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Title: The World's Greatest Books — Volume 09 — Lives and Letters

Editor: Arthur Mee

J. A. Hammerton

Release date: April 1, 2004 [eBook #12059]
Most recently updated: December 14, 2020

Language: English

Credits: Produced by John Hagerson, Kevin Handy and PG Distributed Proofreaders







Editor and Founder of the Book of Knowledge


Editor of Harmsworth's Universal Encyclopaedia




Table of Contents




Fragments of an Intimate Diary




Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D.


Life of Sir Isaac Newton


Grace Abounding




Letters and Speeches of Oliver Cromwell

Life of Schiller




Memoirs from Beyond the Grave


Letters to His Son




Biographia Literaria




Confessions of an English Opium-Eater






Life of Goldsmith






The Life of Charlotte Brontë




Letters to Zelter

Poetry and Truth

Conversations with Eckermann




Memoirs of the Count De Grammont


Our Old Home

A Complete Index of THE WORLD'S GREATEST BOOKS will be found at the end of Volume XX.



In the Paris cemetery of Père-Lachaise, on summer Sundays, flowers and wreaths are still laid on the tomb of a woman who died nearly 750 years ago. It is the grave of Heloise and of her lover Abelard, the hero and heroine of one of the world's greatest love stories. Born in 1079, Abelard, after a scholastic activity of twenty-five years, reached the highest academic dignity in Christendom--the Chair of the Episcopal School in Paris. When he was 38 he first saw Heloise, then a beautiful girl of 17, living with her uncle, Canon Fulbert. Abelard became her tutor, and fell madly in love with her. The passion was as madly returned. The pair fled to Brittany, where a child was born. There was a secret marriage, but because she imagined it would hinder Abelard's advancement, Heloise denied the marriage. Fulbert was furious. With hired assistance, he invaded Abelard's rooms and brutally mutilated him. Abelard, distressed by this degradation, turned monk. But he must have Heloise turn nun; she agreed, and at 22 took the veil. Ten years later she learned that Abelard had not found content in his retirement, and wrote to him the first of the five famous letters. Abelard died in 1142, and his remains were given into the keeping of Heloise. Twenty years afterwards she died, and was buried beside him at Paraclete. In 1800 their remains were taken to Paris, and in 1817 interred in Père-Lachaise Cemetery. The love-letters, originally written in Latin, about 1128, were first published in Paris in 1616.

I.--Héloïse to Abélard

Heloise has just seen a "consolatory" letter of Abelard's to a friend. She had no right to open it, but in justification of the liberty she took, she flatters herself that she may claim a privilege over everything which comes from that hand.

"But how dear did my curiosity cost me! What disturbance did it occasion, and how surprised I was to find the whole letter filled with a particular and melancholy account of our misfortunes! Though length of time ought to have closed up my wounds, yet the seeing them described by you was sufficient to make them all open and bleed afresh. Surely all the misfortunes of lovers are conveyed to them through the eyes. Upon reading your letter I feel all mine renewed. Observe, I beseech you, to what a wretched condition you have reduced me; sad, afflicted, without any possible comfort unless it proceed from you. Be not then unkind, nor deny me, I beg of you, that little relief which you only can give. Let me have a faithful account of all that concerns you; I would know everything, be it ever so unfortunate. Perhaps by mingling my sighs with yours I may make your sufferings less, for it has been said that all sorrows divided are made lighter.

"I shall always have this, if you please, and it will always be agreeable to me that, when I receive a letter from you, I shall know you still remember me. I have your picture in my room. I never pass it without stopping to look at it. If a picture, which is but a mute representation of an object, can give such pleasure, what cannot letters inspire? We may write to each other; so innocent a pleasure is not denied us. I shall read that you are my husband, and you shall see me sign myself your wife. In spite of all our misfortunes, you may be what you please in your letter. Having lost the substantial pleasures of seeing and possessing you, I shall in some measure compensate this loss by the satisfaction I shall find in your writing. There I shall read your most sacred thoughts; I shall carry them always about with me; I shall kiss them every moment. I cannot live if you will not tell me that you still love me.

"When you write to me you will write to your wife; marriage has made such a correspondence lawful and since you can without the least scandal satisfy me why will you not? I am not only engaged by my vows, but I have the fear of my uncle before me. There is nothing, then, that you need dread. You have been the occasion of all my misfortunes, you therefore must be the instrument of my comfort. You cannot but remember (for lovers cannot forget) with what pleasure I have passed whole days in hearing your discourse; how, when you were absent, I shut myself from everyone to write to you; how uneasy I was till my letter had come to your hands; what artful management it required to engage messengers. This detail perhaps surprises you, and you are in pain for what may follow. But I am no longer ashamed that my passion for you had no bounds, for I have done more than all this.

"I have hated myself that I might love you; I came hither to ruin myself in a perpetual imprisonment that I might make you live quietly and at ease. Nothing but virtue, joined to a love perfectly disengaged from the senses, could have produced such effects. Vice never inspires anything like this; it is too much enslaved to the body. This was my cruel uncle's notion; he measured my virtue by the frailty of my sex, and thought it was the man and not the person I loved. But he has been guilty to no purpose. I love you more than ever, and so revenge myself on him. I will still love you with all the tenderness of my soul till the last moment of my life."

Formerly, she tells him, the man was the least she valued in him. It was his heart she desired to possess. "You cannot but be entirely persuaded of this by the extreme unwillingness I showed to marry you, though I knew that the name of wife was honourable in the world and holy in religion; yet the name of your mistress had greater charms because it was more free. The bonds of matrimony, however honourable, still bear with them a necessary engagement, and I was very unwilling to be necessitated to love always a man who would perhaps not always love me. I despised the name of wife that I might live happy with that of mistress."

And then, ecstatically recalling the old happy times, she deplores that she has nothing left but the painful memory that they are past. Beyond that, she has no regret except that against her will she must now be innocent. "My misfortune was to have cruel relatives whose malice destroyed the calm we enjoyed; had they been reasonable, I had now been happy in the enjoyment of my dear husband. Oh, how cruel were they when their blind fury urged a villain to surprise you in your sleep! Where was I--where was your Heloise then? What joy should I have had in defending my lover! I would have guarded you from violence at the expense of my life. Oh, whither does this excess of passion hurry me? Here love is shocked, and modesty deprives me of words."

She goes on to reproach him with his neglect and silence these ten years. When she pronounced her "sad vow," he had protested that his whole being was hers; that he would never live but to love Heloise. But he has proved the "unfaithful one." Though she is immured in the convent, it was only harsh relatives and "the unhappy consequences of our love and your disgrace" that made her put on the habit of chastity. She is not penitent for the past. At one moment she is swayed by the sentiment of piety, and next moment she yields up her imagination to all that is amorous and tender. "Among those who are wedded to God I am wedded to a man; among the heroic supporters of the Cross I am the slave of a human desire; at the head of a religious community I am devoted to Abelard alone. Even here I love you as much as ever I did in the world. If I had loved pleasures could I not have found means to gratify myself? I was not more than twenty-two years old, and there were other men left though I was deprived of Abelard. And yet I buried myself in a nunnery, and triumphed over life at an age capable of enjoying it to its full latitude. It is to you I sacrifice these remains of a transitory beauty, these widowed nights and tedious days."

And then she closes passionately: "Oh, think of me--do not forget me--remember my love, and fidelity, and constancy: love me as your mistress, cherish me as your child, your sister, your wife! Remember I still love you, and yet strive to avoid loving you. What a terrible saying is this! I shake with horror, and my very heart revolts against what I say. I shall blot all my paper with tears. I end my long letter wishing you, if you desire it (would to Heaven I could!), for ever adieu!"

II. Abélard to Héloïse

Abelard's answer to this letter is almost as passionate. He tells how he has vainly sought in philosophy and religion a remedy for his disgrace; how with equal futility he has tried to secure himself from love by the rigours of the monastic life. He has gained nothing by it all. "If my passion has been put under a restraint, my thoughts yet run free. I promise myself that I will forget you, and yet cannot think of it without loving you. After a multitude of useless endeavours I begin to persuade myself that it is a superfluous trouble to strive to free myself; and that it is sufficient wisdom to conceal from all but you how confused and weak I am. I remove to a distance from your person with an intention of avoiding you as an enemy; and yet I incessantly seek for you in my mind; I recall your image in my memory, and in different disquietudes I betray and contradict myself. I hate you! I love you! You call me your master; it is true you were entrusted to my care. I saw you, I was earnest to teach you; it cost you your innocence and me my liberty. If now, having lost the power of satisfying my passion, I had also lost that of loving you, I should have some consolation. But I find myself much more guilty in my thoughts of you, even amidst my tears, than in possessing you when I was in full liberty. I continually think of you; I continually call to mind your tenderness."

He explains some of the means he has tried to make himself forget. He has tried several fasts, and redoubled studies, and exhausted his strength in constant exercises, but all to no purpose. "Oh, do not," he exclaims, "add to my miseries by your constancy. Forget, if you can, your favours and that right which they claim over me; allow me to be indifferent. Why use your eloquence to reproach me for my flight and for my silence? Spare the recital of our assignations and your constant exactness to them; without calling up such disturbing thoughts I have enough to suffer. What great advantages would philosophy give us over other men if, by studying it, we could learn to govern our passions? What a troublesome employment is love!"

Then he tries to excuse himself for his original betrayal. "Those charms, that beauty, that air, which I yet behold at this instant, occasioned my fall. Your looks were the beginning of my guilt; your eyes, your discourse, pierced my heart; and, in spite of that ambition and glory which tried to make a defence, love was soon the master." Even now "my love burns fiercer amidst the happy indifference of those who surround me. The Gospel is a language I do not understand when it opposes my passion. Void of all relish for virtue, without concern for my condition and without application to my studies, I am continually present by my imagination where I ought not to be, and I find I have no power to correct myself." He advises her to give up her mind to her holy vocation as a means of forgetting him. "Make yourself amends by so glorious a choice; make your virtue a spectacle worthy of men and angels. Drink of the chalice of saints, even to the bottom, without turning your eyes with uncertainty upon me. To forget Heloise, to see her no more, is what Heaven demands of Abelard; and to expect nothing from Abelard, to forget him even as an idea, is what Heaven enjoins on Heloise."

He acknowledges that he made her take the veil for his own selfish reasons, but is now bound to admit that "God rejected my offering and my prayer, and continued my punishment by suffering me to continue my love. Thus I bear alike the guilt of your vows and of the passion that preceded them, and must be tormented all the days of my life." Once more he adjures her to deliver herself from the "shameful remains" of a passion which has taken too deep root. "To love Heloise truly," he closes, "is to leave her to that quiet which retirement and virtue afford. I have resolved it: this letter shall be my last fault. Adieu! I hope you will be willing, when you have finished this mortal life, to be buried near me. Your cold ashes need then fear nothing, and my tomb shall be more rich and renowned."

