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Title: Literary Celebrities of the English Lake-District
Author: Sessions, Frederick
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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(2) Obvious punctuation, spelling and typographical errors
      have been corrected.


[Illustration:
_Photo by Green Bros., Grasmere._

                   DOVE COTTAGE, GRASMERE.

  As it was when the Home of the Wordsworths (1799-1808)
                 and De Quincey (1808-1830).

_Frontispiece._]



                     LITERARY CELEBRITIES
                            OF THE
                    ENGLISH LAKE-DISTRICT

                              BY
                 FREDERICK SESSIONS, F.R.G.S.
         AUTHOR OF 'ISAIAH, POET-PROPHET AND REFORMER'

                    _WITH ILLUSTRATIONS_

      'There is scarcely anything so interesting to man as his brother
    man; because there is nothing else which so acts on his sympathies;
    and sympathy is perhaps the most powerful of forces. We may feel
    much interest in a Thing, more in a Truth, but most of all only in a
    Man.'
                                         MYERS' 'LECTURES ON GREAT MEN'


                          LONDON
           ELLIOT STOCK, 62, PATERNOSTER ROW, E.C.
                           1905



                        PREFACE


This is neither a handbook nor a guide to the haunts of our Lake
Celebrities. Yet it may, perhaps, serve in some sort the purposes of
both.

It is not the result of any fresh or original research. I claim only to
have condensed many biographies, and to have provided an index to the
literary status of the men and women of whom I treat, some of whose
works are scarce, and some too voluminous for ordinary readers.

These essays were written during leisure hours towards the close of a
busy life. They were published first in two different newspapers. This
will account for their form, and for the absence of either alphabetical
or chronological sequence. The earlier ones were written for friends in
my old home in the South; the later ones for my new friends in the
North. In bringing them together into book form I have remembered the
increasing number of tourists who require food for the mind as well as
for the body, and I have remembered my own want, in years past, of some
concise account of those whose names were perpetually before me while
moving from place to place in these attractive regions.

To such tourists especially I respectfully dedicate my biographic
sketches, though not without a hope that they may reach, and be of use
to, a still wider circle of readers.

                                              FREDERICK SESSIONS.


THE BRANT,
KENDAL.



                           CONTENTS


                                                         PAGE

        Author's Preface                                  iii

      I. THE ENGLISH OPIUM EATER: THOMAS DE QUINCEY:
           1.--THE MAN                                      3
           2.--HIS BOOKS                                   11

     II. A PIONEER OF POLITICAL REFORM: HARRIET
           MARTINEAU                                       21

    III. A LOVER OF BEAUTY: GERALD MASSEY                  29

     IV. A POET ENGRAVER: WILLIAM JAMES LINTON:
           1.--THE MAN                                     37
           2.--HIS BOOKS AND HIS ART                       43

      V. A SUCCESSFUL NOVELIST: ELIZA LYNN LINTON:
           1.--THE WOMAN                                   51
           2.--HER BOOKS                                   57

     VI. THE PHILOSOPHER OF BRANTWOOD: JOHN RUSKIN:
           1.--THE MAN                                     65
           2.--HIS ART-TEACHING AND HIS BOOKS              75

    VII. A GREAT LIFE MARRED: SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE      85

   VIII. A LIFE TO PITY: HARTLEY COLERIDGE                 95

     IX. GEORGE THE FOURTH'S LAUREATE: ROBERT SOUTHEY     103

      X. VICTORIA'S FIRST LAUREATE: WILLIAM WORDSWORTH    113

     XI. A FRIEND OF GREAT POETS: CHARLES LLOYD           123

    XII.'CHRISTOPHER NORTH': JOHN WILSON                  131

   XIII. THE CHAMPION OF LORD BACON: JAMES SPEDDING       141

    XIV. TWO BEAUTIFUL LIVES: WILLIAM AND LUCY SMITH      149

     XV. TWO BROAD THINKERS: FREDERIC AND F. W. H. MEYER
           (FATHER AND SON)                               157

    XVI. A RELIGIOUS MEDIEVALIST: FREDERICK WILLIAM FABER:
           1.--THE MAN                                    167
           2.--HIS BOOKS                                  177

   XVII. JOHN RUSKIN'S FRIENDS: THE SISTERS OF THE
           THWAITE, AND THEIR BROTHER                     187

  XVIII. A LEARNED YOUNG LADY: ELIZABETH SMITH            195

    XIX. A COUNTRY DOCTOR AND HIS STORIES (FOLK-SPEECH):
          DR. ALEXANDER CRAIG GIBSON                      203

     XX. TWO PIONEER EDUCATIONISTS: THOMAS AND
           MATTHEW ARNOLD                                 213

    XXI. 'DRUNKEN BARNABY': RICHARD BRAITHWAITE           223

   XXII. LAST WORDS ABOUT OUR CELEBRITIES                 233



                    LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


  DOVE COTTAGE, GRASMERE                    _Frontispiece_

  THOMAS DE QUINCEY                       _facing page_ 3

  THE KNOLL, AMBLESIDE                            "    21

  BRANTWOOD, CONISTON LAKE                        "    29

  JOHN RUSKIN IN OLD AGE                          "    65

  THE HOUSE AT HERNE HILL IN WHICH RUSKIN WAS
     BORN IN 1819                                 "    75

  MEDALLION ON THE RUSKIN MEMORIAL, DERWENTWATER  "    82

  SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE                         "    85

  NAB COTTAGE, RYDAL                              "    95

  WINE STREET, BRISTOL                            "   103

  SOUTHEY'S MONUMENT IN CROSTHWAITE CHURCH,
  KESWICK                                         "   109

  JOSEPH COTTLE, OF BRISTOL                       "   113

  OLD BRATHAY                                     "   123

  CHARLES LLOYD AND HIS WIFE                      "   128

  ELLERAY, WINDERMERE                             "   131

  VIEW OF WINDERMERE                              "   167

  YEWDALE                                         "   187

  HAWKESHEAD, FROM ESTHWAITE WATER                "   203

  FOX HOW, AMBLESIDE                              "   213

  BURNESIDE HALL, NEAR KENDAL                     "   223

  SWARTHMORE HALL, ULVERSTONE                     "   233



                    GRASMERE AND DOVE COTTAGE


 'Once I absolutely went forwards from Coniston to the very verge of
Hammerscar, from which the whole Vale of Grasmere suddenly breaks upon
the view in a style of almost theatrical surprise, with its lovely
valley stretching before the eye in the distance, the lake lying
immediately below, with its solemn ark-like island of four and a half
acres in size seemingly floating on its surface, and its exquisite
outline on the opposite shore, revealing all its little bays and wild
sylvan margins, feathered to the edge with wild flowers and ferns. In
one quarter, a little wood, stretching for about half a mile towards the
outlet of the lake; more directly in opposition to the spectator, a few
green fields; and beyond them, just two bowshots from the water, a
little white cottage gleaming from the midst of trees, with a vast and
seemingly never-ending series of ascents, rising above it to the height
of more than three thousand feet. That little cottage was Wordsworth's
from the time of his marriage, and earlier; in fact, from the beginning
of the century to the year 1808. Afterwards, for many a year it was
mine.'--THOMAS DE QUINCEY: _Autobiographic Sketches_.


[Illustration:
                 THOMAS DE QUINCEY.
By A. C. Lucchesi.]



                THE ENGLISH OPIUM EATER

                   THOMAS DE QUINCEY

                     I.--THE MAN


    'Oh! Mr. de Quinshy--sir, but you're a pleasant cretur--and were I
    ask't to gie a notion o' your mainners to them that had never seen
    you, I should just use twa words, Urbanity and Amenity.'--The
    ETTRICK SHEPHERD in _Noctes Ambrosianæ_.

Had you been in Edinburgh on a certain day of the early spring in the
year 1850, you might have met a little, undersized, slight-framed man,
with a somewhat stealthy tread, and shy, furtive glances--like one who
dreads being watched and overtaken--stepping quickly along the streets.
He is dressed in an overcoat, buttoned close to the chin, beneath which
is no other coat. At first sight you think him a youth. On a nearer
approach you notice his hair is turning gray, and that his
fair-complexioned face and massive brow are mapped all over with the
finest of fine wrinkles, denoting his age, which is actually almost
sixty-five. Let us see where he goes. Presently he reaches the
publishing office of _Hogg's Instructor_, and the weird little man is
shown into the editor's office, and as he seems tired out with the ten
miles' walk he says he has taken from his village home, he is kindly
told to seat himself. No sooner has he done so, than he produces from
one of his pockets a packet of manuscript sheets and a small handbrush
from another. He tells the astonished editor that he is Thomas De
Quincey, whose name by that time was known all over the English-speaking
world, and that he wishes to contribute to the new periodical. As he
talks, he unfolds each separate sheet, and, carefully wiping it with his
brush, lays it on the desk. Editor Hogg goes to his safe and places a
sufficient sum in the hands of the shy stranger, and thus begins a fast
friendship and a literary connection which results in the publication of
some fourteen volumes of scattered essays--essays the like of which are
not to be found elsewhere in our mother tongue either for learning or
for inimitable force and elegance of style. The friendship only ended
with the death of De Quincey nine years later.

Now let us follow him to his home. His wife has been dead some years. On
her death the eldest daughter, still a mere girl, took upon herself the
care of the other children and their loving and famous, but most
eccentric, father. She removed the household to the village of Lasswade,
and their cottage made for them and all their visitors a bright and
happy centre of attraction. It is night ere he reaches his home, but
that is no matter, for he is in the habit of taking long and lonely
rambles far into the night and early morning, flitting about so silently
as to startle benighted travellers as if they had seen a ghost. This
night he has walked enough, and retires to his own room--a room crowded
with a confused mass of books, which leave only a narrow passage along
which he can just screw himself into his chair by the fire. A
wineglassful of laudanum is poured out by him from a decanter close at
hand, and he drinks it off, though it is of strength sufficient to kill
two or three ordinary people. Now, for a while, is his season of
recuperation and brilliant writing, till, as daylight approaches, he
turns into his simple bedroom and sleeps. Next day, probably, and for
many days thereafter we should seek him in vain at these his
headquarters, for he has other lodgings, two or three of them, in the
City, each simply running over with books. Into one of these
hiding-places we are introduced by one of his own essays, wherein he
amusingly describes his efforts, aided by his daughters, to discover a
manuscript which he desired to publish, and which was found at last at
the bottom of a metal bath crammed with papers, receipts, letters, and
folios of his own neat handwriting. He has left some other bundles of
valuable books and essays at some booksellers, whose very name and
address he has forgotten, for he has literally no memory at all for such
mundane things, and no kind of idea of the value of money. He would sue
for the loan of a few shillings _in forma pauperis_ when scores of
pounds were due to him from publishers who would have been only too glad
to settle with him promptly. A bank bill or a large note would lie
inside some book till its hiding-place was forgotten, simply because he
had not the remotest idea how to turn it into cash. On the other hand,
when it was cashed he was lavishly generous to every beggar and impostor
whom he came across, being one of the most genuinely sympathetic of men,
ready to talk with the unfortunates of the pavements, with no thought
of sin or shame in his heart, and to do them a good turn; and so fond of
little children that one of his greatest griefs--the death of
Wordsworth's infant daughter--was undoubtedly amongst the acutest pains
of his life. Earning money, after his early struggles were over, more
freely than most literary men of the day, so careless and so
simple-minded was he that he had to fly for sanctuary from his creditors
within the precincts of Holyrood, from whence he was only free to come
forth on Sundays, and if perchance he was decoyed into some friend's
house, and stayed late unwittingly, entrancing the company with his
torrents of living eloquence and unexampled knowledge, there he had to
lie _perdu_ till Sunday came round again.

Loving, and beloved of all who knew him, unsophisticated and child-like
as he was in middle and later manhood, he had had as rough an experience
of the dark and troublous side of the world as any man of his century.

He was born in Manchester, where his father, who died early of
consumption, was a well-to-do manufacturer. His mother, who was of a
socially higher grade, and of a rigid Puritan character, never
understood her sensitive son, and never took him to her heart or entered
his. Very touching are the autobiographic accounts he gives of his
sensations on the death of a little sister; how he stole into the silent
chamber and kissed the cold lips, and fell apparently into a kind of
trance, which, young as he was, made his eyes fill 'with the golden
fulness of life'; 'a vault,' he says, 'seemed to open in the zenith of
the far blue sky, a shaft which ran up for ever. I, in spirit, rose as
if on billows that also ran up the shaft for ever; and the billows
seemed to pursue the throne of God; but that also ran before us and fled
away for ever,' and so he goes on, 'till,' says he, 'I slept ... and
when I awoke I found myself standing, as before, close to my sister's
bed.' Later, too, in church, the organ music awoke within him the deep
mysticism of his nature, and he beheld with inner vision, as the solemn
notes pealed and sobbed, dreams and visions, and heard oracles, and had
with God, as he supposed, 'communion undisturbed.' These dream-echoes
haunted him more or less all his life. And it was this delicate, refined
nature which was terrorized and domineered over by a rough, fighting
elder brother, who forced him into conflict with town boys and
victimized him incessantly at home. It was this quick-learning,
preternaturally intelligent boy--who could beat all his schoolmates at
Greek and other book-knowledge--who was sent to dull and cruel masters,
who misused him and drove him in the end to run away and hide himself in
Wales, and afterwards in London. In the great Metropolis, in a desolate
old house at the corner of Greek Street and Soho Square, with only a
little waif of a girl to share his misery and solitude, he spent many
months, his only other acquaintances a hard old lawyer, who made him a
tool, and a girl of the streets, whom he calls 'Poor Ann of Oxford
Street,' who had rescued him from death when he lay famishing on a
doorstep.

How he was discovered by his family; how he was sent to Oxford, and how
when there his sensitiveness led him to shirk the examinations for his
degree; how he went to the lakes of Westmorland to live, edited a Kendal
newspaper, associated with Wordsworth, Coleridge, Southey, Professor
Wilson, and many another celebrity of the day; how he married a farmer's
daughter, who made him an exemplary wife; how he had contracted the
terrific opium habit, and how he fought it, conquered it, and fell again
before it; how he filled, even in the days of his poverty and struggling
life, one cottage after another with precious volumes of ancient and
modern lore; and how he migrated northward, and lived in and near
Edinburgh, as he was doing when we first met him--all these things you
must read for yourselves in his 'English Opium Eater,' and in his
entrancing 'Autobiographic Sketches,' or else in a Life of him by Dr.
Japp or by Professor Masson.

His death came not unawares to terminate a period of helpless weariness
with some delirium, the after-effects of opium doses. But even in
delirium his dreams, though they greatly tried him, revealed the gentle
spirit of the man. Telling his daughter one of them, he said: 'You know
I and the children were invited to the Great Supper--the Great Supper of
Jesus Christ. So, wishing the children to have suitable dresses for such
an occasion, I had them all dressed in white. They were dressed from
head to foot in white. But some rough men in the streets of Edinburgh,
as we passed on our way to the Supper, seeing the little things in
complete white, laughed and jeered at us, and made the children much
ashamed.' His daughter records: 'As the waves of death rolled faster and
faster over him, suddenly out of the abyss we saw him throw up his arms,
which to the last retained their strength, and he said distinctly, and
as if in great surprise, "Sister, sister, sister!"' So he fell on
sleep.



                      OF BOOKS AND CONVERSATION


     'A great scholar, in the highest sense of the term, is not one who
    depends simply on an infinite memory, but also on an infinite and
    electrical power of combination, bringing together from the four
    winds, like the Angel of the Resurrection, what else were dust from
    dead men's bones, into the unity of breathing life.

    'And of this let everyone be assured--that he owes to the
    impassioned books which he has read, many a thousand more of
    emotions than he can consciously trace back to them. Dim by their
    origination, these emotions yet arise in him, and mould him through
    life like the forgotten incidents of childhood.

    'Books teach by one machinery, conversation by another; and if these
    resources were trained into correspondence to their own separate
    ideals, they might become reciprocally the complements of each
    other.'--THOMAS DE QUINCEY: _Essay on Pope_.



                      THE ENGLISH OPIUM EATER

                         THOMAS DE QUINCEY

                          II.--HIS BOOKS


    'De Quincey! farewell! Many pleasing hours have we spent in the
    perusal of thy eloquent page, and not a few in listening to thy
    piercing words. Not a few tears have we given to thy early sorrows.
    With no little emotion have we followed the current of thy romantic
    narrative.' --GILFILLAN'S _Literary Portraits_.


We have already seen that De Quincey's collected essays filled, in the
edition prepared by himself, as many as fourteen volumes. How many there
are in the more recent edition by Professor Masson I do not at the
moment remember, but they are in most public libraries, and can be
heartily commended both for their careful annotation and the excellence
of their typography. This latter point is a great one for the
book-lover, who believes that everything he reads should be pleasant to
handle and a delight to the eyes, provided always that its price is
within reach of a moderately-filled purse.

Of the quality of the contents of the fourteen volumes there are diverse
critical opinions. Let me appraise a few of them before offering my own.
Dr. Traill ('Social England'), while speaking highly of our author's
remarkable powers of literary expression, his wit, pathos, and humour,
considers him 'unequal' in merit, and is almost absurdly wrong when he
talks of De Quincey dividing a certain portion of his life 'between
Bohemianizing in London and lion-hunting in the Lake District.' Two more
utterly unsuitable words could hardly have been found with which to
describe the early experiences of our quaint, little, oversensitive
'Thomas Paperverius,' as Hill Burton calls him in 'The Book Hunter,'
than 'Bohemianizing' and 'lion-hunting.' We will, however, forgive Dr.
Traill, since one who was by nature an unsympathetic critic could not
possibly rise above his own customary level, and also because he gives
De Quincey a place of honour as the originator of the modern school of
'prose poets,' represented by Professor Wilson, his contemporary, and in
later years by John Ruskin.

The Professor Wilson here named is, of course, he who is still known by
his _nom de plume_ of 'Christopher North.' Close friends were these two
great walkers, great talkers, and great writers. At first sight an
ill-assorted pair must they have seemed to anyone who met them together
on the hills above Windermere, the Celtic giant striding along, like one
of Ossian's heroes, with 'his yellow hair streaming upon the wind,' and
his undersized comrade half running by his side. As they climbed the
mountain they were fain to discourse of all things in heaven and on
earth, for they were both eclectics of a high order, both deeply versed
in German literature and metaphysics, both keenly observant of Nature
and of current events, and both excellent classical and English
scholars. The more Wilson knew of De Quincey the better he liked and
appreciated him, even though an occasional little breeze ruffled the
calmness of their intercourse. The latter owed to 'Kit' his introduction
to _Blackwood's Magazine_, of which he was then editor-in-chief. You
will also remember--you, at any rate, who are familiar with the charming
'Noctes Ambrosianæ' (though, I fear, you are in a sad minority in these
days of scrappy periodicals and flimsy popular fiction)--but you of the
elect few will remember the genial fun which Wilson pokes at 'The Opium
Eater,' and how cleverly he imitates his all but inimitable style, and
banters him on his out-of-the way bits of Attic or Teutonic lore, as
well as on his habits of tagging on one idea to another till he bids
fair to lay the whole universe under contribution to his analytical and
illuminative conversation. You will remember, further, that he puts into
the mouth of 'The Ettrick Shepherd' many such passages as the following,
professing to tease pleasantly the subject of them: 'As for "The Opium
Eater," he lives in a world o' his ain, where there are nae magazines o'
ony sort, but o' hail and sleet, and thunder, and lichtnin', and
pyramids, and Babylonian terraces, covering wi' their fallen gardens,
that are now naething but roots and trunks o' trees, and bricks o'
pleasure houses, the unknown tombs o' them that belonged once to the
Beasts o' the Revelation,' and much more of the same sort of chaff,
running into a paragraph three times the length of this quotation.

Crabbe Robinson, in his 'Diary,' that wonderful repertoire of chit-chat
about the celebrities of his day, says 'all that De Quincey wrote is
curious if not valuable; commencing with his best-known "Confessions of
an English Opium Eater," and ending with his scandalous but
painfully-interesting autobiography in _Tait's Magazine_.' Scandalous
quotha! This most 'valuable' production has passed into our choicest
literature, while Mr. Robinson's own memoranda are barely known, if at
all, beyond a small circle of bookworms. The 'Diary' has become a mere
quarry in which historians and biographers dig for their building
materials, while De Quincey's life is a more enduring monument to his
fame than if it had been of marble.

George Gilfillan has far more nearly hit the mark when he pens this
critique: 'In all his writings we find a lavish display of learning. You
see it bursting out, whether he will or no; never dragged in as by
cart-ropes; and his allusions, glancing in all directions, show even
more than his direct quotations that his learning is encyclopædic. His
book of reference is the brain. Nor must we forget his style. It is
massive, masculine, and energetic; ponderous in its construction, slow
in its motion, thoroughly English, yet thickly sprinkled with archaisms
and big words, peppered to just the proper degree with the condiments of
simile, metaphor, and poetic quotation; select, without being
fastidious; strong, without being harsh; elaborate, without being
starched into formal and false precision.'

We will pass now from these critical estimates to our own mere likings
and preferences among De Quincey's very voluminous 'Selections Grave and
Gay.' I give the first place--the place of vantage and of honour--to the
autobiography already alluded to above, for it burns and scintillates
with the fire of genius, kindled by the action of unique experiences
upon a unique temperament. Next must come, of course, the
'Confessions,' which made him famous in the first instance. This is a
volume from which, in my limited space, I can make no typical extracts,
meandering as the pages do among golden visions and uncanny dreams
begotten by the hideous narcotic drug, and lingering lovingly among
picturesque sketches of the men and maidens of the villages and country
towns he strayed to during his flight from school and home, giving us
glimpses now of 'elaborate and pompous sunsets hanging over the
mountains of Wales,' and anon plunging us into the profoundest depths of
German philosophy and theology. Sometimes he makes us smile at a curious
and unexpected phrase, or some simile that is apt, and yet at first
sight seems incongruous, with a spice of exaggeration, such as the
statement that the shoulders of the porter who carried away his trunk
were 'broad as Salisbury Plain.'

One of the most characteristic of his tales is that of 'The Spanish
Military Nun,' a true narrative, unearthed by him from the authentic
lore of Spain, of an episode in the conquest of South America, and
relating to a certain Catarina (prettily called by him 'our dear Kate')
who escaped from a convent in the mother country, donned armour, fought
battles and duels, was beloved by marriageable girls, forced a passage
across the Andes, and finally was drowned in the Western Atlantic. The
story is told with humour and much feeling, and has no counterpart,
except in the narrative similarly discovered and freely translated by
Southey, called 'The Expedition of Orsua, and the Crimes of Aguirre.'

Perhaps the most celebrated of his essays, though, I fancy, better
known by its title than actually read, is that 'On Murder considered as
one of the Fine Arts.' It is an elaborate _jeu d'esprit_, of which the
grave introduction, brimming over with fun, not a muscle of the author's
face moving in the telling, commences thus: 'Most of us who read books
have probably heard of a Society for the Promotion of Vice, of the
Hell-fire Club, founded in the last century by Sir Francis Dashwood. At
Brighton, I think it was, that a society was formed for the suppression
of virtue. That society was itself suppressed; but I am sorry to say
that another exists in London of a character still more atrocious. In
tendency it may be denominated a Society for the Encouragement of
Murder, but according to their own delicate euphemismos is styled "The
Society of Connoisseurs in Murder." They profess to be curious in
homicide; amateurs and dilettante in the various modes of carnage, and,
in short, murder-fanciers.'

Probably to the majority of his readers his 'English Mail-Coach,' with
its sub-chapters on 'The Glory of Motion,' 'The Vision of Sudden Death,'
and 'Dream Fugue,' will be the most attractive of all his pieces. We who
are old enough to remember 'The Arrow,' 'The Rival,' 'The Tally-Ho,' and
other four-horse mail-coaches, on which we rode seventy miles to and
from boarding-school, or to visit far-off country relatives, can enter
into the spirit of these sketches _con amore_. The young folk, who have
ridden only in hansom-cabs and excursion trains, have little idea of the
perils and pains, and the pleasures, of old coaching days, on the old
coaching roads, or at the old coaching inns, in weary winter rides, or
glorious sunny jaunts in summer time. They should certainly read these
essays, and learn how their parents and grandparents travelled in days
antecedent to steam and electricity.

If sterner qualities are needed by more laborious readers, let me
commend to their attention that marvel of historic picture-writing, 'The
Revolt of the Tartars'; or 'The Essenes' may suit them, if they be
biblical students, even though they may not agree with De Quincey's
conclusions; or there is that painstaking, minutely-descriptive chapter
on 'The Toilet of a Hebrew Lady.' If they inquire for political
knowledge--and, indeed, this is sadly lacking, not only among working
men, but even more by professional men, who live outside the contact and
struggle with the hardships and necessities of business life--where will
you find anything more convincing, anywhere any severer logic, than that
in the dissertations on Political Economy? I say nothing of his other
historical, philosophical, and theological writings--his theories,
speculations, and researches--for I would advise none to begin the
systematic study of De Quincey with these. I would recommend beginners
to taste first his sketches of contemporary writers and his lighter
papers, and then, if they find they acquire a liking for these, to pass
on to the more recondite. I confess that, however fascinating his
literary style may be, it requires some little culture to appreciate it
at the outset. If a first attempt prove no success, let the
'Miscellanies' be laid aside for a while, till the man himself has
become well known and companionable. Then a second attempt can hardly be
a failure.

Let me finish this article by inviting my readers' perusal of that
masterpiece of Jean Paul Richter's, so ably translated by our 'old man
eloquent,' and forming the appendix to his essay on the system of the
heavens. It begins, 'And God called up from dreams a man into the
vestibule of heaven, saying, "Come thou hither, and see the glory of My
house." And to His angels He said, "Take him and undress him from his
robes of flesh, and put a new breath into his nostrils, and arm him with
sail-broad wings for flight. Only touch not with any change his human
heart--the heart that weeps and trembles." It was done, and with a
mighty angel for his guide, the man stood ready for his infinite voyage,
and from the terraces of heaven, without sound or farewell, at once they
wheeled away into endless space.'



                   THE BRATHAY VALLEY, AMBLESIDE


     'It is the place for the earliest flowers of the spring, and
    distinguished by the broom growing thickly on the bank of the river,
    and yellow globe-ranunculus flourishing on the rocks at the brink,
    or in the midst of the stream. In the autumn, the side of Loughrigg,
    which overhangs the valley, is splendid with flowering heather. The
    opposite character of this and the sister valley is striking, and
    led to the remark of a resident of Ambleside that if one wants a
    meditative walk in winter, one goes round the Brathay Valley--sure
    to meet nobody but the postman, whereas, if one needs recreation
    after a morning of study, the walk should be round the Rothay
    Valley, where one is sure to meet all one's acquaintances. The
    finest view in this valley, one of the finest in the whole district,
    is from Skelwith Fold.... The stranger will hardly aver that he ever
    saw a more perfect picture than this, with the fall (Skelwith Force)
    in the centre, closed in by rock and wood on either hand, and by
    Langdale Pikes behind.'--HARRIET MARTINEAU: _Guide to the Lakes_.


[Illustration:
_Photo by Herbert Bell, Ambleside._

                     THE KNOLL, AMBLESIDE.

          The Home of Harriet Martineau (1855-1876).]



                             II

               A PIONEER OF POLITICAL REFORM

                     HARRIET MARTINEAU


     'She was born to be a destroyer of slavery, in whatever form, in
    whatever place, all over the world, wherever she saw or thought of
    it ... in the degraded offspring of former English poor-law ... in
    English serfdom forty years ago ... in the fruits of any
    abuse--social, legislative, or administrative--or in actual
    slavery.'--FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE.


Perhaps the most instructive and reliable book ever written about the
actual condition of England, and about her people's struggles for light,
liberty, and better conditions of life during the first half of the
nineteenth century is Miss Martineau's 'History of the Thirty Years'
Peace.' It is emphatically a citizen's history as distinguished from a
partizan politician's, and it ought to be read, together with her
'Introduction' to it, by every young man who desires to possess an
intelligent acquaintance with the social problems of his age and
country. The ignorance of the present generation of youthful electors,
when compared with the knowledge of their parents at a similar time of
life, often astounds me. It is probably due to two causes--first, to the
fact that their fathers were, forty or fifty years ago, only just
emerging from the dust and smoke of hard-fought political battles, and
so had the causes of them well engrained into their minds, while they of
this generation have not yet so much as 'smelt powder' in the struggle
against still-existing grievances; and, secondly, that the present-day
education in elementary schools practically ignores the teaching of
history, while ordinary secondary schools teach English history only in
'samples,' and those seldom of the most modern periods. No other of
Harriet Martineau's works will take rank with her 'Thirty Years' Peace,'
yet they all had a great reputation when she was reckoned the greatest
living English woman, and they nearly all had a wide sale, though,
having been written for passing purposes, they naturally died
out of the popular memory when their purposes were accomplished,
and fresh interests had come into view. They were mostly
stories--novelettes--written to illustrate such questions as the then
burning ones of free trade, colonization by emigration of the pauper and
the criminal, the incidence and amendment of the Poor Laws, the
repression and punishment of crime, actual and ideal systems of
taxation, the relationships of capital and labour, and the like. In
addition to these, she wrote a few volumes of pure fiction, some
reminiscences of travel in the East--through Egypt, across the Sinaitic
desert, and northwards past Jerusalem to Damascus--and some others
respecting her stay in the United States of America in the troublous
anti-slavery times preceding the Civil War. In her earlier days she also
wrote some religious and theological essays and sketches for Unitarian
magazines. Of her fictions, two may be mentioned--'Deerbrook,' which she
considered her masterpiece, and 'Feats on the Fjord.' The latter was
favourite reading of my own boyhood. I took it to Norway with me in
later days, and found it in every way a most accurate description of
Scandinavian farm life, as well as of coast and mountain scenery--in
fact, quite as much so as the stories of Björnstjerne Björnson himself.
The extraordinary thing about this is that the authoress had never been
in Norway, and took all the settings of her hero's adventures from
narratives of other people's travels.

Her autobiography--written when, in advancing age, heart-disease had
marked her for its victim at no distant date--with the appendix thereto,
compiled by her devoted friend, Mrs. Chapman--furnishes us with all the
available materials for a sketch of her life; and, indeed, it is the
most valuable of all her multitudinous productions, with the exception
already noted. It is the story of a noble and unceasing struggle,
successfully carried through, against internal difficulties, both mental
and physical of no ordinary character, and against external ones that
would have beaten any commonplace person. It is, however, also a
revelation of spiritual processes and of gradual abandonment of
once-cherished beliefs that does not fascinate us, and leaves us with
grave doubts as to the acuteness of her philosophical insight, and of
her grasp of real Christian teaching. Perhaps, too, it was natural that
her independence of character, and her constant overwork and overstrain,
should lead her into impatience of the frailties of others, and quicken
her contempt for many of the celebrities she knew personally.

Born in 1802 of Unitarian parents, in Norwich, she grew to be a shy,
sensitive, but quietly-observant and clever girl. Her upbringing was on
the repressive lines of a conscientious but narrow-minded mother, who
was without sympathy for, or knowledge of, her 'ugly duckling's'
yearnings or capacity. The last thing the mother dreamed of was that the
'ugly duckling' was in truth a cygnet, whose swan-plumage the world
would one day recognise. The daughter longed inexpressibly for words and
deeds of parental love which never came to her, and so she grew silent,
introspective, and morbid. In mature age she became morbidly ashamed of
her childhood's, perhaps inevitable, morbidness. When her literary
instincts were bound to find a vent, her first venture in magazine
articles had to be made in secret, and, when they were discovered,
efforts were made to repress any continuation of them, and she was
sternly told to stick to her sewing-needle. She was fortunate in being
sent to a good day-school, which counteracted by its learned and genial
atmosphere the influences of home. It was, too, a blessing in disguise
when, her never robust health failing, her parents sent her to relatives
in Bristol, whose joyous spirits and cultured tastes were an inspiration
to her. A tendency to deafness, which became chronic, and at last
compelled the habitual use of an ear-trumpet, did not, till she
conquered the disadvantage by her brave fortitude, make her desirous of
company or help her to make much way in it.

The one trusted friend of her youth was her beloved younger brother
James, afterwards the eminent Unitarian minister and theologian. To him
she confided her secret aspirations, and he encouraged her finally to
proceed to London and try and find a publisher for the series of
political economy stories she projected writing. Her heroic efforts to
find someone who would risk putting them on the market is one of the
romances of literary biography.

Her father was dead. The manufacturing firm in which her mother's monies
were invested had failed. She was alone in London, and without knowledge
or influence. How she 'trudged many miles through the clay of the
streets, and the fog of the gloomiest December,' only to be rejected,
sometimes politely, and sometimes rudely, by everyone to whom she showed
her MSS. and explained her scheme; and how at last she despairingly
accepted what seemed almost impossible, and certainly were unreasonable,
terms, offered by a young bookseller without business connections; how a
wealthy relative unexpectedly stepped in to guarantee a portion of her
personal risk; and how she suddenly sprang into fame--are not all these
things faithfully set forth in her autobiographical chapter headed 'Aged
Twenty-nine'? From depths of discouragement that would have effectually
damped most aspiring authors she at once became a 'society lion,' or
rather, to retain our former metaphor, she was hailed as one of the
swans of literature, and, as was said of the royal bird in Andersen's
parable, 'the most beautiful of them all.' She endured a long and
terrible strain, while for several years producing a story a month,
which broke down her health seriously, yet she attended nearly every
evening some social function, which brought her into intimacy with the
most celebrated men and women of her generation.

It is in her records of this period that the most unpleasant traits in
her disposition become apparent. Almost every page betokens a spirit of
captious criticism of her acquaintances, and almost every one is
belittled by her.

About this time, too, Unitarianism lost altogether its slackening hold
of her. She saw that its dogmas were entirely contrary to Scripture
revelation and teaching, but instead of rectifying her faith to the
Christian standard, she abandoned the standard itself, and became an
avowed Positivist. She writes herself down as a convinced
'Necessitarian,' though if anyone's life and conduct effectually belied
such a creed it was hers. No one ever gave stronger proofs of a
self-determined will, free from all external or internal compulsion,
than she.

Money as well as fame became now her well-earned portion, and she found
herself able to purchase an annuity, spend some time abroad, and buy
land and build a house thereon at Ambleside, by the shores of beautiful
Winander. In this charming home she spent her declining years, following
her favourite pursuits, advocating mesmerism, which she considered had
raised her up from a long-endured nervous prostration, and playing with
success the part of the Lady Bountiful to the neighbourhood. It was
whilst at this place that she translated the works of Comte, and lost
thereby, what she valued most in the world--the intimacy of her beloved
brother James, who, like herself, a model of conscientiousness, publicly
reviewed her introductions and comments with some severity. Both brother
and sister had opinions, held them tenaciously, and expressed them
fearlessly. On her side no sign of change from Positivism was ever
given. The same dauntless spirit which bore her through the anti-slavery
campaign, when in America she was threatened by the slave-owners with
personal violence, upheld her now in her championship of the philosophy
of altruism without a Divine Fatherhood. We believe her mistaken, but
admire her unflinching adhesion to what she deemed the truth.

It was in her beautiful house, The Knoll, that she passed behind the
veil, and entered into the clear seeing of eternity. She died, says her
closest friend and biographer, 'in the summer sunset of her home amid
the Westmorland mountains, on June 27, 1876, after twenty-one years of
diligent, devoted, suffering, joyful years there, attended by the family
friends she most loved, and in possession of all her mental powers up
till the last expiring day, aged seventy-four years.' She lies among her
kindred, descendants of French refugees, in the old cemetery at
Birmingham.

In her maidenhood she had once loved, and been beloved by one of the
other sex, but events occurred to prevent the consummation of her love
by marriage, and it proved a happy escape. Thenceforward she lived only
to endure

  'Many a lofty struggle for the sake
      Of duties, sternly, faithfully fulfilled,
  For which the anxious mind must watch and wake,
      And the strong feelings of the heart be stilled.'



                        THE TRUE POET


      'Who wears a singing-robe is richly dight;
      The Poet, he is richer than a King.
      He plucks the veil from hidden loveliness;
      His gusts of music stir the shadowing boughs,
      To let in glory on the darkened soul.
      Upon the hills of light he plants his feet
      To lure the people up with heart and voice;
      At humblest human hearths drops dews divine
      To feed the violet virtues nestling there.
      His hands adorn the poorest house of life
      With rare abiding shapes of loveliness.
      All things obey his soul's creative eye;
      For him earth ripens fruit-like in the light;
      Green April comes to him with smiling tears,
      Like some sweet maiden who transfigured stands
      In dewy light of first love's rosy dawn,
      And yields all secret preciousness, his Bride.
      He reaps the Autumn without scythe or sickle;
      And in the sweet low singing of the corn
      Hears Plenty hush the pining Poor.'

