumbent on him
to examine carefully the grounds upon which his opinions rested. His
cardinal defect was a disregard of this precaution.

Froude moreover was given to paradox. It has been repeatedly pointed out
that one of the great tasks of the century has been the whitewashing of
scoundrels. De Quincey undertook Judas. Carlyle in his later days
performed the service for Frederick. Froude in his justification of Henry
VIII. was only following a fashion. Nevertheless, the twisting of facts,
the exaggeration of all that tells on the one side and the slurring or
suppression of arguments on the other, are grave faults in history. And
these are the almost inevitable results of the indulgence in paradox and
the advocacy of weak causes. All the cleverness is unconvincing, and the
detection of the sophistry brings discredit upon the whole work into which
it is admitted.

This is the case of the _advocatus diaboli_ against Froude. It is a
re-statement of the main points in Freeman's indictment. But a history is
a piece of literature as well as a record of facts; and as literature
Froude's work stands very high. In the first place, he is great in style.
Not that his English is of the kind that calls attention to itself. It is
seldom magnificent, but it is always adequate, and the reader never feels
himself jarred by want of taste or befogged by obscurity either of thought
or expression. It is wholly free from affectation. Froude concerned
himself merely to express his meaning, and wrote a good style because he
did not trouble himself about style. He answered impatiently those who
inquired into the secret of his prose, telling them that he only wrote
what he thought and let the style take care of itself.

Froude had moreover a great talent for the delineation of character.
Whether his characters are always true to fact may be questioned; but his
Henry VIII., his Queen Mary and his Queen Elizabeth certainly leave the
impression of living human beings, and the charm of his history is largely
due to the vividness with which he paints them.

Froude never undertook another work on such a scale as the _History_.
Perhaps he realised that the scale was too large. The plan of the _Short
Studies on Great Subjects_ (1867-1883) was in some respects better suited
to him. In these essays he gives with unsurpassed vigour the thoughts of a
powerful mind on themes of special interest; and as they do not pretend to
be exhaustive the writer's weaknesses are not brought into prominence.
_The English in Ireland in the Eighteenth Century_ (1872-1874) was, next
to the great _History_, his largest work. But Irish history has been and
is the source of so much passion that the present generation is no
favourable time for either writing or criticising such a work. Later, in
1889, the historical romance, _The Two Chiefs of Dunboy_, showed that his
interest in the country still survived; and those who know Ireland are the
readiest to acknowledge that Froude has not only written an interesting
story, but has shown great insight into the country and its inhabitants.

But the principal work of Froude's later years was his biography of
Carlyle, the first instalment of which was published in 1882, and the
second two years later. No biography has ever raised a greater storm of
indignation; nor can it be denied that for this Froude was partly to
blame. His method is ruthless, and in some cases its justice is
questionable. At the same time, the condemnation passed upon him has been
unmeasured; and no small part of it has been due to the disappointment of
worshippers of Carlyle at the discovery that if the head of their idol was
pure gold the feet were miry clay. Froude has written, perhaps one of the
least judicious, but certainly one of the most readable of English
biographies.

The other works of Froude are of inferior consequence. Neither his _Julius
Cæsar_ nor his _Erasmus_ is calculated to increase his reputation; while
the very interesting _Oceana_ indicates, more clearly than any of his
other writings, the source of his greatest errors--a habit of jumping to
conclusions from insufficient premisses. Froude pronounces confidently
upon the colonies on no better ground than a hurried visit and a few
conversations with chance residents, who might not always be
disinterested. Yet _Oceana_ had more influence than many a better book.
Like Seeley's _Expansion of England_ it was partly the consequence, but
also partly the cause of the great change in public opinion whereby the
colonies, regarded thirty years ago as little better than a burden, have
come to be considered the principal support of the greatness of England.

[Sidenote: Alexander William Kinglake (1809-1891).]

The historian generally prefers to work upon a subject removed to some
distance from his own time, but the intense interest of a great armed
struggle not infrequently makes it an exception. Thus, the Peninsular War
found a contemporary historian in Napier, and similarly Alexander William
Kinglake wrote the story of the next great European contest in which
England was engaged after the fall of Napoleon. He had previously won a
purer literary fame in the fascinating volume of travel, _Eothen_,
published in 1844. The journey of which it is a record had been made about
nine years earlier, and _Eothen_ as finally published was the result of
long thought and of fastidious care in literary workmanship. It is little
concerned with facts and occurrences, attempting rather to reproduce the
effect of the life and the scenes of the East.

The reputation acquired by this book opened up for Kinglake the larger
subject of the Crimean War. He had accompanied the expedition from love of
adventure, and chance made him acquainted with Lord Raglan, whose papers
were ultimately intrusted to him. _The Invasion of the Crimea_ (1863-1887)
is open to several serious objections. It is far too long, and the style
is florid, diffuse and highly mannered. Moreover, Kinglake is a most
prejudiced historian. There is no mean in his judgment; he either can see
no faults, or he can see nothing else. Raglan and St. Arnaud are examples
of the two extremes. But frequently the historian supplies the corrective
to his own judgment. If the battle of the Alma was won as Kinglake says it
was, then it was won not by generalship but by hard fighting plus a lucky
blunder on the part of the general. On the other hand, Kinglake sustains
the interest with great skill, especially in the battle volumes. Long as
are the accounts of the Alma and of Balaclava, they are perfectly clear,
and the impression left is indelible.

[Sidenote: Henry Thomas Buckle (1821-1862).]

It has been already hinted that the chief defect in this great mass of
historical work is the want of a philosophy of history. The unmanageable
volume of material almost smothers the intellect. An attempt to make good
the defect was made by Henry Thomas Buckle, in his _History of
Civilisation_ (1857-1861), with results not altogether satisfactory.
Buckle was a man of vast reading and tenacious memory; but no knowledge,
however extensive, could at that time have sufficed to do what he
attempted. He soon discovered this himself, and what he has executed is a
mere fragment of his daring design. Even so, it is larger than his
materials justified. In accounting for Buckle's failure, stress has often
been laid upon the fact that his education was private. This is a little
pedantic. Grote, whose history has been accepted at the universities as
the best available, was of no university. Mill, one of the men who have
most influenced thought in this century, was of none either. Gibbon,
perhaps the greatest of historians, has put on record how little he owed
to Oxford; and Carlyle has told us with characteristic vigour how
unprofitable he thought his university of Edinburgh. The men who did not
go to a university have done good work; and the men who did go to one have
declared that they owed little or nothing to the education there received.
In the face of such facts it is impossible to account so for the failure
of Buckle. The real reason, besides the cardinal fact that the attempt was
premature, is that Buckle, though he had the daring of the speculator's
temperament, had neither its caution nor its breadth. The great
speculative geniuses of the world have been prudent as well as bold. No
one is bolder than Aristotle, but no one is more careful to lay first a
broad foundation for his speculations. Buckle did not use his great
knowledge so. His account of the causes of things always rouses suspicion
because it is far too simple. He never understood how complex the life of
a nation is; and when he came to write he practically rejected the greater
part of his knowledge and used only the small remainder. He was moreover a
man of strong prejudices. He could not endure the ecclesiastical type of
mind or the ecclesiastical view of things; and his account of civilisation
in Scotland is completely vitiated by his determination to regard the
Church, before the Reformation and after the Reformation alike, as merely
a weight on the wheel, not a source of energy and forward movement.

Buckle then illustrates the tendency of the mind, noted by Bacon, to grasp
prematurely at unity. This very fact, conjoined with the clearness and
vigour of his style, was the reason of his popularity. When the inadequacy
of his theories began to be perceived there came a reaction. But
inevitably those theories will be replaced by others. To some extent they
have been replaced already by the theories of two writers, Sir Henry Maine
and Mr. W. E. Hartpole Lecky, of whom the latter belongs, however, rather
to the period still current than to the Age of Tennyson.

[Sidenote: Sir Henry Maine (1822-1888).]

The majority of Maine's works too were published after the year 1870, but
as his most awakening and original book, _Ancient Law_, appeared as early
as 1861, we may fairly regard him as belonging to the period under
consideration. Sir Henry Maine was a great teacher as well as a great
writer, and he had already acquired a considerable reputation before the
appearance of his _Ancient Law_. But it was that book which established
his name as an original thinker. It has two great merits. It is written
in a most lucid, pleasant style, and it is decidedly original in
substance. Maine's design is far less ambitious than Buckle's; but for
that very reason his performance is more adequate. The most conspicuous
distinction between the two is that the later writer shows in far greater
measure than his predecessor the modern sense of the importance of
origins. It was this that gave his work importance. To a great extent the
task of recent historians has been to trace institutions to their source,
and explain their later development by means of the germs out of which
they have grown. In this respect Maine was a pioneer, and his later work
was just a fuller exposition of the principles at the root of _Ancient
Law_. His _Village Communities_ (1871) and his _Early History of
Institutions_ (1875) are both inspired by the same idea. In his _Popular
Government_ (1885) he may be said to break new ground; but it is easy to
see the influence on that book of the author's prolonged study of early
forms of society. These later books are not perhaps intrinsically inferior
to _Ancient Law_, but they are less suggestive, just because so much of
the work had been already done by it.

Biography is another form of history, and it is not surprising that a
period so rich in historical writings should also be distinguished in
biography. If Boswell's _Johnson_ is still supreme, the Age of Tennyson
has produced several lives surpassed only by it. Two of the best of these
lives, Carlyle's _Sterling_ and Froude's _Carlyle_, were written by
historians, and have been noticed along with their other works. Another
remarkable book, the _Autobiography_ of John Stuart Mill, is likewise best
taken along with the more formal works of the philosopher. But even after
these large deductions, and after a rigid exclusion of everything that is
not, both in form and substance, of very high quality, there remain at
least two men of great distinction in literature, J. G. Lockhart and A. P.
Stanley, who must be treated as first and chiefly biographers.

[Sidenote: John Gibson Lockhart (1794-1854).]

John Gibson Lockhart was a man of many gifts and accomplishments, a good
scholar, a keen satirist and critic, a powerful novelist, an excellent
translator. He was accomplished with the pencil as well as with the pen,
and some of his caricatures are at once irresistibly amusing and
profoundly true. His 'Scotch judge' and 'Scotch minister' would make the
reputation of a number of _Punch_. His biting wit won for him the
_sobriquet_ of 'the Scorpion;' but notwithstanding his sting he won and
retained through life many warm friends. He was trained for the Scottish
bar, but attached himself to the literary set of _Blackwood_, in which
Christopher North was the most striking figure. With him and Hogg Lockhart
was concerned in an exceedingly amusing skit, the famous _Chaldee
Manuscript_; but the joke gave so much offence that this 'promising babe'
was strangled in the cradle. A good deal of more serious literary work
belongs to the period before 1830,--the novels, a mass of criticism, and
the _Spanish Ballads_. Then too was formed the connexion which opened to
Lockhart the great work of his life. He was introduced to Scott in 1818.
The acquaintance prospered. Scott liked the clever young man, Scott's
daughter liked him still better, and in 1820 Lockhart married Sophia
Scott. Largely through her father's influence he was appointed editor of
the _Quarterly Review_, an office which he held until 1853, and in which
he became to a very great degree, both by reason of what he wrote and of
what he printed, responsible for the tone of criticism at the time.

Lockhart undoubtedly shared that excessive personality which was the blot
of criticism, and especially of the _Blackwood_ school, in his
generation. He has been charged with the _Blackwood_ article on Keats, and
with the _Quarterly_ article on _Jane Eyre_, but he may now be acquitted
of both these sins. It was however Lockhart who wrote the _Quarterly_
article on Tennyson's early poems; but this, though bad in tone and
excessively severe, is to a large extent critically sound. So far as they
can be traced, Lockhart's criticisms are such as might be expected from
his mind,--clear, incisive and vigorous. They are however often
unsympathetic and harsh, because criticism was then too apt to be
interpreted as fault-finding, and Lockhart could not wholly free himself
from the influence of a vicious tradition.

But it is by his _Life of Scott_ (1836-1838) that Lockhart will live in
literature. He had in an ample measure the first of all requirements in a
biographer, personal acquaintance with the man whose life he wrote. Almost
from the time of his introduction, and certainly from the date of his
marriage, Lockhart's relations with Scott were of the closest; and though
he was not personally familiar with the facts of Scott's earlier life, he
knew quite enough to understand the springs of the man's character.
Moreover, in the autobiographical fragment and in the endless stores of
family and friendly anecdote open to him he had ample means of making good
the deficiency. For among Lockhart's advantages is to be reckoned the fact
that he had not merely married into the family, but had married, as it
were, into the circle of friends. The _Life of Scott_ shows that the
families of Abbotsford, of Chiefswood and of Huntley Burn (the last
Scott's great friends the Fergusons) were for many purposes only one
larger family.

There are certain dangers, as well as great advantages, to the biographer
even in intimate friendship. Misused in one way, it lowers the
biographer's own character; misused in another, it either lowers or
unnaturally exalts that of his subject. Boswell, employing his materials
with excellent effect for the purposes of his book, degrades himself.
Froude, making a mistake of another sort, exaggerates all the less lovable
characteristics of Carlyle; while there are multitudes who paint pictures
not of flesh and blood, but of impossible saints and heroes. 'A love
passing the love of biographers' was Macaulay's phrase for the excess of
hero-worship. Lockhart has avoided all these errors. When his book was
read the contradictory charges were brought against him, on the one hand
of having exaggerated Scott's virtues and concealed his faults, and on the
other of ungenerous and derogatory criticism. We may be sure that
Lockhart's temptation, if he felt any, was rather to 'extenuate' than to
'set down in malice.' But, with a noble confidence in a noble character,
he does not extenuate. To describe Scott as a mere money-lover would be
untrue; yet many have felt that there is a fault in his relation to
wealth, and Lockhart uses just the right words when he says, 'I dare not
deny that he set more of his affections, during great part of his life,
upon worldly things, wealth among others, than might have become such an
intellect;' and he gives just the right explanation when he goes on to
trace this defect to its root in the imagination. In his treatment of the
commercial matters in which Scott was involved, Lockhart is equally
judicial.

The tact of Lockhart deserves as much praise as his fairness of judgment.
As regards part of his work, he was put to the test a few years ago by the
publication of Scott's _Journal_. Lockhart had made liberal extracts from
this journal, explaining at the same time that passages were necessarily
suppressed because of their bearing upon persons then alive. A comparison
of his extracts with the journal now accessible _in extenso_ shows how
skilfully he suppressed what was likely to give pain, while at the same
time producing much the same general impression as the whole document
leaves.

A biography, like a letter, may be said to have two authors, the man
written about and the person who writes. Scott certainly gave Lockhart the
greatest assistance, both by what he wrote and by what he was. At the
beginning the delightful fragment of autobiography, towards the end the
profoundly interesting _Journal_, and all through the free, manly,
large-hearted letters, were materials of the choicest sort. Scott himself
moreover, genial, cordial, of manifold activity, a centre of racy
anecdote, was a person whom it was far more easy to set in an attractive
frame than any mere literary recluse. Many could have produced a good life
of such a man. Lockhart's special praise is that he has written a great
one. Except Johnson, there is no English man of letters so well depicted
as Scott. Lockhart's taste and style are excellent. The caustic wit which
ran riot in the young _Blackwood_ reviewer is restrained by the experience
of years and by the necessities of the subject. Lockhart's own part of the
narrative is told in grave, temperate English, simple almost to severity,
but in a high degree flexible. In the brighter parts there is a pleasant
lightness in Lockhart's touch; in the more serious parts he is weighty and
powerful; and on occasion, especially towards the end, there is a
restrained emotion which proves that part of his wonderful success is due
to the fact that his heart was in his work.

[Sidenote: Arthur Penrhyn Stanley (1815-1881).]

Arthur Penrhyn Stanley ranks considerably below Lockhart, yet his _Life of
Arnold_ (1844) is inferior only to the few unapproachable masterpieces of
biography. Stanley was a fluent and able writer in several fields, but in
most respects his work is now somewhat discredited. His _Commentary on
the Epistles to the Corinthians_ (1855) has been severely handled for
inaccuracy and defective scholarship. His _Lectures on the Eastern Church_
(1861) and _On the Jewish Church_ (1863-1876), and his book of Eastern
travel, _Sinai and Palestine_ (1856) are delightful in literary execution,
but they are popular rather than solid. Stanley neither was nor,
apparently, cared to be exact. He trusted too much to his gift of making
things interesting, and had an inadequate conception of the duty he owed
to his readers of writing what was true. Other travellers who have
followed his footsteps in the East have sometimes found that the scenes he
describes, in charming English, are such as are visible only to those
whose eyes can penetrate rocks and mountains. This constitutional
inaccuracy is a blot upon nearly all his works, and his one permanent
contribution to literature will probably prove to be the _Life of Dr.
Arnold_. There is here, as Stanley's biographer justly says, 'a glow of
repressed enthusiasm which gives to the work one of its greatest charms.'
Stanley loved Arnold, and threw himself with unwonted thoroughness into
the task of depicting him. For two years, we are told, he abandoned for it
every other occupation that was not an absolute duty. The principal defect
of the _Life_ is that the plan--a portion of narrative, and then a body of
letters--is too rigid and mechanical. But the narrative is exceedingly
good, giving within moderate compass a clear impression of Arnold; and the
letters are well selected and full of interest.


MINOR HISTORIANS AND BIOGRAPHERS.

[Sidenote: Sir Archibald Alison (1792-1867).]

Sir Archibald Alison was the son of a clergyman who won a name for a work
on the _Principles of Taste_. Alison practised at the Scottish bar, became
Sheriff of Lanarkshire, and was knighted for his services to literature.
His _magnum opus_ is a _History of Europe during the French Revolution_,
which he afterwards continued to the accession of Napoleon III. It is
laborious and honest, though not unprejudiced. Disraeli sneeringly said
that 'Mr. Wordy' had proved by his twenty volumes that Providence was on
the side of the Tories.

[Sidenote: John Hill Burton (1809-1881).]

John Hill Burton, best known as the historian of Scotland, was an
industrious man of letters, who wrote on many subjects,--_The Scot
Abroad_, _The Book Hunter_, and _The Age of Queen Anne_, as well as the
_History of Scotland_. The last is the work of a capable and careful
writer rather than of a great historian. Burton is sensible and
dispassionate, and he has collected and put into shape the principal
results of modern research as applied to Scotland.

[Sidenote: John Forster (1812-1876).]

John Forster was a laborious but somewhat commonplace writer. He was the
author of a _Life of Goldsmith_ (1848) and a _Life of Sir John Eliot_
(1864). But his most valuable works are two biographies of contemporaries,
the _Life of Landor_ (1869) and the _Life of Dickens_ (1872-1874). Forster
had little power of realising character, and the subjects of his
biographies are never clearly outlined. His _Life of Dickens_ has an
importance beyond its intrinsic merits, because it is the most
authoritative book on the great novelist.

[Sidenote: Walter Farquhar Hook (1798-1875).]

Walter Farquhar Hook was a prominent clergyman, whose doctrine, that the
English Roman Catholics were really seceders from the Church of England,
caused a great stir when it was first promulgated. His vast design of the
_Lives of the Archbishops of Canterbury_ (1860-1876) was ultimately
executed in twelve big volumes. The plan was too large and the characters
treated too multifarious for really good biography, but it is solid and
valuable work.

[Sidenote: Sir John William Kaye (1814-1876).]

Sir John William Kaye wrote two meritorious books of military history,
_The History of the War in Afghanistan_ (1851), and _The History of the
Sepoy War in India_ (1864-1876). The latter, which roused some
controversy, was left unfinished at Kaye's death, and was afterwards
completed by Colonel Malleson.

[Sidenote: Sir Francis Palgrave (1788-1861).]

Sir Francis Palgrave was in the early part of his life an active
contributor to the _Edinburgh_ and _Quarterly Reviews_, and a diligent
editor of state documents. His _Rise and Progress of the English
Commonwealth_ (1832) threw much light on the early history of England.
Palgrave was in his day one of the most earnest students of mediæval
history.

[Sidenote: Philip Henry, Earl Stanhope (1805-1875).]

Philip Henry, Earl Stanhope, wrote the _History of the War of the
Succession in Spain_, the _History of the Reign of Queen Anne_, and the
_History of England from the Peace of Utrecht to the Peace of Versailles_.
He took great pains with his work, but he does not reach distinction
either of thought or style.

[Sidenote: Sir William Stirling-Maxwell (1818-1878).]

Sir William Stirling-Maxwell is less widely known than he deserves to be,
but this is partly due to the expensiveness of his works. He wrote _Annals
of the Artists of Spain_, _The Cloister Life of Charles V._, _Velasquez
and his Work_, and a posthumous book, _Don John of Austria_. All his work
is distinguished for learning and good taste.

[Sidenote: Agnes Strickland (1806-1874)]

Agnes Strickland was a popular writer whose work is readable rather than
profound or original. Her principal books are the _Lives of the Queens of
England_, followed up by _Lives of the Queens of Scotland_.

[Sidenote: Patrick Fraser Tytler (1791-1849).]

Patrick Fraser Tytler, another historian of Scotland, came of a family
distinguished both in literature and in law. His _History of Scotland_ has
been superseded in general favour by Burton's, which has the advantage of
embodying more recent research. Tytler however was the abler man of the
two, and he had a higher literary gift than Burton. Except where the
narrative has to be re-written in the light of later discoveries, his
judgment is always worth weighing.



CHAPTER VII.

THEOLOGY AND PHILOSOPHY.


The early part of the nineteenth century was not very prolific in the
department of speculative thought, but signs of movement may be detected
in the third decade. Each of the English universities became the centre of
a very active intellectual society. The Cambridge men showed a bent
towards general literature and philosophy, or to theology of a type
cognate to philosophy. In the works of Whately Oxford gave signs of a
philosophical revival; but she devoted herself mainly to theology, and the
practical isolation of Whately, a hard and arid though a vigorous man,
calls the more attention to her speculative poverty. The celebrated
'Oxford movement,' whose roots are in the twenties, though its visible
growth dates only from the thirties, is of incomparably greater importance
than this feeble revival.

[Sidenote: John Keble (1792-1866).]

Newman, the great artificer of the movement, rightly traces its inception
to the influence of John Keble. But Keble's true literary form is poetry,
and his principal contribution to poetry belongs to the preceding period.
His prose works are not in themselves of great importance. As Professor of
Poetry at Oxford he delivered lectures (in Latin) on critical subjects. In
his character of pastor he preached many sermons, and a selection from
them was published in 1847. The most famous of his pulpit utterances was
one preached in 1833 on 'National Apostasy.' 'I have ever considered and
kept the day,' says Newman, with regard to the delivery of this sermon,
'as the start of the religious movement of 1833.' Finally, in 1863,
appeared Keble's latest work of importance, a _Life of Bishop Wilson_.

Keble's influence was essentially personal, and was due to his saintly
life more than to anything he wrote, even in poetry. The Tractarian
movement took its rise in a longing for saintliness, of which Keble
furnished a living example. He was not to any considerable extent an
originator of theory. Certain germs of theory about the Church, about its
relation to pre-Reformation times, about authority in religion, were in
the air, and they became absorbed in Keble's system. But his was not a
creative mind, and his position at the head of the Anglo-Catholic movement
was little more than an accident. He was like a child who by a thrust of
his hand sends a finely-poised rock thundering down a hill. In his
literary aspects he is disappointing. A brilliant boy and a most blameless
man, he remains throughout too little of this world. The pale perfection
of his life is reflected in his works. He would have been better had he
been less good; he would have been much better had he been less feminine.

In the ranks of the movement so initiated were included an unusual number
of men who must be classed among the 'might-have-beens' of literature; men
of great reputation eclipsed by premature death, men who never wrote, or
men whose writings disappointed expectation. Nearly all its members had
literary tastes, a fact not surprising when we consider how large a part
imagination played in its start and development. But Hurrell Froude, one
of the most daring-minded men engaged in it, died early, leaving only
inadequate remains as evidence of his great gifts. W. G. Ward lived, but
only to prove by his _Ideal of a Christian Church_ that the power of
writing good English was not among his endowments; and if the poetry of
Keble is only second or even third-rate, that of Isaac Williams, a
versifier of the movement, is of lower grade still. Manning was more the
man of action than the man of letters; while the work of Dean Church and
Canon Liddon, both of whom had marked literary talents, falls principally
outside the limits of this period. There remain two remarkable men, one
the very soul of the movement, the other its greatest recruit, who have
attained, the first a great, the second a respectable place in letters.
These are Cardinal Newman and Pusey, of whom the latter may be considered
the exception to the rule that the Tractarians were by nature and instinct
men of letters. Pusey was not; he was rather the technical theologian with
no direct interest in letters at all.

[Sidenote: John Henry Newman (1801-1890).]

John Henry Newman has been described by J. A. Froude, in language hardly
too strong, as 'the indicating number' of the movement, all the others
being, in comparison with him, but as cyphers. The story of Newman's inner
life has been told with inimitable grace in the _Apologia pro Vita Sua_,
and this is not only his greatest contribution to literature, but the best
document for his life and doctrines. There are few studies more
interesting than the contrast presented by this book on the one side, and
the _Phases of Faith_ by its author's brother, F. W. Newman, on the other.
The younger Newman too has a mind prone to religion, but he decides to
rest in reason, while his brother leans upon authority. Not unnaturally
they drift very far apart; not unnaturally too the author of the _Phases
of Faith_ is amazed that it took his brother ten years to discover whither
he was going.

Newman's education was private till he went to Oxford, where, in 1822, he
won a fellowship at Oriel, then the great intellectual college of the
university. He was at this time a Calvinist in his religious views, and
held, among other things, that the Pope was Antichrist. At Oxford he came
under the influence of Whately, who, he says, taught him to think. But the
two men were essentially antipathetic and foredoomed to part, not the best
of friends. Newman drew gradually closer to men of a very different
stamp--R. J. Wilberforce, Hurrell Froude and Keble. His _Arians of the
Fourth Century_ was finished in 1832, and he took rest after the fatigue
of writing it in a memorable journey with Hurrell Froude in the
Mediterranean. During this journey he composed most of his verses printed
in the _Lyra Apostolica_, and towards the end of it the exquisite hymn,
'Lead, kindly light.'

After his return, in 1833, Newman began, 'out of his own head,' the
_Tracts for the Times_. They culminated in the celebrated _Tract XC_
(1841), which raised such a storm of opposition that the series had to be
closed. Contemporaneously with the _Tracts_, Newman was busied with other
works in defence of the _Via Media_. To this class belong _The Prophetical
Office of the Church_ (1837) and the _Lectures on Justification_ (1838).
He was moreover building up a great reputation as a preacher; and, as if
all this was not enough, he was for several years editor of _The British
Critic_. The storm raised by his opinions, and especially by _Tract XC_,
drove him into retirement at Littlemore in 1841. He called it his Torres
Vedras, in the conviction that he, like Wellington, was destined to 'issue
forth anew,' and to conquer. But the actual course was different. In 1843
he retracted his former strictures on Rome, and resigned his charge of St.
Mary's. For two years more he lingered in the Church of England,
foreseeing the inevitable end, but slow to take a step of such importance
without absolute assurance. In 1845 he was received into the Roman
communion. Here the history of his spiritual development may be said to
close. 'It was,' he says, 'like coming into port after a rough sea.' He
repudiates the idea that his mind was afterwards idle; but there was no
change, no anxiety, no doubt. He seems to be unconscious that this
individual peace may be dear bought for the human race, and that the
absence of doubt is, to use his own favourite word, the 'note' of a low
type.

Among the voluminous works of Newman, in addition to those of his Anglican
period already mentioned, the most important are _The Development of
Christian Doctrine_ (1845), the _Apologia pro Vita Sua_ (1864), _The Dream
of Gerontius_ (1865), and the _Grammar of Assent_ (1870).

Except the _Apologia_, no work of Newman's is more valuable or more
helpful to an understanding of him than _The Dream of Gerontius_, subtle,
mystical, imaginative. Newman's great reputation for prose, and the
supreme interest attaching to his life, seem to have obscured the fame he
might have won, and deserved, as a poet. His poetry is religious without
the weakness, or at any rate the limitedness, which mars so much religious
verse. He was, in poetry as well as in theology, a greater and more
masculine Keble, one with all the real purity of Keble, but with also the
indispensable flavour of earth. 'I was in a humour, certainly,' he says of
the Anglican divines, 'to bite off their ears;' and one loves him for it.
It is worth remembering also that he taught the need of hatred as well as
love; and though he explained and limited the teaching, there is meaning
in the very form of expression. There was iron in Newman's frame and gall
in his blood.

Newman's mind was fundamentally imaginative, and in him imagination,
though of an intellectual cast, was conjoined with an acutely sensitive
organisation. Moreover, he had a tendency to solitude which powerfully
influenced his development. Finally, along with his sensitiveness and
power of imagination there went a subtle gift of logic, subordinate upon
the whole to imagination, but clamorous until it had received what might
at least plausibly pass for satisfaction. These characteristics together
explain Newman's work.

There can be no dispute about the imaginative cast of Newman's mind. He
had, besides the poet's, the philosopher's or speculative imagination. He
pondered habitually over the secret of the universe. There is an often
quoted sentence at the beginning of the _Apologia_ which is vital to a
comprehension of him. 'I thought life might be a dream, or I an angel, and
all this world a deception, my fellow-angels by a playful device
concealing themselves from me, and deceiving me with the semblance of a
material world.' It has been said that no one has any genuine gift for
philosophy who has never doubted the reality of material things. Newman
evidently had the necessary 'note' of philosophy, but he had it with a
morbid addition which, without careful control, might lead to strange and
even disastrous results. If Newman had only known German he would have
found in the German philosophers an idealism far more profound and more
rational than any he was ever able to frame for himself. But in England
the dominant philosophy was Benthamism, the dominant theology was equally
hard, and Newman turned from both in disgust, took to the theological
road-making of the _Via Media_, and finally found refuge in Rome, driven
by the conviction that 'there are but two alternatives, the way to Rome
and the way to atheism.'

Newman's sensitiveness produced a shrinking from intercourse and
strengthened a love of solitude probably constitutional and not altogether
wholesome. He was believed to be, and to have the ambition to be, the head
of a party. In truth, he shrank almost morbidly from the idea of
leadership, and it was in spite of himself that he gathered followers.
Even the few friends with whom he lived in familiar intercourse came
'unasked, unhoped.' It would have been better for him had he been able to
speak out more freely and to harmonise himself with the world around him.
Instead, he fell back upon himself and upon a study of the Fathers, hoping
to find the full truth in the primitive days of Christianity. This is a
fatal error which, in theory, vitiates most theology, but from the effects
of which a great deal of it is saved by inconsistency. Newman himself was
afterwards led in his course towards Rome to recognise development in
doctrine. The Fathers are doubtless excellent reading, but they are safe
reading to him only who can read them in the light of the present day. It
is vain to think of stopping the wheels of change even in theology. A
creed which meant one thing in the first century, even though its verbal
expression remain the same, means something widely different in the
nineteenth. Newman unfortunately could conceive of modern thought only as
a detestable and soul-deadening 'liberalism,' a halfway house to atheism,
as Anglicanism was, in his mature view, a halfway house to Rome. Had he
been more a real participant in contemporary life, his conceptions would
insensibly have taken their bent from the 'liberalism' he hated; and,
little as he thought it, he had something to learn from that liberalism,
just as it had something to learn from him.

Newman was moreover a logician, though he ultimately found refuge in a
communion where the _science_ of logic is little needed. The subtlety of
his logic is unquestionable. The doubt which some feel is rather with
regard to its honesty. This doubt however is only felt by those who fail
to understand how behind and beneath and above his logic there spread and
towered his imagination and his emotions. Newman was compelled by the law
of his nature to find a foundation for his religion; he neither understood
nor respected those who let it exist as a mere sentiment. 'I determined,'
says he with reference to a time of crisis, 'to be guided, not by my
imagination, but by my reason.' It was this resolve that kept him so long
out of the Church of Rome. He is wholly, even transparently sincere.
Nevertheless, in spite of himself, he _is_ guided by imagination after
all. The conclusion is at every point a foregone one; and his pause
results, not in genuine reasons for the change, but in increased strength
of feeling compelling it. This is what observers have noted in Newman's
logic, and what has led them to doubt his sincerity. His dice are always
loaded, but they are loaded against his own will. The absolute need for
him to rest on authority makes it certain from the start that authority
will win.

There is no way of using reason except by consenting to be wholly guided
by it. Newman never consented. He always knew the general character of the
answer he must receive, though he did not know the precise terms of it,
whether those of the _Via Media_ or those of Rome. This is the secret of
Newman's power, in his argumentative works, over those who already
fundamentally agree with him, and of his failure to move those who do not.
For surely it is remarkable how little real effect followed from his
secession, that blow under which, it has been said, the Church of England
reeled. Newman, unlike both his friends and his enemies, was well aware
that few would follow him to Rome; and he paused for years because he
believed, on the other hand, that his secession would shatter the party
for which he had so long toiled. The character of the Oxford movement was
changed by Newman's secession, because by that step many were awakened to
the fact that his brilliant logic had no sound foundation in reason.
Others had been awakened before. J. A. Froude in his _Nemesis of Faith_
tells how his eyes were opened by a sentence in one of Newman's sermons:
'Scripture says the earth is stationary and the sun moves; science, that
the sun is stationary and that the earth moves, and we shall never know
which is true until we know what _motion_ is.' Froude adds the common
sense criticism that if Scripture uses the word motion in a transcendental
sense it may equally use other words so, and we can never know what it
means.

When we add to this Newman's impulsiveness we have a sufficient
explanation of the aberrations of his reasoning. He tried to be and
thought he was cautious; but he was mistaken. The pause he was accustomed
to make before taking decisive action had only the appearance of caution;
and the real impulsiveness of his nature is indicated by several things in
his own narrative. For example, the phrase of St. Augustine, _Securus
judicat orbis terrarum_, rings in his ears and recurs to his mind and
produces more effect than volumes of argument. 'By those great words of
the ancient Father, interpreting and summing up the long and varied course
of ecclesiastical history, the theory of the _Via Media_ was absolutely
pulverised.' Was such a result ever before produced by such a cause? or
was it that the _Via Media_ was in truth built of loose rubbish over
shifting sand?

The fact is that Newman's talent for philosophy, though considerable, nay,
almost great even in a strict use of the word great, was insufficient to
construct a comprehensive system without better guidance than he could
find. He was

  'Wandering between two worlds, one dead,
  The other powerless to be born;'

and, unable himself to bring about the birth, he turned back upon the dead
old world, a conspicuous, though personally blameless and most attractive,
specimen of the class of those who sink 'from the van and the freemen'
back 'to the rear and the slaves.'

Great part of Newman's power and attractiveness depended upon his
exquisite literary gifts. His mind grew up at Oxford, and few have shown
so much of the _genius loci_. He is academical in the best sense. There is
a polished scholarliness in all his work, and very little English prose
can be ranked as superior to his. Yet it is perfectly simple. With the
true scholar's instinct he strives for lucidity rather than magnificence.
His writings frequently breathe passion, but there could be nothing less
like what is commonly called 'impassioned prose.' Compare him with De
Quincey or with Ruskin. They frequently betray a straining for effect,
Newman rarely or never. His passages of eloquence come, like his friends,
'unasked, unhoped,' because the fervour of his own thought, or the
pressure of circumstances, like the calumnies that provoked the
_Apologia_, wrings them from him. Always clear, faultless in taste,
capable of great elevation but never too high for the occasion, Newman's
prose is as likely to be permanently satisfying as any of this century.

[Sidenote: Edward Bouverie Pusey (1800-1882).]

Edward Bouverie Pusey was, as regards his contributions to formal
theology, superior to Newman; both as a man and as a writer he was
indefinitely smaller. Pusey early won a great reputation for learning, and
Newman considered his accession to the movement an event of the first
importance. He had great tenacity, and his adhesion, once given, was sure.
Notwithstanding suspicions at the time of Newman's perversion, there never
was the least chance that Pusey would go over to Rome; the _Via Media_,
which had crumbled under Newman's feet, was solid enough for him. He was
not sufficiently imaginative to push his way into the bog which, like
another Chat's Moss, swallowed up all the material Newman could collect.
On the contrary, for the forty years of his life after Newman's secession,
he went on diligently stopping the holes which Stanley and others were
'boring in the bottom of the Church of England.' And it is certainly a
wonderful tribute to the strength of Pusey's character that, never
quailing beneath the blow of Newman's perversion, never yielding to the
opposition which looked so formidable when his party was small and feeble
and despised, unretarded and unhurried, he should have steadily pursued
his course and raised that party to a foremost place in the Church. One or
two events of his life make it matter of thankfulness that its temporal
power was not equal to its spiritual fervour. He did all he could to
maintain the Anglican exclusiveness of the universities; and he would, if
he could, have used the civil power to suppress opinions he deemed
dangerous.