III.--Héloïse to Abélard

The passion of Heloise is only inflamed by this letter from Abelard. She has got him to write, and now she wants to see him and to hear more about him. She cynically remarks that he has made greater advances in the way of devotion than she could wish. There, alas! she is too weak to follow him. But she must have his advice and spiritual comfort. "Can you have the cruelty to abandon me? The fear of this stabs my heart." She reproaches him for the "fearful presages" of death he had made in his letter. And as regards his wish that she should take care of his remains, she says: "Heaven, severe as it has been to me, is not so insensible as to permit me to live one moment after you. Life without Abelard were an insupportable punishment, and death a most exquisite happiness if by that means I could be united to him. If Heaven but hearken to my continual cry, your days will be prolonged and you will bury me." It is his part, she says, to prepare her for the great crisis, to receive her last sighs. What could she hope for if he were taken away? "I have renounced without difficulty all the charms of life, preserving only my love, and the secret pleasure of thinking incessantly of you and hearing that you live. Dear Abelard, pity my despair! The higher you raised me above other women, who envied me your love, the more sensible am I now of the loss of your heart. I was exalted to the top of happiness only that I might have the more terrible fall. Nothing could be compared to my pleasures, and now nothing can equal my misery."

She blames herself entirely for Abelard's present position. "I, wretched I, have ruined you, and have been the cause of all your misfortunes. How dangerous it is for a great man to suffer himself to be moved by our sex! He ought from his infancy to be inured to insensibility of heart against all our charms. I have long examined things, and have found that death is less dangerous than beauty. It is the shipwreck of liberty, a fatal snare, from which it is impossible ever to get free."

She protests that she cannot forget. "Even into holy places before the altar I carry the memory of our love; and, far from lamenting for having been seduced by pleasures, I sigh for having lost them." She counts herself more to be pitied than Abelard, because grace and misfortune have helped him, whereas she has still her relentless passions to fight. "Our sex is nothing but weakness, and I have the greater difficulty in defending myself, because the enemy that attacks me pleases me. I doat on the danger which threatens. How, then, can I avoid yielding? I seek not to conquer for fear I should be overcome; happiness enough for me to escape shipwreck and at last reach port. Heaven commands me to renounce my fatal passion for you; but, oh! my heart will never be able to consent to it. Adieu."

IV.--Héloïse to Abelard

Abelard has not replied to this letter, and Heloise begins by sarcastically thanking him for his neglect. She pretends to have subdued her passion, and, addressing him rather as priest than lover, demands his spiritual counsel. Thus caustically does she proclaim her inconstancy. "At last, Abelard, you have lost Heloise for ever. Notwithstanding all the oaths I made to think of nothing but you, and to be entertained by nothing but you, I have banished you from my thoughts; I have forgot you. Thou charming idea of a lover I once adored, thou wilt be no more my happiness! Dear image of Abelard! thou wilt no longer follow me, no longer shall I remember thee. Oh, enchanting pleasures to which Heloise resigned herself--you, you have been my tormentors! I confess my inconstancy, Abelard, without a blush; let my infidelity teach the world that there is no depending on the promises of women--we are all subject to change. When I tell you what Rival hath ravished my heart from you, you will praise my inconstancy, and pray this Rival to fix it. By this you will know that 'tis God alone that takes Heloise from you."

She explains how she arrived at this decision by being brought to the gates of death by a dangerous illness. Her passion now seemed criminal. She has therefore torn off the bandages which blinded her, and "you are to me no longer the loving Abelard who constantly sought private conversations with me by deceiving the vigilance of our observers." She enlarges on her resolution. She will "no more endeavour, by the relation of those pleasures our passion gave us, to awaken any guilty fondness you may yet feel for me. I demand nothing of you but spiritual advice and wholesome discipline. You cannot now be silent without a crime. When I was possessed with so violent a love, and pressed you so earnestly to write to me, how many letters did I send you before I could obtain one from you?"

But, alas! her woman's weakness conquers again. For the moment she forgets her resolution, and exclaims: "My dear husband (for the last time I use that title!), shall I never see you again? Shall I never have the pleasure of embracing you before death? What dost thou say, wretched Heloise? Dost thou know what thou desirest? Couldst thou behold those brilliant eyes without recalling the tender glances which have been so fatal to thee? Couldst thou see that majestic air of Abelard without being jealous of everyone who beholds so attractive a man? That mouth cannot be looked upon without desire; in short, no woman can view the person of Abelard without danger. Ask no more to see Abelard; if the memory of him has caused thee so much trouble, Heloise, what would not his presence do? What desires will it not excite in thy soul? How will it be possible to keep thy reason at the sight of so lovable a man?"

She reverts to her delightful dreams about Abelard, when "you press me to you and I yield to you, and our souls, animated with the same passion, are sensible of the same pleasures." Then she recalls her resolution, and closes with these words: "I begin to perceive that I take too much pleasure in writing to you; I ought to burn this letter. It shows that I still feel a deep passion for you, though at the beginning I tried to persuade you to the contrary. I am sensible of waves both of grace and passion, and by turns yield to each. Have pity, Abelard, on the condition to which you have brought me, and make in some measure my last days as peaceful as my first have been uneasy and disturbed."

V.--Abélard to Héloïse

Abelard remains firm. "Write no more to me, Heloise, write no more to me; 'tis time to end communications which make our penances of no avail," he says. "Let us no more deceive ourselves with remembrance of our past pleasures; we but make our lives troubled and spoil the sweets of solitude. Let us make good use of our austerities, and no longer preserve the memories of our crimes amongst the severities of penance. Let a mortification of body and mind, a strict fasting, continual solitude, profound and holy meditations, and a sincere love of God succeed our former irregularities."

Both, he deplores, are still very far from this enviable state. "Your heart still burns with that fatal fire you cannot extinguish, and mine is full of trouble and unrest. Think not, Heloise, that I here enjoy a perfect peace; I will for the last time open my heart to you; I am not yet disengaged from you, and though I fight against my excessive tenderness for you, in spite of all my endeavours I remain but too sensible of your sorrows, and long to share in them. The world, which is generally wrong in its notions, thinks I am at peace, and imagining that I loved you only for the gratification of the senses, have now forgot you. What a mistake is this!"

He exhorts her to strive, to be more firm in her resolutions, to "break those shameful chains which bind you to the flesh." He pictures the death of a saint and he works upon her fears by impressing upon her the terrors of hell. His last recorded words to her are these:

"I question not, Heloise, but you will hereafter apply yourself in good earnest to the business of your salvation; this ought to be your whole concern. Banish me, therefore, for ever from your heart--it is the best advice I can give you, for the remembrance of a person we have loved guiltily cannot but be hurtful, whatever advances we may have made in the way of virtue. When you have extirpated your unhappy inclination towards me, the practice of every virtue will become easy; and when at last your life is conformable to that of Christ, death will be desirable to you. Your soul will joyfully leave this body, and direct its flight to heaven. Then you will appear with confidence before your Saviour; you will not read your reprobation in the Judgement Book, but you will hear your Saviour say: 'Come, partake of My glory, and enjoy the eternal reward I have appointed for those virtues you have practised.'

"Farewell, Heloise, this is the last advice of your dear Abelard; for the last time let me persuade you to follow the rules of the Gospel. Heaven grant that your heart, once so sensible of my love, may now yield to be directed by my zeal. May the idea of your loving Abelard, always present to your mind, be now changed into the image of Abelard truly and sincerely penitent; and may you shed as many tears for your salvation as you have done for our misfortunes."

Then the silence falls for ever.


Fragments of an Intimate Diary

Henri Frédéric Amiel, born at Geneva on September 21, 1821, was educated there, and later at the University of Berlin; and held a professorship at the University of Geneva from 1849 until his death, on March 11, 1881. The "Journal Intime," of which we give a summary, was published in 1882-84, and an English translation by Mrs. Humphrey Ward appeared in 1885. The book has the profound interest which attaches to all genuine personal confessions of the interior life; but it has the further claim to notice that it is the signal expression of the spirit of its time, though we can no longer call it the modern spirit. The book perfectly renders the disillusion, languor and sentimentality which characterise a self-centred scepticism. It is the record, indeed, of a morbid mind, but of a mind gifted with extraordinary acuteness and with the utmost delicacy of perception. Amiel wrote also several essays and poems, but it is for the "Intimate Diary" alone that his name will be remembered.

Thoughts on Life and Conduct

Only one thing is needful--to possess God. The senses, the powers of the soul, and all outward resources are so many vistas opening upon Divinity, so many ways of tasting and adoring God. To be detached from all that is fugitive, and to seize only on the eternal and the absolute, using the rest as no more than a loan, a tenancy! To worship, understand, receive, feel, give, act--this is your law, your duty, your heaven!

After all, there is only one object which we can study, and that is the modes and metamorphoses of the human spirit. All other studies lead us back to this one.

I have never felt the inward assurance of genius, nor the foretaste of celebrity, nor of happiness, nor even the prospect of being husband, father, or respected citizen. This indifference to the future is itself a sign; my dreams are vague, indefinite; I must not now live, because I am now hardly capable of living. Let me control myself; let me leave life to the living, and betake myself to my ideas; let me write the testament of my thoughts and of my heart.

Heroism and Duty

Heroism is the splendid and wonderful triumph of the soul over the flesh; that is to say, over fear--the fear of poverty, suffering, calumny, disease, isolation and death. There is no true piety without this dazzling concentration of courage.

Duty has this great value--it makes us feel reality of the positive world, while yet it detaches us from it.

How vulnerable am I! If I were a father, what a host of sorrows a child could bring on me! As a husband, I should suffer in a thousand ways, because a thousand conditions are necessary to my happiness. My heart is too sensitive, my imagination anxious, and despair is easy. The "might be" spoils for me what is, the "should be" devours me with melancholy; and this reality, present, irreparable, inevitable, disgusts or frightens me. So it is that I put away the happy images of family life. Every hope is an egg which may hatch a serpent instead of a dove; every joy that fails is a knife-wound; every seed-time entrusted to destiny has its harvest of pain.

What is duty? Is it to obey one's nature at its best and most spiritual; or is it to vanquish one's nature? That is the deepest question. Is life essentially the education of the spirit and of the intelligence, or is it the education of the will? And does will lie in power or in resignation?