                                         GERALD MASSEY.


[Illustration:
                BRANTWOOD, CONISTON LAKE.

  Successively the Home of Gerald Massey, William J. and
           Eliza Lynn Linton, and John Ruskin.]



                             III

                     A LOVER OF BEAUTY

                       GERALD MASSEY


    'Like the Norseman of whom he sings, he is everywhere true, brave,
    generous, and free. He is before all things a patriot. He has an
    intense belief in the genius of England as the champion of liberty,
    and the pioneer of freedom.'--_The Poets and the Poetry of the
    Century._


He is still living, some seventy-five years of age, and it is difficult
to write anything of the nature of a biography of one still amongst us.
There are a few facts, however, patent to all the world, which may be
fitly reproduced. Perhaps the most striking of these is that, like
'Festus Bailey,' he did his best poetical work in his young manhood, and
the early promise of ripening in power and of richer fruit-bearing has
not been fulfilled. Massey, writing some sweet and inspiring lyrics, and
giving evidence of acute appreciation of the masters of literature in
his once well-known lectures, seems to have lost himself in a maze of
Egyptian and anti-Christian pseudo-philosophies even less edifying than
the science evolved from the 'inner consciousness' of such holy men as
Jacob Behmen, Peter Sterry, or Swedenborg, and as incomprehensible to
the ordinary mind as the strange mysticism of William Blake. He has, as
a poet, which was his true function in life, committed intellectual
suicide, and his resurrection into mythical regions and pamphleteering
on 'Luniolatry,' 'The Seven Souls of Man,' 'The Coming Religion,' and
other such subjects, will not only fail to add to his fame, but in the
future will be remembered merely by curiosity-hunters as the vagaries of
a capable but erratic genius. Like his own Atle the Fur-Hunter in
chasing the squirrel, he has lost his sledge-load of treasures. I know
that he does not personally think so, and that some, at least, of his
friends agree with him. He found verse-making insufficient for
subsistence--as, indeed, might have been expected--and it has been
written of him that in turning to his final career he began to

  'Dredge the old sea-bottoms of the Past,
  Lover of Beauty who gave up all for Truth.'

Still, we shall ever regret the change.

Some of his best life-work was done by Massey at Brantwood, on the
shores of Coniston Water, including 'The Ballad of Babe Christabel,'
'Craig-crook Castle,' and 'War-Waits.' He had come here after a period
of stress necessitated by his outward circumstances, which had been of
the poorest. His father was a canal-boatman of Tring, in Hertfordshire,
and for him, as for all of the wage-earners of those evil days of the
Corn Laws and other oppressions, there was virtually no education. He
was sent to work in a mill when eight years of age, for twelve hours a
day, at 9d. to 1s. 6d. per week. It was the sorrows and sufferings
of such little ones as he which inspired Mrs. Browning's
never-to-be-forgotten 'Cry of the Children.' Possessed of a resolute
will and an inquiring spirit, he taught himself all he could from the
very few books accessible to him. While passing through years of poverty
and hardship, engaged in straw-plaiting, he associated himself with
like-minded youths of his own and a somewhat better social class, threw
himself ardently into the progressive movements of the day, and
soon found his way into print in some of the restricted and
Government-worried local newspapers. When but twenty-one years old he
was actually editing a serial called _The Spirit of the Age_. A year
later he became one of the secretaries of the Christian Democratic
movement headed by Maurice and Kingsley, wrote verses for various
publications, and by-and-by mustered courage to issue his 'Voices of
Freedom and Lyrics of Love.' This little book and his next brought him
into contact or correspondence with Hepworth Dixon, W. Savage Landor,
'George Eliot,' and Tennyson. Tennyson writes him respecting the 'fine
lyrical impulse, and the rich, half-Oriental imagination' he found in
his poems. 'George Eliot' is said to have taken him for her model of
'Felix Holt the Radical.' She describes her hero as a somewhat
eccentric-mannered young man, shaggy-headed, large-eyed, and
strong-limbed, wearing neither waistcoat nor cravat, and in abrupt
sentences denouncing unreality and humbug, though amenable to softening
social and intellectual influences. This, at any rate, is her
introduction of him to her readers. Massey's first love-story (he was
happily married) was, at least, as much an idyll, it would appear, as
that of Holt, and the deep home love, the consecrated affection of the
wedded life, were the inspirations of some of his sweetest lyrics, just
as his intense yearnings for the betterment of the common people were
that of his patriotic ones. Later in life, after he had left Coniston,
we find him an accepted essayist in some leading literary magazines, and
a lecturer on literary subjects, living in Edinburgh. Another volume or
two, with war songs and ballads among them, evoked by what England has
long ago become ashamed of--the Crimean War--completed the first stage
of his career, and the only one that concerns us here. He has collected
into a volume--adopting a description of himself as 'the most
unpublished of authors'--a few of his best poems, which one critic
thinks contains everything of his worth preserving. I do not agree with
this dictum. Some of his best are omitted, though we have to thank this
self-same critic for preserving them for us.

Now comes for me the ungrateful task of selecting from his garden of
delights, not posies, but a few blossoms and a few typical petals that
may serve to show the form and hue of the blossoms. In doing so, many of
the best must of necessity be passed over. Do you know 'Babe
Christabel'? Is it not pathetically true to experience? Has it not set
many a chord of many a mother's riven heart vibrating as she reads of

            'A merry May morn,
    All in the prime of that sweet time
    When daisies whiten, woodbines climb,
  When the dear Babe Christabel was born'?

and how, coming through the 'golden gates of morn' to what seemed a
glorious destiny, and touching the earth with a fresh romance for the
happy parents, she grew in loveliness only to be caught away, ere
reaching womanhood, by angels who gathered her 'delighted as the
children do the primrose that is first in spring.' And do you know
'Cousin Winnie'? It is almost as pathetic, and quite as true, only in a
different way. It narrates a lad's love for a cousin, married, when she
reached maturity, to a friend of his, who brought trouble upon her, and
for whom he suffered as she suffered, unable to help, and never telling
out his affection for fear of causing division and dissension.

His songs are far from being all sad. They are mostly redolent of bright
fancy.

    'Pleasant it is, wee wife of mine,
      As by my side thou art,
    To sit and see thy dear eyes shine
      With bonfires of the heart!
    And Young Love smiles so sweet and shy
      From warm and balmy deeps,
    As under-leaf the fruit may try
      To hide, yet archly peeps;
    Gliding along in our fairy boat,
      With prospering skies above,
    Over the sea of time we float
      To another New World of Love.'

This lake-poet is not the Laureate of the love of courtship, but of
wedded bliss.

  'Oh, lay thy hand in mine, dear!
    We're growing old, we're growing old!
  But time hath brought no sign, dear!
    That hearts grow cold, that hearts grow cold!'

begins another of what may be called the 'Darby and Joan' type.

Of the liberty songs, many are familiar to progressive politicians, or
were till we got our terrible set-back at the late 'Khaki' election.
They need reissuing in a popular form. Most people who read anything of
this nature will remember the stanzas with the refrain:

  'This world is full of beauty, as other worlds above,
    And if we did our duty it might be as full of love.'

Such another is 'The People's Advent,' and the best of them 'The Earth
for All,' two lines in which were often quoted in former days of
agitation:

    'Your Mother Earth, that gave you birth,
      You only own her for a grave.'

Massey's longer poems I dare not even begin to quote from, only giving a
few solitary gems of thought by way of conclusion:

  'I heard Faith's low sweet singing in the night.
    And groping through the darkness touch'd God's hand.'

  'Ye sometimes lead my feet on the Angel-side of life.'

    'Nature at heart is very pitiful,
    How gentle is the hand doth gently pull
    The coverlet of flowers o'er the face
    Of death! and light up his dark dwelling-place!'

    'Creeds, empires, systems rot with age,
      But the great people's ever youthful:
    And it shall write the future's page
      To our humanity more truthful.'

Says Gilfillan (a half-forgotten author himself): 'Probably since Burns
there has been no such instance of a strong, untaught poet rising up
from the ranks by a few strides, grasping eminence by the very mane, and
vaulting into a seat so commanding with such ease and perfect
mastery.'



                         A NIGHT RAMBLE


    'I can recall ... our delight in the moonlight walk from the
    Windermere station by the Lakeside to Ambleside, that loveliest five
    miles in all England; our next day's climb (the track missed) over
    the Stake Pass, after bathing under the fells in a pool at the head
    of Langdale; how we lingered, dallying with our joy, on the mountain
    tops till night came on, a cloudy night of late September, after a
    day of autumn glory, overtaking us before we could reach the
    Borrowdale road; how, unable even to grope our way, we lay down
    together on the stones to sleep, and awakened by rain, crept under
    an overhanging rock, and cold and hungry, smoked our pipes and
    talked till the dawning light enabled us to find a path to
    Stonethwaite; how we sat in a cottage porch to await the rising of
    the inmates and welcome a breakfast of bad coffee and mutton-ham so
    salt that it scarified our mouths. No grave-minded man was either of
    the pair who went laughing and singing, if somewhat limping, on
    their way.'--WILLIAM JAMES LINTON: _Memories_.



                            IV

                      A POET ENGRAVER

                   WILLIAM JAMES LINTON

                       I.--THE MAN


      'I would build up in my own mind
        A temple unto Truth,
      And on its shrine an offering bind--
        My age and youth.'
                          W. J. LINTON.

Mr. Linton succeeded Gerald Massey as occupant of Brantwood. He came
there from a home at Miteside, on the west coast of Cumberland, to which
he had retired from London with his first wife and their family. He had
been a member of an eminent wood-engraving firm, doing virtually all the
earlier pictorial work for the _Illustrated London News_, and when the
proprietors of that journal commenced a block-making department of their
own, he withdrew from his Hatton Garden business and sought to bring his
other connection with him to the North. He had fallen in love with our
beautiful mountain-land, he tells us, while on a walking tour with a
once well-known and promising young poet--the late Ebenezer Jones--too
soon cut off by consumption. Of this friend Linton afterwards wrote an
affectionate appreciation, extolling his 'joyous and most passionate
nature'--joyous under happy influences, passionate when his quick
intuitions of right and wrong were outraged by injustice. Perhaps it was
due to this excursion that Jones learned to love the rain.

      'More than the wind, more than the snow,
        More than the sunshine, I love rain;
      Whether it droppeth soft and low,
        Whether it rusheth amain.'

At Miteside, near the confluence of two becks that flowed from Wast
Water screes, and in which aforetime the Romans fished for
pearl-mussels, and under a line of fells, Linton lived in full enjoyment
of the wild beauty of the country, till the owner needing the house, he
had to quit it. Just at that moment Brantwood came into the market, and,
with a little of his own and some mortgage money, he purchased it.
Shortly after removing into it his wife died. She was the sister of
another of his many poetic and republican friends--Thomas Wade--a man
who, according to his brother-in-law, should have made a great name in
literature, but missed doing so! They were a nest of singing-birds those
vigorous young Radicals of three-quarters of a century ago, singing not
only of the better day they worked to bring in, but, as Wade did, of the
circling hills and wave-swept shores and 'all the amplitude of air and
sea brooding in starry vastness.' What sort of a life Mrs. Linton had
lived with her husband I do not know. That he must have often tried her
patience and upset her domestic arrangements and felicities goes almost
without saying. He was of an ardent and impulsive nature, deeply
committed to European republicanism and its leaders, such as Mazzini,
the inspired conspirator, who loved God as he loved liberty and Italian
unity; such as the Abbé Lamennais, that noble French soul athirst for
love, who shook off the Papacy and the priesthood, and died, 'believing
in God, loving the people'; such as the wealthy, University-trained
Russian aristocrat, Herzen, who was imprisoned, sent to Siberia, and
finally exiled under the old 'drill sergeant,' Czar Nicholas. For
meeting with these in public or in private her husband would leave her
continually alone with her children, after his day's work was done, and
spend in feeding the poorer outlaws the money he had toiled for, and
very frequently would bring some hunted refugee home to live, or even to
prepare to die, in his house. Charles Stolzman, the Pole, he sheltered
at Brantwood, tended through his last sad hours, sent to Millom to
recruit, and when he finished his earthly career, in the little
churchyard beneath the shadow of the lake mountains, Linton laid to rest
the body of the one whom he revered as a true, manly, upright patriot.
The very appearance of Linton while at Coniston suggests, according to
the portraits preserved of him, a man of penetrating intellect, erratic
and versatile genius, impulsive generosity, and little common-sense. His
head was a noble one, with long, white hair and beard, belonging either
to an artist or a model, as might be preferred. In his eccentricity he
not only brought to Brantwood his engraving work and his friends from
many nations, but printers, also, for the printing and publishing of his
advanced newspaper--printers full of comradeship with their master, and
getting paid when and how they could, or not at all, as things prospered
or otherwise. And all this happened while the restless energy of the man
set him sketching and engraving charming vignettes of this romantic
district--some of the choicest we have among the thousand and one
volumes about the lakes--collecting and writing about the local ferns,
tramping the mountains, often having forgotten to take either food or
money, and writing verses or translating them from his favourite French
poets. One would have liked immensely to know the man, but certainly not
to have lived with him.

After the death of his wife--the Miss Wade spoken of--he was left with
young children on his hands, and shortly afterwards he married Eliza
Lynn, the novelist, better known as Mrs. Lynn Linton, whose birthplace
was Crosthwaite Rectory, at Keswick. This marriage was anything but
satisfactory, as any onlooker would have foretold in regard to a union
between two such unusual and pronounced characters. After a while,
Brantwood being let, London was tried, the wife mingling in intellectual
and sparkling society, and trying to induce her husband to appreciate
it, the husband working fitfully at his art--in which he excelled--and
living uneconomically among his beloved European republicans, editing
magazines and papers that did not pay, and getting his letters opened
with Mazzini's and others by the British Post Office, under the orders
of Sir James Graham, M.P. for Carlisle, and Home Secretary. Men of my
age remember well the storm of indignation that raged through the
country at this flagrant violation of English liberties, and the
'anti-Graham' wafers we fastened our envelopes with by way of 'passive
resistance' to the outrage.

'Incompatibility of temperament' is, I believe, in some of the United
States considered a just ground for divorce. It led to separation, by
mutual consent, between the Lintons, their selling Brantwood to Ruskin,
W. J. going to America, where he ended his days, and Eliza residing
mostly in London, the centre of an attached circle, and making herself
notorious for essays we shall have to speak of in another article. Yet
husband and wife continued to correspond on most affectionate terms till
death separated them finally.

Linton maintained himself by his craft to which he had been apprenticed,
and which he loved too well to abandon, and occupied much of his time in
literary pursuits, becoming, like Carlyle, Kingsley, and many another
youthful reformer, timid in old age, and desiring, as John Bright said
of Earl Russell, to 'rest and be thankful'--and as John Bright himself
did when such new movements as Irish self-government in Irish affairs
came inevitably to the front.

He was born in London in 1812. A biographer wrote of him, after he was
eighty years of age: 'Mr. Linton is one of those who never grow old. His
notes are sweeter and clearer to-day than they were fifty years ago.' He
died at eighty-six, in 1898; I can say nothing of his latter end. He,
like his second wife, held 'advanced,' or--as some of us
hold--retrogressive views on religion. Yet, to judge by expressions in
his works, God and another world still kept a hold upon his thoughts.
Few men succeed, after all, in making themselves atheists or believers
in soullessness or annihilation. Latent thoughts will out, in some way
or other, in imaginative literature, or in passionate, profane swearing,
or in ejaculatory prayer wrung from the heart by adversity.

Victor Hugo closes a song translated by Linton with: 'The tomb said--

      "Of the souls come in my power
      I fashion the angels fair."'



                  THE SILENCED SINGER


    'The nest is built, the song hath ceased:
    The minstrel joineth in the feast,
    So singeth not. The poet's verse,
    Crippled by Hymen's household curse,
    Follows no more its hungry quest.
    Well if love's feathers line the nest.

    'Yet blame not that beside the fire
    Love hangeth up his unstrung lyre!
    How sing of hope when Hope hath fled,
    Joy whispering lip to lip instead?
    Or how repeat the tuneful moan
    When the Obdurate's all my own?

    'Love, like the lark, while soaring sings:
    Wouldst have him spread again his wings?
    What careth he for higher skies
    Who on the heart of harvest lies,
    And finds both sun and firmament
    Closed in the round of his content?'
                         WILLIAM JAMES LINTON.



                        A POET ENGRAVER

                     WILLIAM JAMES LINTON

                  II.--HIS BOOKS AND HIS ART


      'Poets are all who love, who feel, great truths,
      And tell them;--and the truth of truths is love.'
                                         BAILEY'S _Festus_.


We have seen how various were Linton's tastes and sympathies. Drawing
and engraving, poetry, Nature-study to some small extent, biography,
magazine editing, and extreme politics--extreme for the age--relating
not only to England, but to most of Europe: all these occupied his
attention, not in turn, but continuously.

Dealing with his published volumes, we must give first place to his
autobiographical 'Memories.' They are of ever-increasing value to the
student of the evolution of the nineteenth century, for they are crammed
with recollections and estimations of its makers, and with illustrations
of the old 'condition of England' question. One of the earliest things
that impressed him was the tolling of George III.'s 'passing bell.'
Another was the trial of Queen Caroline and the popular excitement
consequent thereon, and somewhat later the sordid funeral permitted her,
'the shabbiest notable funeral I ever saw,' he says. 'The demoralizing
craze for State lotteries,' the wild debauchery of the Court,
press-gangs and fights between these and butchers armed with long
knives, Government terrorism over the Press and the right of public
speech, riots in Wales for the purpose of demolishing turnpikes, and
many more such things are recorded; and they unquestionably impelled him
to take the side of the people against their despotic rulers.
Concurrently with these, however, he records the progressive movements
and struggles of the working-classes for social and political
emancipation, and for education and for such equality of opportunity as
wise laws can secure. In the course of his narrative we meet, in
addition to the continental agitators and ultra-Radicals and Chartists
of England, and the Duffys, Mitchells, O'Connells, O'Connors, and
O'Briens of Ireland, galaxies of literary celebrities, and men in the
foremost ranks of Art and Science.

He shows himself to have had strong prejudices for or against people,
and he never scruples to record his opinions quite frankly. Of Thornton
Hunt and his relations to the pretty wife of G. H. Lewes and to Lewes
himself, he remarks that the legal husband 'asserted his belief in
Communistic principles,' the two men only quarrelling over the expense
of the double family! This Lewes is that historian of philosophy, be it
remembered, with whom 'George Eliot' lived, though he was undivorced.
For some reason or other, Samuel Carter Hall, author and editor of the
_Art Journal_, was Linton's pet aversion. He asserts--I know not with
what truth--that Charles Dickens made him sit for the portrait of
'Pecksniff.' Robert Owen, the founder of 'New Harmony' and of other
socialistic and co-operative enterprises, he stigmatizes as
impracticable, and 'a dry and unimaginative creature.' On the other
hand, he has many pleasant and generous things to say about Ruskin, 'the
poet beyond all verse-makers of his time,' and 'a man of the noblest
nature'; Derwent Coleridge, with whom he rambled around Keswick, and who
appeared to him to be 'a sensible, well-informed, genial and liberal
clergyman'; Harriet Martineau, who lived near enough to be on visiting
terms, 'a good-looking, comely, interesting old lady, very deaf, but
cheerful and eager for news which she did not always catch correctly';
and many another, including the Americans, Whittier (of whom he wrote a
life), Longfellow, and Emerson.

Linton's biographies of 'European Republicans'--mostly reprints of
magazine articles--are graphic and sympathetic. His sketch of Mazzini's
career I cannot say is the best extant, but it is good, and is the
result of a warm and life-long personal friendship. His great work--for
such it truly is--'The Masters of Wood-Engraving,' is not only the best
of a series of publications he issued on the history and technique of
his own art, but is, and always will be, the text-book of the subject.
Wood-engraving is now almost entirely superseded by the various
photographic 'processes.'

His other purely literary productions ranged from a volume of children's
stories, 'The Flower and the Star,' to 'Poems and Translations.' The
children of days of long ago, when really good books for them were
scarce, must have hung delighted over the apparently impromptu
fairy-tales about the flowers of the sky and the stars of the earth
commingling; and how the dear little boy Dreamy Eyes, and his sisters
Softcheek and Brightface, sought and found them 'under the golden
oak-buds of the great oak,' and under the bushes clothed with delicate
young leaves of the honeysuckle, or in the evening glow, where the great
red sun went down, like a ball of fire, behind the sea. Linton was a
true poet. His muse was a lyric rather than an epic or dramatic one.

    'Youth came: I lay at beauty's feet;
    She smiled, and said my song was sweet.'


His first volume of poetry was entitled 'The Plaint of Freedom,' and one
of its themes evoked a tribute in verse from W. S. Landor. 'Claribel,'
seldom quoted now, was his second venture. 'Grenville's Last Fight,'
published in this collection, is a spirited ballad of a sea-fight in the
Western Main, when the Spanish fleet attacked the solitary English
man-of-war, 'drove on us like so many hornets' nests, thinking their
multitudes would bear us down,' and yet failed to conquer her, because
her captain sank her rather than surrender.

Other pieces, too long to include here, are short enough to be set to
music, and would be worth more than the sentimental or garish theatre
stuff too many young ladies indulge in nowadays; such as--

    'Oh, happy days of innocence and song,
    When Love was ever welcome, never wrong,
    When words were from the heart, when folk were fain
    To answer truth with truthfulness again;
    Oh, happy days of innocence and song.'

And again, 'The Silenced Singer'--silenced on account of the
consummation of his hope in the winning of his mate, when the nest was
built, and he had 'closed in the round of his content.'

And, once again, 'Mind Your Knitting,' after the style of Beranger,
relating how the blind old mother heard the soft footfall of a lover,
and noted the cessation of her daughter's clicking needles' task. 'Tis
the cat that you hear moving!'

      'You speak false to me;
      I'd like Robert better, loving
        You more openly.
      Lucy! mind your knitting.'

It is right to say a few words about Linton as an artist. He was engaged
upon much better work than the illustrated weekly papers which were at
first his sheet-anchor. He was, for instance, employed by Alexander
Gilchrist to reproduce the quaint and exquisitely-coloured designs of
William Blake. These beautiful reproductions are before me as I write,
and they have not only the necessary accuracy of copied design, but also
delicacy of touch sufficient to make them virtually indistinguishable
from the master's own work. His own etchings adorn the fine volume on
the Lake Country, written by his wife, Mrs. Lynn Linton. There are few
such drawings done nowadays. Photography has, in some respects, greater
accuracy, yet there is accuracy of insight illuminated by the
artist-mind in Linton's wood-cuts, whether these be of some pouring
torrent on the river Duddon, a view of the 'Old Man' from Brantwood, a
group of castellated boulders on the 'sad seashore,' a jutting crag upon
Great Gable, or only a fallen pine on the fell-side, or a banner-like
mist clinging to a mountain peak. He had a pretty fashion of
illustrating his own writings, which has increased their value in the
eyes of collectors. 'Claribel' is thus brightened, and some may even
prefer the pencilled pictures to the written drama. 'The Flower and the
Star' has its landscapes, too, and its representations of Jack climbing
the beanstalk in the full moonlight, of the three people who cooked an
egg, and of other items that make the stories what they are. Even his
'Ferns of the English Lake Country' have his own copies of the fronds he
gathered. My edition is coloured by hand, though whether by himself or
not I cannot say. 'He is a wood-engraver first, and a poet afterwards,'
says one friendly critic. The same critic adds, 'As a translator, Mr.
Linton has few equals'; and yet, on the whole, heretical as it may seem,
I prefer his own utterances to his translations, and like best to have
them decorated by his own pencil, for his draughtmanship and his poetic
fancies are as the two edges of one sword with which he fought his way
to a place in our literary Valhalla. They both belonged to his
love-service of humanity as he understood that service. His own prayer
may be appropriately quoted:

      'I am not worthy, Love! to claim a place
      In thy close sanctuary; but of thy grace
        Admit me to the outer courts, and so
      In time that inner worship I may learn,
      And on thy Altar burn
        The sacrifice of woe!'

He loved his race--too often at the cost of his own home happiness--and
most of what trials and troubles he had were the fruits of his
unselfishness.



                               CONISTON


        'Coniston Lake, that long and narrow sheet of water stretching its
    six miles of blue between the fells, deserves a more generous
    appreciation than what it has met with, and a more popular
    acceptance. And now that it has a railroad probing its very heart,
    it is likely that lovers will come round it as thickly as round
    Windermere and Derwentwater. Take the circuit round the lake,
    beginning at the Waterhead on the west side, and going southwards
    towards Furness, past the islands and by Brantwood on the east, as
    one example of the sweetness and the richness of the place. There is
    first that grand Old Man, at the foot of which you reverently walk,
    overshadowed by his huge crags as you pass through the ancient
    village of Church Coniston--one of those quaint villages with the
    flavour of old times about them, and the generous beautifying of
    Nature around, so characteristic of our lake country. The old
    deer-park, where once the lord held his high days of sport and
    revelry, and which has still the inheritance of richer foliage and
    nobler growth than belong elsewhere, is one of those flavourings; so
    is that ivied and venerable house, Coniston Hall, where the Flemings
    used to live, and which was the residence for a time of the Countess
    of Pembroke--"Sidney's sister, Pembroke's mother"--but which is now
    only a farmhouse famous for its sheep-clipping.'--ELIZA LYNN LINTON;
    _The Lake Country_.



                                V

                       A SUCCESSFUL NOVELIST

                          LIZA LYNN LINTON

                           I.--THE WOMAN


    'She was one of the bravest of the morally brave, for she suffered
    from that kind of local ostracism, consequent on her unorthodox
    opinions, which in a manner isolated her and reduced her society to
    a few--fit, if you will, but few all the same--yet she never relaxed
    her propagandism.'--E. LYNN LINTON: _Free Shooting_.

'The little dare-devil girl,' as Canon Rawnsley, not without
justification, calls her, was born in 1822, at Crosthwaite Vicarage,
Keswick. All that remains of her on earth lies beneath the shadow of
Crosthwaite Church--'the Lake Cathedral,' as she herself has styled
it--an edifice oft 'restored' since St. Kentigern from his wattled
preaching-house sounded forth the Gospel of Christ among the pagan
dalesmen thirteen centuries ago. Her father was the Vicar. He was left
with a large family of children on his hands at the death of his wife,
five months after Eliza was born. Mr. Lynn was an educated man, and,
according to his lights, a respectable minister. By contrast with the
carousing, wrestling, boxing parsons of Cumberland in his day--as they
are so graphically described by our authoress in more than one of her
novels--he was a gentleman and a Christian. When his father-in-law (the
Bishop of Carlisle) asked him what he would do about the serious charge
of so many motherless sons and daughters, his reply was, 'I shall sit in
my study and smoke my pipe, and commit them to Providence.' This he did,
breaking the monotony of his secluded life by wielding the rod among his
rude tribe of passionate lads and high-spirited girls, and spending the
nights in prayer for them. The topsy-turveyest book that ever was
written is Mrs. Linton's 'Christopher Kirkland.' It must be alluded
to--somewhat out of place--because it is autobiographical, and is used
as such by Mr. Layard, her historian.

It is her life-story, with the sexes of the characters transposed. This
transformation of men into women and women into men makes the book most
grotesque in places, and quite incomprehensible to readers who have not
the key. Read it, however, inside out, or upside down, as it were, and
it is then not only understandable, but interesting and informing. It
is, in reality, the mine from which almost all important facts about her
have been quarried. She seems to have been a 'naughty boy' kind of girl,
holding her own bravely in a household which she likens to 'a farmyard
full of cockerels and pullets for ever pecking and sparring at one
another.' Yet she had her fits of moodiness and day-dreaming. Her short
sight helped to make her enjoy solitariness, and induced a habit of
lonely study and thought. From such books as she could get hold of she
taught herself languages, and obtained a fair knowledge of literature.
Unable, however, to accommodate herself to the strange government of her
father and the waywardness of her brothers and sisters, she
(twenty-three years of age, with a twelvemonth's allowance in her
pocket) went up to London to try her fortunes. Henceforth we may unite
her lively and interesting booklet,'My Literary Life,' with 'Christopher
Kirkland.' She obtained work on the _Morning Chronicle_, just purchased
by the 'Peelite' party, and edited by the redoubtable John Douglas Cook.
Her description of her first introduction to the terrible presence of
her impatient, irascible commander-in-chief is graphic.

'So you are the little girl who has written that queer book, and you
want to be one of the press-gang, do you?' was his salutation. 'Yes, I
am the woman.' 'Woman you call yourself?' and more rough-mannered, but
not unkindly, words of the same sort followed. For two years she was
'handy man' on the paper--the first woman on a newspaper staff to draw a
salary. Then she visited Italy, and afterwards lived in Paris as
correspondent for an English paper. Her London home was near the British
Museum, where she kept up her reading. During her studies and her press
employment she had found time to write and publish several novels, and
contributed to _All the Year Round_, edited by Charles Dickens. Her
first story brought forth a sonnet in her praise from Walter Savage
Landor, and her association with Dickens introduced her to many other
well-known literary men and women. She had inherited Gad's Hill, Kent,
from her father, and this property she sold to Charles Dickens. Dickens
had fallen in love with the place when a boy, and had even then resolved
to buy it if ever he was able. Thackeray she knew, too, and he called
upon her while she was in Paris, climbing five toilsome flights of
stairs to reach the little rooms she shared with another young
Anglo-French woman--bed and sitting-rooms combined. Landor she first
met in Bath, where he then lived, and she was visiting. She was in a
shop, 'when in there came an old man, still sturdy, vigorous, upright,
alert,' dressed in brown, but negligently, and unbrushed. The keen eyes,
lofty brow, and sweet smile attracted her. When she heard his name--she
knew some of his 'Imaginary Conversations' by heart--she expressed her
joy. 'And who is this little girl who is so glad to see an old man?' The
question and answer made them friends on the spot, and they remained so
for many years afterwards, she paying long visits to his house, and
becoming his 'dear daughter,' while she always spoke and wrote to the
old lion as 'father.'

It was in 1858 that her marriage with W. J. Linton took place. She had
had a love episode in earlier life which probably left its mark upon her
character; but this marriage can hardly claim any romance as its
inspiration. It is even said that she agreed to wed the artist partly
from pity and partly to test her educational theories upon his six
children. The secluded life at Brantwood became irksome to her, and the
Lintons moved to Leinster Square, Bayswater, where the City life became
equally irksome to her husband. Then came the separation, and Linton's
departure for America, Mrs. Lynn Linton occupying various quarters in
London, working on the _Saturday Review_, writing more novels,
patronizing and generously helping young lady aspirants for literary
successes, and making herself the centre of charming circles of friends
and guests. In the lofty Queen Anne's Mansions, rising like a
hill-summit above the flat plains and lake of St. James's Park, she had
an upper chamber--airy, quiet, and virtually inaccessible to all except
the privileged and welcomed of her choice. She had her turn, as so many
of her generation had, at the fashionable spiritualism of Home and other
tricksters, and with theosophists like Sinnett, but was not entrapped by
either, for, though her views were 'free' and 'advanced,' her struggles
and her environments secured her the saving grace of common-sense. She
was more nearly allied in thought to Voysey and Professor Clifford than
to the more mystical unbelievers. She was a hard worker, and lived
comfortably by her pen. Idleness for her would have meant 'suicidal
vacancy.'

Failing somewhat in health, she tried change of air at Malvern with
little avail, and her eyesight failed her, so that writing became
difficult. She realized that the end was approaching. It arrived in
1898, when she was seventy-six years old. 'She faced the inevitable'
with more of the resignation of the stoic than the assurance of the
Christian. Canon Rawnsley preached her funeral sermon, and placed her
mental attitude in the most favourable light, and 'with a sure and
certain hope' in his own heart of her 'resurrection to eternal life.' So
let us also leave her in God's all-just, all-merciful keeping. Her own
belief was in 'Nirvana.' Her remains were cremated, and the ashes
conveyed to Crosthwaite, where Robert Southey also is buried. Landor
concludes his ode to her with 'Pure heart, and lofty soul, Eliza Lynn.'
I think (let me say it reverently) that God Himself might thus speak of
her, for I find these words in one of her later letters: 'We are all,
all, all His children, and He does not speak to us apart, but to us all
in our own language, equally according to our age--that is, our
knowledge and civilization. To Him I live, and in Him I believe, but all
the rest is dark.'



                          WOMEN AND POLITICS


    'We do not find that European homes are made wretched, or that
    husbands are set at nought, because our women may choose their own
    religion, their own priest, and have unchecked intercourse with the
    family physician.

    'Is it impossible to imagine a woman sweet and yet strong,
    high-minded and yet modest, tender if self-reliant, womanly if
    well-educated? Would a fine political conscience necessarily
    deaden-or depress the domestic one? Surely not! A fine political
    conscience would be only so much added--it would take nothing away.
    If women thought worthily about politics, as about smuggling and
    other things of the same class, they would be all the grander in
    every relation, because having so much clearer perception of
    baseness, and so much higher standard of nobleness.

    'At all events, the phase of women's rights has to be worked through
    to its ultimate. If found impracticable, delusive, subversive, in
    the working, it will have to be put down again. It is all a question
    of power, both in the getting and the using.'--ELIZA LYNN LINTON:
    _Ourselves_.



                    A SUCCESSFUL NOVELIST

                      ELIZA LYNN LINTON

                        II.--HER BOOKS


    'My dear friend, Mrs. Lynn Linton, had lived through a long and
    eventful career, known all the interesting people of her day, and
    carried on intimate correspondence with all sorts and conditions of
    minds and characters. Her sympathies did not begin and end with
    literature; they strayed into many and wider regions of thought and
    activity.'--BEATRICE HARRADEN.

Several of her novels were written at Brantwood--'Lizzie Lorton,'
'Sowing the Wind,' and 'Grasp Your Nettle,' certainly, and some others
probably. I like to fancy the buxom, spectacled lady of
strongly-defined, yet cheery, features sitting in the window of the
study, and pausing in the midst of her composition to gaze at the
magnificent prospect of woods, waters, and towering mountain summits.
But to fancy her one must first dispossess the study of everything
Ruskinesque. Ruskin's Delia Robbia treasure, his paintings from Italy,
and by Burne Jones, bookcases with illuminated missals, polished agates
of rare striations and burning colours--all these must go, and plain
furniture, worn and faded, replace them, with, perhaps, some examples of
her husband's art and craft littered about. Her enforced quietude made
her literary output regular while living here. The extraordinary
topsy-turvy autobiographical piece of 'fiction' called 'Stephen
Kirkland'--already alluded to, and drawn upon for details of her
life--belongs to a later date. So also does 'The Second Youth of
Theodora Desanges,' another curious medley of impossibilities. It is the
story of a woman who, at eighty years of age, had an illness which left
her prostrate, but which led to her physical renewal--fresh, dark,
rippling hair, blooming cheeks, rounded form and limbs, in fact, to
ripe, desirable girlhood--while leaving her, of course, with the
experience and world-wisdom of a knowing old grandmother. The
metamorphosis brings her into a tissue of difficulties with those who
were in the secret of it, and counted her as one of the most perverse
and wilful of frauds, and into another tissue of another sort with
those, especially young men, who, seeing only the goddess and
worshipping her, thought she was playing upon them with wicked sarcasm
when she tried seriously to explain what she really was. Her social
adventures have a certain coherency in the telling; but a sense of
unreality, and, in fact, of ridiculous impossibility, haunts you all
through the narrative. The real value of the book (published
posthumously), according to her friend and editor, G. S. Layard, lies in
the fact that it contains her last message to the world--a gloomy gospel
of humanity--'good news, if you will, to the race, but disaster for the
individual.' Her farewell words are like a mingled evening of sunshine
and passing cloud. The whole book is full of petty 'isms,' and soured
comments, of pessimism overlying golden truths, which, however, have to
be dug for, and some deserved satire of undesirable men and things. To
use a crude simile, the whole volume reminds one of the celebrated
American road which began and continued for a while as a 'turnpike,' but
finished in a 'coon-track' running up a tree! 'Lizzie Lorton' is a book
of different character. The one link it has with most, if not all, Mrs.
Linton's books is the vein of mingled passion and tragedy that traverses
it. The one charm it has beyond most others is the fresh breeze from the
hills that seems to blow through it when the authoress condescends to be
simply descriptive of places and people in the region of Wastwater and
the Langdales. Her pen-pictures will do not only for her imaginary
'Greyrigg,' but for a hundred other dales and hillsides, lakes, tarns,
and waters, and her portraits for a score of other country-folk and
rural parsons to be found hereaway half a century ago, besides those she
names. It is, if a tragic, yet a common story of love misplaced and at
cross-purposes. Like many others of hers, this novel has been reproduced
in the modern one-volume form--unfortunately in the badly-printed
'yellow-backs,' once the chief form in which light literature was
obtainable at railway bookstalls.