Pusey's writings are purely technical theology, not literature like those
of Newman. Of their value diverse opinions will long be entertained. They
are oracles to the High Church party; but it is well to consider what
opponents think, especially such as have some grounds of sympathy. Pius
IX. compared Pusey to 'a bell, which always sounds to invite the faithful
to Church, and itself always remains outside.' In a similar spirit another
great Romish ecclesiastic, when questioned as to Pusey's chance of
salvation, is said to have playfully replied, 'Oh, yes, he will be saved
_propter magnam implicationem_.' These are just the criticisms of those
who have attacked the Puseyite position from the point of view of free
thought. They are also the criticisms implied in Newman's action. It is at
least remarkable that critics from both extreme parties, together with the
ablest of all the men who have ever maintained the views in question,
should concur in the same judgment.

[Sidenote: Samuel Wilberforce (1805-1873).]

Samuel Wilberforce, Bishop of Oxford, deserves a passing mention, though
he was more remarkable as a man of affairs than as a man of letters. He
was of the High Church, but was opposed to the extreme Tractarians. He was
still more opposed to the advanced Liberals. He wrote an article in the
_Quarterly Review_ against _Essays and Reviews_, he framed the indictment
against Colenso, and he was one of the chief opponents of evolution before
it had been discovered that evolution is all contained in Genesis. His
most formal literary work is the allegorical tale of _Agathos_; but his
wit and power of expression find their best outlet in the letters which
give to his _Life_ a zest rare in ecclesiastical biography.

[Sidenote: John Frederick Denison Maurice (1805-1872).]

There is no other theological sect as compact as the Oxford school, but
there are two others of considerable importance and distinguished by
fairly well-marked characteristics. Both are imbued with that German
thought of which Newman was so unfortunately ignorant; and one of them
especially had what he would have considered a deep taint of the hated
'liberalism.' John Frederick Denison Maurice was the chief of the first
section, while Kingsley, who was more of a novelist than a theologian, and
perhaps F. W. Robertson, may be regarded as affiliated to it. Maurice went
to Cambridge, but was prevented by the Unitarian faith he then held from
proceeding to his degree, and ultimately he graduated at Oxford. He became
Professor of English Literature and History at King's College, London, but
fell into trouble because his views on eternal punishment were unsound. At
a later date Cambridge honoured him and herself by appointing him
Professor of Moral Philosophy.

Maurice's theology was always a little indefinite, but it seems best
described by the word broad. His friendship for the remarkable Scotch
theologian, Thomas Erskine, of Linlathen, who, though not a Calvinist,
thanked heaven for his Calvinistic training, is significant on one side;
his position as a disciple of Coleridge on another. Coleridge made Maurice
more orthodox than he had previously been, but also preserved him from
narrowness. Thanks to Coleridge, reason fills a greater space in Maurice
than it does in the Tractarians. From Coleridge also Maurice derived some
of the mysticism, if not mistiness, which characterised his thought. The
want of clear outline is one of his chief defects. Though always
suggestive, he is often somewhat elusive; and perhaps it is for this
reason that his influence seems to dissipate itself without producing
anything like the effect anticipated from it. The practical outcome of the
school of Maurice is poor in comparison with that of the school of Pusey.
This however was not wholly Maurice's fault. The Oxford school has drawn
strength from what, nevertheless, may ultimately prove to be its
weakness,--the appeal to authority, so tempting to many minds for the
relief it promises. Maurice is not chargeable with this fault to the same
degree. But neither is he entirely free from a kindred fault. He too, like
Newman, argues to a foregone conclusion. In Mill's opinion, more
intellectual power was wasted in Maurice than in any other of his
contemporaries, and it was wasted because all Maurice's subtlety and
power of generalisation served only 'for proving to his own mind that the
Church of England had known everything from the first.'

The principal theological works of Maurice are _The Kingdom of Christ_
(1838), _The Doctrine of Sacrifice_ (1854), and _The Claims of the Bible
and of Science_ (1863). He wrote also a not very valuable treatise on
_Moral and Metaphysical Philosophy_ (1848-1862). And finally he wrote a
number of tracts on Christian Socialism, of which he was the originator.

The Christian Socialists made a well-meant but not very wise attempt to
raise the condition of the working classes. The name is unfortunate. If
the party had thought a little more carefully they must have seen that if
their socialism was economically sound there was nothing specially
Christian about it; while, if it was not sound, neither it nor
Christianity was benefited by the addition of the adjective. The Christian
Socialists had no more thought out their principles than they had
considered the name they chose, and for want of solid ground-work they
failed. Nevertheless, Christian Socialism has left a mark on literature,
in the works of Maurice himself, in the novels of Charles Kingsley, and to
some extent in the writings of John Sterling, who was for a time of the
school of Maurice.

[Sidenote: Frederick William Robertson (1816-1853).]

Frederick William Robertson owes his position entirely to the celebrated
sermons which he preached at Brighton during the last six years of his
life. They are not great in scholarship, nor even in eloquence, but they
exhibit a character of many-sided attractiveness which was the real secret
of Robertson's power.

[Sidenote: Mark Pattison (1813-1884).]

[Sidenote: Benjamin Jowett (1817-1893).]

The other section of theologians made a much firmer stand for freedom of
thought than Maurice. Their leader in the earlier days of opposition to
Tractarianism was Dr. Arnold of Rugby. Some of them were his pupils, and
all were influenced by his spirit. In many cases however they came to hold
very different ground from his, and supposing him to have lived and to
have remained stable in his opinions, he might have regarded his disciples
with as much disquiet and fear as he regarded the Tractarians. One of his
pupils was A. P. Stanley, who entered the Church and remained in it;
another was Clough, the story of whose doubts and unrest is written in his
poems; and the author of _Literature and Dogma_ was a third. Outside the
circle of Arnold's pupils but in general sympathy with them were Mark
Pattison, a quondam follower of Newman, and Benjamin Jowett, the
celebrated Master of Balliol, whose most important literary work, the
translation of Plato, comes after 1870, but whose struggle for freedom of
opinion and whose persecution in its cause belong to the period under
consideration. Jowett was Regius Professor of Greek, and the animosity of
those who detested his opinions took the contemptible shape of withholding
a reasonable salary. They mistook their man and their means. Jowett was no
money-lover; his enemies could not starve him out; and the effect followed
which experience proves to attend persecution when it cannot be made
crushingly severe. He became the hero of the more liberal-minded, and he
moulded almost as he pleased the best intellects of the most intellectual
college of the university.

Both Jowett and Pattison were writers in the celebrated volume entitled
_Essays and Reviews_ (1860). This was a collection of seven papers on
theological subjects, united only by a common liberalism of view. Few
books, in the main so harmless, have caused such a commotion. The volume
is valuable chiefly as a landmark. Some of the opinions would still be
considered heterodox, but they would be received now, if not with
satisfaction, at least with calmness. At that time however people were
sensitive on the point of orthodoxy. Darwin had just been promulgating an
obnoxious doctrine, and it seemed hard that the faith, in danger from
without, should be assailed also from within; for six of the seven
essayists were clergymen. Legal proceedings were taken against two of
them, but they only let off harmlessly humours which, if suppressed, might
have been dangerous. It was with respect to the Gorham controversy, ten
years earlier, that a Frenchman 'congratulated Stanley on the fact that
the English revolution had taken the shape of "_le père_ Gorham."' The
truth underlying this remark applies to other things besides the Gorham
case.

In 1862 the excitement was renewed by the publication of Colenso's book on
the Pentateuch. It seems arid now, for there is nothing attractive in the
application of arithmetical formulas to Noah's Ark; but it was just the
kind of argument needed for the time and for the audience addressed. It is
commonly objected that criticisms of the Bible are a wanton unsettlement
of the faith of simple folk. One striking fact will demonstrate the need
of some liberalising work. In 1864 the Oxford Declaration on Inspiration
and Eternal Punishment was signed by 11,000 clergy; and according to
Bishop Tait, afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury, the effect of this
declaration was that 'all questions of physical science should be referred
to the written words of Holy Scripture.'

[Sidenote: John Stuart Mill (1806-1873).]

The society in which such a thing as this was possible stood in crying
need of an intelligent philosophy. The matter was all the worse because
this incident came after the great English school, dominant during the
first three quarters of the century, had grown and flourished, and was on
the point of decay. This was the school which in the early years of the
century had for its prophet Jeremy Bentham, and as inferior lights James
Mill and the economists. During the third decade we see the thinkers who
were in sympathy with these men gradually grouping themselves round John
Stuart Mill, whose family connexions, as well as his own ability, made him
a centre of the school. He was the son of the hard, dry, but able and
clear-headed Scotch philosopher and historian, James Mill, who, almost
from his son's cradle, set about the task of fashioning him in his own
image. In some respects James Mill's success was wonderful. 'I started,'
says J. S. Mill, 'I may fairly say, with an advantage of a quarter of a
century over my contemporaries.' But even he was aware of the concomitant
defects of the system. A want of tenderness on the part of James Mill led
to the educational error of neglecting the cultivation of feeling, and
hence to 'an undervaluing of poetry, and of imagination generally, as an
element of human nature.' There are indications all through the younger
Mill's life as of a warm-hearted, affectionate nature struggling to burst
the fetters linked around him by his early education; and there is a touch
of irony in the fact that in an early mental crisis John Mill found relief
in the 'healing influence' of Wordsworth.

[Sidenote: John Austin (1790-1859).]

Among those who frequented James Mill's house were Grote and the two
Austins, John and Charles, the latter a man of almost unequalled
reputation for brilliant talents, who contented himself with extraordinary
pecuniary success at the bar, and early retired with a fortune. The elder
brother, John Austin, was rather an independent thinker who adopted many
of the same views, than a disciple of James Mill. He never achieved what
was expected of him.

S. Mill says that his error was over-elaboration: he wore himself out
before his work was accomplished through incapacity to satisfy himself.
His writings are nevertheless full of redundancies; but he did a great
deal towards forming a terminology for scientific jurisprudence. His
works, _The Province of Jurisprudence Determined_ (1832), and _Lectures on
Jurisprudence_ (1863), are, like nearly all the writings of his school,
deficient in human interest.

Partly stimulated by and partly stimulating these men, John Mill began to
think for himself and to initiate movements. It was he who in the winter
of 1822-1823 founded the Utilitarian Society, the name of which was
borrowed from Galt's _Annals of the Parish_. A little later he was
brought, through the agency of a debating society, into contact with a
wider circle. The battles were originally between the philosophic Radicals
and the Tory lawyers; but afterwards they were joined by those whom Mill
describes as the Coleridgians, Maurice and Sterling. It was under the
attrition of these friendships and friendly discussions that Mill's mind
was formed and polished after it passed from under the immediate control
of his father. His interest from the start centred in philosophy. Before
1830 he had begun to write on logic, but his first important publication
was the _System of Logic_ (1843). For some years he edited the _London
Review_, afterwards entitled the _London and Westminster_. His _Political
Economy_ appeared in 1848. In 1851 he married a widow, Mrs. Taylor, to
whom he ascribes a share in some of his works scarcely inferior to his
own. Her influence is especially strong in the essay _On Liberty_ (1859),
though this was not published until after her death.

About this time Mill took up the question of parliamentary reform, and in
1861 published his _Considerations on Representative Government_. Nearly
contemporaneous in composition, though eight years later in publication,
was the _Subjection of Women_; while _Utilitarianism_ (1862) was the
result of a revision of papers written towards the close of Mill's married
life. _Auguste Comte and Positivism_ (reprinted from _The Westminster
Review_) and the _Examination of Sir William Hamilton's Philosophy_ both
appeared in 1865. There remain to mention only the _Autobiography_ and a
collection of essays, both posthumous. During these later years Mill's
life was for a time more public than it had previously been. In 1865 the
electors of Westminster asked him to be their representative, and he was
elected without the ordinary incident of a canvass. In the election of
1868 however he was defeated, and the constituency never had an
opportunity of redeeming its error.

Mill's writings may be grouped under the heads of philosophical, economic,
and political. The highly interesting but depressing and melancholy
_Autobiography_ stands outside these classes. Perhaps it is his best
composition from the point of view of literature; and certainly it is the
most valuable document for a study of the growth of his school. The three
divisions are not mutually exclusive, for, strictly speaking, the first
would embrace the other two. In it an attempt is made to lay down general
principles which are applied in them.

Mill's theory is contained in his _Logic_, his _Utilitarianism_, and his
books on Comte and Hamilton. It has become known by the name he gave it as
Utilitarianism; and as Bentham was the founder and first leader of the
school, so was Mill the successor to his position and authority. It is a
modern form of the theory associated with the name of the philosopher
Epicurus; and on that ground it has been subjected to moral censure.
Perhaps ultimately, as directed against the principle, the censure is
sound; but it cannot be fairly turned against individuals. Certainly no
thinkers of their time laboured more strenuously for the good of the
community than Mill and Bentham. In Bentham's exposition, the philosophy
crystallised itself in the often-quoted phrase, 'the greatest happiness of
the greatest number.' His contribution consists in the introduction of the
idea of the greatest number. Whether that idea is logically consistent
with a philosophy of pleasure may be questioned; but it was to Bentham's
addition that the maxim owed its power and its practical influence on
legislation. It was moreover this consideration, in addition to the fact
that he breathed Benthamite ideas from the cradle, that attracted Mill.
For he was a typically English philosopher. He never of his own choice
dwelt long on purely metaphysical problems, nor did he succeed well when
he was forced to attempt them. His attitude towards Hume's theory of
cause, after Kant's criticism of it, is vividly illustrative of his
speculative limitations. If Oxford is the place where German philosophies
go when they die, apparently London in Mill's time was the place where
German philosophies did not go at all; and even dead German philosophies
are better than the English predecessors which they slew in the day of
their vigour.

As a Utilitarian, Mill was more valuable for exposition than for the
original elements of his thought. In all his writings he is clear in
expression and abundant in illustration. This abundance, in truth, appears
to the reader not wholly ignorant of the subject to be cognate to
verbosity. It was however part of the secret of Mill's great influence. He
forced people to understand him. He talked round and round the subject,
looked at it from every point of view and piled example upon example,
until it was impossible to miss his meaning. When we add wide knowledge,
patient study, keen intelligence and a considerable, if not exactly a
great talent for original speculation, Mill's influence as a philosopher
is explained. He wielded, from the publication of his _Logic_ till his
death, a greater power than any other English thinker, unless Sir William
Hamilton is to be excepted for the earlier part of the period.

These characteristics, combined perhaps with a greater share of
originality, appear in the _System of Logic_ as well as in the Utilitarian
treatises. Its merit is proved by the fact that through many years of
adverse criticism it has maintained its ground at the universities as one
of the most useful books on the subject. The freshest section is that
which is devoted to Induction. The _Examination of Hamilton_ shows Mill to
have possessed the gift of acute and powerful criticism of philosophy. He
may not have succeeded in establishing his own position, but he certainly
damaged very seriously the rival system of Hamilton.

Mill's _Political Economy_ is, like his general philosophy, lucid, full
and thorough. Though cautious here, as always, in the admission of new
principles, Mill made considerable contributions to economics. The theory
of international exchanges is almost wholly his, and many particular turns
and details of economic doctrine are due to him. In a still greater number
of cases he has been, not the originator, but the best exponent of
economic theory. The caution and judiciousness of his reasoning were
qualities peculiarly valuable in this sphere; and where the views of
'orthodox' political economy are accepted at all, Mill's opinions are
treated with respect.

The time when Mill's authority was at its height was also the time when
political economy was held in greatest honour as a science. The writers on
it were numerous; and though, with the exception of Mill, they were not
individually very distinguished, their collective work was important. They
developed the doctrines of Adam Smith and Ricardo and Mill; while the
speculations of Malthus acquired through Darwin a new importance, until a
reaction, brought about more by sentiment than reason, led many to the
conviction, or the faith, that they could not possibly be sound. The
doctrine of _laissez faire_, so influential on government during the third
quarter of the century, was the work partly of the economists and partly
of the practical politicians of the Manchester school. It was never
followed out logically, and before the close of the period there were
signs of a movement which has since led to an opposite excess. Of the men
who did this work Nassau W. Senior (1790-1864), in the earlier part of the
period, and J. E. Cairnes (1823-1875) in the later deserve individual
mention. The former was a great upholder of the deductive theory of
political economy. The latter, in his treatise on _The Slave Power_
(1862), produced one of the most noteworthy special studies in economics,
and also one of the most powerful arguments in favour of the action of the
Northern States of America.

It was the practical aspect of the science that chiefly interested Mill in
economics. It was this still more, if possible, that inspired him in his
more specifically political works, the treatises on _Liberty_, on the
_Subjection of Women_, and on _Representative Government_. In his schemes
of reform Mill was, in his own time, considered extreme; he would now be
thought moderate. The caution of his speculation is nowhere more clearly
marked than in his _Liberty_. It pleads certainly for more power to the
state than the Manchester School would have granted; but it does so only
in order to preserve the real freedom of the individual. In the
_Subjection of Women_ Mill was a pioneer on a road which has been well
trodden since; and, for good or ill, there has been steady progress
towards the triumph of his ideas. In _Representative Government_ he shows
a faith, probably excessive, in political machinery; but, whether it can
do all Mill supposed or not, such machinery is necessary, and his labour
tended to make it better.

[Sidenote: William Whewell (1794-1866).]

Over against Mill, with some points of resemblance, but more of
difference, may be set William Whewell, who, in 1841, became Master of
Trinity College, Cambridge, and who acquired an immense reputation both
for encyclopædic knowledge and for brilliant wit. On the human side he was
certainly more attractive than Mill. Like the latter, he was fascinated by
the great performances and the boundless promise of science; and he is one
of those whose task it has been to formulate a philosophy of science. To
this task he devoted himself more exclusively than Mill, and he brought to
it a greater knowledge of scientific processes and discoveries. Moreover,
his point of view was different. Mill was a pure empiricist. Whewell held
that empiricism alone could not explain even itself; and he therefore
taught that there was necessary truth as well as empirical truth. This was
at once the starting point of his controversy with Mill and the
ground-work of his writings, the _History of the Inductive Sciences_
(1837) and the _Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences_ (1840). He is best
known by his _Novum Organum Renovatum_, which was originally a portion of
the second work.

Whewell's strong point is his great knowledge of the history of science.
His inductive theory is somewhat loose. It amounts to no more than a
succession of tests of hypotheses; and of these tests the most stringent,
prediction and consilience of inductions, are open to the fatal objection
that they are not and cannot be applied to all inductions. Mill's
inductive methods also are more stringent in appearance than they prove to
be in reality; but they at least point to an ideal towards which it is
always possible to strive.

[Sidenote: Sir William Hamilton (1788-1856).]

Of a widely different school of thought was Sir William Hamilton,
Professor of Logic and Metaphysics in Edinburgh from 1836 to his death.
Hamilton was a man of vast reading, and though it has been questioned
whether his learning was as exact and profound as it appeared to be, there
can hardly be a doubt that it was great enough to hamper the free play of
his thought, and that it explains two of his characteristic faults. One is
the excessive technicality of his diction. His style, otherwise clear and
good, is overloaded with words specially coined for the purposes of the
logician and metaphysician. The second fault is his inability to resist
the temptation of calling a 'cloud of witnesses,' without making any
serious attempt to weigh their evidence. Hamilton was a disciple of the
Scottish school of philosophy, and a great part of his life was devoted to
an elucidation of Reid, of whose works he published an elaborate edition
in 1853. But Reid's principle of Common Sense, as an answer to the
philosophic scepticism of Hume, is little better than an evasion; and
Hamilton had not much to add to it. Besides the edition of Reid Hamilton
published _Discussions on Philosophy and Literature_ (1852); and after his
death there appeared the _Lectures on Metaphysics and Logic_ (1859-1861),
by which he is best known.

[Sidenote: James Frederick Ferrier (1808-1864).]

Hamilton had a great and not altogether a wholesome influence on James
Frederick Ferrier, who in the domain of purely metaphysical thought was
probably the most gifted man of his time. Ferrier describes his own
philosophy as Scotch to the core. There is in it, nevertheless, a
considerable tincture from the German, and Ferrier deserves the credit of
being one of the earliest professional philosophers who really grappled
with German thought. He was also the master of a very clear and attractive
style, which makes the reading of his philosophy a pleasure rather than a
toil.

[Sidenote: Henry Longueville Mansel (1820-1871).]

Henry Longueville Mansel, a pupil of Hamilton's, and joint editor of his
lectures along with John Veitch, afterwards Professor of Logic in Glasgow
University, was the ablest exponent of the Hamiltonian philosophy in
England. Mansel's power of acute and lucid reasoning was shown in his
_Prolegomena Logica_ (1851), and afterwards in his _Philosophy of the
Conditioned_ (1866). Both were developments of Hamilton's principles, and
they have suffered from the general discredit of the Hamiltonian school.
Mansel is better known now, by name at least, on account of his _Limits of
Religious Thought_, (constituting the Bampton lectures for 1858), which
was the occasion of a controversy between him and Maurice.

[Sidenote: Harriet Martineau (1802-1876).]

The other philosophical writers of the period were, with one exception, of
minor importance. Harriet Martineau was a woman of varied activity. She
wrote political economy, history and fiction; and her story, _Deerbrook_
(1839), is among the best and freshest of her works. She is however most
memorable, not as an original thinker, but as a translator and expounder.
She translated and condensed the philosophy of Comte, and did as much as
anyone to make it known in England. She had the great merits of
unshrinking courage, perfect sincerity and undoubting loyalty to truth.

[Sidenote: George Henry Lewes (1817-1878).]

Another miscellaneous writer of the Comtist school was George Henry Lewes,
who has been elsewhere mentioned in connexion with George Eliot. He was an
active-minded, energetic man, whose life touches literature at many
points. He too wrote novels, but they did not succeed. He was a critic of
no mean power. He took great interest in and possessed considerable
knowledge of science, and in 1859-1860 published a popular scientific
work, _The Physiology of Common Life_. But his best known book is the
_Life of Goethe_ (1855). It is an able biography and pleasant to read,
though perhaps, considering the calibre of the subject, rather lacking in
weight. It is however no small compliment to Lewes's work that it was for
many years accepted, both in Germany and in England, as the standard
biography of Goethe. Lewes's principal contributions to philosophy were _A
Biographical History of Philosophy_ (1845-1846), _Comte's Philosophy of
the Sciences_ (1853), and _Problems of Life and Mind_ (1873-1879). In all
of them Lewes shows himself an unswerving Positivist. He accepts and
reiterates his master's doctrine that the day of metaphysics is past, so
that his philosophy is, in a sense, the negation of philosophy.

[Sidenote: Sir George Cornewall Lewis (1806-1863).]

In the sphere of political science, the man next in power to Mill was Sir
George Cornewall Lewis. As Chancellor of the Exchequer in the first
administration of Lord Palmerston, Lewis had the opportunity of making a
practical acquaintance with his subject; but his theories were formed
earlier. Extensive knowledge, combined with clearness of intellect and
independence of judgment, gives value to his work. His _Inquiry into the
Credibility of Early Roman History_ (1855) was remarkable for its attack
upon the theories of Niebuhr, which were in those days accepted with an
almost superstitious reverence. But previous to this Lewis had written his
most important book, _The Influence of Authority in Matters of Opinion_
(1849), a well reasoned and well written argument, worthy of attention in
these days when there seems to be a disposition to forget the limits
beyond which the influence is illegitimate. Lewis teaches the wisdom and
even the necessity of submitting to 'authority' where we cannot
investigate for ourselves, and where all who are competent to form an
opinion are agreed; but he is careful not to set up any absolute and
indefeasible authority which might dictate to reason and against reason.

Towards the close of the period there are noticeable traces of a new
school superseding both Utilitarianism and Positivism. This school,
nourished upon German idealism, had its centre at Oxford, and the men who
have done the principal work in it were pupils of Jowett. They belong
however to the later period and come within our present scope only as an
indication of tendency.

[Sidenote: Herbert Spencer (1820-1903).]

The root of thought in all these men is the idea of development, the great
formative idea of the present century. This idea however had an English as
well as a German growth. In England it is best known through Darwin. But
while Darwin shows its scientific side, the most celebrated of recent
English philosophers, Mr. Herbert Spencer (1820), makes it the basis of a
philosophy. _The Synthetic Philosophy_, just completed, is distinguished
for the vastness of its design, the accomplishment of which gives Mr.
Spencer a place among the few encyclopædic thinkers of the world. His
philosophy is interesting also because it concentrates and reflects the
spirit of the time. No other thinker has so strenuously laboured to gather
together all the accumulations of modern knowledge and _to_ unite them
under general conceptions. The alliance between the Spencerian philosophy
and physical science is unusually close; and Mr. Spencer in his
illustrations shows an all-embracing range of knowledge, which becomes
minute in those branches of science bearing directly upon the phenomena of
life. The future only can determine the exact value of this knowledge, for
there are grave differences of opinion between Mr. Spencer and some of the
leading biologists, like Weismann; but it may at least be said of him that
he is the first philosopher since Bacon ('who wrote on science like a Lord
Chancellor'), or at latest Leibnitz, who has met men of science on
something like equal terms within the domain of science. Mr. Spencer's
unique interest is that he has attempted an exhaustive survey of all the
facts relating to the development of life and of society. He does not go
beyond that, to the origin of all things; for it is one of his cardinal
principles that behind the Knowable there is dimly visible a something not
only unknown but unknowable. We are compelled to regard every phenomenon
as the manifestation of an infinite and incomprehensible Power. In this
the philosopher finds the reconciliation of religion with science; a
reconciliation for which the religious have seldom shown much gratitude,
because they are forbidden to say anything specific about the Power whose
existence they may, and indeed must, assume. On this point there is a
quarrel between Mr. Spencer and the metaphysicians, who dispute the right
of any man to assert the existence of an Unknowable. If we can assert its
existence surely we know it at least in part; and if so may we not by
investigation come to know it better?

The Spencerian philosophy is the most comprehensive and ambitious
application of the principle of evolution ever attempted. Without showing
anywhere that mastery of detail and that power of marshalling facts in
evidence which give Darwin's great work its unequalled significance, the
_Synthetic Philosophy_ yet reaches at both ends beyond the limits Darwin
set himself. Mr. Spencer begins by recognising three kinds of evolution,
in the spheres of the inorganic, the organic and the super-organic; and
all the parts of the _Synthetic Philosophy_ find a place under one or
other of these; but the treatment of the first part is omitted as less
pressing and as adding too greatly to the magnitude of the scheme. After
the _First Principles_, in which are laid down the limits of the knowable
and the unknowable, there follows therefore the _Principles of Biology_
(1864-1867), where the evolution of life, the gradual differentiation of
functions and kindred topics are treated. Still within the sphere of the
evolution of the organic we have next the _Principles of Psychology_
(1855), where organisms exhibiting the phenomena of mind are examined from
various points of view to determine so far as possible the nature of mind,
its relations with the universe, the composition of its simpler elements,
etc. From psychology we step to super-organic evolution in the _Principles
of Sociology_ (1876-1896), which is probably regarded by the majority as
the most characteristic part of the Spencerian philosophy. It is certainly
one of the most interesting; for it combines in an unusual measure the
best results of ancient thought with full justice to modern individualism.
Mr. Spencer is a consistent individualist, but a far-sighted one. He sees
that 'the survival of the fittest,' and with it progress, are impossible
unless 'the fittest' both wins and keeps advantage to himself. Unlimited
altruism would be as bad as unlimited egoism, and would indeed foster
egoism, for it would in the end mean the stripping of generosity to pamper
greed. On the other hand, pure egoism is fatal to society; and the animal
for whom gregariousness is an advantage must fail in the struggle if he is
unfaithful to the social principle. Hence there arises a society which is
a balance between the two principles. It demands sacrifices from the
individual in return for benefits; but the law of its existence prohibits
the extension of this demand beyond the point where the individual
'fittest' survives and prospers. If the demand goes beyond this the course
is downwards; for, as society is composed of individuals, a society in
which the strongest has no advantage is a society in which progress is
impossible, but, on the contrary, deterioration is sooner or later
certain. There is no room on Spencerian principles for any socialism which
does not recognise difference of reward according to difference of
capacity.

In the _Principles of Ethics_ (1892-1893) Mr. Spencer attempts to apply
the results reached in the earlier parts of his scheme to the enunciation
of a theory of right living. It is here that an evolutionary system based
upon science is felt to be least convincing. There is a gulf never
satisfactorily bridged between ethical principles as gradually evolved out
of the non-moral state, and the 'moral imperative' as it is felt by the
human conscience. Hence, the man of religion insists, the necessity of
being specific about that vague Power dimly seen behind the philosophy of
evolution; and hence the necessity, in the view of the metaphysician, of
regarding evolution from above as well as from below. We learn much by
tracing things to their origin; but to learn all we must consider as well
what they ultimately become. It is in fact the final form that gives
importance to the question of origin. The temptation of evolution is
certainly to underrate the significance of the later stages; and the
higher we go the greater are the effects of such an error.

But whatever its faults the _Synthetic Philosophy_ remains unequalled in
the present age for boldness of conception and for the solidity derived
from its league with science. No other philosophy is so eminently modern
in spirit and method; and whatever modifications may prove to be required,
thought at once so daring and so patient can never be ignored.



CHAPTER VIII.

SCIENCE.


The achievements of science as a rule hardly come within the purview of
the critic of literature, for language is commonly used by science for a
purpose other than that of literary expression, and even when science is
popularised by writers like Mary Somerville the result is apt to be
something not very valuable for its substance nor yet for its style.
Nevertheless, all science may indirectly, and some of it does directly,
influence literature. In point of fact, this influence has been one of the
great features of the present century. We see it on the one hand as a
force of attraction, on the other as a force of repulsion; for while some
have been fired with the hope of human progress, others have been chilled
by the fear of its materialising tendency. Both classes have been prone to
exaggerate the mere mechanical results of science and to forget that its
true aim is knowledge, not machines. It is however in the sphere of ideas
that we must look for its effect upon literature. Whether we travel by
railways or by stage-coaches, whether we transmit our messages by letter
or by telegraph, matters little; but it matters much whether we are
hopeful or despondent, whether we feel that there is no new thing under
the sun, or are inspired by ideas that seem to open new worlds to our
intellect. We must ask then, in the first place, what is the effect of
science on the spirit of men and their view of life; and in the second
place, what are the scientific ideas which directly and in themselves
influence popular thought and colour literature.

It is obvious that there are certain departments of science which from
their very nature can have little or no direct influence. The mathematical
researches of men like Sir William Rowan Hamilton are far too technical,
too difficult and too abstruse for popular apprehension. They remain a
mere name, and not even their general import is understood. The same
remark applies to the mathematical work of Augustus de Morgan, who, by the
way, gave valuable hints for Hamilton's great work on quaternions. But De
Morgan was a logician as well, and the author of the _Budget of Paradoxes_
is worthy of remembrance in literature. In physics the case is somewhat
different. The processes by which physicists like Joule and Faraday attain
their results remain mysterious, but the general character of the results
becomes known, their great importance is obvious, and they generate a
confidence in the powers of man which in the present day goes far towards
counteracting tendencies to pessimism.

There are however certain sciences whose influence upon life and thought
is direct, because their results bear upon man's own position in the
universe. Astronomy, through its relation to the Mosaic cosmogony, belongs
to this class; but its force had been felt long before the opening of the
period. It is especially the sciences of geology and biology that have
changed men's minds, and it is they that have produced the most books
which, apart from the scientific value of their contents, might claim to
rank as literature.

Geology was at the opening of the period practically a new science. What
had previously been done in it was trifling compared with what has been
accomplished since, and its bearing upon questions of universal interest
was not even suspected by the multitude. Darwin in his brief autobiography
relates an anecdote illustrative of the primitive state of the science in
his youth. 'I,' says he, 'though now only sixty-seven years old, heard the
Professor [of Geology in Edinburgh], in a field lecture at Salisbury
Crags, discoursing on a trap-dyke, with amygdaloidal margins and the
strata indurated on each side, with volcanic rocks all around us, say that
it was a fissure filled with sediment from above, adding with a sneer that
there were men who maintained that it had been injected from beneath in a
molten condition.' Even more striking than any aberration of an individual
is the general fact that the prevailing theory at that time in geology was
the 'catastrophic,' and a science with an unlimited command of
catastrophes is no more scientific in spirit than a theology with an
unlimited command of miracles.

[Sidenote: Sir Charles Lyell (1797-1875).]

The first need of a science in this state is the accumulation of facts,
and most of the older geologists of the time, like Sedgwick, Murchison and
Buckland, bent themselves to this task. But the man who dealt the
death-blow to the old uncritical view of geology was Sir Charles Lyell,
whose _Principles of Geology_ (1830-1833) marks an epoch in the science.
Lyell's central doctrine is that the past history of the earth must be
inferred by ordinary processes of observation and reasoning from the
present, and that it is possible to interpret 'the testimony of the rocks'
by means of principles which we still see at work. In other words, he was
a 'uniformitarian.' The victory of his view established 'the reign of law'
over the field of geology, and went far towards convincing men of its
universality. Assuming no causes except such as he could point to in
experience, Lyell showed how the geological formations of the earth
arose. According to Darwin, the effect of Lyell's work could formerly be
seen in the much more rapid progress of geology in England than in France;
and the _Principles of Geology_ was most helpful to Darwin himself.

In his _Antiquity of Man_ (1863) Lyell touched the verge of the problem of
organic life. He did so in a spirit of open-minded conservatism. He had
now to guide him the great light of the _Origin of Species_, and even
before its publication he had had glimmerings of evolution. He saw that
Darwin only extended to the animal and vegetable world his own central
principle. But he felt a deep objection to tracing the descent of man
through some ape-like creature, and hence, while _The Antiquity of Man_
recognises the long history of the race upon earth, it contains no avowal
of belief in his descent from inferior forms of life.

[Sidenote: Hugh Miller (1802-1856).]

Another geologist, who was rather a popular expositor than a profound man
of science, was Hugh Miller. Miller was bred as a mason, and it was in the
quarries where he pursued his trade (quarrying being in his time and
district associated with stone-cutting) that he laid the foundation of his
geological knowledge. But Miller was more than a geologist. He threw
himself energetically into the contest which culminated in the Scottish
Disruption of 1843; and for the last sixteen years of his life he was
editor of the bi-weekly paper, _The Witness_, which had been established
by the leaders of the Free Church movement as the organ of their opinions.
The sad close of Miller's life by suicide is well known. His health had
been undermined by early hardships and by subsequent overwork, and an
examination after death proved that the brain was diseased.

A great deal of Miller's work was done for _The Witness_. He was a most
conscientious as well as a most able journalist, and he brought to his
occupation a rare literary power. There was an imaginative and poetic
strain in his nature which sometimes showed itself in the weaker form of
fine writing, but often gave eloquence to his descriptions and fervour to
his argument. This is the living part of him; for it is certainly not
their scientific value that causes Hugh Miller's books to be still read.

Miller's most important works are _The Old Red Sandstone_ (1841),
_Footprints of the Creator_ (1847), _My Schools and Schoolmasters_ (1854),
and _The Testimony of the Rocks_ (1857). In their geological aspect they
merely supply the raw material of science. Miller had not the previous
training requisite to give his work the highest value. He knew little or
nothing about comparative anatomy, and therefore could not himself deal
with the fossils he discovered. In the view of modern experts his
scientific value lies in his strong common sense and his keen powers of
observation amounting almost to genius. His function is to stimulate
others rather than to sway thought by great discoveries. A liberal in
politics, he was something of a conservative in science. _The Footprints
of the Creator_ was written in answer to the _Vestiges of Creation_, and
its author figures as one of the numerous reconcilers of the text of
Genesis with the discoveries of geology. His value in literature is higher
than in science, for he wrote a style always pleasant, and sometimes
eloquent. _My Schools and Schoolmasters_, a volume of autobiography, is
one of the best of its class in the language, and is the work by which
Miller will be longest remembered.