Therefore are there two worlds--Christianity affords and teaches salvation by the conversion of the will; but humanism brings salvation by the emancipation of the spirit. The first seizes upon the heart, and the other upon the brain. The first aims at illumining by healing, the other at healing by illumining. Now, moral love, the first of these two principles, places the centre of the individual in the centre of his being. For to love is virtually to know; but to know is not virtually to love. Redemption by knowledge or by intellectual love is inferior to redemption by the will or by moral love. The former is critical and negative; the latter is life-giving, fertilising, positive. Moral force is the vital point.

The Era of Mediocrity

The era of mediocrity in all things is beginning, and mediocrity freezes desire. Equality engenders uniformity; and evil is got rid of by sacrificing all that is excellent, remarkable, extraordinary. Everything becomes less coarse but more vulgar. The epoch of great men is passing away; the epoch of the ant-hill is upon us. The age of individualism is in danger of having no real individuals. Things are certainly progressing, but souls decline.

The point of view of Schleiermacher's "Monologues," which is also that of Emerson, is great indeed, but proud and egotistical, since the Self is made the centre of the universe. It is man rejoicing in himself, taking refuge in the inaccessible sanctuary of self-consciousness, and becoming almost a god. It is a triumph which is not far removed from impiety; it is a superhuman point of view which does away with humility; it is precisely the temptation to which man first succumbed when he desired to become his own master by becoming like the gods.

We are too much encumbered with affairs, too busy, too active; we even read too much. We must throw overboard all our cargo of anxieties, preoccupations and pedantry to recover youth, simplicity, childhood, and the present moment with its happy mood of gratitude. By that leisure which is far from idleness, by an attentive and recollected inaction, the soul loses her creases, expands, unfolds, repairs her injuries like a bruised leaf, and becomes once more new, spontaneous, true, original Reverie, like showers at night, refreshes the thoughts which have become worn and discoloured by the heat of day.

I have been walking in the garden in a fine autumnal rain. All the innumerable, wonderful symbols which the forms and colours of Nature afford charm me and catch at my heart. There is no country scene that is not a state of the soul, and whoever will read the two together will be astonished by their detailed similarity. Far truer is true poetry than science; poetry seizes at first glance in her synthetic way that essential thing which all the sciences put together can only hope to reach at the very end.

Lessons from the Greeks

How much we have to learn from our immortal forefathers, the Greeks; and how far better than we did they solve their problem! Their type was not ours, but how much better did they revere, cultivate and ennoble the man they knew! Beside them we are barbarians in a thousand ways, as in education, eloquence, public life, poetry, and the like. If the number of its accomplished men be the measure of a civilization, ours is far below theirs. We have not slaves beneath us, but we have them among us. Barbarism is not at our frontiers, but at our doors. We bear within us greater things, but we ourselves are how much smaller! Strange paradox: that their objective civilisation should have created great men as it were by accident, while our subjective civilisation, contrary to its express mission, turns out paltry halflings. Things are becoming majestic, but man is diminishing.

The Glory of Motherhood

A mother should be to her child as the sun in the heavens, a changeless and ever radiant star, whither the inconstant little creature, so ready with its tears and its daughter, so light, so passionate, so stormy, may come to calm and to fortify itself with heat and light. A mother represents goodness, providence, law, nay, divinity itself, under the only form in which childhood can meet with these high things. If, therefore, she is passionate, she teaches that God is capricious or despotic, or even that there are several gods in conflict. The child's religion depends on the way in which its mother and its father have lived, and not on the way in which they have spoken. The inmost tone of their life is precisely what reaches their child, who finds no more than comedy or empty thunder in their maxims, remonstrances and punishments. Their actual and central worship--that is what his instinct infallibly perceives. A child sees what we are, through all the fictions of what we would be.

It is curious to see, in discussions on speculative matters, how abstract minds, who move from ideas to facts, always do battle for concrete reality; while concrete minds, on the other hand, who move from facts to ideas, are usually the champions of abstract notions. The more intellectual nature trusts to an ethical theory; the more moral nature has an intellectualist morality.

The centre of life is neither in thought, nor in feeling, nor in will; nor even in consciousness in so far as it thinks, feels, or wills; for a moral truth may have been penetrated and possessed in all these ways, and yet escape us still. Far below our consciousness is our being, our substance, our nature. Those truths alone which have entered this profound region, and have become ourselves, and are spontaneous, involuntary, instinctive and unconscious--only these are really our life and more than our external possessions. Now, it is certain that we can find our peace only in life, and, indeed, only in eternal life; and eternal life is God. Only when the creature is one, by a unity of love, with his Creator--only then is he what he is meant to be.

The Secret of Perpetual Youth

There are two degrees of pride--one, wherein a man is self-complacent; the other, wherein he is unable to accept himself. Of these two degrees, the second is probably the more subtle.

The whole secret of remaining young in spite of years is to keep an enthusiasm burning within, by means of poetry, contemplation and charity, or, more briefly, by keeping a harmony in the soul. When everything is rightly ordered within us, we may rest in equilibrium with the work of God. A certain grave enthusiasm for the eternal beauty and order; a glowing mind and cloudless goodwill: these are, perhaps, the foundation of wisdom. How inexhaustible is the theme of wisdom! A peaceful aureole surrounds this rich conception. Wisdom includes all treasures of moral experience, and is the ripest fruit of a well-spent life. She never ages, for she is the very expression of order, and order is eternal. Only the wise man tastes all the savour of life and of every age, because only he can recognise their beauty, dignity and worth. To see all things in God, to make of one's own life a voyage to the ideal, to live with gratitude, recollection, kindness and courage--this was the admirable spirit of Marcus Aurelius. Add to these a kneeling humility and a devoted charity, and you have the wisdom of God's children, the undying joy of true Christians.

The Fascination of Love

Woman would be loved without reason, without analysis; not because she is beautiful, or good, or cultivated, or gracious, or spiritual, but because she exists. Every analysis seems to her an attenuation and a subordination of her personality to something which dominates and measures it. She rejects it therefore, and rightly rejects it. For as soon as one can say "because," one is no longer under the spell; one appreciates or weighs, and at least in principle one is free. If the empire of woman is to continue, love must remain a fascination, an enchantment; once her mystery is gone, her power is gone also. So love must appear indivisible, irreducible, superior to all analysis, if it is to retain those aspects of infinitude, of the supernatural and the miraculous, which constitute its beauty. Most people hold cheaply whatever they understand, and bow down only before the inexplicable. Woman's triumph is to demonstrate the obscurity of that male intelligence which thinks itself so enlightened; and when women inspire love, they are not without the proud joy of this triumph. Their vanity is not altogether baseless; but a profound love is a light and a calm, a religion and a revelation, which in its turn despises these lesser triumphs of vanity. Great souls wish nothing but the great, and all artifices seem shamefully puerile to one immersed in the infinite.

Man's Useless Yearning

Eternal effort is the note of modern morality. This painful restless "becoming" has taken the place of harmony, equilibrium, joy, that is to say, of "being." We are all fauns and satyrs aspiring to become angels, ugly creatures labouring at our embellishment, monstrous chrysalids trying to become butterflies. Our ideal is no longer the tranquil beauty of the soul, it is the anguish of Laocoon fighting with the hydra of evil. No longer are there happy and accomplished men; we are candidates, indeed, for heaven, but on earth galley-slaves, and we row away our life in the expectation of harbour. It seems possible that this perfecting of which we are so proud is nothing else but a pretentious imperfection.

The "becoming" seems rather negative than positive; it is the lessening of evil, but is not itself the good; it is a noble discontent, but is by no means felicity. This ceaseless pursuit of an endless end is a generous madness, but is not reason; it is the yearning for what can never be, a touching malady, but it is not wisdom. Yet there is none who may not achieve harmony; and when he has it, he is within the eternal order, and represents the divine thought at least as clearly as a flower does, or a solar system. Harmony seeks nothing that is outside herself. She is exactly that which she should be; she expresses goodness, order, law, truth, honour; she transcends time and reveals the eternal.

Memories of the Golden Age

In the world of society one must seem to live on ambrosia and to know none but noble thoughts. Anxiety, want, passion, simply do not exist. All realism is suppressed as brutal. It is a world which amuses itself with the flattering illusion that it lives above the clouds and breathes mythological air. That is why all vehemence, the cry of Nature, all suffering, thoughtless familiarity, and every frank sign of love shock this delicate medium like a bombshell; they shatter this collective fabric, this palace of clouds, this enchanted architecture, just as shrill cockcrow scatters the fairies into hiding. These fine receptions are unconsciously a work of art, a kind of poetry, by which cultivated society reconstructs an idyll that is age-long dead. They are confused memories of the golden age, or aspirations after a harmony which mundane reality has not in it to give.

Goethe Under the Lash

I cannot like Goethe: he has little soul. His understanding of love, religion, duty, patriotism, is paltry and even shocking. He lacks an ardent generosity. A central dryness, an ill-cloaked egoism show through his supple and rich talent. True, this selfishness of his at least respects everyone's liberty and applauds all originality; but it helps no one, troubles itself for no one, bears no one's burden; in a word, it lacks charity, the great Christian virtue. To his mind perfection lies in personal nobility, and not in love. His keynote is æsthetic and not moral. He ignores sanctity, and has never so much as reflected on the terrible problem of evil. He believes in the opportunity of the individual, but neither in liberty nor in responsibility. He is a stranger to the social and political aspirations of the multitude; he has no more thought for the disinherited, the feeble, the oppressed, than Nature has.

The profound disquiet of our era never touches Goethe; discords do not affect the deaf. Whoso has never heard the voice of conscience, regret and remorse, cannot even guess at the anxiety of those who have two masters, two laws, and belong to two worlds, the world of Nature and the world of Liberty. His choice is already made; his only world is Nature. But it is far otherwise with humanity. For men hear indeed the prophets of Nature, but they hear also the voice of Religion; the joy of life attracts them, but devotion moves them also; they no longer know whether they hate or adore the crucifix.

Nothing New Under the Sun

Jealousy is a terrible thing; it resembles love, but is in every way its contrary; the jealous man desires, not the good of the loved one, but her dependence on him and his triumph over her. Love is the forgetfulness of Self; but jealousy is the most passionate form of egoism, the exaltation of the despotic, vain and greedy Self, which cannot forget and subordinate itself. The contrast is complete.

The man of fifty years, contemplating the world, finds in it certainly some new things; but a thousand times more does he find old things furbished up, and plagiarisms and modifications rather than improvements. Almost everything in the world is a copy of a copy, a reflection of a reflection; and any real success or progress is as rare to-day as it has ever been. Let us not complain of it, for only so can the world last. Humanity advances at a very slow pace; that is why history continues. It may be that progress fans the torch to burn away; perhaps progress accelerates death. A society which should change rapidly would only arrive the sooner at its catastrophe. Yes, progress must be the aroma of life, and not its very substance.