'Through the Long Night,' written later than the Brantwood period, has,
I cannot but feel convinced, been largely drawn from Coniston
surroundings and Coniston society, as she knew the latter. It is not, I
believe, considered one of her best productions. Nevertheless, it seems
to me that the plot is more carefully elaborated, the characters are
much more powerfully and convincingly conceived, and the interest is
better sustained than in any other I know, though I do not profess to
have read every one of her novels. The tragic element is strongly
present, and the intentionally humorous entirely absent. There are
melodramatic incidents that were not needed, and there is something that
'puts one's back up' when the angelic Lady Elizabeth condescends at last
to marry the selfish despot who had broken her rival's heart, after
driving her from home by his complicity with falsehood and forgery. The
book by which she is best known to many of our generation (published in
a sixpenny paper edition) is 'Joshua Davidson.' Issued at first
anonymously, just after the close of the Franco-German war, and while
the doings of the Paris Communists were fresh in everybody's mind, it
took mighty hold of a certain class of reader, and will continue to do
so. It ventilates her peculiar views of some of the sayings of Jesus our
Lord, 'Great David's Greater Son.' The simple-souled Cornish peasant is
represented as taking the Master's parabolic sayings as so many literal
commands to be implicitly and literally obeyed by all men, reasonably
and unreasonably. Thus he prays for the removal of a mountain, and gets
a shock to his religious sense when the mountain moves not. Perhaps he
was--or Mrs. Linton was, if she is recording any past experiences of her
own--like the old lady who offered prayer for the same thing, and who,
on awaking in the morning to find the hill she objected to still
blotting out her view, cried: 'I never expected it would go!' Or, if
Joshua is intended to have had faith, perhaps his literary creator might
have corrected the absurd conclusions she lands him in had she read John
Bunyan's account of his own actual experiences as recorded in 'Grace
Abounding.' This work, from the episode I thus criticise, to the
implied parallel between the priests' Gethsemane-mob of hired scoundrels
and the poor blind 'common people' of Paris, seems to me now, on
re-perusing it, as it did decades ago--just a poor, catchy sort of
playing up to the shallow wits in the gallery of popular literature, to
whom Christianity is not sufficiently exciting to be worth serious
study. Another of her writings which made much stir was her celebrated
magazine article, 'The Girl of the Period,' which appeared in the
_Saturday Review_ in its slashing days (_The Saturday Reviler_ John
Bright christened it). If unscrupulous, it was a power then--a poor,
third-rate affair to-day, as little thought of as are the ancient
lucubrations of the _Quarterly_ or _Old Ebony_ of our fathers. How well
we remember the sensation she made by this tirade on the younger members
of her sex. She certainly had 'changed sides' on the woman question of
the hour, and, rightly or wrongly, she suffered inevitably for doing so.
Such stinging phrases as she flung at her quondam friends--'sexless
tribe,' 'shrieking sisterhood'--were expected from the _Saturday_, but
to find the hand that formed and hurled them was one of their own was
too much for those by whom they were hit! When the modern mother was
shown to be no better than she should be, and the modern virgin
represented as envying the demi-monde, no wonder the feminine world was
set on fire! There are many other of her writings remaining unnoticed.
Only two earlier ones--her first endeavours, the now quite forgotten
'Azeth the Egyptian' and 'Anymone'--and her 'Witch Stories' can be
alluded to. The last is still read by the curious in occult lore, and
is a compilation made from researches in the British Museum during the
time of her girlhood, when she lodged near it, and was struggling to get
her foot on the bottom rung of the ladder to literary fame. Some degree
of fame and emolument we have seen that she attained to. Whether she
will be known after the last of her readers of her own generation is
dead is a very doubtful question. It is one that can be best answered by
publishers. If they deem her worth republishing in cheap and creditable
editions, she may hit the public taste a little longer, but only thus.



                     A MOUNTAIN CRAG AT CONISTON


       'The principal flank of Yewdale is formed by a steep range of crag,
    thrown out from the greater mass of Wetherlam, and known as Yewdale
    Crag.

    'It is almost entirely composed of basalt, or hard volcanic ash, and
    is of supreme interest among the southern hills of the Lake
    District, as being practically the first rise of the great mountains
    of England out of the lowlands of England.

    'And it chances that my own study window being just opposite this
    crag, and not more than a mile from it as the bird flies, I have it
    always staring me, as it were, in the face, and asking again and
    again, when I look up from writing any of my books: "How did _I_
    come here?"

       *       *       *       *       *

    'But as I regain my collected thought, the mocking question ceases,
    and the divine one forms itself, in the voice of vale and streamlet,
    and in the shadowy lettering of the engraven rock.

    '"Where wast _thou_ when I laid the foundation of the earth?
    Declare, if thou hast understanding."'--JOHN RUSKIN: _Yewdale and
    its Streamlets_.


[Illustration:
_Photo by Hills & Saunders, Oxford._

       JOHN RUSKIN IN OLD AGE.]



                               VI

                  THE PHILOSOPHER OF BRANTWOOD

                           JOHN RUSKIN

                           I.--THE MAN


    'Alas! there was in John Ruskin a strain of the Knight of La Mancha,
    and he, too, had to learn that in this world and in our age
    Knight-errantry, however chivalrous in spirit, medieval romance,
    however beautiful as poetry, will not avail to reform the world with
    nothing but a rusty lance and a spavined charger. It is magnificent,
    it may be war, but it is not a real social philosophy, nor is it a
    possible religion.'--FREDERIC HARRISON.

To write of the Lake celebrities without including the greatest of them
all would be like mapping our mountains and omitting Scawfell, or the
waters and forgetting Windermere. Yet to add anything to the countless
essays and biographies seems presumptuous. For the filling in of this
merest outline of one aspect of a noble life readers must become
diligent students of John Ruskin, and his books, and his exponents.
There are lives of him, appreciations of him and of his teachings,
monographs on his personality, on his relation to the Lake District, on
his views about Art, on his social politics and religion, on his Bible
references, and on every other light-reflecting facet of this
many-sided soul. In fact, no other man has lived in recent years whose
innermost being has been so extensively and so deeply probed, so exposed
to the universal gaze, or who has been so worshipfully followed, and, at
the same time, by another set, so resolutely opposed. When we turn to a
bibliography we stand amazed, not only that any author should be so
prolific, or even that he should possess so much first-hand knowledge of
so many matters, but that he should have done so much about such a
variety of things so marvellously well. A juvenile verse-maker of
promise developing into an unrivalled prose-poet and word-painter; a
draftsman of capacity from his youth up, if not naturally a colourist,
and an insistent teacher of style, yet an art critic with sympathetic
feelings, who knew what he was talking about (which, it is to be feared,
the majority do not); a mineralogist who wrote about stones and dust and
ores, both scientifically and poetically, as if he were in love with
their intrinsic and extrinsic beauties, and no less so with the unseen
rythmic dances of their molecules during crystallization; a geologist
who sought to explain by ice-gougings and water-chisellings, and by the
crushings and infoldings of volcanic pressure, the outlines of the vales
and hills whose forms and many-hued draperies his cultured eye delighted
in; the champion of a great artist who had been attacked without insight
by _Blackwood_, and in his championship evolving a classic--the classic
for ages to come--on 'Modern Painters'; an investigator of the ultimate
principles of architecture and sculpture, whose steps being led to
Venice, is impelled to write about her stones, thus to become nothing
less than a historian of that wonderful oligarchy; an observer of all
winged creatures about him, who sees in the swallow's circling flight,
and in the robin's cheery presence, eternal laws of art and mechanism
from which he can teach great truths to half-fledged undergraduates of
Oxford; a lover of the independent peasantry of Lakeland, who for their
sakes learns road-making, and sets them to cultivate home-industries,
and who writes strange, and frequently unpractical, suggestions for the
betterment of their condition, and for making the whole world sweeter;
how can such a man, intellectual giant and gladiator though he be,
remain always victor over so wide an area? He is often spoken of as 'The
Master.' Doubtless most of us have so styled him in relation to one
excursus of his or another that has specially captivated us. But it
seems to me that Mr. Frederic Harrison, his latest biographer and
personal intimate, is right when he says: 'The author of more than
eighty distinct works upon so miscellaneous a field, of masses of
poetry, lectures, letters, as well as substantial treatises, was of
necessity rather a stimulus than an authority, an influence rather than
a master.' Any claim on his behalf to speak the _mot d'ordre_ on any
given topic challenges the thoughtful reader, and lays upon him the duty
of closely looking at every emphatic statement, every unsupported
opinion, every clever aphorism put forth as an axiom. The recognition
that he is merely a force, though a mighty one, an impulsion and an
inspiration rather than a revealer and spokesman of the final word,
allows the mind to be swept along by the impetuous current of his
eloquence, rejoicing and untrammelled, and suffers it to be braced and
helped by him. The danger in this case may be, however, that the young
and inexperienced, lost in admiration at the marvellous beauty of his
language, and the obvious truth of so much that he says--intoxicated by
the wine of the kingdom which he so unrestrainedly pours forth--are
unable to notice how often the elixir tastes of the earthen amphora
containing it. The dogmatism of his precocious boyhood never left him in
after-life. Indeed, disappointment at the non-acceptance of so many of
his views by the world at large accentuated it. His delighted outlook on
Nature, his abiding joy in all things pure and lovely, his intense
hatred of moral ugliness and deformity, caused him too often to forget
that others had high and holy aspirations, and abhorrences of wrong, who
did not see through glasses made after the pattern that suited his own
peculiar vision. His complete, almost child-like, absorption in the
humour of the passing moment sometimes made him mistake a swift impulse
for the discovery of a new philosophic or scientific law, and placed him
in inconsistent and contradictory positions, and made his arguments so
full of inconsequences as to provoke no little amusement among
logicians. So, then, let us be content to take him for just what he is,
and no more--an erratic genius, but a genius of the very first order; a
discursive preacher, but a preacher who arouses, and thrills, and sends
you back into the world to live a better life; a prophet who
exaggerates, and is often incoherent with needless fury, but exhibiting
in his mission and messages to England a veritable commingling of
Carmel's Prophet of Fire, with Jerusalem's 'Evangelical' poet-prophet; a
Reformer who fails to see the standpoint of many whom he denounces in
social politics and economics, but a reformer, nevertheless, who
foreknows a bright to-morrow for the peoples, and who labours to hasten
its coming. Take him for all this, and you will accompany him a long
way, cautiously, yet reverently and lovingly, and find in him a rare
comrade, an unfailing and candid interpreter of your own soul, as well
as of many old enigmas that confront it.

John Ruskin's connection with the Lakes dates from his childhood, when
he visited the locality with his parents. 'I remember Friar's Crag at
Derwentwater when I was four years old.' He received an inspiration for
his muse from Skiddaw when only nine:

    'Skiddaw, upon thy heights the sun shines bright,
    But only for a moment; then gives place
    Unto a playful cloud, which on thy brow
    Sports wantonly.'


And again, a year later, he contrasts it with the Egyptian Pyramids:

    'The touch of man,
    Raised pigmy mountains, but gigantic tombs,
    The touch of Nature raised the mountain's brow.'


At twelve he saw Scawfell

    'So haughty and proud,
    While its battlements lofty looked down on the cloud.'

Frequent visits at later periods kept his heart aglow with the romance
of these three counties vying so earnestly with each other for supremacy
in the glory of mountain-fell, and garrulous beck, dale and dingle, and
thunderous force. It was in 1871, when he was nearly fifty-three years
old, that he bought from W. J. Linton, the engraver-poet, that Coniston
cottage, as it then was, so closely associated with his name for some
thirty years thereafter. He gave £1,500 for the property, without seeing
it, while lying ill at Matlock. To everybody who knows English
literature Brantwood is a household name. On the steep slope of the
eastern hills, wood-embowered, with moorland above, and a green field
below the highroad, washed by the ripples of the lake on which his boats
rocked--one of which, _The Jumping Jenny_, he had designed, painted 'a
bright blue with a Greek scroll pattern round the gunwale'--it is in all
respects a true poet's paradise. The opinion of Wordsworth was that it
commanded the finest view of Coniston 'Old Man' that was to be had
anywhere. Linton was not a very practical man, choosing his gardener,
not for his skill, but for his shining blue eyes, and letting his
demesne go wild, and his abode to rack and ruin. Ruskin created order
and beauty out of the wilderness, with a rose-garden and a garden for
wild flowers, greatly enlarged the house, made a little harbour on the
shore, and a water-works on the fell, all at considerable outlay,
evidencing by the construction of his reservoir and conduits that
hydraulics and engineering are not best done by untrained enthusiastic
amateurs. In this exquisite retreat began what Mr. Harrison speaks of as
the second period of his career--the period when, except for his Slade
Professorship, he gave himself up, not to the study, for he never can be
said to have studied them--the promulgation of theories about social
economics. The Slade Professorship was an epoch in University life, and
in the history of British art. His classes were crowded. 'That singular
voice of his,' writes a pupil long afterwards, 'which would often hold
all the theatre breathless, haunts me still.' His Oxford lectures were
reprinted as books by Mr. George Allen, formerly a scholar of his at the
Working Man's College, and now become manager of his publishing business
(which, by-the-by, Mr. Allen managed so well as to bring Mr. Ruskin in
some £4,000 a year at a time it was greatly needed). During the
intervals of his professorial duties, and especially after ill-health
compelled their relinquishment, he wrote those invaluable autobiographic
reminiscences contained in 'Præterita' and 'Fors Clavigera'--books the
world will never spare, albeit they are so full of petulant
denunciations, and quaint extravagances, and inconsequent satires. We
forgive all these for the value of the self-revelations of a unique
soul, and for the literary gold-mine they present to the commonwealth of
the English-speaking races. When retired altogether to this Arcadia he
would ramble along the lakeside path, and up the mountain, to the happy
valley of Tarn Hows, or round the water-head to Yewdale, 'my little
nested dale of the Yew,' with its streamlets wandering through the fern,
and its deep water-pockets over which he would stand musing and
questioning them--'How came you to be?' or perchance up Tilberthwaite
Ghyll, with its zig-zagging wooden bridges after the fashion of a Swiss
river-gorge. As he strolled, he would stop to pet some children who,
seeing him coming, would await his kindly greeting, or to chat with some
ancient shepherd, or some housewife at her cottage door, or possibly he
would enter a wayside school-house to puzzle the youngsters with a
division sum respecting the sovereign he would leave for them in the
schoolmaster's hand. The old 'Professor,' as they called him, was
beloved by all, and in his broken years was devotedly cared for and
tended by his cousin and adopted daughter, Mrs. Arthur Severn, who lived
at Brantwood, and who now with her husband owns the estate. We must
remember what he had suffered during his long life, as well as what he
had accomplished. 'As we pass beneath the hills,' says he in 'Modern
Painters,' 'which have been shaken by earthquake and torn by convulsion,
we find periods of perfect repose succeed those of destruction.' He had
married unsuitably to satisfy his parents, and the marriage had been
nullified. Thrice he was passionately in love, and each disappointment
left him sick and despondent, however tenderly remembered and naïvely
talked of in old age. His generous money gifts to relatives, and to
causes like the Guild of St. George, which lay deep in his affections,
as well as, doubtless, some serious lack of lawful 'world-wisdom,' had
virtually dissipated the large fortune left him by his father. He was at
bay, too, with the rest of the world as to his schemes for its
reformation. He had had many serious illnesses, brain fevers included.

At Brantwood, the scenery from his study window, so imposing yet so
tranquillizing, his art collections in every room, his admiring and
sympathetic neighbours, his own inward assurance of right guidance,
combined to give him peace. Among his friends were the Miss Beevers, of
The Thwaite--the house at the far end of the lake, nearly opposite the
one in which Tennyson spent his honeymoon--with whom the good old man
corresponded, and whom he loved with an old-world platonic love
honourable to both sides. They must have an article to themselves, these
'sources and loadstones of all good to the village,' worthy as they are
of remembrance, with their brother, among our literary celebrities.

During the last ten years of his life he gradually grew more and more
feeble, till at length, succumbing to influenza, 'he sank softly
asleep,' when near his eighty-first birthday, with his dearest friends
around him. He was buried in the God's acre of Coniston, without
funereal pomp of black. The pall was of crimson silk embroidered with
wild roses, bearing the motto 'Unto this last.' Later the
beautifully-artistic cross, designed by his secretary, friend, and
authorized biographer, Mr. Collingwood, was erected over the grave. It
has allegorical carvings on it of his book-titles. A medallion likeness
in bronze by Onslow Ford, R.A., was placed in Westminster Abbey.

I have said nothing of Ruskin's ancestry, nothing even of the
'honourable and distinguished merchant,' his father, nor of his loving,
pious, over-careful mother. Neither have I spoken of his education, of
his wanderings and residences in Switzerland and Italy, nor of his royal
gifts of museums and the like for the benefit primarily of artizans. I
have no space to tell of the impulse he gave to art, or to educating
wage-earners through Ruskin colleges and in other ways. His physical
appearance, his personal habits, his daily dealings with his kind, must
be discovered by my readers for themselves. Mr. Collingwood's Life of
him has recently been issued at 2s. 6d., and Mr. Harrison's in 'English
Men of Letters' at 2s. Acquaintance with these should be the duty and
privilege of every educated man and woman.

'The woods, the blossoms, the gift-bearing grasses, have done their
parts for a time, but these do service for ever. Trees for the builder's
yard, flowers for the bride's chamber, corn for the granary, moss for
the grave.

'Yet as in one sense the humblest, in another they are the most honoured
of the earth-children. Unfading, as motionless, the worm frets them not,
and the autumn wastes not. Strong in lowliness, they neither blanch in
heat nor pine in frost. To them, slow-fingered, constant-hearted, is
entrusted the weaving of the dark, eternal tapestries of the hills, to
them, slow-pencilled, iris-dyed, the tender framing of their endless
imagery. Sharing the stillness of the unimpassioned rock, they share
also its endurance; and while the winds of departing spring scatter the
white hawthorn blossom like drifted snow, and summer dims on the parched
meadow the drooping of its cowslip-gold, far above, among the mountains,
the silver lichen-spots rest, star-like, on the stone, and the gathering
orange-stain upon the edge of yonder western peak reflects the sunset of
a thousand years.'--JOHN RUSKIN: _Modern Painters_.


[Illustration:
_Photo by Hills & Saunders, Oxford._

    THE HOUSE AT HERNE HILL IN WHICH RUSKIN WAS BORN IN 1819.]



                 THE PHILOSOPHER OF BRANTWOOD

                           JOHN RUSKIN

              II.--HIS ART-TEACHING AND HIS BOOKS


    'To crib, cabin, and confine in a dull array of formal propositions
    the rich exuberance of Mr. Ruskin's thought would be a needless
    injury.'--J. A. HOBSON.


'Is there a gospel (of Art) according to Ruskin?' It is Mr. E. T. Cook,
an art-pupil and disciple of his, who asks and answers this question.
He, in 'Studies in Ruskin,' and another Oxford pupil, Mr. W. G.
Collingwood, in 'The Art Teaching of John Ruskin,' agree that their
great teacher did not formulate a creed, though he had definite
fundamental principles to explain to the world, which--however much
overlaid and obscured by eloquent language and elaborate
illustration--were never lost sight of by him, but impregnated all his
writings. As in the New Testament there is a revelation from God through
Jesus Christ, though it contains nothing akin to a Church Catechism or
Westminster Confession of Faith, so in Ruskin there is 'a complete
philosophy of Art' without a concise and formulated system that can be
packed into one's waistcoat pocket. We must find and arrange our canons
for ourselves. The Ruskin 'Gospel of Art'--Mr. Cook's word--or his
'Philosophy of Art'--Mr. Collingwood's word--is merely an old gospel,
with a new application--a philosophy of the position of Art with regard
to God, and the world, and the soul. 'Truth, sincerity, and nobleness'
are essentials of right living, and Art is the outcome and evidence of
the right living of the artist. It is the expression of man's rational,
disciplined delight in the forms and laws of the creation of which he is
a part. The origin of Art is 'imitation touched with delight'--delight,
that is to say, in God's work, and not in a man's own. Beauty, no less
than reality, strength, and morality, is characteristic of true Art as
'an expression of the Creating Spirit of the universe,' whose handiwork
is to be copied. Art is an interpreter of the Divine beauty in things
seen; for the inner life of it is religion, its food is the ocular and
passionate love of Nature, its health is the humility of its artists.
Art looks into the innermost core and centre of phenomena. The true
artist sees and makes others see. The greatest Art is that which conveys
the greatest number of greatest ideas. It is the declaration of the mind
of God-made great men. Fine Art is that in which hand, and head, and
heart have worked equally together. In outline, colour, and shade an
artist is to discipline himself, that he may become skilful in the
seeing of things accurately, and representing them with absolute
fidelity. What he sees accurately, however, he is to represent
imaginatively, so as to arouse the faculty of imagination and a feeling
of praise in others, and to cultivate their nobler instincts, and call
forth and feed their souls. Beauty is of two kinds--typical and
vital--the first lying in those external qualities of bodies which in
some sort represent the Divine attributes; the second in 'the
felicitous fulfilment of function in living things.' Ruskin agrees with
Hogarth that 'all forms of acknowledged beauty are composed exclusively
of curves.' Except in crystals, certain mountain forms, levels of calm
water, and alluvial land, there are no lines nor surfaces of Nature
without curvature. He adds that what curvature is to lines, so is
gradation to shades and colours. He made himself conversant with these
truths by independent study, minute investigation, inexhaustible
industry in sketching.

Architecture, though subject to different rules and modes of handicraft,
is governed also by the same general and spiritual principles. Its
'Seven Lamps' are Sacrifice,--the offering of all that is most costly of
material, intention, execution; Truth,--which demands imagination, but
will not tolerate deception; Power,--realized through observation of
mountain buttresses and domes, cloistered woodland glades, and the
rock-walls of the sea; Beauty,--not as mere mask or covering, but
gracefully fitted to the conditions and uses of the object to be
attained; Life,--expressive of the workman's love of his work, and
knowledge of his ends; Memory,--which haunts the workman with shapes and
colours he has once noted, and which inspires him with ever fresh
ideals; Obedience,--which involves 'chastisement of the passions,
discipline of the intellect, subjection of the will.'

It is in his 'Seven Lamps of Architecture' that the pæan on Giotto's
Campanile occurs, wherein he tells us how, as a boy, he despised it, and
how since then he lived beside it many a day and looked upon it from his
window 'by sunlight and moonlight, noting the bright, smooth, sunny
surface and glowing jasper, those spiral shafts and fairy traceries, so
white, so faint, so crystalline, that their slight shapes are hardly
traced in darkness on the eastern sky, that serene height of mountain
alabaster, coloured like a morning cloud, and chased like a sea-shell.'
His minute observation of form and colour in mountain gloom and mountain
glory, in rushing torrents, and in feathered songster, and his
unrivalled powers of description, must be an inspiration to all
right-minded artists, notwithstanding his unsparing and incisive
criticisms in his 'Notes on Pictures.' His scientific knowledge, too,
stood him in good stead. His words on mountain sculpture, with an
illustration from the Aiguilles or needle-pointed Alpine peaks, too long
for full quotation, may well be cited. 'Nature gives us in these
mountains a clear demonstration of her will. She is here driven to make
fracture the law of being. She cannot tuft the rock-edges with moss, or
round them by water, or hide them with leaves and roots. She is bound to
produce a form, admirable to human beings, by continual breaking away of
substances. And behold--so soon as she is compelled to do this, she
changes the law of fracture itself. "Growth," she seems to say, "is not
essential to my work, nor concealment, nor softness; but curvature is;
and if I must produce my forms by breaking, then the fracture shall be
in curves. If, instead of dew and sunshine, the only instruments I am to
use are the lightning and the frost, then the forked tongues and crystal
wedges shall still work out my laws of tender line. Devastation instead
of nurture may be the task of all my elements, and age after age may
only prolong the renovated ruin; but the appointments of typical beauty
which have been made over all creatures shall not therefore be
abandoned, and the rocks shall be ruled in their perpetual perishing, by
the same ordinances that direct the bending of the reed, and the
blushing of the rose." The cloud, the currents of trickling water, an
interior knot of quartz, help the work of shaping, and the dew "with a
touch more tender than a child's finger--as silent and slight as the
fall of a half-checked tear on a maiden's cheek" help to fix for ever
the form of peak and precipice, and hew the leagues of lifted granite,
into shapes that divide the earth and its kingdoms. Then the colouring
of the mountains is not done only by the chemical constituents of their
rocks, but by the jewellery of the flowers--the dark bell-gentian, the
light blue star-gentian, the alpine rose, the highland heather, the
many-hued blossom-masses, and the golden softness of deep, warm,
amber-coloured mosses.'

It is not always easy to follow Ruskin's own canons of Art in his
exaltation of Turner--as, for instance, in the article of 'Truth touched
with Imagination'--in such a picture as Whitby. There the painter's
cliffs are unnatural and impossible, reminding us more of a straight-cut
pound of cheese than anything ever seen in Nature--specially at Whitby!
We are tempted to praise Turner more for revealing Ruskin than Ruskin
for discovering Turner! Thus, in describing Heysham, it is Ruskin who in
'Harbours of England' gives us the true and very graphic painting, and
Turner a glorified and unrecognisable one. 'A simple, north-country
village on the shore of Morecambe Bay, not in the common sense a
picturesque village; there are no pretty bow-windows, or red roofs, or
rocky steps of entrance to the rustic doors, or quaint gables; nothing
but a single street of thatched and chiefly clay-built cottages ranged
in a somewhat monotonous line, the roofs so green with moss that at
first we hardly discern the houses from the fields and trees. The
village street is closed at the end by a wooden gate, indicating the
little traffic there is on the road through it, giving it the look of a
large farmstead, in which a right of way lies through the yard.' The
rutty roads, the decayed fencing--haystacks and pigstyes--the
parsonage--the church--the craggy limestone rocks amid the brushwood,
and the pleasant turf upon their brows, the gleams of shallow water on
the sandy shore, the fisher-boat on the beach--all help us to see old
Heysham rather through the eyes of the prose-poet than those of the
painter he is lauding.

Opening other--excluding his more voluminous--books, 'Love's Meinie' or
'Proserpina' to wit--the one of birds and the other of flowers--what
exquisite passages meet us on every page! What Ruskinite does not revel
in such as those contrasting the flight of the eagle and the seagull
with that of the swallow, or as that speaking of 'the beauty of the bird
that lives with you in your own houses, and which purifies for you, from
its insect pestilence, the air that you breathe. Thus the sweet domestic
thing has done, for men, at least, these four thousand years. She has
been their companion, not of the home merely, but of the hearth, and the
threshold; companion only endeared by departure, and showing better her
loving-kindness by her faithful return.' She is a type of the stranger,
or the supplicant, herald of our summer, 'who glances through our days
of gladness'--and he gives us much more of the same sweet poetry about
her. Then there are sentences like that outburst of joy at the discovery
of the blue asphodel in the fields beyond Monte Mario--'a spire two feet
high, of more than two hundred stars, the stalks of them all deep blue
as well as the flowers. Heaven send all honest people the gathering of
the like, in Elysian fields, some day!'

Ruskin confessed ignorance of the writings of political economists, of
which he had read none but Adam Smith's--twenty years before--and his
continual travesty of them as though 'buying in the cheapest market and
selling in the dearest'--labour included--was their sole message to the
world, makes it difficult to quote from his more philosophical or social
science works. It must be remembered that Smith had forestalled Ruskin
in stating that wage-earners had a right to a living wage, and that
others, like Jeremy Bentham, had forestalled him in the doctrine of the
'greatest good of the greatest number' underlying his own strictures on
our land system.

In his usual contradictory way he sometimes tells us the sword must
still be whetted to settle international disputes. At others he calls
war the mother of all evils, and writes paragraphs worthy of Carlyle on
the French and English villagers from their respective Drumdrudges,
pitying the peasantry upon whom the losses and cruelties fall, and
denouncing the squires who officer them and lead them to death. Women he
calls upon to exercise their influence in favour of peace, because they
can, if they will, put an end to all wars for ever. The idleness of the
upper classes, and the seeking of outlets for their capital by
financial speculators are, he says, its chief causes, and
ill-accumulated moneys are spent on it. In all this an ever-increasing
multitude of Christians agree with him, as well as in his denunciation
of the inhumanity of mere mercenary commerce uncontrolled by
consideration for others, and in his pleadings for purer and happier
homes, equal opportunities of education, and the glory and grace of
honest labour. When a man who has done much for the good of his fellows
can write of Ruskin in the second phase of his literary career, 'to him
I owe the guidance of my life, all its best impulses, and its worthiest
efforts,' we may be sure his later books were really great,
notwithstanding their blemishes.

[Illustration: (Faithfully yours J Ruskin)

      JOHN RUSKIN'S HANDWRITING IN ADVANCED LIFE.]


[Illustration:
      MEDALLION ON THE RUSKIN MEMORIAL, DERWENTWATER.

  By A. C. Lucchesi.]



                         VIEWS FROM GRETA HALL


    'This Greta Hall is a house on a small eminence, a furlong from
    Keswick, in the county of Cumberland. Yes, my dear Sir, here I am,
    with Skiddaw at my back--on my right hand the Bassenthwaite Water,
    with its majestic _case_ of mountains, all of simplest outline.
    Looking slant, direct over the feather of this infamous pen, I see
    the sun setting. My God! what a scene! Right before me is a great
    _camp_ of single mountains--each in shape resembles a giant's
    tent--and to the left, but closer to it far than the Bassenthwaite
    Water to my right, is the Lake of Keswick, with its islands and
    white sails, and glossy lights of evening,--crowned with green
    meadows; but the three remaining sides are encircled by the most
    fantastic mountains that ever earthquakes made in sport, as
    fantastic as if Nature had laughed herself into the convulsion in
    which they were made. Close behind me flows the Greta; I hear its
    murmuring distinctly. Then it curves round, almost in a
    semi-circle, and is now catching the purple lights of the scattered
    clouds above it directly before me.'--_A letter of Samuel Taylor
    Coleridge's._


[Illustration:

           SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE.

  From a Painting by G. Dawe, R.A.]



                           VII

                   A GREAT LIFE MARRED

                 SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE


    'This illustrious man, the largest and most spacious intellect, the
    subtlest and most comprehensive, in my judgment, that has yet
    existed among men.'--DE QUINCEY.


In him we have another of our intellectual giants, a many-sided man, a
poet, a theologian, a politician, or, in Charles Lamb's well-known
phrase, a logician, a metaphysician, a bard. He was a fortunate man in
so far as he has attained literary immortality. He was a singularly
unfortunate man in so far as his natural character was deficient in
will-power, and lacking in that subtle but invaluable property known as
common-sense. His story, once you begin it, holds you, like the story of
his own 'long, lank, brown, and ancient Mariner's,' captive to the end,
it is so full of pathetic romance.

Garrulous, kind-hearted old Bookseller Cottle, of Bristol, very minor
poet himself, yet devoted to letters, and staunch friend in their utmost
need to an afterwards famous band of young men, tells us how Robert
Lovell, an inexperienced and sanguine Quaker, was carried away by a
Socialistic colonization scheme to be tested on the banks of the
Susquehannah--the community to be called a Pantisocracy--from which
injustice, wrath, anger, clamour, and evil-speaking, were to be
excluded, thereby setting an example of human perfectability. Four young
men, Lovell said, had joined the movement, who were to embark at Bristol
for the American colonies--Samuel Taylor Coleridge, from Cambridge with
whom the idea was supposed to have originated, Robert Southey and George
Burnett from Oxford, and himself. In due time he introduced his
friends--Southey, 'tall, dignified, possessing great suavity of manners,
an eye piercing, with a countenance full of genius, kindliness, and
intelligence'; Burnett, son of a Somersetshire farmer, who soon vanished
from sight--never, indeed, comes fairly into it; and Coleridge, with 'an
eye, a brow, and a forehead indicative of commanding genius.' The last
soon applied on behalf of the fraternity for a loan, not to pay for the
emigrants' sea passage, but their lodgings bill! The good man lent £5,
and afterwards advanced Coleridge £30, taking the value back in MSS. as
he could secure them. Meanwhile, Coleridge lectured to small audiences
on somewhat abstruse subjects for a Bristol population, and managed to
fall in love with a sister of his friend Lovell's wife, a third of these
Miss Frickers becoming engaged to and marrying Southey, though he had
not the remotest prospect of supporting a family. Lecturing and
literature had not paid, Pantisocracy had perished in the bud, and
Coleridge had not in any other direction shown the least capacity for
dealing with every-day affairs. His antecedents both proved, and had
intensified, his want of sagacity.

Born in 1772, into the large family of a learned Devonshire clergyman,
who was also Head Master of a Grammar School--'a gentle and kindly
eccentric'--he lost his father when only nine years of age, and was
sent to the Blue Coat School (Christ's Hospital) in London. Here Charles
Lamb was his schoolfellow. He grew, ere he left it, to be a tall lad of
striking presence, with long black hair. At nineteen he was sent to
Cambridge University. From Cambridge--owing, it is now generally
believed, to some disappointment in a love affair, though others will
have it that it was owing to debts recklessly contracted--he went up to
London with little money in his pocket, and enlisted as a private in a
regiment of light cavalry, under the assumed name of Silas Titus
Comberback. In this regiment he remained only four months, proving 'an
execrable rider, a negligent groom of his horse, and generally a slack
and slovenly trooper.' Here a Latin quotation scribbled on a whitewashed
wall discovered him, and led to his discharge, a visit to Oxford and an
introduction to Lovell and Southey, then students, made him a more
decided Pantisocratist, then a Bristolian, a protégé of Cottle and
Charles Lloyd, and a benedict. In 1795 he was married at St. Mary de
Redcliffe Church, and the thriftless pair set up housekeeping forthwith
in a rose-covered cottage at Clevedon, then a village on the shores of
the Severn Sea, though now a fashionable watering-place. Little
furniture, no cash, no income beyond a promise of a guinea and a half
for every hundred lines of copy, whether in rhyme or blank verse,
offered a poor matrimonial prospect. Two days after the wedding,
however, Cottle sent him 'with the aid of the grocer, and the shoemaker,
and the brewer, and the tin-man, and the glass-man, and the brazier,'
all he required--and more. In this retreat Coleridge did some necessary
bread-winning with his pen, but still more planning and projecting of
great world-astonishing magazines. Combined with his fancy for
projecting big schemes was an unconquerable habit of procrastination.
'His strongest intentions were but feebly supported after his first
paroxysm of resolve.' Such a man was unlikely to launch a serial on the
world successfully. He issued circulars of a paper to be called _The
Watchman_, travelled through the Midlands into Lancashire and Yorkshire
to obtain subscribers, and issued a few numbers, and then it collapsed.
In his travels he made the acquaintance of Lloyd, afterwards of
Ambleside, who found him in books, and made a home for him at Nether
Stowey. Wordsworth was then at Alfoxden, a close adjoining village. It
was during a walk taken by the two poets over the Quantock Hills that
their joint volume 'Lyrical Ballads,' was conceived, and that the
'Ancient Mariner' was partly written. 'Christabel' is another product of
this period of Coleridge's life, and what has been aptly called the
dream-poem of 'Kubla-Khan.' It was also now that he avowed himself a
Unitarian, and commenced to preach in the chapels of that sect.
Travelling to Shropshire in this ministry he captivated young William
Hazlitt by his extraordinary discourses in public and in private, who
records how it seemed to him poetry and philosophy were met together in
the preacher, truth and genius had embraced under the eye and sanction
of religion. At this time, he adds, Coleridge's personal appearance was
of one above the middle height, inclining to be corpulent, with hair
still raven-black, forehead broad and high, light as if built of ivory,
projecting brows, with rolling, bright eyes beneath them, and a mouth
'gross, voluptuous, open, eloquent.' His preaching, too, brought him
into contact with the generous De Quincey, and with the two Wedgwoods,
the eminent Staffordshire potters, who defrayed the expenses of himself
and William and Dorothy Wordsworth to Germany, and granted Coleridge a
pension to enable him to devote his life to literature. On their return,
Coleridge went to London on the staff of the _Morning Post_, in the
columns of which he did first-class work.