Related to geology, and even more influential upon modern thought, has
been the theory of biological evolution, represented within the present
period by Robert Chambers, Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace.
Thomas Huxley too, though so much of his work is of a later date, demands
mention for his long polemic on behalf of evolution, begun immediately
after the publication of _The Origin of Species_ and continued till his
death. The work of Sir Richard Owen the great anatomist had an important
bearing upon this theory, but he was neither a Darwinian nor are his
scientific writings literature.

[Sidenote: Robert Chambers (1802-1871).]

Robert Chambers stands by himself. He was of the best class of self-made
men, and as a publisher perhaps even more than as a writer did service to
literature. He had great talent for not only acquiring information but
making it popular. His most remarkable book, the _Vestiges of the Natural
History of Creation_ (1844), was published anonymously, and, in fear of
the outcry of orthodoxy, extraordinary precautions were taken to guard the
secret of the authorship. For a long time the efforts were successful,
and, though the secret gradually became an open one, it was not till 1884
that his responsibility for the book was authoritatively avowed. The
_Vestiges of Creation_ has been unduly depreciated since the time of
Darwin. The gaps in the argument, and still more perhaps the untenable
assumptions and mistaken assertions, are easy to detect now; but it is at
least ungracious to insist upon them. Chambers was not an accomplished
naturalist; on the contrary, Huxley charges him with 'prodigious
ignorance.' He had not laboured as long, as patiently or as strenuously at
the subject as Darwin; but at the same time his book is in an uncommon
degree bold and suggestive. The best minds were already dallying with the
idea of evolution, but in 1844 there nowhere existed in English such a
concrete and clear presentation of it as Chambers gave. Judged in
relation to what was known and thought then, his work was a memorable,
though, from lack of a sufficiently firm foundation, hardly a great one.

[Sidenote: Charles Robert Darwin (1809-1882).]

Charles Robert Darwin is the true father of evolution as applied in modern
science, and of all the men of science of the century he most demands and
deserves attention in connexion with literature. No recent doctrine,
either in science or philosophy, has produced anything comparable to the
revolution in thought caused by _The Origin of Species_. Its central ideas
have been applied not merely in the department of biology, but everywhere
in the world of thought,--in philosophy, in religion, in literature and
literary criticism. We cannot refer all this to Darwin alone, for the
conception of evolution can be traced for two thousand years or more; but
it was Darwin who first planted it firmly in the human mind, and
consequently he is the chief though not the sole cause of the revolution.
Another element of his greatness, important in a criticism of literature,
is that his works are themselves literature. Writing a perfectly plain
style, he yet succeeds in so expressing his meaning that the manner is no
inconsiderable part of his charm. Some of the less compressed works, like
the _Naturalist's Voyage round the World_ and the monograph on earthworms,
are as fascinating and as difficult to relinquish as a skilful story of
adventure; and if this cannot be said of _The Origin of Species_ itself,
the reason is that it is so packed with thought that the reader is
compelled to pause over it.

Darwin, the son of a physician, was originally destined to follow his
father's profession, and went to study in Edinburgh; but he liked neither
the teaching nor the profession. In 1828 he went to Cambridge, and though
he derived no great benefit from the regular studies of the place, the
connexions he formed influenced the course of his life. He began the study
of geology under Sedgwick, and he was on very intimate terms with
Professor Henslow, through whom he became naturalist of the 'Beagle.' The
voyage of this ship laid the foundations of his fame but permanently
injured his health. In 1839 Darwin married, and in 1842 he settled at Down
in Kent, where he lived an exceptionally retired and quiet life,
compulsorily sequestered from society because of his health.

Darwin's literary life had begun before this. In 1839 his _Journal of
Researches_ (better known as _A Naturalist's Voyage round the World_) was
printed as part of the narrative of the voyage of the 'Beagle,' and in
1845 a second edition was called for. It is full to overflowing of the
results of observation set down in a delightfully easy narrative style.
Darwin was not yet an evolutionist, though the materials are there out of
which the evolutionist grew, and occasional remarks indicate that the
subject was not foreign to his mind. _The Structure and Distribution of
Coral Reefs_ (1842) was another product of this memorable voyage. The
theory maintained is that the reefs are the result of gradual subsidence,
and form the last relics of submerged continents. Geologists were
impressed by the boldness and originality of the speculation and by the
great mass of facts with which, in Darwin's invariable way, it was
supported. This was followed by two other publications on volcanic
islands, and on the geology of South America. These writings won for
Darwin a high position among men of science; but it was not until the
appearance of the second edition of the _Naturalist's Voyage_ that he
became widely known.

The highly characteristic and instructive story of the incubation and
writing of _The Origin of Species_ has been told by Darwin himself. He had
been long haunted by the idea of a possible modification of species; and
shortly after his return in the 'Beagle' he began to collect all facts
bearing on the variation of animals and plants. His first note-book was
opened in July, 1837. He read widely, conversed with breeders and
gardeners, and addressed printed enquiries to such as seemed likely to
give him information. He was led to the conclusion that 'selection was the
keystone of man's success in making useful races of animals and plants;'
but he could not understand how selection could be applied in a state of
nature. The reading for amusement of Malthus on _Population_ gave him the
clue. In the fierce competition for life among animals and plants,
favourable variations would tend to be preserved, and unfavourable ones to
be destroyed. He read Malthus in October, 1838. But, to avoid prejudice,
for three years and a half, till June, 1842, he refrained from writing
even the briefest sketch of his theory. In 1844 the first sketch was
enlarged. In 1856 he began to write out his views on a scale much more
extensive than that finally adopted; and yet, even so, it was only an
abstract of the materials collected. In 1858 Mr. Wallace, then in the
Malay Archipelago, sent Darwin an essay which proved to contain exactly
his own theory. On the advice of Lyell and the great botanist Hooker an
abstract from Darwin's manuscript was published in 1858, simultaneously
with Mr. Wallace's essay. The concurrence of ideas between Mr. Wallace and
himself set Darwin vigorously to work. He undertook once more to make an
abstract of the manuscript begun in 1856, and in 1859 published the
celebrated _Origin of Species_.

The book owes much of its effect to this process of gradual expansion and
gradual contraction. The reader is struck with three things in it: first,
the great range, combined with sobriety, of speculation; secondly, the
wonderful mastery of detail; and thirdly, the beautiful balance and
proportion, the sufficiency without undue length of the arguments. Hardly
any other pioneer in untravelled realms of thought has left such an
impression of wholeness.[4] Neither could Darwin have done so without the
long preliminary training. The _Origin_ bears on almost every page the
marks that it too is a product of selection. Darwin sifts his mass of
examples and chooses those best suited for his purpose. The completeness
of the book moreover is largely owing to the fact, noted by Darwin
himself, that for many years he had made a memorandum, at the moment, of
every fact, observation or thought _opposed_ to his results; because he
had found that such facts and thoughts were more apt to be forgotten than
favourable ones. 'Owing to this habit,' he says, with truth, 'very few
objections were raised against my views which I had not at least noticed
and attempted to answer.'

No book of this century has roused such a tempest as _The Origin of
Species_. A number of the younger men of science hailed the theory with
eagerness, and one or two of the older were extremely friendly; but many
were startled and were unprepared to accept views so novel. Still more,
the exponents of orthodox religion were wild against the theory; and in
the British Association meeting in 1860, at Oxford, Bishop Wilberforce, by
an unmannerly attack, drew down upon himself a crushing rebuke from
Huxley. Gradually a calmer temper prevailed, and the problems were
discussed fairly on both sides, as questions of science, not matters of
faith to be determined by an appeal to Genesis.

The time has not yet come for a final verdict upon _The Origin of
Species_; but even if Darwin's theory should in the end prove to need
great modification, his book will still be one of first-rate importance.
It has proved itself already the most stimulating book of the century.
Those who oppose Darwin oppose him now with his own weapons: they are
evolutionists, though they think some other scheme of evolution the true
one. The change is vast from the almost universally prevalent belief in
special acts of creation and fixed types to a belief, nearly as
widespread, in the gradual development of all the variety of life from at
most a few primordial forms. And this result has been, more than almost
any result equally great, the work of one man.

This great book was followed by some of those special studies which Darwin
had the gift of making almost as interesting as his discussions of central
principles. This is partly because he makes all his work illustrative of
those principles. No one was ever more steadfastly guided by a single
idea; and hence his works have an unusually intimate connexion with one
another. Thus, _The Fertilisation of Orchids_ (1862) is a detailed study
of a subject which occupies one or two paragraphs in the _Origin_. In _The
Movements and Habits of Climbing Plants_ (1865) Darwin broke new ground;
for it was after the publication of _The Origin of Species_ that he was
led to notice these phenomena. The new material however served the purpose
of the theory, and the author was 'pleased to find what a capital guide
for observations a full conviction of the change of species is.' The book
on climbing plants was the outcome of observations carried on in broken
health. 'All this work about climbers,' says Darwin, 'would hurt my
conscience, did I think I could do harder work.' In _The Variation of
Animals and Plants under Domestication_ (1868), on the other hand, he was
reverting to that department of investigation in which he had first seen
clear light on the question of species. The most debated point in this
book is the celebrated speculation of Pangenesis. Darwin advanced it, not
as something proved, but because 'it is a relief to have some feasible
explanation of the facts, which can be given up as soon as any better
hypothesis is formed.' It throws light however on the essentially
speculative character of his intellect to find that this admittedly
doubtful hypothesis of Pangenesis is the part of the book on which he
looks with the greatest affection,--'my beloved child,' as he phrases it.

_The Descent of Man_ (1871) ranks next in wide importance to _The Origin
of Species_. It is the application in detail of the same principles to the
human race. That the application was inevitable was already evident in the
earlier book; and it was this that brought upon the _Origin_ the most
virulent abuse. Just because it is so inevitable, _The Descent of Man_ has
not the unique interest of _The Origin of Species_. Once we are familiar
with the view that all the species of animals have been produced by the
accumulation of minute variations, there is no surprise in the idea that
man and all his powers may have been so produced likewise. Nevertheless,
Darwin differs on this point from the man who shares with him the honour
of discovering the theory of evolution. Mr. Wallace, while arguing with
Darwin that man has been evolved out of some lower form, holds that
'natural selection could only have endowed the savage with a brain a
little superior to that of an ape,' and that in the higher human faculties
there is evidence of the working of a supernatural power. The position is
a strange one. If the whole creation moves harmoniously through all its
grades by the action of one law, it will need overwhelming evidence to
show that just at the end this law is superseded by another altogether
unlike it. Either the supernatural governs the whole of life, or its
introduction to explain one stage is gratuitous.

After _The Descent of Man_ came _The Expression of the Emotions in Man and
Animals_ (1872); and that again was followed by _Insectivorous Plants_
(1875). The former was originally intended merely to form a chapter in the
_Descent_; but the materials grew, and the result is one of the most
readable of books. The _Insectivorous Plants_ embodies one of the most
remarkable of Darwin's discoveries. Its richness is due to the patience
and skill with which the facts were accumulated. Sixteen years passed
between the time when Darwin first noticed that plants lived on insects
and the appearance of the book. In the interval he had done many things;
but, whenever he had leisure, he was always adding to his store of facts
relating to this class of plants; and, as he justly says, 'a man after a
long interval can criticise his own work, almost as well as if it were
that of another person.'

Later, Darwin wrote on the fertilisation of plants, in order to
demonstrate the importance of cross-fertilisation; on the forms of
flowers; and on the movements of plants,--the last a kind of extension and
generalisation of the book on climbing plants, endeavouring to co-ordinate
all the movements of plants as variations of an inherent tendency of the
parts to a revolving motion. The theory has not been accepted by
botanists. Last of all, in 1881, appeared the monograph on _The Formation
of Vegetable Mould through the Action of Worms_. This book is just the
expansion and completion of a paper read by Darwin to a scientific society
as far back as 1837. All that time the subject dwelt in his mind; and when
at last leisure permitted, he developed it into what is perhaps the most
purely delightful of all his books. In greatness it does not come into
competition with some of them at all; but the familiarity of the
phenomena, the care with which they are examined, the skill of the
arrangement and the charm of finding meaning in what had been so
meaningless, have made the volume one of the most widely read of all
Darwin's works.

That which distinguishes Darwin from other naturalists is the combination
of extraordinary speculative power with great knowledge of detail and
unlimited patience. These qualities have been combined in others as well,
but never, within the field of natural history, in the same degree. More
commonly they are found separate. The ordinary type of naturalist is the
man who knows an immense number of facts about plants and animals, and who
rests content with that knowledge. He may be master of everything about
the great subject of scarabees, but it scarcely occurs to him to _explain_
the scarabees themselves, still less to use them in explaining other
creatures. On the other hand, the opposite type, the type which speculates
only without first laying the foundation of fact, is likewise common
enough. How ineffectual this is may be seen from the history of earlier
speculations on evolution. The _Vestiges of Creation_ and the theory of
Lamarck are superseded, not so much because of deficiency in speculative
power, as because the theories are not sufficiently buttressed by facts.
Even though Darwin's own theory should ultimately be, in one sense, as
dead as that of Chambers, it will always remain one of the landmarks of
thought.

Undoubtedly Darwin's intellect was fundamentally speculative. We have seen
how in the book on _Variation under Domestication_ his affection clung to
Pangenesis, perhaps the most questionable part of its contents. He was
restless under the sense of an unexplained fact, and thankful for even a
provisional explanation. He notes the effect upon him of the discovery
that science cannot remain content with facts alone. Geologising with
Sedgwick in North Wales, he heard about a tropical shell which had been
picked up in a neighbouring quarry. 'I told Sedgwick of the fact, and he
at once said (no doubt truly) that it must have been thrown away by some
one into the pit; but then added, if really embedded there it would be the
greatest misfortune to geology, as it would overthrow all that we know
about the superficial deposits of the Midland Counties.... I was then
utterly astonished at Sedgwick not being delighted at so wonderful a fact
as a tropical shell being found near the surface in the middle of England.
Nothing before had ever made me thoroughly realise, though I had read
various scientific books, that science consists in grouping facts so that
general laws or conclusions can be drawn from them.' It is this conception
that he kept steadily before his eyes, and his glory lies in his success
in drawing general laws from his facts.

[Sidenote: Alfred Russel Wallace (1822).]

The work of the other evolutionists, so far as it is not technical rather
than literary, is almost accounted for when Darwin's is described. With
respect to one indeed, Mr. Alfred Russel Wallace, an inevitable injustice
is done whatever course be pursued. He is the co-discoverer with Darwin of
the scheme of evolution associated with the name of the latter; and though
the fame has gone to the elder man, it seems clear that if not Darwin then
Mr. Wallace was destined to stir the mind of the age with this great
conception. Mr. Wallace has been an extensive traveller; he published, in
1853, a volume of _Travels on the Amazon_, giving an account of journeys
in that region during part of which he was the companion of Mr. Henry
Walter Bates, whose _Naturalist on the Amazon_ (1863) is well known as one
of the most interesting and valuable books of travel and natural history
in the language. It was however his observations in the Malay Archipelago
that led Mr. Wallace to the theory of evolution, and perhaps he is best
known by his book, _The Malay Archipelago_ (1869).



CHAPTER IX.

CRITICISM, SCHOLARSHIP, AND MISCELLANEOUS PROSE.


It was a maxim of Matthew Arnold's that the main effort of the mind of
Europe in our time was a critical one. By this he meant something more
than merely literary criticism; but he certainly included that. All will
agree with him that one of the characteristics of recent times is the
desire to understand the meaning and the historical order of the forms of
literature. The great development of journalism has done much to foster
critical work; for a critical view of individual men or of isolated works
can be conveniently expressed within the compass permitted by the
periodical form of publication. The quality of this periodical criticism
is uneven. Much of it is worthless, but the fact that the best critics of
the present century--Lamb, Carlyle, Macaulay, Lockhart, Ruskin and Matthew
Arnold--have all written for periodicals, is proof sufficient that the
best as well as the worst is to be found there.

One of the features of this journalistic criticism is its anonymity, and
this doubtless encouraged the ferocity characteristic of the early school
of the _Edinburgh_, the _Quarterly_ and _Blackwood_. But the evil seems to
have worked its own cure. It would be rash to assert that there is not
incompetence and unfairness still; but at least the bludgeon school of
criticism has passed away. The cause is twofold: the fixing of an ethical
standard, and the discovery, which Matthew Arnold did much both by precept
and example to spread, that the rapier is the more deadly weapon. The
critics of the early periodicals had no tradition to guide them, and, like
settlers in a new country, they ran riot.

A good deal of uncertainty necessarily attaches to anonymous writing, and
all that is possible here is to notice shortly a few of the more eminent
names, avoiding any minute discussion. Some, like Carlyle, Macaulay and
Lockhart, have been mentioned elsewhere. It was however under their
influence, and under the gradually growing influence of Lamb, Coleridge
and Hazlitt, that the criticism of this period grew up. There has also to
be taken into account the spread of German thought, which gave to
criticism greater breath and a firmer foundation in principle, and
conduced likewise to a more careful and patient scholarship. The Germans
have not only themselves done a great work in Shakespearian criticism, but
they have induced the English to do the same. Still, an exclusive
following of the Germans would have led to mischief, and fortunately for
English criticism this tendency has been corrected by the opposite
influence of the French school. Thanks largely to Matthew Arnold, and to
the charm of Ste. Beuve, whom he helped to make known in England, the
lucidity, good form and sanity of French criticism have had their effect
as well as the laborious learning and sometimes rash theorising of the
Germans.

[Sidenote: John Payne Collier (1789-1883).]

[Sidenote: Mrs. Anna Jameson (1794-1860).]

[Sidenote: J. O. Halliwell-Phillipps (1820-1889).]

Shakespearian criticism might almost be said to be in its infancy when the
period opened. The highest reputation was speedily acquired by John Payne
Collier, whose _History of English Dramatic Poetry_ (1831) was a really
valuable contribution to the study of the drama. A later work of
Collier's however brought dishonour on his name, and threw doubt upon all
his conclusions unless they could be proved from other authorities. His
_Notes and Emendations to the Plays of Shakespeare_ (1853) professed to
give all the 'essential' readings of the Perkins Folio; but when the
mystery which for a time hung over this folio was penetrated, it proved
that the emendations in question were forgeries. Unfortunately these
'emendations' do not stand alone. Nearly all through Collier's work is
tainted with falsehood. He attempted to vitiate the old ballads as well as
Shakespeare, and perhaps even now his evil influence in retarding the
progress of sound scholarship is not wholly annulled. Mrs. Anna Jameson
was a better writer than Collier, and she enjoys an unclouded reputation.
Her _Characteristics of Shakespeare's Women_ (1832) still holds its ground
as a fine example of the critical analysis of character. She wrote other
books afterwards--_Sacred and Legendary Art_, _Legends of the Monastic
Orders_, and _Legends of the Madonna_--but none so good as her
Shakespearian criticisms. J. O. Halliwell-Phillipps did great service to
the study of English literature in general, especially by his elucidation
of the life of Shakespeare; and Alexander Dyce deserves mention for one of
the most useful editions of Shakespeare's works. The palm for learning and
research must however be assigned to the great Cambridge Shakespeare,
published between 1863 and 1866, under the editorship of W. G. Clark and
W. Aldis Wright. Charles and Mary Cowden Clarke likewise deserve to be
remembered. The _Concordance_ of the latter was until lately the standard
work of its class, and must always remain an honourable monument of
patience and thoroughness.

[Sidenote: Sir Arthur Helps (1813-1875).]

In the sphere of general criticism, a man of great reputation in the
middle of the century was Sir Arthur Helps, author of _Friends in
Council_, a collection of social and critical dialogues and essays,
published between 1847 and 1859. Many of these essays are essentially
commonplace, and the book is so long drawn out that it would be
intolerable, but for occasional vivid and forcible passages and
epigrammatic expressions. Such, for example, are the imaginary picture of
the woman taken in adultery, and the description of a great cathedral,
with a thin congregation lost in a little corner of it, a bad sermon and a
dull service: 'We look about, thinking when piety filled every corner, and
feel that the cathedral is too big for the religion, which is a dried-up
thing that rattles in that empty space.'

There remain two writers, John Ruskin and Matthew Arnold, who are as
distinctly leaders of criticism in the middle and later portions of the
period, as Carlyle and Macaulay were at the opening of it.

[Sidenote: John Ruskin (1819-1900).]

John Ruskin is an author whose multifarious activity makes it somewhat
difficult to classify him. He has written on art, literature, morals,
economics, society, in short, on nearly everything. He has written verse
as well as prose, and the unwise enthusiasm of disciples has lately
gathered together the rhymes of his youth. If however we regard Ruskin's
work as a whole, we see that its principal motive is critical, and that
his criticism is mainly directed to art. This is the case with what still
remains his greatest work, _Modern Painters_. The first volume of this
book, magnificently illustrated, excellently printed, and written with an
elaborate splendour of style almost unexampled in English, was published
in 1843 with the simple inscription, 'by a Graduate of Oxford.' The fifth
and last volume did not appear until 1860. The _Modern Painters_ is easily
first among all the English works that treat of painting. Its full merit
can hardly be appreciated until we realise how daringly original it was;
and to realise this is difficult, because of the very success of
Ruskinism. The young graduate of Oxford preached a new gospel, and set
himself in opposition at once to the established canons of art-criticism,
and to the established philosophy of his time. In the former convention
reigned supreme. 'The man who in the pre-Ruskinian era was the high priest
among connoisseurs was Sir George Beaumont; and Sir George, admirable man
as he was in other respects, when he looked at a landscape, asked, not
whether it was true to the facts of nature, but whether it accorded with
the fictions of convention. "But where is your brown tree?" he asked of
Constable when that painter gave in his adherence to the then
revolutionary course of proclaiming that trees were green.' Ruskin too
proclaimed that trees were green, and no one has done more than he to
vindicate nature's right to be what she is. It was their championship of
truth and their earnestness that drew him towards the Pre-Raphaelites, and
made him their formidable and efficient champion in _Pre-Raphaelitism_
(1851), as well as in many detached passages of his writings.

While Ruskin was elaborating and completing his _Modern Painters_, he was
likewise engaged upon works bearing on the kindred art of architecture.
His chief writings upon it are _The Seven Lamps of Architecture_ (1849)
and _The Stones of Venice_ (1851-1853). His appointment in 1869 as Slade
Professor of Fine Art at Oxford greatly stimulated his activity. His
reputation had then reached nearly its highest point. He interpreted his
duties seriously, and threw himself with ardour into the work. Quite a
number of his smaller publications--among them _Aratra Pentelici_, _The
Eagle's Nest_, _Ariadne Florentina_ and _Love's Meinie_--are the outcome
of his tenure of the professorship. His second tenure of office, beginning
in 1883, produced _The Art of England_ and _The Pleasures of England_. He
moreover made himself an art-guide to travellers in Italy; and hence his
_Mornings in Florence_ and _St. Mark's Rest_.

This great body of art-criticism is all bound together by a few
fundamental principles; and it is perhaps his fidelity to principle,
hardly less than the magnificence of his style, that has won for Ruskin a
popularity denied to other critics of art. It will be useful to regard his
critical work from two points of view: its rise in negation and
opposition, and its issue in positive doctrine.

Ruskin, like every man who has had much to teach, begins by being a
protestant. He finds that all is _not_ for the best in the best of all
possible worlds, and his effort is first to uproot what is bad, and
secondly to encourage and foster what is good. The objects of his dislike
have been so often denounced by him that all know what they are.
Materialism, utilitarianism, a sordid industry merely concerned with the
accumulation of wealth, and caring little either for its use or for the
quality of the thing produced--these have been the objects of Ruskin's
life-long hatred. The merits of his method of dealing with them must be
touched on later; here it is enough to notice that the motive for his work
on art is the pressing need to find some foundation, other than these, for
the beautiful and good. Though Ruskin was not of the Oxford movement, he
was stimulated by much the same sympathies and dislikes that produced it;
and it is interesting to note how Pre-Raphaelitism in art, Ruskin's
art-criticism, and the poetic and religious movements of the middle of
the century, all show various forms of the same revolt against the
deification of matter.

Starting with this opposition to mere material utility, Ruskin is careful
always to define art so as to bring out its spiritual significance. 'All
great Art,' he says, 'is Praise.' To him, art and religion, or art and
morality, are not so much different things as different phases of the same
thing. Beauty is measured, not by economic utility, or capacity to satisfy
a material want, but rather by transcendental utility, or capacity to
satisfy a spiritual want. In proportion as it embodies the conceptions of
a great spirit, art is great. The artist ought to be faithful to nature,
but mere imitation is not enough. Greatness consists in the something
which the artist does not exactly add to nature, but rather educes from
nature, the something which the gifted eye only can see, but which the
gifted hand can make visible to others less splendidly endowed.

In his application of these principles Ruskin is sometimes capricious,
sometimes, perhaps, presumptuous, and very often dogmatic. His caprice is
visible in his changes of opinion. We find judgments pronounced in one
edition of his works with the confidence of omniscience, and retracted in
another with frank self-contempt, but with unabated confidence. The
reasons for the one opinion seem, as a rule, just as convincing as the
reasons for the other; and while all men may legitimately change their
views, frequency of change ought to beget a certain amount of diffidence.
That Ruskin's criticism is sometimes presumptuous follows from its extreme
confidence. He discovers the meaning of every stone in a building, and of
every line and colour in a painting, in a manner hardly granted to mere
man; for, after all, the most sympathetic of critics cannot enter into
another man's mind, nor can the most learned completely realise a past
age. This dogmatism, though irritating, is generally harmless enough; but
it is not so when it results in underrating an artist like Michael Angelo,
because he will not fit into the preconceived theory, and in undue
exaltation of the comparatively little, because they sometimes furnish
just the illustrations needed.

From the same root springs the cognate fault of the intensely subjective
character of Ruskin's criticism. In a celebrated passage on the Jura in
the _Seven Lamps_, after an eloquent description of the scene, the writer
imagines it transported to some aboriginal forest of the New Continent. In
an instant it loses all its impressiveness--to him. The reason is that the
element of human association is lost; and he instantly jumps to the
conclusion that this element is an essential part of the charm of nature
to all. Few will dispute that such association is to many an important
factor in the delight in nature. But this has not been a universal
feeling. Some travellers, like Darwin on the Cordilleras or in the
Brazilian forests, have felt, in the midst of untrodden solitude and
unbroken desolation, a sense of the sublime nowhere else to be
experienced.

That which, in spite of faults, gives Ruskin's art-criticism its
superiority over all rivals is, in the first place, the fulness of
knowledge whence it springs, and, in the second place, the magnificence of
the style in which it finds expression. Ruskin's continental travels in
early manhood gave him an acquaintance with the best models, such as could
not otherwise be acquired. He was moreover himself an artist, capable of
good and accurate, if not of great work, and aware of what is possible and
what is not possible in art; and his steady confidence in the existence of
an inner meaning and a serious purpose in all art worthy of the name
saved him from the thinness of substance and the dilettante trifling too
apt to be seen in writings of that class.

But it is, first of all, beauty of style that the name of Ruskin suggests.
His prose has been lauded as the finest in the English language. The
English language contains so much that the absolutely finest is not easy
to discover; nor will men ever agree as to the relative merits of simple
and of ornate styles. There is not a little to be said for Oliver
Goldsmith, even as against John Ruskin. The latter writes what is known as
'poetic prose;' and in doing so, though he is no mere imitator, he follows
in the footsteps of men like De Quincey, who sought to obtain by prose
effects commonly associated with poetry. This was in part a reversion, but
a reversion with a difference. The eighteenth century had evolved a clear,
direct, simple structure of sentence, well adapted to appeal to the
understanding. It was not unfitted too, as many passages in Addison and
Steele and other acknowledged masters prove, for an appeal to the
emotions. Nevertheless, this was its weak side; and just as the lucid,
bright, highly intellectual verse of the eighteenth century gave place to
poetry more emotional and more varied, so the prose of the eighteenth
century had to receive its complement in a prose more ambitious in design,
more complex in structure and richer in tone. It was romanticism
overflowing, as it were, the bounds of verse. The change was not so much
the introduction of something wholly new as the grafting of old tendencies
on a new stock. The complex structure and involved harmonies and wealth of
imagination which the new writers hungered for were to be found in the
prose of Milton and of Jeremy Taylor. On the other hand, the type of
sentence established by the eighteenth century writers was too sound to be
set aside. It remained the basis, while the older magnificence and daring
were brought back and wedded to it.

Of this type of poetic prose Ruskin is the acknowledged master. Others,
like De Quincey, have rivalled, and perhaps equalled his best passages.
But excellent passages in De Quincey are much rarer than in Ruskin. The
latter has built upon a broader foundation. All the field of nature and
great part of the field of knowledge have been his. Ornate prose tends to
be descriptive; and in his descriptions Ruskin has, over the mere literary
man, the great advantage which the study of art gives. He had been
educated to observe, and he naturally saw more than others who, even if
they possessed equal sensibility, had less of this special culture.

Next in importance to his art criticisms must be ranked Ruskin's writings
on social subjects. Here his interest has been keen and his energy great.
Most of his special ideas have been denounced as Quixotic nonsense, and
some of them, it must be added, deserve a description not much more
flattering. Yet great is the merit of earnestness. Ruskin has always been
fired by indignation against wrong and falsehood, and has always believed
profoundly in the truth of his own gospel. He has had, both as a writer
and as a man, the gift of fascination. Hence, even when his audience was
scanty, it was enthusiastic; and few, whose ideas seem so unpractical,
have succeeded in persuading so many to try them. The story of his
inducing his Oxford pupils to engage in road-making is well known. The
fact that the road was and is, as he laughingly admitted, one of the worst
in the three kingdoms, does not weaken its testimony to his personal
influence; though it may throw doubt on the wisdom of his guidance. In a
similar spirit he founded the St. George's Guild. This however was no mere
by-work. It was the direct outcome of his writings on social questions,
and it was more remotely connected with his teaching of art. It was
connected with the latter through his conviction that only to a people
living wholesome lives is sound art possible. It was connected with his
social writings because his studies for them convinced him that mere
writing would do little to cure the evils he saw. Hence in the _Fors
Clavigera_ in 1871 he launched the scheme of the St. George's Guild. The
idea was to restore happiness to England. 'We will try,' said he, 'to make
some small piece of English ground beautiful, peaceful, and fruitful. We
will have no steam-engines upon it, and no railroads; we will have no
untended and unthought of creatures on it; none wretched, but the sick;
none idle, but the dead. We will have no liberty upon it, but instant
obedience to known law and appointed persons; no equality upon it, but
recognition of every betterness that we can find, and reprobation of every
worseness.' It is not surprising that plans so visionary have failed to
regenerate society; it is surprising that men should have been willing to
join in the effort to realise such a Utopia. The agricultural ventures of
the Guild are an admitted failure; one or two of the efforts to plant
village industries have had some measure of success, and seem capable of
doing good within narrow limits.

Prominent among the faults of Ruskin's social writings is a disregard of
practically unalterable facts. Railways and steam-engines may not be
objects of beauty, but until they find swifter means of locomotion and
production men will use them. To regulate their use and to reform abuse
would be the ideal of the practical social reformer. Denunciation and
banishment are the cures which occur to Ruskin. Similar faults mark his
extremely eccentric political economy; as for example his condemnation of
interest on capital and his ascription of property 'to whom proper.' This
would be attractive if we could only find some one to tell us infallibly,
or with some approach to infallibility, to whom it _is_ proper.
Historically, the stronger man has generally proved the person 'to whom
proper.' The condemnation of competition and the praise of co-operation
are open to a similar objection. They ignore the facts of human nature.
There is doubtless room for valuable work in promoting co-operation and in
regulating competition; but no worse service could be done to the human
race than to supplant the latter. Fortunately, no effort is more hopeless:
it is like that sin which Macaulay declared would be unspeakably shocking
if it could be committed, but which, happily, Providence had not put
within the reach of fallen humanity.

Ruskin's economic and social writings are certainly not to be valued for
soundness of thought or for sobriety of judgment. They have however the
beauty of style which characterises all his works, they are enriched with
memorable sentences and weighty sayings, and they are inspired by a
nobility of purpose which redeems even the most indefensible doctrine.
Unworkable as his economic principles are, it is impossible to withhold
admiration from the man who has so generously endeavoured to carry them
out; and however numerous may be his crotchets, the laugh at them must be
kindly when he has himself so genially led the laughter. It is moreover
only just to say that, however unsound his own views may be, he was one of
the first to point out the unsoundness of the old political economy. There
is no answer to his contention that a science so abstract, a science which
leaves out of account so many considerations essential to human welfare,
has no right to pronounce authoritatively upon it. The modern economist
would agree with Ruskin that we must reintroduce the factors eliminated
before we can draw conclusions trustworthy for practice.

[Sidenote: Matthew Arnold (1822-1888).]

Matthew Arnold rose into prominence as a critic somewhat later than
Ruskin, and he did his work in a different sphere. He has the unusual
distinction of being almost equally celebrated in prose and in poetry.
There are numerous writers who have won a considerable, and some even a
great reputation in both; but generally, as in the case of Scott, there is
no difficulty in subordinating the one to the other. In Arnold's case
there is a difficulty, and though the prediction may be ventured that he
will in the end take rank as a poet, he is probably best known at present
as a writer of prose.

Matthew Arnold was educated at Winchester and Rugby. He went up to Balliol
College, Oxford, in 1841, and won a fellowship at Oriel in 1845. In 1851
he became inspector of schools. Besides his ordinary routine work as
inspector he discharged the important duty of visiting and reporting upon
the schools and universities of France and Germany. From 1857 to 1867 he
was professor of poetry at Oxford. In his later years he made two visits
to America, where also he lectured. He afterwards published the addresses
under the title of _Discourses in America_.

The prose writings of Matthew Arnold may be classed under three heads.
They are all critical in spirit. In the first division the criticism is of
literature, in the second of theology, in the third of society. As regards
their chronology, the literary criticism is mainly the product of the
decade between 1860 and 1870, but from time to time all through his
literary career Arnold wrote criticism. In theology the period of his
greatest activity was from _St. Paul and Protestantism_ (1870) to _Last
Essays on Church and Religion_ (1877). Social essays, including the
educational writings under this head, are interspersed all through, but
the period of greatest activity, as regards publication, was from the
_Mixed Essays_ (1879) to the _Discourses in America_ (1885). In respect of
merit these writings can also be classified with confidence. The literary
essays are unquestionably the most valuable, the social essays rank next,
while the theological works have the least permanent worth.

Arnold's critical work may be said to begin in his poems, and these for
the most part precede his prose writings. It may be doubted whether any
English poet has written as much fine criticism in verse as Arnold.
Besides the penetrating judgments on individual writers, like Goethe,
Wordsworth and Heine, we have a discussion of the principles of art in the
_Epilogue to Lessing's Laocoön_ and, throughout, a critical view of life
as well as of literature. The volume of poems published in 1853 contained
moreover a critical preface in prose, short but highly suggestive. When
therefore Arnold was appointed Professor of Poetry at Oxford, he was
already a critic of proved capacity, and he fully justified his
appointment by the lectures _On Translating Homer_ (1861), certainly the
most valuable ever delivered from that chair. But most of Arnold's
critical work was originally written for periodicals; and the scattered
essays, gathered up into volumes, are known to the world as the _Essays in
Criticism_ (1865) and the _Essays in Criticism: Second Series_ (1888).
These, with a few essays scattered through other volumes, constitute the
body of Arnold's critical work. What is its spirit and method?