To renounce happiness and think only of duty; to enthrone conscience where the heart has been: this willing immolation is a noble thing. Our nature jibes at it, but the better self will submit to it. To hope for justice is the proof of a sickly sensibility; we ought to be able to do without justice. A virile character consists in just that independence. Let the world think of us what it will; that is its affair, not ours. Our business is to act as if our country were grateful, as if the world judged in equity, as if public opinion could see the truth, as if life were just, and as if men were good.

The Only Art of Peace and Rest

Few people know of our physical sufferings; our nearest and dearest have no idea of our interviews with the king of terrors. There are thoughts for which there is no confidant, sorrows which may not be shared. Kindness itself leads us to hide them. One suffers alone; one dies alone; alone one hides away in the little apartment of six boards. But we are not forbidden to open this solitude to our God. Thus the soliloquy of anguish becomes a dialogue of peace, reluctance becomes docility, suffocation becomes liberty.

Willing what God wills is the only art of peace and rest. It is strange to go to bed knowing that one may not see to-morrow. I knew it well last night; yet here I am. When one counts the future by hours, and to-night is already the unknown, one gives up everything and just talks with oneself. I return to my mind and to my journal, as the hare returns to its form to die. As long as I can hold pen and have a moment of solitude I will recollect myself before this my echo, and converse with my God. Not an examination of conscience, not an act of contrition, not a cry of appeal. Only an Amen of submission ... "My child, give Me your heart."



Aurelius Augustine was born at Tagaste, a city of Numidia, on November 13, 354. This greatest of the Latin Christian Fathers was the son of a magistrate named Patricius, who was a pagan till near the close of his life. Augustine was sent to school at Madaura, and next to study at Carthage. His mother, Monica, early became an ardent Christian, and her saintly influence guided the youth towards the light; but entanglement in philosophic doubts constrained him to associate with the Manichæans, and then with the Platonists. His mental struggles lasted eleven years. Going to Rome to teach rhetoric, he was invited to Milan to lecture, and there was attracted by the eloquent preaching of Bishop Ambrose. His whole current of thought was changed, and the two became ardent friends. In 391, Augustine was ordained priest by Valerius, Bishop of Hippo, whose colleague he was appointed in 395. At the age of 41, he was designated Bishop of Hippo, and filled the office for 35 years, passing away in his 76th year, on August 28, 430, during the third year of the siege of Hippo by the Vandals under Genseric. His numerous and remarkable works stamp him as one of the world's transcendent intellects. His two monumental treatises are the "Confessions" and "The City of God."

I.--Regrets of a Mis-spent Youth

"Great art Thou, O Lord, and greatly to be praised." My faith, Lord, should call on Thee, which Thou hast given me by the incarnation of Thy Son, through the ministry of the preacher, Ambrose. How shall I call upon my God? What room is there within me, wherein my God can come? Narrow is the house of my soul; enlarge Thou it, that it may be able to receive Thee. Thou madest us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.

I began, as yet a boy, to pray to Thee, that I might not be beaten at school; but I sinned in disobeying the commands of parents and teachers through love of play, delighting in the pride of victory in my contests. I loved not study, and hated to be forced to it. Unless forced, I did not learn at all. But no one does well against his will, even though what he does is good. But what was well came to me from Thee, my God, for Thou hast decreed that every inordinate affection should carry with it its own punishment.

But why did I so much hate the Greek which I was taught as a boy? I do not yet fully know. For the Latin I loved; not what my first masters, but what the so-called grammarians taught me. For those first lessons--reading, writing, and arithmetic--I thought as great a burden and as vexatious as any Greek. But in the other lessons I learned the wanderings of Æneas, forgetful of my own, and wept for the dead Dido because she killed herself for love; while, with dry eyes, I endured my miserable self-dying among these things, far from Thee, my God, my life.

Why, then, did I hate the Greek classics, full of like fictions to those in Virgil? For Homer also curiously wove similar stories, and is most pleasant, yet was disagreeable to my boyish taste. In truth, the difficulty of a foreign tongue dashed as with gall all the sweetness of the Greek fable. For not one word of it did I understand, and to make me learn I was urged vehemently with cruel threats and stripes. Yet I learned with delight the fictions in Latin concerning the wicked doings of Jove and Juno, and for this I was pronounced a helpful boy, being applauded above many of my own age and class.

I will now call to mind my past uncleanness and the carnal corruptions of my soul; not because I love them, but that I may love Thee, O my God. What was it that I delighted in, but to love and to be loved? But I kept not the measure of love of soul to soul, friendship's bright boundary, for I could not discern the brightness of love from the fog of lust. Where was I, and how far was I exiled from the delights of Thy house, in that sixteenth year of my age, when the madness of licence took the rule over me? My friends, meanwhile, took no care by marriage to prevent my fall; their only care was that I should learn to speak excellently, and become a great orator. Now, for that year my studies were intermitted; whilst, after my return from Madaura--a neighbouring city whither I had journeyed to learn grammar and rhetoric--the expenses for a further journey to Carthage were provided for me; and that rather by sacrifice than by the ordinary means of my father, who was but a poor citizen of Tagaste. But yet this same father had no concern how I grew towards Thee; or how chaste I were; or, so that I were but eloquent, how barren I were to Thy culture, O God.

But while in that my sixteenth year I lived with my parents, the briers of unclean desires grew rank over my head, and there was no hand to root them out. My father rejoiced to see me growing towards manhood, but in my mother's breast Thou hadst already begun Thy temple, whereas my father was as yet but a catechumen, and that but recently. I remember how she, seized with a holy fear and trembling, in private warned me with great anxiety against fornication. These seemed to me womanish advices which I should blush to obey. But they were Thine, and I knew it not. I ran headlong with such blindness that amongst my equals I was ashamed of being less shameless than others when I heard them boast of their wickedness. I would even say I had done what I had not done that I might not seem contemptible exactly in proportion as I was innocent.

II.--Monica's Prayers and Augustine's Paganism

To Carthage I came, where there sang in my ears a cauldron of unholy loves. I denied the spring of friendship with the filth of concupiscence, and I beclouded its brightness with the hell of lust.

Stage plays always carried me away, full of images of my miseries and of fuel to my fire. In the theatres I rejoiced with lovers, when they succeeded in their criminal intrigues, imaginary only in the play; and when they lost one another I sorrowed with them. Those studies also which were accounted commendable, led me away, having a view of excelling in the courts of litigation, where I should be the more praised the craftier I became. And now I was the head scholar in the rhetoric school, whereat I swelled with conceit. I learned books of eloquence, wherein I desired to be eminent. In the course of study I fell upon a certain book of Cicero which contains an exhortation to philosophy, and is called "Hortensius." This book changed my disposition, and turned my prayers to Thyself, O Lord. I longed with an incredible ardour for the immortality of wisdom, and began now to arise a wish that I might return to Thee. I resolved then to turn my mind to the Holy Scriptures, to see what they were; but when I turned to them my pride shrank from their humility, disdaining to be one of the little ones.

Therefore, I fell among men proudly doting, exceeding carnal, and great talkers, who served up to me, when hungering after Thee, the Sun and Moon, beautiful works of Thine, but not Thyself. Yet, taking these glittering phantasies to be Thee, I fed thereon, but was not nourished by them, but rather became more empty. I knew not God to be a Spirit. Nor knew I that true inward righteousness, which judgeth not according to custom, but out of the most righteous laws of Almighty God. Under the influence of these Manichæans I scoffed at Thy holy servants and prophets. And Thou "sentest Thine hand from above," and deliveredst my soul from that profound darkness. My mother, Thy faithful one, wept to Thee for me, for she discerned the death wherein I lay, and Thou heardest her, O Lord. Thou gavest her answers first in visions. There passed yet nine years in which I wallowed in the mire of that deep pit and the darkness of error. Thou gavest her meantime another answer by a priest of Thine, a certain bishop brought up in Thy Church, and well studied in books, whom she entreated to converse with me and to refute my errors. He answered that I was as yet unteachable, being puffed up with the novelty of that heresy. "But let him alone awhile," saith he; "only pray to God for him, he will of himself, by reading, find what that error is, and how great its impiety." He told her how he himself, when a little one, had by his mother been consigned over to the Manichæans, but had found out how much that sect was to be abhorred, and had, therefore, avoided it. But he assured her that the child of such tears as hers could not perish. Which answer she took as an oracle from heaven.

Thus, from my nineteenth year to my twenty-eighth we lived, hunting after popular applause and poetic prizes, and secretly following a false religion. In those years I taught rhetoric, and in those years I had conversation with one--not in that which is called lawful marriage--yet with but one, remaining faithful even unto her. Those impostors whom they style astrologers I consulted without scruple. In those years, when I first began to teach rhetoric in my native town, I had made one my friend, only too dear to me from a community of studies and pursuits, of my own age, and, as myself, in the first bloom of youth. I had perverted him also to those superstitions and pernicious fables for which my mother bewailed me. With me he now erred in mind, nor could my soul be happy without him But behold Thou wert close on the steps of Thy fugitives, at once "God of Vengeance" and Fountain of Mercies, turning us to Thyself by wonderful means. Thou tookest that man out of this life, when he had scarce filled up one whole year of my friendship, sweet to me above all sweetness of that my life. For long, sore sick of a fever, he lay senseless in a death-sweat; so that, his recovery being despaired of, he was baptised in that condition. He was relieved and restored, and I essayed to jest with him, expecting him to do the same, at that baptism which he had received when in the swoon. But he shrank from me as from an enemy, and forbade such language. A few days afterwards he was happily taken from my folly, that with Thee he might be preserved for my comfort. In my absence he was attacked again by the fever, and so died. At this grief my heart was utterly darkened. My native country was a torment, and my father's house a strange unhappiness to me. At length I fled out of the country, for so my eyes missed him less where they were wont to see him. And thus from Tagaste I came to Carthage.

