Page images
PDF
EPUB

Political Economy-the great "savoir mou- Earth, Tisiphone-with the voice of yo rir"-is doing with them.

brother's blood crying out of it, in one The first three, I said, are Pure Air, Water, harmony round all its murderous sphere. and Earth.

That is what you have done for the Thr Heaven gives you the main elements of 5 Material Useful Things. these. You can destroy them at your pleasure, Then for the Three Immaterial lisci. or increase, almost without limit, the available Things. For Admiration you have lear) quantities of them.

contempt and conceit. There is no loves You can vitiate the air by your manner of thing ever yet done by man that you care: life, and of death, to any extent. You might 10 or can understand; but you are persuaded to easily vitiate it so as to bring such a pestilence you are able to do much finer things youon the globe as would end all of you. You or selves. You gather and exhibit together, se your fellows, German and French, are at if equally instructive, what is infinitely bez present vitiating it to the best of your power with what is infinitely good. You do not ka in every direction;-chiefly at this moment 15 which is which; you instinctively prefer with corpses, and animal and vegetable ruin Bad, and do more of it. You instinctives in war: changing men, horses, and garden-stuff hate the Good, and destroy it. into noxious gas. But everywhere, and all Then secondly, for Hope. You have day long, you are vitiating it with foul chemical so much spirit of it in you as to begin sa exhalations; and the horrible nests, which you 20 plan which will not pay for ten years; nors call towns, are little more than laboratories much intelligence of it in you, (either politicias for the distillation into leven of venomous or workmen), as to be able to form one els smokes and smells, mixed with effluvia from idea of what you would like your country : decaying animal matter, and infectious mias- become. mata from purulent disease.

25 Then, thirdly, for Love. You were orders On the other hand, your power of purifying by the Founder of your religion to love you the air, by dealing properly and swiftly with neighbour as yourselves. all substances in corruption; by absolutely for- You have founded an entire science of Pokebidding noxious manufactures; and by plant- ical Economy, on what you have stated to be ing in all soils the trees which cleanse and 30 the constant instinct of man—the desire to da invigorate earth and atmosphere, -is literally fraud his neighbour. infinite. You might make every breath of And you have driven your women mad, s air you draw, food.

that they ask no more for Love, nor for fellosSecondly, your power over the rain and river- ship with you; but stand against you, sp. waters of the earth is infinite. You can bring 35 ask for "justice." rain where you will, by planting wisely and Are there any of you who are tired of su tending carefully;drought, where you will, hy this? Any of you, Landlords or Tenant: ravage of woods and neglect of the soil. Employers, or Workmen? You might have the rivers of England as pure Are there any Landlords-any masteras the crystal of the rock,-beautiful in falls, 40 who would like better to be served by men ths in lakes, in living pools;—so full of fish that by iron devils? you might take them out with your hands in- Any tenants, any workmen, who can be stead of nets. Or you may do always as you true to their leaders and to each other? wb have done now, turn every river of England can vow to work and to live faithfully, for the into a common sewer, so that you cannot so 45 sake of the joy of their homes? much as baptize an English baby but with Will any such give the tenth of what they filth, unless you hold its face out in the rain; have; and of what they earn, -not to emigra's and even that falls dirty.

with, but to stay in England with; and Then for the third, Earth,-meant to be what is in their hands and hearts to make b: nourishing for you, and blossoming. You 50 a happy England? have learned, about it, that there is no such thing as a flower; and as far as your scientific One of the Furies, the "blood-avenger." Ci. Sohair hands and scientific brains, inventive of explo

speare, I Henry IV, Act I. sc. iii.

"And it was great pity, so it was, sive and deathful, instead of blossoming and

That villainous saltpetre should be digg'd life-giving, Dust, can contrive, you have turned 55 Out of the bowels of the barmless eartb.

Which many a good tall fellow bad destroy'd the Mother-Earth, Demeter, into the Avenger- So cowardly."