In 1800 he removed his family to Keswick. He came to that town in many
respects a changed man. The torrents of revolutionary talk he indulged
in during his undergraduate days had lapsed into ultra-Toryism under the
reaction from the disappointed hopes excited by the upheaval in France,
but chiefly from his connection with the London Tory organ, although, as
his German biographer somewhat grimly remarks, 'a trace of his
partiality for the community of goods lingered in his blood; he never
ceased to live upon his friends'! The Church of England doctrines he was
intended to imbibe at school and college had given way before
Unitarianism and the mysticism and pantheism of the Continent. Goethe,
Kant, and Lessing had become his masters. He came, too, in broken
health. At Keswick dwelt a good man in Greta Hall, or rather in the
smaller of the two houses now known by that name. Mr. Jackson, who
started as a common carrier, was a well-to-do man, and had accumulated a
library. He charged Coleridge half the proper rent for the other
cottage, and gave him access to his books. There seemed no reason why
our poet-philosopher should not have been happier here than ever before.
But the end of his poetical career was at hand. 'Opium,' says De
Quincey, himself a victim to the drug, 'killed Coleridge as a poet.' He
began taking the deadly poison to allay the pains of gout, to which he
was a martyr. His 'Ode to Dejection' is undoubtedly his dirge over the
grave of his muse. In his hours of awakening he gave himself afresh to
philosophy to compel mental activity. He found the study an alleviation,
but by no means a cure. An artist friend took him a voyage up the
Mediterranean. On returning to his care-worn wife he found himself
without sufficient means for the support of a growing family, though Sir
George Beaumont, of Coleorton, and the ever-faithful Cottle and Sir
Humphry Davy, helped him and interested themselves on his behalf, to
enable him to earn something by lecturing in London. Returning again to
the Lake Country, he started another weekly paper, which he called _The
Friend_. It failed to capture the public, and ceased at the
twenty-seventh number. He had magazine and review work, and published
something. The opium habit still increased till these Kendal Black Drops
(he probably so calls them because he first procured them as a quack
medicine from this town) were at last taken in doses amounting to two
quarts of laudanum in a week. Yet he was visited by the Lambs, the
Wordsworths, Hazlitt, Professor Wilson, and many another who admired and
loved him for his genius and his unique personality. In four years' time
his brother-in-law, Robert Southey, and his family joined him at Greta
Hall. On the other hand, the Wedgwood annual allowance was withdrawn, on
the ground that his side of the agreement was not being fulfilled. More
and more he drifted about from place to place, leaving his wife and
children to the care of their relatives. One while he stayed with the
Wordsworths at Grasmere, and another with a benevolent friend at Calne
(he was three years there), till his generous host's means being much
reduced he was compelled to withdraw his hospitality. Here he had been
partly weaned from opium, but on going up to London in search of a
livelihood he fell back under its complete tyranny. In a kind of
desperation he carried his case to a Dr. Gillman, of Highgate. This
gentleman, an able physician and a man of standing and culture, was
happily married, and needed no 'paying guest,' but as Professor Brandle
puts it, 'the spell of his talk, and the repute of his name, vanquished
the Gillmans at once, and from that time he became the inmate and friend
of the family, and remained so till his end.' Here in this beautiful
home--beautiful in its then countrified surroundings, beautiful in its
moral atmosphere--he was once again happy, and for no fewer than sixteen
years. No opium was permitted within the walls. His wife and children,
and friendly visitors like Irving, Hallam, Maurice, Hare, and T. H.
Green, were welcomed. He became an undoubted Christian, and a powerful
advocate of a form of orthodoxy commoner now than it was then--an
attractive Anglican theology impregnated with the German type of
platonic philosophy. His utter simplicity of character was never lost,
and, unfortunately, his endeavours after pecuniary recovery were
thwarted by a scoundrelly publisher cheating him of large sums he had
fairly earned by hard work and genius. It was at this time he issued
'Aids to Reflection,' 'Lay Sermons,' and other memorable books.

Towards the end of his days he suffered much, notably from an affection
of the heart, which 'bent his figure, furrowed his face, and hindered
his work.' Finding death within sight, he settled what outward affairs
he had to settle, ordered mourning rings for his friends, composed an
epitaph for his tombstone, and in a marvellous calm, not begotten of
narcotics, but of a living faith, he passed away into the fulness of
light, in the year of our Lord 1834, and the sixty-second of his age.

What is the true estimate of his character? His was empathically a
self-marred life. With a steady, reliable temperament and will he might
have achieved one of the very highest positions among England's greatest
men. 'Frailty,' cries a modern essayist, 'thy name is Genius.' His
conversational powers were unequalled, and attracted eminent people from
afar to hear him pour forth his brilliant scientific knowledge,
philosophic speculations, and wealth of illustration. It is true that
Charles Lamb adjudged him too great a monopolist of the situation.
'Lamb,' was the response, 'did you ever hear me preach?' 'I never heard
you do anything else,' retorted Lamb. His talks were really spontaneous
orations which electrified his hearers. That ineffectual outward life of
his, so full of latent possibilities, has not, happily, been
altogether thrown away. Both the pre-opium-drinking days and the
post-opium-drinking were long enough for him to influence the thoughts
and teaching of his own and future ages, and he still leavens the
literature of the pulpit and the desk. His poetry yet delights young and
old. It is comforting to know that one whom the 'Circean Chalice' had
driven to wish for annihilation, and created in him a desire to place
himself in a madhouse, could write from his death-bed to a 'dear
god-son' that on the brink of the grave he had proved Christ to be an
Almighty Redeemer, who had reconciled God, and given him, under all
pains and infirmities, 'the peace that passeth understanding.'

His literary output I will neither expound nor criticise, tempting as it
is to do both. His poems are on the shelves of every well-selected
library, however small. His more solid works are not for the general
public. They are too profound, and go far too deeply into the secret
springs of life and thought, too far afield into the Divine and human
undercurrents of motive and action; are too theological, too
speculative, to lay hold of any but those who themselves are, in their
spheres, and to some extent, at least, guides and moulders of other
men's emotions and duties. They are essentially books for the patiently
reflective, who learn that they may teach. If spiritual things are only
spiritually discerned, so also are philosophical theories, methods, and
categories appreciated only by those who have a natural leaning towards
them, and some degree of training. Nine-tenths of my readers will be
'practical' men and women, to whom his revelations will seem guess-work
and his intuitions dreams. But if any want a delicate and subtle
analysis of Coleridge's mind, and whatsoever was in it, they may read
the late Walter Pater's 'Appreciation' of him.



               TO BE READ AT HIS GRAVESIDE


    'I have no particular choice of a churchyard, but I would repose, if
    possible, where there were no proud monuments, no new-fangled
    obelisks or mausoleums, heathen in everything but taste, and not
    Christian in that. Nothing that betokened aristocracy, unless it
    were the venerable memorial of some old family long extinct. If the
    village school adjoined the churchyard, so much the better. But all
    this must be as He will. I am greatly pleased with the fancy of
    Anaxagoras, whose sole request of the people of Lampsacus was, that
    the children might have a holiday on the anniversary of his death.
    But I would have the holiday on the day of my funeral. I would
    connect the happiness of childhood with the peace of the dead, not
    with the struggles of the dying.'--_Written on a book-margin by
    Hartley Coleridge._


[Illustration:

  _Photo by Herbert Bell, Ambleside._

               NAB COTTAGE, RYDAL.

  The Home of De Quincey's Father-in-law (see p. 8), and
            afterwards of Hartley Coleridge.]



                             VIII

                       A LIFE TO PITY

                     HARTLEY COLERIDGE


    'Hartley Coleridge has come much nearer us, and probably you might
    see as much of him as you liked. Of genius he has not a little, and
    talent enough for fifty.'--WORDSWORTH.

    'Dined at Mrs. Fletcher's. H. Coleridge behaved very well. He read
    some verses on Dr. Arnold which I could not comprehend, he read them
    so unpleasantly; and he sang a comic song that kept me very grave.
    He left us quite early.'--CRABBE ROBINSON'S _Diary_.

Poor 'Lile Hartley'--_little_ Hartley, as the neighbours called him--is
one of the most pathetic figures in English literature. Undersized in
body, of promising intellect from childhood, of child-like simplicity in
character, devoid of self-control, and overmastered by the alcoholic
habit, as his father was by the opium habit, he is at once pitiable,
excusable, and lovable. As you ride from Ambleside to Grasmere you pass
a low cottage on your right, just beneath Nab Scarr, where the young
farmer and his wife lived who cared so unselfishly for him and for his
comfort and welfare. It is locally known as 'Coleridge's Cottage.' Here
he lived in later manhood, followed and brought home tenderly, when he
had wandered away, by his kind-hearted caretakers, and writing prose
essays and sweet sonnets in hours of freedom from his besetment.

By birth Hartley Coleridge belongs to the West Country, having come into
the world while his parents lived on Redcliffe Hill, Bristol, shortly
after their return from their little flower-covered, poverty-stricken
Clevedon Cottage. The National Dictionary of Biography is in error in
giving Rose Cottage as his birthplace. It was beyond all doubt Bristol,
and he was born during the autumn of 1796. 'A pretty and engaging
child,' his brother Derwent says he was. There must have been something
attractive about the babe, for it is given to few to be apostrophized by
two poets at so early an age, especially by two such as his own father
and his father's friend, William Wordsworth. Great things were
anticipated for him in the future by both the seers. He was taken to
London for a visit when three years old, and, after being mystified by
the street lamps, he suddenly exclaimed: 'Oh! now I know what the stars
are: they are lamps that have been good upon earth, and have gone up
into heaven!' At six years of age he was removed with the family to
Keswick. Here for a season the two households of Coleridge and Southey
dwelt at Greta Hall, an occurrence which seems in many ways to have
remarkably influenced his career. Those who came in contact with him at
this place speak of him as pouring forth, with flashing eyes, strange
speculations far beyond his years, and weaving wild inventions. His
dreamy boyhood was varied by another stay in London and a visit to
Bristol, in both which places further mundane knowledge was acquired,
only to be forthwith transmuted into the visions which filled his mental
life. His very play related to the history of a kind of Utopia, its
populations, its geography, its constitution, its wars, its politics.
'Ejuxria' was the name he gave his island kingdom, and he prolonged the
existence of it for himself and his playmates beyond the length of the
famous thousand and one nights of the Eastern story-teller. Everything
he saw, everything he read, became forthwith 'Ejuxrian.' This habit of
introversion and lack of practicality changed its forms as he grew
older, but never left him. When at length he went to a boarding-school
at Ambleside--or, rather, was placed in a clergyman's house near it with
a few other boys for private tuition--his power of improvization was
encouraged by his companions demanding long-drawn-out romances from him,
while his morbid tendencies and consciousness of his small stature
induced the habit of lonely wanderings and musing.

Desultory reading and frequent intercourse with his father's
friends--Southey, Wordsworth, Professor Wilson, De Quincey, and Charles
Lloyd--formed the chief part of his early education. He seems to have
been as a schoolboy truthful, dutiful, and thoughtful, but with great
infirmity of will and subject to paroxysms of passion and heartbroken
repentance. From school to Oxford University was a natural and proper
advance. Unfortunately, his rare conversational qualities made him much
sought after for students' wine parties. The result of this was that,
although he passed his exams creditably, and won an Oriel Fellowship,
he was judged to have forfeited this Fellowship by his intemperance.
The authorities were inexorable. No expostulation or influence could
save him. It is probable some freedom of speech offensive to the
narrow-minded dons of his day had something to do with their hardness.
Sympathy and kindly common-sense might have recovered him just then from
his snare. As it was, he tried for literary employment in London with
little success, though his tarriance there resulted in a further
development of his alcoholic tendency. Thence he drifted back to
Ambleside, where he tried school-keeping, but in vain. He had no
disciplinary power, and one by one his pupils were removed, till the
school collapsed. From there he went to the Grasmere Cottage, already
spoken of, facing the lovely little lake of Rydal, a blue island-dotted
gem framed in with lofty green mountains. Everybody loved the lonely,
affectionate man--a keen observer of Nature, an inspired writer of
poetry--and everybody grieved when the end came one winter's day of
1849, and his remains were buried in Grasmere Churchyard. There a little
group of us stood but a while ago, reverently uncovered, beneath the
yews that overshadow his grave and the graves of the Wordsworth family.
That he knew his weakness and lamented it, and at seasons valiantly
struggled to overcome it, is certain, and one cannot help wondering
whether he would not have triumphed ultimately had he lived in a
teetotal age, when he could have been surrounded by abstaining
companions, who would have sheltered him and kept him out of perpetually
recurrent temptations. Some of his more personal verses are sadly
suggestive both of his struggle and his need:

    'A woeful thing it is to find
    No trust secure in weak mankind,
    But tenfold woe betide the elf
    Who knows not how to trust himself.'

And again he writes:

  'Oh woeful impotence of weak resolve,
  Recorded rashly to the writer's shame,
  Days pass away, and Time's large orbs revolve,
  And every day behold me still the same,
  Till oft-neglected purpose loses aim,
  And hope becomes a flat, unheeded lie,
  And conscience, weary with the work of blame,
  In seeming slumber droops her wistful eye,
  As if she would resign her unregarded ministry.'

Passing lightly over his 'Northern Worthies,' some dozen or so of
biographic sketches, good and capable 'pot-boilers'--yet 'pot-boilers'
essentially--one comes to his essays, written for _Blackwood_ and other
magazines and papers, and his marginalia written in his books and
published after his death. We cannot but be struck with the immense
variety of subjects dealt with in his essays. Many of them are signed by
a pseudonym, such as 'Thersites' if on 'Heathen Mythology'--or 'Tom
Thumb the Great' if 'Brief Observations upon Brevity'--or 'Ignoramus' if
a series on the 'Fine Arts'--and very few were issued in his own name.
Some are full of quaint humour, such as 'Thoughts on Horsemanship, by a
Pedestrian,' 'A Nursery Lecture delivered by an Old Bachelor.' Others
have a fine literary flavour, as, for example, 'Shakespeare, a Tory and
a Gentleman,' or 'On the Character of Hamlet.' It is, however, as a
sonnetteer he will be longest remembered, and as a writer of
miscellaneous verses. When rowing round Grasmere Lake the other day we
recalled his lines, beginning:

    'Within the compass of a little vale
    There lies a lake unknown in fairy tale,
    Which not a poet knew in ancient days,
    When all the world believed in ghosts and fays;
    Yet on that lake I have beheld a boat
    That seemed a fairy pinnace all afloat,
    On some blest mission to a distant isle
    To do meet worship in some ruined pile,
    Where long of yore the Fairies used to meet
    And haply hallow with their last retreat.'

Sometimes, too, when religious controversies grow warm around the good
old revelation those verses of his come to remembrance, called 'The Word
of God':

  'In holy books we read how God hath spoken
    To holy men in many different ways;
  But hath the present work'd no sign or token?
    Is God quite silent in these latter days?

  'And hath our Heavenly Sire departed quite,
    And left His poor babes in this world alone,
  And only left for blind belief--not sight--
    Some quaint old riddles in a tongue unknown?'

Hartley Coleridge's longer and more ambitious pieces do not commend
themselves to the public as do his shorter ones. His _forte_ was in--

        'Singing of the little rills
  That trickle down the yellow hills
  To drive the Fairies' water-mills;'

of children whom he doted upon,--of 'the merry lark that bids a blithe
good-morrow,'--of 'summer rain'--of 'rose, and violet, and pansy, each
with its tale of love'--of poor Mary Magdalene. From his own soul, as
from Mary's, it may be the Lord has 'wiped off the soiling of despair.'
May we find it has been so when we ourselves reach the great hereafter.



                           KESWICK IN WINTER


    'Summer is not the season for this country. Coleridge says, and says
    well, that then it is like a theatre at noon. There are _no goings
    on_ under a clear sky.... The very snow, which you would perhaps
    think must monotonize the mountains, gives new varieties; it brings
    out their recesses and designates all their inequalities, it
    impresses a better feeling of their height, and it reflects such
    tints of saffron, or fawn, or rose-colour to the evening sun. _O
    Maria Santissima!_ Mount Horeb with the glory upon its summit might
    have been more glorious, but not more beautiful than Skiddaw in his
    pelisse of ermine. I will not quarrel with frost, though the fellow
    has the impudence to take me by the nose. The lakeside has such ten
    thousand charms; a fleece of snow or of the hoar-frost lies on the
    fallen trees or large stones; the grass-points, that just peer above
    the water, are powdered with diamonds; the ice on the margin with
    chains of crystal, and such veins and wavy lines of beauty as mock
    all art; and, to crown all, Coleridge and I have found out that
    stones thrown upon the lake, when frozen, made a noise like singing
    birds, and when you whirl on it a large flake of ice, away the
    shivers slide, chirping and warbling like a flight of finches.'--_A
    letter of Robert Southey's._

[Illustration: WINE STREET, BRISTOL.

         The Birthplace of Robert Southey.]



                         IX

            GEORGE THE FOURTH'S LAUREATE

                   ROBERT SOUTHEY


    'I could say much of Mr. Southey, at this time; of his
    constitutional cheerfulness, of the polish of his manners, of his
    dignity, and at the same time of his unassuming deportment, as well
    as of the general respect which his talent, conduct, and
    conversation excited.'--JOSEPH COTTLE, _Southey's first publisher_.


He was the most bookish and the most learned Laureate of them all. As a
poet, he was inferior to Wordsworth and Tennyson, yet superior to Pye or
Austin. He was a native of Bristol, where his father was an unsuccessful
linen-draper in Wine Street. Heredity had little or nothing to do with
the evolution of Robert's genius, except so far as from his mother's
alertness of intellect and happy temperament he received a foundation
upon which he was enabled to build his literary future. Industry, and a
great practical capacity, animated by a sanguine spirit, carried him
through a life of unremitting toil, and conquered difficulties that
would have crushed or disheartened most men.

He first saw the light on August 12, 1774. 'Is it a boy?' asked the
mother. 'Ay,' replied the nurse, 'a great ugly boy'; and the mother,
when she saw the 'great red creature,' feared she should never be able
to love him! However, he soon grew to be a handsome, curly-headed lad,
sensitive, and very much alive. The Southeys being 'under water' most of
their time, their first-born was adopted by a half-sister of the wife.
Aunt Tylor lived in Bath. To Bath, then, he was removed, and the
fashionable, theatre-going spinster, even over-nice and fastidious in
her love of spotless cleanliness, and very imperious in her manner, did
her duty conscientiously by her charge, letting him, however, attend
dramatic entertainments, and read all he could lay hands on, till he was
old enough to be sent to school. The 'Academy' selected was fully as low
as the average of the 'Do-the-boys' Halls of the day. The master was a
broken-down tradesman who had married his drunken servant-maid, and the
school broke up shortly with a free fight between the proprietor and his
son. Two years here had added little to the pupil's knowledge. He gained
most by his private reading. The next four years were spent in attending
as a day-boarder in the classes of a bewigged, irascible little
Welshman, with whom he learned Latin and the Church Catechism. 'Who
taught you to read, boy?' inquired schoolmaster Williams. 'My aunt,
sir.' 'Then tell your aunt that my old horse, dead these twenty years,
could have done it better!' This naturally terminated his attendance at
that school. The aunt left Bath shortly thereafter, and finally settled
at Bristol, Southey going with her, and still poring over Spenser,
Sidney, Pope's Homer and translations of Tasso, Ariosto, and Josephus.
By-and-by he was promoted to Westminster School to continue his Latin,
which he remembered for reading though not for writing, and to learn
Greek, which he afterwards forgot. A bias for history developed itself
here, and he found a good library in the house of a friend in Dean's
Yard, scarcely out of bounds. Here he studied Gibbon, Rousseau, and
Epictetus. Authorship in a school journal was tried, and so successfully
that his criticism on the ways of a stupid, 'flogging' preceptor, whose
name may well pass into oblivion, led to his expulsion, and the expelled
lad, whose name will never be obliterated, returned to his aunt in
Bristol.

Robert Southey had a maternal uncle, a clergyman, and English chaplain
at Lisbon, who became more to him than a father, the real father having
failed in business and died of a broken heart. Mr. Hill sent his nephew
to Oxford, designing to make a clergyman of him. The Dean of Christ
Church, however, hearing that the tall, handsome, enthusiastic young
poet and Radical had been turned out of Westminster for daring to attack
that fine old English institution, flogging in the great public schools,
rejected his application. Balliol received him. Here he made some
lifelong and most valuable friendships, one bringing him a future
pension of £160 a year to aid him in his devotion to literature, an
allowance continued, with unusual generosity, till he had made his mark,
and Government had remunerated him for his eminent services. He owed as
little to Oxford as to lower schools. All he learned, he tells us, was
some swimming and boating. He wrote his epic poem, 'Joan of Arc,' in his
nineteenth year; refused to enter into orders, 'joyfully bade adieu to
Oxford,' tried to learn medicine, but hated the dissecting-room too much
to follow it; had an interview with Coleridge, imbibed 'Pantisocracy,'
returned to Bristol once more, fell in love with Edith Fricker, sister
of Lovell's and Coleridge's wives, and was refused his Aunt Tylor's
house in consequence of his erratic opinions and misdoings. His
Portuguese uncle now stepped in to wean him from those ultra-democratic
views, as they were then considered, though nowadays almost commonplaces
of Toryism, and to relieve his pecuniary necessities. Pantisocracy,
supplemented by a little lecturing and a little publishing, had not
proved profitable, and poor Southey frequently knew the want of a
dinner. Mr. Hill was over in England, and took his relative back with
him. To make all fast, however, Robert and his beloved Edith, his
faithful, loving, and every way admirable wife for many years, got
themselves married in St. Mary de Redcliffe Church on the morning of the
day the former started from Bristol on his travels. They could not raise
the price of the wife's wedding-ring between them, and kind-hearted
Bookseller Cottle lent the requisite guinea. They parted at the
church-door, Southey going first to Madrid, and then to Lisbon and its
environs. In the Spanish peninsula were many valuable libraries hidden
away in monasteries. These he ransacked, learning the tongues in which
they were written, or printed, posting himself up in Portuguese history,
translating the romance of the Cid, and bringing back with him a number
of valuable books and documents. It was one of the pleasantest and most
profitable periods of his life, was this trip to the old medieval,
Catholic world of modern Portugal, though he came home with an intense
dislike of Romanism. But he returned to England and commenced studying
law in London, forgetting all he learned the moment his law books were
closed, and writing his second great poem, 'Madoc,' in the intervals of
reading Blackstone and Littleton and Coke. A holiday near Christchurch
followed during the bright summer weather of 1797 with wife and mother,
brother Tom just released from a French prison, brother-in-law
Coleridge, Bookseller Cottle, Friend Lloyd, Charles Lamb, and John
Rickman; and then a homeless time, sometimes in London, sometimes in
Bristol, and once among the literati of Norwich. Then ensued a residence
at Westbury-on-Trym in a pretty cottage, and an acquaintance with Davy,
afterwards the celebrated Sir Humphrey. Another trip to Portugal, this
time accompanied by his Edith, involved more study, and produced another
poem--'Thalaba.' Coleridge, it will be remembered, had removed to
Keswick, to Greta Hall. He now wrote for the Southeys to join him there,
which they did, and it was their home as long as their lives lasted.
Here Robert toiled at literature for his daily bread, living a strenuous
life not for his own and his growing family's sake alone, but for the
Coleridges during Samuel's sad lapses into the opium habit, and for the
widowed Mrs. Lovell and her child also. There was a time when I could
not like Robert Southey as man or author. His longer poems seemed prosy,
and most of his shorter ones trivial, and his prose lacking in sympathy
with humanity, and his books narrow in their outlook on life. He seemed
to be commonplace and cold, and every way humdrum. Fuller acquaintance
with the author and his works has not greatly changed one's views, about
some of his verses, but it has brought acquaintance with some books of
extraordinary merit wherein prejudice fades into quaintness of thought
and expression not altogether unpleasant, and since one's youthful days
the commonplace virtues of domestic life and home cheerfulness and the
heroism that toils and struggles unseen, and bears its life's burdens
uncomplainingly, have received a spiritual glorification far beyond that
which is due to the showy, romantic, good-for-nothing selfishness of the
plunger who neglects his responsibilities while captivating the
onlookers.

Life at Keswick was apparently a monotonous one. To-day was as
yesterday, and to-morrow as to-day, with the exception of short journeys
away, always leavened by longings to be at home. Each forty-eight hours
was mapped out with as much regularity as social claims would permit.
Reading, writing, walking among the beautiful landscapes of Keswick, and
the hearty enjoyment of relaxation in the midst of his numerous family
circle, had all their allotted times, with the hours of rest and sleep,
for Southey needed sleep and exercise to keep in good order the bodily
functions his very existence as an author depended upon. Yet did he
never refuse to be interviewed by legitimate callers--that is, those who
brought their own literary credentials with them, or introductions from
those he knew. Among the men who sought him for his works' sake was
Shelley during the time of his compulsory retirement at Keswick. He
carried on also a very large private correspondence. His 'selected'
letters alone fill four volumes. He befriended Kirke White, the poet,
with wise counsel and friendly sympathies, and Charlotte Brontë, and not
a few now quite unknown poets, struggling to make names for themselves
among the stars of English poesie. The correspondents to whom he
unbent, and showed the real man behind the books he wrote, included such
geniuses as Bishop Lightfoot, Sir Walter Scott, Walter Savage Landor
(who was an inspiration to him), Sir Henry Taylor, and, of course, the
Lake Poets so well known to us all by now.

[Illustration:
  _Photo by Herbert Bell, Ambleside._

      SOUTHEY'S MONUMENT IN CROSTHWAITE CHURCH, KESWICK.]

The losses, occurring in every extensive family, came from time to time
to tear the fibres of Southey's loving and sensitive heart. Children
died, or married and left him, and at length his brave, and
dearly-beloved wife's mental faculties decayed, and after some time of
gradual and hopeless failure, she died in 1837. Two years later he
married another excellent woman, though of quite different type from his
deeply-mourned Edith. This was Caroline Bowles, who was a literary lady
and poetess, and had been a correspondent for some time. He never fully
recovered the shock of his first wife's loss, and his own later years
were beclouded with brain disease resulting in something not quite
imbecility, and yet bordering upon it, in which he seemed to live in a
perpetual dream. A fever hastened his end, which came in the month of
March, 1843. His successor in the Laureateship and his son-in-law were
the only strangers present in Crosthwaite Churchyard at the funeral. It
was a cloudy day on which he was buried, but as the service was ending a
ray of sunshine touched the grave, and reminded the mourners of the
better light in the world beyond into which his soul had entered.
Southey was all his life a sincerely religious man. His refusal to enter
the Anglican priesthood in youth, and his championship of liberal views,
and even the narrowness of his later opinions on affairs of State and
Church--in other words, his bigoted Toryism--were all due to the
sincerity of his convictions, and his loyalty to what he thought at the
time to be the truth. The best short life you can have of Southey is
Edward Dowden's in 'English Men of Letters.'

Of his longer poems the world takes small account, though there is
undoubted poetry in them. It preserves chiefly his ballads, things like
the 'Battle of Blenheim,' 'How the Water Comes Down at Lodore,' 'The Old
Woman of Berkley,' and so forth, which can be found in most anthologies.
His prose writings were principally task-work, bread-winners,
painstaking, and mostly reliable. His 'Life of Nelson' has still a
circulation, and is probably the most popular of his books. His 'Life of
John Wesley' is pre-eminently a Churchman's appreciation of one to
whom he tried to be just, but had no kind of sympathy with. The works
which best show us Southey himself are his 'Uneducated Poets,' a
readable group of short biographies of his humbler brethren, to some of
whom he had been personally a benefactor; his 'Book of the Church,' a
volume of biographical sketches of builders and martyrs of the Church of
England; his 'Commonplace Book,' which shows the marvellous industry of
the man in collecting materials for his life-work; and, above all, that
curious assortment of odds and ends of erudition connected by the
thinnest thread of a story, around which the quaint old-world learning
winds and winds endlessly with something of Rabelaisian humour without
its grossness. This, of course, is 'The Doctor,' a book once captured
from an acquaintance of mine by hospital surgeons on the ground that
'medical' works were not permitted to patients! This book, written for
his own delectation and for the justification of his friends, is
particularly suitable for long, wet winter evenings by a cosy fireside,
and one that can be opened anywhere to disclose 'a feast of reason and a
flow of soul' to the reader.

[Illustration: JOSEPH COTTLE, OF BRISTOL.
                  B. 1770. D. 1853.

  Friend and Patron of Coleridge, Southey, and Wordsworth, and
         their first Publisher (see pp. 85, 87, 106).

       Portrait (æt. 50) by Branwhite, also of Bristol.]



                          X

               VICTORIA'S FIRST LAUREATE

                  WILLIAM WORDSWORTH


  'The Age grew sated with her frail wit,
    Herself waxed weary on her loveless throne.
  Men felt life's tide, the sweep and surge of it,
    And craved a living voice, a natural tone.'
          From _Wordsworth's Grave_, by WILLIAM WATSON.

Wordsworth is, of course, the greatest poet of the English Lake school.
He is also the only one born in the lake counties, educated and, with
slight exception, resident all his life within them. His birthplace was
Cockermouth, his school the Grammar School of Hawkshead; his
residences--except what time he briefly dwelt among the southern
Quantock Hills--were at Dove Cottage, Grasmere, and Rydal Mount; his
burial-place was among his kinsfolk in a quiet corner of Grasmere
Churchyard, beneath the sycamores and yews. Most of his compeers and
friends--Coleridge, Southey, De Quincey, Charles Lloyd, John Wilson, and
even Hartley Coleridge--were born elsewhere, and came to live among
these northern mountains in youth or manhood.

He wrote, also, more about our district, and wrote it better, than any
other. This was partly due to patriotic devotion to his native corner
of our common fatherland, partly because the love of rambling was
ingrained in his being, chiefly because he was intuitively a
Nature-poet, looking below the grand and the lovely into the mystical
heart and core of sights and sounds that conceal and yet reveal their
Creator, Fashioner, and Upholder. He was the inspired interpreter of
things which ordinary men have not spiritual knowledge to
understand--which, indeed, the majority do not so much as behold dimly
until one of God's seers lifts the enshrouding veil.

Born in 1770, he died at noon on April 23, 1850. No one now living was
contemporary with his birth. Middle-aged admirers of his poems,
middle-aged controverters of his claim to pre-eminence, well remember
the shadow of death that fell across the nation's heart when they heard
the laureate had passed away. 'Surely,' writes F. W. H. Myers, 'of him,
if of anyone, we may think as a man who was so in accord with Nature, so
at one with the very soul of things, that there can be no mansion of the
universe which shall not be to him a home, no governor that will not
accept him among his servants, and satisfy him with love and peace.'
There are few events to record between his earthly birth and his birth
into the upper kingdom--or shall we say his return to that kingdom?--if
there is anything in his own suggestion that--

    'Not in entire forgetfulness,
    And not in utter nakedness,
    But trailing clouds of glory do we come
    From God who is our home.'

His was a domestic life after he left Cambridge, and had done some
Continental travel and some in Scotland. It was spent in cottage homes
with his beloved sister Dorothy, for a short while in Dorsetshire,
another short while at Alfoxden, in Somerset, and then till his marriage
at Grasmere. He was married to Mary Hutchinson at Penrith in 1802. As
his family grew he removed successively into two larger houses, and
eventually settled at Rydal Mount. Here his life was one of attention to
his small Government appointment of stamp distributor, wandering 'lonely
as a cloud,' and muttering to himself so much that the peasants deemed
him half crazy; meditating upon and composing his immortal poems; and,
after he had become famous, receiving literary guests from all the
English-speaking peoples. His biography is a biography of the mind, a
history of mental processes and tendencies, a record of the gradual
creation of his own anthology. There are innumerable lives of him, of
less or greater length, from the old one of Paxton Hood, and the most
full and capable by his own nephew, and by Professor Knight, to the
latest in the 'English Men of Letters Series.' Professor Knight, too,
has given the world excellent editions of his poems, excellent
selections therefrom, and a charming review of his connection with the
lakes. All these are accessible to ordinary readers and
hero-worshippers. It will answer my purpose best in this place to note
only his local Nature-verses. Yet I may, perhaps, remind this generation
that Wordsworth had to win his spurs--the recognition of his right to be
ranked in any degree as a poet--and still more to be considered a
teacher of his race. His earlier effusions passed through a veritable
fire of scornful criticism. 'Primroses,' 'Daffodils,' 'Pet Lambs,' 'Idle
Shepherd Boys,' 'Alice Fells' and 'Lucy Grays,' and 'Lines to a
Friend's Spade,' were altogether too trivial themes for the responsible
and serious muse, while 'Peter Bell' was a special subject of scorn.
'Poems of Sentiment' were merely 'sentimental.' The sonnets and larger
pieces, particularly 'The Excursion,' were too heavy, and too laboured
to be readable. Pantheism was charged upon him as an objectionable
creed. Time justified him largely, and Wordsworth Societies helped to do
so still further, though in some respects the slashing critics may have
had fair ground. No other poet of his calibre is so unequal in the
quality of his output. Wordsworth's poems are by no means, it cannot be
too much insisted upon, all on the same high plane of merit, and many
will never pass into the world's best thought, as nearly all Tennyson's
have, to say nothing of Shakespeare's or Milton's.

He was pre-eminently a revealer of the kingdom of Nature, as seen in the
mountains and lakes, the birds, the flowers, the peasantry of the
counties of Westmorland and Cumberland, and the over-sea portion of
Lancashire. Not only did he write an admirable guide for travellers and
tourists in these regions, but there is scarcely a section of this land
that he has not rendered classic ground by connecting with it some
incident, some allusion, some poetical idealizing. Where shall I begin?
With Windermere, of course. You remember this in the Prelude?

                    'When summer came,
  Our pastime was, on bright half-holidays,
  To sweep along the plain of Windermere
  With rival oar; and the selected bourne
  Was now an island musical with birds
  That sang and ceased not; now a sister isle
  Beneath the oak's umbrageous covert--sown
  With lilies of the valley like a field;
  And now a third small island, where survived
  In solitude the ruins of a shrine
  Once to Our Lady dedicate, and served
  Daily with chanted rites.'

Better still than this is another passage from the same poem:

  'There was a boy; ye knew him well, ye cliffs
  And islands of Winander! Many a time
  At evening, when the earliest stars began
  To move along the edges of the hills,
  Rising or setting, would he stand alone
  Beneath the trees or by the glimmering lake,
  And there with fingers interwoven, both hands
  Pressed closely palm to palm, and to his mouth
  Uplifted, he, as through an instrument,
  Blew mimic hootings to the silent owls,
  That they might answer him, and they would shout
  Across the watery vale, and shout again,
  Responsive to his call, with quivering peals,
  And long halloos and screams and echoes, long
  Redoubled, and redoubled--concourse wild
  Of jocund din; and when a lengthened pause
  Of silence came, and baffled his best skill,
  Then sometimes in that silence, while he hung
  Listening, a gentle shock of mild surprise
  Has carried far into his heart the voice
  Of mountain torrents; or the visible scene
  Would enter unawares into his mind,
  With all its solemn imagery, its rocks,
  Its woods, and that uncertain heaven, received
  Into the bosom of the steady lake.'

Perhaps it is merely from old associations--the love one had for skating
on the flooded and frozen Severn-side meadows, when in one's
'teens'--yet I confess I like even better than either of the foregoing
extracts those lines describing the scene when our poet and his
schoolmates, 'all shod with steel,' 'hissed along the polished ice in
games confederate,' over the wintry floor of Windermere Lake, lines
which lead up to

    'Ye Presences of Nature in the sky
  And on the earth. Ye visions of the hills!
  And souls of lonely places! Can I think
  A vulgar hope was yours when ye employed
  Such ministry. When ye through many a year
  Haunting me thus among my boyish sports,
  On caves and trees, upon the woods and hills,
  Impressed upon all forms the characters
  Of danger or desire; and thus did make
  The surface of the universal earth
  With triumph and delight, with hope and fear,
  Work like a sea?'