III.--The Influence of St. Ambrose on Augustine's Life

I would lay open before my God that nine and twentieth year of my age. There had then come to Carthage a certain Bishop of the Manichæans, Faustus by name, a great snare of the Devil, and many were entangled by him through the smooth lure of his language. Because he had read some of Cicero's orations and a few of Seneca's books, some of the poets, and such volumes of his own sect as were written in good Latin, he acquired a certain seductive eloquence. But it soon became clear that he was ignorant in those arts in which I thought he excelled, and I began to despair of his solving the difficulties which perplexed me. He was sensible of his ignorance in these things, and confessed it, and thus my zeal for the writings of the Manichæans was blunted. Thus Faustus, to so many a snare of death, had now, neither willing nor witting it, begun to loosen that wherein I was taken. Thou didst deal with me that I should be persuaded to go to Rome and to teach there rather what I was teaching at Carthage, my chief and only reason being that I heard that young men studied there more peacefully, and were kept under a more regular discipline. My mother remained behind weeping and praying. And, behold, at Rome I was received by the scourge of bodily sickness, and I was going down to hell, carrying all the sins that I had committed. Thou healdest me of that sickness that I might live for Thee to bestow upon me a better and more abiding health. I began then diligently to teach rhetoric in Rome when, lo! I found other offences committed in that city, to which I had not been exposed in Africa, for, on a sudden, a number of youths plot together to avoid paying their master's salary, and remove to another school. When, therefore, they of Milan had sent to Rome to the prefect of the city, to furnish them with a rhetoric reader for their city, I made application that Symmachus, then prefect of the city, would try me by setting me some subject for oration, and so send me. Thus to Milan I came, to Ambrose the bishop, best known to the whole world as among the best of men, Thy servant. To him I was unknowingly led by Thee, that by him I might knowingly be led to Thee. That man of God received me as a father, and showed me an episcopal kindness at my coming. Thenceforth I began to love him. I was delighted with his eloquence as he preached to the people, though I took no pains to learn what he taught, but only to hear how he spake.

My mother had now come to me. When I had discovered to her that I was now no longer a Manichaean, though not yet a Catholic Christian, she was not overjoyed as at something unexpected. But she redoubled her prayers and tears for me now that what she had begged of Thee daily with tears was in so great part realised; and she hurried the more eagerly to the church, and hung on the lips of Ambrose, whom she loved as "an angel of God," because she knew that by him I had been brought to that wavering I was now in. I heard him every Lord's Day expound the word of truth, and was sure that all the knots of the Manichæans could be unravelled. So I was confounded and converted. Yet I panted after honours, gains, marriage--and in these desires I underwent most bitter crosses.

One day, when I was preparing to recite a panegyric on the Emperor [probably the Emperor Valentinian the Younger], wherein I was to utter many a lie, and, lying, was to be applauded by those who knew I lied, while passing through the streets of Milan, I observed a poor beggar joking and joyous. I sighed, and spoke to the friends around me of the many sorrows of the phantoms we pursued--for by all our effort and toil we yet looked to arrive only at the very joyousness whither that beggar had arrived before us. I was racked with cares, but he, by saying "God bless you!" had got some good wine; I, by talking lies, was hunting after empty praise. Chiefly did I speak of such things with Alypius and Bebridius, of whom Alypius was born in the same town with me, and had studied under me, and loved me. But the whirlpool of Carthaginian habits had, when he lived there, drawn him into follies of the circus. One day as I sat teaching my scholars, he entered and listened attentively, while I by chance had in hand a passage which, while I was explaining, suggested to me a simile from the circensian races, not without a jibe at those who were enthralled by that folly. Alpius took it wholly to himself, and he returned no more to the filths of the circensian pastimes in Carthage. But he had gone before me to Rome, and there he was carried away with an incredible eagerness after the shows of gladiators. Him I found at Rome, and he clave to me and went with me to Milan, that he might be with me, and also practise something of the law that he had studied. Bebridius also left Carthage, that with me he might continue the search after truth.

Meantime my sins were being multiplied. Continual effort was made to have me married, chiefly through my mother's pains, that so once married, the health-giving baptism might cleanse me. My concubine being torn from my side as a hindrance to my marriage, my heart, which clave unto her, was torn and wounded; and she returned to Africa, leaving with me my son by her. But, unhappy, I procured another, though no wife.

To Thee be praise, Fountain of Mercies! I was becoming more miserable, and Thou drewest nearer to me in my misery!

IV.--The Birth of a New Life

My evil and abominable youth was now dead. I was passing into early manhood. Meeting with certain books of the Platonists, translated from Greek into Latin, I therein read, not in the same words, but to the same purpose, that "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." But that "the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us" I read not there. That Jesus humbled Himself to the death of the Cross, and was raised from the dead and exalted unto glory, that at His name every knee should bow, I read not there.

Then I sought a way of obtaining strength, and found it not until I embraced "that Mediator between God and Man, the Man Christ Jesus." Eagerly did I seize that venerable writing of Thy Spirit, and chiefly the Apostle Paul. Whereupon those difficulties vanished wherein he formerly seemed to me to contradict himself and the text of his discourse not to agree with the testimonies of the Law and the Prophets. But now they appeared to me to contain one pure and uniform doctrine; and I learned to "rejoice with trembling."

I had now found the goodly pearl, which, selling all I had, I ought to have bought, and I hesitated. To Simplicianus [sent from Rome to be an instructor and director to Ambrose], then I went, the spiritual father of Ambrose and now a bishop, to whom I related the mazes of my wanderings. He testified his joy that I had read certain books of the Platonists and had not fallen on the writings of other deceitful philosophers. And he related to me the story of the conversion of Victorianus, the translator of those Platonist books, who was not ashamed to become the humble little child of Thy Christ, after he had for years with thundering eloquence inspired the people with the love of Anubis, the barking deity, and all the monster gods who fought against Neptune, Venus and Minerva, so that Rome now adored the deities she had formerly conquered. But this proud worshipper of daemons suddenly and unexpectedly said to Simplicianus, "Get us to the Church; I wish to be made a Christian." And he was baptised to the wonder of Rome and the joy of the Church. I was fired by this story and longed now to devote myself entirely to God, but still did my two wills, one new and the other old, one carnal and the other spiritual, struggle within me; and by their discord undid my soul.

And now Thou didst deliver me out of the bonds of desire, wherewith I was bound most straitly to carnal concupiscence, I will now declare and confess. Upon a day there came to see me and Alpius one Pontitianus, an African fellow-countryman, in high office at the Emperor's court, who was a Christian and baptised. He told us how one afternoon at Trier, when the Emperor was taken up with the circensian games, he and three companions went to walk in gardens near the city walls and lighten on a certain cottage, inhabited by certain of Thy servants, and there they found a little book containing the life of Antony. This some of them began to read and admire; and he, as he read, began to meditate on taking up such a life. By that book he was changed inwardly, as was one of his companions also. Both had affianced brides, who, when they heard of this change, also dedicated their virginity to God.

V.--God's Command to Augustine and the Death of Monica

After much soul-sickness and torment of spirit took place an incident by which Thou didst wholly break my chains. I was bewailing and weeping in my heart, when, lo! I heard from a neighbouring house a voice as of a boy or girl, I know not what, chanting, and oft repeating "Tolle, lege; tolle, lege" ["Take up and read; take up and read"]. Instantly I rose up, interpreting it to be no other than the voice of God, to open the Book and read the first chapter I should find. Eagerly I seized the volume of the apostle and opened and read that section on which my eyes fell first: "Not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying; but put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof." No further would I read, nor needed I, for a light as it were of serenity diffused in my heart, and all the darkness of doubt vanished away.

When shall I recall all that passed in those holy days? The vintage-vacation I gave notice to the Milanese to provide their scholars with another master to sell words to them; for I had made my choice to serve Thee. It pleased Alypius also, when the time was come for my baptism, to be born again with me in Thee. We joined with us the boy Adeodatus, born of me, in my sin. Excellently hadst Thou made him. He was not quite fifteen, and in wit surpassed many grave and learned men. We were baptised, and anxiety for our past life vanished from us.

The time was now approaching when Thy handmaid, my mother Monica, was to depart this life. She fell sick of a fever, and on the ninth day of that sickness, and the fifty-sixth year of her age, and the three and thirtieth of mine, was that religious and holy soul set free from the body. Being thus forsaken of so great comfort in her, my soul was wounded. Little by little the wound was healed as I recovered my former thoughts of her holy conversation towards Thee and her holy tenderness and observance towards us. May she rest in peace with her sometime husband Patricius, whom she obeyed, "with patience bringing forth fruit" unto Thee, that she might win him also unto Thee.

This is the object of my confessions now of what I am, not of what I have been--to confess this not before Thee only, but in the ears also of the believing sons of men. Too late I loved Thee! Thou wast with me, but I was not with Thee. And now my whole hope is in nothing but Thy great mercy. Since Thou gavest me continency I have observed it; but I retain the memory of evil habits, and their images come up oft before me. And Thou hast taught me concerning eating and drinking, that I should set myself to take food as medicine. I strive daily against concupiscence in eating and drinking. Thou hast disentangled me from the delights of the ear and from the lusts of the eye. Into many snares of the senses my mind wanders miserably, but Thou pluckest me out mercifully. By pride, vainglory, and love of praise I am tempted, but I seek Thy mercy till what is lacking in me by Thee be renewed and perfected. Thou knowest my unskillfulness; teach me the wondrous things out of Thy law and heal me.


The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D.

James Boswell, born on October 18, 1740, was the son of Alexander Boswell of Auchinleck, better known as Lord Auchinleck, one of the senators of the College of Justice, or Supreme Court, of Scotland. Boswell was educated at Edinburgh and Utrecht universities, and was called both to the Scots and the English Bar. He was early interested in letters, and while still a student, published some poems and magazine articles. Boswell was introduced to Dr. Johnson on May 16, 1763. The friendship rapidly ripened, and from 1772 to the death of the illustrious moralist, was unbroken. As an introduction to "The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D."--perhaps the greatest of all biographies--we can hardly do better than use the words of the biographer himself. "To write the life of him who excelled all mankind in writing the lives of others, and who, whether we consider his extraordinary endowments or his various works, has been equalled by few in any age, is an arduous, and may be reckoned in me a presumptuous, task. But as I had the honour and happiness of enjoying Dr. Johnson's friendship for upwards of twenty years; as I had the scheme of writing his life constantly in view; as he was well apprised of this circumstance, and from time to time obligingly satisfied my inquiries by communicating to me the incidents of his early years; and as I have spared no pains in obtaining materials concerning him, I flatter myself that few biographers have entered upon such a work as this with more advantages, independent of literary abilities, in which I am not vain enough to compare myself with some great names who have gone before me in this kind of writing." The "Life" was a signal success at the time of its publication, and even yet is unrivalled in the field of biography. Boswell latterly resided permanently in London, and was proprietor of, and principal contributor to, the "London Magazine". He died in his house in Great Portland Street on May 19, 1795.

I.--Parentage and Education

Samuel Johnson was born at Lichfield, in Staffordshire, on September 18,1709, and was baptised on the day of his birth. His father was Michael Johnson, a native of Derbyshire, of obscure extraction, who settled in Lichfield as a bookseller and stationer. His mother was Sarah Ford, descended of an ancient race of substantial yeomanry in Warwickshire. They were well advanced in years when they were married, and never had more than two children, both sons--Samuel, their first born, whose various excellences I am to endeavour to record, and Nathaniel, who died in his twenty-fifth year.