To comprehend Arnold as a critic we must grasp his conception of culture.
His aim is to know the best that has been thought and said in all ages and
by all nations. No criticism was ever less negative. He sees indeed that
the pointing out of deficiencies, indirectly if not directly, is an
essential part of criticism, but it is not the end in view. Again,
Arnold's purpose is always practical. He was long regarded as a dreamer,
a 'superior person' sitting on a solitary height and on the whole proud of
the isolation. On the contrary, it was just because he was at heart
essentially English, and therefore practical, that he acquired this
reputation. Two of his favourite dogmas in criticism were the necessity of
going back to and studying the classics, and the equally crying necessity
of going beyond our own island and studying the mind of Europe. He was
never content unless he brought English opinion to the test of foreign
opinion. Hence his interest in knowing how Milton appears to a French
critic. For a similar reason he frequently went to foreign writers for the
subjects of his own criticism. In the first series of _Essays in
Criticism_, the most characteristic and the most valuable, as a whole, of
his critical writings, the subjects are principally foreign--the two de
Guérins, Heine, Joubert, Marcus Aurelius. He turns to these, not because
he thinks them better than the writers of his own country, but because he
thinks more good will come, both to himself and to England, from an
investigation of what is foreign and unfamiliar, than from an examination
of writings illustrating our own merits and charged with our own defects.
The impulse which determines his choice in criticism is revealed in his
_Letters_. He condemned Carlyle in England and Gambetta in France, each
for 'carrying coals to Newcastle;' Carlyle, because he preached
earnestness to a nation that already had enough of it, but was not equally
endowed with other good qualities; Gambetta, just because he evaporated in
words and failed to teach that very earnestness to a nation that would
have been all the better for more.

The same principle explains Arnold's insistence on the study of the
ancients. 'They can help to cure us of what is ... the great vice of our
intellect, manifesting itself in our incredible vagaries in literature, in
art, in religion, in morals: namely, that it is _fantastic_, and wants
sanity.' It was for this reason that he dwelt on things distasteful to his
countrymen, or to whomsoever he was addressing. He was eager to carry the
coals of Newcastle where they were needed, the earnestness and practical
sense of England to France, the lucidity of France and her love of ideas
to England. This, combined no doubt with personal taste, accounts for his
devotion to French literature. No one saw French weaknesses more
clearly,--'France, famed in all great arts, in none supreme.' But
irrespective of the relative merits of French and German writings, he
thought the Germans a bad model for the English to follow, and the French
a good one, because they, a race of Latin culture, differ from us more
than another branch of the Teutonic stock can do. So too, in his eyes, the
highest value of the classics is just that they present us with ideals
unlike our own. 'We can hardly at the present day understand what Menander
meant when he told a man who inquired as to the progress of his comedy
that he had finished it, not having yet written a single line, because he
had constructed the action of it in his mind. A modern critic would have
assured him that the merit of the piece depended on the brilliant things
that arose under his pen as he went along.' The width of the difference
measures the value of the lesson to be learnt.

We can thus understand the seeming eccentricity, sometimes, of Arnold's
choice of subjects, and also the superficial appearance of negation in his
criticism. It is only superficial; the essence of the criticism is always
sympathy, agreement rather than difference, the recognition of merit in
preference to censure for defects. Carlyle had already placed criticism on
the basis of sympathy, but it was shown in a different way. Carlyle had a
large share of the dramatic faculty, and an intense interest in the
individual soul. Arnold's genius was social, but not dramatic. He had no
such mastery as Carlyle of the springs of individual character; but he set
himself to understand the society in which the man lived, to grasp his
idea, to look at things from his point of view, and so to explain what
otherwise would be inexplicable. It is the fruitfulness of Arnold's method
that has made the reading of the _Essays in Criticism_ an epoch in the
lives of many men who have now reached middle life.

Equally high praise must be accorded to the temper of this criticism. No
writer was ever more uniformly urbane than Arnold. 'The great thing is,'
says he, 'to write without a particle of vice or malice;' and he never
forgets his own precept. He often gave rise to controversy, and was
sometimes the object of vituperation; but, though he could write with
cutting irony, the controversy was never on his side embittered, and he
never replied in kind to the vituperation.

In his criticism Arnold laid little stress on rules, and those he did
appeal to were wide and elastic. The one thing he greatly insisted upon
was the necessity of unity of impression. No work of art could be called
great that did not produce a deep and abiding impression as a whole, and
not merely in its parts. In the details of criticism he trusted to no
rules, but rather to a taste saturated with 'the best of what has been
thought and said.' His sentiment is expressed in the well-known essay on
the study of poetry, introductory to _Ward's English Poets_. 'There can be
no more useful help,' says he, 'for discovering what poetry belongs to the
class of the truly excellent, and can therefore do us most good, than to
have always in one's mind lines and expressions of the great masters, and
to apply them as a touchstone to other poetry.' He followed in practice
his own precept, and determined to finish up with Shakespeare's _King
Lear_, before writing this very essay, in order to have a proper taste in
his mind while he was at work.

The rest of Arnold's works in prose are conceived in the same frame of
mind, but deal with matter less tractable to the author. The social essays
are of high quality. Arnold's campaign against Philistinism, his
insistence on lucidity, not in literature alone but in all the relations
of life, his championship of urbanity, his polemic against narrow
sectarianism, whether religious, or social, or political--all this is
important as well as interesting. The playfulness of Arnold's habitual
mode of expression helped to conceal the real earnestness of his purpose.
But in all this he had very much at heart the improvement of his
countrymen. He was by nature and instinct a teacher; and, though he was
too much an artist to obtrude it or let it spoil his work, there was a
didactic purpose under nearly all he wrote, verse as well as prose. For
this he sacrificed popularity. Knowing well that to say what is agreeable
is a surer and easier road to favour than to say what is helpful, he yet
chose the latter course.

The same purpose animates likewise Arnold's theological writings; but in
this case the want of special equipment is more serious. It is unwise of
anyone, without long years of special training, to undertake biblical
criticism. The opinion of a great Hebraist as to the facts about the book
of Isaiah is valuable; the opinion of anyone else is that of an amateur.
The motive which animated Arnold however is easily understood, and for
certain purposes his judgment is quite as worthy of respect as that of the
most accomplished theologian. Arnold's position was peculiar. While
retaining a great deal of religious sentiment he had thrown aside entirely
the positive dogmas of religion. He was strongly attached to the religion
of the Bible, Old Testament as well as New; and just because of this
attachment he wished to remove the crumbling foundation of theological
systems and find a safer basis for it. 'Our popular religion at present
conceives the birth, ministry, and death of Christ, as altogether steeped
in prodigy, brimful of miracle;--_and miracles do not happen_.' Arnold's
object was to set free Christianity, which had hardened in the mistaken
fact, and to establish it on the living idea. Undoubtedly he was well
qualified to form opinions on these fundamental questions. Neither the
clergy, nor the churches, nor specialists in biblical lore, have any
monopoly here, or any peculiar right to respect. The ultimate questions of
religion are to be settled by a review of the whole of life, for which
every man has his own special advantages as well as his own special
limitations.

Arnold's style, in prose as in poetry, is one of the elements of his
power. Though not free from mannerisms, it is easy, harmonious, scholarly
and scrupulously pure. He is content to write about plain things in a
plain manner. His great charm is the constant play of wit and humour, of
irony and satire, over his prose. The wit and irony are, as a rule,
lambent rather than piercing, but they are sometimes exceedingly keen.
Occasionally he rises to a high pitch of eloquence. There are few passages
of English prose more memorable than the celebrated apostrophe to Oxford,
the 'home of lost causes, and forsaken beliefs, and unpopular names, and
impossible loyalties.' Yet even there, when his feelings are most highly
strung, the comic touch comes in: 'There are our young barbarians, all at
play.' Arnold smiles at himself as he smiles at others, and by doing so
takes all offence from his wit.

[Sidenote: Dr. John Brown (1810-1882).]

[Sidenote: William Brighty Rands (1823-1882).]

Two minor names, those of Dr. John Brown and William Brighty Rands, are,
perhaps, best included among the critics. The former is most widely known
as the author of _Rab and his Friends_, a piece not easily surpassed for
mingled pathos and humour. Brown wrote a style of very high merit. In the
miscellaneous collection of his writings, which he entitled _Horæ
Subsecivæ_, there is much to remind the reader of Lamb. Yet he was
guiltless of imitation, and the resemblance exists because he had the same
fine humour and the same sensitiveness of perception as the earlier
writer. No one has written better than Brown about dogs; and his
comprehension of them and his power of depicting them are seen even better
in _Our Dogs_ than in the famous essay on Rab, where the human figures
divide the interest with the great mastiff. Brown's critical papers are
few, but they show that he knew how to get at the heart of his subject.

Rands is a man much less known than he deserves to be. He wrote on many
subjects, but generally under assumed names. His children's verse in
_Lilliput Levee_ (1864) is very good, and his opinions on 'life and
philosophy' in _Henry Holbeach_ (1865) are still better. This book is
thoughtful, acute in criticism, and enriched with not a few memorable
sayings. Perhaps the best essay in it is that on _Cavaliers and
Roundheads_, where the description of the Tory or Cavalier mind, with no
opinions, only dogmas, and a genial superstition which answers the purpose
of religion, is admirable; and in another essay there is an even more
delicious description of the minister of the Little Meeting, 'his heart
amply supplied with the milk of human kindness, and his creed blazing with
damnation.' Rich as English literature is, it is sensibly impoverished
when work of this quality is forgotten.

The present period has been fruitful also in departments of scholarship
cognate to literary criticism. Among scholars in the old sense of the term
the most distinguished were John Conington at Oxford and H. A. J. Munro at
Cambridge. The former had the more versatile literary gift, but the latter
was far more 'high built' in learning, and his edition of Lucretius is
admittedly one of the triumphs of English classical culture. In the same
sphere the great statesman, W. E. Gladstone, deserves mention, less
perhaps for the positive value of his _Juventus Mundi_ and Homeric
studies, than for the extraordinary energy which made such work possible
amidst the distractions of party politics. More characteristic of the age
has been the development of Anglo-Saxon and Middle English lore. Benjamin
Thorpe and Joseph Bosworth both did valuable work in this sphere. The
former edited Caedmon in 1832, and in the course of his long life
supervised editions of nearly all the more important remains of
Anglo-Saxon literature. Bosworth's name is identified with the Anglo-Saxon
Dictionary, which, though now philologically rather antiquated, was in its
time a bold undertaking. Sir Frederick Madden, a somewhat younger man,
performed for a later period the work Thorpe did for the beginning of our
literature. The accomplished Richard Chenevix Trench, for twenty years
Archbishop of Dublin, was not only an agreeable poet, but did great
service to the study of the English language. His _Study of Words_ and
_English Past and Present_ have done more to popularise philology than,
probably, any other books we possess.

The study of Eastern civilisation has been another special line of modern
research. The explorations of Layard threw a flood of light upon Nineveh,
and, in the still more remote East, Sir Henry Creswicke Rawlinson
achieved the remarkable feat of deciphering the Persian cuneiform
inscriptions. Curiously enough, the same thing was done independently and
almost simultaneously by Dr. Edward Hincks. Another portion of the East
was studied by E. W. Lane, the greatest English Arabic scholar of his
time, the best translator before Sir Richard Burton of the _Arabian
Nights_, and author of one of the best books on life in the East, the
_Account of the Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians_.

[Sidenote: George Borrow (1803-1881).]

Among travellers who were not scholars, David Livingstone deserves mention
for the greatness of his African discoveries, and McClintock as the chief
in his time of Arctic explorers. But in the literary sense both were far
surpassed by George Borrow, an author very hard to classify, but whom some
would be disposed, for more reasons than one, to rank among the writers of
fiction. Borrow did write stories, _Lavengro_ (1851), and its sequel, _The
Romany Rye_ (1857), where facts of his own life are bewilderingly mingled
with fiction; while it is strongly suspected that there is no small
element of romance in the books of travel on which his fame chiefly rests.
He had a remarkable gift for languages. Among other little-known tongues,
he studied the Gipsy speech, and published a volume on _The Gipsies in
Spain_ (1841), and a word-book of the English Gipsy dialect. His best book
however is _The Bible in Spain_ (1843), an exceedingly readable account of
his travels as colporteur in that country. Whether it be trustworthy as a
record of facts or not, _The Bible in Spain_ has at least induced some
whose whole interest was in tracts and colportage to read a piece of good
literature, and has delighted with entertaining adventures others who
looked for nothing better than an enlarged specimen of the tract kind.



CHAPTER X.

POETRY FROM 1850 TO 1870: THE INTELLECTUAL MOVEMENT.


We have already seen that traces of change in the spirit of poetry
manifest themselves soon after the opening of the present period. They
appear in the works of men like Bailey and Sir Henry Taylor, and they grow
steadily stronger in the successive volumes of Tennyson. We have also seen
that a spirit cognate to this manifests itself in other departments of
literature as well. It attains its full growth, especially in poetry and
art, about the middle of the century; and so marked is the difference from
the previous four-and-twenty years that it has been called the English
Renaissance. The name is too ambitious and grandiloquent, yet if we do not
press it unduly it will be useful in reminding us that literature had in
nearly all departments come to be dominated by new ideals. Nowhere do we
see them more conspicuous than in poetry. Their influence is visible in
the rise of new schools; first, the 'Spasmodic School,' stronger in
passion than in intellect, and greater in promise than in performance; and
secondly, the Pre-Raphaelites, who were primarily artists, but who were
also men of letters. The first article of their creed was to be true to
nature; but they were far from being realists as the word is now commonly
understood. More important than either of these were those whose task may
be described as that of wedding intellect to imagination. They were not a
new school, for their leaders, Browning and Tennyson, had been active all
through the first part of the period. But their power and their influence
had now grown to maturity; both in their choice of subject and in their
treatment they were swayed by the spirit of the time; and they were
reinforced by some new writers who took a similar view of the functions of
poetry.

The greatest of these new writers is Matthew Arnold, and his thought is so
eminently representative of the generation that it may be well to consider
him even before his seniors. It was as a poet that Arnold began his
literary career. He won prizes for poetry at Rugby and at Oxford, and in
1849 he published his first volume, _The Strayed Reveller, and Other
Poems_. _Empedocles on Etna_, also accompanied by other poems, followed in
1852, and another volume of poems the year after. A few additions to the
pieces thus published were gradually made, and in 1867 appeared the _New
Poems_. From that date Arnold wrote poetry sparingly. His career was
therefore comparatively short, and the bulk of his verse is not great. He
was frozen into silence by 'that dull indifference to his gifts and
services which stirred the fruitless indignation of his friends.' But in
poetry quality counts for more than quantity. Small in bulk as is his
contribution, Gray has nevertheless a secure place among the immortals.
Arnold's contribution is much larger than Gray's, and it has the same
purity and beauty of finish.

Arnold was born just at the proper time to feel the forces of change
working around him, and the sense of change is from the first deeply
impressed upon his poetry. It is this, combined with his critical attitude
of mind, that makes him specially the voice of the doubts and difficulties
of his generation. The critical aspect of Arnold's verse has been already
noted. It is critical of human existence as well as of other poetry. In
_Obermann Once More_, in _Thyrsis_, in _The Scholar Gipsy_, in
_Mycerinus_, in _Resignation_, in the lines _To a Gipsy Child_, and in
numerous other pieces we see the workings of this critical spirit. We see
too that he is most of all weighed down with the profound sense of change.
He finds himself in a world where all things have to be made new, and
where the power that promised to renew them remains unseen. This is the
case with religion, for the conviction of the decay of Christianity in the
dogmatic sense is as plainly visible in Arnold's verse as in his prose. It
is the case also with politics and the social system. The French
Revolution had shaken these, and had left to the next generation the task
of rebuilding them. Its tremendous magnitude awes Arnold. He has none of
that confident optimism which in Browning springs from breadth of
intellect; still less does he share that which, in the panegyrists of
material progress, is begotten of narrowness. He thinks the conditions of
the time unfavourable to spiritual growth. It does not afford that
'shelter to grow ripe,' and that 'leisure to grow wise,' which even Goethe
found in his youth, exposed though he was in maturer years to 'the blasts
of a tremendous time.'

This conception of the conflict, and especially of the unparalleled
complexity, of modern life, is the dominant thought of Arnold. It is the
warfare of so many elements that in his eyes distinguishes his own from
all previous ages. In former times each civilisation stood by itself, not
vitally affected by the puzzling elements of alien civilisations. The
modern task is to fuse all together. The actress Rachel is typical, and as
in her birth, and life, and death, and in her physical, mental and moral
nature, there met and clashed 'Germany, France, Christ, Moses, Athens,
Rome,'--so do they meet and clash in the lives of all Arnold offers no
solution of the problem. He points out the difficulty, he cherishes an
ultimate hopefulness, but none of the answers to the riddle satisfies him.

The tone most characteristic of Arnold is in harmony with such fundamental
conceptions. It is a tone of refined and thoughtful melancholy. This made
him a supreme elegiac poet. _Thyrsis_, the memorial poem on his friend
Clough, is generally ranked with the masterpieces in the same type of
Tennyson and Shelley and Milton. But _Thyrsis_ does not stand alone. _The
Scholar Gipsy_, the _Obermann_ poems, _Rugby Chapel_, _A Southern Night_,
and several others of Arnold's finest pieces likewise belong to this
class. The elegiac spirit is his special gift, and he shows it in a
characteristic way. His poems are not elegiacs for the individual; they
are not so even when, as in _Rugby Chapel_ and _A Southern Night_, the
subjects are most intimately related in blood to Arnold. He habitually
looks beyond the individual to the race, and rather mourns 'the something
that infects the world.'

Arnold was a student of Wordsworth, and was among the most discriminating
admirers of that great poet. One of the best of the critical essays is
devoted to him; and the finest selection ever made from the poetry of
Wordsworth was made by Arnold. The skill of that selection proves that
Arnold was capable of benefiting from Wordsworth without being tempted to
follow him where his guidance would have been dangerous. He admired
Wordsworth's calm, he admired him for his power to 'possess his soul,' he
admired him as a student of nature. The calm and rest in himself were with
Arnold rather an aspiration than a thing attained: it was part of his
creed that in these latter days such calm was unattainable. But he
followed Wordsworth as a student of nature. The love of nature was with
Arnold an inborn passion, the strength of which is proved not only by his
poetry, but in one sense even more convincingly by his familiar letters.
Wordsworth gave him a point of view and strengthened his power of vision.
But Arnold writes his nature-poetry for a new age under new conditions.
The very fact that the calm of Wordsworth is unattainable imparts to his
verse a subdued tone. He stands between Wordsworth and his other favourite
Senancour, sharing the spiritual force of the one and the reflective
melancholy of the other. Arnold's best descriptions are tinged with this
melancholy. The 'infinite desire of all which might have been' inspires
_Resignation_, one of the poems of his earliest volume. We see it again in
the lovely closing lines of _The Church of Brou_. It determines Arnold's
preference for pale colours, soft lights and subdued sounds, for moonlight
effects, and for the hum of 'brooding mountain bee.' In the beautiful
_Dover Beach_ it is associated with his sense of the decay of faith. Even
in the lyric rapture of the description of the sea-caverns in _The
Forsaken Merman_, the melancholy is still present. To many it is
oppressive, and perhaps it is the absence of it from the song of Callicles
in _Empedocles on Etna_ that has caused some sympathetic critics to
pronounce that the finest of all Arnold's poems.

Arnold's longer pieces fall into two classes: the dramatic, including
_Merope_ and _Empedocles on Etna_; and the narrative, best represented by
_Sohrab and Rustum_ and _Balder Dead_, for _Tristram and Iseult_ is as
much lyrical as narrative. As a dramatist Arnold was not successful. His
_Merope_, a play on the Greek model, is frigid; and fine as is _Empedocles
on Etna_, its merits are in the thought and the beautiful verse rather
than the dramatic structure. The truth is that Arnold had neither the eye
for fine shades of character nor the interest in action essential to the
drama. His treatment of character has already been commented upon in
connexion with his prose. With regard to action, Arnold himself withdrew
_Empedocles on Etna_ shortly after its publication, on the ground that it
was a poem in which all was to be endured and nothing to be done.

The same want of action appears in the narratives. The charm of these
beautiful poems resides not in what takes place in them, but in the
restful pictures they present. There is no breathless speed such as we
feel in the narratives of Scott and Byron, but, on the contrary, the calm
of a reflective spirit. _Sohrab and Rustum_ (1853) and _Balder Dead_
(1855) seemed to open out to Arnold a wider field of productiveness than
any he had hitherto found. They took him outside himself, and gave variety
to his poetry; and perhaps the thing most to be regretted in his literary
history is that he wrote no more pieces of this class. Not that they are
altogether the best of his poems; but blank verse so beautiful as his
never cloys, and it seemed as if he might have found innumerable subjects
suitable to his genius, subjects inviting quiet reflexion and not injured
by the absence of rapid movement.

There are two features of special value in the work of Arnold. One is his
unshrinking intellectual sincerity. The bent of his mind compelled him to
endeavour to understand the world in which he lived. He found much in it
that was unwelcome to him. His scepticism as to dogmatic religion was a
source of great pain to himself. Life would have been far more smooth and
easy if he had been able to believe more; and hence that sympathy with
many things he did _not_ believe which Newman noted in him. Yet he never
shows the slightest sign of yielding to the temptation and playing false
with his intellect. Wherever it leads him Arnold goes; and he has taught
no higher lesson than that of unvarying trust in reason and loyalty to
'the high white star of truth.' It may be doubted whether any of his
poetic contemporaries has pursued a path so undeviatingly straight. Even
Browning is bribed by his feelings to play questionable tricks with his
intellect.

The second feature is the style of Arnold. He presents one of the best
examples in English of the classical spirit. He is always measured and
restrained. He detested 'haste, half-work, and disarray,' and certainly
his own example tended to discourage them. Lucidity and flexibility and
sanity were the qualities he specially strove to embody in his work. It
was because he found them in Goethe that he specially admired the great
German poet. It was because of the absence of them that he uttered his
most severe criticisms upon his countrymen both in the present and in the
past.

[Sidenote: Arthur Hugh Clough (1819-1861).]

Arthur Hugh Clough is in so many respects associated with Arnold that they
are best taken together. But just because of the similarities there is the
less need to dwell upon the inferior poet. Clough, who spent his early
boyhood in America, was educated under Dr. Arnold at Rugby and at Balliol
College, Oxford. At Oxford he was for a time carried away by the
Tractarian movement, in his own words, 'like a straw drawn up the chimney
by a draught.' In this he was influenced doubtless by his friendship for
W. G. Ward. But Clough was not born for unquestioning belief, and the
reaction shook his whole faith. The story of his separation from Ward is
told in the beautiful allegorical poem, _Qua Cursum Ventus_; and in
another of his finest poems, _Easter Day, Naples_, 1849, we see the
position to which Clough ultimately came. To use Arnold's distinction, it
is a faith which gives up the fact, but clings to the idea. Had Clough
written much in the strain of these pieces he might have had some title to
the name of a great poet. But he is seldom wholly satisfactory. He was
prone to choose themes beyond his strength. Thus _Dipsychus_ is a
colourless and weak reproduction of _Faust_. The author has not sufficient
force to deal with the battlings of a spirit with faith and doubt,
pleasure and virtue, good and evil, and all the most complex problems of
life. Defects fundamentally the same take a different shape in _Amours de
Voyage_. Clough's presentation, in Claude, of the doubts, distrust and
dilettantism of the century fails to give the sense of power. The poet is
happier in his 'long vacation pastoral,' the _Bothie of Tober-na-Vuolich_
(1848), with its glimpses of nature, its easy light touch, and its
underlying seriousness. But the verse is unfortunate. The hexameter in
English is an exotic, and has never yet been used in any long poem with
complete success. The reader tires at last of what might otherwise have
been a most successful story in verse.

The same movement visible in the poetry of Arnold and Clough may be
detected still moulding and modifying the works of Tennyson. In the year
1850 _In Memoriam_ appeared. It was the product of long meditation, and
part is known to have been written as early as 1833. Nevertheless it is
remarkable that just in the year when Browning published his _Christmas
Eve and Easter Day_, and just about the time when Arnold's verse was
exhibiting another aspect of the interest in religion, Tennyson too should
have made his greatest contribution in this kind to literature. For while
_In Memoriam_ is of all great English elegies the most closely associated
with the man to whom it is dedicated, still the treatment opens up the
questions of death and immortality; and the passages of the poem which
have clung to the popular memory are those in which the poet expresses his
convictions or his hopes on these subjects. Perhaps the greatest weakness
of _In Memoriam_ is its length. It is difficult if not impossible to
dwell on the subject of death long, and to preserve perfect healthiness of
tone. The other great English elegies are in the first place much shorter,
and in the second place the writers find more relief to them than Tennyson
does. The intensity of his friendship for Arthur Hallam kept him perhaps
even too strictly to his subject.

_In Memoriam_ is essentially a lyrical poem, and the years immediately
before and after its publication are those in which Tennyson's lyrical
genius was in fullest flower. _Maud_ (1855) is a lyrical poem. The
beautiful songs interspersed between the parts of _The Princess_ belong to
this period, and so does the grand _Ode on the Death of the Duke of
Wellington_. The lyrics of these years are on the whole superior both in
fervour of passion and in weight of thought to the earlier lyrics. Some of
the songs, like 'Tears, idle tears,' are, as songs, almost overcharged
with thought, yet they are beautifully melodious; and Tennyson never wrote
anything more full of exquisite sound than 'The splendour falls on castle
walls.'

The _Ode on the Death of Wellington_ is worthy of study, because it is the
best specimen of a class of poems for which Tennyson was distinguished
from first to last. He was always a patriot, and there is no feeling he
expresses more fervently than that of pride in England. He contrasts her
stability with the fickleness of France. He is proud of her freedom slowly
won and surely kept. Patriotic ballads like _The Revenge_ and _The Defence
of Lucknow_ are among the most prominent characteristics of his later
volumes. His great success in the case of the _Ode_ is due to the fact,
first that his heart is stirred by the sense that 'the last great
Englishman is low;' and secondly, to the fact that he saw in Wellington an
impersonation of all that he had admired in England. The picture he draws
of the duke is identical in its great features with that he had painted
of the nation, and it has the advantage of being concrete.

The passionate fervour of which Tennyson's lyric strain was capable is
best illustrated from _Maud_, a poem which it is more easy to praise in
parts than as a whole; for it must be admitted that the character of the
hero is deficient in greatness and self-restraint; and the part which
depicts his madness is poor. A good deal of at best exaggerated blame has
likewise been meted out to the references to war in the course of the
poem. But these faults are more than redeemed by such lyric outbursts as
'Come into the garden, Maud,' and 'O that 'twere possible.' The first is
perhaps the most splendid, as it is one of the most justly popular, of all
Tennyson's lyrics; while the second is among the most exquisite and
delicately finished. These pieces have a deeper tone of feeling and more
reality of passion than we find in Tennyson's earlier lyrics.

The _Idylls of the King_ are the outcome of an interest in Arthurian
legends that seems to have gradually developed. _The Lady of Shalott_
proves that Tennyson's mind was dallying with the story of Arthur as early
as 1833; and _Sir Galahad_ and _Sir Launcelot and Queen Guinevere_ attest
the continuance of the interest in the volumes of 1842. Another piece, the
_Morte d'Arthur_, published along with these, was afterwards embodied in
the _Idylls_. It was professedly a fragment, and the epic of which it was
described as the sole relic was spoken of disparagingly as 'faint Homeric
echoes, nothing-worth.' Notwithstanding the disparagement, _The Passing of
Arthur_ is the gem of the _Idylls_; but the reference serves at least to
direct attention to an actual difference between Tennyson's earlier and
later work. Though the _Morte d'Arthur_ is far from being a mere echo of
Homer, there are numerous lines and phrases in it directly recalling
Homer, and different in tone from the context. In the later _Idylls_ the
classical allusions seem to be one with the piece, they do not call
attention to themselves but are transformed and made Tennyson's own.

There is no clear evidence before 1859 of an intention to treat the
Arthurian story as a whole. In that year four of the idylls were
published; but they were still fragments, and great gaps were left
between. Gradually the gaps were filled, until in 1885 the poem was
completed. Still, the connexion of the parts is loose. Each idyll is a
separate story, related to the others because all are parts of one greater
story. But the idylls have not the coherence required in the books of an
epic. Tennyson was conscious of the want of unity, and he sought for a
principle of connexion in allegory. At best the allegory is very
indistinct; it appears chiefly in the parts later in order of publication;
and we may suspect that it was an after-thought meant to supply a defect
to which the author slowly awakened. The very name, _Idylls of the King_,
serves as a warning not to expect too much unity. An 'idyll' is a short
story, and the word therefore indicates the essentially episodic character
of the whole poem.

The _Idylls_ were, as they still are, Tennyson's greatest experiment in
blank verse; and next to Milton's _Paradise Lost_ they are the finest body
of non-dramatic blank verse in the language. The form had gone out of
fashion in the eighteenth century. Thomson, it is true, revived it, and
the poets of the period of the Revolution followed his example. But
through the early death of Keats, through that feebleness of will which
robbed the world of an untold wealth of poetry in Coleridge, and through
the fate that forbade Wordsworth to write long poems well, it remained
true that no very great and sustained modern English poem was written in
blank verse. The measure attracted Tennyson, and he soon mastered it. A
number of pieces prior to the _Idylls_ seem to be experiments in
preparation for a bolder flight. The _English Idylls_, _Ulysses_,
_Aylmer's Field_, _Sea Dreams_ and _Lucretius_ are specimens. The measure
is used on a larger scale in _The Princess_. But Tennyson's supreme
success was in the _Idylls of the King_. They cannot be said to rise
higher than the best of the early poems; for the _English Idylls_ include
the _Morte d'Arthur_, and _Ulysses_ is among the finest of Tennyson's
poems. These pieces show the same exquisite grace, the same smoothness,
the same variety of pause, the same skill in the use of adjuncts, such as
alliteration. But there is necessarily more scope and variety in a long
poem; and one of the finest features of Tennyson's verse is the
flexibility with which it adapts itself to the soft idyllic tone
appropriate to _Enid_, to the darkness of moral degradation in _The Last
Tournament_, to the crisis of the parting of Arthur and Guinevere, to the
spiritual rapture of _The Holy Grail_, and to the mysticism of _The
Passing of Arthur_. Tennyson cannot equal the stateliness of Milton; but
Milton is the only poet with whom, in respect of blank verse, he need
greatly fear comparison.

When we come down to later years the principal change visible in
Tennyson's work is the development of the dramatic element. The dramas
proper have been the most neglected of all sections of his work; but 'the
dramatic element' is by no means confined to them. They are rather just
the final result of a process which had been long going on. Tennyson, as
we have already seen, gradually put more and more thought into his verse.
In doing so he felt the need of a closer grip of reality, and he found, as
other poets have found too, that the dramatic mode of conception brought
him closest to the real. This is all the more remarkable because nothing
could well be more foreign to the dramatic spirit than his early work. His
youthful character sketches are not in the least dramatic. Neither is
there much trace of humour, a quality without which true dramatic
conception is impossible. The change begins to show itself about the
middle of the century. In _The Grandmother_ and _The Northern Farmer_ we
have genuine dramatic sketches of character. The poet does not regard them
from his own point of view, he speaks from theirs. _The Northern Farmer_
is moreover rich in humour. Tennyson never surpassed this creation, but he
multiplied similar sketches. All his poems in dialect are of a like kind.
They are in dialect not from mere caprice, but because the characters
could only be painted to the life by using their own speech. Other pieces,
not in dialect, like _Sir John Oldcastle_ and _Columbus_, are likewise
dramatic in their nature. Less prominent, but not less genuine, is the
dramatic element in the patriotic ballads, such as _The Revenge_. The
greater part of the work of Tennyson's last twenty years is, in fact, of
this nature, and herein we detect the principal cause of the change of
which all must be sensible in that work as compared with the work of his
youth. The old smoothness and melody are in great part gone, but a number
of pieces prove that Tennyson retained the skill though he did not always
choose to exercise it. It is the early style with which his name is still
associated, and probably the majority of his readers have never been quite
reconciled to the change. But while we may legitimately mourn for what
time took away, we ought to rejoice over what it added, rather than left.
If there is less melody there is more strength; if the delightful dreamy
languor of _The Lotos-Eaters_ is gone, we have the vivid truth of _The
Northern Farmer_ and _The Northern Cobbler_, and the tragic pathos of
_Rizpah_; if the romantic sentiment of _Locksley Hall_ is lost, something
more valuable has taken its place in the criticism of life in _Locksley
Hall Sixty Years After_.

Tennyson's dramas then, surprising as they were when they first appeared,
are merely the legitimate and almost the inevitable outcome of his course
of development. Inevitable he seems to have felt them, for he persevered
in the face of censure or half-hearted approval, perhaps it should be
said, in the face of failure. A deep-rooted scepticism of his dramatic
powers has stood in the way of a fair appreciation. The fame of his
earlier poetry has cast a shadow over these later fruits of his genius;
and the question, 'Is Saul also among the prophets?' was hardly asked with
greater surprise than the question whether Tennyson could possibly be a
dramatist. And, in truth, at sixty-six he had still to learn the rudiments
of his business. _Queen Mary_ (1875) is a failure. It is not a great poem,
and still less is it a great drama. The stage is overcrowded with
_dramatis personæ_ who jostle each other and hide one another's features.
_Harold_ (1876) showed a marked advance; but _Becket_ (1884) was the
triumph which justified all the other experiments. It is a truly great
drama, and, though not yet recognised as such, will probably rank finally
among the greatest of Tennyson's works. The characters are firmly and
clearly delineated. Becket and Henry, closely akin in some of their
natural gifts, are different in circumstances and develop into very
different men. Rosamond and Eleanor are widely contrasted types of female
character, the former a little commonplace, the latter a subtle conception
excellently worked out. All the materials out of which the play is built
are great. No finer theme could be found than the mediæval conflict
between Church and State; and Tennyson has seized it in the true dramatic
way, as concentrated in the single soul of Becket, torn between his duty
to the Church and his duty to the King, whose Chancellor and trusted
friend he had been and to whom he owed his promotion.

The minor dramatic pieces are of inferior worth, and in some of them, as
for example, _The Promise of May_ and _The Falcon_, Tennyson showed a
certain infelicity in his choice of subjects. But their failure leaves
unimpaired the interest of the dramatic period. It seemed an almost wanton
experiment on the part of Tennyson. But he was an artist all his life, and
here too he was only obeying the inherent law of development of his art.
Instead of wantonness, there is deep pathos in the old man's perseverance
under unfamiliar conditions, and there can only be joy at his final
success. There is surprise too that he who, from his earlier work, would
have been judged one of the least dramatic of poets, should have so
decidedly surpassed a poet so markedly dramatic as Browning.

Tennyson wrote up to the very close of his long life. His last
publications were _The Foresters_ and _The Death of OEnone_. They show
some decline of power. _Demeter_ too (1889) was probably a little below
his level. But previous to that, though there had been change, there had
been nothing that can be called decay. For the long period of sixty years
and upwards Tennyson had written, and with rare exceptions he had written
greatly. From the death of Wordsworth to his own death he was almost
universally looked upon as the first poet of his time. No one else has
wielded so great an influence. In no other poet's work is the record of
change during the period so clearly written. In part he made the age, in
still larger measure it made him. The hesitancy of his early work was
typical of the spirit of the time. The gradual awakening, the deeper
thought, the larger subjects, the more varied interests of the
intermediate period, were typical too. In this last period, while
Tennyson was as faithful as ever to the law of his own development, he did
not move precisely with the time. Another race was rising and other palms
were to be won.

Browning could not go through the same phase of development, for in him
the intellectual element from the first was even abnormally prominent. Yet
in Browning too the influence of the time is felt. _Christmas Eve and
Easter Day_ (1850) handles topics to which he is perpetually recurring;
but in it they are seen in a new light. The poet had heard the noise of
the Tractarian controversy, and in _Christmas Eve_ he passes in review the
three principal phases of contemporary opinion regarding religion,--the
evangelical, represented by the Nonconformist Chapel, the Catholic,
represented by Rome, and the critical, represented by the German professor
in his lecture-room. It is significant that while Browning can accept
neither of the two former, he prefers both to the third. Both are
intellectually indefensible, yet in both the vital thing, love, is
present, while it is not to be found in the lecture-room. Both 'poison the
air for healthy breathing,' but the critic 'leaves no air to poison.'
There is throughout the poem an unquestionable bias towards finding as
much true as will by any means pass muster with the intellect. Long
afterwards, in _La Saisiaz_ (1878), Browning handled the same problems in
a more boldly speculative spirit, though still with the same bias. The
difference is largely due to time; for before the date of _La Saisiaz_
Browning had adopted a method more philosophical than artistic. But
partly, perhaps, it was due to his wife, who was alive when _Christmas
Eve_ was written, and dead long before _La Saisiaz_.