Charles Kingsley

For there are islands in the sea which have

escaped the destroying deluge of peat-moss 1819-1875

out-crops of firm and fertile land, which in the

early Middle Age were so many natural parks, ST. GUTHLAC

5 covered with richest grass and stateliest trees, (From The Hermits, 1867)

swarming with deer and roe, goat and boar,

as the streams around swarmed with otter Hermits dwelling in the wilderness, as far and beaver, and with fowl of every feather, as I am aware, were to be seen only in the and fish of every scale. northern and western parts of the island, where 10 Beautiful after their kind were those far not only did the forest afford concealment, isles in the eyes of the monks who were the but the crags and caves shelter. The southern first settlers in the wilderness. The author of and eastern English seldom possess the vivid the “History of Ramsey,"3 grows enthusiastic, imagination of the Briton, the Northumbrian, and somewhat bombastic also, as he describes and the Scot; while the rich lowlands of central, 15 the lovely isle, which got its name from the southern, and eastern England, well peopled solitary ram which had wandered thither, and well tilled, offered few spots lonely enough either in extreme drought or over the winter for the hermit's cell.

ice, and never able to return, was found feedOne district only was desolate enough to ing among the wild deer, fat beyond the wont attract those who wished to be free from the 20 of rams. He tells of the stately ashes, most world, -namely, the great fens north of Cam- of them cut in his time, to furnish mighty beams bridge; and there, accordingly, as early as the for the church roof; of the rich pastures painted seventh century, hermits settled in morasses with all gay flowers in spring; of the " green now so utterly transformed that it is difficult to crown” or reed and alder which encircled the restore in one's imagination the original 25 isle; of the fair wide mere (now drained) with scenery.

its “sandy beach" along the forest side, “a The fens in the seventh century were prob- delight," he says, “to all who look thereon.” ably very like the forests at the mouth of the In like humour William of Malmesbury, 4 writMississippi, or the swampy shores of the ing in the first half of the twelfth century, Carolinas. Their vast plain is now, in summer, 30 speaks of Thorney Abbeys and its isle. “It one sea of golden corn; in winter, a black dreary represents,” says he, “a very paradise; for fallow, cut into squares by stagnant dykes, that in pleasure and delight it resembles heaven and broken only by unsightly pumping mills, itself. These marshes abound in trees, whose and doleful lines of poplar trees. Of old it length, without a knot, doth emulate the stars. was a labyrinth of black wandering streams; 35 The plain there is as level as the sea, alluring broad lagoons; morasses submerged every the eye with its green grass, and so smooth springtide; vast beds of reed and sedge and that there is naught to trip the foot of him fern; vast copses of willow, alder, and gray who runs through it. Neither is there any poplar, rooted in the floating peat, which was waste place; for in some parts are apples, in swallowing up slowly, all-devouring, yet all- 40 others vines, which are either spread on the preserving, the forests of fir and oak, ash and ground, or raised on poles. A mutual strife poplar, hazel and yew, which had once grown there is between Nature and Art; so that what on that low rank soil, sinking slowly (so geol- one produces not the other supplies. What ogists assure us) beneath the sea from age to shall I say of those fair buildings, which 'tis age. Trees, torn down by flood and storm, 45 so wonderful to see the ground among those floated and lodged in rafts, damming the waters fens upbear?” back upon the land. Streams, bewildered in So wrote William of Malmesbury, after the the flats, changed their channels, mingling wisdom and industry of the monks, for more silt and sand with the peat-moss. Nature, than four centuries, had been at work to civilize left to herself, ran into wild riot and chaos 50 and cultivate the wilderness. Yet even then more and more, till the whole fen became one there was another side to the picture; and “Dismal Swamp,"1 in which at the time of Thorney, Ramsey, or Crowland would have the Norman Conquest, the “Last of the Eng- seemed, for nine months every year, sad places lish,”'like Dred in Mrs. Stowe's tale, took enough to us comfortable folk of the nineteenth refuge from their tyrants, and lived, like him, 55 century. But men lived hard in those days, a free and joyous life awhile.

even the most high-born, and luxurious nobles 1 In Mrs. Stowe's novel Dred, the hero, a runaway slave, : Ramsey Abbey, near Peterborough in the Fen Country. lives in the Dismal Swamp.

· V. p. 45, supra. ? Hereward the Wake, one of the last to resist William Thorney Abbey and Crowland Abbey (mentioned the Conqueror.

later) are short distances from Peterborough.

