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It is possible to view the experiment in vain, and when whole history of policy, of she repeats a former product letters, and of society as & there is good cause for its cycle of recurring human types. repetition. Pericles repeats himself in In the early years of last Cæsar, Aristides in

Cato: century the critical journals Frederick the Great has a pre- were filled with attacks upon cursor in Henri IV. and a the Cockney school of letters. successor in Cavour: Tennyson The epithet was not without is the Virgil of a different its appositeness, but the moveEmpire, and Bacon a northern ment was wrongly treated as Cicero. Among the lesser sporadio and unrelated, “withas among the greater types out pride of anoestry or hope of there is this law of recurrenos, posterity.” It is dangerous to and few movements are with- damn wholesale what always out their reasonably exact has been and must continue precedents. Hence the critic to be, for such sweeping is bound to be chary in con- oriticism is apt to confuse the demning any human tempera- issues. Keats, for instance, ment or creed that has & was labelled a “Cookney," and recognisable ancestry. The Keats was as little of a Cookney mere fact of its recurrence as Peter the Hermit. The must win a certain respect. writers felt and disliked the That the world goes on repro- faults of a school, and atducing a type argues a justifi. tributed these faults to their cation for it deep in the reason possessors' birth or residence of things. Nature does not in London a bold but unVOL. CLXXXVI. —NO. MCXXV.



historical theory.

The mis- must be leisure for the elefortune was that while their gancies, and the rock whence instinot was so aoute, their man was hewn must be decently diagnosis should have been a draped with leaves and flowers. little perverse. Cookneyism in Cookneyism is & civilisation thought and style is as old as which has become self-conAthens, nay, probably as old scious. It has looked all the as Thebes and Nineveh. You doors which lead from barwill find it in the Greek an- barism and lost the keys. It thologists and in Aristophanes. is never sprinkled, in Emerson's Horace and Cicero have a share phrase, with spray from anteof it. It is in the policy and diluvian seas: it would be art of the mediæval cities, and horribly soared if it were. It it has flourished umbrageous- hugs all the visible proofs of ly in the literary coteries of progress, and is satisfied that France. Ces bons, ces naïfs it is wisdom's last-begotten Allemands, were Cockneys to and best-loved child. A love Renan, who himself had much for the cosy, the domestio, and of the same quality. The the homely always marks it, school is so old, so numerous, for it sets a positive value upon and at its best so valuable, that the externals of that civilisait is unwise to dismiss it with a tion which it adores. The true sneer. Today we find it as Cockney is often subtle, for he vigorous in our midst as when has excellent brains, but it is a Lockhart and Gifford first petty subtlety, concerned with issued their thunderbolts. It the nuances of fanoy and emohas no necessary connection tion. He has his discipline, with London birth, or even but he is apt to bow to conwith urban birth, though a vention rather than to laws. city is its happiest environ. The Bohemian parades his ment; for it is not so much & trifling liberties, and obeys

a mode of life as a point of view. furiously a rule of conduct It might be worth our while which differs from that of the to make a few inquiries into its bourgeoisie, but is no less artistrength and weaknesses. ficial. The honest cit, who

Definition is always hazard- goes to church on Sundays ous, more especially when we and becomes alderman, are dealing, not with a for- finds it simpler to follow the mulated creed, but with & practice of the majority. Both vague attitude of mind. We are conventional, and both are may safely begin, however, good Cookneys. Mrs Grundy with the axiom that Cockney. is a Cockney goddess, but so is ism is urban in origin. It is the Lady of the Camellias. the fine flower of city life, Most literary coteries where men live close together Cookney at heart. Most writers in oomplete security and who have the quality of “intimoderato comfort. Before it maoy" and love to exploit can be engendered person and their emotions are sworn of property must be safe. There the school. Stevenson was far