Wordsworth did not write much referring to Derwentwater. It was not size
so much as beauty that captivated his imagination. What little there is
may well be passed over for the poems connected with Ullswater--that
English Lake Lucerne--and Helvellyn. Three years after his marriage he
visited these regions in a stormy November. Of this short tour he has
left a journal, and to its credit we place several of his descriptive
verses, notably 'The Pass of Kirkstone,' omitted in some editions of his
works. Therein he tells us how the mists, though they obscured the
distant views, magnified even the smaller objects close at hand, so that
a stone wall might be taken for a monument of ancient grandeur, and the
grassy tracts in the semi-light for tarns. The rocks appeared like ruins
left by the Deluge, or to altars fit for Druid service, but never
carrying the sacred fire unless the glow-worm lit the nightly sacrifice.
On another tour it was that his sister Dorothy, always his good genius,
called his attention to the gorgeous bed of daffodils, in the woods
below Gowbarrow Park--afterwards made famous by his sonnet. 'I never saw
daffodils,' he records in his journal, 'so beautiful. They grew among
the mossy stones about them. Some rested their heads on these stones
like a pillow, the others tossed, and reeled, and danced, and seemed as
if they half laughed in the wind, they looked so gay and glancing.'
There is also in the journal a paragraph about a singular and magnified
reflection about Lyulph's Tower in this lake, though the tower itself
was hidden from him behind an eminence. It was on this second tour he
wrote, near Brothers Water, verses, somewhat too like a catalogue of
articles on view, that close with this happy lilt:

    'There's joy in the mountains,
    There's life in the fountains,
    Small clouds are sailing,
    Blue sky prevailing--
    The rain is over and gone.'

It is among these lines the fancy occurs of which the critics made such
surpassing fun--for themselves, certainly:

    'The cattle are grazing,
    Their heads never raising,
    There are forty feeding like one.'

Not a bad illustration, after all, is this of the facile descent from
the sublime into bathos. To the Ullswater period we owe, of course, 'The
Somnambulist,' a legend of Aira Force, and a sonnet to Clarkson, the
abolitionist, who lived at the foot of the lake. Helvellyn appears in
many poems. Grasmere and Rydal, as is only natural, still more often,
with their ancient mountains imparting to him 'dream and visionary
impulses,' their 'thick umbrage' of beech-trees, their fir-trees beyond
the Wishing Gate, and their 'massy ways carried across these heights by
human perseverance.' Of the River Duddon he has given us a series of
sonnets, some three dozen in number, of which we may hold 'The
Stepping-Stones' to be the best, and 'The After-Thought' the best for me
to close with, for it is representative of his subtler feelings:

  'I thought of thee, my partner and my guide[A]
  As being past away.--Vain sympathies!
  For, backward, Duddon! as I cast my eyes,
  I see what was, and is, and will abide;
  Still glides the stream, and shall for ever glide;
  The form remains, the function never dies;
  While we, the brave, the mighty, and the wise,
  We men, who in the morn of youth, defied
  The elements, must vanish;--be it so!
  Enough, if something from our hands have power
  To live, and act, and serve the future hour;
  And if, as toward the silent tomb we go,
  Through love, through hope, and faith's transcendent dower,
  We feel that we are greater than we know.'

[A] The river.



              HIS PRAYER FOR POETIC INSPIRATION


  'Celestial Spirit which erewhile didst deign
    Our elder Milton's hallowed prayer to hear,
  Do thou inspire my tributary strain,
    Breathe thou through every word that sense severe
    Of TRUTH; and if ought eloquent appear,
  Let it to everyone be manifest,
    That it flows from that empyrian clear,
  Where thou beside God's throne, a heavenly guest,
  With vision beatific evermore art blessed!'
                                CHARLES LLOYD: _Stanzas_.

[Illustration:

  _Photo by Herbert Bell, Ambleside._

                    OLD BRATHAY.
            The Home of Charles Lloyd.]



                         XI

             A FRIEND OF GREAT POETS

                  CHARLES LLOYD


  'Long, long, within my aching heart,
    The grateful sense shall cherished be;
  I'll think less meanly of myself,
    That Lloyd will sometimes think on me.'
                                CHARLES LAMB.


Many will, no doubt, ask who this man was, and where he lived? Such a
question shows small acquaintance with either the biographies or
writings of the great poets of the Lake School, or of Charles Lamb or
Thomas De Quincey. He was the personal and highly-valued friend of them
all, and his name and residence are too frequently mentioned in their
letters and publications to escape the notice of even casual readers. He
was the collaborateur of S. T. Coleridge and Charles Lamb in their first
joint volume of poems, published by Joseph Cottle, bookseller, of
Bristol, their kind patron in early days of struggle. He became a
'celebrity' of this district when he went to reside at Low Brathay, near
Ambleside, fixing his home by the rushing rivulet of the Langdales, and
beneath the lofty summit of Loughrigg, the mountain beloved of Fosters,
and Arnolds, and their compeers and neighbours. He was born in 1775 at
Birmingham, his father being a member of the Society of Friends, one of
the wealthy banking firm, and a philanthropist and man of culture. He,
the elder Lloyd, was a lover and translator of Homer and Horace, and
specially a student of Greek literature, thereby helping to disprove the
random assertion of a recent novelist that the Quakerism of the past
generation was utterly antagonistic to the culture and spirit of old
Greece.

When Charles was about of age, and had declined entering his father's
bank, that he might give himself up to poesy, Coleridge visited
Birmingham on the profitless errand of obtaining subscriptions to his
magazine. He took a great liking to the new and rising author, and
followed him to Bristol. Coleridge was very poor (Wedgewood's pension
had not yet been granted), and was very shiftless to boot. Lloyd
provided him with a free home and with access to sorely-needed books.
When Coleridge removed to Nether Stowey, on the Quantock Hills, Lloyd
went too, and again kept house. Here they were near Wordsworth, then
residing at Alfoxden. One result of this acquaintance was the marriage
of Lloyd's sister to a younger brother of the future Laureate. A
strange, unpractical company these poets and philosophers were, and
their ways were erratic. The story of their inability to put a collar on
their pony till shown by a servant-girl, is well known. The landlord of
Alfoxden refused to renew the letting of the house to Wordsworth because
of his rumoured odd manners and habits. Here, at Nether Stowey, poor
Lloyd appears first to have developed the epilepsy that, increasing in
intensity, at last ended in madness. He was, no doubt in consequence of
these fits, liable to extreme depression, and his morbidness, a source
of anxiety and irritation to his friends, may have lain at the root of a
quarrel between them, which the indispensable Cottle helped to settle,
relating to their joint authorship, to which Lloyd had contributed the
larger quantity of MSS. and the larger share of funds, if not the more
excellent material.

As a poet and novelist he is now virtually forgotten. I can find no
copies of his works in any public or subscription library in this
locality, nor is there one of them in the invaluable London Library
among all its hundreds of thousands of volumes. Yet those that exist are
worth much money. In a second-hand dealer's catalogue I see there is a
copy of the poems priced at no less than fifty shillings, at least ten
times its original price. His novels I have failed altogether to find.
'Edmund Oliver' embodies the account, transferred to a fictitious hero,
of Coleridge's disappointment in love while at Cambridge, an event which
led to his enlisting in a cavalry regiment. It tells nothing but the
truth when it humorously narrates the rough-riding experiences and the
torture of the unhorsemanlike student-soldier, and pictures the
astonishment of a cultured officer on discovering a Latin inscription on
a stable wall, and on inquiry a trooper able to converse in Greek and
ready to discuss at egregious length the most abstruse questions in
philosophy. This episode alone makes the book interesting to collectors.

But though neither 'Edmund Oliver,' a novel in two volumes; nor 'The Duc
d'Ormond,' a tragedy; nor 'Beritola,' a tale; nor even 'Desultory
Thoughts in London,' are easy to find outside the British Museum
Library, yet Lloyd clearly deserves a nearer approach to immortality
than he has attained. De Quincey writes of him in his 'Literary
Reminiscences': 'At Brathay lived Charles Lloyd. Far as he might be
below the others I have mentioned, he could not be called a common man.
Common! He was a man never to be forgotten! He was somewhat too
Rousseauish, but he had in conversation the most extraordinary powers
for analysis of a certain kind, applied to the philosophy of manners and
the most delicate nuances of social life.' He could not be a mere
hanger-on to greater men to whom several poets addressed sonnets of
affection and admiration. Charles Lamb, whose contributions to the early
joint volume were few, while he speaks of Lloyd's as over a hundred,
'though only his choice fish,' is quite enthusiastic, exclaiming:

  'Friend of my bosom, thou more than a brother,
  Why were't thou not born in my father's dwelling,
  So we might talk of the old familiar faces?'

One, and the chief, labour undertaken by Lloyd at Brathay, after his
marriage and permanent settlement there, was a voluminous translation of
Alfieri's poetical works from the Italian. It is spoken of as faithful
to the original and full of the truest poetic insight. In the judgment
of competent critics his translations were better than his own
compositions, even of those of his later years, such as his 'Nugæ
Canoræ,' published about the same time as Professor Wilson's 'Isle of
Palms,' of which, by-the-by he received a presentation copy as a token
of regard from the author, with whom he was on intimate terms. Lamb in
writing to Lloyd, gives him rather a back-handed testimonial when he
says, 'Your verses are as good and wholesome as prose,' while in another
letter he says, 'Your lines are not to be understood on one leg! They
are sinuous and to be won with wrestling.' Probably the key to this
remark is contained in Talfourd's statement that Lloyd wrote 'with a
facility fatal to excellence.' On the other hand, the spitefully
sarcastic and foolish sentences of Byron, uttered against Wordsworth and
his 'school,' inclusive of the subject of this paper, seem almost
beneath contempt:

  'Vulgar Wordsworth,' quoth he, 'the meanest object of
    the holy group,
  Whose verse of all but childish prattle void,
  Seems blessed harmony to Lambe and Lloyd.'

Lambe (whose name should have no 'e' at the end) and Lloyd, he adds in a
footnote, are 'the most ignoble followers of Southey and Co.' Fancy a
Byron sneering at Southey, Wordsworth, and Lamb! These, at least, are
equal, if not superior, to himself, even if Lloyd is confessedly beneath
him in merit. However, I can, fortunately, give my readers a specimen of
one of Lloyd's sonnets, admired and preserved by Bernard Barton. It is
addressed to God on behalf of his own father, the Birmingham
philanthropist:

  'Oh Thou who, when Thou mad'st the heart of man,
    Implanted'st there, as paramount to all,
  Immortal conscience; do Thou deign to scan
    With favouring eye these lays which would recall
  Man to his due allegiance. Nothing can
  Thrive without Thee; hence at Thy throne I fall
  And Thee implore to go forth in the van
    Of these my numbers, Lord of great and small!
  Bless Thou these lays, and, with a reverent voice,
    Next to Thyself would I my father place
  Close at Thy threshold; true to his youth's choice
    His deeds with conscience ever have kept pace;
  Great Father, bid my "earthly sire" rejoice,
    A white-robed Christian in Thy safe embrace.'

Bernard Barton calls it a 'noble sonnet.'

But the end was nearing. The fits and morbid impressions were followed
by illusory voices and cries, and at last Wilson writes his wife: 'Poor
Lloyd is in a madhouse.' He seems to have been for awhile in the
well-known 'Retreat' at York, from whence he escaped, and was ultimately
removed to an asylum in France, where, after some years, he died. In
happier days he had married a Miss Pemberton, who is said to have been
carried off by Southey on his friend's behalf. She was a capable and
appreciated housewife, but her sanity did not prevent the transmission
of her husband's disease to his son, the Rev. Owen Lloyd, a highly
respected clergyman, with his father's poetic tastes and genius, and a
close friend of 'lile' Hartley Coleridge.

Such, in brief, is the story, interesting yet melancholy, of one whose
high character and culture and rare social qualities endeared him to a
wide circle of men in the first literary ranks, and who was cordially
esteemed by another and outer circle, in which was Leigh Hunt, who
writes of him as 'a Latinist--much shaken by illness, but of an acute
mind, and metaphysical.'

[Illustration: CHARLES LLOYD AND HIS WIFE. From a rare Painting. By
permission of J. M. Dent, Esq.]



             THE COMING OF THE YACHTS TO WINDERMERE
                             REGATTA


    'Bowness Bay is the rendezvous for the Fleet. And lo! from all the
    airts, coming in the sunshine, flights of felicitous wide-winged
    creatures, whose snow-white lustre, in bright confusion hurrying to
    and fro, adorns, disturbs, and dazzles the broad blue bosom of the
    Queen of Lakes. Southwards from forest Fell-Foot beneath the Beacon
    Hill, gathering glory from the sylvan bays of green Graithwaite, and
    the templed promontory of stately Storrs, before the sea-borne wind,
    the wild swans, all, float up the watery vale of beauty and of
    peace. Out from that still haven, overshadowed by the Elm-grove,
    where the old parsonage sleeps, comes the _Emma_ murmuring from the
    water-lilies, and as her mainsail rises to salute the sunshine, in
    proud impatience lets go her anchor the fair _Gazelle_. As if to
    breathe themselves before the start, cutter and schooner in amity
    stand across the ripple, till their gaffs seem to cut the sweet
    woods of Furness Fells, and they put about, each on less than her
    own length, ere that breezeless bay may show, among the inverted
    umbrage, the drooping shadows of their canvass. Lo! Swinburne the
    Skilful sallies from his pebbly pier, in his tiny skiff that seems
    all sail; and the _Norway Nautilus_, as the wind slackens, leads the
    van of the Fairy squadron which heaven might now cover with one of
    her small clouds, did she choose to drop it from the sky.'--JOHN
    WILSON: _Christopher at the Lakes_.


[Illustration:
  _Photo by Herbert Bell, Ambleside_

               ELLERAY, WINDERMERE.

  The Home of Professor John Wilson, as it then was.]



                          XII

                 'CHRISTOPHER NORTH'

                     JOHN WILSON


      'Tories! Yes! we are Tories. Our faith is in the Divine right of
    kings. But easy, my boys, easy; all free men are kings, and they
    hold their empire from heaven. That is our political, philosophical,
    moral, religious creed. In its spirit we have lived, and in its
    spirit we hope to die.'--_Recreations of Christopher North._


In the days of my youth--say half a century ago--with extraordinary
avidity my reading contemporaries devoured the 'Noctes Ambrosianæ' of
'Christopher North,' mastering the barbaric Scotch dialect of Galloway,
in which the Ettrick Shepherd is made to speak, for the delightsomeness
of his imagination and his quaintly-expressed notions about men and
matters. Nowadays, if I mention the books to any young fellow of
twenty-five to thirty-five, I am stared at as blankly as if I had asked
was he intimately acquainted with the man in the moon! In Alfred Miles's
fine volumes, 'The Poets of the Century,' his poems are not even quoted,
and his very name is merely lumped in with a number of the smaller fry
of North Britain; while Mr. Stedman, in 'Victorian Poets,' will have it
that his verses had become 'antiquated' even before their author's
death. Wilson has been overshadowed by our Southeys, Coleridges,
Wordsworths, and Ruskins, though he was greater, more interesting, more
lovable as a mere human being than any of them, and deserves to be as
long remembered for his books. A generation that calls Kipling a poet,
and makes an Alfred Austin its Laureate, may indeed be expected to
forget many of the men of true genius honoured by their fathers.

Wilson came into the Lake Country in 1807 from Paisley, where he was
born twenty-two years previously. He had recently buried his father,
from whom he had inherited some £40,000. The property he purchased, and
retained in his possession till his decease in 1854, was a small
farmhouse and its lands, known as Elleray. It is situated on the slopes
of Orrest Head, so well beloved of Windermere residents, and so
frequented by tourists on account of the magnificent prospect it
commands. He added to the house, and converted it into a charming home
for a wife and growing family, and a haven of rest for himself in his
frequent retirements from his future busy professional life in
Edinburgh. It was pulled down about forty years ago, when the estate
changed hands. From either of the lofty ranges enclosing the romantic
Troutbeck Valley there is one of the most magnificent mountain views in
all England. The tumbled masses, immortal weather-beaten
monarchs--Wansfell, Loughrigg, and their compeers and allies, and,
farther off, the Langdale Pikes (twin cloud-piercing giants), and
Cringle Crags, and 'The Old Man' of Coniston, and, on a clearer day than
usual, the dominating summit of distant Scafell--these, their sunshine
and shadows, their waving woodlands, their stretches of purple heather
and vast brown beds of bracken, their foaming cascades and garrulous
streams, and the blue inland sea at their feet dotted with verdant
islands and white-sailed yachts, and traversed by elegant steam
gondolas thronged with happy 'trippers,' are all visible in one
never-to-be-forgotten picture arranged in the wisdom of the Almighty for
the pleasure of His people. Such an outlook, but from a lower altitude,
delighted daily the eyes of Nature-loving Wilson, whose very prose was
poetry, of a calibre not less than Kingsley's in his celebrated
'Devonshire Idylls,' or than Ruskin's rhapsodies on Switzerland. His
ardent temperament and unusual virility compelled him to throw himself
heartily into almost every possible form of physical and intellectual
enjoyment. There never was such a man as he for undertaking everything
and anything, and for doing nothing badly, including the art of
'loafing,' when he was in the cue for it. Nearly six feet high,
broad-shouldered--'lish,' as they say here (meaning 'lissom,' as
Southerners say, or 'lithe,' as the dictionaries have it)--blue-eyed,
loosely arrayed, and collarless, he strode along the vales or over the
fells, doing his thirty and forty miles at a stretch, or rode his famous
pony Colonsay in a still-remembered trotting-match, or, with a couple of
like-minded friends he chased a bull by moonlight across the uplands,
each of the huntsmen being armed with a long spear. He was a mighty
fisherman, storing numberless rods and artificial flies among the books
of his library, and even whiling away the tedium of his last illness by
arranging and rearranging the latter, and recalling as he did so the
exploits of former days accomplished with the aid of this one or that,
for sometimes his catches had amounted to as many as eighteen and
twenty dozen of trouts in a day. He was an adept at wrestling and at
boxing, throwing or being thrown with keen enjoyment of the tussle, and
attacking and punishing professional pugilists or bullies of the fair,
if in his opinion oppression or unfair play were evidenced. He kept a
fleet of sailing-boats on the lake, and was dubbed 'Lord High Admiral of
Windermere,' and he was as expert a swimmer as he was a sailor,
delighting in occasionally frightening his shipmates by feigned
accidents, and then having a boisterous laugh at their fears for him.
Cock-fighting was at that time a 'gentlemanly' sport, and his breed of
game-cocks was celebrated far and near. He seems never to have kept
fewer than fifty at once. As great a conversationist and humorous and
jovial companion as he was an athlete, he was much sought after for
dinner and supper parties, while at balls he was accounted the best of
dancers. So universal a genius in all manly outdoor pastimes, and so
genial a friend within doors, was liable to many temptations in that
sadly too 'drinking' age, and as a young man he certainly was often the
worse for liquor, as his own letters help to prove. Yet was he never
quarrelsome, never did he put forth his strength and skill for any low
or mean purpose, never but in play or in defence of the ill-used.
'Everybody loved him,' records his daughter, rich and poor, and the dumb
animals also. Many stories are told of his chivalrous and gallant
conduct, especially towards womanhood, and of the wonderful combination
in his character of almost feminine tenderness and sympathy with the
roistering vigour of an ancient Viking. He would keep patient watch at
night by a sick servant's bed, tend with his own hands some wounded dog;
and there is on record the fact of a fledgling sparrow taking refuge in
his study, and being fed and cared for and so tamed that it stayed as a
denizen of the same room for at least eleven years.

The delightful time at Elleray was crowned with a still higher happiness
when he married a beautiful and engaging lady, every way his peer in
bodily graces and in mind, whom he loved passionately, and for whose
death in middle life he grieved so deeply that he never fully recovered
the blow, though so exceptionally blessed with affectionate and able
children and eminent sons-in-law. His married days at Elleray were by no
means all spent in mere physical enjoyments and recreation. They were
full of literary and social occupations. All his great contemporaries
and neighbours were frequent guests. At their reunions there was
first-rate talk, and often competitions in versifying some given theme,
or some other proof was forthcoming that the circle was one of learning
and talent. De Quincey was, though insignificant in stature, and obliged
to trot by the side of the stalwart Wilson, one of his most valued
touring companions. Hartley Coleridge was always welcomed, and on one
occasion he was detained a prisoner in his own interest for a fortnight,
in order to prevent an outbreak of intoxication, and to secure some
promised contribution for an editor who was to pay him cash for his
needs. Here, too, came other well-known litterateurs to see and converse
with the rising poet and journalist, and perchance to go a-fishing with
him in the becks and tarns of the neighbourhood. It was at this period
that his greatest poems were written, and some published--for instance,
'The Isle of Palms,' and 'The City of the Plague,' the former a story of
shipwrecked lovers, and the latter one of London during the Great
Plague, introducing a wandering Magdalene from Grasmere whose memory
goes back, in the hour of trouble, to her 'beautiful land of mountains,
lakes, and woods,' to the 'green and primrose banks of her own Rydal
Lake,' and the 'deep hush of Grasmere Vale,' and the waters 'reflecting
all the heavens.' His society and surroundings, as well as his
instincts, encouraged the poetic vein, already evinced by his having won
the Oxford Newdigate Prize during his University days.

Alas, these halcyon hours were over all too soon for the
hitherto-fortunate couple! The wife's dower was a handsome one, but the
far larger property of the husband was swept away by the fraudulence of
a relative who was his trustee. The family had to leave Elleray for the
home of Mrs. Wilson, senior, in Edinburgh, though the Windermere house
was retained, and frequently returned to after the early stress of
changed circumstances was over. Cruel as was the wrench, it brought out
the better side of Wilson's disposition. He murmured not, bowing before
the trial with real Christian resignation, and at the same moment
bracing himself to the task of earning a subsistence with truly noble
fortitude. In the Scotch metropolis he soon became connected with the
newly-started _Blackwood's Magazine_, and was, with Lockhart, one of the
ruling spirits of that famous periodical. For long years his wit, his
rhetoric, his trenchant and slashing criticisms, his keen insight into
literary merit, his almost incredible fertility of subject-matter (he
sometimes, under pressure, wrote the whole of the articles for a
particular number), speedily lifted it to the foremost place among
similar journals, and made it the fiercest organ of the most rampant
intellectual Toryism that Britain has ever known, bitterly hated, sorely
dreaded, yet bought by friend and foe alike, and read wherever our
language was understood. It is worth any reader's while to buy at some
second-hand bookseller's 'The Recreations of Christopher North' and the
'Noctes,' both reprints from 'Old Ebony.'

Suddenly there occurred a vacancy in the University Professorship of
Moral Philosophy. Wilson tried for the post against Sir William
Hamilton. All the influence of a grateful and unscrupulous Tory
administration (that of Lord Liverpool, George IV.'s first Premier) was
exerted on his behalf, and they handled the unreformed City Corporation,
in whose appointment the Professorship lay, as voters in rotten boroughs
were then handled. John Wilson secured the chair, to the great scandal
of the other side, who truly pointed out that he had had no
philosophical training nor known bias to ethical studies, while his
previous life had given no evidence of his fitness to teach morals to
young men. As a matter of fact, however, this was a turning-point in his
own spiritual career. He took the advice of Sir Walter Scott to
'forswear sack, purge, and live cleanly like a gentleman.' He set
himself diligently to the study of his new subject, and mastered it. He
never published any system of Moral Philosophy. He has made no such mark
in the history of philosophy as did his great competitor. Yet, far
beyond almost any teacher of modern times, he achieved the highest of
all distinctions--that of being beloved, reverenced, almost idolized,
by generations of students during a term of thirty years, moulding and
shaping the lives of multitudes of public men and of those who create
the national welfare in schools and colleges, and filling them with
noble aspirations and ideals. His was a 'muscular Christianity,' taught
and practised long ere the term was invented and popularized.

His strenuous life was now, at the end of the thirty years of occupancy
of the chair, drawing to its close. A paralytic stroke obliged him to
resign. After a lingering time of gradual decay the fine spirit--erring,
repentant, forgiven, witnessing mightily for the higher and better side
of human nature--passed into a world of kindred souls, as he wished it
might, ''mid the blest stillness of a Sabbath day.'



                    THE PROFESSIONAL CRITIC


    'Of all creatures that feed upon the earth, the professional critic
    is the one whose judgment I least value for any purpose except
    advertisement. But of all writers, the one whom he sits in judgment
    on is also the one whom he is least qualified to assume a
    superiority over. For is it likely that a man, who has written a
    serious book about anything in the world, should not know more about
    that thing than one who merely reads his book for the purpose of
    reviewing it. But so it must be, and a discreet man must just let it
    be. What I want to know is whether men and women and children who
    care nothing about me, but take an intelligent interest in the
    subject, find the book readable. What its other merits are nobody
    knows so well as I.'--_A letter to Lord Tennyson by James Spedding._



                             XIII

                THE CHAMPION OF LORD BACON

                      JAMES SPEDDING

    'Bacon, like Moses, led us forth at last;
    The barren wilderness he pass'd,
    Did on the very border stand
    Of the blest promised land,
    And from the mountain top of his exalted wit,
    Saw it himself, and show'd us it.'
                                     ABRAHAM COWLEY.


He was a 'Baconian specialist.' Specialists are seldom known to the
public, and seldom read, even when known by name, except by the chosen
few they write for. His life of the great philosopher and
essayist--Francis Bacon, Viscount St. Albans, and Baron Verulam,
etc.--in seven volumes, is the standard biography. The fourteen
additional volumes of Bacon's works, edited by Spedding and two
coadjutors, is the standard edition of these. There is a smaller form of
the 'Life and Letters' in a couple of volumes--a condensation of the
completer edition--and also done by Spedding. He spent thirty years in
gathering materials, and putting them in order. 'Minute, accurate, and
dry,' his _magnum opus_ can never become popular; but it is exhaustive,
leaving nothing more to be said on the subject. It will be seen at once
what infinite pains he must have taken to perfect his self-imposed
task--how he must have searched, and searched again, in all available
libraries and depositories of old MSS., old letters, old records of
State and documents in private hands--how he must have written and
rewritten, added, struck out, and revised over and over during that long
period, as new facts cropped up or new views occurred to his mind. Says
Mrs. Lynn Linton of him: 'He was one who touched the crown of the ideal
student, whose justice of judgment was on a par with his sweetness of
nature, whose intellectual force was matched by his serenity, his
patience, his self-mastery, his purity.' There is another book of
his--'Evenings with a Reviewer'--written to defend Bacon from unfounded
aspersions on his character made by Macaulay, and by Pope at an earlier
period. This was originally printed for private circulation among a few
friends, and was not given to the world till after the decease of our
author. It is cast in the conversational form affected by Vaughan in his
'Hours with the Mystics,' by Smith, of Keswick, in 'Thorndale' and
'Gravenhurst,' and in similar works where it is desired that all sides
shall be fairly presented, and the whole of the issues involved
thoroughly thrashed out and carefully summed up.

It is confirming to those of us who remain sceptics in relation to the
Shakespeare-Bacon theory, and who believe 'The Great Cryptogram' to
exist only in some kink of the brain of its first exponent, and not in
any of Shakespeare's plays or poems, that so painstaking and minute an
investigator--one so utterly conversant with all that Bacon ever did or
wrote, one so familiar with his contemporaries and his age, even to the
analysis of the respective shares of Shakespeare and Fletcher in the
composition of 'Henry VIII.'--never seems to have for a moment suspected
any sort of literary co-partnership between the philosopher and the
actor.

Apart, however, from any questions of literature, and his high place
among its leading lights, James Spedding's personal character and his
association on terms of equality with the most eminent men of his day,
and the regard in which he was held by them, makes him an interesting
and important man of mark in the district--one whose memory should not
be allowed to die.

He was the son of a Cumberland squire living at Mirehouse, on
Bassenthwaite Water. The estate, lying on the eastern shore, is a little
north of where the River Derwent discharges itself into the lake, and at
the foot of mighty Skiddaw. Mirehouse Woods clothe the slopes of Skiddaw
Dodd. He was born in 1808, sent to school at Bury St. Edmunds, and
afterwards went to Cambridge University. At college he took no high
degree. He was, nevertheless, an eminent 'Apostle'--eloquent in debate,
though calm and unimpassioned. Does anyone ask who and what Cambridge
'Apostles' were? They were a band of ardent spirits among the
undergraduates, holding regular meetings, and often foregathering in
each others' rooms to discuss tobacco and coffee, and where, says
Carlyle in his 'Life of Sterling' (who was a member), 'was much logic
and other spiritual fencing, and ingenuous collision, probably of a
really superior quality in that kind, for not a few of the then
disputants have since proved themselves men of parts, and attained
distinction in the intellectual walks of life.' Besides Spedding and
Sterling, this genial circle of comrades included the Tennysons, Trench
(afterwards Archbishop), Arthur Hallam, Frederick Denison Maurice (the
founder of the club, and toasted as such at one of its annual dinners),
and many another of equal or little less fame--a band of youthful
friends who, as the future Laureate wrote, held debate

                      'On mind and art,
    And labour and the changing mart,
    And all the framework of the land.'

Of Spedding himself Lord Tennyson wrote in later days: 'He was the Pope
among us young men--the wisest man I ever knew.' With this opinion
agrees the report of Caroline Fox as to a remark of Samuel Laurence, the
portrait painter: 'Spedding has the most beautiful combination of noble
qualities I ever met with.'

Leaving the University, James Spedding went, in 1835, into the Colonial
Office, under Sir Henry Taylor, author of 'Philip van Artevelde,' a
chief with tastes wholly congenial to those of his youthful subordinate.
During the time he remained in the Civil Service he went with Lord
Ashburton as travelling secretary to the Commission appointed to settle
the United States dispute with this nation as to the proper line of
their North-West boundary. He acquitted himself so ably in his
Government work that he was offered the post of an Under-Secretary of
State at a salary of £2,000 a year. This he refused in order to give
himself entirely to literature. Mr. Gladstone entertained the highest
opinion of his abilities and integrity, and greatly lamented his
decision not to serve his country in the post for which he was so
obviously fitted. Still later in life Mr. Gladstone tried to persuade
him to take the Professorship of History at Cambridge--a prospect which
had no more attractions for Spedding than Government officialism.

Spedding never married. He was wedded to his self-chosen life-work of
building up the standard biography of Bacon. He was, however, by no
means a man of one idea. He was an ardent Liberal in politics, and
during the awful upheaval of the European nations, about the middle of
last century, he became even a vehement partisan of the Hungarian
Revolution, and of Louis Kossuth and its other leaders. He was a votary
of Keats, and of Tennyson, the latter staying with him twice at
Mirehouse. He was an ardent admirer of the celebrated Jenny Lind, the
'Swedish Nightingale.' He was also an advocate of phonetic 'reform,' as
it was called, not merely, it is to be feared, for the sake of promoting
the study and commercial use of shorthand reporting, but with the view
of actually changing the orthography of our ancient language. With all
its difficulties and peculiarities, one would have felt lasting regret
had he and his coadjutors succeeded in their raid on our historical and
ethnological inheritance in the English spelling-book. He was,
furthermore, a careful student of handwriting. The last-named study was
necessitated by his continuous poring over the MSS. relating to his
sixteenth- and seventeenth-century investigations.

Some people who had observed Spedding's patient and leisurely methods of
study, and his calmness and deliberation of thought and verbal
expression, considered him of a lazy disposition, and as strangely
lacking in energy. This was an erroneous judgment. He was certainly
cautious, because acute in noticing details, and refused to commit
himself without due, and perhaps sometimes undue, premeditation, but he
frequently assumed purposely an air of ignorance when he was merely
endeavouring to draw others out, and he was fond of adopting the
Socratic method with those whom he conversed, in order to get at the
bottom of them, or of the subject under discussion. His memory was an
exceedingly retentive one. To a friend he writes: 'I have no copy of
"The Palace of Art," but when you come I shall be happy to repeat it to
you.' Readers of Tennyson know that this poem contains seventy-four
stanzas, besides the prelude to it. He was, like so many others in this
series, a contributor to _Blackwood_, and to the _Edinburgh_ and the
_Gentleman's Magazine_ as well. In the _Edinburgh_ he reviewed
Tennyson's first book with discrimination and with appreciation.

The chief fascination about Spedding, I say again, was undoubtedly his
commanding personality and his abiding comradeship with the greatest men
of genius among his contemporaries. Such diverse characters as James
Anthony Froude and Edward Fitzgerald were among his intimates. He was
with Froude on that historian's first visit to Thomas Carlyle, and
Fitzgerald called to see him in the hospital where he died. It was in
1881 that he was knocked down by a cab in London, and carried to St.
George's. On his death-bed, says Fitzgerald, he was 'all patience,'
refusing to hear the cabman blamed, and, indeed, fully exonerating him.

When Spedding's brother died, the friend of them both, Alfred Tennyson,
wrote to James in touching sympathy with his loss, a noble poem which,
in the volume, is inscribed simply 'To J. S.' The last two verses may
fitly conclude this sketch, for they apply as much to one brother as to
the other:

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

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



                 THE BLESSING OF A FULL LIFE


    'Deep streams run still, and why? Not because there are no
    obstructions, but because they altogether overflow those stones or
    rocks round which the shallow stream has to make its noisy way. 'Tis
    the full life that saves us from the little noisy troubles of
    life.'--WILLIAM SMITH.

         *       *       *       *       *


          'So when our complaining
            Tells of constant strife
          With some moveless hindrance
            In our path of life,

          'What we need is only
            Fulness of our own.
          If the current deepen,
            Never mind the stone!

          'Let the fuller nature
            Flow its mass above;
          Cover it with pity,
            Cover it with love.'
                         LUCY SMITH.



                            XIV

                    TWO BEAUTIFUL LIVES

                  WILLIAM AND LUCY SMITH


    'As unto the bow the cord is,
    So unto the man is woman,
    Though she bends him, she obeys him,
    Though she draws him, yet she follows.
    Useless each without the other.'
                       LONGFELLOW'S _Hiawatha_.

Two rarely beautiful lives were theirs--close-welded, and thereby each
sharing and each doubling the beauty of the other. Their beauty was
spiritual, intellectual, influential.

William sprang from the mercantile classes of the Metropolis--from a
race of evangelical Free Churchmen of such liberal leanings as to throw
no obstacle in his way of becoming a theological and metaphysical
thinker of a decidedly 'advanced' type; while an elder brother became an
eloquent Episcopalian preacher at the celebrated Temple Church.

Lucy, whose maiden name was Cummings, was the daughter of a medical man
who had married a lady socially superior to himself, and was brought up
by her parents in an atmosphere of 'Welsh Calvinism.'