[ocr errors]

and ladies; under dark skies, in houses which especial fondness for old heathen barrows we should think, from darkness, draught, and their fancied treasure-hoards; how they •£want of space, unfit for felons' cells. Hardly the house with their coming, and poured in they lived; and easily were they pleased; and every side, from above, and from bedes thanked God for the least gleam of sunshine, 5 and everywhere. They were in counters the least patch of green, after the terrible and horrible, and they had great heads, and she long winters of the Middle Ages. And ugly neck, and a lean visage; they were filtby enough those winters must have been, what squalid in their beards, and they had rer with snow and darkness, flood and ice, ague ears, and crooked “nebs," and fierce eyes, and rheumatism; while through the dreary 10 foul mouths; and their teeth were like borse winter's night the whistle of the wind and the tusks; and their throats were filled with fu wild cries of the waterfowl were translated into and they were grating in their voice; they the howls of witches and demons; and (as in crooked shanks, and knees big and great to St. Guthlac's case) the delirious fancies of hind, and distorted toes, and cried hoarsely .. marsh fever made those fiends take hideous 15 their voices. ... And they tugged and shapes before the inner eye, and act fantastic him out of the cot, and led him to the sun horrors round the fen-man's bed of sedge. fen, and threw and sunk him in the mud

Concerning this St. Guthlace full details waters. After that they brought him into :: remain, both in Latin and Anglo-Saxon; the wild places of the wilderness, among the th: author of the original document professing to 20 beds of brambles that all his body was tom.. be one Felix, a monk of Ramsey, near by, who After that they took him and beat him ? wrote possibly as early as the eighth century. iron whips, and after that they brought te

There we may read how the young warrior- on their creaking wings between the cold rtnoble Guthlac (“The Battle-Play,” the “Sport gions of the air." of War,”') tired of slaying and sinning, be- 25 But there are gentler and more burthought him to fulfil the prodigies seen at his touches in that old legend. You may read: birth; how he wandered into the fen, where it how all the wild birds of the fen came w one Tatwin (who after became a saint likewise) Guthlac, and he fed them after their kis. took him in his canoe to a spot so lonely as to how the ravens tormented him, stealing ki be almost unknown, buried in reeds and alders 30 ters, gloves, and what not, from his visos and how he found among the trees naught but and then, seized with compunction at the an old “law," as the Scots still call a mound, reproofs, brought them back, or hanged the which men of old had broken into, seeking for on the reeds; and how, as Wilfred, a holy vix". treasure, and a little pond; and how he built ant, was sitting with him, discoursing of the himself a hermit's cell thereon, and saw visions 35 contemplative life, two swallows came flys and wrought miracles; and how men came to in, and lifted up their song, sitting now on him, as to a fakir or shaman? of the East; saint's hand, now on his shoulder, now on tis notably one Beccel, who acted as his servant; knee; and how, when Wilfrid wondered theres' and how as Beccel was shaving the saint one Guthlac made answer, “Know you not th. day there fell on him a great temptation: 40 he who hath led his life according to Gods Why should he not cut St. Guthlac's throat, will, to him the wild beasts and the wild birine and instal himself in his cell, that he might draw the more near?” have the honour and glory of sainthood? But After fifteen years of such a life, in fere St. Guthlac perceived the inward temptation ague, and starvation, no wonder St. Guibi (which is told with the naïve honesty of those 45 died. They buried him in a leaden coffins half savage times), and rebuked the offender grand and expensive luxury in the sever's into confession, and all went well to the end. century) which had been sent to him duris

There we may read too a detailed account his life by a Saxon princess; and then over ti of the Fauna now happily extinct in the fens; sacred and wonder-working corpse, as o? of the creatures who used to hale St. Guthlac 50 that of a Buddhist saint, there arose a chape. out of his hut, drag him through the bogs, with a community of monks, companies of 17 carry him aloft through frost and fire—“Deve- grims who came to worship, sick who came 's lin and luther gostes”—such as tormented in be healed; till at last, founded on great per: likewise St. Botolph (from whom Botulsston- driven into the bog, arose the lofty words Boston, has its name), and who were supposed 55 Abbey of Crowland; in "sanctuary of the is to haunt moors and fens, and to have an rivers,” with its dykes, parks, vineyards, ir

o One of the early Saints of England (c. 673-714). chards, rich ploughlands, from which in tine ? A fakir is a religious mendicant, especially among the Mohammedans. A shaman is a medicine-man or sorcerer,

of famine, the monks of Crowland fed all people found among rude tribes.