In the period between these two poems the same problems were frequently in
Browning's mind, and no section of his work is richer in thought and
poetic beauty than that which expresses them. In _Karshish_, with its
vivid realisation of the mind of a thoughtful heathen longing for a faith,
in _A Death in the Desert_, where the St. John is rather a man of the age
of Strauss than of the first century, in _The Pope_ and in _Rabbi Ben
Ezra_, we have Browning's deepest treatment of the problems which
interested him most, and we have not that sacrifice of poetry to
philosophy which mars _La Saisiaz_. We may say that about this time
Browning discovered the vital interest of his generation, and discovered
also where his own strength lay. The effect is seen in the uniform
excellence of his work. The publications of the twenty years between 1850
and 1870, taken as a whole, certainly surpass what he had done before or
what he did afterwards. _Men and Women_ (1855) has been probably the most
popular and the most widely read of all his writings; _Dramatis Personæ_
(1864) is even richer in poetry, but has been commonly felt to be more
difficult in thought; while _The Ring and the Book_ (1868-1869) is by
almost all competent judges pronounced his masterpiece.

The plan of The _Ring and the Book_, whereby the same story is told ten
times over from ten different points of view, is defensible only on the
ground that it succeeds. Nearly half the poem is hardly worth reading; yet
the other half so splendidly redeems it that _The Ring and the Book_ ranks
among the great poems of modern times. The pictures of Caponsacchi, of
Guido, of Pompilia and of the Pope are all great. Guido has the interest,
unique in this poem, of appearing twice; and there is no better
illustration of the subtlety of Browning's thought than the difference
between the Count, plausible, supple and polished, pleading for his life,
and the man Guido, stripped of all but bare humanity, condemned to death,
first desperately petitioning, then tearing off the veil of hypocrisy and
uttering his terrible truths both about himself and the messengers who
bear his sentence. Pompilia is Browning's most perfect female character;
but, though a beautiful creation, she illustrates one of the defects in
his dramatic art. She speaks Browning's speech, and she thinks his
thought. Simple child as she is, there is a depth of philosophy in her
utterances that is not in strict keeping with her character; and she, like
all Browning's men and women, uses the abrupt vivid language of the poet.
Notwithstanding his almost passionate repudiation of the idea, Browning is
a self-revealing poet; and nowhere does he reveal himself more than in the
Pope, the greatest character in _The Ring and the Book_. In him the
resemblance to Browning himself does not matter, it rather adds a new
interest. The mind can conceive and picture nothing higher than its own
ideal best; and the Pope is Browning's ideal man, great in intellect, in
morals and in faith. In two other cases, _Rabbi Ben Ezra_ and _A Death in
the Desert_, Browning has given similar glimpses of his own ideal, but
they are less full than the view we get in _The Pope_.

To Browning's middle period belong likewise many of his love-poems, and
these are unique in the English language. Others, like Shakespeare and
Burns and Shelley, have given a more purely captivating expression to the
ardour of love; no one else has so worked out its philosophy. Not that
Browning's poems are deficient in feeling; the expressions of his own love
for his wife, 'O lyric love' and _One Word More_, would suffice to refute
such a criticism. But he prefers to take an aspect of passion and to
explain it by the way of thought. He is analytical. The best example is
_James Lee's Wife_, which goes through a whole drama of passion, and might
be described, like Tennyson's _Maud_, as 'a lyrical mono-drama.' This, for
good or evil, is another method from that of 'Take, oh take those lips
away,' or 'I arise from dreams of thee,' or 'Of a' the airts.' There is
both gain and loss in Browning's way of treatment. On the one hand, the
lyric strain is less pure. If poetry ought to be 'simple, sensuous and
impassioned,' and it has been generally thought that lyric poetry in
particular should be so, then is Browning's less in harmony with the
ideal. On the other hand, because his is a new way Browning impresses the
reader with his originality; and because it is a thoughtful way he has a
wide range. Moreover, it is a purifying and ennobling way. No poet free,
as Browning is, from the taint of asceticism has ever treated the passion
of love in a manner so little physical as he. There are in his works
errors of taste that cause a shudder; but they are not here.

It was likewise during this period that Browning was at his dramatic best.
Nearly all his best pieces are dramatic in conception, though sometimes,
as in the love-poems, we are confined to single aspects of character. Not
to speak of the great figures of _The Ring and the Book_, there is ample
variety in _Men and Women_ and in _Dramatis Personæ_. There are few
figures more clearly drawn or more easily remembered than _Andrea del
Sarto_; and _My Last Duchess_ is equally fine. In these two pieces
Browning has succeeded better than elsewhere in keeping himself in the
background. _Fra Lippo Lippi_ has likewise the stamp of dramatic truth,
and is rich in humour; and _Bishop Blougram_ is at once an excellent
character, and, though a satirical conception, the mouthpiece of some
serious thought.

In the last twenty years of his life Browning, on the whole, appears at
his worst. We have seen how the development of Tennyson, though not
unattended with loss, carried with it much compensating gain. There are
some indications that Tennyson felt the influence of his great
contemporary. The metrical effects of his later poems, as well as the
studies of character, are sometimes suggestive of Browning. It would have
been well if Browning had in turn borrowed a few hints from Tennyson; but
unfortunately he went steadily along his own course, bringing into ever
greater prominence characteristics that rather needed repression. He
should have nourished the artistic rather than the intellectual element.
Instead, the former dwindled and the latter grew; and some of his later
writings may be not unfairly described as merely treatises in verse. Such
is _Fifine at the Fair_ (1872); such is _La Saisiaz_ (1878); such are many
parts of _Ferishtah's Fancies_ (1884), and of the _Parleyings with Certain
People of Importance_ (1887). Such too is _Prince Hohenstiel-Schwangau_
(1871); for there the dramatic conception of Louis Napoleon is smothered
beneath the arguments of the Saviour of Society. In all of these the
philosophy overloads the poetry, a state of matters all the less
satisfactory because the philosophy itself is not so sound as that of the
earlier periods.

There is nevertheless some fine work belonging to this late period. The
translations from the Greek are interesting; but their value is outweighed
by that of the beautiful romance of _Balaustion_, in which they are set,
and by the discussion of the principles of art in _Aristophanes' Apology_
(1875). Still better is _The Inn Album_ (1875), remarkable for the
magnificent character of the heroine, and for some of the most powerful
reasoning to be found in Browning's works. His last volume, _Asolando_
(1889), will always have a special interest for its publication
coincidently with his death; and it illustrates how his favourite ideas
remained fixed to the end. There is nothing more characteristic of him
than the thought that evil is necessary to the evolution of good. We can
trace this all through his work. It is present in _Sordello_, where we
find evil described as 'the scheme by which, through ignorance, good
labours to exist;' and the poet even modifies the prayer, 'Lead us not
into temptation,' because, if we are strong enough to overcome it, the
temptation will only do us good. It is indeed Bishop Blougram whom he
causes to speak of 'the blessed evil;' but Browning could consistently
have used the phrase himself. Nowhere is this doctrine, at first so
strange, yet so suggestive, more fully and clearly expressed than in the
poem _Rephan_ in _Asolando_. Earth is superior to Rephan just because evil
blended with good is better than 'a neutral best,' and it is progress to
move from the sphere where wrong is impossible to one where through the
risk of evil, and often through evil itself, a higher good may be
attained.

Browning's last word to the world, the epilogue to _Asolando_, is most
distinctive of his style and tone of thought. He held throughout a steady
optimism, all the more cheering because it is the optimism of a man of
wide knowledge of the world, and one who has looked evil in the face. The
note is never clearer than in the epilogue, where he describes himself as

    'One who never turned his back but marched breast forward,
      Never doubted clouds would break,
  Never dreamed, though right were worsted, wrong would triumph,
      Held we fall to rise, are baffled to fight better,
            Sleep to wake.

    'No, at noonday in the bustle of man's work-time
      Greet the unseen with a cheer!
  Bid him forward, breast and back as either should be,
      Strive and thrive! Cry, "Speed,--fight on, fare ever
            There as here."'

[Sidenote: Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861).]

Elizabeth Barrett Browning was an author at an earlier date than her
husband. As early as 1826 she published a poetical _Essay on Mind_, along
with other pieces; but her first work of any note was _The Seraphim_
(1838). Her introduction to Browning took place in 1846. She was prepared
to admire him, for she already admired his work, and had expressed her
opinion of it in _Lady Geraldine's Courtship_. An accident in girlhood had
made her a confirmed invalid; but in spite of this the two poets fell in
love, and were married in the autumn of the year when they first met. They
left England and settled at Florence for the sake of Mrs. Browning's
health; and there, in 1861, she died.

There are two points of special and peculiar interest in connexion with
Mrs. Browning. She has only one possible rival, Christina Rossetti, for
the honour of being the greatest poetess who has written in English; and
her marriage with Browning formed a union without parallel in literature.
Moreover, in relation to Mrs. Browning's works, sex is not a mere
accident. She is a woman in all her modes of thought and feeling, and she
is so especially in her very finest work. Her greatest contribution to
literature, _Sonnets from the Portuguese_, derives its unique interest
from being the expression of the woman's love; and _A Child's Grave at
Florence_ could hardly have been written but by a woman and a mother.

Mrs. Browning's influence upon her husband was remarkably slight; his
influence upon her was of mixed effect, but good predominated. The
questionable element is seen when we compare _The Seraphim_ with poems
like _Casa Guidi Windows_ (1851) and _Aurora Leigh_ (1857). _The
Seraphim_, a lyrical drama, though immature, is of high promise. It is,
above all, right in tone and method; for the writer, Mrs. Browning, was
not really a thinker; woman-like, she felt first, and the attempt to
translate her feeling into thought was an error. She was by nature prone
to this error, and Browning strengthened her innate ambition. But she
never succeeds where thought is suffered to predominate. _Casa Guidi
Windows_ is sadly wanting in force and concentration; and the ambitious
metrical romance of _Aurora Leigh_ would be much improved by being
compressed within half its bulk. It is moreover always the thought, the
social discussions, the parts meant to be especially profound, that are
wrong; the poetic feeling is sound and just, and its expression is often
excellent. Minor influences of Browning may be traced in his wife's rhymes
and rhythms; but while his effects, though often grotesque and uncouth,
are striking and memorable, hers are feeble and commonplace.

But if Browning inspired his wife with a false ideal, he, on the other
hand, lifted the shadow from her life, and gave her courage and hope, and
the measure of health without which her work could not have been
accomplished. Her best poems are related to him directly, like the
_Sonnets from the Portuguese_, or indirectly, like _A Child's Grave at
Florence_; for there her own child is an influence.

Beyond question, the _Sonnets from the Portuguese_ (1850) are Mrs.
Browning's most valuable contribution to literature. They are valuable
even beyond their intrinsic merits. Good as they are, these sonnets have
neither massiveness and subtlety of thought on the one hand, nor melody
and charm on the other, sufficient to secure a place beside the greatest
poetry. But they are the genuine utterance of a woman's heart, at once
humbled and exalted by love; and in this respect they are unique. The
woman's passion, from the woman's point of view, has seldom found
expression at all in literature, and this particular aspect of it never.
Hence, while it would be absurd to say that these sonnets are, as pieces
of poetry, equal to the sonnets of Wordsworth or of Milton, it is not so
unreasonable to question whether their removal would not leave a more
irreparable gap in literature.

Mrs. Browning is on the whole happiest as a sonnet-writer. The sonnet form
restrained that tendency to diffuseness which was her besetting sin, and
so the fetters proved, as they so often do, to be the means whereby she
moved more freely. Her purpose however frequently required the use of
other forms. Thus, she sometimes aimed at romantic effects. She did so
with no great success in _Lady Geraldine's Courtship_, a kind of _Lord of
Burleigh_ from the other side, spoilt by excessive length. _The Rhyme of
the Duchess May_ is much better. _The Romaunt of Margret_ altogether fails
to catch the weird effect aimed at, while _The Lay of the Brown Rosary_
succeeds. But apart from the _Sonnets from the Portuguese_ and some of the
miscellaneous sonnets, her truest note is pathos. _Bertha in the Lane_, a
simple story, sentimental but not weak, is an example of one aspect of it;
_A Child's Grave_, already mentioned, of another; and, perhaps highest of
all, _The Cry of the Children_ of a third.

Mrs. Browning had a dangerous facility of composition, and much that she
wrote is poor. Few poets gain more by selection. A small volume of pieces
judiciously chosen would convince the reader that he was listening to the
voice of a true and even a great poet; but his sense of this is lost in
the flatness and weariness of the five superfluous volumes.

[Sidenote: Edward FitzGerald (1809-1883).]

There remains one very remarkable poet, Edward FitzGerald, whom it is
difficult to place. Formally, he ought to be classed merely as an
interpreter of other men's thoughts; but in reality he is an original poet
of no mean rank, and his friendship with Tennyson, together with the
strong intellectual quality of his principal work, gives him an affinity
to the group now under discussion. His first noteworthy publication was a
fine prose dialogue, _Euphranor_ (1851), but his principal work was the
translation of poetry. He translated six dramas of Calderon (1853), the
_Rubáiyát_ of Omar Khayyám (1859), _Salámán and Absál_ (1856), and the
_Agamemnon_ of Æschylus, which, having been first privately printed, was
published anonymously in 1876.

Probably no other translator ever showed equal originality. As a rule, the
reader of a version of poetry, even if he be unacquainted with the
original, feels a sense of loss. Pope's Homer is 'a pretty poem;' but not
only is it not Homer, we feel that it is not worthy of the great
reputation of Homer; and there is not one of the numerous versions of
_Faust_ but falls far short of the force and suggestiveness of the
original. It is not so with FitzGerald. To some extent in the case of all
his poems, but eminently in the case of the _Rubáiyát_, we feel that we
are in the presence of a man of native power; and some Persian scholars
hold that in this instance the order of merit is reversed, and that
FitzGerald is greater than Omar.

That his success was partly due to an inborn gift for rendering verse is
proved by FitzGerald's high, though not equal felicity, as a translator of
poets so different as Æschylus, Calderon, and Omar Khayyám. But partly
also it was due to a very liberal theory of translation, outlined by
himself in the prefaces to Calderon and the _Agamemnon_. In the former he
says, 'I have, while faithfully trying to retain what was fine and
efficient, sunk, reduced, altered, and replaced much that seemed not;
simplified some perplexities, and curtailed or omitted scenes that seemed
to mar the general effect, supplying such omissions by some lines of
after-narrative; and in some measure have tried to compensate for the
fulness of sonorous Spanish, which Saxon English at least must forego, by
a compression which has its own charms to Saxon ears.' The extent to
which he allowed himself liberties may be partly gauged by the differences
between the first and fourth editions of the _Rubáiyát_. In short,
FitzGerald was more properly a paraphrast than a translator. He got into
his mind a conception of the central meaning of the work and of the
author's character where, as in the case of Omar, that was of importance
as a key to the meaning; and he then, without troubling himself about
exact equivalence of word or phrase, or even of whole sections, proceeded
to create a similar impression in the new language. Hence his work is
wholly free from the impression of cramped movement so common in
translations.

With reference to Omar, FitzGerald had first to decide whether his
quatrains were to be interpreted literally, or as the utterances of a
mystic Sufism, in which the wine so frequently sung of really meant Deity,
and all the sensual images covered a spiritual meaning. Fortunately, he
decided for the former alternative; and whatever the real Omar may have
been, FitzGerald's Omar is an epicurean. The original Omar has been
compared to Lucretius; as FitzGerald represents him he is far more
suggestive of Horace. His touch is lighter than the elder Roman's; and he
has no system, nor any ambition to frame one. Rather it is his conviction
of the futility of systems that makes him what he is. He is a thoughtful
man, questioning the meaning of life, finding no answer except in the
philosophy of 'eat, drink, and be merry, for to-morrow we die,' and
drawing thence the inevitable melancholy it must impart to the reflective
mind.

  'There was the Door to which I found no Key;
  There was the Veil through which I might not see;
  Some little talk awhile of ME and THEE
  There was--and then no more of THEE and ME.'

Herein lies the charm of his epicureanism, and herein too its kinship
with that of Horace. In both, the moral, _carpe diem_, is the advice of
men who, in spite of themselves, must live for more than the day.

Thanks to the deeply human element in his philosophy, Horace after
nineteen centuries is one of the most modern of poets. He has been
emphatically the guide of the man of the world, whose experience, as it
broadens, more and more convinces him of the poet's truth. FitzGerald's
Omar has the same modern tone, perhaps in a degree even higher. His
necessitarianism is modern, his scepticism is modern, and the difficulties
in which it arises are modern too. His stinging quatrains answer a
theology familiar enough to the readers of Burns, and seem to breathe the
spirit of the Scotch poet's satires on the Kirk:

  'Oh Thou, who didst with pitfall and with gin
  Beset the Road I was to wander in,
    Thou wilt not with Predestined Evil round
  Enmesh, and then impute my Fall to Sin!

  'Oh Thou, who Man of baser Earth didst make,
  And ev'n with Paradise devise the Snake:
    For all the Sin wherewith the face of Man
  Is blacken'd--Man's forgiveness give--and take!'

Except perhaps in America, FitzGerald is not yet appreciated as he ought
to be. When he is so appreciated he will rank only under the greatest of
his time, and his chief work will be classed little below their best.



CHAPTER XI.

POETRY FROM 1850 TO 1870: THE PRE-RAPHAELITES; THE SPASMODIC SCHOOL; MINOR
POETS.


[Sidenote: Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882).]

Contemporary with the great poets, who seem to feel first of all the
imperative necessity of understanding and interpreting the intellectual
movement of the age, were others, some of them great too, in whose work
passion takes a prior place to intellect. Of these the most talented group
were the Pre-Raphaelites, and the greatest man was Dante Gabriel Rossetti.
The celebrated founder of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was a man who had
the rare fortune to be highly distinguished in two arts. Other
artists--Thomas Woolner and William Bell Scott and Sir Joseph Noel Paton
are contemporary examples--have been poets also; but no one has attained a
level at once as high and as equal in both as Rossetti. He has also been
influential upon others in a degree rare even among men of as great
calibre; and finally, he was only the greatest of a family all highly
gifted in literature.

Rossetti, though English by birth, was more Italian than English by blood,
and he was brought up in an atmosphere largely Italian. Both his literary
and his artistic talents showed themselves early. The literary organ of
the Pre-Raphaelites, _The Germ_, received some of his earliest writings;
but he had begun to compose even earlier, the two well-known pieces, _The
Blessed Damozel_ and _My Sister's Sleep_, having both been written in his
nineteenth year. The greater part of his poetry was composed in early
manhood. On the death of his wife, in 1862, Rossetti, in the transport of
his grief, buried the MSS. in her coffin. They were exhumed in 1869 and
published under the simple title of _Poems_ in 1870. After his wife's
death Rossetti for a long time wrote little poetry, though he continued
his artistic work. In later years the complete breakdown of his health
checked his production. He suffered from insomnia and attempted to cure it
by the use of chloral, with the usual result. Nevertheless, some very fine
pieces, notably _The King's Tragedy_, are of late composition. The later
poems were gathered together in the _Ballads and Sonnets_ of 1881.
Rossetti was also a translator, and in 1861 had published, under the title
of _The Early Italian Poets_, the collection now known as _Dante and his
Circle_. He likewise occasionally wrote prose, his most considerable work
being a story, poetical in spirit, entitled _Hand and Soul_.

Mr. W. D. Howells (quoted in Sharp's _Dante Gabriel Rossetti_) says it
will always be a question whether Rossetti 'had not better have painted
his poems and written his pictures; there is so much that is purely
sensuous in the former and so much that is intellectual in the latter.'
There is certainly an element of truth in this judgment. The sensuousness
was the cause of the celebrated attack entitled _The Fleshly School of
Poetry_, which was met by Rossetti's effective rejoinder, _The Stealthy
School of Criticism_. The poet showed that the attack was in great measure
unjust, but he would not have sought to deny that there was sensuousness
in his poetry. He would have held, on the contrary, that poetry not only
might legitimately be, but ought to be, sensuous. This conception
influenced Rossetti's whole style of poetical portraiture. We see its
effect in the fine description of a girl in _A Last Confession_,
beginning, 'She had a mouth made to bring death to life.' It is all so
written that from it the painter could easily put the portrait on canvas.

But with respect to the allegation of sensuousness, the question for
criticism is one of degree. There are two aspects of it, the moral and the
artistic, which, though not entirely distinct, are best treated apart.
Rossetti's answer was most successful upon the moral side, though even in
this respect there remained one or two pieces not easily justified. From
the artistic point of view, it must be said that the sensuousness is
sometimes so great as to blur the intellectual outlines. We see this
particularly in the sonnets, which many regard as Rossetti's best work in
poetry. He certainly does put into the sonnet a fulness of melody and a
wealth of colour not surpassed and perhaps, in their conjunction, hardly
equalled in the language. But when we ask if the idea of the sonnet stands
out with due clearness, the answer must be in the negative. In the best
sonnets of Milton and Wordsworth, and in a less degree in those of
Drummond of Hawthornden, of Mrs. Browning and of Christina Rossetti, the
idea is precise and definite. Dante Rossetti is a poet who 'deals in
meanings,' but he sometimes darkens, if he does not altogether bury, the
meaning under a wealth of sonorous words. The fault of over-elaboration,
which is chargeable also against the pictorial art of the Pre-Raphaelites,
is visible here. We see it in other aspects too. The sense of spontaneity
is lost; the poet seems to be perpetually aiming at a mark just beyond his
reach; and there is an excessive addiction to some of the subordinate
artifices of verse. Among these Rossetti's favourite is alliteration; and
the reader is not infrequently troubled with the suspicion that a word is
used, not because it is the best, but because it begins with a particular
letter.

A defect kindred in origin, but more serious, is shown in Rossetti's
treatment of nature. One of his best poems of this class is _The Stream's
Secret_. The poet certainly wrote it 'with his eye on the object,' for the
stream in question was no figment of the brain, but the Penwhapple in
Ayrshire. All the more for that reason it illustrates the difference
between inspiration and conscientious study. Rossetti did not feel natural
beauty like Wordsworth, and his descriptions have not the easy grace of
the true poet of nature. He deliberately set out to make a poem, with the
result that he produced a fine piece of skilled workmanship.

Next perhaps to Rossetti's reputation as a writer of sonnets stands his
reputation as a balladist; and it may be questioned whether the order
ought not to be reversed. Rossetti's art was far too elaborate for a
ballad of the genuine old type. Even in _The White Ship_ there is a note
which distinguishes it not only from the true popular ballad, but from
such approximations as the ballads of Scott. But poetry ought to be valued
for what it is, not for conformity with what may possibly be a misleading
standard; and Rossetti's ballads are noble poetry. He imbibed enough of
the ballad spirit to check his habitual faults, and of all his
compositions the ballads are the simplest and most natural. The universal
favourite, _The King's Tragedy_ is a grand story told with great fire and
energy. So, too, _Rose Mary_ is a powerful and beautiful poem, less
uniform however than _The King's Tragedy_, for the lyrics between the
parts are at best second-rate. It is in pieces like these, and in some of
the more clearly-thought sonnets, like _Lost Days_, that Rossetti proves
himself the true poet. The more deeply sensuous sonnets, and such
characteristic pieces as _The Blessed Damozel_, are representative rather
of the dangers and defects of his poetry.

[Sidenote: Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830-1894).]

Less great but hardly less interesting than her brother was Christina
Georgina Rossetti, who, like him, wrote for _The Germ_, though she
published no volume of poems for many years afterwards. Though her course
extends far beyond the limits of the period, the poetical work for which
she is most memorable was chiefly done within it, and her closest
connexions belong to it too. Her first published volume was _Goblin
Market, and other Poems_ (1862); her second, _The Prince's Progress, and
other Poems_ (1866). Then, after some prose tales, came the book of
nursery rhymes, _Sing-Song_ (1872). From this time onwards, except for _A
Pageant, and other Poems_ (1881), Miss Rossetti's books were chiefly of a
devotional character; but one of them, _Time Flies_ (1885), contains some
of the finest of her verse.

The religious poems form a most important section of Christina Rossetti's
works. She is one of the most profoundly devotional of modern writers.
Unlike Arnold and Clough, she is not a poet of doubt but of faith; unlike
Browning's, her creed is rather a creed of feeling than of intellect. But
while she is not touched with the doubt of the age she is touched with its
sadness. Her devotional pieces have sometimes, as in _Advent_, the ring of
conquering faith, but more often they have in them something of a wail.
What Dr. John Brown called the 'inevitable melancholy' of women seems to
find a voice in Christina Rossetti; and though she is bound by her faith
to an ultimately optimistic view, her habitual tone of mind is gloomy.
'Vanity of vanities' is the title of her finest sonnet, and it is also the
conclusion she draws from the life of this world.

One of the praiseworthy points of Christina Rossetti's work is that, while
invariably imaginative, it never fails to be clear. In this respect she
far surpasses her brother. The marks of the artist's chisel are, as we
have seen, too conspicuous in his work; in hers they are invisible. Yet
few writers are more carefully artistic than she. Less ambitious in her
aims than Dante Rossetti, her work impresses the reader with its adequacy
to those aims. Herein she has an advantage over Mrs. Browning also. The
latter has produced a far greater body of work, and at her best writes
with far more strength than Miss Rossetti; but on the other hand Miss
Rossetti is free from those astonishing lapses into bathos or triviality
or mere bad taste which disfigure Mrs. Browning's poetry. The two
poetesses meet most closely in their respective series of sonnets--_Monna
Innominata_ and the _Sonnets from the Portuguese_. These are among the
masterpieces of each, for both were peculiarly happy in the sonnet form;
Christina Rossetti because she was an artist by nature, Mrs. Browning
probably because the form compelled her to be an artist. The comparison is
unquestionably in favour of Mrs. Browning. The _Sonnets from the
Portuguese_ are richer and deeper than _Monna Innominata_. They record a
love actually felt; and they are the product of an intellect wider, though
perhaps less fine than Christina Rossetti's. But as regards the form, it
is by no means clear that the advantage lies with the elder writer. Mrs.
Browning's sonnets are sometimes laboured in expression; Christina
Rossetti's have an inimitable ease, all the more delightful because in
modern poetry it is rare. Her beautifully pure style is one of her
greatest merits; and it is also one of the most striking points of
contrast between her and her brother. A sonorous richness is
characteristic of his style, a fine simplicity of hers. This simplicity,
and the fineness of touch and delicacy of taste which accompanied it,
served her well in those poems of the supernatural where her imaginative
flight is highest. She is a mistress in the fairy realm, and in its own
class _Goblin Market_ is unsurpassed.

[Sidenote: William Edmondstoune Aytoun (1813-1865).]

Another school which sprang up about the middle of the century, taking its
rise in the longing for something deeper and more satisfying than had been
recently in vogue, was that nicknamed 'the Spasmodic.' The name was fixed
upon the school by the extremely clever satirist of it, William
Edmondstoune Aytoun, himself a poet of a very different family, that of
Scott. Aytoun is best known from his _Lays of the Scottish Cavaliers_
(1848), narratives of martial exploit and tragic sorrow written in
animated but excessively rhetorical verse. He was also, in conjunction
with Mr. (afterwards Sir) Theodore Martin, the author of the _Bon Gaultier
Ballads_ (1845), one of the most amusing collections of comic verse of
this century. His satire of the Spasmodic School is contained in
_Firmilian_ (1854), a mock-serious piece purporting to be by a member of
the school. It was at the time customary to say that Aytoun had killed the
Spasmodic School. If he had done so he would hardly have deserved well of
literature. But though it is true that the Spasmodic Poets shot up like a
rocket only to come down like the spent stick, both the rise and the fall
were due partly to whims of popular taste, while the main cause of the
fall lay in defects of the writers which satire did not make and could do
little to remedy. On the whole, _Firmilian_ was more likely to have helped
the school than to have hurt it if it had contained in itself the seeds of
long life. But the name 'spasmodic' was only too accurately descriptive of
more than its style,--unfortunately so, for both the chief members,
Sydney Dobell and Alexander Smith, possessed talents for poetry in some
respects very high.

[Sidenote: Sydney Dobell (1824-1874).]

Sydney Dobell had the misfortune to be born a member of a narrow and
intense religious sect, in which his talents caused him to be regarded as
the destined instrument for some grand design of providence. He outgrew
the sect, but never quite outgrew the education it had given him and the
ideas it had instilled. From about 1850 he devoted himself chiefly to
literature. His writings are _The Roman_ (1850), _Balder_ (1853), _Sonnets
on the War_ (1855), in which he collaborated with Alexander Smith, and
_England in Time of War_ (1856). But his health failed, and though he
lived eighteen years longer he wrote little more of consequence.

'He never weeded his garden,' wrote Dr. John Brown of him, 'and will, I
fear, be therefore strangled in his waste fertility.' This is the central
truth about Dobell. Few poets are so uneven, perhaps hardly any poet
capable of rising so high has ever sunk so low. Many passages are mere
fustian, some are outrages against all taste; but others have a sublimity
not often surpassed.

At the beginning Dobell gave promise of development which, if fulfilled,
would have led him very high indeed. In the short interval between _The
Roman_ and _Balder_ the youthful author had grown surprisingly. _The
Roman_, a fervid poem carrying on a Byronic tradition of interest in
Italy, has all the faults of youth. It is too long, and it is bombastic.
Its chief merit is width of sympathy; and it also contains here and there
hints that promise in the future reach of thought. In _Balder_ we see this
promise redeemed. It is far more forcible than _The Roman_ and it is
loaded with thought. _Balder_ was a poem of vast design. It was to be in
three parts, of which only one was ever published. The purpose was, in
the words of the author's preface, to trace 'the progress of a human being
from Doubt to Faith, from Chaos to Order. Not of Doubt incarnate to Faith
incarnate, but of a doubtful mind to a faithful mind.' The design
therefore bears a certain general resemblance to that of _Paracelsus_.
_Balder_ is not equal to that great poem. It is even more difficult while
less profound, and it is especially far less of a unity. It is, strictly
speaking, paradoxical to regard as a whole what proclaims itself as a
part; but a part of a great design may have completeness in itself, and
this _Balder_ has not.

Again, if we regard the poem in the light most favourable to it, as a
collection of passages in verse, we have to admit the most amazing
inequalities. Few passages in literature are more hideous than the
description of the monster on which Tyranny rides; but, on the other hand,
the best passages may challenge comparison with all but the greatest
poetry. Even this comparison has been sometimes made. The description of
Chamouni has been said to rival the great hymn of Coleridge, and that of
the Coliseum the celebrated stanzas of Byron on the same subject. The
comparison, especially with Coleridge, is unkind to Dobell. At his best he
cannot rival one of the most poetic minds in all literature in one of its
highest flights. Nevertheless, both passages are exceedingly good. The
subjects moreover are characteristic. Magnitude and massiveness are
congenial to Dobell, and almost necessary to draw out his best. 'Alone
among our modern poets,' says Dr. Garnett, 'he finds the sublime a
congenial element.' It is in such passages as those named, and in Balder's
magnificent vision of war, that Dobell shows the grand material of poetry
that was in him.

For this reason it might have been expected that Dobell's next volumes,
_Sonnets on the War_ and _England in Time of War_, would have been more
uniformly good. _The Roman_ proves that he had the fire of patriotism in
his veins, and many passages of his verse show that this fire was not all
spent, as most of Byron's was, to warm other nations than his own. Of all
the poets then living, Dobell had the largest share of Tennyson's
patriotic fervour and of his love for warlike themes. Nevertheless, the
_Sonnets on the War_ are of but moderate merit; and though _England in
Time of War_ contains some powerful pieces, it has all the inequality of
Dobell's earlier poetry. Dobell had learnt little of the art of
self-criticism, and whether he had the capacity to learn must remain
doubtful. He afterwards wrote a few fine poems, such as _The Magyar's
New-Year-Eve_ and _The Youth of England to Garibaldi's Legion_, but broken
health prevented him from undertaking any great work. He remains therefore
a poet great by snatches. A selection, including the passages already
mentioned, _An Evening Dream_, with its stirring ring of heroism, the
fascinating ballad, _Keith of Ravelston_, and some others, might be made,
which would greatly raise his reputation. The volume would not be large,
but the contents would be excellent.

[Sidenote: Alexander Smith (1829-1867).]

Next in importance among the Spasmodic Poets to Dobell was Alexander
Smith. He was the son of a pattern-designer of Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, and
in his now little known but quietly pleasing novel, _Alfred Hagart's
Household_, he has embodied a good deal of autobiographic matter. He was
also the author of a thoughtful and well-written volume of essays,
_Dreamthorp_. But he is first and chiefly a poet. His earliest volume was
_A Life Drama_ (1853), which excited a degree of interest rarely roused by
the first work of a young author. It was warmly praised and loudly
condemned; and the result of the controversy that raged over it was to
make the author for a short time one of the most prominent writers in the
kingdom. But his fame speedily declined, and _City Poems_ (1857), though
it contains some of his best work, was coldly received. _Edwin of Deira_
(1861) was somewhat more successful, but was far from reviving the
interest which had centred in _A Life Drama_.

The present generation, which has been unjust to Dobell, has dealt still
more hardly with Alexander Smith. The Nemesis of excessive praise is
unjust depreciation, and both have been Smith's lot. He has been denied
the title of poet altogether; but he is a poet, and even a considerable
one. He shares both the defects and the excellences of Dobell, never
sinking so low, and, on the other hand, never rising as high. His
execution is unequal, he rants, he uses metaphor to excess, he is by no
means free from affectation. But though the _Life Drama_ is crude and
unequal, there is plenty of promise in it. There was ground to hope that
the spirit from which it proceeded was like a turbid torrent which would
by-and-by deposit its mud and flow on strong and clear. To those who hoped
thus _Edwin of Deira_ was disappointing. A good deal of the mud had been
deposited, the execution was more perfect, but there was less strength and
less volume of thought than might have been expected. It is in his minor
pieces and in occasional lines and passages that Smith shows best. There
is rare beauty in the melancholy close of the lyric _Barbara_ in _Horton_.
The picture of the sphinx, 'staring right on with calm eternal eyes,' has
the true touch of imagination; and so has the image of the wind smiting
'his thunder-harp of pines.' _Glasgow_ in the _City Poems_, is a strong as
well as a beautiful piece. There can be no question of the imaginative
power of this picture of the city in its cloud of smoke pierced by
sunlight:

  'When sunset bathes thee in his gold,
  In wreaths of bronze thy sides are rolled,
    Thy smoke is dusky fire;
  And, from the glory round thee poured,
  A sunbeam like an angel's sword
    Shivers upon a spire.
  Thus have I watched thee, Terror! Dream!
  While the blue night crept up the stream.'

[Sidenote: Coventry Patmore (1823-1896).]

There remain two or three considerable poets whom it is difficult to
classify. Coventry Patmore cannot be placed in either the Pre-Raphaelite
or the Spasmodic School, and though he has some points of affinity with
the poets of the intellectual movement, they are not close enough to
justify ranking him with them. Patmore is especially the poet of domestic
love. His greatest work, _The Angel in the House_ (1854-1856), was meant
to be a poem on married life. In the opening the poet congratulates
himself that he, though born so late, has had the good fortune to discover
'the first of themes sung last of all.' As he proceeded however he found
his mistake, and never carried out his design; but it imparted the
characteristic tone of quiet domestic affection to his verse. He may be
described as the Wordsworth of the home. He is seldom if ever great, but
his verse at its best has a simple sweetness, with an occasional dignity,
that is exceedingly pleasing. It is unfortunate that against the merits of
the better passages of _The Angel in the House_ there has to be set the
weakness of the letters of Jane. Patmore's purpose was to fit the thought
to the character; but merely weak thought and merely weak character have
no right to a place in poetry such as this. There is no dramatic
realisation and no humour to justify them.

_The Unknown Eros_ (1877) is a work strangely different from _The Angel
in the House_; it is more lyrical and more ambitiously imaginative; and
for this very reason it brings into greater prominence Patmore's
weaknesses. There is a frequent sense of effort. The meaning is often
obscure, and there are here and there, as in the earlier poem, surprising
lapses of taste. The poem recalls Drummond of Hawthornden, not only by the
rhythm, but also by a certain 'preciosity' of diction and imagery.