Mr. Michael Johnson was a man of a large and robust body, and of a strong and active mind; yet there was in him a mixture of that disease the nature of which eludes the most minute inquiry, though the effects are well known to be a weariness of life, an unconcern about those things which agitate the greater part of mankind, and a general sensation of gloomy wretchedness. From him, then, his son inherited, with some other qualities, "a vile melancholy," which, in his too strong expression of any disturbance of the mind, "made him mad all his life--at least, not sober." Old Mr. Johnson was a pretty good Latin scholar, and a citizen so creditable as to be made one of the magistrates of Lichfield; and, being a man of good sense and skill in his trade, he acquired a reasonable share of wealth, of which, however, he afterwards lost the greatest part, by engaging unsuccessfully in a manufacture of parchment.

Young Johnson had the misfortune to be much afflicted with the scrofula, or king's evil, which disfigured a countenance naturally well formed, and hurt his visual nerves so much that he did not see at all with one of his eyes, though its appearance was little different from that of the other. Yet, when he and I were travelling in the Highlands of Scotland, and I pointed out to him a mountain, which, I observed, resembled a cone, he corrected my inaccuracy by showing me that it was indeed pointed at the top, but that one side of it was larger than the other. And the ladies with whom he was acquainted agree that no man was more nicely and minutely critical in the elegance of female dress.

He was first taught to read English by Dame Oliver, a widow, who kept a school for young children in Lichfield. He began to learn Latin with Mr. Hawkins, usher, or under-master, of Lichfield School. Then he rose to be under the care of Mr. Hunter, the head-master, who, according to his account "was very severe, and wrong-headedly severe. He used," said he, "to beat us unmercifully, and he did not distinguish between ignorance and negligence." Yet Johnson was very sensible how much he owed to Mr. Hunter. Mr. Langton one day asked him how he had acquired so accurate a knowledge of Latin, in which, I believe, he was exceeded by no man of his time. He said, "My master whipped me very well. Without that, sir, I should have done nothing." Indeed, upon all occasions, he expressed his approbation of enforcing instruction by means of the rod. "The rod," said he, "produces an effect which terminates in itself. A child is afraid of being whipped, and gets his task, and there's an end on't; whereas, by exciting emulation and comparisons of superiority, you lay the foundation of lasting mischief."

From his earliest years Johnson's superiority was perceived and acknowledged. He was from the beginning a king of men. His schoolfellow, Mr. Hector, has assured me that he never knew him corrected at school but for talking and diverting other boys from their business. He seemed to learn by intuition; for though indolence and procrastination were inherent in his constitution, whenever he made an exertion he did more than anyone else. He was uncommonly inquisitive; and his memory was so tenacious that he never forgot anything that he either heard or read. Mr. Hector remembers having recited to him eighteen verses, which, after a little pause, he repeated verbatim.

He never joined with the other boys in their ordinary diversions, for his defective sight prevented him from enjoying them; and he once pleasantly remarked to me "how wonderfully well he had contrived to be idle without them." Of this inertness of disposition Johnson had all his life too great a share.

After having resided for some time at the house of his uncle, Cornelius Ford, Johnson was, at the age of fifteen, removed to the school of Stourbridge, in Worcestershire, of which Mr. Wentworth was then master. At this school he did not receive so much benefit as was expected, and remaining there little more than a year, returned home, where he may be said to have loitered for two years. He had no settled plan of life, and though he read a great deal in a desultory manner, he read only as chance and inclination directed him. "What I read," he told me, "were not voyages and travels, but all literature, sir, all ancient writers, all manly; though but little Greek, only some of Anacreon and Hesiod. But in this irregular manner I had looked into many books which were not known at the universities, where they seldom read any books but what are put into their hands by their tutors; so that when I came to Oxford, Dr. Adams, now Master of Pembroke College, told me I was the best qualified for the university that he had ever known come there."

II--Marriage and Settlement in London

Compelled by his father's straitened circumstances, Johnson left Pembroke College in the autumn of 1731, without taking a degree, having been a member of it little more than three years. In December of this year his father died.

In this forlorn state of his circumstances, he accepted an offer to be employed as usher in the school of Market Bosworth, in Leicestershire. But he was strongly averse to the painful drudgery of teaching, and, having quarrelled with Sir Wolstan Dixie, the patron of the school, he relinquished after a few months a situation which all his life afterwards he recollected with the strongest aversion and even a degree of horror. Among the acquaintances he made at this period was Mr. Porter, a mercer at Birmingham, whose widow he afterwards married. In what manner he employed his pen in 1733 I have not been able to ascertain. He probably got a little money for occasional work, and it is certain that he was occupied about this time in the translation of Lobo's "Voyage to Abyssinia," which was published in 1735, and brought him five guineas from this same bookseller. It is reasonable to suppose that his rendering of Lobo's work was the remote occasion of his writing, many years after, his admirable philosophical tale, "Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia."

Miss Porter told me that when Mr. Johnson was first introduced to her mother his appearance was very forbidding; he was then lean and lank, so that his immense structure of bones was hideously striking to the eye, and the scars of the scrofula were deeply visible. He also wore his hair, which was straight and stiff, and separated behind; and he often had, seemingly, convulsive starts and odd gesticulations, which tended to excite at once surprise and ridicule. Mrs. Porter was so much engaged by his conversation that she overlooked all these external disadvantages, and said to her daughter, "This is the most sensible man that I ever saw in my life."

Though Mrs. Porter, now a widow, was double the age of Johnson, and her person and manner, as described to me by the late Mr. Garrick, were by no means pleasing to others, she must have had a superiority of understanding and talents, as she certainly inspired him with a more than ordinary passion. The marriage took place at Derby, on July 9, 1736.

He now set up a private academy, for which purpose he hired a large house well situated near his native city. In the "Gentleman's Magazine" for 1736 there is the following advertisement:

"At Edial, near Lichfield, in Staffordshire, young gentlemen are boarded and taught the Latin and Greek languages, by SAMUEL JOHNSON."

But the only pupils that were put under his care were the celebrated David Garrick and his brother George, and a Mr. Offely, a young gentleman of fortune, who died early.

Johnson, indeed, was not more satisfied with his situation as the master of an academy than with that of the usher of a school; we need not wonder, therefore, that he did not keep his academy more than a year and a half. From Mr. Garrick's account he did not appear to have been profoundly reverenced by his pupils. His oddities of manner and uncouth gesticulations could not but be the subject of merriment to them; and in particular, the young rogues used to turn into ridicule his awkward fondness for Mrs. Johnson, whom he used to name by the familiar appellation of Tetty or Tetsey, which, like Betty or Betsey, is provincially used as a contraction for Elizabeth, her Christian name, but which to us seems ludicrous when applied to a woman of her age and appearance. Mr. Garrick described her to me as very fat, with swelled cheeks of a florid red produced by thick painting, and increased by the liberal use of cordials; flaring and fantastic in her dress, and affected both in her speech and her general behaviour.

While Johnson kept his academy, I have not discovered that he wrote anything except a great portion of his tragedy of "Irene." When he had finished some part of it, he read what he had done to his friend, Mr. Gilbert Walmsley, Registrar of the Prerogative Court of Lichfield, who was so well pleased with this proof of Johnson's abilities as a dramatic writer that he advised him to finish the tragedy and produce it on the stage. Accordingly, Johnson and his friend and pupil, David Garrick, went to try their fortunes in London in 1737, the former with the hopes of getting work as a translator and of turning out a fine tragedy-writer, the latter with the intention of completing his education, and of following the profession of the law. How, indeed, Johnson employed himself upon his first coming to London is not particularly known. His tragedy, of which he had entertained such hopes, was submitted to Mr. Fleetwood, the patentee of Drury Lane Theatre, and rejected.

III.--Poverty Stricken in London

Johnson's first performance in the "Gentleman's Magazine," which for many years was his principal source of employment and support, was a copy of Latin verses, in March, 1738, addressed to the editor. He was now enlisted by Mr. Cave, as a regular coadjutor in his magazine, by which he probably obtained a tolerable livelihood. What we certainly know to have been done by him in this way were the debates in both Houses of Parliament, under the name of "The Senate of Lilliput."

Thus was Johnson employed during some of the best years of his life, solely to obtain an honest support. But what first displayed his transcendent powers, and "gave the world assurance of the Man," was his "London, a Poem in Imitation of the Third Satire of Juvenal," which came out in May this year (1738), and burst forth with a splendour the rays of which will forever encircle his name.

But though thus elevated into fame, Johnson could not expect to produce many such works as his "London," and he felt the hardships of writing for bread. He was therefore willing to resume the office of a schoolmaster, and, an offer being made to him of the mastership of a school, provided he could obtain the degree of Master of Arts, Dr. Adams was applied to by a common friend to know whether that could be granted to him as a favour from the university of Oxford. But it was then thought too great a favour to be asked.

During the next five years, 1739-1743, Johnson wrote largely for the "Gentleman's Magazine," and supplied the account of the Parliamentary Debates from November 19, 1740, to February 23, 1743, inclusive. It does not appear that he wrote anything of importance for the magazine in 1744. But he produced one work this year, fully sufficient to maintain the high reputation which he had acquired. This was "The Life of Richard Savage," a man of whom it is difficult to speak impartially without wondering that he was for some time the intimate companion of Johnson; for his character was marked by profligacy, insolence, and ingratitude; yet, as he undoubtedly had a warm and vigorous, though unregulated mind, had seen life in all its varieties, and been much in the company of the statesmen and wits of his time, he could communicate to Johnson an abundant supply of such materials as his philosophical curiosity most eagerly desired; and so his visits to St. John's Gate--the office of the "Gentleman's Magazine"--naturally brought Johnson and him together.

IV.--Preparation of the "Dictionary"

It is somewhat curious that Johnson's literary career appears to have been almost totally suspended in 1745 and 1746. But the year 1747 is distinguished as the epoch when Johnson's arduous and important work, his "Dictionary of the English Language," was announced to the world, by the publication of its "Plan or Prospectus."

The booksellers who contracted with Johnson, single and unaided, for the execution of a work which in other countries has not been effected but by the co-operating exertions of many, were Mr. Robert Dodsley, Mr. Charles Hitch, Mr. Andrew Millar, the two Messieurs Longman, and the two Messieurs Knapton. The price stipulated was fifteen hundred and seventy-five pounds. The "Plan" was addressed to Philip Dormer, Earl of Chesterfield, then one of his majesty's principal secretaries of state, a nobleman who was very ambitious of literary distinction, and who, upon being informed of the design, had expressed himself in terms very favourable to its success. The plan had been put before him in manuscript For the mechanical part of the work Johnson employed, as he told me, six amanuenses.