of the neighbouring fens; with its tower with seven bells, which had not their like in Eng- wooden abbey, destroyed by fire, was being land; its twelve altars rich with the gifts of replaced by that noble pile of stone whose the Danish vikings and princes, and even with ruins are still standing, the French Abbot of twelve white bear-skins, the gift of Canute's Crowland (so runs the legend) sent French self; while all around were the cottages of the 5 monks to open a school under the new French corrodiers, or folk, who for corrody, or life donjon, in the little Roman town of Grantepittance from the abbey, had given away their brigge; whereby—so does all earnest work, lands, to the wrong and detriment of their however mistaken, grow and spread in this heirs.

world, infinitely and for ever-St. Guthlac, by But within those four rivers, at least, were 10 his canoe voyage into Crowland Island, beneither tyranny nor slavery. Those who took came the spiritual father of the University of refuge in St. Guthlac's place from cruel lords Cambridge in the old world; and therefore of must keep his peace toward each other, and her noble daughter, the University of Camearn their living like honest men, safe while bridge, in the new world, which fen-men sailing they so did: for between those four rivers 15 from Boston deeps colonized and Christianized St. Guthlac and his abbot were the only lords; 800 years after St. Guthlac's death. and neither summoner, nor sheriff of the king, nor armed forces of knight or earl, could enter

Matthew Arnold "the inheritance of the Lord, the soil of St. Mary and St. Bartholomew, the most holy 20

1822-1888 sanctuary of St. Guthlac and his monks; the minister free from worldly servitude; the special

THE GRAND STYLE almshouse of most illustrious kings; the sole

(From On Translating Homer, 1861) refuge of anyone in worldly tribulation; the perpetual abode of the saints; the possession 25 So deeply seated is the difference between of religious men, especially set apart by the the ballad-manner and Homer's that even a common council of the realm; by reason of man of the highest powers, even a man of the the frequent miracles of the holy confessor St. greatest vigour of spirit and of true genius,Guthlac, an ever fruitful mother of camphire the Coryphæus' of balladists, Sir Walter Scott, in the vineyards of Engadi;S and, by reason 30 —fails with a manner of this kind to produce of the privileges granted by the kings, a city an effect at all like the effect of Homer. I of grace and safety to all who repent.”

am not so rash,” declares Mr. Newman, Does not all this sound like a voice from to say that if freedom be given to rhyme as in another planet? It is all gone; and it was Walter Scott's poetry,” Walter Scott, "by good and right that it should go when it had 35 far the most Homeric of our poets," as in andone its work, and that the civilisation of the other place he calls him,—"a genius may not fen should be taken up and carried out by arise who will translate Homer into the melomen like the good knight, Richard of Rulos, dies of Marmion.“The truly classical and who two generations after the Conquest, marry- the truly romantic," says Dr. Maginn, "are ing Hereward's granddaughter, and becoming 40 one; the moss-trooping Nestor reappears in the Lord of Deeping (the deep meadow), thought moss-trooping heroes of Percy's Reliques;" that he could do the same work from the and a description by Scott, which he quotes, hall of Bourne as the monks did from their be calls "graphic, and therefore Homeric." cloisters; got permission from the Crowland He forgets our fourth axiom,-that Homer is monks, for twenty marks of silver, to drain as 45 not only graphic; he is also noble, and has much as he could of the common marshes; and the grand style. Human nature under like then shut out the Welland by strong dykes, circumstances is probably in all ages much the built cottages, marked out gardens, and tilled same; and so far it may be said that "the truly fields, till "out of slough and bogs accursed, classical, and the truly romantic are one;' he made a garden of pleasure.”

50 but it is of little use to tell us this, because we Yet one lasting work those monks of Crow- know the human nature of other ages only land seem to have done besides those firm through the representations of them which dykes and rich cornlands of Porsand which have come down to us, and the classical and endure unto this day. For within two genera- romantic modes of representation are so far tions of the Norman conquest, while the old 55 from being “one,” that they remain eternally & Cf. Song of Solomon, i. 14: "My beloved is unto me

distinct, and have created for us a separation as a cluster of campbire in the vineyards of En-gedi." between the two worlds which they respectively The vineyards of En-gedi were watered by a spring, the region about being desolate, on the west shore of the 1 The leader and speaker of the chorus in Greek drama. Dead Sea.