[Sidenote: The second Lord Lytton (1831-1891).]

The second Lord Lytton, best known in literature by his pseudonym of Owen
Meredith, must also be ranked among 'the unattached' of literature. He had
a distinguished diplomatic career which more than once interrupted his
pen. But, except for the intervals caused by his various ambassadorships
and his eventful tenure of the Viceroyalty of India, Lytton was, from 1855
to his death, a diligent writer. In 1855 _Clytemnestra and other Poems_
appeared, while _Marah_ was a posthumous work. The greater part of
Lytton's writings is poetical, and their total bulk is very great. It is
indeed too great for his fame, and most of his poems would be improved by
condensation. Lytton presents a singular example of heredity, which, in
his case, showed itself in a manner damaging to his reputation. We have
seen how the first Lord Lytton veered with every turn of the popular
taste. The second Lord Lytton changed his style, chameleon-like, with
almost every poet he happened to be reading. The consequence is, in the
first place, that his own style is not easily discovered; and in the
second place that he has been accused of plagiarism with more show of
reason than almost any other man of equal literary rank. It is not merely
that he echoes successively the pensive sentiment and melancholy
reflectiveness of Arnold, the rich diction of Tennyson, the headlong
abundance of Browning, the lyrical sweetness of Shelley, or that he in a
snatch or two almost paraphrases Byron. In _Lucile_, his indebtedness to
George Sand is far more extensive. It is true he avowed that he had taken
from her the story of the piece; but the story is the principal part of
it, and no writer ought to borrow quite so much from another. The fault is
a serious one, and it is reason sufficient for the belief that Owen
Meredith will never take a high place in poetry; yet his endowments were
almost great, his taste was purer than his father's, and had he been more
independent-minded he might have stood high in the second class of the
poets of the century.

[Sidenote: J. B. Leicester Warren, Lord de Tabley (1835-1895).]

J. B. Leicester Warren, Lord de Tabley, was a man of richer poetic gifts,
who might have done very great work had he met with popular encouragement.
He began his poetic career as early as 1859, but his first volume of
importance was _Præterita_, issued under the pseudonym of William
Lancaster, in 1863. For the next ten years he was an active writer. Partly
his own taste and partly admiration for _Atalanta in Calydon_ induced him
to attempt the classical drama; and his two experiments, _Philoctetes_
(1866) and _Orestes_ (1867), rank among the most finished of their class.
They secured the warm approval of the best judges, but they did not become
popular. He tried novels, also without winning popularity; and after two
more experiments in verse--_Rehearsals_ (1870) and _Searching the Net_
(1873)--he almost disappeared from the ranks of authors for twenty years;
for the _Soldier of Fortune_, though bulky, can hardly be considered
important. It was the reissue in 1893 of his best pieces under the title
of _Poems Dramatic and Lyrical_ that first made Lord de Tabley's name
widely known. So marked was the success of this collection that it was
followed two years later by another, which was less successful because it
was the result of a less rigid selection.

These volumes represent Lord de Tabley at his best, and that best is very
good indeed. Such pieces as the _Hymn to Astarte_, the _Woodland Grave_
and _Jael_, would do honour to any poet. There is intense dramatic power
in the last-named piece, and a rich magnificence of style in the others. A
tendency to sameness may sometimes be detected. He has, for example, one
favourite colour, and the whole world is seen by him bathed in an amber
light. There are also here and there echoes of contemporary poets, such as
Browning, and still more, Swinburne, whose fulness of sound attracted De
Tabley. But he is an essentially independent poet, and had he been
encouraged to write he would doubtless have grown increasingly
independent. Few losses in contemporary literature are more serious than
that occasioned by his almost complete silence between 1873 and 1893, just
the years when, by reason of his age, his work ought to have been best. He
was a great man unrecognised, and the failure to recognise is sometimes
severely punished.

[Sidenote: William Morris (1834-1896).]

Most of Lord de Tabley's contemporaries by birth belong rather to the
subsequent period than to the Age of Tennyson. Even Swinburne did so,
though before 1870 he had, by the publication of _Atalanta in Calydon_
(1865), enriched English literature with one of its most perfect dramas on
the Greek model, and by the _Poems and Ballads_ (1866) had 'raised a
storm, and founded a school.' The fact that he founded a school makes him
rather the poetical leader of the present generation than a member of the
preceding one. In some ways Lord de Tabley has more affinity to this later
band than to those who were under the dominion of Carlyle and Browning and
Tennyson. He certainly shows the workings of a new spirit, and seems to
feel the old ideals insufficient; but his twenty years of literary eclipse
serve to fix him chronologically rather among the older men. For a
different reason William Morris, a man just one year older than De Tabley,
also belongs, as a poet, to this period. Morris was a man who played many
parts in life, and he played them not concurrently, but rather
successively. In his characters as high priest of domestic art and as
prophet to the Socialists he is identified with the closing quarter of the
century; while his greatest achievements in poetry belong to the third
quarter. _The Defence of Guenevere and other Poems_ (1858) was his first
volume of verse. Then after nine years came _The Life and Death of Jason_,
followed almost immediately by _The Earthly Paradise_ (1868-1870). Morris
afterwards translated the _Æneid_ and the _Odyssey_, and he also did much
to make familiar in England the spirit of Icelandic literature. His
_Sigurd the Volsung_ (1876) is certainly the finest English poem inspired
by Scandinavia, and perhaps his greatest work.

Morris is the most prominent example in these later days of that revival
of the mediæval spirit which was initiated by the Romanticists of the
latter part of last century, which attained its fullest flower in Scott,
and which shows itself in such varied aspects in Rossetti's poetry, in the
Pre-Raphaelite painters, and in the Oxford theologians. Morris exhibits it
in a way quite his own. Chaucer more than any one else is his master in
poetry. To him Morris reverted for the model of his verse, and the old
poet's influence is seen in the disciple's mode of conception as well as
in many turns of expression. One thing however Morris could not learn,
though Chaucer was eminently qualified to teach it, and that was the true
narrative spirit. Morris chose the narrative form, but the interest of
his poetry rarely lies in the story. He does not himself care greatly for
the story. He is never passionate; he is too calm to enter deeply into the
feelings or to be absorbed in the fortunes of his characters. The charm of
his poetry resides rather in leisurely and restful beauty of description.
In this respect it ranks high, but seldom attains absolute mastery. Nearly
all of Morris is readable and enjoyable, but few of his lines linger in
the memory, and perhaps the only one frequently quoted is that in which he
describes himself as 'the idle singer of an empty day.' Morris was more
than this, but it may be questioned whether there is enough either of the
substance of thought in his verse or of melody and pure poetic beauty to
keep it long alive.


MINOR POETS.

[Sidenote: Sarah Flower Adams (1805-1848).]

Sarah Flower Adams is sure of at least a small niche in the temple of the
English poets were it but for the beautiful hymn, 'Nearer, my God, to
thee.' Her _Vivia Perpetua_ is an ill-constructed drama, partly redeemed
by fine passages.

[Sidenote: William Allingham (1824-1889).]

William Allingham was an Irish poet, of much taste, but of no great power.
His inspiration is strangely fitful and uncertain, and after his removal
to London, in consequence of the success of his earlier verses, it seemed
almost wholly to desert him. He was for a time editor of _Fraser's
Magazine_.

[Sidenote: John Stuart Blackie (1809-1895).]

John Stuart Blackie, for many years Professor of Greek in Edinburgh
University, was a very vigorous miscellaneous writer. He translated
Æschylus, the _Iliad_ and _Faust_. He was very successful in the lighter
lyrical strain, and appears at his best in his rollicking and amusing
university songs.

[Sidenote: Robert Barnabas Brough (1828-1860).]

Robert Barnabas Brough was the author of _Songs of the Governing Classes_
(1859), a small collection of pieces, chiefly satirical, and remarkable
for their vigour, point and sincerity. Strength of feeling, clearness of
intellect and wit are his characteristics. Brough was generally very much
in earnest, but in his _Neighbour Nellie_ he showed that he could touch
lighter themes very charmingly.

[Sidenote: Charles Stuart Calverley (1831-1884).]

Charles Stuart Calverley, the scholarly and witty author of _Verses and
Translations_ (1862) and _Fly Leaves_ (1872), had a faculty for more
serious things, but, partly from indifference, partly because of the
accident which made great effort in his later years impossible, he never
wrote anything worthy of his talents. What he has left however is the very
best of its kind. He is one of the most skilful of translators; and his
parodies and satiric verse are excellent.

[Sidenote: Mortimer Collins (1827-1876).]

Mortimer Collins, poet and novelist, had a very happy knack for the
lighter kinds of lyrical verse, half playful and half serious. Under
pressure of circumstances he wrote too much, and the failure to 'polish
and refine' tells against a great deal of his work.

[Sidenote: William Cory (1823-1892).]

William Cory, originally Johnson, for many years one of the masters of
Eton, was the author of a small volume of Poems entitled _Ionica_ (1858),
which, after long neglect, won, in its third edition of 1891, the
attention due to thoughtfulness and scholarly expression. Cory's best
pieces, such as _Mimnermus in Church_, soar beyond the range of the minor
poet, and show that it only needed quantity to insure him a considerable
place in literature. But he wrote few such pieces, and indeed little verse
of any kind after _Ionica_.

[Sidenote: Sir Francis Hastings Doyle (1810-1888).]

Sir Francis Hastings Doyle succeeded Matthew Arnold in the chair of poetry
at Oxford. Doyle is distinguished for the spirit and the martial ring of
the ballads in which he celebrates deeds of daring. _The Red Thread of
Honour_, _The Private of the Buffs_, and _Mehrab Khan_ are pieces that
take high rank among poems inspired by sympathy with the heroism of the
soldier.

[Sidenote: Sir Samuel Ferguson (1810-1886).]

Sir Samuel Ferguson has been called the national poet of Ireland, on the
score of _Congal_, an epic published in 1872. He is really more remarkable
for his shorter pieces, some of the best of which deal with subjects not
specially Irish. He was an active contributor to the _Dublin University
Magazine_ at the beginning of the period.

[Sidenote: Adam Lindsay Gordon (1833-1870).]

Adam Lindsay Gordon divides with Charles Harpur and Alfred Domett
(Browning's 'Waring') the honour of being laureate of the Antipodes.
Wildness in youth drove him to Australia. It is probably true that but for
the stirring and adventurous life there he never would have written
anything of note; nevertheless, what we find in his verse is rather the
spirit of the English hunting field and of English adventure the world
over, than much that is distinctively Australian.

[Sidenote: David Gray (1838-1861).]

David Gray, author of _The Luggie_, a poem on a small stream which flowed
near his home, was cut off too soon to do much in literature. His verse
however is pleasant, and it might have acquired power. It retains a
pathetic interest on account of the author's fate. He was drawn by the
hope of fame from his native village to London, caught a cold there, and
died while his poem was in process of printing.

[Sidenote: Dora Greenwell (1821-1882).]

Dora Greenwell is chiefly remarkable as a writer of religious verse, the
best of which is to be found in _Carmina Crucis_. She also wrote prose of
considerable merit.

[Sidenote: Robert Stephen Hawker (1803-1875).]

Robert Stephen Hawker, a clergyman who spent his life in the remote parish
of Morwenstow, in Cornwall, is best known for his _Cornish Ballads_
(1869). The spirited and stirring _Song of the Western Men_, printed as
early as 1826, and accepted by Scott as a genuine old ballad, is the most
celebrated of all his compositions. Hawker wrote also _The Quest of the
Sangraal_ (1863), a poem displaying a mysticism which must have been
deep-seated in the author's character; for it led to his reception, just
before he died, into the Roman Catholic Church.

[Sidenote: Jean Ingelow (1820-1897).]

Jean Ingelow is one of the best of recent poetesses, and has also acquired
a considerable, though a less conspicuous name as a writer of fiction. She
is best as a lyrist, and some of her poems are touched with a very fine
and true pathos. She likewise excels in the modern ballad form.

[Sidenote: Edward Lear (1812-1888).]

Edward Lear, author of the _Nonsense Rhymes_ (1861) stands high in the
very peculiar and difficult kind of writing indicated by the title of his
book. There are other writers of humorous verse, like Lewis Carroll, who
possess greater qualities, but the _Nonsense Rhymes_ are unique for rich
whimsical inventiveness. Lear was an artist as well as a writer, and
illustrated his own books.

[Sidenote: Gerald Massey (1828-1907).]

Gerald Massey is a minor poet of unusual range. His attachment to the
Christian Socialists gives a clue to his work; but in him the enthusiasm
of humanity is concentrated in an intense patriotism. Massey's martial
verse is fine, but not quite excellent. _Sir Richard Grenville's Last
Fight_ suggests comparison with Tennyson's _Revenge_; and the comparison
illustrates the difference between good art and consummate art. Neither is
Massey the equal of Doyle on this side; but he is far more varied and
copious.

[Sidenote: The Honourable Mrs. Norton (1808-1877).]

The Honourable Mrs. Norton was a grand-daughter of Richard Brinsley
Sheridan, and inherited some of the family genius. Her poetic gift was not
great, but her verse is spirited, and has frequently a ring of genuine
pathos. Her sister, Lady Dufferin, also wrote verse, which, though less
brilliant than Mrs. Norton's, is on the whole of a more poetic quality.

[Sidenote: Adelaide Anne Procter (1825-1864).]

Adelaide Anne Procter, daughter of Barry Cornwall, was a pleasing writer
of the type of Mrs. Hemans, that is to say, feminine in the less
flattering sense. There is a certain grace in her verse, but it is
altogether destitute of weight and power of thought. Most of her poems
were originally contributed to Dickens's papers, _Household Words_ and
_All the Year Round_.

[Sidenote: William Caldwell Roscoe (1823-1859).]

William Caldwell Roscoe was at once lyrist, dramatist and critic, but
failed to achieve greatness in any of these lines. If Roscoe had lived
longer he might possibly have justified the opinion of his friends; but
his actual performance, though graceful, is not weighty.

[Sidenote: William Bell Scott (1811-1890).]

William Bell Scott was a poet-painter, related to and in general sympathy
with the Pre-Raphaelites, but never a member of the brotherhood. Scott's
verse is characterised by mysticism; but mysticism in verse demands very
skilful expression, and Scott's power over language was not sufficient.
Perhaps his best poem is _The Sphinx_.

[Sidenote: Menella Bute Smedley (1820-1877).]

Menella Bute Smedley wrote both prose and verse well, and occasionally
with distinction. Though an invalid, she published several volumes of
poetry, and contributed to her sister, Mrs. Hart's _Child-World_ and
_Poems written for a Child_. Miss Smedley, like so many female writers, is
in many of her poems markedly patriotic, and, though sometimes too
rhetorical, she is, when stirred, successful in pieces of this type.

[Sidenote: George Walter Thornbury (1828-1876).]

George Walter Thornbury, historian of the buccaneers, was also a poet who,
in his _Songs of the Cavaliers and Roundheads_ (1857) showed considerable
skill in rapid and spirited narrative. The best of his later poems are
gathered up in _Legendary and Historic Ballads_ (1875).

[Sidenote: Aubrey de Vere (1814-1902).]

Aubrey de Vere, an Irish poet, has written, in the course of his long
career, a good deal of pleasing and thoughtful verse. His sonnets are
especially good, as were also his father's, but they would be still better
if they were more terse. Much of his verse is religious, and the mystical
tone of mind, indicative of the tendency which led him, as it led Hawker,
into the Roman Catholic Church, is the one most distinctive of him.



CHAPTER XII.

THE LATER FICTION.


After the turn of the century fiction passes through a change similar to
that of which we have seen evidence in poetry. The increased tendency to
analysis, the greater frequency of the novel of purpose, and the
philosophic strain conspicuous in George Eliot, all point to the operation
of the forces which stimulated the intellectual movement in verse. The
novelists, on the whole, take themselves more seriously than their
predecessors--not always to their own advantage or that of their readers.
Dickens, in his later days, is more of a reformer than at the opening of
his career; and Charles Reade and Kingsley likewise make a conscious
attempt to benefit society. In the case of the greatest novelist yet to be
discussed this tendency to seriousness of aim grew till it injured her
art. George Eliot was always serious in mind, but there is a great
difference in treatment between _Scenes of Clerical Life_ and _Daniel
Deronda_.

[Sidenote: George Eliot (1819-1880).]

Mary Ann Evans, who adopted the _nom de plume_ of George Eliot, was the
daughter of an estate agent. After the death of her mother in 1836 she was
charged with the care of her father's house. But she continued to study,
her subject at this period being language, German and Italian, Latin and
Greek. Her father moved in 1841 from Griff, near Nuneaton, to Coventry.
There Miss Evans came under influences which affected her whole life.
Intercourse with certain friends named Bray, and the reading of books like
Hennell's _Inquiry concerning the Origin of Christianity_ overthrew her
hitherto unquestioning orthodoxy, gave to her thought a permanent bent,
and introduced her to literature. A project for translating Strauss's
_Leben Jesu_ into English had been for some time entertained; the person
who originally undertook the work had to abandon it; and Miss Evans took
her place. _The Life of Jesus_ was published in 1846. Miss Evans
afterwards translated also Feuerbach's _Essence of Christianity_ (1854),
the only book ever published under her own name.

The death of her father in 1849 left her without domestic ties, and in
1850 or 1851 she accepted the position of assistant editor of the
_Westminster Review_. In 1854 she took the most questionable step of her
life. She went to live with George Henry Lewes, not only without the
ceremony of marriage, but while he had a wife still living. All that can
be said in defence has been said by herself; but there are several
passages in her works which show that she was permanently uneasy, and was
not fully convinced that what she had done was right either towards
herself or towards society.

Apart from the moral and social aspects of the question, the influence of
Lewes upon George Eliot's literary career seems to have been mixed. On the
one hand, it must be said that he acted with a delicate generosity for
which his general character hardly prepares us. He encouraged her efforts,
recognised her genius, avowed that all he was and all he did himself were
due to her, and voluntarily sank into the second place. It is at least
possible that without such fostering care the genius of George Eliot would
not have run so smooth and successful a course. Further, the very
difficulties due to the relation add a deeper note to her voice. There is
often a solemn, almost tragic tone in her utterances about domestic life
which might have been absent had all been smooth between the world and
herself.

On the other hand, Lewes, loyally as he effaced himself, could not but
foster tendencies in her mind which were strong enough without his
encouragement. He was a philosopher, imbued with the tenets of positivism;
and she was naturally prone to be fascinated by abstract thought. Not that
she was ever exactly original in philosophic speculation: the danger would
have been less had she been so. But she hungered for philosophy, took the
results proclaimed for absolute truth, and wove them into the fabric of
her own work. From the _Scenes of Clerical Life_ to _Daniel Deronda_ and
_Theophrastus Such_ her writings became more and more loaded with
philosophy. The two last-named books are decidedly overloaded; and even
_Middlemarch_, the most massive, and probably on the whole the greatest
outcome of her genius, would be still greater were it somewhat lightened
of the burden.

_Blackwood_, the nurse of so much genius, in January, 1857, contained the
first part of what became the _Scenes of Clerical Life_. _Adam Bede_
appeared in 1859, _The Mill on the Floss_ in the following year, and
_Silas Marner_ in 1861. _Romola_ (1863) was the outcome of a journey to
Italy in 1860. After _Felix Holt_ (1866) George Eliot attempted poetry,
and visited Spain to gather materials for _The Spanish Gypsy_ (1868). Her
only other long poem, _The Legend of Jubal_, was published with other
pieces in 1874. _Middlemarch_ was issued in eight parts in 1871 and 1872.
_Daniel Deronda_ (1876) was her last novel; and the _Impressions of
Theophrastus Such_ (1879) was her last work. In 1878 Lewes died; and in
April, 1880, George Eliot married Mr. J. W. Cross, but survived the union
less than a year, dying December 22, 1880.

George Eliot's place is certainly among the great novelists. At the
lowest, she is classed after Scott, Dickens and Thackeray (and a few might
add Jane Austen); at the highest, she is placed above them all. She
carried by storm the intellect of one of the most thoughtful and weighty
of critics, Edmond Scherer, who in his _Études sur la Littérature
Contemporaine_ devoted three essays to her, which have been admirably
translated by Professor Saintsbury. In the last of these Scherer goes so
far as to say that for her 'was reserved the honour of writing the most
perfect novels yet known.' In spite of the note of exaggeration this
judgment is significant. Only a writer, not merely of genius, but of great
genius, could have drawn it from a critic so sober-minded; a foreigner,
unbiassed by the predilections of patriotism; a man of wide knowledge,
well aware of all that his sweeping assertion implied.

Most writers, even the greatest, have loaded themselves with a weight of
literary lumber. George Eliot carries less of such _impedimenta_ than
many, but it will be well nevertheless to put aside at once such works as
are neither in her special field nor in her best manner. Under this head
fall the heavy and laboured volume of essays entitled _Impression of
Theophrastus Such_, and also the poems. The latter, thoughtful, and
occasionally eloquent, nevertheless prove that the writer had not the gift
of verse. Richard Congreve described _The Spanish Gypsy_ as 'a mass of
positivism.' The description is accurate; and perhaps the fact that it is
so is, to others who are not positivists, a heavier objection than it was
to him. _The Legend of Jubal_, though better, is not great poetry.

Leaving these works then aside, the novels of George Eliot fall pretty
clearly into three groups, which conform to the divisions of chronology.
In the first we have at one extreme the _Scenes of Clerical Life_, and at
the other _Silas Marner_; in the second _Romola_ stands alone; in the
third, _Felix Holt_, the weakest if not the least readable of all, is
transitional; while _Middlemarch_ and _Daniel Deronda_ illustrate her
later manner respectively in full flower and in decay.

Each of these groups has found special admirers among critics. George
Eliot herself was disposed to prefer _Romola_ to all her other works; but
she seems to have been swayed by the consideration that it had cost her
more than any other book. _Romola_ has been praised also as a marvellous
picture of Florentine life in the fifteenth century. Only men who are
profoundly versed in Italian character, literature and history are
entitled to pronounce upon the question; and they are few in number. But
if the statement be true the fact is wonderful, for George Eliot had only
spent about six weeks in Florence before she wrote the book. In any case
it smells of the lamp, and we may therefore suspect that it will give less
permanent pleasure than most of her novels. Tito Melema is admitted to be
a masterpiece of subtle delineation; but for the most part the picture of
Romola, her home and her associates, is laboured to a degree almost
painful.

Of the two other groups, if we take them as wholes, there can be little
hesitation in assigning the palm to the earlier. The excellence here is
evener, the artistic skill finer, the style more uniformly pleasing. The
evenness of quality is proved by the fact that each work in turn has been
praised as the author's best, or at least as equal to her best; whereas
there can be no reasonable doubt about the pre-eminence of _Middlemarch_
in the last group. The artistic excellence, again, of _Silas Marner_,
perhaps the most faultless (which does not necessarily mean the best) of
English novels, is as conspicuous as are the artistic defects of
_Middlemarch_. And as to style, nearly all readers have felt how the
fresh, easy grace, the flexibility of language, the lightness of touch,
gradually disappear from the works of George Eliot; and how in her later
books passages of genuine eloquence, masterly dialogue or description or
reflexion, are mingled with leaden paragraphs wherein the author seems to
be struggling under a burden too great for her strength.

The early novels then have the advantage of grace, spontaneity, and the
charm exercised by a great writer when the great work is done without
apparent effort. Like a giant wielding a club, George Eliot seems to
execute the heavy tasks imposed by _Adam Bede_ and _The Mill on the Floss_
with an ease possible only because there is a reserve of strength behind.
But some of these early products of genius, and among them the most
charming of all, could hardly be repeated. Has child-life ever been as
delightfully represented in literature as in the first part of _The Mill
on the Floss_? But one secret of the charm is that the book, especially in
this part, is autobiographical. Again, in the _Scenes of Clerical Life_
and in _Adam Bede_ the writer moves easily among characters with whom she
had been familiar from girlhood. The religious enthusiasm of Dinah Morris
is partly a reminiscence of her own early feelings, and partly a picture
of her aunt Elizabeth; while in Adam Bede, as afterwards in Caleb Garth,
may be seen the features of her own father. In those early years George
Eliot skimmed the cream of her experience. Like Scott, she began to write
novels rather late. Her powers were therefore mature, and in her first
books she combines the perfect freshness of a new writer with the weight
and the range of an experienced one.

Thoughtfulness and serious purpose were from the start conspicuous in the
writings of George Eliot. It is the overgrowth of these qualities, to the
detriment of the artistic element, that mars her later works. _Daniel
Deronda_ is ruined by its philosophy and its didactic purpose. The style
is ponderous and often clumsy, and the question of heredity is made too
prominent. _Middlemarch_ too shows signs of failure on the part of the
artist. More than almost any other great novel, it sins against the law of
unity. The stories of Dorothea and Casaubon and Ladislaw, of Lydgate and
Rosamond, of the Garths, and of Bulstrode, are tacked together by the most
flimsy external bonds. They all illustrate a single thesis; but it is for
this, and not for their natural connexion, that they are chosen. The
keynote of the whole novel is struck in the prelude; and, as in the case
of the young Saint Theresa and her brother, we see throughout 'domestic
reality,' in diverse shapes, meeting the idealist and turning him back
from his great resolve. But even want of unity will be pardoned, provided
the details are conceived and presented in the manner of an artist, as
they are in _Middlemarch_. Some of George Eliot's books contain fresher
pictures than we find here, but none contains more that dwell in the mind,
and in none is her maturest thought so well expressed. _Middlemarch_ gives
us one of the rarest things in literature, the philosophy of a powerful
mind presented with all the charm of art. For this reason it at least
rivals the best work of her first period.

[Sidenote: Mrs. Henry Wood (1814-1887).]

[Sidenote: Dinah Maria Craik (1826-1887).]

George Eliot was the last of the race of giants in fiction. Some good
novelists remain to be noticed, but none who can without hesitation be
called great. Those who did respectable work are so numerous that the task
of selection becomes exceedingly difficult; and moreover, as we draw near
the dividing-line, it proves sometimes doubtful whether a man should be
included in the present period, or viewed as belonging to that still
current. It is safe to say however that of all forms of literature,
fiction is the one in which a rigorous law of selection is the most
necessary. Many popular writers must be passed over in silence. Mrs. Henry
Wood, notwithstanding the success of her _East Lynne_, can be barely
mentioned; and little more is possible in the case of Dinah Maria Craik,
best known as the author of _John Halifax, Gentleman_, a pleasing but
somewhat namby-pamby story, ranked by some unaccountably high. Mrs. Craik
never shocks, never startles, nor does she ever invigorate. She is one of
those writers who appeal to the taste of the middle class, not perhaps as
it is now, but as it was a generation ago.

Three detached novels, by men who cannot be classed as writers of fiction,
may be named for the sake of their authors--_Eustace Conway_ (1834), by F.
D. Maurice, and _Loss and Gain_ (1848) and _Callista_ (1856), by J. H.
Newman. Maurice's story was written when, a young man, he was still
groping his way; but Newman's deliberately and when the bent of his mind
had been long taken. His novels are among the symptoms of the passing of
theological interest into general literature, but they have in themselves
no value.

[Sidenote: Charles Kingsley (1819-1875).]

Charles Kingsley was also by profession a theologian, and his disastrous
controversy with Newman remains as a proof of the interest he took in the
movement Newman sought to serve by _Callista_. But fortunately Kingsley
did not allow this interest to dominate his books. Tractarianism is indeed
one of the themes of his earliest novels, _Alton Locke_ (1850) and _Yeast_
(1848), but socialism, to which his attention had been turned by the
personal influence of Maurice, is a far more prominent one. _Yeast_
pictures the condition of agricultural labour, _Alton Locke_ that of
labour in crowded cities. Both books are immature, sometimes rash, and on
the whole not well constructed; but they have the merits of vigour,
earnestness and knowledge at first-hand; for Kingsley had personally taken
part in the labour movements in London which resulted in Chartism.
_Hypatia_ (1853) is an ambitious novel, at once historical and
philosophical, impressive in parts, but on the whole heavy. Kingsley, a
man whose physical nature and instincts were quite as well developed as
his intellect, is happiest where he can bring to play the experiences of
his life, and where he can describe scenes familiar to him. About his best
work there is always a breath of the moor, of the fen or of the sea; for
he had lived by them all and had learnt to love them. This is shown by his
verse as well as his prose. His _Ode to the North-East Wind_, his _Sands
of Dee_, and the images scattered everywhere through his poems, prove how
the features of the scenery and of the weather had sunk into his mind. So
do such novels as _Westward Ho!_ (1855) and _Hereward the Wake_ (1866).
The former, a historical romance, the scene of which is laid in the time
of Elizabeth, is generally considered Kingsley's best work; and it is only
a small minority, to which the writer happens to belong, who find it
dreary. The power of some of the descriptions must be acknowledged; but
whether _Westward Ho!_ will live is a question on which there may be
difference of opinion. _Hereward the Wake_, generally ranked much lower,
is certainly uneven and in parts dull. But it has two great merits: it
reproduces in a marvellous way the impression of the fen country; and, by
vivid flashes, though not constantly, the reader seems to see before his
eyes the very life of the old vikings.

Kingsley's work was most varied. Besides his novels, his professional
work, such as sermons, and his lectures as Professor of History at
Cambridge, we may mention his beautiful fairy-tale, _The Water Babies_
(1863), with its exquisite snatches of verse, 'Clear and Cool,' and 'When
all the world is young.' His poetry, if it were as copious as it is often
high in quality, would place him among the great. But it was only
occasional. Besides short pieces, he was the author of a drama, _The
Saint's Tragedy_ (1848), somewhat immature, and of _Andromeda_ (1858), one
of the few specimens of English hexameters that are readable, and that
seem to naturalise the metre in our language. It is however noticeable
that Kingsley's success is won at the cost of wholly altering the
character of the measure. _Andromeda_ is true and fine poetry, but its
effect is not that of 'the long roll of the hexameter.' There is a very
great preponderance of dactyls. This is the case with almost all English
hexameters; and the fact goes far to prove that the hexameter, as
understood by the ancients, a fairly balanced mixture of dactyls and
spondees, is not suited to the genius of English.

[Sidenote: Henry Kingsley (1830-1876).]

Henry Kingsley, the younger brother of Charles, was a novelist likewise,
but one of considerably less merit. He passed some years in Australia, and
his experiences there supplied materials for one of his best stories,
_Geoffrey Hamlyn_. That by which he is best known is however _Ravenshoe_
(1862). His novels are extremely loose in construction, and he is no rival
to his brother in that exuberance of spirits which gives to the writings
of the latter their most characteristic excellence.

[Sidenote: Anthony Trollope (1815-1882).]

Senior to both the brothers, alike in years and as a writer, was Anthony
Trollope. Coming of a literary family (both his mother and his elder
brother wrote novels), he proved himself, from 1847, when he published
_The Macdermotts of Ballycloran_, to his death, one of the most prolific
of novelists. No recent writer illustrates better than he the function of
the novel when it is something less than a work of genius. The demand for
amusement is the explanation of the enormous growth of modern fiction. But
pure amusement is inconsistent with either profound thought or tragic
emotion, while, on the other hand, it requires competent literary
workmanship. Anthony Trollope exactly satisfied this demand. He wrote
fluently and fairly well. He drew characters which, if they were never
very profound or subtle, were at any rate tolerably good representations
of human nature. He had a pleasant humour, could tell a story well, and
could, without becoming dull, continue it through any number of volumes
that might be desired. Perhaps no one has ever equalled him at
continuations. What are commonly known as the Barsetshire novels are his
best group. There are some half-dozen stories in the group, yet four of
them, _Barchester Towers_, _Doctor Thorne_, _Framley Parsonage_, and _The
Last Chronicle of Barset_, extending over a period of ten years
(1857-1867), must all be classed with his best work. Perhaps it was the
touch of the commonplace that made it possible for him thus frequently to
repeat his successes. Trollope's description of his own methods of work in
his _Autobiography_ shows that he worked himself as a manufacturer works
his steam-engine, and with the same result, so much of a given pattern
produced _per diem_. His monograph on Thackeray proves him capable of
comparing his methods with the methods of a man of genius, by no means to
the advantage of the latter.

[Sidenote: James Grant (1822-1887).]

[Sidenote: George John Whyte-Melville (1821-1878).]

[Sidenote: Wilkie Collins (1824-1889).]

[Sidenote: George Alfred Lawrence (1827-1876).]

Among the minor writers a few, typical of different classes, may be
briefly mentioned. James Grant wrote some historical works as well as many
novels well spiced with adventure. His best book is perhaps _The Romance
of War_ (1845). It follows the fortunes of a regiment through the
Peninsula; but while the plan gives it a good groundwork of reality and an
abundance of stirring scenes, it is inartistic. George John Whyte-Melville
was similarly fond of adventure, but, though he was a soldier who had seen
service in the Crimea, he is specially identified with sporting rather
than with military novels. His best work is descriptive of fox-hunting, a
sport to which he was passionately devoted. He also wrote historical
novels, of which the best known is _The Gladiators_. Both of these writers
relied for their effect upon the feeling of interest produced by the
situations in which they placed their characters. So, but in a totally
different way, did Wilkie Collins. He was a master of sensational
narrative. He excelled in the skilful construction and the skilful
unravelling of plot, and in his own domain he is among the best of recent
writers. His best known book is _The Woman in White_, while perhaps that
which best deserves to be known is _The Moonstone_. In neither is there a
single character worth remembering; the story is everything. The novel of
society, again, is represented by George Alfred Lawrence, the author of
_Guy Livingstone_, who repeats many of the faults of Bulwer Lytton, and
has not the genius which in Lytton's case partly redeems the faults.

[Sidenote: Charles Reade (1814-1884).]

There remains one man of genius, Charles Reade, who towers over all these
men of talent. Reade was mature in years before he began his literary
career with a group of dramas, of which _Gold_, acted with moderate
success in 1853, was the best. His easy circumstances as the son of an
Oxfordshire squire, and fellow of Magdalen College, exempted him from the
necessity of pushing his way in the world. In literature he had one great
ambition and one great gift, and unfortunately the two diverged. His
talent lay in prose fiction, while his ambition drew him towards the
stage. It was the advice of an actress that caused him to turn _Masks and
Faces_, a drama written in collaboration with Tom Taylor, into the prose
story of _Peg Woffington_ (1853), and so to find his true vocation. But he
remained unsatisfied, and through his whole career he continued to make
experiments in the drama, never with much success except in the case of
_Drink_ (1879), founded on Zola's _L'Assommoir_. So strong was his
predilection, that he desired that in the inscription on his tombstone the
word 'dramatist' should be put first in the specification of his pursuits.

Those who study Reade can have no difficulty in detecting the cause of his
failure in the drama. He is fertile of incident, but he has not the art of
selecting a few striking scenes rising out of one another and leading
rapidly up to a catastrophe. His copiousness finds room in the freer field
of prose fiction, and his want of skill in selection is less noticeable
there. Accordingly he soon won as a novelist the popularity he never
secured as a playwright. _Christie Johnstone_ (1853), one of his best
stories, was the successor of _Peg Woffington_, and after _It is Never Too
Late to Mend_ (1856) he took his place as one of the first writers of
fiction of the time.

Charles Reade was a man of strong individuality, intense in all his
opinions, and bent on making them known. Hence he gives us perhaps the
best examples of the novel with a purpose. Dickens had done much work of
this description, but Reade went beyond him. Many of his novels are
devoted to special questions. Thus _It is Never Too Late to Mend_ deals
with prison administration, _Hard Cash_ with lunatic asylums, and _Put
Yourself in his Place_ with trade-unions. Moreover, Reade was by no means
the man to approach these questions with a few _a priori_ impressions only
in his head. He was thorough, and he made an elaborate study of each
before he wrote about it. Every incident reported in the newspapers, every
trial in the courts of law, every fact wherever recorded, he made it his
business to master. He cared less for theories, at least for the theories
of other people: he made his own, and loved them. But his survey of the
evidence was as nearly exhaustive as it could be. No other writer of
fiction ever left such an apparatus of note-books, newspaper cuttings,
etc., all digested and systematically arranged. It has been commonly held
that Reade's work was injured by this laborious method; and no doubt the
opinion is in part sound. Yet his merits as well as his defects are
closely related to his method. His variety and his inexhaustible resource
are due to the enormous accumulation of his facts. He loved to illustrate
the saying that truth is stranger than fiction, and he held that no man's
invention could supply incidents equal to those which patient
investigation would reveal. There is no novelist with respect to whom it
is so dangerous to say, 'this is unnatural or impossible.' Probably the
seeming impossibility is a hard fact, disclosed by some forgotten trial or
recorded in some old newspaper.