In the "Gentleman's Magazine" for May, 1748, he-wrote a "Life of Roscommon," with notes, which he afterwards much improved and inserted amongst his "Lives of the English Poets." And this same year he formed a club in Ivy Lane, Paternoster Row, with a view to enjoy literary discussion.

In January, 1749, he published "Vanity of Human Wishes, being the Tenth Satire of Juvenal Imitated"; and on February 6 Garrick brought out his tragedy at Drury Lane. Dr. Adams was present at the first night of the representation of "Irene," and gave me the following account. "Before the curtain drew up, there were catcalls and whistling, which alarmed Johnson's friends. The prologue, which was 'written by himself in a manly strain, soothed the audience, and the play went off tolerably till it came to the conclusion, when Mrs. Pritchard, the heroine of the piece, was to be strangled on the stage, and was to speak two lines with the bow-string around her neck. The audience cried out 'Murder! Murder!' She several times attempted to speak, but in vain. At last she was obliged to go off the stage alive." This passage was afterwards struck out, and she was carried off to be put to death behind the scenes, as the play now has it.

Notwithstanding all the support of such performers as Garrick, Barry, Mrs. Pritchard, and every advantage of dress and decoration, the tragedy of "Irene" did not please the public. Mr. Garrick's zeal carried it through for nine nights, so that the author had his three nights' profit; and from a receipt signed by him it appears that his friend Mr. Robert Dodsley gave him one hundred pounds for the copy, with his usual reservation of the right of one edition.

On occasion of his play being brought upon the stage, Johnson had a fancy that as a dramatic author his dress should be more gay than he ordinarily wore; he therefore appeared behind the scenes, and even in one of the side boxes, in a scarlet waistcoat, with rich gold lace and a gold laced hat. His necessary attendance while his play was in rehearsal, and during its performance, brought him acquainted with many of the performers of both sexes, which produced a more favourable opinion of their profession than he had harshly expressed in his "Life of Savage." With some of them he kept up an acquaintance as long as he and they lived, and was ever ready to show them acts of kindness. He for a considerable time used to visit the green room, and seemed to take delight in dissipating his gloom by mixing in the sprightly chit-chat of the motley circle then to be found there. But at last--as Mr. David Hume related to me from Mr. Garrick--he denied himself this amusement from considerations of rigid virtue.

V.--"The Rambler" and New Acquaintance

In 1750 Johnson came forth in the character for which he was eminently qualified, a majestic teacher of moral and religious wisdom. The vehicle he chose was that of a periodical paper, which he knew had, upon former occasions--those of the "Tattler," "Spectator," and "Guardian"--been employed with great success.

The first paper of "The Rambler" was published on Tuesday, March 20, 1750, and its author was enabled to continue it without interruption, every Tuesday and Friday, till Saturday, March 17, 1752, on which day it closed. During all this time he received assistance on four occasions only.

Posterity will be astonished when they are told, upon the authority of Johnson himself, that many of these discourses, which we should suppose had been laboured with all the slow attention of literary leisure, were written in haste as the moments pressed, without even being read over by him before they were printed. Such was his peculiar promptitude of mind. He was wont to say, "A man may write at any time if he will set himself doggedly to it."

Though Johnson's circumstances were at this time--1751--far from being easy, his humane and charitable disposition was constantly exerting itself. Mrs. Anna Williams, daughter of a very ingenious Welsh physician, and a woman of more than ordinary talents in literature, having come to London in hopes of being cured of a cataract in both her eyes, which afterwards ended in total blindness, was kindly received as a constant visitor at his house while Mrs. Johnson lived; and after her death, having come under his roof in order to have an operation upon her eyes performed with more comfort to her than in lodgings, she had an apartment from him until the rest of her life at all times when he had a house.

In 1752 he wrote the last papers of "The Rambler," but he was now mainly occupied with his "Dictionary." This year, soon after closing his periodical paper, he suffered a loss which affected him with the deepest distress. For on March 17 his wife died. That his sufferings upon her death were severe, beyond what are commonly endured, I have no doubt, from the information of many who were then about him.

The circle of Johnson's friends, indeed, at this time was extensive and various, far beyond what has been generally imagined. To trace his acquaintance with each particular person were unprofitable. But exceptions are to be made, one of which must be a friend so eminent as Sir Joshua Reynolds, with whom he maintained an uninterrupted intimacy to the last hour of his life.

When Johnson lived in Castle Street, Cavendish Square, he used frequently to visit two ladies who lived opposite to him--Miss Cotterells, daughters of Admiral Cotterell. Reynolds used also to visit there, and thus they met. Mr. Reynolds had, from the first reading of his "Life of Savage," conceived a very high admiration of Johnson's powers of writing. His conversation no less delighted him, and he cultivated his acquaintance with the laudable zeal of one who was ambitious of general improvement.

His acquaintance with Bennet Langton, Esq., of Langton, in Lincolnshire, another much valued friend, commenced soon after the conclusion of the "Rambler," which that gentleman, then a youth, had read with so much admiration that he came to London chiefly with the view of endeavouring to be introduced to its author. By a fortunate chance he happened to take lodgings in a house where Mr. Levett frequently visited, who readily obtained Johnson's permission to bring Mr. Langton to him; as indeed, Johnson, during the whole course of his life, had no shyness, real or affected, but was easy of access to all who were properly recommended, and even wished to see numbers at his levée, as his morning circle of company might, with strict propriety, be called, for he received his friends when he got up from bed, which rarely happened before noon.

VI.--Lord Chesterfield and the "Dictionary"

In 1753 and 1754 Johnson relieved the drudgery of his "Dictionary" by taking an active part in the composition of "The Adventurer," a new periodical paper which his friends Dr. Hawkesworth and Dr. Bathurst had commenced.

Towards the end of the latter year, when the "Dictionary" was on the eve of publication, Lord Chesterfield, who, ever since the plan of this great work had been addressed to him, had treated its author with cold indifference, attempted to conciliate him by writing to papers in "The World" in recommendation of the undertaking. This courtly device failed of its effect, and Johnson, indignant that Lord Chesterfield should, for a moment, imagine that he could be the dupe of such an artifice, wrote him that famous letter, dated February 7, 1755, which I have already given to the public. I will quote one paragraph.

"Is not a patron, my lord, one who looks with unconcern on a man struggling for life in the water, and, when he has reached ground, encumbers him with help? The notice which you have been pleased to take of my labours, had it been early, had been kind; but it has been delayed till I am indifferent, and cannot enjoy it; till I am solitary, and cannot impart it; till I am known, and do not want it. I hope it is no very cynical asperity not to confess obligations where no benefit has been received, or to be unwilling that the public should consider me as owing that to a patron which Providence has enabled me to do for myself."

Thinking it desirable that the two letters intimating possession of the master's degree should, for the credit both of Oxford and of Johnson, appear after his name on the title page of his "Dictionary," his friends obtained for him from his university this mark of distinction by diploma dated February 20, 1755; and the "Dictionary" was published on April 15 in two volumes folio.

It won him much honour at home and abroad; the Academy of Florence sent him their "Vocabulario," and the French Academy their "Dictionnaire." But it had not set him above the necessity of "making provision for the day that was passing over him," for he had spent during the progress of the work all the money which it had brought him.

He was compelled, therefore, to contribute to the monthly periodicals, and during 1756 he wrote a few essays for "The Universal Visitor," and superintended and contributed largely to another publication entitled "The Literary Magazine, or Universal Review." Among the articles he wrote for the magazine was a review of Mr. Jonas Hanway's "Essay on Tea," to which the author made an angry answer. Johnson, after a full and deliberate pause, made a reply to it, the only instance, I believe, in the whole course of his life, when he condescended to oppose anything that was written against him.

His defence of tea was indeed made con amore. I suppose no person ever enjoyed with more relish the infusion of that fragrant leaf than Johnson. The quantities which he drank of it at all hours were so great that his nerves must have been uncommonly strong not to have been extremely relaxed by such an intemperate use of it.

This year Johnson resumed the scheme, first proposed eleven years previously, of giving an edition of Shakespeare with notes. He issued proposals of considerable length, but his indolence prevented him from pursuing the undertaking, and nine years more elapsed before it saw the light.

On April 15, 1758, he began a new periodical paper entitled "The Idler," which came out every Saturday in a weekly newspaper called "The Universal Chronicle, or Weekly Gazette." These essays were continued till April 5, 1760, and of the total of one hundred and three, twelve were contributed by his friends, including Reynolds, Langton, and Thomas Warton. "The Idler" has less body and more spirit than "The Rambler," and has more variety of real life, and greater facility of language. It was often written as hastily as it predecessor.

In 1759, in the month of January, Johnson's mother died, at the great age of ninety, an event which deeply affected him, for his reverential affection for her was not abated by years. Soon after, he wrote his "Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia," in order that with the profits he might defray the expenses of her funeral, and pay some little debts which she had left. He told Sir Joshua Reynolds that he composed it in the evenings of one week, and sent it to the press in portions, as it was written. Mr. Strahan, Mr. Johnston, and Mr. Dodsley purchased it for £100, but afterwards paid him £25 more when it came to a second edition. Though Johnson had written nothing else this admirable performance would have rendered his name immortal in the world of literature. None of his writings has been so extensively diffused over Europe; for it has been translated into most, if not all, of the modern languages. Voltaire's "Candide," written to refute the system of optimism, which it has accomplished with brilliant success, is wonderfully similar in its plan and conduct to Johnson's "Rasselas."

Early in 1762, having been represented to the king as a very learned and good person, without any certain provision, his majesty was pleased to grant him a pension of £300 a year. The prime movers in suggesting that Johnson ought to have a pension were Mr. Thomas Sheridan and Mr. Murphy. Having, in his "Dictionary," defined pension as "generally understood to mean pay given to a state hireling for treason to his country," Johnson at first doubted the propriety of his accepting this mark of the royal favour. But Sir Joshua having given his opinion that there could be no objection to his receiving from the king a reward for literary merit, and Lord Bute having told him expressly, "It is not given you for anything you are to do, but for what you have done," his scruples about accepting it were soon removed.

VII.--Boswell's First Meeting with Johnson

Johnson, who thought slightingly of Sheridan's art, and perhaps resented that a player should be rewarded in the same manner with him, upon hearing that a pension of £200 a year had been given to Sheridan, exclaimed, "What! Have they given him a pension? Then it's time for me to give up mine."