William was a shy, sensitive boy and lad, learning quickly, given to
introspection, and taking a high place in his schools. His university
life was spent at Glasgow--Oxford and Cambridge being at that time (the
late forties of last century) closed against all except Anglicans--and
there his mental bias towards philosophy was strengthened and developed,
especially by the teaching of Dr. Chalmers. From college he was sent to
study law under the well-known author, Sharon Turner. This study he
cordially detested, yet in after-years he confessed that compulsory
training for the Bar had invigorated and disciplined his reasoning
powers to a degree he learned to be grateful for. Some travels abroad,
too, though at a later period--notably to Italy--matured his character
and widened his outlook. His first literary efforts were articles which
were accepted by the _Athenæum_, then just started. In that paper, and
in _Blackwood_ (is it not singular that most of our Lake celebrities
were contributors to 'Old Ebony'?) he had frequent enough insertions to
earn thereby a modest income--small, but sure, and sufficient for the
limited needs of a quiet-living single man. For years he followed the
career of an essayist and reviewer, pondering deeply meanwhile problems
that seem to admit of no definite solution during the present
limitations of human knowledge--problems which have bewildered
Christians and non-Christians alike for centuries past, and, if Milton's
authority may be relied upon, even the fallen principalities and powers
in Hades--'Fixed Fate, Freewill, Foreknowledge Absolute'--the origin of
evil, the eternal duration of sin's consequences, the nature of sin
itself, the possibility of finding and knowing God, the attainment of
final certitude on any question other than mathematical, the relation of
revealed or natural religion to science, the unalterable reign of law in
mental and moral as well as in physical regions--these, and many similar
enigmas, whirled perpetually through his brain, and would not rest till
at least an honest attempt had been made to solve them. The necessity
that appeared to be laid on him to discover answers to the practically
unanswerable induced a habit of seclusion and a shrinking from any
society that might interrupt the flow of speculative thought. He would
pass people in the streets and the country roads absolutely without
seeing them; and though cheerful and apt in conversation when obliged to
meet his fellows, he invariably preferred to be alone on long mountain
walks that he might think his own thoughts, and by meditation work out
his difficulties, and record in his MSS. for future publication the
conclusions he had arrived at, even though those conclusions amounted to
no more than that none could be attained to! It was while residing in
solitary seclusion, first at sunny Bowness upon Windermere Lake and then
across the watershed at Keswick, on the rainier side of the mountains,
that his great books 'Thorndale' and 'Gravenhurst' were wrought in the
secret recesses of his soul. The first, the sub-title of which is 'The
Conflict of Opinion,' is constructed on the conversational model, as,
indeed, is the second also. Materialist, Roman Catholic, Theist, or
Unitarian, and Scientific Evolutionist, all are heard with fairness and
courtesy, and the discussions are intensely interesting to readers with
thoughtful minds. But there is, after all has been said that can be
said, nothing more than an open verdict returned on the highest themes
that can occupy human attention. There is no more settlement of any of
the vast questions debated for the inquirer who has discarded Divine
revelation than for him who accepts it in whole or in part.
'Gravenhurst' has for a secondary title 'Knowing and Feeling: a
Contribution to Psychology.' So far as it leads us to an end that end
seems hardly distinguishable from the Eastern 'Necessitarianism,' or
'Fatalism,' in which all metaphysicians sooner or later engulf us who
get rid of human responsibility for sin and its consequences by making
the Creator the author of both moral and material evil. Yet the
conclusions are logical if only certain premises are granted. Both books
are crowded with sweet and helpful thoughts--wayside flowers of
brilliancy and fragrancy, the gathering of which may easily lure the
reader from the watchfulness needed in travelling along these winding
roads, so destitute of authoritative sign-posts; the sign-posts erected
by previous explorers having been cut down by more modern pedestrians,
because, forsooth! the painted directions were faded, and they had no
brush wherewith to freshen them!

While William was thus developing his life-work and weaving his
intellectual robes, Lucy was growing into her charming womanhood amid
the happy surroundings of her home in North Wales, and evolving the
noblest of characters through self-denial and loving devotion to others.
As a girl she was highly educated. When past her girlhood she proved a
handsome and cultured lady, sought in marriage by at least two men, both
of whose offers she refused, but neither of whom espoused any other. She
remained single that she might help retrieve the fortunes of her
parents, which had become so reduced that the house endeared to them by
long residence had to be sold, and her own little patrimony given up to
the clearance of debt. The broken father and mother were thenceforth
tended, and, indeed, partly supported, by Lucy, who earned something by
making translations from German, and in similar ways, till she lost them
both in one sad week.

It was by an apparent chance, though by a very real providence of God,
that these two met, William Smith and Lucy Cummings, while mother and
daughter were in one set of apartments of a Keswick lodging-house, and
'Thorndale Smith,' as he came to be called, in an upper. A pleasant
comradeship began on purely literary matters, and ripened into warm
friendship, and frequent correspondence after parting for the season,
till they met again some time afterwards at Patterdale. Then it was that
friendship suddenly sprang upwards into the unique form of love most
exquisitely portrayed in the ideal biography written of her husband by
Lucy, after his premature decease. This biography was written originally
for private circulation among her friends, and was afterwards attached,
as a preface, to a new edition of 'Gravenhurst.' It is one of the most
lovely stories of wedded life in our English tongue. All that poets have
imagined of 'The Angel of the House,' of love's wealth, of love's
visions, of 'Love's Young Dream,' seem to have been realized in the
experiences of these kindred souls, brought together at a later period
in life than most people enter on the married state. After a period of
unalloyed happiness William's health began to fail, and a long time of
anxious watching fell to Lucy Smith. Still was their talk ever of higher
things and of the deeper problems of life and humanity. Despite his
assumed negative position with regard to much that Christians hold to be
essential truth, there was an undercurrent of devout belief in God left
in William's heart, as is evidenced by lines in his verses, as for
example:

                'Earth can be earth, yet rise
  Into the region of God's dwelling-place
  If Light and Love are what we call His skies.'

In his 'Athelwood,' too--a tragedy, set on the stage and played by
Macready and Helen Faucit--there are passages, notably those put into
the mouth of Dunston, which show the same thing:

                'God, where art Thou?
  I call for Thee, they give me but a world,
  Thy mechanism; I call aloud for Thee,
  My Father, Friend, Sustainer, Teacher, Judge.'

Still more remarkable was his impromptu acknowledgment when he lay
dying, and his wife, referring to some of his published views, said:
'William, such love as mine for you cannot be the result of mere
mechanism or vital forces, can it?' 'Oh, no,' he responded; 'it has a
far higher source.' 'Once,' adds his wife, 'I saw the hands clasped as
in a speechless communion with the Unseen, and twice I caught the solemn
word "God" uttered, not in a tone of appeal or entreaty, but as if the
supreme contemplation which had been his very life meant more, revealed
more, than ever!' In a former article I pointed out how seldom
professed, and even perfectly sincere, doubters ever entirely shake off
the impressions of Divine reality and the Divine Presence. My own
conviction is that the God whom they seek (I am not thinking of the
unbelief that springs from moral unfaithfulness or obliquity) does,
after all, touch their hands in the darkness, and the Christ whom they
fail to understand has included them in His great and universal
atonement. It may be that the Holy Spirit, who shows the things of
Christ to men, gives them a saving view of Calvary as they pass through
the Valley of the Shadow. I cannot believe that any _bonâ fide_ seeker
after God ever became a 'lost soul' in any sense of those awful words,
even though his seeking endured for a lifetime without conscious
finding.

Lucy Smith survived her husband's death at Brighton several years, often
making her way back to their beloved Borrowdale, where some of their
intensest happiness had been experienced, and to Patterdale, where their
first love was awakened. In the latter place there are 'exquisite shade
of birch-trees on high ground' where she and her lover read together and
recited poetry--his or hers or another's; peeps of Ullswater through the
woods; mossy knolls and sequestered grassy walks; and all had
memory-voices for her in the midst of their outward quietude. She had,
as might have been foretold, imbibed much of her husband's philosophy,
and in some directions her cherished 'orthodoxy' of opinion had reached
its vanishing point, but her orthodoxy of heart was not touched
adversely. It actually grew as life passed onward, and her sunset-lights
glowed with the radiancy of heaven. William's real creed, 'God,
Immortality, Progress'--a noble residuum, after all--was hers with great
assurance, and she writes that she shared 'his craving for fellowship in
Christ's deep love, and for a willing acceptance of His sufferings.'
They both looked to being united--to quote her own words from her
verses--'In, life more high in seeing, serving God, in nearer, nobler
ways.' She ripened in character, in lovable ways, in self-forgetting
devotion to her friends, till her poet-heart ceased to beat, and her
yearnings after a fuller and more perfect soul-life were at length
realized through the mercies and merits of the One she knew but in part,
though He knew her, and her aspirations and difficulties, through and
through.



                    THE BIBLE AND ITS REVELATIONS


      Wherever its Revelations of the essentials of Deity and Humanity
    occur they may and must be considered as the most solemn and
    precious of all the contents of the Bible. But even of these it
    should be specially noted that they are for the most part
    progressive. The Bible contains, in fact, a series as well as a
    collection of Revelations--a series, of which the earliest terms are
    the least, and which very gradually, and not quite uniformly, rises
    to its height, and only after long centuries reaches its final terms
    in Him who was Himself the highest Revelation which man can be
    conceived capable of receiving in the flesh. That there is such a
    progression in the Revelation of truth and duty in the Bible must be
    obvious at once to anyone who considers the gradual manner in which
    those two greatest of all ideas--God and Immortality--are disclosed
    in it, and how the great duty of loving all men as ourselves, and
    considering every man as our brother, was never at all insisted on
    under the older dispensations.--REV. FREDERIC MYERS: _Catholic
    Thoughts on the Bible and Theology_.



                                 XV

                         TWO BROAD THINKERS

                    FREDERIC AND F. W. H. MYERS

                          (FATHER AND SON)


  'Must then all quests be nought, all voyage vain,
  All hopes the illusion of the whirling brain?
  Or are there eyes beyond earth's veil that see,
  Dreamers made strong to dream what is to be?'
                    F. W. H. MYERS: _The Renewal of Youth_.


Frederic Myers, of Keswick, is still known by his once-celebrated
'Lectures on Great Men,' and by his two volumes of 'Catholic Thoughts'
on the Church and on the Bible and theology. The lectures were delivered
to his parishioners. The series commenced about 1840, in accordance with
his strong conviction that a clergyman should be the educator as well as
the spiritual guide of his flock, and as a consequence of his horror at
the 'dreadful separation and want of sympathy of the various orders and
classes of modern society.' Remember the period to which these words
were applied. It was several years after this that Maurice, Kingsley,
Ludlow, and their friends commenced their remarkable movement for
bringing the influence, learning, and wealth of the better social strata
to the aid of the poorer. Since those early days of awakening to the
claims of human brotherhood many things have happened to draw 'the
various classes and orders of men' nearer together. Cruel taxes upon the
food of the masses, for the further enrichment of the rich, have been
swept away. The awakening of the democracy has brought it political
power, and with this power the felt necessity for national education.
The abolition of child-labour, the regulation and inspection of
factories, mines, and workshops, the removal of many sectarian
restrictions upon religious equality, an interest in sanitation and the
preservation of public health, and many other such things for which the
great 'middle classes' have steadfastly laboured side by side with the
wage-earners, are results of the transfer of power from the few to the
many. Such matters as these, now looked upon as among the common-places
of civic life, were then hardly deemed by their most sanguine advocates
as within the reach of 'practical politics.' Kindly-hearted Christian
pastors, of the type of Frederic Myers, were few and far between, though
wherever they existed they provoked among the people that element of
'Divine discontent' which found many voices ere it was appeased, from
the decent respectability of Christian Socialism to the plebeian, and
often extravagant, cries of Chartism.

Myers, and such as he, fitly began the movement, though scarcely
consciously, by seeking 'to call forth the powers within man, by the
culture of his whole nature; energy of all kinds--with the simultaneous
cultivation of his sympathies, the nurture of truthfulness, justice,
love, and faith.' He strove to awaken a spiritual ambition among his
hearers by setting before their mental vision the struggles and the
conquests of men who had resolved to achieve something worth the
winning, and who had in their day become epoch-makers--who had possessed
in eminent degree the qualities we all ought ever to cherish, according
to our capacities, and our opportunities for self-development. His dozen
specimen characters are well chosen from the regions of religion,
adventure, and statesmanship. His two other books are devoted to the
solution of questions then being much debated after the commencement of
the Romeward Oxford movement known as 'Tractarianism.' The earlier
one--that on the Church--was originally printed for private circulation.
It is well for us that it was fully published at a later date, for
though that era was prophetic of the coming of political advancement, it
also set in motion a retrograde religious stream of thought and practice
which is still flowing through the Anglican Church, and affecting the
spiritual well-being of the nation. The principles enunciated in this
masterly reply to Newman's doctrine of the Church, and his thorough
examination of the sacerdotal claims of the Puseyite Oxonians can never
become antiquated. With him the primary idea of the Christian Church is
of a brotherhood of 'men worshipping Christ as the revelation of the
Highest.' Equality of Christian privilege is, in his view, so
characteristic of its constitution that the existence of a priestly
caste within its borders is destructive of it. Christian faith is in
Christ Himself, and not in doctrines or formulas of even the holiest and
wisest men. In the true and universal--_i.e._, the Catholic--Church
there can be no majestry, only a ministry. It is a Spiritual Republic in
which no worldly distinctions can be recognised. 'Apostolic Sucsession,'
in the High Anglican and Romish sense of the phrase, has no place
therein, and no room exists for any human assumption over the minds and
souls of believers in Christ within the purely spiritual Church, which
is His body. Many readers will naturally see some lack of logical
sequence in the argument which follows as to the relation of the
Established Anglican Church to this Catholic and Spiritual one. That the
conclusions reached on this point do not seem necessarily to flow from
the premises must surely be conceded by all. Either legitimate
conclusions must be drawn from the assumed fundamental position, or
fresh premises must be granted. Nevertheless, as the Scriptural ground
of his position was generally accepted, his timely work certainly helped
to save the Church of England from the medievalist enemies within its
own borders. Instead of their carrying the Establishment over to Rome,
several of the ablest leaders of the new ritualistic movement severed
themselves from its communion, and, as is well known, entered the Papal
fold, some rising to great honour and dignity within it.

The 'Thoughts on the Bible and Theology' involve the theory that sacred
literature 'contains, rather than consists of, special revelations.' In
it, though not wholly Divine, 'the Divine Spirit may mingle with the
human, and mingling, overmaster it.' It has infirmities and
imperfections, but, he hastens to add, 'less in proportion to its holy
truths than the chaff is to the wheat in any harvest--yea, is even only
as the small dust of the balance compared with the greatest weight that
the balance will weigh.' His theological teaching cannot be presented
satisfactorily in a few lines, and it must be, therefore, dismissed with
the sole remark that, though far from being rationalistic, it appears
highly rational, as it is based on the written words of God, and is not
derived from the dogmas and traditions of Churchmen.

Frederic Myers was born in London in 1811, educated at home and at
Cambridge, and became perpetual curate of St. John's, Keswick, in 1839,
holding that living till his death in 1851, thus giving twelve years of
his prime to the thoughtful activities of his ministry, and to the
liberalizing of the Church of England.

Frederic William Henry Myers was the son of Frederic by his second wife.
He was born at Keswick, and this town was, of course, the headquarters
of his boyhood and youth. Therefore we claim him for the Lake District,
though the necessities of his official life made it expedient to reside
afterwards in the Metropolis. The year of his birth was 1843, Blackheath
and Cheltenham were the places of his school education, and Cambridge
was his Alma Mater. His classical knowledge and his memory were
especially good. He could recite the whole of 'Virgil,' and had a love,
spoken of as 'enthusiastic,' for Pindar, Æschylus, and Homer. His
culture was widened by a trip to the East, and another to America.
Somewhat of an athlete and a good swimmer, he once swam across the
Niagara River below the Falls. Returning to England, he became one of
her late Majesty's School Inspectors. He died in 1901. This brief
summary of his life must suffice.

His literary output is of more value to us than are the details of his
personal career. This output all thinking men will be grateful for,
whatever their opinions about his teaching on telepathy, hypnotism, and
so forth. Had he only given the world his well-known poem on 'St.
Paul,' he would have contributed more than most hymn-writers have done
to its moral profiting. If the old Hebrew Seer was one who saw visions
of the future through Time's manifold veils, and visions of Jehovah
behind the marching cohorts of human generations, and who also had the
Divine gift of 'discernment of spirits,' surely F. W. H. Myers may be
called a nineteenth century seer. He solved in his prose works for many
an earnest seeker after the truth many a scientific doubt respecting God
and Immortality, while in his principal poem he seems to identify
himself with the great Apostle in the yearning and the self-abandonment
essential to such a herald of the Cross. As he wrote, he must have
entered into close sympathy with the flaming desires with which Paul's
breast was burning, and the love with which he ached for souls whom he
set himself to win for the Kingdom of Heaven. To present the inner life
of him whom Christ Himself chose to fill the vacant office of the fallen
Judas was a daring venture, but successful. He makes Paul say:

  'Whoso hath felt the Spirit of the Highest
    Cannot confound Him nor deny;
  Yea, with one voice, O world, though thou deniest,
    Stand thou on that side, for on this am I.'

Myers made the great choice, ranking himself among those 'who,' as he
puts it, 'suppose themselves to discern spiritual verities,' amid a
tumult of Agnosticism and positive philosophy which arose about that
time, partly, perhaps, as a result of the reaction from that exaggerated
High Church teaching opposed by his father. Accepting the actual
discoveries of experimental science without question, he yet maintained
there is both direct and indirect evidence that the cosmic laws of
uniformity, conservation of energy, and evolution, do not exhaust the
controlling laws of the universe, nor explain all classes of phenomena.
There is, at least, a fourth cosmic law as ascertainable as any of the
others by observation and experiment. To this fourth law the greatest
poets, such as Goethe, Wordsworth, Tennyson, to say nothing of the still
greater Semitic Poets, have helped to introduce mankind, and psychical
research has demonstrated their scientific truth. 'Life, consciousness,
and thought' are facts not fully explained by physiology. The communion
of mind with mind without speech or bodily contact or proximity is as
certain as that of X rays or wireless telegraphy. The communion of the
human soul with the Oversoul of the Universe is not a dream, but a fact
as indubitable as the fact of gravitation. The study of these facts,
their modes of motion, and the laws which govern them, bring careful
philosophers to the conclusion that behind the natural law is an active
will, and behind natural force and evolution one universal and
intelligent motive power. Mental and spiritual phenomena are
ignored--or, for some obscure reason, at any rate neglected--by the
ordinary man of science. No real all-round student of cosmic
appearances, and the laws and influences that control and guide them to
cosmic ends, can afford to shut his eyes to the existence of clues
which, whenever they have been loyally followed, have led along the
chain of cause and effect to the ultimate discovery of God and
Immortality. He who follows the Gleam, everywhere shining before him,
arrives sooner or later, whatever he thinks of the creeds of the sects,
at the abode of the Eternal Presence, leaving the Land of Negations far
behind him. This is the substance, or at least the fair interpretation,
of the ideas woven throughout the series of Essays written by our author
on 'Science and a Future Life,' 'Charles Darwin and Agnosticism,'
'Tennyson as Prophet,' and 'Modern Poets and Cosmic Law.' At a later
period he put forth in support of his views, in collaboration with two
others, a large collection of instances, gathered from definite
experiences of witnesses, of 'Phantasms of the Living.' These evidences
occupy two bulky volumes. He may have been sometimes too credulous. Some
of his alleged facts may have needed closer examination. His deductions
from observations may not always have been accurate, yet his argument is
strong in itself, strongly fortified, and apparently, as a whole, still
unshaken. He was, as he says of Tennyson, 'the proclaimer of man's
spirit as part and parcel of the Universe, and indestructible at the
very root of things,' and as such he has restored to many a doubter,
unsettled by scientific materialism, his latent self-hood, his
'subliminal soul,' his realization of the invisible world, and a belief
in that intellectual 'Cosmic Will' which common men persist in calling
'God.'

Myers wrote a few sketches of men and women of the hour, under the title
of 'Classical Essays,' terse, readable, and displaying literary insight.
The most recent 'Life of Wordsworth,' with whose semi-pantheism he had
much sympathy, is his also. Nor was St. Paul his only excursion into the
realms of poesy. 'The Renewal of Youth and Other Poems' is his. Little
of its contents, however, rise to the level of his religious poem, and
some are distinctly trivial. Since penning this sentence I have
happened upon an 'Appreciation' of the volume mentioned, by the late
John Addington Symonds. He likens the muse of Myers to a 'flute of
silver, or a fife of gold,' through which he breathed strains, now
stronger, now weaker, according to the degree of his inspiration. 'To
some ears this instrument may seem too artificial, too metallic,' for
his wont was to select words for their colour-values and their
sonority--for the mode of saying things rather than for the expression
of new and original thoughts. Symonds finds in the poetry not only a
special message of God and Immortality, but a declaration of the happy
influence of womanhood in human affairs. Whether or not this judgment is
right on the last point, it is certain that the all-absorbing intuition
of the poet's soul was that of an eternal life for mankind, not an
immortality of the species at the expense of the individual, by
sacrifice and extinction, but of every separate being:

  'Oh, dreadful thought, that all our sires and we
  Are but foundations of a race to be--
  Stones which are thrust in earth, to build thereon
  Some white delight, some Parian Parthenon!'



                 THE VIEW FROM HELVELLYN


    'There to the north the silver Solway shone,
      And Criffel, by the hazy atmosphere
      Lifted from off the earth, did then appear
    A nodding island or a cloud-built throne.
      And there, a spot half fancied and half seen,
      Was sunny Carlisle; and by hillside green
    Lay Penrith with its beacon of red stone.

    'Southward through pale blue steam the eye might glance
      Along the Yorkshire fells, and o'er the rest,
      My native hill, dear Ingleboro's crest,
    Rose shapely, like a cap of maintenance.
      The classic Duddon, Leven, and clear Kent
      A trident of fair estuaries sent,
    Which did among the mountain roots advance.

    'Westward, a region of tumultuous hills,
      With here and there a tongue of azure lake
      And ridge of fir, upon the eye did break.
    But chiefest wonder are the tarns and rills
      And giant coves, where great Helvellyn broods
      Upon his own majestic solitudes,
    Which even now the sunlight barely fills.'
                         FREDERICK WILLIAM FABER: _Poems_.

[Illustration:
  _Photo by Brunskill, Bowness_

                  VIEW OF WINDERMERE.

       Summer Lake and Copse-wood Green.'--FABER.]



                               XVI

                   A RELIGIOUS MEDIEVALIST

                   FREDERICK WILLIAM FABER

                           I.--THE MAN


    'Especially did he endeavour to study the spirit of the Church at
    its foundation head, in the City of Rome, under the shadow of St.
    Peter's Chair. Fully recognising the claims of his own country to
    his labours, he made it his business to introduce into it in every
    possible way the devotions and practices which are consecrated by
    the usage of Rome.'--FATHER BOWDEN'S _Life of Faber_.


Of Huguenot descent, his ancestors having fled from France to England to
avoid the persecutions arising out of the 'Edict of Nantes,' and of
Evangelical Church of England training, he early developed an unexpected
'spurt' towards Romanism, and that rather of the medieval Italian than
of the modern English type.

Starting from such a parentage and such environments as this, it becomes
an interesting study of character and temperament, and of the forces
that mould and direct them, to trace the gradual development of ideas,
and habits, through boyhood to youth, and youth to manhood. The key to
his having ultimately become a priestly devotee of a mystical form of
Mariolatry, is only secured by a careful perusal of his letters, books,
and poetry; of his memoir by Father Bowden; and such fragmentary
notices of him as contemporaries have given us. His life itself, as we
read it, must furnish us with clues by which to follow the labyrinths of
his mind to the end it reached.

He was born in 1814 at Calverley, near Leeds, of which parish his father
was the vicar. The family removed the following year to Bishop Auckland
on Mr. Faber becoming secretary to the Bishop of Durham. As he grew to
boyhood the circumstances of his home-life wrought a development of
character beyond his years, his precociousness was stimulated by his
parents, and his ardent devotion to work or play gave promise of future
eminence. The beautiful scenery around him encouraged his romantic
tendencies. Sent to a private clerical school at Kirkby Stephen, he was
never really free from ecclesiastical influences at any point of his
outlook on the world. His imaginative disposition was still further
quickened, and his poetical tastes and instincts acquired a direction
for life in the midst of the wild Westmorland hills, for 'solitude is
the nurse of enthusiasm.' He took long rambles over mountain and fell,
rebuilding in fancy the ruined castles of the eastern borderland, and
the abbeys of the western, repeopling them with steel-clad knights, and
ladies fair and gay, or with monks chanting their vespers as the great
sun went down in glory beyond the clear-cut ramparts guarding the blue
inland meres. If one reads no farther than the index to his verses one
sees at a glance how firm a grasp the enchanted region had upon his
affections, beginning to secure them even then, intensifying the grasp
while he lived in young manhood at Ambleside, and recurring to his
memory when far away by 'Adria's sapphire waters,' or beneath the shadow
of St. Mary's in his 'dear City' of Oxford. Helvellyn and Loughrigg,
when sunshine and storm combine to throw rainbow-bridges from peak to
peak; the little babbling rivers Rothay and Brathay, when their
glittering foam-bells danced beneath the autumn-tinted trees; the green
vale of Rydal, where the thrushes pipe the whole day through--were each
as much, or perhaps more, to him, and appealed as clamourously for the
weaving of a lay, as great Parnassus himself, or even as 'the sweet
Styrian Lake.' Amidst the wind-sounds in the 'brotherhood of trees' and
the bird-voices of the daytime--nay, in the very night-silences of the
towers and fastnesses of the 'awful sanctuary God hath built' in the
Lake District--he heard 'the echoes of Church bells,' and dreamed dreams
of fonts and altars at which he might serve his 'mother' as her priest.

Educational progress compelled him, after a short tariance at
Shrewsbury, to go forward to Harrow. Here he would ride and swim, but he
would not play. Instead of giving himself up to the healthy commingling
of learning and the usual school athletics, he thought and thought, till
he began to think himself an unbeliever in Divine mysteries. From Harrow
to Balliol College, Oxford, was a natural transition. He left his
infidel doubts and temptations behind, only, however, to come under the
influence of the Tractarian flood then streaming through the University,
and sweeping some of its best sons towards Rome. He was specially
attracted by the preaching of Newman, who was then engaged in
constructing a theology from the writings of Anglican Fathers, showing
that the Church of England was Roman in its teaching though not Papal in
government.

While at Oxford he remained, as all through his career, pure, truthful,
sincere, and studious, though ever romantic and impulsive. One of his
best impulses was to read his Bible twice from beginning to end,
prayerfully and meditatively, without note or comment. This brought him
back for a season to the Evangelicalism he had been reared in. Attending
Newman's sermons and lectures turned him once more to Church tradition
and authority. He soon left his Bible for sacramentalism and all its
concommitants. His friends accused him of vacillation. 'No, not
vacillation,' he answered; 'but oscillation.' Perhaps we may say his
course was like the Borrowdale road, which an old guide-book says
'serpentizes.' Under Newman's more intimate friendship and guidance he
was set to the translation of Patristic writings, while still reading
for ordination, and began to hope Tractarianism would 'soon saturate'
the Church of England. Pursuing his theological studies, winning the
Newdigate Prize, and receiving a Fellowship from his college, he, of
course, took in due time deacon's and priest's orders, and left Oxford
to undertake a tutorship in the household of Mr. Harrison, of Ambleside.

Into the parochial work of Ambleside he threw himself _con amore_, the
incumbent being old and feeble. From thence he went on a brief tour
through Belgium, returning with another set-back from Rome owing to what
he had seen of the low intellectual state and morals of the Belgium
priesthood. It was during the period of his Ambleside tutorship that he
became acquainted with Wordsworth, whom he accompanied on long walks,
the elder poet 'muttering verses to himself' in the intervals of
conversation.

Somewhat later came the memorable tour of Europe, and visit to Rome,
with his pupils, which practically sealed his conversion. The perusal of
the records of this journey in his 'Sights and Thoughts in Foreign
Countries' affords a curious revelation of biased history (and therefore
often very inaccurate), an interesting account of his mental
perplexities, and of the wonderful organization of the Papal hierarchy,
enabling it to shadow his steps and 'create an atmosphere' around him
wherever he went. This time he carried letters of introduction from the
astute Dr. Wiseman, which assured his seeing the æsthetic best of all
the great cathedrals and institutions of the Church, in each country he
traversed, and helped him to shut the eyes of his memory to
Inquisitions, and persecutions, and the pride and licentiousness of
Popes and Cardinals, and to the grosser side of popular superstition,
comprising the annals of the places he visited, and to the story of
Italy especially. He had a keen sense of the misdeeds of poor people
provoked to reprisals by the tyranny of kings and priests, but never
breathed a word--for he failed to notice anything wrong--against the
Church that was courting him, and was coquetting with others like him in
the Anglican Communion of that day. At Rome the cultured and winsome Dr.
Grant was selected as his chaperon, and once more the attractive figment
of a world-dominion of an united Church was dangled before his
imaginative mind amidst the music and incense of elaborate ceremonials
appealing to his senses. The kindness and sympathy of those who were
watching over him effectually removed the last veil between him and
Roman doctrine. The Pope accorded him an interview in private, and he
prostrated himself to kiss his feet and receive his benediction. The
Pope was already the 'Holy Father' to him, and he is able in his letters
of this date, though still nominally an Anglican, to pledge himself to a
life-crusade against the detestable and diabolic heresy of Protestantism
'as being' what he calls 'the devil's masterpiece.'

After all this, one wonders how he could have persuaded himself it was
right to accept, on his return to England, the living of Elton, in
Huntingdonshire. He did so, however, and for the space of two years he
did his utmost to Romanize the district. His charming manners, and
natural persuasiveness, the vein of superstition in him (evidenced by
his kissing relics and touching them for healing), which fitted well
with the ignorance of his rural parishioners, gave him such influence in
this direction that when, in 1845, he somewhat suddenly relinquished his
pastorate, and was officially united with the Roman Church, he carried
off with him several of his young men, who were the nucleus of his
Brotherhood of the Will of God in Birmingham.

From this time forward, the Church having gained a priest but, as
Wordsworth said, 'England having lost a poet,' there was developed in
him a neurotic mysticism impelling him to ascetic neglect of his body,
and suppression of human affections and responsibilities, which preyed
on his physical frame, producing incessant headaches, and complete
prostrations, and unquestionably shortened his days on earth. His love
fixed on such intangible objects as Mary and the saints, rather than the
living Christ, indulges itself in luscious outbreathings towards her who
was not only to him Queen of Heaven and of Purgatory, and Mother of God,
but his 'dear Mama,' his 'dearest Mama,' in whose 'fondling care,' and
under whose 'sweet caress' he dwelt, finding, he tells her, 'Our home,
deep in Thee, eternally, eternally.' His favourite saints are 'Joseph
our Father,' and St. Wilfrid, whom he adopted as his patron, and from
whom his monks were called 'Wilfridians.' He lived henceforth a life of
self-renunciation, the will of God being accepted by him as made known
through his superiors in the Roman priesthood. He devoted his time,
substance, and skill to church building, and creation of monastic
brotherhoods, in Birmingham, in Shropshire, in the City of London, and
finally at Brompton, ere long merging his order in that of the Oratory
of St. Philip Neri--an Italian confraternity introduced into England by
Newman, a missionary body formed for proselytizing the poor and the
young. Besides the beautiful church of St. Wilfrid's erected under the
auspices of the Earl of Shrewsbury, there is the well-known Brompton
Oratory, wherein his preaching, magnetizing rather by its fervour and
picturesqueness than convincing by its reason and logic, held
congregations of thousands spell-bound, who were partly, no doubt,
attracted by his fame, though quite as much by the exquisite singing of
the hymns of his composition and the lavish ceremonies of the Mass. It
proved an immense strain upon his nervous system, the daily necessity of
feeding the monks, building his churches slowly but magnificently,
supplying the vestments, the lights, the incense, and all the other
thousand and one requirements of so gorgeous a ritual. He failed under
it in 1863, and died while only forty-nine years of age, prematurely
worn out and aged.

Protestant as I am, at the extreme antipodes of conviction, religious
experience, education, and sympathies from Father Faber, I doubt not
his soul went straight to the Great All Father, the only 'Holy Father,'
without the help of Masses to liberate it from any intermediate
imprisonment, or process of purification, and without need of
intercession from our Lord's virgin Mother, or from any portion of the
pantheon of Roman saints. Some of his objectionable opinions and
teachings--some that are very terrible to us--as well as many that are
common to all true Christians, will be noticed in the next article, and
there may only be added now a caution to many Protestants, as well as to
many of the Church of Rome, not to confound wrong views with moral
wrong-doing, nor to make a man's intellectual mistakes the measure of
his presumed status before the throne of his God. 'Shall not the Judge
of all the earth do right,' when He sits in judgment upon the soul? As
Faber's own celebrated hymn declares:

      'The love of God is broader,
        Than the measures of man's mind;
      And the Heart of the Eternal,
        Is most wonderfully kind.'



                    COME TO JESUS


    'Souls of men! why will ye scatter
      Like a crowd of frightened sheep?
    Foolish hearts! why will ye wander
      From a love so true and deep?

    'Was there ever kindest shepherd
      Half so gentle, half so sweet,
    As the Saviour who would have us
      Come and gather round His feet?

    'It is God: His love looks mighty,
      But is mightier than it seems:
    'Tis our Father: and His fondness
      Goes far out beyond our dreams.

    'There's a wideness in God's mercy,
      Like the wideness of the sea;
    There's a kindness in His justice,
      Which is more than liberty.

    'There is no place where earth's sorrows
      Are more felt than up in heaven;
    There is no place where earth's failings
      Have such kindly judgment given.'
                 FREDERICK WILLIAM FABER: _Hymns_.



                A RELIGIOUS MEDIEVALIST

                FREDERICK WILLIAM FABER

                   II.--HIS BOOKS


    'At the evening service, after a few preliminary words, he told his
    people that the doctrines he had taught them, though true, were not
    those of the Church of England; that, as far as the Church of
    England had a voice, she had denounced them.'--FATHER BOWDEN'S _Life
    of Faber_.


Faber's mental output is a reflex of his character. I assumed this by
using his letters and poems as the matrix of the life I sought to
present my readers with. Neither I nor they found them rocks of barren
quartz. They contained much gold--'yea, much fine gold'--of
conscientiousness, devotion, and self-abnegation; of poetic, oratorical
fervour; of rare zeal for the Church of his adoption. But with the fine
gold there is also much dross. There are, for instance, not a few
passages in 'Sights and Thoughts in Foreign Churches' of a startling
kind to Englishmen--a book, be it remembered, written while the author
was an Anglican clergyman. To him Charles I. was more than 'Charles the
Martyr.' He was a King, 'conformed to the image of his Master through
suffering.' Most of us will ask whether, supposing Jesus of Nazareth had
been King in Charles's stead, there would have been any ship-money, any
Star-Chamber, or any Civil War? Surely no man bears the image of Christ
any farther than he comports himself Christly in politics and general
public as in private life. Christ is a poor Master to serve if Charles
was an image of Him. The admitted tyranny and licentiousness of the
French Bourbons seemed to him to be condoned because they were great at
building churches and convents. National struggles for liberty, and
their champions, are usually presented in their worst lights, and the
freer the nation the bitterer his words about her. The American Republic
is thus a 'proud invalid' for whom there is no cure except by 'a
multiplication of bishops, and then a monarchy.' In this book occurs his
famous passage in favour of burning heretics. His attempted palliation,
or modification, of the passage when challenged by Crabbe Robinson, the
Diarist, on their ramble together to Eskdale Tarn, is disingenuous. The
objectionable sentiment is explicitly made by 'the stranger,' who is as
distinctly alleged to be Faber himself by his biographer, and virtually
admitted to Robinson to be so. Here is the excerpt: 'Persecution belongs
not, strictly speaking, to the Church. Her weapon, and a most dire one,
is excommunication, whereby she cuts off the offender from the fountains
of life in this world, and makes him over from her own judgment to that
of Heaven in the world to come. But surely it is the duty of a Christian
State to deprive such an excommunicate person of every social right and
privilege; to lay on him such pains and penalties as may seem good to
the wisdom of the law, or even, if they so judge, to sweep him from the
earth; in other words, to put him to death. The least that can be done
is make a civil death to follow an ecclesiastical death, and this must
be done where the Church and State stand in right relation to each
other.' To the ultramontane views promulgated in this book might be
added others from his letters and published sermons, as, for instance,
the phrase, 'the pernicious influence of Protestant ragged schools';
that in which he opposes the reading of the English Bible because its
'uncommon beauty and marvellous English' made it 'the stronghold of
heresy'; those in which he elaborately argues for the 'adoration' of
Mary ('surely it must be called so,' he says); the many in which he
disparages the Reformation and applauds the blessings which the Church,
and the Papacy in particular, had bestowed upon the nations; and those,
once more, in which he declares a man has no rights as man conferred on
him by the Bible, unless he be a Christian (by which he means a
Churchman, for he says so), and dilating on the misery and unrest of
that Protectionist period, proposes no remedies other than obedience to
the Church, the keeping of saints' days and holy days, and the sweeping
away of the 'indecent system of pews'! Incredible as it may seem, every
one of these proposals is seriously propounded in 'A Churchman's
Politics in Disturbed Times.'

One might make large quotations from the Oratory sermons full of
descriptions, graphic even to gruesomeness, of the bodily agony of Jesus
on the Cross, powerful enough to stir emotional women into hysterical
weeping, and to bring them into a profound, if temporary and unreal,
sentiment of fellowship with His sufferings, leaving Him still afar off
as a risen and personal Friend, and leaving them unmoved by the
bleeding figure on the crucifix in the silent recess till the next
cerebral excitement. The whole of my articles might be taken up with
extracts from his hymns that are simply astounding to the unprejudiced
mind in their luscious sentimentality towards Mary and the saints. Of
these it may be said the expressions do not necessarily mean all to a
Catholic that they seem to a Protestant to imply. But is that so? Who
that has watched and heard Italian or Irish worship, or studied the
biographies and writings of the Romanist mystics of Italy or Spain, can
possibly doubt their perfect sincerity? Is it not an entirely natural
transfer of ardent love from the Redeemer to His mother happening
concurrently with the priestly transfer of worship, of 'adoration,' from
Him to her? Her images are bedecked with flowers and gorgeous attire,
and her shrines are brilliantly lighted and are perfumed with incense.
His image stands in a dark, neglected, railed-off side-chapel, in all
the great cathedrals and rural churches of Romanist Europe.