While however this backbone of reality gives strength to Reade's novels,
his devotion to fact sometimes leads him to forget unity and proportion.
The violence of his convictions was apt to overbalance his judgment. He
is at his best in his calmer and less didactic moods. For this reason _The
Cloister and the Hearth_ (1861) is his masterpiece. In a historical novel,
of which the scene is laid in the fifteenth century and the hero is the
father of Erasmus, there is ample scope for Reade's love of investigation,
and he has with great skill woven into the narrative the results of wide
reading and patient study. The works of Erasmus are appropriately laid
under contribution. But Reade has here no thesis to defend, no abuse to
attack. The book is consequently better balanced than the novels of the
class already mentioned; and the adventures are diversified with touches
of pathos and with scenes of domestic life in the Dutch home, such as are
hardly to be found elsewhere in Reade's works. The delineation of
character also is subtler. In many of Reade's novels the characters are
wholly subordinate to the purpose of the story. It is not Mr. Eden who
interests us in _It is Never Too Late to Mend_, but rather his theories
and methods.

There is no rival among Reade's novels to _The Cloister and the Hearth_;
but several of them nevertheless are of high quality. _Christie
Johnstone_, a remarkably clever and successful study of the fisher
population of the east of Scotland, is perhaps the freshest and least
laboured of all his works; and _Griffith Gaunt_, an analysis of the
workings of the passion of jealousy, is the subtlest as a psychological
study; while _It is Never Too Late to Mend_ stands pretty near the head of
its own class, the novel of purpose. Except the greatest of the writers
already dealt with, and one other, Mr. George Meredith, who belongs rather
to the next period, there was no contemporary writer who could do work
equal to any one of them.

       *       *       *       *       *

We have now traced the course of literature through a period of forty
years, distinguished for their fertility and for the variety of the talent
displayed in them. In the prominence given to history, in the drift of
philosophic speculation, in the prevalence of the novel of purpose, and in
the spirit of the later poetry, we see the influence of social problems
clamouring for solution. The Age of Tennyson has been essentially an age
of reconstruction. It inherited from the preceding generation a gigantic
task, which it has earnestly and laboriously striven to accomplish. What
measure of success has been won is still doubtful; how long the literary
expression of the effort will remain satisfying may be doubtful too. It is
said to-day that we no longer read Carlyle; it may be said to-morrow that
we no longer read Tennyson or Browning either. But there is substance in
the work of all these men, and of all the leaders of the period. If they
are no longer read it is because their thought has penetrated the life of
the time; and we may be sure that they will revive and have a second vogue
when they are old enough to be partly forgotten.



CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE.


  1831. Disraeli: _The Young Duke_.
        Ebenezer Elliott: _Corn Law Rhymes_.
        Peacock: _Crotchet Castle_.
        Scott: _Count Robert of Paris_.
        Scott: _Castle Dangerous_.

  1832. John Austin: _The Province of Jurisprudence Determined_.
        E. L. Bulwer (Lord Lytton): _Eugene Aram_.
        Disraeli: _Contarini Fleming_.
        Samuel Warren: _The Diary of a Late Physician_.
        Bentham died.
        Crabbe died.
        Scott died.

  1833. Robert Browning: _Pauline_.
        Carlyle: _Sartor Resartus_ (finished 1834).
        Hartley Coleridge: _Poems_.
        Disraeli: _The Wondrous Tale of Alroy_.
        Lamb: _Last Essays of Elia_.
        Lyell: _Principles of Geology_ (completed).
        J. H. Newman: _Arians of the Fourth Century_.
        Newman and others: _Tracts for the Times_ (begun).
        Tennyson: _Poems_.

  1834. E. L. Bulwer (Lord Lytton): _The Last Days of Pompeii_.
        Landor: _The Citation and Examination of William Shakespeare_.
        Marryat: _Peter Simple_.
        Marryat: _Jacob Faithful_.
        Henry Taylor: _Philip van Artevelde_.
        S. T. Coleridge died.
        Charles Lamb died.
        Malthus died.

  1835. Robert Browning: _Paracelsus_.
        E. L. Bulwer (Lord Lytton): _Rienzi_.
        Dickens: _Sketches by Boz_ (finished 1836).
        Thirlwall: _History of Greece_ (finished 1847).
        Wordsworth: _Yarrow Revisited, and other Poems_.
        Mrs. Hemans died.
        James Hogg died.

  1836. Dickens: _Pickwick_ (finished 1837).
        Landor: _Pericles and Aspasia_.
        Lockhart: _Life of Sir Walter Scott_ (finished 1838).
        Marryat: _Mr. Midshipman Easy_.
        Marryat: _Japhet in Search of a Father_.
        W. Godwin died.
        James Mill died.

  1837. Robert Browning: _Strafford_.
        Carlyle: _History of the French Revolution_.
        Dickens: _Oliver Twist_ (finished 1838).
        Disraeli: _Henrietta Temple_.
        Disraeli: _Venetia_.
        Hallam: _Literature of Europe_ (finished 1839).
        Landor: _The Pentameron_.
        Thackeray: _The Yellowplush Papers_ (finished 1838).

  1838. Thomas Arnold: _History of Rome_ (last volume, 1843).
        E. Barrett (Browning): _The Seraphim_.
        E. L. Bulwer (Lord Lytton): _The Lady of Lyons_.
        Dickens: _Nicholas Nickleby_ (finished 1839).
        Maurice: _The Kingdom of Christ_ (enlarged 1842).
        Newman: _Lectures on Justification_.

  1839. Bailey: _Festus_.
        E. L. Bulwer (Lord Lytton): _Cardinal Richelieu_.
        Carlyle: _Chartism_.
        Carlyle: _Critical and Miscellaneous Essays_.
        Lever: _Harry Lorrequer_.
        Thackeray: _Catherine_ (finished 1840).
        John Galt died.
        W. M. Praed died.

  1840. Robert Browning: _Sordello_.
        E. L. Bulwer (Lord Lytton): _Money_.
        Dickens: _The Old Curiosity Shop_ (finished 1841).
        Frere: _Translation of Aristophanes_.
        Thackeray: _The Paris Sketch Book_.
        Madame D'Arblay died.

  1841. Robert Browning: _Pippa Passes_.
        Carlyle: _Heroes and Hero-Worship_.
        Dickens: _Barnaby Rudge_.
        Lever: _Charles O'Malley_.
        Hugh Miller: _The Old Red Sandstone_.
        Newman: _Tract XC_.
        Thackeray: _The Great Hoggarty Diamond_.
        Warren: _Ten Thousand a Year_.

  1842. Robert Browning: _Dramatic Lyrics_.
        E. L. Bulwer (Lord Lytton): _Zanoni_.
        Dickens: _American Notes_.
        Macaulay: _Lays of Ancient Rome_.
        Marryat: _Percival Keene_.
        Henry Taylor: _Edwin the Fair_.
        Tennyson: _Poems_.
        Wilson: _The Recreations of Christopher North_.
        Wordsworth: _The Borderers_.
        Thomas Arnold died.

  1843. Robert Browning: _A Blot in the 'Scutcheon_.
        Carlyle: _Past and Present_.
        Dickens: _Martin Chuzzlewit_ (finished 1844).
        Horne: _Orion_.
        E. L. Bulwer (Lord Lytton): _The Last of the Barons_.
        Macaulay: _Critical and Historical Essays_ (collected).
        Mill: _A System of Logic_.
        Ruskin: _Modern Painters_ (finished 1860).
        Thackeray: _The Irish Sketch Book_.
        Southey died.

  1844. Barnes: _Poems of Rural Life, in the Dorset Dialect_.
        E. Barrett (Browning): _Poems_.
        Robert Browning: _Colombe's Birthday_.
        Disraeli: _Coningsby_.
        Kinglake: _Eothen_.
        Stanley: _Life of Arnold_.
        Thackeray: _Barry Lyndon_.
        Thomas Campbell died.

  1845. Robert Browning: _Dramatic Romances and Lyrics_.
        Carlyle: _Cromwell_.
        Disraeli: _Sybil_.
        Thomas Hood died.
        Sydney Smith died.

  1846. Dickens: _Dombey and Son_ (finished 1848).
        Grote: _History of Greece_ (finished 1856).
        Newman: _The Development of Christian Doctrine_.

  1847. Charlotte Brontë: _Jane Eyre_.
        Emily Brontë: _Wuthering Heights_.
        Disraeli: _Tancred_.
        Helps: _Friends in Council_.
        Landor: _Hellenics_.
        Tennyson: _The Princess_.
        Thackeray: _Vanity Fair_ (finished 1848).
        Trollope: _The Macdermotts of Ballycloran_.

  1848. Clough: _The Bothie of Tober-na-Vuolich_.
        Mrs. Gaskell: _Mary Barton_.
        Charles Kingsley: _Yeast_.
        Macaulay: _History of England_, vols. i. and ii. (last volume,
            1860).
        Mill: _Political Economy_.
        Thackeray: _The Book of Snobs_ (reprinted from _Punch_).
        Emily Brontë died.
        Marryat died.

  1849. Matthew Arnold: _The Strayed Reveller, and other Poems_.
        W. E. Aytoun: _Lays of the Scottish Cavaliers_.
        Charlotte Brontë: _Shirley_.
        Clough: _Ambarvalia_.
        Dickens: _David Copperfield_ (finished 1850).
        Lytton: _The Caxtons_.
        Ruskin: _The Seven Lamps of Architecture_.
        Thackeray: _Pendennis_ (finished 1850).
        T. L. Beddoes died.
        Hartley Coleridge died.
        Maria Edgeworth died.

  1850. Beddoes: _Death's Jest-Book_.
        E. B. Browning: _Sonnets from the Portuguese_.
        Robert Browning: _Christmas Eve and Easter Day_.
        Carlyle: _Latter-Day Pamphlets_.
        Dobell: _The Roman_.
        Charles Kingsley: _Alton Locke_.
        D. G. Rossetti and others: _The Germ_.
        Tennyson: _In Memoriam_.
        Wordsworth: _The Prelude_.
        Francis Jeffrey died.
        Wordsworth died.

  1851. E. B. Browning: _Casa Guidi Windows_.
        Carlyle: _Life of Sterling_.
        Ruskin: _The Stones of Venice_ (finished 1853).
        Joanna Baillie died.

  1852. Matthew Arnold: _Empedocles on Etna_.
        Dickens: _Bleak House_ (finished 1853).
        Thackeray: _Esmond_.
        Moore died.

  1853. Matthew Arnold: _Poems_.
        Charlotte Brontë: _Villette_.
        Dobell: _Balder_.
        Mrs. Gaskell: _Cranford_.
        Charles Kingsley: _Hypatia_.
        W. S. Landor: _The Last Fruit off an Old Tree_.
        Lytton: _My Novel_.
        Charles Reade: _Peg Woffington_.
        Charles Reade: _Christie Johnstone_.
        Alexander Smith: _A Life Drama_.
        Thackeray: _The English Humourists of the Eighteenth
            Century_ (printed).

  1854. Hugh Miller: _My Schools and Schoolmasters_.
        Milman: _History of Latin Christianity_.
        Patmore: _The Angel in the House_ (Part I.).
        Thackeray: _The Newcomes_ (finished 1855).
        Susan Ferrier died.
        Lockhart died.
        John Wilson died.

  1855. Matthew Arnold: _Poems_.
        Robert Browning: _Men and Women_.
        Mrs. Gaskell: _North and South_.
        Charles Kingsley: _Westward Ho!_
        Lewes: _Life of Goethe_.
        Herbert Spencer: _Principles of Psychology_.
        Tennyson: _Maud_.
        Charlotte Brontë died.
        Samuel Rogers died.

  1856. Dobell: _England in Time of War_.
        Froude: _History of England_ (finished 1870).
        Charles Reade: _It is Never Too Late to Mend_.
        Sir W. Hamilton died.
        Hugh Miller died.

  1857. E. B. Browning: _Aurora Leigh_.
        Buckle: _History of Civilization_ (vol. ii. in 1861).
        Hugh Miller: _The Testimony of the Rocks_.
        Alexander Smith: _City Poems_.
        Thackeray: _The Virginians_ (finished 1859).
        Trollope: _Barchester Towers_.

  1858. Carlyle: _Frederick the Great_ (finished 1865).
        George Eliot: _Scenes of Clerical Life_ (serially, 1857).
        Lytton: _What will He do with It?_
        William Morris: _The Defence of Guenevere_.

  1859. Barnes: _Hwomely Rhymes_.
        Darwin: _The Origin of Species_.
        Dickens: _A Tale of Two Cities_.
        George Eliot: _The Mill on the Floss_.
        Edward FitzGerald: _Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám_.
        George Meredith: _The Ordeal of Richard Feverel_.
        Mill: _Liberty_.
        Tennyson: _Idylls of the King_ (part).
        De Quincey died.
        Henry Hallam died.
        Leigh Hunt died.
        Macaulay died.

  1860. George Eliot: _The Mill on the Floss_.
        _Essays and Reviews_ (various authors).
        Swinburne: _The Queen Mother_.
        Swinburne: _Rosamond_.
        Thackeray: _The Four Georges_ (printed).
        Sir W. Napier died.

  1861. Matthew Arnold: _On Translating Homer_.
        George Eliot: _Silas Marner_.
        Maine: _Ancient Law_.
        May: _Constitutional History of England_ (finished 1863).
        Mill: _Representative Government_.
        Charles Reade: _The Cloister and the Hearth_.
        D. G. Rossetti: _The Early Italian Poets_.
        Thackeray: _The Adventures of Philip_ (finished 1862).
        Trollope: _Framley Parsonage_.
        E. Barrett Browning died.

  1862. Alfred Austin: _The Human Tragedy_.
        Colenso: _The Pentateuch and the Book of Joshua Examined_
            (finished 1879).
        George Meredith: _Modern Love, and Poems of the English
            Roadside, with Poems and Ballads_.
        Mill: _Utilitarianism_.
        Christina Rossetti: _Goblin Market, and other Poems_.
        Henry Taylor: _St. Clement's Eve_.
        Buckle died.

  1863. George Eliot: _Romola_.
        Freeman: _History of Federal Government_.
        Kinglake: _The Invasion of the Crimea_ (finished 1887).
        Lyell: _The Antiquity of Man_.
        George Macdonald: _David Elginbrod_.
        Margaret Oliphant: _Chronicles of Carlingford_ (begun).
        Thackeray died.
        Whately died.

  1864. Robert Browning: _Dramatis Personæ_.
        Dickens: _Our Mutual Friend_ (finished 1865).
        Newman: _Apologia pro Vita Sua_.
        Herbert Spencer: _Principles of Biology_ (finished 1867).
        Tennyson: _Enoch Arden_.
        Landor died.

  1865. Matthew Arnold: _Essays in Criticism_ (collected).
        Lewis Carroll: _Alice's Adventures in Wonderland_.
        Grote: _Plato and the other Companions of Socrates_.
        Lecky: _History of Rationalism_.
        Lightfoot: _St. Paul's Epistle to the Galatians_.
        George Meredith: _Rhoda Fleming_.
        Ruskin: _Ethics of the Dust_.
        Ruskin: _Sesame and Lilies_.
        Seeley: _Ecce Homo!_
        Swinburne: _Atalanta in Calydon_.
        Swinburne: _Chastelard_.
        Aytoun died.
        Mrs. Gaskell died.

  1866. Matthew Arnold: _Thyrsis_.
        Lord de Tabley: _Philoctetes_.
        Mrs. Gaskell: _Wives and Daughters_.
        Charles Kingsley: _Hereward the Wake_.
        Charles Reade: _Griffith Gaunt_.
        Christina Rossetti: _The Prince's Progress, and other Poems_.
        Ruskin: _Crown of Wild Olive_.
        Swinburne: _Poems and Ballads_.
        Keble died.
        Whewell died.

  1867. Matthew Arnold: _New Poems_.
        Bagehot: _The English Constitution_.
        Lord de Tabley: _Orestes_.
        Freeman: _History of the Norman Conquest_ (finished 1876).
        Froude: _Short Studies on Great Subjects_ (last series, 1883).
        William Morris: _The Life and Death of Jason_.
        Thackeray: _Denis Duval_.
        Trollope: _The Last Chronicle of Barset_.
        Alex. Smith died.

  1868. Robert Browning: _The Ring and the Book_ (finished 1869).
        George Eliot: _The Spanish Gypsy_.
        Lightfoot: _St. Paul's Epistle to the Philippians_.
        William Morris: _The Earthly Paradise_ (finished 1870).
        Milman died.

  1869. Matthew Arnold: _Culture and Anarchy_.
        Blackmore: _Lorna Doone_.
        Lecky: _History of European Morals_.
        George Macdonald: _Robert Falconer_.
        Mill: _The Subjection of Women_.
        Tennyson: _The Holy Grail, and other Poems_.
        Wallace: _The Malay Archipelago_.

  1870. Matthew Arnold: _St. Paul and Protestantism_.
        Dickens: _The Mystery of Edwin Drood_.
        Disraeli: _Lothair_.
        Huxley: _Lay Sermons_.
        Newman: _Grammar of Assent_.
        D. G. Rossetti: _Poems_.
        Dickens died.



ALPHABETICAL LIST OF WRITERS.


  ADAMS, SARAH FLOWER                           1805-1848

  AINSWORTH, WILLIAM HARRISON                   1805-1882

  ALISON, SIR ARCHIBALD                         1792-1867

  ALLINGHAM, WILLIAM                            1824-1889

  ARNOLD, MATTHEW                               1822-1888

  ARNOLD, THOMAS                                1795-1842

  AUSTIN, JOHN                                  1790-1859

  AYTOUN, WILLIAM EDMONDSTOUNE                  1813-1865

  BAILEY, PHILIP JAMES                          1816-1902

  BARHAM, RICHARD HARRIS                        1788-1845

  BARNES, WILLIAM                               1801-1886

  BATES, HENRY WALTER                           1825-1892

  BLACKIE, JOHN STUART                          1809-1895

  BLANCHARD, SAMUEL LAMAN                       1804-1845

  BORROW, GEORGE                                1803-1881

  BOSWORTH, JOSEPH                              1789-1876

  BRONTË, ANNE                                  1820-1849

  BRONTË, CHARLOTTE                             1816-1855

  BRONTË, EMILY JANE                            1818-1848

  BROUGH, ROBERT BARNABAS                       1828-1860

  BROWN, DR. JOHN                               1810-1882

  BROWNING, ELIZABETH BARRETT                   1806-1861

  BROWNING, ROBERT                              1812-1889

  BUCKLE, HENRY THOMAS                          1821-1862

  BURTON, JOHN HILL                             1809-1881

  CAIRNES, JOHN ELLIOT                          1823-1875

  CALVERLEY, CHARLES STUART                     1831-1884

  CARLETON, WILLIAM                             1794-1869

  CARLYLE, THOMAS                               1795-1881

  CHAMBERS, ROBERT                              1802-1871

  CHAMIER, FREDERICK                            1796-1870

  CLARK, WILLIAM GEORGE                         1821-1878

  CLARKE, CHARLES COWDEN                        1787-1877

  CLARKE, MARY COWDEN                           1809-1897

  CLOUGH, ARTHUR HUGH                           1819-1861

  COLENSO, JOHN WILLIAM                         1814-1883

  COLERIDGE, HARTLEY                            1796-1849

  COLERIDGE, SARA                               1802-1852

  COLLIER, JOHN PAYNE                           1789-1883

  COLLINS, MORTIMER                             1827-1876

  COLLINS, WILLIAM WILKIE                       1824-1889

  CONINGTON, JOHN                               1825-1869

  CORY, WILLIAM                                 1823-1892

  CRAIK, DINAH MARIA                            1826-1887

  CROKER, THOMAS CROFTON                        1798-1854

  DARWIN, CHARLES ROBERT                        1809-1882

  DE MORGAN, AUGUSTUS                           1806-1871

  DE TABLEY, J. B. LEICESTER WARREN, LORD       1835-1895

  DE VERE, AUBREY                               1814-1902

  DICKENS, CHARLES                              1812-1870

  DISRAELI, BENJAMIN, EARL OF BEACONSFIELD      1804-1881

  DOBELL, SYDNEY THOMPSON                       1824-1874

  DOYLE, SIR FRANCIS HASTINGS                   1810-1888

  DUFFERIN, HELEN SELINA SHERIDAN, LADY         1807-1867

  DYCE, ALEXANDER                               1798-1869

  ELIOT, GEORGE                                 1819-1880

  FERGUSON, SIR SAMUEL                          1810-1886

  FERRIER, JAMES FREDERICK                      1808-1864

  FINLAY, GEORGE                                1799-1875

  FITZGERALD, EDWARD                            1809-1883

  FORSTER, JOHN                                 1812-1876

  FROUDE, RICHARD HURRELL                       1803-1836

  FROUDE, JAMES ANTHONY                         1818-1894

  GASKELL, ELIZABETH CLEGHORN                   1810-1865

  GLADSTONE, WILLIAM EWART                      1809-1898

  GLASCOCK, WILLIAM NUGENT                      1787?-1867

  GORDON, ADAM LINDSAY                          1833-1870

  GRANT, JAMES                                  1822-1887

  GRAY, DAVID                                   1838-1861

  GREENWELL, DORA                               1821-1882

  GROTE, GEORGE                                 1794-1871

  HALLAM, ARTHUR HENRY                          1811-1833

  HALLIWELL-PHILLIPPS, JAMES ORCHARD            1820-1889

  HAMILTON, SIR WILLIAM                         1788-1856

  HANNAY, JAMES                                 1827-1873

  HAWKER, ROBERT STEPHEN                        1803-1875

  HELPS, SIR ARTHUR                             1813-1875

  HINCKS, EDWARD                                1792-1866

  HOOD, THOMAS                                  1799-1845

  HOOK, THEODORE EDWARD                         1788-1841

  HOOK, WALTER FARQUHAR                         1798-1875

  HORNE, RICHARD HENGIST                        1803-1884

  INGELOW, JEAN                                 1820-1897

  JAMES, GEORGE PAINE RAINSFORD                 1801-1860

  JAMESON, ANNA BROWNELL                        1794-1860

  JERROLD, DOUGLAS WILLIAM                      1803-1857

  JONES, EBENEZER                               1820-1860

  JOWETT, BENJAMIN                              1817-1893

  KAYE, SIR JOHN WILLIAM                        1814-1876

  KEBLE, JOHN                                   1792-1866

  KINGLAKE, ALEXANDER WILLIAM                   1809-1891

  KINGSLEY, CHARLES                             1819-1875

  KINGSLEY, HENRY                               1830-1876

  LANDON, LETITIA ELIZABETH                     1802-1838

  LANE, EDWARD WILLIAM                          1801-1876

  LAWRENCE, GEORGE ALFRED                       1827-1876

  LAYARD, SIR AUSTEN HENRY                      1817-1894

  LEAR, EDWARD                                  1812-1888

  LEVER, CHARLES JAMES                          1806-1872

  LEWES, GEORGE HENRY                           1817-1878

  LEWIS, SIR GEORGE CORNEWALL                   1806-1863

  LIVINGSTONE, DAVID                            1813-1873

  LOCKER-LAMPSON, FREDERICK                     1821-1895

  LOCKHART, JOHN GIBSON                         1794-1854

  LOVER, SAMUEL                                 1797-1868

  LYELL, SIR CHARLES                            1797-1875

  LYTTON, EDWARD BULWER, LORD                   1803-1873

  LYTTON, EDWARD ROBERT, LORD                   1831-1891

  MACAULAY, THOMAS BABINGTON                    1800-1859

  McCLINTOCK, SIR FRANCIS LEOPOLD               1819-

  MADDEN, SIR FREDERICK                         1801-1873

  MAGINN, WILLIAM                               1793-1842

  MAHONY, FRANCIS SYLVESTER                     1804-1866

  MAINE, SIR HENRY JAMES SUMNER                 1822-1888

  MANGAN, JAMES CLARENCE                        1803-1849

  MANSEL, HENRY LONGUEVILLE                     1820-1871

  MARRYAT, FREDERICK                            1792-1848

  MARSTON, JOHN WESTLAND                        1819-1890

  MARTINEAU, HARRIET                            1802-1876

  MASSEY, GERALD                                1828-1907

  MAURICE, JOHN FREDERICK DENISON               1805-1872

  MAXWELL, WILLIAM HAMILTON                     1792-1850

  MERIVALE, CHARLES                             1808-1893

  MILL, JOHN STUART                             1806-1873

  MILLER, HUGH                                  1802-1856

  MILMAN, HENRY HART                            1791-1868

  MILNES, RICHARD MONCKTON, LORD HOUGHTON       1809-1885

  MORRIS, WILLIAM                               1834-1896

  MOTHERWELL, WILLIAM                           1797-1835

  MUNRO, HUGH ANDREW JOHNSTONE                  1819-1885

  NEALE, JOHN MASON                             1818-1866

  NEWMAN, FRANCIS WILLIAM                       1805-1897

  NEWMAN, JOHN HENRY                            1801-1890

  NORTON, HON. MRS.                             1808-1877

  OUTRAM, GEORGE                                1805-1856

  OWEN, SIR RICHARD                             1804-1892

  PALGRAVE, SIR FRANCIS                         1788-1861

  PATMORE, COVENTRY                             1823-1896

  PATTISON, MARK                                1813-1884

  PLANCHÉ, JAMES ROBINSON                       1796-1880

  PRAED, WINTHROP MACKWORTH                     1802-1839

  PROCTER, ADELAIDE ANNE                        1825-1864

  PUSEY, EDWARD BOUVERIE                        1800-1882

  RANDS, WILLIAM BRIGHTY                        1823-1882

  RAWLINSON, SIR HENRY CRESWICKE                1810-1895

  READE, CHARLES                                1814-1884

  REYNOLDS, JOHN HAMILTON                       1796-1852

  ROBERTSON, FREDERICK WILLIAM                  1816-1853

  ROSCOE, WILLIAM CALDWELL                      1823-1859

  ROSSETTI, CHRISTINA GEORGINA                  1830-1894

  ROSSETTI, DANTE GABRIEL                       1828-1882

  RUSKIN, JOHN                                  1819-1900

  SCOTT, MICHAEL                                1789-1835

  SCOTT, WILLIAM BELL                           1811-1890

  SENIOR, NASSAU W.                             1790-1864

  SMEDLEY, MENELLA BUTE                         1820-1877

  SMITH, ALEXANDER                              1829-1867

  SPENCER, HERBERT                              1820-1903

  STANHOPE, PHILIP HENRY, EARL                  1805-1875

  STANLEY, ARTHUR PENRHYN                       1815-1881

  STERLING, JOHN                                1806-1844

  STIRLING-MAXWELL, SIR WILLIAM                 1818-1878

  STRICKLAND, AGNES                             1806-1874

  TALFOURD, SIR THOMAS NOON                     1795-1854

  TAYLOR, SIR HENRY                             1800-1886

  TAYLOR, TOM                                   1817-1880

  TENNYSON, ALFRED, LORD                        1809-1892

  THACKERAY, WILLIAM MAKEPEACE                  1811-1863

  THIRLWALL, CONNOP                             1797-1875

  THOM, WILLIAM                                 1798-1848

  THORNBURY, GEORGE WALTER                      1828-1876

  TRENCH, RICHARD CHENEVIX                      1807-1886

  TROLLOPE, ANTHONY                             1815-1882

  TUPPER, MARTIN FARQUHAR                       1810-1889

  TURNER, CHARLES TENNYSON                      1808-1879

  WADE, THOMAS                                  1805-1875

  WALLACE, ALFRED RUSSEL                        1822-

  WARD, WILLIAM GEORGE                          1812-1882

  WARREN, SAMUEL                                1807-1877

  WHATELY, RICHARD                              1787-1863

  WHITEHEAD, CHARLES                            1804-1862

  WHEWELL, WILLIAM                              1794-1866

  WHYTE-MELVILLE, GEORGE JOHN                   1821-1878

  WILBERFORCE, SAMUEL                           1805-1873

  WOOD, MRS. HENRY                              1814-1887



INDEX.


  _Adam Bede_, 264, 267.

  Adams, Sarah Flower, 256.

  _Advent Sunday_, 244.

  _Adventures of Philip, The_, 93.

  _Agamemnon_, 237.

  _Age of Queen Anne, The_, 141.

  _Agnes Grey_, 102.

  Ainsworth, W. H., 71;
    Scott's criticism on, 77-78.

  _Alfred Hagart's Household_, 249.

  Alison, Sir Archibald, 140, 141.

  Allingham, William, 256.

  _All the Year Round_, 85.

  _Alton Locke_, 3, 269, 270.

  _American Iliad in a Nutshell, The_, 21.

  _American Notes_, 84.

  _Amours de Voyage_, 220.

  _Ancient Law_, 134-135.

  _Andrea del Sarto_, 231.

  _Andromeda_, 271.

  _Angel in the House, The_, 251.

  _Annals of the Parish_, 161.

  _Annuity, The_, 61.

  _Antiquity of Man, The_, 178.

  _Apologia pro Vita Sua_, 9, 146, 148, 149, 153.

  _Aratra Pentelici_, 196.

  _Archbishops of Canterbury, Lives of the_, 141-142.

  _Arethusa, The_, 80.

  _Ariadne Florentina_, 196.

  _Arians of the Fourth Century, The_, 147.

  _Aristophanes' Apology_, 232.

  Arnold, Matthew, 40, 69, 122, 191, 192;
    his prose, 203-209;
    and French literature, 205-206;
    on Gambetta, 205;
    on the classics, 205, 206;
    and Carlyle, 205, 206-207;
    his theological writings, 208-209;
    his poetry, 214-219;
    its critical aspect, 214-215;
    his elegiacs, 216;
    and Wordsworth, 216-217;
    his dramatic poems, 217-218;
    his narrative poems, 218;
    244.

  Arnold, Thomas, 17, 120, 121-123, 140, 157-158.

  _Arnold, Life of Thomas_, 139, 140.

  _Artists of Spain, Annals of the_, 142.

  _Art of England, The_, 196,

  'As I laye a-thynkynge,' 59.

  _Asolando_, 232, 233.

  _Atalanta in Calydon_, 253, 254.

  _Athens, its Rise and Fall_, 71.

  _Auguste Comte and Positivism_, 162.

  _Aurora Leigh_, 234, 235.

  Austin, Charles, 111, 160.

  Austin, John, 160-161.

  _Autobiography of J. S. Mill_, 135, 162.

  _Autobiography of Anthony Trollope_, 272.

  _Aylmer's Field_, 224.

  Aytoun, W. E., 246.


  Bailey, Philip James, 52, 63-64.

  Baillie, Joanna, 46.

  _Balaustion's Adventure_, 232.

  _Balder_, 247-248.

  _Balder Dead_, 217, 218.

  _Ballad of Bouillabaisse, The_, 97.

  _Ballad of Harlaw_, Scott's, 119.

  _Ballads and Sonnets_, 241.

  _Ballads of Policeman X, The_, 91, 94.

  _Barchester Towers_, 272.

  Barham, R. H., 58.

  _Barnaby Rudge_, 87.

  Barnes, William, 65-66.

  _Barry Lyndon_, 91, 97.

  Bates, H. W., 189.

  _Battle of Naseby_, 119.

  _Becket_, 74, 226-227.

  _Bells and Pomegranates_, 7, 45.

  _Ben Brace_, 80.

  Bentham, Jeremy, 160, 162-163.

  _Bertha in the Lane_, 236.

  _Bible in Spain, The_, 212.

  _Biographical History of Philosophy, A_, 169.

  _Bishop Blougram_, 231.

  Blackie, John Stuart, 256.

  Blanchard, Laman, 57.

  _Blessed Damozel, The_, 241, 243.

  _Blind Boy's Pranks, The_, 61.

  _Bob Burke's Duel with Ensign Brady_, 70.

  _Bon Gaultier Ballads_, 246.

  _Book Hunter, The_, 141.

  _Book of Snobs, The_, 91, 95.

  Borrow, George, 212.

  Bosworth, Joseph, 211.

  _Bothie of Tober-na-Vuolich, The_, 220.

  _Bridge of Sighs, The_, 56.

  Brontë, Anne, 100, 102.

  Brontë, Charlotte, 100-102, 103-106;
    and Thackeray, 105;
    and Mrs. Gaskell, 106, 107.

  Brontë, Emily Jane, 100, 101, 102-103.

  _Brontë, Life of Charlotte_, 106.

  Brough, R. B., 257.

  Brown, Dr. John, 210, 244.

  Browning, E. B., 44, 119, 233-236, 242;
    and Christina Rossetti, 245.

  Browning Robert, 11, 43-51;
    life, 43-44;
    his relation to contemporaries, 44-45;
    and Shelley, 45;
    his dramatic experiments, 46-48;
    his dramatic monologues, 48-50;
    and Carlyle, 50-51;
    220, 228-233;
    and religious controversy, 228-229;
    his self-revelation, 230;
    his love-poems, 230-231;
    his closing period, 231-233;
    244.

  Buckle, Henry Thomas, 110, 133-134.

  _Budget of Paradoxes, A_, 176.

  Burns, Robert, 239.

  Burton, John Hill, 141.

  Byron, Lord, 1, 36, 37, 46.


  _Cadyow Castle_, 119.

  Cairnes, J. E., 165.

  Calderon, 237.

  _Callista_, 269.

  Calverley, C. S. 257.

  _Cardinal Richelieu_, 74.

  Carleton, William, 98-99.

  Carlyle, Thomas, 12-35;
    his life, 12-16;
    his relation to contemporaries, 16-18;
    and Mill, 17, 18, 24;
    unity of his work, 18;
    on Burns, 19;
    on Scott, 19;
    on Goethe, 20;
    his choice of historical subjects, 20-22;
    and German thought, 23;
    his treatment of facts, 27;
    of social and political problems, 30-33;
    and Fletcher of Saltoun, 32;
    his critical writings, 33-34;
    his style, 34-35;
    and Browning, 50-51; 72;
    118;
    and Macaulay, 119-120;
    205;
    and Matthew Arnold, 206-207.

  _Carlyle, Life of Thomas_, 135.

  _Carmina Crucis_, 259.

  _Casa Guidi Windows_, 234, 235.

  _Cavaliers and Roundheads_, 210.

  _Cavalier Song_, 61.

  _Caxtons, The_, 73.

  _Cenci, The_, 46.

  _Chaldee Manuscript, The_, 136.

  Chambers, Robert, 180-181.

  Chamier, F., 80.

  _Characteristics of Shakespeare's Women_, 193.

  CHARLES O'MALLEY, 99.

  _Chartism_, 15, 30, 32.

  _Child's Grave at Florence, A_, 234, 235, 236.

  _Christianity under the Empire, History of_, 126-127.

  Christian Socialism, 157.

  _Christie Johnstone_, 274, 276.

  _Christmas Eve and Easter Day_, 220, 228

  _Chronicle of the Drum, The_, 97.

  _Church of Brou, The_, 217.

  _City Poems_, 250.

  _Claims of the Bible and of Science, The_, 157.

  Clark, W. G., 193.

  Clarke, C. Cowden, 193.

  Clarke, M. Cowden, 193.

  _Cloister Life of Charles V., The_, 142.

  Clough, A. H., 158, 219-220, 244.

  _Clytemnestra_, 252.

  _Codlingsby_, 94.

  Colenso, J. W., 159.

  Coleridge, Hartley, 59-60.

  Coleridge, Henry Nelson, 61.

  Coleridge, S. T., 156.

  Coleridge, Sara, 61.

  Collier, J. P., 192-193.

  Collins, Mortimer, 257.

  Collins, Wilkie, 273.

  Colman, George, 83.

  _Columbus_, 225.

  _Comic Annual, Hood's_, 55.

  _Coming Race, The_, 74.

  Comte, 168, 169.