are 8

enough from Cockneydom on Cookney is a salutary correos one sido, but on another, and tive, for at his weakest he is that the most popular, he was sane and friendly fellow. all that the best Cookney If he talks too much about could wish, and the great world himself and his likings and his of Cookneyism has taken him back-garden, it is better than to its heart. The school is apt if he babbled about preposterto lack breeding in the old true ous immensities. He is our sense of the word. Living a defenoe against that stupendous snug social life it considers bore, the Superman, who seems that a man's all belongs to to have captured the fanoy of society, and it does not under- the intellectually half - baked. stand the higher standards of One of the pleasantest forms reticence and dignity. Because of belles-lettres, the personal the modes under which it lives essay, would cease to be if the are essentially bourgeois, it is Cookney spirit were utterly perplexed and rather annoyed exorcised. By all means lot by the ways of what it calls the word stand for merits as the aristocracy. Men who lack well as for defects. In the best its fireside civilisation seem to sense 'Cranford' is Cockney, it inhuman and maleficent. and Miss Austen and Miss From the sterner realities of Edgeworth have & trace of life—war, suffering, terror, and the accent. All painters in death-it has a natural shrink- genre have been of the school. ing, unless it can give them Lamb is too great a man for the varnish of literary senti- us to label carelessly, but it

It stands uneasy in the might be said, in Bagehot's presence of a serious passion. phrase, that a Cockney could It is always human, in short, be carved out of him. As for but not always masculine. Leigh Hunt, he is the very

So runs the definition of the deacon of the craft. He sat Cockney by his defects—let us by his fire in a frowsy dressinghasten to add, a very bad kind gown and carpet-slippers, exudof definition indeod. If we ing the purest doctrine of harp too much on these defeots Cookaigne. He is a good we shall be guilty of a stupid instance, for he shows us very blunder. A limitation is no clearly how straitly

the vice unless it is forgotten, and temporament is bounded. the Cockney in his own sphere Sport, adventure, manly exis a very useful and worthy citement, he dismissed with a citizen. There is no more snoer; far better and more nauseous cant in these days noble, he said, to bring smiles than cheap mysticism to the faces of # party of which is always fluttering in oultivated womon. His merits the clouds—the desire of the are beyond question, his deftmoth for the limelight-and the negs of fanoy, his humour, his perverse sublimity which must instinet for poetry; and yot be grandiloquent about pedes- we defy the most resolute trian matters. To these the admirer of Cookneyism to read

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largely in Leigh Hunt without humanity he added a scholara slight feeling of nausea. ship as ripe and fastidious as The ordinary person, who is Landor's. Essentially he was not a Cockney any more than an aristocrat in taste, in oul. he is a Superman, cannot view ture, and in habits : and as the whole of life from a parlour-such it was given to him to window. Besides, he does not render in perfect verse the like to feel doubts as to the spirit of that sad old aristocrat sex of his author.

who preached the philosophy The Cookney, to put the of the Vine. Now the Cookney matter fairly, has the faults of is democratio : & chirruping all people with a limited out- optimist: a lover of convenlook, and the faults are patent tions, plain or coloured: the when his ambition begins to prophet of domesticity and exceed his discretion. He fails solid fare and not of a mistress lamentably when he trans- and a loaf in the desert. He grosses his own proper sphere. is probably a far better fellow It is offensive to find the Derby than Omar, but different described in the manner of eternally different.

It passes Isaiah, but it is no less offensive the

the wit of to have Man's Chief End treat- why he should have dised in the style of the week-end covered both Omar and Fitzcauseur. Because within his Gerald and insisted on aoting limits he is so admirable, his as their showman. The scholar friends must protest when they and aristocrat has nothing in see him outting a sorry figure oommon with the blades who where he has no business to be. dine in his honour with roses Our parlour - gossip is not the in their buttonholes. The reman to harangue

mob sult is that FitzGerald's version in a revolution, to preach of the 'Rubaiyat' is in grievous a new doctrine of infinity, to danger of being put to the use meddle with high policies, or of album verse. It is given to tell the secrets of the wilder- such inoongruous associations ness. If he tries such things that its strange aroma, its he will fail, and, respecting rare dignity, are destroyed. his courage, we must take It is quoted as the wisdom of leave to regret his temerity. Mr Martin Tupper was once Nay, more. He who in his quoted, as a compendium of

a own place is admirable, may homely sentiments; and it is be vulgar in the wrong en- toasted by obstreperous diners vironment, and vulgarise by with an awful familiarity and his intrusion what in itself is a complete misapprehension. rare and excellent.

There is a case where the A few months ago we celo- Cookney, straying from his brated the anniversary of the sphere, blunders in criticism birth of Edward FitzGerald. and perhaps in taste. But in FitzGerald was a great man order to make the limitations of letters, of a type which is plain let us take an instance

, fast vanishing. To a warm from creative work of a high

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