Some of Faber's best prose is curiously reserved for lamentations over
the decay of Paganism!--the 'beautiful births of Greek faith, most
radiant legends, springing from every hard and barren spot, like
unnumbered springs out of the Parnassian caverns, or the leafy sides of
Citheron, or the bee-haunted slope of pale Hymettus.' 'The decline of
Paganism was mournful and undignified. Faith after faith went out, like
the extinguishing of lamps in a temple, or the paling of the marsh-fires
before the rising sun.' Yet were the old creeds full of symbols, and the
'whole of external nature an assemblage of forms and vases capable of,
and actually filled with, the Spirit,' and so Greek Paganism was the
expression of a wish to 'write God's name on all things beautiful and
true.' We can re-echo his dirge and acknowledge the saner, more cheerful
side of the 'Paganism' that feels after God, 'if haply it may find Him';
but what a contrast between his attitude towards the non-Christian world
and the fellow-Christians--not lacking in as holy teaching or living as
his own--whom he had left, for an approachment towards image-worship!

Let us see, now, however, what he can do in description of places and
scenery, in both prose and poetry. Here is his first impression of
Venice: 'How is it to be described? What words can I use to express that
vision, that thing of magic that lay before us?... Never was so wan a
sunlight, never was there so pale a blue, as stood round about Venice
that day. And there it was, a most visionary city, rising as if by
enchantment out of the gentle-mannered Adriatic, the waveless Adriatic.
One by one rose steeple, tower, and dome, street, and marble palace;
they rose to our eyes slowly, as from the weedy deeps; and then they and
their images wavered and floated, like a dream, upon the pale, sunny
sea. As we glided onward from Fusina in our gondola, the beautiful
buildings, with their strange Eastern architecture, seemed like fairy
ships, to totter, to steady themselves, to come to anchor one by one,
and where the shadow was, and where the palace was, you scarce could
tell. And there was San Marco, and there the Ducal Palace, and there the
Bridge of Sighs, and the very shades of the Balbi, Foscari, Pisani,
Bembi, seemed to hover about the winged Lion of St. Mark. And all this,
all, to the right and left, all was Venice; and it needed the sharp
grating of the gondola against the stairs to bid us be sure it was not
all a dream.'

He says of Milan Cathedral that 'In the moonlight it disarms criticism.
When the moon's full splendour streams on Milan roofs, and overflows
upon its lofty buttresses; when the liquid radiance trickles down the
glory-cinctured heads of the marble saints, like the oil from Aaron's
beard, and every fretted pinnacle, and every sculptured spout ran with
light as they might have run with rain in a thunder-shower, who would
dare to say there was a fault in that affecting miracle of Christian
Art?' Of Corfu, the most perfect earthly Elysium I myself have seen,
though I first saw it when returning from the Far East, he writes: 'What
traveller does not know the delight of getting among foliage whose shape
and hues are not like those of his native land? The interior of the
island of Corfu was to us a sweet foretaste of Oriental foliage. We rode
among strange hedges of huge cactus, fields of a blue-flowering grain,
occasional palms, clouds of blue and white gum cistus, myrtle-shoots
smelling in the sun, little forests of the many-branched arbutus, marshy
nooks of blossoming oleander, venerable dull olives and lemon groves
jewelled with pale yellow fruit. It was a dream of childhood realized,
and brought with it some dreary remembrances barbed with poignant
sorrows. Dreams, alas! are never realized till the freshness of the
heart is gone, and their beauty has lost all that wildness which made it
in imagination so desirable.'

'Sir Lancelot,' his longest and most ambitious poem, though finished at
Ambleside in 1847, was issued from his Elton Vicarage two years later,
and is under the guise of 'an attempt to embody and illustrate the
social and ecclesiastical spirit of the thirteenth century,' avowedly an
allegory of the soul seeking for that which it is represented as finding
only when brought 'back to the foot of Peter's sovran chair.' To us its
chief interest lies in his portraiture of our Westmorland surroundings.
The hermitage to which the returned Crusader wends his way lies

  'Within the Vale of Troutbeck, where towards the head
  There is a single woody hill, enclosed
  Within the mountains, yet apart and low.
  Amid the underwood around, it seems
  Like a huge animal recumbent there,
  Not without grace; and sweetly apt it is
  To catch all wandering sunbeams as they pass,
  Or volatile lights in transit o'er the vale.'

Who among us does not recognise it? Who does not know 'the bell-shaped
mountain which the wild winds ring full mournfully'? And the beck, too,
where the ouzel flits even in winter on the 'ice-rimmed stones,' and the
banks, whereon Sir Lancelot might lie and watch 'the flowery troops in
pageant movable'--the snowdrops 'like a flock of children purely white,'
the 'deep Lent-lilies, like constellations girt with lesser orbs.' When
he crosses to the western sea 'angry and purple, far and wide outspread
in stormy grandeur,' we go with him, and as we wander thitherward see
Scawfell 'palpitating in the haze,' feel 'the tingling of the woodlands'
at night-time down the valley of the Duddon, and learn how Esk is
'suckled in sylvan places' by 'clusters of wild tarns.'

Among his minor local poems 'English Hedges'--the Saxon hedgerows--are
apostrophized:

    'The hedges still survive, shelters for flowers,
    An habitation for the singing birds,
    Cool banks of shadow, grateful to the herds,
    A charm scarce known in any land but ours.'

And in 'Mountain Tarns' he sings:

      'There is a power to bless
      In hillside loneliness--
      In tarns and dreary places--
      A virtue in the brook,
      A freshness in the look
      Of mountains' joyless faces--
      And so when life is dull,
      Or when my heart is full
      Because my dreams have frowned,
      I wander up the rills
      To stones and tarns, and hills--
      I go there to be crowned.'

If we turn to Faber's purely devotional writings, such as 'All for
Jesus,' and can forget, or slide over, the subtle insinuations of Romish
doctrines, and the curious blending of saints and sacraments, popes and
priests, confessions and penances, with earnest appeals on behalf of
Jesus, at one time as though the soul's salvation depended solely on
ceremonials and priestly absolutions, and at another time as if on
'Jesus only,' one may find much help and light in many beautiful
passages--as, for example: 'Who can look into the world and not see how
God's glory is lost upon the earth? It is the interests of Jesus that we
should seek and find it. Apart from clear acts of great and grievous
sin, how is God forgotten, clean forgotten, by the greatest part of
mankind! They live as if there were no God. It is not as if they openly
rebelled against Him. They pass over and ignore Him. He is an
inconvenience in His own world, an impertinence in His own creation. So
He has been quietly set on one side, as if He were an idol out of
fashion, and in the way. Men of science, and politicians, have agreed on
this, and men of business and wealth think it altogether the most decent
thing to be silent about God, for it is difficult to speak of Him, or
have a view of Him, without allowing too much to Him.... Half a dozen
men, going about God's world, seeking nothing but God's glory--they
would remove mountains. This was promised to faith--why should not we be
the men to do it?'

Similarly burning words, apart from his descriptions of Calvary, might
be quoted from his sermons, but, alas! these would lack the passionate
personality behind them, with the flashing eye, the expressive
emphasizing hands, and, above all, the voice rising like the swelling of
bells in the steeple, or tender as a silver chord trembling into
silence. Without the spirit to make them live, let us not try to
reproduce them.



                    THE BLACK ANT


      This fly is an inhabitant of woods and coppices, and is very
    abundant in the neighbourhood of the English Lakes. The nest is
    often of enormous size, sometimes containing more than a cart-load
    of sticks and small twigs. The Vale of Duddon swarms with wood ants,
    and is the only place where I have seen the wryneck, which is said
    to feed principally on these insects. Like other ants, they have the
    enjoyment of wings for a few weeks in each year, and often, as the
    proverb says, "to their sorrow," as by them they are conveyed to
    places where they suffer greatly from birds, as well as from fishes.
    They generally make their appearance in August and September. Body,
    a strand of peacock's herl, and one of black ostrich's herl laid on
    together; silk, dark brown; wing, the lightest part of a starling's
    quill; hackle from a black cock.'--JOHN BEEVER: _Practical
    Fly-Fishing_.

[Illustration:
  _Photo by Herbert Bell, Ambleside._

                           YEWDALE.

  The Favourite Valley of John Ruskin (see p. 64), and
        of the Sisters of the Thwaite.]



                           XVII

                 JOHN RUSKIN'S FRIENDS

          THE SISTERS OF THE THWAITE, AND THEIR
                        BROTHER


    'Nature takes the hue of a man's own feeling, and he finds in it
    what he brings to it. In proportion as he becomes more intelligent
    and holy, so does it become more beautiful and significant to
    him.'--HUGH MACMILLAN.

John Ruskin's later years were gladdened by the friendship of the Miss
Beevers, especially that of Miss Susie, the younger of the two. To her,
though so near a neighbour that a short boat-row to the water-head of
Coniston Lake would take him across, he wrote no fewer than 2,000
letters. The best of these, or at any rate those most suitable for the
public, form the book called 'Hortus Inclusus,' arranged by the
professor's 'Master of Industries at Loughrigg,' Mr. Albert Fleming, and
prefaced by Ruskin himself. The very title-page of the little collection
shows the love he bore his friends: 'Messages from the Wood to the
Garden, sent in happy days to the Sister Ladies of the Thwaite,
Coniston, by their thankful friend, John Ruskin, LL.D., D.C.L.' The
introductory words of this 'thankful friend' tell us much about the
ladies: 'Sources they have been of good, like one of the mountain
springs of the English shepherd land, ever to be found at need. They did
not travel; they did not go up to London in its season; they did not
receive idle visitors to jar or waste their leisure in the waning year.
The poor and the sick could find them always; or, rather, they watched
for and prevented all poverty and pain that care or tenderness could
relieve or heal. Loadstones they were, as steadily bringing the light of
gentle and wise souls about them as the crest of the mountain gives
pause to the moving clouds; in themselves they were types of perfect
womanhood in its constant happiness, queens alike of their own hearts
and of a Paradise in which they knew the names and sympathized with the
spirits of every living creature that God had made to play therein, or
to blossom in its sunshine or shade.' A beautiful description is this of
the cultured English gentlewoman, fortunately for our peasantry by no
means rare. But it is on their literary and intellectual sides, rather
than their philanthropic, that we have to speak of them here. It might
be sufficient guarantee of Miss Susie's high level, at any rate, that
Ruskin wrote to her letters as carefully composed in full mastery of
language, and on as great a variety of topics, as if he had been
consciously inditing another volume of his 'Modern Painters' for
publication. 'The Lost Church in the Campagna' is written to one whom he
knows will understand and appreciate his historical and artistic
allusions. She loved flowers, and studied them enthusiastically. She and
her sister are named in more than one botanical work as authorities on
our mountain plants, and discoverers of rare species and their
localities. Therefore he continually sets down little bits of
blossom-news for his friend--though it be no more than such as this from
Perugia--'the chief flowers here are only broom and bindweed, and I
begin to weary for my heather and for my Susie; but oh, dear! the ways
are long and the days few'; or those scraps from Ingleton, where he
playfully gives all his pretty flowers names of girls, changing the
harsh botanical names into sweet-sounding ones, and consulting his
correspondent as to how far he may venture to separate and rechristen
certain pinks and pearlworts and saxifrages from their ordained family
groups. From Brantwood he discourses to her on his blue and purple
agates and groups of crystals, dwelling on the perfection of some
stone--'its exquisite colour and superb weight, flawless clearness, and
delicate cutting, which makes the light flash from it like a wave of the
lake.' The last letter written by him was to his 'Dearest Susie.' And
her letters to him are treasures of poetic appreciation of Nature and of
book-lore rare in women. 'Did you think of your own quotation from
Homer,' she asks, 'when you told me that field of yours was full of
violets? But where are the four fountains of white water? How delicious
Calypso's fire of finely-chopped cedar!' 'When I was a girl (I was once)
I used to delight in Pope's Homer.... When a schoolgirl going with my
bag of books into Manchester, I used to like Don Quixote and Sir Charles
Grandison with my milk porridge.' 'Coniston would go into your heart if
you could see it now--so very lovely; the oak-trees so early, nearly in
leaf already (May 1). Your beloved blue hyacinths will soon be out, and
the cuckoo has come.... The breezes will bring fern seeds and plant
them, or rather sow them in such fashion as no human being can do. When
time and the showers brought by the west wind have mellowed it a little,
the tiny beginnings of mosses will be there. The sooner this can be done
the better.' She writes to him, too, about wrens and blackbirds, and her
pet squirrel, and other of her pensioners. There is one extract,
somewhat pathetic, yet sweetly patient, that must not be omitted: 'You
are so candid about your age that I shall tell you mine! I am
astonished to find myself sixty-eight--very near the Psalmist's
three-score-and-ten. Much illness and much sorrow, and then I woke to
find myself old, and as if I had lost a great part of my life. Let us
hope it was not all lost.' It was she who made the charming series of
extracts from 'Modern Painters,' published as 'Frondes Agrestes,'
respecting which he writes that they are 'chosen at her pleasure, by the
author's friend, the younger lady of the Thwaite, Coniston,' and adds
his absolute submission to her judgment, and his appreciation of the
grace she did him in writing out every word with her own hands. Over and
above her natural history pursuits and her association with John Ruskin,
she wrote, I am told, many short poems and leaflets on kindness to
animals. She died in 1893, and her grave adjoins her friend's.

The Beevers were a Manchester family whose father, on his retirement
from business, settled, in 1831, at the Thwaite House. After his death
one of his sons, John, and three of his daughters, Mary, Margaret, and
Susanna, lived on there, unmarried, and contented, it is said of them,
with 'the harvest of a quiet eye.' Miss Margaret died before Ruskin knew
the circle. John Beever, like his sisters, was a naturalist. He was
especially fond of fly-fishing, and on the art of it he wrote a book, of
which a new edition has recently been issued, with a biographical sketch
by W. G. Collingwood, and notes and an extra chapter on char-fishing by
A. and A. R. Severn. Fishing has not directly added much of value to
English literature. The notable exception is, of course, Isaac Walton's
ever-living little book. Great statesmen and tired public men of all
kinds have found rest and change in handling rod and line, and many
pleasant little brochures exist of smaller men's experiences and
enjoyment of the gentle craft. To this order belongs Mr. Beever's book.
It is necessarily too technical for the general reader. There is nothing
in it so good as Walton's well-known remark about the nightingale--a
bird never heard, alas! in these northern regions, and therefore much
missed by a southerner like myself--but which 'airy creature breathes
such sweet loud music out of her little instrumental throat, that it
might make mankind to think miracles had not ceased. He that at
midnight, when the very labourer sleeps securely, should hear, as I have
often done, the clear airs, the sweet descants, the natural rising and
falling, the doubling and redoubling of her voice, might well be lifted
above earth, and say, Lord, what music hast Thou provided for the saints
in heaven, when Thou affordest bad men such music on earth!' Nor will
you find anything so racy as the 'Compleat Angler's' picture of an
otter-hunt, or as the other of the young milkmaid singing 'that smooth
song which was made by Kit Marlow, now at least fifty years ago.' He
has, however, some excellent passages of a literary savour, as, for
example, of the two gentlemen fishing the streams of the pastoral
Yarrow, and convincing the local piscator that 'grouse' was the proper
fly to catch with, and of Frank, the Matlock chaise-driver, who became
to him the revealer of Nature's demand for obedience to her laws--in
other words, he taught him the imitation and use of the actual living
flies on which the trout fed each consecutive day. The list of possible
flies to copy is a formidable one, but the way to make the copies is
fully explained--say, with a feather from the top of a woodcock's wing,
fur from a squirrel's cheek, and orange-silk, or perhaps a feather from
a sea-swallow or a seagull, pale-blue rabbit's fur, and
primrose-coloured silk, or some wool from beneath an old sheep. Then
there follows the method of making rods, the suitable wood, the
dimensions, and the art of securing temporary repairs. There are
appendices on the antiquity of fly-fishing, and on a day's angling in
France. To those of us for whom the mysteries of spring-backs,
spring-duns, March-browns, green-tails, ruddy-flies, and black-headed
reds, and iron-blues, have slight allurements, the more interesting
portions of his life are those spent in making himself acquainted with
the growth and habits of fish, and in constructing a pond behind his
house that he could stock with finny people from the tarns and becks--a
water colony wherein once each year he could handle and examine each
member to see how it progressed. The pond was also a reservoir for a
water-wheel that drove the machinery in his private workshop, where he
turned wooden articles for carving, and made elaborate inlaid mosaics.
There also he printed his sister's little books, and texts for the walls
of Sunday-schools. Children he was fond of, and for their sakes he made
himself--or was his talent innate--a wonderful story-teller, of 'quaint
imagination and humour.' He had seven years of illness, which laid him
aside from his active pursuits, and died no fewer than thirty-four years
before his youngest sister 'Susie.' He does not lie at Coniston, but in
the churchyard at Hawkshead, hard by the old sun-dial on the north side.
In the same graveyard lies another Lake celebrity, of whom something may
be said shortly.

If fishermen deign to read these articles, let me inform them they can
get Mr. Beever's 'Practical Fly-fishing' through any local bookseller,
from Methuen, of London; and that another book for their perusal is Mr.
John Watson's 'Lake District Fisheries.' I cannot praise or dispraise
either, but competent and knowing men tell me both are the practical
experiences of practical fishermen, and are therefore of real value.

Some readers may think that Miss Mary Beever has been slighted in favour
of her brother and her younger sister. 'She was,' says Ruskin, 'chiefly
interested in the course of immediate English business, policy, and
progressive science; while Susie lived an aerial and enchanted life,
possessing all the highest joys of imagination.' They were the Martha
and the Mary of the Coniston Bethany, its 'House of Dates,'--its place
of rest and refreshment, not for the incarnate Son of God, the Saviour
of mankind, but for a wearied reformer of human life and lover of all
good things that God has made in the perfection of beauty. They each
contributed their share to his comfort and renovation, and if he was
more attached to the one who could enter into his life-thoughts the most
thoroughly, there is nothing to wonder at in its being so.



                   FROM JONAH'S PRAYER


  'I will call on Jehovah from my prison,
  And He will hear me;
  From the womb of the grave I cry.
  Thou hearest my voice.
  Thou hast cast me into wide waters in the depths of the sea;
  And the floods surround me;
  All Thy dashing and Thy rolling waves
  Pass over me.'



                 FROM HABAKKUK'S 'SONG IN PARTS'


  'Though the fig-tree did not blossom,
  And there be no fruit on the vine;
  Though the produce of the olive fail,
  Though the parched field yield no food,
  Though the flock be cut off from the fold,
  And there be no cattle in the stalls;
  Yet will I rejoice in Jehovah,
  I will exult in God my Saviour.
  Jehovah my Lord is my strength.
  He will set my feet as the deer's,
  He will make me walk in high places.'
             ELIZABETH SMITH: _Hebrew Translations_.



                            XVIII

                   A LEARNED YOUNG LADY

                      ELIZABETH SMITH


    'What the vast multitudes of women are doing in the world's
    activities, and what share their mothers and grandmothers, to the
    remotest generations backward, have had in originating culture, is a
    question which concerns the whole race.'--PROFESSOR MASON'S _Woman's
    Share in Primitive Culture_.


Not a very distinctive name, you will say! Who was she? 'The blooming
Elizabeth Smith, whom to know was to revere,' writes the author of an
ancient book called 'Coelebs in Search of a Wife.' But this does not
carry us a long way further. Well, then, she was a young lady, born so
long ago as 1776, near the city of Durham, who lived for several years
at Coniston with her parents and died there when but twenty-nine years
of age. What made her remarkable was not so much her beauty or her
goodness--and she possessed both these physical and spiritual
qualities,--but also, and for our present purpose especially, her poetic
talent and her great linguistic powers and attainments. 'With scarcely
any assistance,' writes one who was intimate with her, 'she was well
acquainted with French, Italian, Spanish, German, Latin, Greek, and
Hebrew languages. She had no inconsiderable knowledge of Arabic and
Persian. She made also considerable philological collections of Welsh,
Chinese, African, and Icelandic words. She was well acquainted with
geometry, algebra, and other branches of the mathematics. She was a very
fine musician. She drew landscapes from nature extremely well, and was
mistress of perspective.' She was more retiring, and even timid, than
she was learned. Let it be remembered that she was born in the days
previous to any thought of the 'emancipation' of woman, or her
'equality' with man, and when the only sphere it was considered proper
for her to fill was that of wife and mother. She might--nay must--bake
and sew, and undertake all the domestic duties of the household, with
one or two 'accomplishments' allowed her, qualifying her to be agreeable
to her husband or father in his leisure moments, and to his guests. It
will be satisfactory to those, if any are left, who still hold the old
theories about the highest feminine virtues, that this talented young
lady, who could calculate the distances and periods of planets, write
verses in rhyme, or in imitation of Ossian, and translate the Book of
Job from the Hebrew, could also make a currant tart, or 'a gown, or a
cap, or any other article of dress, with as much skill' as she displayed
in the region of languages and mathematics.

Her father was a banker whose business was in the West of England. He
was a wealthy man, and removed, while his daughter was young, from
Durham to one of the loveliest estates in Monmouthshire--Piercefield--on
the cliffs of the river Wye, close to Chepstow's ruined castle, and
within sight of the British Channel.

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

Through the length of the park a pathway traverses the winding summits
of the gray limestone rocks, which--clothed with wood, or rising in
naked spires from the water far into the sky--afforded resting-places
for occasional nightingales, and for all the commoner singing birds of
the land, as well as for ravens and innumerable daws. Here she could
find romantic spots at every turn that called forth all her poetical
aspirations and faculties, and filled her imagination with dreams of the
heroes of old Wales, and the stormy warfare of the Marches in the middle
ages. She had quietude enough, too, in the library of the mansion to
pursue her unusual studies successfully, and without interruption from
casual visitors. 'Miss Smith's power of memory,' says the 'National
Dictionary of Biography,' 'and of divination, must have been alike
remarkable, for she rarely consulted a dictionary.'

At the beginning of William Pitt's great European wars, as well as some
quarter of a century later, after its close, the commercial world was
widely and deeply shaken--as it always is under circumstances that
enrich the few at the cost of the many--Smith's Bank was involved in
many losses, and failed to meet its own liabilities. The ruin of the
firm involved the sale of Piercefield, and the family's departure
therefrom, Mr. Smith purchasing a commission in the army. They went
first to London, and then followed the regiment to Ireland, where
everything was in ferment about the expected French invasion, and
insurrection of the Irish. It was at this period that another and more
famous literary lady was passing through her experiences, which are
recorded in some of the episodes in 'Castle Rackrent' and other famous
novels that delighted our parents. The Smiths were at first entertained
by Lord Kingston, but had shortly to take up their abode in barracks.
Elizabeth's calm cheerfulness and practical support to her mother were
edifying, and brought forth the reserve forces of her unassuming
character very satisfactorily. Her mother's description of their journey
on horseback in those wild regions, as they were in ante-locomotive
days, is worth transcribing from one of her letters to a lady friend.
After a twenty-mile ride they arrived dripping wet. 'Our baggage was not
come, and, owing to the negligence of the quarter-master, there was not
even a bed to rest on. The whole furniture of our apartments consisted
of a piece of a cart-wheel for a fender, a bit of iron, probably from
the same vehicle, for a poker, a dirty deal table, and three
wooden-bottomed chairs. It was the first time we had joined the
regiment, and I was standing by the fire, and perhaps dwelling too much
on the comforts I had lost, when I was roused from my reverie by
Elizabeth's exclaiming, "Oh, what a blessing!" "Blessing!" I replied,
"there seems none left!" "Indeed there is, my dear mother, for see here
is a little cupboard!" I dried my eyes, and endeavoured to learn
fortitude from my daughter.'

After long wanderings, varied by residences at Bath and in North Wales,
the Smiths stayed for some months at Patterdale. While here the Captain
purchased a little farm, and hired a house at Coniston. The house,
according to the report of a visitor, was not very comfortable. 'The
situation is indeed enchanting, and during the summer months
inconveniences within doors are little felt, but it grieves me to be
convinced of what they must amount to in December.' Here Elizabeth
continued her studies and translations, especially from the German and
Hebrew, and probably at this time read Locke's philosophy, discovering
and criticising some of his inaccuracies. After a five years' most
thorough enjoyment of Coniston--walking, boating, reading--she, staying
out too long one evening beneath a favourite tree with a favourite book,
felt a sharp pain strike suddenly through her chest. She had very
considerably overtaxed her physical powers, and drawn too seriously on
her reserve of nervous energy. It was the beginning of the end. Within a
little more than twelve months she passed to her everlasting rest. Bath,
Matlock, and other places had been tried without avail. At length she
said: 'If I cannot recover here I shall not anywhere,' and refused to be
removed again. In her last letter she says: 'I have learned to look on
life and death with an equal eye, knowing where my hope is fixed.' Her
friend's reply was 'as to a Christian on the verge of eternity.' 'Her
whole life,' her mother adds, 'had been a preparation for death.' The
house called Tent Lodge--where Tennyson afterwards stayed--now stands on
the site where she lived in a tent pitched for her in her father's
grounds. The name is given to the house because of an exclamation of
hers that this would be such a magnificent situation for one. Whenever
we see it we remember the delight of the 'Angel-Spirit' (her mother's
words for her) at the prospect it commands. In the graveyard at
Hawkshead, in which Mr. Beever lies, was buried Elizabeth Smith in
August, 1806, and within the church is a small white marble tablet to
her memory, telling how 'she possessed great talents, exalted virtues,
and humble piety.' The situation of Hawkshead Church and graveyard are
thus described by a contemporary writer: 'On the north is a most awful
scene of mountains heaped upon mountains, in every variety of horrid
shape. Among them sweeps to the north a deep winding chasm, darkened by
overhanging rocks, that the eye cannot pierce, nor the imagination
fathom.... The church is situated on the front of an eminence that
commands the vale, which is floated with Esthwaite Water.'

Miss Smith's poems were written on the models then in vogue, and would
hardly meet the taste of a generation that has since her days known a
Scott, a Byron, a Wordsworth, a Shelley, a Keats, a Tennyson, and her
stanzas are often long. This extract, descriptive of a calm at
Patterdale, after a mountain hurricane, may furnish some idea of her
style:

  'The storm is past; the raging wind no more,
  Between the mountains rushing, sweeps the vale,
  Dashing the billows of the troubled lake
  High into the air; the snowy fleece lies thick;
  From every bough, from every jutting rock
  The crystals hang; the torrents roar has ceased--
  As if that Voice that called creation forth
  Had said "Be still." All nature stands aghast,
  Suspended by the viewless power of cold.'

Her translations from Hebrew were her favourite Sunday pursuits, and
those of Jonah's Prayer, and Habakkuk's 'Song in Parts' are, to my mind,
more poetical and more coherent than even our fine authorized version.
In this judgment I find myself confirmed by reading that Archbishop
Magee considered her rendering of 'Job' the best he knew.

There is no space for lengthy quotations from her prose writings and her
letters, but some short sentences will have to serve as samples of her
manner and her thoughts:

'To be good and disagreeable is high treason against virtue.'

'A great genius can render clear and intelligible any subject within the
compass of human knowledge; therefore, what is called a deep book (too
deep to be understood) we may generally conclude is the produce of a
shallow understanding.'

'Happiness is a very common plant, a native of every soil, yet is some
skill required in gathering it; for many noxious weeds look like it, and
deceive the unwary to their ruin.'

'Wouldst thou know the true worth of time, employ one hour.'

'Pleasure is a rose near which there ever grows the thorn of evil. It is
wisdom's work so carefully to cull the rose, as to avoid the thorn.'

'Why do so many men return coxcombs from their travels? Because they set
out fools!'

'As the sun breaking forth in winter, so is joy in the season of
affliction. As a shower in the midst of summer, so are the salutary
drops of sorrow mingled in our cup of pleasure.'

'A happy day is worth enjoying; it exercises the soul for heaven. The
heart that never tastes of pleasure, shuts up, grows stiff, and
incapable of enjoyment. How, then, shall it enter the realms of bliss? A
cold heart can receive no pleasure even there.'



                 ON A SHOULDER OF THE 'OLD MAN'


    'The ascent becomes dismally laborious here, so much so, that you
    are fain to lie down upon the soft, dry mountain grass, to recover
    breath, and while doing so, what objection can you have to a little
    conversation with the Old Man himself? Listen, then!


    'Old Man! Old Man! your sides are brant,
      And fearfully hard to climb;
    My limbs are weak, and my breath is scant,
      So I'll rest me here and rhyme.'

    'Yes, my sides are steep, and my dells are deep,
      And my broad bald brow is high,
    And you'll ne'er, should you rhyme till the limit of time,
      Find worthier theme than I.

    'My summit I shroud in the weltering cloud,
      And I laugh at the tempest's din;
    I am girdled about with stout rock without,
      And I've countless wealth within.

    'My silence is broke by the raven's croak,
      And the bark of the mountain fox;
    And mine echoes awake to the brown glead's shriek,
      As he floats by my hoary rocks.'

          DR. A. C. GIBSON: _Ravings and Ramblings Round
                               Coniston_.

[Illustration:
  _Photo by Herbert Bell, Ambleside._

           HAWKESHEAD, FROM ESTHWAITE WATER.

             The Residence of Dr. Gibson,
       and Burial-place of Miss Elizabeth Smith.



                               XIX

                A COUNTRY DOCTOR AND HIS STORIES
                          (FOLK-SPEECH)

                  DR. ALEXANDER CRAIG GIBSON


    'If you are _ill_ at this season, there is no occasion to send for
    the doctor--only _stop eating_. Indeed, upon general principles, it
    seems to me to be a mistake for people, every time there is a little
    thing the matter with them, to be running in such haste for the
    "doctor," because, if you are going to die, a doctor can't help you,
    and if you are not, there is no occasion for him.'--HONE'S _Table
    Book_.

There are three paragraphs about him--appreciative ones--in Mr.
Bradley's 'Highways and Byways in the Lake District,' and the first of
the three shall furnish me with my own introductory one. 'And who may
Craig Gibson be? Ninety-nine out of a hundred readers will most
assuredly demand to be told. His portrait figures in no shop windows,
nor can his biography in concentrated form be purchased for a penny at
the local stationer's, nor is the house he occupied an item in the round
of the enterprising char-a-banc. Poor Gibson, in short, is not reckoned
among the immortals of the Lake Country, by outsiders at any rate; but,
unlike any of these except Wordsworth, he was a native of it and a
product of the soil. Gibson was, in fact, a country doctor, whose
practice carried him far and wide through hill and dale, among all
classes of people. He had a wonderful knowledge of the country folk,
among whom he laboured until he was forty, and a vast fund of sympathy
and humour, which endeared him to all. With this he combined a passion
for dialect studies, and some genius for writing poems, both of a
humorous and pathetic nature. No man who ever lived had such a mastery
of the varying dialects of Cumberland and Westmorland, or better knew
the inner character and the humour of their rugged people.'

The only sketch of his life I have been able to find is Mr. Nicholson's
in the 'National Dictionary of Biography,' and that gives no clue to
anything fuller. From this it appears he was born in 1813 at Harrington,
Cumberland, now a town of some 3,000 inhabitants on the London and
North-Western Railway, and on the seashore between Whitehaven and
Workington. An old coloured engraving of it about contemporary with
Gibson's youth shows it as a harbour nearly land-locked by hilly
promontories, and possessing a small stone-built pier. The village, more
ancient than the harbour, was half a mile inland. Gibson's father was
named James, and his mother was Mary Stuart Craig, a member of a Moffat
family. His early education was probably quite local, at any rate we
find that he got his first knowledge of medicine by serving his time
with a practitioner at Whitehaven, and from thence he went to Edinburgh
University to study and to take his diploma, commencing on his own
account at Branthwaite and Ullock, near Cockermouth, when twenty-eight
years of age. He did not remain there long, but in 1843 removed to
Coniston, and married Miss Sarah Bowman of Lamplough the following
year. He remained at Coniston for six years, and then removed to
Hawkshead, where he dwelt for another eight, and then, finding the
country practice, with long rides and exposure to all kinds of mountain
weather, becoming too hard and too heavy for him, he removed to
Bebington in Cheshire, where he remained for fifteen years more, and
when failing health and three score years of life compelled it, lived
there retired until his death in 1874. He is interred in the churchyard
of that village in the neighbourhood of Birkenhead. This is practically
all that is known, and, indeed, is all that need concern us of his
outward biography. His inner is indicated by his books. From them we
gather that he was a pleasant and genial man, who readily found his way
to the hearts of the 'statesmen' and peasantry among whom his
professional calling carried him every day of his life, and with whom he
would hold colloquies in the vernacular, and from whose fireside talks
he would gather the stories and legends he afterwards put together in
prose or verse, to illustrate both the Scandinavian dialects and the
folklore of the north-western shires, as William Barnes has in later
times done for the Saxon speech and thought-modes of the Dorsetshire
people. We are sure, too, that wherever he rode he was a keen observer
and investigator of natural objects among the rocks, and birds, and
flowers, as well as of castles, churches, mansions, schools, and ancient
earthworks. He was a learned geologist, and if you want to be assured of
this you have but to procure a copy of Harriet Martineau's 'Guide to the
Lakes,' and you will find the chapters on geology and mineralogy were
his compilation, though there is no further acknowledgment of the fact
than the presence of his initials, A. C. G., at the end. It is not the
hand of a mere scientific smatterer that can condense with ability into
some dozen or thirteen pages the earth treasures and stratification of
such a mountain-land as ours, respecting which he says, 'As no district
of similar extent displays such a variety of natural beauties in its
external aspect, so does no district present within equally limited
bounds such diversity of geological formation and arrangement, or a like
variety of mineral productions.' He was an excellent botanist, writing
upon the flora of Cumberland, though possibly his knowledge of
ornithology would be little more than that of any intelligent,
nature-loving country doctor almost always in the open. An antiquarian
he certainly was of no mean standing, being a Fellow of the Society of
Antiquaries--a society that asks, unlike many other 'learned'
associations, 'what has he done?' before receiving a member--and he was
a frequent contributor to the 'Transactions of the Historic Society of
Lancashire and Cheshire.' A good example of the quality of his
contributions is that on 'Hawkshead Town, Church, and School.' It is
interesting, and in a small space very enlightening. He tells us that
this is one of the smallest market towns in the kingdom, and he
describes it in a couplet of his own, a 'pattering' rhyme:

  'A quaint old town is Hawkshead, and an ancient look it
    bears,
  Its church, its school, its dwellings, its streets, its lands, its
    squares,
  Are all irregularities--all angles, twists, and crooks,
  With penthouses and gables over archways, wents, and nooks.'

It really has two small 'squares' and one street 'of varying contour,
and width frequently and awkwardly encroached upon by gabled shops
standing at right angles to the roadway and houses by aggressive corners
and low upper stories projected far beyond the foundation-line of the
buildings.' Altogether an eccentric town. Then, after speaking of its
lake, he points out to us the old glacier moraines, and its green
water-meadows, and next branches off into the story of the 'Pilgrimage
of Grace' in 1537, and the tale of the Plague in 1577, and of the
opening of the Quaker cemetery on the picturesque hillside in 1658, and
the founding and upkeep of the parish church with its peal of six bells,
each with its inscription, from which we can transcribe only the first:

  'Awake, arise, the day's restored,
  Awake, arise, to praise the Lord,
  Regard, look to, the peal I lead.
                   1765.'

He has, too, many sage remarks to make about 'Drunken Barnaby's' visit,
of which, perhaps, I shall say more in another article.