  _Comte's Philosophy of the Sciences_, 169.

  _Concordance to Shakespeare_, 193.

  _Congal_, 258.

  _Coningsby_, 75, 76.

  Conington, John, 211.

  _Contarini Fleming_, 75.

  Cooper, Fenimore, 80.

  _Cornhill Magazine, The_, 93.

  _Cornish Ballads_, 259.

  _Corn Law Rhymes_, 3.

  Cory, William, 257.

  _Cosmo de' Medici_, 64.

  Craik, Dinah Maria, 269.

  _Cranford_, 107.

  _Critical and Historical Essays_ (Macaulay's), 114, 118.

  Criticism, Journalistic, 191-192.

  Croker, Crofton, 70.

  _Cromwell_, 15, 28.

  _Cruise of the Midge, The_, 80.

  _Cry of the Children, The_, 3, 236.


  _Daniel Deronda_, 262, 264, 266, 268.

  _Dante and his Circle_, 241.

  _Dante Gabriel Rossetti_ (Sharp's), 241.

  Darwin, Charles, 170, 172, 177, 178, 180, 181-189;
    and A. R. Wallace, 183, 186, 189;
    198.

  _David Copperfield_, 82, 85.

  _Death-Bed, The_, 56.

  _Death in the Desert, A_, 229, 230.

  _Death of Marlowe, The_, 64.

  _Death of OEnone, The_, 227.

  _Deerbrook_, 168.

  _Defence of Guenevere, The_, 255.

  _Defence of Lucknow, The_, 221.

  _Demeter_, 227.

  Democratic Movement, The, 2-5.

  De Morgan, A., 176.

  _Denis Duval_, 93.

  De Quincey, 153, 199, 200.

  _Descent of Man, The_, 186.

  De Tabley, Lord, 253-254.

  _Development of Christian Doctrine, The_, 148.

  De Vere, Aubrey, 261.

  _Diamond Necklace, The_, 14.

  _Diary of a late Physician, The_, 81.

  Dickens, Charles, 69, 82-90;
    his life, 82-85;
    and George Colman, 83;
    his public readings, 85;
    his characters, 86-88;
    his humour and pathos, 88-89;
    262.

  _Dickens, Life of_, 141.

  _Dipsychus_, 220.

  _Discourses in America_, 203, 204.

  _Discussions on Philosophy and Literature_, 167.

  Disraeli, Benjamin, Earl of Beaconsfield, 71, 75-78.

  Dobell, Sydney, 247-249.

  _Doctor Thorne_, 272.

  _Doctrine of Sacrifice, The_, 157.

  _Don John of Austria_, 142.

  _Dover Beach_, 217.

  Doyle, Sir F. H., 258.

  _Dramatic Lyrics_, 45.

  _Dramatic Romances_, 45.

  _Dramatis Personæ_, 49, 229, 231.

  _Dream of Fair Women, A_, 40.

  _Dream of Gerontius, The_, 148.

  _Dreamthorp_, 249.

  _Drink_, 274.

  _Duchess de la Vallière, The_, 74.

  Dufferin, Lady, 260.

  Dyce, Alexander, 193.


  _Eagle's Nest, The_, 196.

  _Early History of Institutions, The_, 135.

  _Early Italian Poets, The_, 241.

  _Earthly Paradise, The_, 255.

  _Easter Day, Naples_, 219.

  _Eastern Church, Lectures on the_, 140.

  _East Lynne_, 269.

  _Edwin of Deira_, 250.

  _Edwin the Fair_, 62.

  Eliot, George, and Mrs. Gaskell, 108;
    262-268;
    and G. H. Lewes, 263-264;
    Edmond Scherer on, 265.

  _Eliot, Life of Sir John_, 141.

  _Emma_, 103.

  _Empedocles on Etna_, 214, 217.

  _End of the Play, The_, 98.

  _England, History of_ (Froude's), 128-130.

  _England, History of_ (Macaulay's), 116-119.

  _England, History of_ (Stanhope's), 142.

  _England in Time of War_, 247, 249.

  _English Commonwealth, Rise and Progress of the_, 142.

  _English Dramatic Poetry, History of_, 192.

  _English Humourists of the Eighteenth Century, The_, 92, 114.

  _English Idylls_, 224.

  _English in Ireland in the Eighteenth Century, The_, 130-131.

  _English Past and Present_, 211.

  _Enquiry into the Credibility of Early Roman History, An_, 169.

  _Enid_, 224.

  _Eothen_, 132.

  _Epilogue to Lessing's Laocoön_, 204.

  _Epistles to the Corinthians, Commentary on the_, 140.

  _Erasmus_, 131.

  Erskine, Thomas, of Linlathen, 156.

  _Esmond_, 87, 91, 92, 95-96.

  _Essay on Mind_, 234.

  _Essays and Reviews_, 124, 158-159.

  _Essays in Criticism_, 204, 205, 207.

  _Essence of Christianity, The_, 263.

  _Etonian, The_, 57.

  _Eugene Aram_, 72.

  _Eugene Aram's Dream_, 55.

  _Euphranor_, 237.

  _Europe during the French Revolution, History of_, 141.

  Evans, Mary Ann. _See_ Eliot, George.

  _Evening Dream, An_, 249.

  _Examination of Sir William Hamilton's Philosophy, An_, 162, 164.

  _Expansion of England, The_, 131.

  _Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, The_, 187.


  _Fairy Legends and Traditions of the South of Ireland_, 70.

  _Falcon, The_, 227.

  _Falkland_, 71-72.

  _Felix Holt_, 264, 266.

  Ferguson, Sir Samuel, 258.

  _Ferishtah's Fancies_, 232.

  Ferrier, J. F., 167-168.

  _Fertilisation of Orchids, The_, 185.

  _Fifine at the Fair_, 232.

  Finlay, George, 127.

  _Firmilian_, 246.

  _First Principles_, 172.

  Fitzgerald, Edward, 42, 236-239.

  _Fleshly School of Poetry, The_, 241.

  Fletcher, Andrew, of Saltoun, 32.

  _Fly Leaves_, 257.

  _Footprints of the Creator_, 179.

  _Foresters, The_, 227.

  _Forsaken Merman, The_, 217.

  _Fors Clavigera_, 201.

  _Forster, John_, 85, 141.

  _Four Georges, The_, 92, 93, 94.

  _Fra Lippo Lippi_, 231.

  _Framley Parsonage_, 272.

  Fraser, Hugh, 70.

  _Fraser's Magazine_, 69-70.

  _Frederick the Great_, 15, 16, 28-30.

  Freeman, E. A., 117, 130.

  French Revolution, The, 1-2, 37.

  _French Revolution, History of the_, 14, 15, 26-28, 29, 84.

  _Friends in Council_, 194.

  Froude, Hurrell, 145, 147.

  Froude, J. A., 127-132;
    and Freeman, 130;
    on Carlyle, 131;
    146, 152.


  Galt, John, 161.

  Garnett, Dr. Richard, quoted, 248.

  Gaskell, E. C., 106-108;
    George Sand on, 107;
    and Charlotte Brontë, 106, 107;
    and George Eliot, 108.

  _Geoffrey Hamlyn_, 271.

  _Germ, The_, 240, 244.

  _German Romance_, 13.

  _Gipsies in Spain, The_, 212.

  _Gladiators, The_, 273.

  Gladstone, W. E., 211.

  Glascock, W. N., 80.

  _Glasgow_, 250.

  _Goblin Market_, 244, 246.

  _Goethe, Life of_, 169.

  _Gold_, 274.

  _Goldsmith, Life of_, 141.

  Gordon, A. L., 258.

  _Grammar of Assent, Essay in Aid of a_, 148.

  _Grandmother, The_, 225.

  Grant, James, 273.

  Gray, David, 258.

  _Great Hoggarty Diamond, The_, 91.

  _Greece, History of_ (Finlay's), 127.

  _Greece, History of_ (Grote's), 125-126.

  _Greece, History of_ (Thirlwall's), 124.

  Greenwell, Dora, 259.

  _Gregory VII._, 64.

  _Griffith Gaunt_, 276.

  Grote, George, 122, 125-126.

  _Gulliver's Travels_, 98.

  _Guy Livingstone_, 273.


  Hallam, A. H., 38.

  Halliwell-Phillipps, J. O., 193.

  Hamilton, Sir William, 167.

  Hamilton, Sir W. Rowan, 176.

  _Hand and Soul_, 241.

  _Handy Andy_, 99.

  Hannay, James, 80-81.

  _Hard Cash_, 275.

  _Harold_, 226.

  _Harry Lorrequer_, 99.

  _Haunted House, The_, 56.

  Hawker, R. S., 259.

  Helps, Sir Arthur, 194.

  Hemans, Felicia, 52, 53.

  _Henrietta Temple_, 76.

  _Henry Holbeach_, 210.

  _Hereward the Wake_, 270.

  _Heroes and Hero-Worship_, 15.

  Hincks, Edward, 212.

  _Holy Grail, The_, 224.

  _Hood's Magazine_, 56.

  Hood, Thomas, 54-56;
    and Praed, 57-58.

  Hook, Theodore, 70.

  Hook, W. F., 141-142.

  Horace, 238, 239.

  _Horæ Subsecivæ_, 210.

  Horne, R. H., 64-65.

  _Horton_, 250.

  _Household Words_, 85.

  Howells, Mr. W. D., quoted, 241.

  Huxley, Thomas, 180, 184.

  _Hymn to Astarte_, 254.

  _Hypatia_, 270.


  _Ideal of a Christian Church, The_, 146.

  _Idylls of the King_, 222-224.

  _In a Balcony_, 45.

  _In a Gondola_, 49.

  _Inductive Sciences, History of the_, 166.

  _Inductive Sciences, Philosophy of The_, 166.

  _Influence of Authority in Matters of Opinion, The_, 170.

  Ingelow, Jean, 259.

  _Ingoldsby Legends, The_, 58.

  _In Memoriam_, 38, 39, 220-221.

  _Inn Album, The_, 232.

  _Inquiry Concerning the Origin of Christianity_, 263.

  _Insectivorous Plants_, 187.

  _Invasion of the Crimea, The_, 132-133.

  _Ionica_, 257.

  _Irish Sketch Book, The_, 91.

  _Isaac Comnenus_, 62.

  _Is it all Vanity?_, 75.

  _Ismail and other Poems_, 71.

  _It is Never Too Late to Mend_, 274, 275, 276.


  _Jael_, 254.

  James, G. P. R., 71, 78-79.

  _James Lee's Wife_, 230.

  Jameson, Anna, 193.

  _Jane Eyre_, 100, 102, 103, 104, 137.

  _Jeanie Morison_, 61.

  Jerrold, Douglas, 47.

  _Jewish Church, Lectures on the_, 140.

  _Jews, History of the_, 126.

  _John Halifax, Gentleman_, 269.

  Jones, Ebenezer, 66-67.

  Jowett, Benjamin, 158.

  _Julius Cæsar_, 131.

  _Jurisprudence, Lectures on_, 161.

  _Justification, Lectures on_, 147.

  _Juventus Mundi_, 211.


  _Karshish_, 229.

  Kaye, Sir J. W., 142.

  Keble, John, 144-145, 147.

  _Keith of Ravelston_, 249.

  _Kenelm Chillingly_, 73.

  _King Arthur_, 74.

  _Kingdom of Christ, The_, 157.

  Kinglake, A. W., 132-133.

  Kingsley, Charles, 155, 157, 262, 269-271.

  Kingsley, Henry, 271.

  _King's Tragedy, The_, 241, 243.

  _Knight's Quarterly Magazine_, 57.

  Knowles, James Sheridan, 46.


  _Lady Geraldine's Courtship_, 234, 236.

  _Lady of Lyons, The_, 74.

  _Lady of Shalott, The_, 222.

  Lamarck, 188.

  Lancaster, William, pseudonym for Lord de Tabley, _q. v._

  Landon, L. E., 52, 53.

  _Landor, Life of_, 141.

  Lane, E. W., 212.

  _La Saisiaz_, 228, 229, 232.

  _Last Confession, A_, 242.

  _Last Chronicle of Barset, The_, 272.

  _Last Days of Pompeii, The_, 72.

  _Last Essays on Church and Religion_, 203.

  _Last of the Barons, The_, 72, 73.

  _Last Tournament, The_, 224.

  _Latin Christianity, History of_, 127.

  _Latter-Day Pamphlets_, 15, 16, 30, 32.

  _Lavengro_, 212.

  Lawrence, G. A., 273.

  Layard, Sir A. H., 211.

  _Lay of Elena, The_, 63.

  _Lay of the Brown Rosary, The_, 236.

  _Lays of Ancient Rome_, 119.

  _Lays of the Scottish Cavaliers_, 58, 246.

  Lear, Edward, 259.

  _Legendary and Historic Ballads_, 261.

  _Legend of Jubal, The_, 264, 265.

  _Legends of the Madonna_, 193.

  _Legends of the Monastic Orders_, 193.

  _Letters of Matthew Arnold_, 40, 122, 205.

  _Letters to a Young Friend_, 124.

  Lever, Charles James, 99-100.

  Lewes, George Henry, 169;
    and George Eliot, 263-264.

  Lewis, Sir George Cornewall, 120, 169-170.

  _Liberty_, 161, 165.

  _Life and Death of Jason, The_, 255.

  _Life Drama, A_, 249-250.

  _Life of Jesus, The_, 263.

  _Lilliput Levée_, 210.

  _Limits of Religious Thought, The_, 168.

  Livingstone, David, 212.

  Locker-Lampson, F., 57.

  Lockhart, J. G., 39, 136-139.

  _Locksley Hall_, 42, 226.

  _Locksley Hall Sixty Years After_, 226.

  _London Magazine_, 55.

  _Lord of Burleigh, The_, 236.

  _Loss and Gain_, 269.

  _Lost Days_, 243.

  _Lost Mistress, The_, 49.

  _Lothair_, 76.

  _Lotos-Eaters, The_, 40, 225.

  _Lovel the Widower_, 91, 93.

  Lover, Samuel, 99.

  _Love's Meinie_, 196.

  _Lucile_, 253.

  _Lucretius_, 224.

  _Luggie, The_, 258.

  _Luria_, 45.

  _Lycus the Centaur_, 55.

  Lyell, Sir Charles, 177-178;
    and Darwin, 178.

  _Lyra Apostolica_, 147.

  Lytton, Edward Bulwer, first Lord, 47, 71-75;
    and Byron, 72;
    and Charles Reade, 73;
    252.

  Lytton, Edward Robert, Earl of ('Owen Meredith'), 75, 252-253.


  Macaulay, T. B., 111-120;
    his life, 111-114;
    and Charles Austin, 111;
    and Carlyle, 119-120.

  McClintock, 212.

  _Macdermotts of Ballycloran, The_, 272.

  Madden, Sir F., 211.

  Maginn, William, 70.

  _Magyar's New-Year-Eve, The_, 249.

  Mahony, Francis, 70.

  Maine, Sir Henry, 134-135.

  _Malay Archipelago, The_, 190.

  Malthus, 1, 165, 183.

  Mangan, James Clarence, 66.

  _Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians, Account of the_, 212.

  Mansel, H. L., 168.

  _Marah_, 252.

  Marryat, Frederick, 71, 79-80;
    and Smollett, 80;
    and Fenimore Cooper, 80.

  Marston, J. Westland, 47.

  _Martin Chuzzlewit_, 84.

  Martin, Sir Theodore, 246.

  Martineau, Harriet, 168.

  _Mary Barton_, 106, 107.

  _Masks and Faces_, 274.

  Massey, Gerald, 259.

  _Maud_, 221, 222, 230.

  Maurice, J. F. D., 155-157, 161, 269.

  Maxwell, W. H., 99.

  _Mehrab Khan_, 258.

  Melbourne, Lord, 123.

  _Men and Women_, 45, 49, 229, 231.

  Meredith, Owen. _See_ Lytton, Edward Robert, Earl of.

  Merivale, Charles, 127.

  _Merope_, 217.

  _Metaphysics and Logic, Lectures on_, 167.

  _Middlemarch_, 264, 266, 267, 268.

  Mill, James, 160.

  Mill, John Stuart, 17, 18, 24, 156, 160, 161-166, 167.

  _Mill on the Floss, The_, 264, 267.

  Miller, Hugh, 178-179.

  Milman, H. H., 126-127.

  Milnes, Richard Monckton, Lord Houghton, 58.

  _Mimnermus in Church_, 257.

  _Miss Kilmansegg_, 55, 56.

  _Mr. Minns and his Cousin_, 83.

  Mitford, William, 125.

  _Mixed Essays_, 204.

  _Modern Painters_, 194-195.

  Mommsen, Dr. Theodor, 122, 123.

  _Monna Innominata_, 245.

  _Moonstone, The_, 273.

  _Moral and Metaphysical Philosophy_, 157.

  _Mornings in Florence_, 196.

  Morris, William, 255-256.

  _Morte d'Arthur_, 42, 43, 222, 224.

  Motherwell, William, 61.

  _Movements and Habits of Climbing Plants, The_, 185.

  _Mundi et Cordis Carmina_, 66.

  Munro, H. A. J., 211.

  _Mycerinus_, 215.

  _My Last Duchess_, 231.

  _My Novel_, 73.

  _My Schools and Schoolmasters_, 179.

  _My Sister's Sleep_, 241.


  _National Apostasy_, 145.

  _Naturalist on the Amazons, The_, 189.

  _Naturalist's Voyage round the World, A_, 181, 182.

  Neale, John Mason, 127.

  _Nemesis of Faith, The_, 128, 152.

  _Newcomes, The_, 90, 91, 97.

  Newman, F. W., 146.

  Newman, J. H., 17, 146-153, 154, 156, 269.

  _New Poems_, 214.

  _Nicholas Nickleby_, 84.

  Niebuhr, 120, 123.

  _Nigger Question, The_, 15, 21, 32.

  _Noctes Ambrosianæ_, 80.

  _Nonsense Rhymes_, 259.

  _North and South_, 107.

  _Northern Cobbler, The_, 225.

  _Northern Farmer, The_, 225.

  Norton, the Hon. Mrs., 260.

  _Notes and Emendations to the Plays of Shakespeare_, 193.

  _Novum Organum Renovatum_, 166.


  _Obermann Once More_, 215, 216.

  _Oceana_, 131.

  _Ode on the Death of the Duke of Wellington_, 221-222.

  _Odes and Addresses to Great People_, 55.

  _Ode to the North-East Wind_, 270.

  _Old Red Sandstone, The_, 179.

  _Oliver Twist_, 84.

  'O lyric love,' 230.

  Omar Khayyám, 237, 238-239;
    and Horace, 238-239;
    and Burns, 239.

  _One Word More_, 230.

  _Orestes_, 253.

  _Origin of Species, The_, 178, 180, 181, 182-185.

  _Our Dogs_, 210.

  _Our Mutual Friend_, 90.

  Outram, George, 61.

  Owen, Sir Richard, 180.

  Oxford Movement, The, 9, 144.


  _Pageant, A_, 244.

  _Palace of Art, The_, 40.

  Palgrave, Sir Francis, 142.

  _Paracelsus_, 7, 44, 45, 50, 248.

  _Paris Sketch-Book, The_, 91.

  _Parleyings with certain People of Importance_, 232.

  _Passing of Arthur, The_, 222, 224.

  _Past and Present_, 15, 30, 31.

  Patmore, Coventry, 251-252.

  Paton, Sir J. Noel, 240.

  Pattison, Mark, 158.

  _Pauline_, 44, 45.

  _Peg Woffington_, 274.

  _Pelham_, 72.

  _Pendennis_, 91, 97.

  Periodicals, 5-6.

  _Phantasmion_, 61.

  _Phases of Faith_, 146.

  _Phil Fogarty_, 94.

  _Philip van Artevelde_, 36, 62-63.

  _Philoctetes_, 253.

  _Philosophy of the Conditioned, The_, 168.

  _Physiology of Common Life, The_, 169.

  _Pickwick_, 84.

  _Pippa Passes_, 46, 50.

  Planché, James R., 47.

  _Plato and the other Companions of Socrates_, 125.

  _Plea of the Midsummer Fairies, The_, 55.

  _Pleasures of England, The_, 196.

  _Poems_, by C. E. and A. Bell, 101.

  _Poems_ (1833, by Tennyson), 39.

  _Poems_ (1842, by Tennyson), 39.

  _Poems and Ballads_, 254.

  _Poems by Two Brothers_, 37, 38, 53.

  _Poems, chiefly Lyrical_, 38.

  _Poems Dramatic and Lyrical_, 253-254.

  _Poems, Legendary and Historical_, 58.

  _Political Economy_ (Mill's), 161, 164.

  _Pope, The_, 229, 230.

  _Popular Government_, 135.

  Praed, W. M., 54, 57-58.

  _Praeterita_, 253.

  Pre-Raphaelites, The, 10, 213, 240.

  _Pre-Raphaelitism_, 195.

  _Prince Hohenstiel-Schwangau_, 232.

  _Prince's Progress, The_, 244.

  _Princess, The_, 39, 42-43, 221, 224.

  _Principles of Biology_, 172.

  _Principles of Ethics_, 173.

  _Principles of Geology_, 177-178.

  _Principles of Psychology_, 172.

  _Principles of Sociology_, 172.

  _Principles of Taste_, 140.

  _Private of the Buffs, The_, 258.

  _Problems of Life and Mind_, 169.

  Procter, Adelaide Anne, 260.

  _Professor, The_, 101, 103.

  _Prolegomena Logica_, 168.

  _Prometheus Unbound_, 46.

  _Promise of May, The_, 227.

  _Prophetical Office of the Church, The_, 147.

  _Proverbial Philosophy_, 64.

  _Province of Jurisprudence Determined, The_, 161.

  Pusey, E. B., 153-155;
    Pius IX. on, 154;
    156.

  _Put Yourself in his Place_, 275.


  _Qua Cursum Ventus_, 219.

  _Queen Mary_, 226.

  _Queens of England, Lives of the_, 142.

  _Queens of Scotland, Lives of the_, 142.

  _Quest of the Sangraal, The_, 259.


  _Rab and his Friends_, 210.

  _Rabbi Ben Ezra_, 229, 230.

  _Rands, W. B._, 210.

  _Ranke's History of the Popes_, Macaulay's essay on, 115.

  _Ravenshoe_, 271.

  Rawlinson, Sir H. C., 211-212.

  Reade, Charles, 73, 262, 273-276.

  _Rebecca and Rowena_, 94.

  _Red Fisherman, The_, 58.

  _Red Thread of Honour, The_, 258.

  _Rehearsals_, 253.

  _Reign of Queen Anne, History of the_, 142.

  _Reliques of Father Prout_, 70.

  _Reminiscences_, by Carlyle, 16, 20.

  _Rephan_, 233.

  _Representative Government, Considerations on_, 162, 165, 166.

  _Resignation_, 215, 217.

  _Revenge, The_, 221, 225, 260.

  Reynolds, John Hamilton, 55.

  _Rhyme of the Duchess May, The_, 236.

  _Ring and the Book, The_, 45, 49, 50, 229-230, 231.

  _Rizpah_, 226.

  Robertson, F. W., 155, 157.

  _Roman, The_, 247.

  _Romance of War, The_, 273.

  _Romans under the Empire, History of the_, 127.

  _Romany Rye, The_, 212.

  _Romaunt of Margret, The_, 236.

  _Rome, History of_, 122-123.

  _Romola_, 264, 266.

  Roscoe, William Caldwell, 260.

  _Rose Mary_, 243.

  Rossetti, Christina, 234, 242, 244-246;
    and Mrs. Browning, 245;
    and D. G. Rossetti, 245.

  Rossetti, D. G., 240-244;
    his sensuousness, 241-242;
    his treatment of nature, 243;
    his ballads, 243;
    and Christina Rossetti, 245.

  _Roundabout Papers_, 93, 97.

  _Rubáiyát_ of Omar Khayyám, 237, 238-239.

  _Rugby Chapel_, 216.

  Ruskin, John, 153, 194-202;
    his art criticism, 196-199;
    his style, 199-200;
    his social theories, 200-202.

  _Ruth_, 56.


  _Sacred and Legendary Art_, 193.

  _St. Clement's Eve_, 62.

  Ste. Beuve, 192.

  _St. Mark's Rest_, 196.

  _St. Paul and Protestantism_, 203.

  _Saint's Tragedy, The_, 271.

  _Salámán and Absál_, 237.

  Sand, George, quoted, 107;
    253.

  _Sands of Dee, The_, 270.

  _Sartor Resartus_, 12, 13, 15, 19, 23-26, 34, 35.

  _Scenes of Clerical Life_, 262, 264, 266, 267.

  Scherer, Edmond, on George Eliot, 265.

  _Schiller, Life of_, 13, 22, 34.

  Schleiermacher, 123.

  _Scholar Gipsy, The_, 215, 216.

  Science and literature, 8-9;
    influence of science on the method of history, 110.

  _Scot Abroad, The_, 141.

  _Scotland, History of_ (Burton's), 141.

  _Scotland, History of_ (Tytler's), 143.

  _Scott's Journal_, 138, 139.

  _Scott, Life of Sir Walter_, 137-139.

  Scott, Michael, 80.

  Scott, William Bell, 240, 260.

  _Sea Dreams_, 224.

  _Searching the Net_, 253.

  Sedgwick, Adam, 189.

  Seeley, J. R., 131.

  Senancour, 217.

  Senior, N. W., 165.

  _Sepoy War in India, History of the_, 142.

  _Seraphim, The_, 234.

  _Seven Lamps of Architecture, The_, 195, 198.

  'She is not fair to outward view,' 60.

  Shelley, 45, 46.

  _Shirley_, 103, 106.

  _Shooting Niagara_, 16.

  _Short Studies on Great Subjects_, 130.

  _Sicilian Summer, A_, 62.

  _Silas Marner_, 264, 266.

  _Sinai and Palestine_, 140.

  _Sing-Song_, 244.

  _Sir Brook Fossbrooke_, 99.

  _Sir Galahad_, 222.

  _Sir John Oldcastle_, 225.

  _Sir Launcelot and Queen Guinevere_, 222.

  _Sir Richard Grenville's Last Fight_, 260.

  _Sketches by Boz_, 83, 84.

  _Slave Power, The_, 165.

  Smedley, Menella B., 261.

  Smith, Alexander, 247, 249-251.

  Smollett, 80.

  _Snob, The_, 90.

  _Sohrab and Rustum_, 217, 218.

  _Soldier of Fortune, The_, 253.

  _Solitary, The_, 66.

  Somerville, Mary, 175.

  _Song of the Shirt, The_, 3, 56.

  _Song of the Western Men, The_, 259.

  _Songs of the Cavaliers and Roundheads_, 261.

  _Songs of the Governing Classes_, 257.

  _Sonnets and Fugitive Pieces_, 53.

  _Sonnets from the Portuguese_, 234, 235-236, 245.

  _Sonnets on the War_, 247, 249.

  _Sordello_, 7, 45, 232.

  _Soul's Tragedy, A_, 45, 46.

  _Southern Night, A_, 216.

  _Spanish Ballads_, 136.

  _Spanish Gypsy, The_, 264, 265.

  Spasmodic School, The, 213, 246.

  Spencer, Herbert, 170-174.

  _Sphinx, The_, 260.

  Stanley, A. P., 17, 136, 139-140, 158.

  Stanhope, Earl, 142.

  _Stealthy School of Criticism, The_, 241.

  Sterling, John, 34, 157, 161.

  _Sterling, Life of_, 16, 20, 27, 34, 135.

  Stirling-Maxwell, Sir William, 142.

  _Stones of Venice, The_, 195.

  _Stories from Waterloo_, 99.

  _Strafford_, 45, 46.

  _Strangers Yet_, 58.

  _Strayed Reveller, The_, 214.

  _Stream's Secret, The_, 243.

  Strickland, Agnes, 142.

  _Structure and Distribution of Coral Reefs, The_, 182.

  _Studies of Sensation and Event_, 67.

  _Study of Words, The_, 211.

  _Subjection of Women, The_, 162, 165.

  Swift, Jonathan, 35, 92, 98.

  Swinburne, A. C., 254.

  _Sybil_, 75, 76, 77.

  _Synthetic Philosophy, The_, 170-174.

  _System of Logic, A_, 161, 162, 164.


  Tait, Archibald C., 159.

  _Tale of Two Cities, A_, 84, 87.

  Talfourd, Thomas Noon, 47.

  _Tancred_, 76.

  Taylor, Sir Henry, 36, 61-63.

  Taylor, Tom, 47, 274.

  _Tenant of Wildfell Hall, The_, 102.

  Tennyson, Alfred, Lord, 37, 38-43;
    his early poems, 38;
    his development, 39-42;
    Lockhart on, 39;
    Carlyle on, 40;
    Edward Fitzgerald on, 42;
    and Keats, 42;
    220-228;
    his patriotism, 221;
    and the Arthurian legends, 222-223;
    his blank verse, 223-224;
    his dramatic poems, 224-227.

  Tennyson, Frederick, 54.

  _Ten Thousand a Year_, 81.

  _Testimony of the Rocks, The_, 179.

  Thackeray, W. M., 69, 70, 90-98;
    his early life, 90-91;
    and the eighteenth century humourists, 92;
    and Dickens, 93-94;
    his satire, 95-96;
    his women, 96-97;
    and Swift, 92, 98;
    105.

  _Theophrastus Such, Impressions of_, 264.

  Thirlwall, Connop, 120, 123-125.

  Thom, William, 61.

  Thornbury, G. W., 261.

  Thorpe, Benjamin, 211.

  _Thyrsis_, 215, 216.

  _Timbuctoo_, 38.

  _Timbuctoo_ (Thackeray's), 90.

  _Time Flies_, 244.

  ''Tis sweet to hear the merry lark,' 60.

  _To a Gipsy Child_, 215.

  _Tom Burke of Ours_, 99.

  _Tom Cringle's Log_, 80.

  _Tracts for the Times_, 147.

  _Traits and Stories of the Irish Peasantry_, 99.

  _Translating Homer, On_, 204.

  _Travels on the Amazon_, 189.

  Trench, R. C., 211.

  Trevelyan, Sir George, 111, 116.

  _Tristram and Iseult_, 217.

  Trollope, Anthony, 272.

  Tupper, M. F., 64.

  Turner, Charles Tennyson, 38, 53-54.

  _Two Chiefs of Dunboy, The_, 131.


  _Ulysses_, 224.

  _Unknown Eros, The_, 251-252.

  _Utilitarianism_, 162.


  _Vanitas Vanitatum_, 98.

  _Vanity Fair_, 91, 97.

  _Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication, The_, 185, 188.

  _Vegetable Mould through the Action of Worms, The Formation of_, 187.

  _Velasquez and his Work_, 142.

  _Venetia_, 76.

  _Verses and Translations_, 257.

  _Vestiges of Creation_, 179, 180, 188.

  _Vicar, The_, 57.

  _Villette_, 101, 103.

  _Virginians, The_, 93.

  _Vision of Sin, The_, 42.

  _Vivian Grey_, 75.

  _Vivia Perpetua_, 256.


  Wade, Thomas, 66.

  Wallace, Alfred Russel, 180;
    and Darwin, 183, 186;
    189-190.

  Ward, W. G., 146, 219.

  _Ward's English Poets_, 207.

  _War in Afghanistan, History of the_, 142.

  _War of the Succession in Spain, History of the_, 142.

  Warren, J. B. L. _See_ De Tabley, Lord.

  _Warren Hastings_, 115.

  Warren, Samuel, 81.

  _Water Babies, The_, 271.

  Watson, Mr. William, 62.

  _Westward Ho!_, 270.

  Whately, Richard, 144.

  _What will He do with It?_ 73.

  Whewell, William, 166.

  _Whims and Oddities_, 55.

  Whitehead, Charles, 66.

  _White Ship, The_, 243.

  Whyte-Melville, G. J., 273.

  Wilberforce, Samuel, 155, 184.

  _Wilhelm Meister_, Carlyle's translation of, 13.

  Williams, Rowland, 124.

  _Wilson, Life of Bishop_, 145.

  _Witness, The_, 178.

  _Wives and Daughters_, 107.

  _Woman in White, The_, 273.

  _Wondrous Tale of Alroy, The_, 76.

  Wood, Mrs. Henry, 269.

  _Woodland Grave, A_, 254.

  Woolner, Thomas, 240.

  Wordsworth, William, and Matthew Arnold, 216-217;
    223.

  Wright, W. Aldis, 193.

  _Wuthering Heights_, 102, 103, 104.


  _Yeast_, 269, 270.

  _Yellowplush Papers_, The, 91.

  _Youth of England to Garibaldi's Legion, The_, 249.


  _Zanoni_, 73, 74.


  CHISWICK PRESS:--CHARLES WHITTINGHAM AND CO.
  TOOKS COURT, CHANCERY LANE, LONDON.



FOOTNOTES:

[1] In later times this has been confused with the very different doctrine
that there is a domain of authority _within_ the domain of reason.

[2] _I.e._, if Ainsworth was the author of _Sir John Chiverton_.

[3] The 'Young Friend' to whom these remarkable letters are addressed is
now Lady Hills-Johnes, of Dolancothy, Carmarthenshire.

[4] One early criticism was that the book was suspiciously _teres atque
rotundus_.



Introduction to English Literature

By HENRY S. PANCOAST

_Fourth Edition, enlarged. 725 pages. Crown 8vo. 7s. 6d. net_

Prof. C. H. Herford, Litt.D.: "Seems to me to fulfil better, on the whole,
than any other 'Introduction' known to me, the real requirements of such a
book as distinguished from a 'Sketch' or a 'Summary.'... Should serve in
particular as an excellent text-book in the courses on English Literature
now required for the London Intermediate."


A First View of English Literature

By HENRY S. PANCOAST and PERCY VAN DYKE SHELLY

_With 44 Illustrations and 2 Maps. 6s. net_


Introduction to American Literature

By HENRY S. PANCOAST

_Crown 8vo. 6s. net_

Spectator: "A very useful volume; we do not know where we could find a
more compendious manual of its subject. Of a modest size and price, it is
qualified to furnish a very good working knowledge of American writers and
writings."


History of the English Language

By T. R. LOUNSBURY, Professor in Yale University

_New Edition, Revised. 6s. net_

Sir Walter Raleigh: "One of the most readable of the shorter histories of
the language."


A Handbook to the Works of William Shakespeare

By MORTON LUCE

_Second Edition. 6s. net_

Pall Mall Gazette: "Into something less than 500 pages he has condensed a
summary of the best critical opinion in regard to the author and his
works, and it is all so well arranged that the student has no difficulty
in turning up the point on which he wishes information."


A Handbook to the Works of Alfred, Lord Tennyson

By MORTON LUCE

_With Bibliography. Fifth Edition. 6s. net_

Prof. Dowden: "Your 'Handbook to Tennyson' seems to me excellent in its
fulness of knowledge, its arrangement, and its appreciation of the poet's
characteristics. One learns something from nearly every page."


Handbook to the Works of Robert Browning

By MRS. SUTHERLAND ORR

_Twelfth Edition, with a Bibliography. 6s. net_


_THE MOST RELIABLE BOOK OF REFERENCE IN THE WORLD_

WEBSTER'S NEW INTERNATIONAL DICTIONARY

A DICTIONARY AND ENCYCLOPÆDIA COMBINED

  442,000 DEFINED WORDS AND PHRASES
  2,700 QUARTO PAGES
  6,000 ILLUSTRATIONS
  WITH ADDENDUM OF NEW WORDS AND PHRASES
  BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY AND GAZETTEER

"Webster's 'New International' Dictionary is indeed a library in itself,
and no collection of books, whether large or small, should be, in my
opinion, without a copy." SIR SIDNEY LEE, D.LITT.

"The best English Dictionary in one volume that has been published; no
other one-volume work of the kind is so complete in its records of words,
or so adequate, not only in definitions, but in the encyclopædic
information which it so often supplies." PROFESSOR EDWARD DOWDEN, M.A.,
LL.D., D.C.L.

Write to the Publishers for detailed Prospectus, Specimen Pages, and the
Opinions of eminent men on the "New International."

G. BELL AND SONS, LTD.

PORTUGAL STREET, KINGSWAY, LONDON, W.C.2.





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Age of Tennyson" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home