The phrase is analogous to "prince of balladists."

as 15

20

4

represent. Therefore to call Nestor the “moss- style, and to put them side by side with this trooping? Nestor” is absurd, because, though of Scott. For example, when Homer says:Nestor may possibly have been much the same sort of man as many a moss-trooper, he has yet

αλλά φίλος, θάνε και συ· τίη ολυφύρεαι ούτως,

κάτθανε και Πάτροκλος, όπερσέο πολλών αμείνω come to us through a mode of representation 5 so unlike that of Percy's Reliques, that instead that is in the grand style. When Virgil saya. of “reappearing in the moss-trooping heroes' of these poems, he exists in our imagination as

“Disce, puer, virtutem ex me verumque is

borem, something utterly unlike them, and as belong

Fortunam ex aliis," ing to another world. So the Greeks in Shake- 10 speare's Troilus and Cressida are no longer the that is in the grand style. When Dante says:Greeks whom we have known in Homer, because they come to us through a mode of repre

"Lascio lo fele, et vo pei dolci pomi sentation of the romantic world. But I must

Promessi a me per lo verace Duca;

Ma fino al centro pria convien ch' io tomi," not forget Scott.

I suppose that when Scott is in what may that is in the grand style. When Milton says:be called full ballad swing, no one will hesitate to pronounce his manner neither Homeric nor

“His form had yet not lost the grand manner. When he says, for in

All her original brightness, nor appeared

Less than an archangel ruined, and the excess stance,

Of glory obscured,”
"I do not rhyme to that dull elf:
Who cannot image to himself,”

that, finally is in the grand style. Now let an

one, after repeating to himself these four page and so on, any scholar will feel that this is not

sages, repeat again the passage of Scott, and Homer's manner. But let us take Scott's 25 he will perceive that there is something in poetry at its best; and when it is at its best, it style which the four first have in common, a is undoubtedly very good indeed:

which the last is without; and this somethin. "Tunstall lies dead upon the field,

is precisely the grand manner. It is no diHis life-blood stains the spotless shield;

respect to Scott to say that he does not atta Edmund is down,-my life is reft, - 30 to this manner in his poetry; to say so, The Admiral alone is left.

merely to say that he is not among the fre Let Stanley charge with spur of fire, - or six supreme poets of the world. Among With Chester charge, and Lancashire, these he is not; but, being a man of far greate Full upon Scotland's central host,

powers than the ballad-poets, he has tried to Or victory and England's lost.”

35 give to their instrument a compass and sn That is, no doubt, as vigorous as possible, as elevation which it does not naturally possess spirited as possible; it is exceedingly fine poe- in order to enable him to come nearer to the try. Now, how shall I make him who doubts effects of the instrument used by the gres! this feel that I say true; that these lines of epic poets,-an instrument which he felt be Scott are essentially neither in Homer's style 40 could not truly use, and in this attempt be nor in the grand style? I may point out to has but imperfectly succeeded. The poezie him that the movement of Scott's lines, while style of Scott is—it becomes necessary to say it is rapid, is also at the same time what the so when it is proposed to “translate Homer French call saccade, its rapidity is "jerky;" into the melodies of Marmion")—it is, thiet whereas Homer's rapidity is a flowing rapidity. 45 by the highest standards, a bastard epic style: But this is something external and material; and that is why, out of his own powerful hands, it is but the outward and visible sign of an it has had so little success. It is a less asiinward and spiritual diversity. I may discuss ural, and therefore a less good style, than the what, in the abstract, constitutes the grand original ballad style; while it shares with tbe style; but that sort of general discussion never 50 ballad style the inherent incapacity of rising much helps our judgment of particular in- into the grand style, of adequately rendering stances. I may say that the presence or ab- Homer. Scott is certainly at his best in bis sence of the grand style can only be spiritually discerned; and this is true, but to plead this

6 "Be content, good friend, die also thou! why is

mentest thou thyself on this wise? Patroclus, too, died looks like evading the difficulty. My best 55 who was a far better than thou." Tiad, sxi. 106. way is to take eminent specimens of the grand 6 "From me, young man, learn nobleness of soal a

true effort: learn success from others." Eneid, sii 433 : The marauders between England and Scotland were 7 "I leave the gall of bitterness, and I go for the appe called moss-troopers because of their constant riding over of sweetness promised unto me by my faithful Guide the moss or bogs.

but far as the centre it behooves me first to fall." He 3 Marmion, c vi. 38,

Marmion, c. vi. 29. xvi. 61.

« PreviousContinue »