But the two books the worthy doctor has specially made his mark with as
regards the general public are 'Folk-Speech Tales and Rhymes of
Cumberland and Districts Adjacent,' and 'The Old Man, or Ravings and
Ramblings around Coniston.' The first has passed through several
editions, and is to be had quite cheaply through second-hand
booksellers; the second is scarcer and dearer. Of the first the
_Saturday Review_ wrote: 'Few people will dare to attack this
odd-looking book, with its unusual accents and its rude phonetic
spelling, and if they do they will not understand it if they have not
had some previous education. But to those who can read it it is full of
racy jokes and rich humour, and will afford infinite amusement when
intelligently undertaken.' This seems to be a tolerably correct
estimate, for, as he tells us in his preface, the tales relating to
Cumberland and Dumfriesshire are in pure Cumbrian--unadulterated, old
Norse-rooted Cumbrian vernacular--and pure Scotch folk-speech. The High
Furness dialect, he says, is rendered impure by the influx of emigrants
from across Morecambe Sands. How can I find specimens short enough? 'Joe
and the Geologist' is in the Cumberland mode. It tells of a lad hired by
a Savant to carry the stones and fossils collected in a two days'
excursion, and how the lad, thinking one stone as good as another,
emptied the leather bag on the sly, filled it again from a
stone-breaker's heap, earned his meals and half a sovereign for his
'hard work,' and managed to send his employer off by coach none the
wiser till he should reach home.

'When I com nar to Skeal-hill, I fund oald Aberram Achisson sittin' on a
steul breckan steans to mend rwoads wid, an' I axt him if I med full my
ledder pwokes frae his heap. Aberram was varra kaim't an' tell't ma to
tak them as wasn't brocken if I want'd steans, sooa I tell't hoo it was
an' oa' aboot it. T' oald maizlin was like to toytle of his steul wid'
laughin', and said me mudder sud tak gud care on ma, for I was ower
sharp a chap to leeve varra lang i' this warld; but I'd better full ma
pwokes as I liked an' mak on wid' them.' 'The Skulls of Calgarth,' a
North Country Naboth vineyard story with additions, is the only tale in
Westmorland talk.

  'A house ligs la' an' leansome theear, doon in that oomer dark,
  Wi' wide, heigh-risin' chimla-heads, la' roof, an' crumlin' wo',
  O' wedder-gra'n an' weed-be grown--for time hes setten t' mark
  O' scooers an' scooers o' wearin' years on hantit Co'garth Ho'.'

To the reader uninstructed in the vernacular his little work, entitled
'The Old Man; or, Ravings and Ramblings Round Coniston,' is more
interesting than 'Folk-Speech.' It contains capital descriptive
passages, some in pointed prose, and some in rhyme. Example of the
latter may be found in 'The Sunken Graves.'

  'Near Esthwaite Head, remote and lone,
    Where crag-born Dudden chafes and raves--
  Unblest by priest--unmarked by stone--
    Were lengthened rows of dateless graves.'

Of the prose, take these words about Coniston: 'Nowhere else have you
seen wood and water, hill and valley, green-sward and purple heather,
rugged crag and velvet lawn, gray rock and bright-blossoming shrub,
waving forest and spreading coppice brought under the eye at once in
such magnificent proportion and in such bewildering contrast.' He
narrates some exciting fox-hunting experiences of the fell-side farmers
and their hounds; he has some pithy tales of the native peasantry and
their folklore and their customs, as well as of their parsons, poor as
Goldsmith's 'Christian Hero'--passing rich at £40 a year, yet learned
and of cultured minds, though dressed in homespun, and toiling on the
land to eke out a living. His own adventures as a medical man in mists
and storms sweeping across the mountains are sometimes graphic. This
paragraph must suffice us: 'There had been a heavy snow, which for a day
or two, under the influence of soft weather and showers, had been
melting; the whole country was saturated with wet--every road was a
syke, every syke a beck, and every beck a river. The high lands were
covered with a thick, cold, driving, suffocating mist, which every now
and then thinned a little to make way for one of those thorough-bred
mountain showers, of which none can have any conception who have not
faced them on the fells in winter--wetting to the skin and chilling to
the marrow in three seconds, and piercing exposed parts like legions of
pins and needles. The hollows in the roads, which are neither few nor
far between, were filled with snow in a state of semi-fluidity, cold as
if it had been melted with salt, through which I splashed and struggled,
dragging my floundering jaded pony after me with the greatest
difficulty.'



             WRITTEN IN THE WORDSWORTH COUNTRY


    'He is dead, and the fruit-bearing day
    Of his race is past on the earth;
    And darkness returns to our eyes.
    For, oh! is it you, is it you,
    Moonlight and shadow, and lake,
    And mountains, that fill us with joy,
    Or the poet who sings you so well?
    Is it you, O beauty, O grace,
    Or the voice that reveals what you are?
    Are ye, like daylight and sun,
    Shared and rejoiced in by all?
    Or are you immersed in the mass
    Of matter, and hard to extract,
    Or sunk at the core of the world
    Too deep for the most to discern?
    Like stars in the deep of the sky,
    Which arise on the glass of the sage,
    But are lost when their watcher is gone.'
               MATTHEW ARNOLD: _The Youth of Nature_.


[llustration:

  _Photo by Herbert Bell, Ambleside._

                 FOX HOW, AMBLESIDE.

              The Home of the Arnolds.]



                             XX

                  TWO PIONEER EDUCATIONISTS

                  THOMAS AND MATTHEW ARNOLD


    'Speaking of the Arnolds, he (Hartley Coleridge) said they are a
    most gifted family. I asked what specially in their education
    distinguished them. He rose from the dinner-table, as his manner is,
    and answered, "Why, they were suckled on Latin and weaned upon
    Greek!"'--CAROLINE FOX'S _Journal_.

Do not the Ambleside and Grasmere char-a-bancs proclaim on their
back-boards in letters large and ugly that they will 'return by Fox How,
the residence of Dr. Arnold'? And is not the advertised route a pretty
one, despite the disadvantage of its being frequented by thousands of
'trippers' to whom the Arnolds are not even names, and who can hardly be
much illuminated by the drivers?

When Arnold of Rugby bought the property and built the house for a
holiday home, with the hope of some day retiring permanently to it, he
wrote of its being 'a mountain nest of sweetness.' Even his son Matthew,
more of an introversive than a descriptive poet, more inclined to utter
a thought of Goethe's or quote a song of Beranger's than to dwell on the
inwardness of natural scenery, must perforce write of 'Rotha's living
wave'--the stream that 'sparkles through fields vested for ever with
green,' and of

    'Moonlight, and shadow, and lake,
    And mountains that fill us with joy.'

The father died in harness, and was buried in Rugby Chapel, and not in
Grasmere, by the Wordsworth graves, as he had hoped. The son spent his
boyhood at Fox How, and returned to it often in later life, for Mrs. Dr.
Arnold remained there--a widow--for many years.

Thomas Arnold, born in 1795, at Cowes, Isle of Wight, was the son of the
Collector of Customs in that little port. He was educated first at
Westminster, and then for four years at Winchester. As a child he was
stiff, shy, and formal, says Dean Stanley, and after entering Oxford,
indeed until mature life, was a 'lie-a-bed.' Still, he was forward at
school, strong in history and geography, took early to his pen, and had
a good memory for poetry. At the University, a scholar at Corpus
Christi, Fellow of Oriel, he took a first-class in Classics, and two
Chancellor's Prizes in 1815 and 1817. Corpus Christi was a small,
intellectual community, and this fact helped to form his character. He
was, and remained, a Liberal in a society of convinced Tories. Outside
his companionship and his necessary studies the formative influences of
that period of his life were Aristotle, Thucydides, and Wordsworth. He
took 'orders,' and settled at Laleham, near Staines, where he remained
nine years, taking youths as pupils to prepare them for the
Universities. Here six of his children were born, including Matthew, and
here he developed his theories of education, to become so important a
factor in English life by-and-by. Here, too, he pursued diligently his
own deeper studies in the Bible, in theology, and in Roman history. Some
of the sermons preached at this village are incorporated with those,
afterwards so celebrated, delivered to the Rugby School. He became
Head-master of Rugby in 1827. At that time most of the great public
schools with clerical headmasters were in low condition, and upper-class
education was poor. The rich Churchmen held possession of the national
Universities, and social rather than intellectual status was the chief
thing aimed at. Of course there were many noble exceptions among the
undergraduates to this general truth, and Arnold was one of them, and
his compeers at Corpus Christi were others. Rugby as a school was in a
very poor state when he took hold of it. He raised it into one of the
first schools of its kind in the kingdom, and provoked the others into a
healthy competition. It is impossible here to give more than the barest
outline of his magnificent scholastic career. The ordinary reader may
judge for himself of its character by reading Thomas Hughes' 'Tom
Browne's School Days,' and the more studious Stanley's 'Life' of the
Doctor. It has been my own privilege to know several clergymen who were
Arnold's pupils. They reverenced his memory, they spoke of their
intellectual and spiritual obligations to their master in the warmest
terms, and in every case were among the most liberal-minded and cultured
men I have known. They were but examples of hundreds, cleric and lay, of
his excellent modelling. The key to his influence and reforms is found
in his own high Christian character, and, as one biographer says, in the
fact that 'the most strongly-marked feature of his intellect was the
strength and clearness of his conceptions. It seemed the possession of
an inward light so intense that it penetrated on the instant every
subject laid before him, and enabled him to grasp it with the vividness
of sense and the force of reality.' His administrative methods
revolutionized the discipline and the punishments. He relied on the
honour of the boys, and their Christian and gentlemanly characters, and
especially on the right leadership of the older ones, whom he trusted
implicitly, unless found untrustworthy. He had also, and this,
doubtless, was part of his secret, an unusual faculty of right
discernment in the selection of his masters. Character was the basis of
his system--upon that he could build scholarship, without it he would
not try to. 'It is not necessary,' he once said to his pupils, 'that
this school should be a school of 300, or 100, or 50 boys; but it is
necessary it should be a school of Christian gentlemen.' Through good
and evil report, opposition and scoffing, he went on his way, and
conquered. He took his part, too, in liberalizing the Anglican Church.
For defending Bishop Hampden of Hereford, to whose appointment a violent
outcry was raised for alleged unorthodoxy, Arnold nearly lost his own
post. Earl Howe, one of the champions of the narrow-minded heresy
hunters, moved a condemnatory resolution at the Board of
Governors--there being four for, and four against, and none possessing a
casting vote, the headmaster was not suspended, and did not resign. In
1841 he was appointed Regius Professor of Modern History, and his
lectures remain in their published form as evidences of his accuracy and
lucidity. The next year, however, he was seized with angina pectoris,
and he died just about the time he was intending to retire from his
fourteen years' successful pioneering of the modern methods of secondary
and higher education. His character was well estimated by a writer in
the _Edinburgh Review_, albeit the comparison of Arnold with Milton is
not altogether felicitous in other respects. He says: 'They both so
lived in their great Task-master's eye as to verify Bacon's observation,
in his 'Essay on Atheism,' making themselves akin to God in spirit, and
raising their natures by means of a higher nature than their own.'
Matthew alludes to his father in his poem on Rugby Chapel. This poem is
in awkward metre, and the query might have been answered more positively
than he has ventured to do, if there is any truth whatsoever in the
Christian doctrine of immortality and a 'labour-house vast' seems a poor
substitute for scriptural imagery of the unseen spirit world.

    'Oh, strong soul, by what shore
    Tarriest thou now? For that force,
    Surely, has not been left vain!
    Somewhere, surely, afar,
    In the sounding labour-house vast
    Of being is practised that strength,
    Zealous, beneficent, firm.'

Another appreciation of the father by the son is interesting. 'He was
the first English clergyman who could speak as freely on religious
subjects as if he had been a layman.'

Of Matthew himself there needs little to be said. From whom did he
inherit his strange temperament? His poetry lacks the warmth of feeling
his father would have put into it. His muse is cold, classical, joyless.
His criticisms are keen, incisive, often just, more often marred by
foolish prejudices, almost brutally expressed. To Dissenters he was
intolerant, and never lost a chance of sneering at them, especially for
their want of that culture, or rather that special form of culture,
which he personally affected, and which his own Church had debarred them
from obtaining at the Universities. He laid himself open to the retort
of a leading Nonconformist, who spoke of Mr. Arnold's belief in the
well-known preference of the Almighty for University men. Mr. Herbert
Paul is not wide of the mark when he writes of his re-translations of
the Bible 'making one feel as if one had suddenly swallowed a
fish-bone.' Certainly the perusal of most of his books, such as 'Essays
in Criticism,' 'Culture and Anarchy,' 'Paul and Protestantism,'
'Literature and Dogma,' 'God and the Bible,' gives to the thoughtful
reader a sensation of being drawn by a swift, high-mettled, blood horse,
trying to get his head, and to run away with you over a stony road--the
pace is exhilarating, but the jolting is terrible. His best
contributions to the commonwealth are some of his educational theories
and suggestions, and most of his reports on foreign education, and on
his experience as an Inspector of Schools. In the latter capacity he
laboured for thirty-five years, and the impress of his genius abides.

Some of his forecasts of the future have come true, others are certain
yet to be fulfilled. He was the real founder of University Extension,
and he urged that the University of London should be made a teaching
institution only. Mr. Paul's estimate of him we may cordially assent to:
'Of all education reformers in the last century, not excepting his
father, Mr. Arnold was the most enlightened, the most far-sighted, and
the most fair-minded.' 'Fair-minded' he assuredly was when dealing with
the practical side of his profession. 'Fair-minded' he always believed
he was. 'Fair-minded' he seldom was on purely political or academic
matters, for then his extraordinary prejudices asserted their
sovereignty over him, and he was helpless beneath their sway. Mr.
Gladstone he disliked so intensely that we should hardly be wrong in
saying he hated him and all his works.

He exhibited a supercilious contempt for what he chose to brand as the
provincialism of the 'Low Church' and the Free Church; for the
aristocracy, who to him were 'barbarians' for preferring field sports to
the improvement of their minds; for the masses of the community, whom he
dismissed with the epithet 'the populace,' while the middle-classes were
'Philistines' (a word he borrowed from the Germans), because they were
'respectable' and kept gigs! Really all this shows too small a mind, too
circumscribed an outlook on humanity, to qualify Matthew Arnold for a
place among philosophers or national reformers. It is satisfactory to
turn from him as politician and critic of the Bible, of literature, and
of society, to his status as a poet, which, though really secondary to
that as an educationist, he will naturally be most widely remembered by.
His letters, too, recently published, show the pleasant side of his
private life. 'He was a poet of the closet,' is Mr. Stedman's summary of
him. Arthur Clough preferred Alexander Smith (practically a forgotten
minor poet) to the author of 'Empedocles,' and complained of the
obscurity and 'pseudo-Greek inflation' of 'Tristram and Iseult.' 'The
Scholar-Gipsy' is his best elegiac poem; 'The Forsaken Merman' his best
narrative piece; 'Bacchanalia, or the New Age,' his best lyric. This is
from 'The Merman':

    'Children dear, was it yesterday
    We heard the sweet bells over the bay?
    In the caverns where we lay,
    Through the surf, and through the swell,
    The far-off sound of a silver bell?
    Sand-strewn caverns, cool and deep,
    Where the winds are all asleep;
    Where the spent lights quiver and gleam,
    Where the salt weed sways in the stream,
    Where the sea-breeze, ranged all round,
    Feed in the ooze of their pasture ground;
    Where the sea-snakes coil and twine,
    Dry their mail, and bask in the brine;
    Where great whales come sailing by,
    Sail, and sail, with unshut eye,
    Round the world for ever and aye?
    When did music come this way?
    Children dear, was it yesterday?'

Herein are lines more melodious, and ideas more English, than in other
verses, just because he 'let himself go' more than usual. He was
generally too self-conscious to do this at all.

His schools were Winchester and Rugby. His college was Balliol. For a
short time he was master under his father. For four years he acted as
private secretary to Lord Lansdowne, and in 1857 was made Inspector of
Schools. He was Professor of Poetry at Oxford from 1857 to 1867. He died
suddenly of inherited heart disease while running to catch a tram at
Liverpool in 1888, at sixty-six years of age. All this may be read in
any Dictionary of Biography, and really there is little more to note of
events in his life outside the daily routine of his official career. He
was buried at Laleham, where he was born. Something better might be his
epitaph than his own pessimistic lines:

    'Creep into this narrow bed,
    Creep, and let no more be said.'



                PHILARETVS, HIS INSTRUCTIONS TO HIS
                               SONNE


    'Deare Sonne, as thou art tender to mee, remember these
    advertisements of thy careful father.
        'Bee zealous in the service of thy God; ever recommending
    in the prime houre of the day all thy ensuing actions to
    His gracious protection.
        'Bee constant in thy Resolves, ever grounded on a
    religious feare, that they may bee seconded by God's
    favour.
        'Bee serious in thy Studies; with all humility crave the
    assistance of others, for thy better proficiency.
        'Bee affable to all; familiar to few.
        'Bee to such a constant consort where thou hast hope
    to bee a daily proficient.
        'Bee provident and discreetly frugal in thy expense.
        'Honour those in whose charge thou art instructed.
        'And, sweet Jesu, with Thy grace enrich him, to Thy
    glory, my comfort.

                              'Thy deare Father,

                                            'PHILARETVS.'


    '_Essais upon the Five Senses, Revived by a new Supplement,
        with a pithy one upon Detraction, continued
        with sundry Christian Resolves, etc._, by RIC. BRATHVVAYT,
        ESQ. (1635).

[Illustration:
  _Photo by Gilbert Hogg, Kendal._

                  BURNESIDE HALL, NEAR KENDAL.

               The Home of Richard Braithwaite.]



                             XXI

                       DRUNKEN BARNABY

                    RICHARD BRAITHWAITE


    'A self-deluded fool is he who deems
      The head is innocent that moves the hand.
    A fount impure may taint a thousand streams.
      The devil did not do the work he planned.
    He is the very worst of evil pests
    Who fears to execute, and but suggests.'
                  S. C. HALL: _The Trial of Sir Jasper_.

A mile or so from the picturesque town of Kendal is a village, standing
on both sides of the rushing little river Kent, now called Burneside,
though anciently Barnside. It has a church of old foundation, rebuilt
early in last century, chiefly by private subscription, but partly by
enforced church rates, after the custom of that age. It has a fine
bridge crossed by the road leading to the mountain heights and the long,
deep valleys, so wildly beautiful, and beginning to be so far-famed
through Mrs. Humphrey Ward's romances. Adjoining the bridge is a large
paper-mill, where formerly stood a worsted-mill and patent candle-wick
cutting factory. The village possesses an institute and library, and a
public-house of the Earl Grey type. The people seem contented and
intelligent, and as the number of them has grown from 650 in 1830 to
over 1,000 within fifty years, we may fairly point to it as an
object-lesson for those who desire to see village industries and 'garden
manufacturing villages' multiplied, and through them the neighbouring
farming interests improved and enriched.

A short stroll towards the northern uplands brings the visitor to a
ruined, ivy-clad Peel-tower, one of those relics of border-warfare days
with which these regions abound. As in many other cases, so in this,
when the times became more settled, a manor-house grew up around the
grim, square-built battlemented tower, which mansion is now, in still
later and quieter days, a farmhouse. To the manor and dwelling succeeded
the subject of this sketch on his father's death in 1610, or shortly
afterwards. He came of a race of Westmorland landed gentry, owning
estates here, and at Ambleside and Appleby. It is not known where he was
born. He was entered as a gentleman commoner at Oriel College, Oxford,
as a native of Northumberland, and it is, of course, possible that his
father, a wealthy man, held residential property in that county. The
internal evidence of his writings, however, has been of late held to be
sufficiently strong to prove him a native of Kendal. His words, in an
address to 'The Aldermen of Kendall,' seem very explicit:

  'Within that native place where I was born,
  It lies in you, dear townsmen, to reforme.'

Anthony a'Wood, in his 'Athenæ Oxoniensis,' tells how Braithwaite--or,
as he spells the name, Brathwayte--was sent to the University at sixteen
years of age in 1604. He remained there three years, 'avoiding as much
as he could the rough pathes of Logic and Philosophy, and tracing those
smooth ones of Poetry and Roman History, in which at length he did
excell.' Thence he went to Cambridge, studying literature 'in dead and
living authors.' From Cambridge he proceeded to London to read law in
the Inns of Court. In his father's will there are indications, and in
his own later writings there are sorrowful confessions, that, for a
while, at all events, he lived a wild, roystering life in the
Metropolis. 'The day seemed long wherein I did not enjoy these
pleasures; the night long wherein I thought not of them. I knew what
sinne it was to sollicit a maid into lightnesse; or to be drunken with
wine, wherein was excesse; or to suffer mine heart to be oppressed with
surfetting and drunkennesse; yet for all this, run I on still in mine
evil wayes.' His father's death-bed doubts of him, and the tying up of
the estate bequeathed to him, till he had amended, seem to have brought
him to himself. While living at Burneside Hall, during the early days of
the Civil Wars he was made a Captain of the local Royalist trained
bands, a Deputy-Lieutenant, and J.P. for the county, and spent his
leisure in composing and publishing the more serious of his books. Seven
years after entering on his possessions, he married Miss Frances Lawson,
of Darlington, but surreptitiously, probably because of objections
raised by the young lady's parents. It seems to have been more than a
love-match--a happy union of sixteen years' duration--producing a family
of nine--six sons and three daughters. Six years of widowhood, and then
he married a Yorkshire lady, who brought him another manor, Catterick,
where for the future he resided till his death. The sole issue of this
second marriage was a son--Strafford--who was knighted, and was killed
in an engagement with an Algerian man-of-war--in the ship _Mary_, of
which Sir Roger Strickland was commander. In 1673 Richard Braithwaite
died, and was buried in Catterick Parish Church, a mural monument duly
setting forth the fact in customary Latin. Anthony a'Wood says he bore
during his steady years 'the character of a well-bread (_sic_) gentleman
and a good neighbour.' Mr. Haslewood, his most competent editor, has
collected, I know not from whence, some oral traditions of his personal
appearance, interesting as a picture of the seventeenth-century northern
gentry, as well as of the individual. He was, although below the common
stature, one of the handsomest men of the time, and well proportioned,
remarkable for ready wit and humour, and of polished manners and
deportment. He usually wore a light gray coat, a red waistcoat, leather
breeches, and a high-crowned hat. From a full-length portrait in the
first edition of his 'English Gentleman,' which is believed to be his
likeness, he wore also boots, spurs, sword, belt, and cloak. He was so
neat in his appearance, and lively in manner, that his equals bestowed
upon him the nickname of 'Dapper Dick.'

He earned from later generations a far less enviable soubriquet--that of
'Drunken Barnaby.' This is because he is--and rightly so, without
doubt--credited with the authorship of a notorious book called by him
originally 'Barnabæ Itinerarium, or Barnabee's Journal.' It was done in
Latin and English on opposite pages, to 'most apt numbers reduced, and
to the old tune of Barnabe commonly chanted.' The poem would seem to
have passed out of general recollection, till in 1716 it was
republished by London booksellers under the title of 'Drunken Barnaby's
Four Journeys to the North of England,' and alleged to have been found
among some musty old books that had a long time lain by in a corner, and
now at last 'made publick.' This was a fabricated title with the
intention of catching the public taste, because of a popular ballad of
the same name then current. The Itinerary may well have been the
production of his muse during his London wild-oat days. Drunken and
licentious the traveller certainly was. He gives a rough, coarse picture
of the depraved manners of the times, against which zealous Puritans
were preaching and vigorously protesting.

Mr. Atkinson, in his 'Worthies of Westmorland,' calls him a 'strolling
minstrel.' A stroller he was, of course, but not a minstrel in any other
sense than as a keeper of a rhyming diary. He also says that 'Drunken
Barnaby' was a nickname of his own choice. This is too cruel!
Braithwaite never called himself so, and the term, when more than a
quarter of a century after his death it was invented for trade purposes,
was supposed to belong, not to Braithwaite at all, but to a certain
'Barnaby Harrington,' a supposed Yorkshire schoolmaster and
horse-dealer. 'Barnabæ Itinerarium' has little merit as poetry. It is
mainly of interest to moderns for the light it throws--like
the water-poet, Taylor's, 'Penniless Pilgrimage,' and his
'Merry-wherry-ferry Voyage'--on the social condition of Stuart and
Commonwealth England, as well as for its local allusions. Take of the
latter, for example, these:

    'Thence to Sedbergh, sometimes joy-all,
    Gamesome, gladsome, richly royal,
    But those jolly boys are sunken,
    Now scarce once a year one drunken;
    There I durst not well be merry,
    Farre from home old Foxes werry.[B]

           *       *       *       *       *

    'Thence to Kendall, pure her state is,
    Prudent too her magistrate is,
    In whose Charter to them granted.
    Nothing but a Mayor is wanted;[C]
    Here it likes me to be dwelling,
    Bousing, loving, stories telling.'

           *       *       *       *       *

    'Thence to Garestang, where are feeding
    Heards with large fronts freely breeding;
    Thence to Ingleforth I descended,
    Where choice bull-calfs will be vended;
    Thence to Burton's boundiers pass I,
    Faire in flocks, in pastures grassie.

           *       *       *       *       *

    'Thence to Lonesdale, where were at it
    Boys that scorn'd quart-ale by statute,
    Till they stagger'd, stammer'd, stumbled,
    Railed, reeled, rowled, tumbled,
    Musing I should be so stranged,
    I resolv'd them, I was changed.

    'To the sinke of sin they drew me,
    Where like Hogs in mire they tew me,
    Or like Dogs unto their vomit,
    But their purpose I o'recommed;
    With shut eyes I flung in anger
    From those Mates of death and danger.'

[B] (Old foxes are wary when far from home.)

[C] It seems a Mayor was granted subsequently.

On another journey he came to 'Kendall,' and there he did 'what men call
spend all,' drinking 'thick and clammy ale,' and, passing on to
Staveley, drank again all night. He might in those days have well
deserved to be ear-marked for a 'drunken' vagabond, yet it is not fair
to the memory of any man to brand him only and for ever with frolics and
follies and evil deeds of which he afterwards repented, and would gladly
have atoned for.

We, at all events, would prefer to think of Richard Braithwaite at his
best, and not at his worst. He was the author of fully three score
volumes of prose and poetry, in Latin and in English, essays, sonnets,
madrigals. The titles of only a few can be quoted--'A Strappado for the
Devil,' 'Love's Labyrinth,' 'Shepherd's Tales or Eclogues,' 'Nature's
Embassie,' 'The English Gentleman,' 'The English Gentlewoman,'
'Whimsies, or a New Cast of Characters.' There is a good deal of telling
satire in the last of these:

'An Almanack-maker is the most notorious knave pickt out of all these,
for under colour of astrology he practices necromancy.'

'A Gamester--professes himself honest, and publishes himself Cheat upon
discovery.

'A Traveller is a fraud, if he travaile to novellize himself and not to
benefit his country.

'A Launderer is also one if she wash her skinne, but staine her soule,
and so soile her inward beauty.'

In 'A Spiritual Spicerie' he begins a poem:

    'Morall mixtures or Divine
      Aptly culled, and Couch'd in order,
    Are like Colours in a Shrine,
      Or choice flowers set in a border.'

In 'Holy Memorials' he bemoans his past waywardness and looseness, and
speaks of being sore perplexed when his own wanton verses were repeated
in his hearing, and 'though I did neither own them nor praise them, yet
must I in another place answer for them, if Hee, on whom I depend,
shall not in these teares which I shed drowne the memory of them.' Like
many of his pious contemporaries, he tried his hand at turning the
Psalms of David into English verse. If they fall short in his
translations of the beauty and strength of our prose versions--and they
have in no degree gripped the churches--these sacred hymns helped to
ripen his own character and faith, and he is very sincere in concluding
his efforts with:

    'Praise to the God of Heaven,
      Be given by Mee a Worme,
      That David's numbers in this forme,
    To Mee a Worme hath given.'

Adding on the last leaf, 'Other errours favourably excuse, and amend at
pleasure.'

The quaintness of his spelling, of his metres, of his expressions,
commend his works to lovers of old literature. Some are reprinted,
others are scarce. The first edition of 'Barnaby' is almost
unobtainable, and that of 'A Survey of History,' a quarto volume with
portrait, has just been offered me for £2.



                         SWARTHMORE HALL


    'I went through a gate and found myself in a little green paddock,
    where there was not even one rose left "to mark where a garden had
    been." There were the principal windows--one little window looking
    out from George Fox's study; the other two were old-fashioned
    bay-windows, much larger. From the uppermost windows Fox used to
    preach, sometimes, to his friends in the garden below. Near the
    bay-window is the little old doorway, to which two rude stone steps
    led up. All else was plain and unpretending. Inside I was shown the
    "hall," a quaint, flagged apartment, on the ground-floor, with a
    great, old-fashioned fireplace, and with a kind of stone daïs in the
    recess of the mullioned window. Here I was told the earliest
    meetings of the "Friends" were held. From this room, two steps led
    up to a little sanctuary, which was Fox's study; and I felt as if
    every footfall there was an intrusion, for that dim-lighted room,
    with its tiny lattice and quaint furniture, was the cell of a saint,
    "of whom the world was not worthy."'--EDWIN WAUGH: _Rambles in the
    Lake Country_.


[Illustration:
  _Photo by Herbert Bell, Ambleside._

                  SWARTHMORE HALL, ULVERSTONE.

The Home of Judge and Margaret Fell, and afterwards of George Fox.]



                             XXII

              LAST WORDS ABOUT OUR CELEBRITIES


    'Adjust your proposed amount of reading to your time and
    inclination; but whether that amount be large or small, let it be
    varied in its kind, and widely varied. If I have a confident opinion
    on any one point connected with the improvement of the human mind,
    it is on this.'--DR. THOMAS ARNOLD.


This lovely land of lake and mountain, dale and fell, in which my lot is
happily cast in old age, is too full of literary and artistic memories,
as well as ethnological and historic associations for anything to be
given in great detail. Over and above the beauty of its scenery and the
wealth of its natural productions, it offers to the traveller such
visions and glimpses of eminent men and women in the world of letters as
no other spot in the British Islands can show. Almost every village and
hamlet has some connection with a departed worthy of whom it is still
proud. Not to speak for the moment of the relation of Keswick to
Coleridge and Southey, or of Grasmere to De Quincey and the Wordsworths,
or of Coniston to Ruskin, of Ambleside to the Arnolds, or of Windermere
to 'Christopher North,'--of all whom I have treated at length--we have
roadside cottages, pleasant villas, and town houses, laying claim to
special distinction because someone of whom the nation is proud was
born, or lived, or died there. At Ambleside, for instance, near to Fox
How, dwelt William Edward Forster, the unfortunate statesman who would
have been more happily remembered in Ireland, and in connection with
national education by a larger section of his fellow countrymen, had he
entertained, during his public career, the enlightened views of his
devoted father, and the circle in which he and John Bright were trained.
Near there, too, for a time, Felicia Hemans found a peaceful home, after
her many trials, in a cottage still marked on the map as 'Dove's Nest,'
a lovely retreat for a poetess, in good sooth. The archæologist
Nicholson, poor in this world's gear, but rich in ancient lore, helps to
complete the galaxy of 'bright particular stars' that clustered about
the water-head of Winander.

Here in Kendal we have a tablet on the front of the house where Romney,
the portrait painter, died, carefully and undeservedly (as some think)
tended by the wife whom he had left alone so long. We show the yard in
which was the shop wherein he learned his first trade, and in our town
hall are several valuable pictures of his which will amply repay
visitors for a pilgrimage to our borough. Here lived Dr. Dalton, the
great chemist, once a tutor in our ancient Friends' School; and here
also Gough, the blind botanist, who knew any and every flower by the
feel of it upon his fingers and lips. Mrs. Humphrey Ward has given us
delightful word-pictures of the dales whose gateways we see from our
hillside garden as we look to the mighty summits across the verdant
valley of the Kent. Within a walk from our house stands the old
Baronial Hall where Agnes Strickland gathered material for her 'Queens
of England,' and where she wrote 'copy' for her publishers. The
straggling village of Troutbeck, just beneath yonder huge mountain-dome,
whereon the Baal-fires used to be lighted every midsummer eve, was the
ancestral home of the Hogarths; and in that valley Charlotte Brontë
pondered some of her best works, and sketched her backgrounds from the
moorland heights. Not all her scenery is Yorkshire, whatever Yorkshire
folk may imagine.

Further afield still, and across the watershed of our Westmorland
ramparts, on the edge of Thirlmere, Hall Caine spent his days in
producing 'The Shadow of a Crime.'

Away to the westward of us, at the foot of Windermere, where we often
take our Southern friends for afternoon tea in the sweet summer-time, is
Newby Bridge--a place that, with its river and its woods, would have
surely inspired in Kingsley, had he seen it as we have done, another
song like 'Clear and Cool.'

Here Mrs. Gaskell indited her charming novels of old-world, homely
people, and their ways. Here came up Nathaniel Hawthorne from his
Liverpool Consulate to compose his essays and write appreciative notes
upon the district.

To the north of us, just beyond the farthest loop of the steep and
winding railway incline, up and down which two-engined trains career all
day long, is Shap, the birthplace of antediluvian glaciers and the
celebrated Egyptologist, Wilkinson.

Mrs. Ratcliffe, the romancist; Grey, the elegist; William Watson, of
'Wordsworth's Grave'; Turner, the artist; Gilpin, the lover of rough
woodlands; and another Gilpin, 'the Apostle of the North,' in Queen
Mary's days; George Fox and his farmer preachers--founders of Quakerism;
Philip Sidney's sister, the lovely Countess of Pembroke--all these
belong more or less to the Lake Counties, and the homes of most of them,
while resident here, are yet to be seen. Brantwood looks over Coniston
Water to the quaint round chimneys and the gables of the century-stained
hall of the Le Flemings, and beyond it towers the gigantic cone of the
Old Man mountain. Dove Cottage, with its pretty garden laid out by the
hands of William and Dorothy Wordsworth, nestles beneath the wooded hill
at Grasmere. Greta Hall yet stands in Keswick, and the row of
lodging-houses where the author of 'Thorndale' and of 'Gravenhurst' met
the wife who proved the soul of his soul, and has written so sweetly of
her spouse. William Clarkson's retreat is on Ullswater's shore-lands;
and the honeymoon home of Tennyson, 'Tent Lodge,' on those of Coniston.

Yet long, long after the last stone of all these honoured buildings has
been overthrown to form part of a cottage or a mansion for someone of a
future generation--long, long after the poets' bones laid in Grasmere
burial-ground have mouldered into dust and become part of the life of
the overshadowing trees--long, long after the commemorative marbles in
Crossthwaite Church have become marred beyond recognition--the hills and
streams whose glories were chanted by our Minnesingers of prose and
verse will remain virtually unchanged though with an added glory not
theirs in olden days--the glory of the human soul awakened by them to
truth and beauty--the glory of art and song shining on every valley and
peak.

There are still some few living amongst us in this 'playground of
England' who are carrying on the literary traditions peculiar to it, of
whom another hand than mine will write hereafter, for they will be men
of mark ere their life-work closes. They have begun well and will finish
better. Nor are the possibilities of further expansions of poetry, or
legend, or history, or prose idylls yet exhausted. There are fields
unbroken awaiting the arrival of him who shall help to brighten a new
age. There are romances, and novels, and epic poems still stored away in
the narrative of the Roman Conquest and occupation; of the creeping
northward of the Saxons from land and sea; of the coming of the
fair-haired Norsemen in their long ships from the north seashores; of
the Kingdom of Strathclyde, with its varying fortunes; of the medieval
barons and their castles; of the dark-age church and its abbeys. There
are odes and lyrics still lingering among the heath-clad fells, and the
sounding forces, and the purling becks, that will be captured and given
to the world some day through the help of him by whom the in-breathing
of the spirit is felt. Our snow-fields on wintry uplands, in sunshine
or glimmering moonlight, are awaiting the pen that can adequately
picture them.

There are tales of border-raids, and Arthurian legends, and wealth of
fairy lore to be gathered, and 'country memories rich inlaid' by one who
shall be born here, or choose our shires for his home, and shall put on
singing-robes of sufficient quality and colour. 'I would I were a poet
happy-mad,' exclaims one of those whose lives I have epitomized:

    'I would I were a poet happy-mad,
    Up like a lark i' the morning of the times,
    To sing above the human harvesters;
    Drop fancies, dainty-sweet, to cheer their toil,
    And hurry out a ripe luxuriance
    Of life in song, as though my heart would break
    And sing them sweet and precious memories,
    And golden promises, and throbbing hopes;
    Hymn the great future with its mystery,
    That startles us from out the dark of time,
    With secrets numerous as a night of stars.'


                          THE END


       _Elliot Stock, 62, Paternoster Row, London, E.C._





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