A man who disliked Johnson repeated his sarcasm to Mr. Sheridan, who could never forgive this hasty, contemptuous expression, and ever after positively declined Johnson's repeated offers of reconciliation.

It was Mr. Thomas Davies, the actor, turned bookseller, who introduced me to Johnson. On Monday, May 16, 1763. I was sitting in Mr. Davies's back parlour at 8 Russell Street, Covent Garden, after having drunk tea with him and Mrs. Davies, when Johnson unexpectedly came into the shop. Mr. Davies mentioned my name, and respectfully introduced me to him. I was much agitated at my long-wished-for introduction to the sage, and recollecting his prejudice against the Scotch, of which I had heard much, I said to Davies, "Don't tell where I come from----" "From Scotland!" cried Davies roguishly. "Mr. Johnson," said I, "I do, indeed, come from Scotland, but I cannot help it"--meaning this as light pleasantry to reconciliate him. But with that quickness of wit for which he was so remarkable he seized the expression "come from Scotland," and as if I had said that I had come away from it, or left it, remarked, "That, sir, I find, is what a very great many of your countrymen cannot help." This stroke, and another check which I subsequently received, stunned me a good deal; but eight days later I boldly repaired to his chambers on the first floor of No. 1, Inner Temple Lane, and he received me very courteously. His morning dress was sufficiently uncouth; his brown suit of clothes looked very rusty. He had on a little, old, shrivelled, unpowdered wig, which was too small for his head; his shirt-neck and knees of his breeches were loose; his black worsted stockings ill-drawn up; and he had a pair of unbuckled shoes by way of slippers. But all these slovenly particularities were forgotten the moment that he began to talk.

In February of the following year was founded that club which existed long without a name, but at Mr. Garrick's funeral became distinguished by the title of "The Literary Club." Sir Joshua Reynolds had the merit of being the first proposer of it, to which Johnson acceded, and the original members were Sir Joshua Reynolds, Dr. Johnson, Mr. Edmund Burke, Dr. Nugent (Mr. Burke's father-in-law), Mr. Beauclerk, Mr. Langton, Dr. Goldsmith, Mr. Chamier, and Sir John Hawkins. They met at the Turk's Head in Gerard Street, Soho, one evening in every week at seven, and generally continued their conversation till a very late hour. After about ten years, instead of supping weekly, it was resolved to dine together once a fortnight during the meeting of parliament, and, their original tavern having been converted into a private house, they moved first to Prince's in Sackville Street, then to Le Telier's in Dover Street, and now meet at Parsloe's, St. James's Street. Between the time of its formation and the time at which the second edition of this work is passing through the press (June 1792), its numbers have been raised to thirty-five, and the following persons have belonged to it: Mr. Dunning (afterwards Lord Ashburton), Mr. Garrick, Dr. Shepley (Bishop of St. Asaph), Mr. Thomas Warton, Mr. Joseph Warton, Dr. Adam Smith, Lord Charlemont, Sir Robert Chambers, Dr. Percy (Bishop of Dromore), Dr. Barnard (Bishop of Killaloe), Mr. Charles James Fox, Mr. Gibbon, Mr. R.B. Sheridan, Mr. Colman, Mr. Windham, of Norfolk, Dr. Burney, and the writer of this account.

This year Johnson was receiving his "Shakespeare," but he published a review of Grainger's "Sugar Cane: A Poem" in the "London Chronicle," and also wrote in "The Critical Review" an account of Goldsmith's excellent poem, "The Traveller." In July 1765, Trinity College, Dublin, surprised him with a spontaneous compliment of the highest academical honours, by creating him Doctor of Laws, and in October he at length gave to the world his edition of Shakespeare. This year was also distinguished by his being introduced into the family of Mr. Thrale, an eminent brewer, who was member for Southwark. The Thrales were so much pleased with him that his invitations to their house were more and more frequent, till at last he became one of the family, and an apartment was appropriated to him, both in their house in Southwark and at Streatham.

VIII.--Tours in the Hebrides and in Wales

His friend, the Rev. Dr. Maxwell, speaks as follows on Johnson's general mode of life: "About twelve o'clock I commonly visited him, and frequently found him in bed, or declaiming over his tea, which he drank very plentifully. He generally had a levée of morning visitors, chiefly men of letters--Hawkesworth, Goldsmith, Murphy, Langton, Stevens, Beauclerk, etc., etc., and sometimes learned ladies, particularly I remember a French lady of wit and fashion doing him the honour of a visit. He seemed to me to be considered as a kind of public oracle, whom everybody thought they had a right to visit and to consult; and doubtless they were well rewarded. I never could discover how he found time for his compositions. He declaimed all the morning, then went to dinner at a tavern, where he commonly stayed late, and then drank his tea at some friend's house, over which he loitered a great while, but seldom took supper. I fancy he must have read and wrote chiefly in the night, for I can scarcely recollect that he ever refused going with me to a tavern, and he often went to Ranelagh, which he deemed a place of innocent recreation."

In 1773 Johnson's only publication was an edition of his folio "Dictionary," with additions and corrections, and the preface to his old amanuensis, Machean's "Dictionary of Ancient Geography." His "Shakespeare," indeed, was republished this year by George Stevens, Esq., a gentleman of acute discernment and elegant taste.

On April 23, 1773, I was nominated by Johnson for membership of the Literary Club, and a week later I was elected to the society. There I saw for the first time Mr. Edmund Burke, whose splendid talents had made me ardently wish for his acquaintance.

This same year Johnson made, in my company, his visit to Scotland, which lasted from August 14, on which day he arrived, till November 22, when he set out on his return to London; and I believe one hundred days were never passed by any men in a more vigorous exertion. His various adventures, and the force and vivacity of his mind, as exercised during this peregrination, upon innumerable topics, have been faithfully, and to the best of my ability, displayed in my "Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides."

On his return to London his humane, forgiving dispositions were put to a pretty strong test by a liberty which Mr. Thomas Davies had taken, which was to publish two volumes, entitled "Miscellaneous and Fugitive Pieces," which he advertised in the newspapers, "By the Author of the Rambler." In some of these Johnson had no concern whatever. He was at first very angry, but, upon consideration of his poor friend's narrow circumstances, and that he meant no harm, he soon relented.

Dr. Goldsmith died on April 4 of the following year, a year in which I was unable to pay my usual spring visit to London, and in which Johnson made a long autumn tour in Wales with Mr. and Mrs. Thrale. In response to some inquiries of mine about poor Goldsmith, he wrote: "Of poor, dear Goldsmith there is little to be told more than the papers have made public. He died of a fever, made, I am afraid, more violent by uneasiness of mind. His debts began to be heavy, and all his resources were exhausted. Sir Joshua is of the opinion that he owed not less than £2,000. Was ever poet so trusted before?"

This year, too, my great friend again came out as a politician, for parliament having been dissolved in September, and Mr. Thrale, who was a steady supporter of government, having again to encounter the storm of a contested election in Southwark, Johnson published a short political pamphlet, entitled "The Patriot," addressed to the electors of Great Britain. It was written with energetic vivacity; and except those passages in which it endeavours to vindicate the glaring outrage of the House of Commons in the case of the Middlesex election and to justify the attempt to reduce our fellow-subjects in America to unconditional submission, it contained an admirable display of the properties of a real patriot, in the original and genuine sense.

IX.--Johnson's Physical Courage and Fear of Death

The "Rambler's" own account of our tour in the Hebrides was published in 1775 under the title of "A journey to the Western Islands of Scotland," and soon involved its author, who had expressed his disbelief in the authenticity of Ossian's poems, in a controversy with Mr. Macpherson. Johnson called for the production of the old manuscripts from which Mr. Macpherson said that he had copied the poems. He wrote to me: "I am surprised that, knowing as you do the disposition of your countrymen to tell lies in favour of each other, you can be at all affected by any reports that circulate among them." And when Mr. Macpherson, exasperated by this scepticism, replied in words that are generally said to have been of a nature very different from the language of literary contest, Johnson answered him in a letter that opened: "I received your foolish and impudent letter. Any violence offered me I shall do my best to repel, and what I cannot do for myself the law shall do for me. I hope I shall never be deterred from detecting what I think a cheat by the menaces of a ruffian."

Mr. Macpherson knew little the character of Dr. Johnson if he supposed that he could be easily intimidated, for no man was ever more remarkable for personal courage. He had, indeed, an awful dread of death, or, rather, "of something after death"; and he once said to me, "The fear of death is so much natural to man that the whole of life is but keeping away the thoughts of it," and confessed that "he had never had a moment in which death was not terrible to him." But his fear was from reflection, his courage natural. Many instances of his resolution may be mentioned. One day, at Mr. Beauclerk's house in the country, when two large dogs were fighting, he went up to them and beat them till they separated.

At another time, when Foote threatened to take him off on the stage, he sent out for an extra large oak stick; and this mere threat, repeated by Davies to Foote, effectually checked the wantonness of the mimic. On yet another occasion, in the playhouse at Lichfield, as Mr. Garrick informed me, Johnson having for a moment quitted a chair which was placed for him between the side scenes, a gentleman took possession of it, and when Johnson on his return civilly demanded his seat, rudely refused to give it up; upon which Johnson laid hold of it, and tossed him and the chair into the pit.

My revered friend had long before indulged most unfavourable sentiments of our fellow-subjects in America. As early as 1769 he had said to them: "Sir, they are a race of convicts, and ought to be grateful for anything we allow them short of hanging." He had recently published, at the desire of those in power, a pamphlet entitled "Taxation no Tyranny; an Answer to the Resolutions and Address of the American Congress." Of this performance I avoided to talk with him, having formed a clear and settled opinion against the doctrine of its title.

In the autumn Dr. Johnson went to Ashbourne to France with Mr. and Mrs. Thrale and Mr. Baretti, which lasted about two months. But he did not get into any higher acquaintance; and Foote, who was at Paris at the time with him, used to give a description of my friend while there and of French astonishment at his figure, manner, and dress, which was abundantly ludicrous. He was now a Doctor of Laws of Oxford, his university having conferred that degree on him by diploma in the spring.

X.--Johnson's "Seraglio"

A circumstance which could not fail to be very pleasing to Johnson occurred in 1777. The tragedy of "Sir Thomas Overbury," written by his early companion in London, Richard Savage, was brought out, with alterations, at Covent Garden Theatre, on February 1; and the prologue to it, written by Mr. Richard Brinsley Sheridan, introduced an elegant compliment to Johnson on his "Dictionary." Johnson was pleased with young Mr. Sheridan's liberality of sentiment, and willing to show that though estranged from the father he could acknowledge the brilliant merit of the son, he proposed him, and secured his election, as a member of the Literary Club, observing that "he who has written the two best comedies of his age ["The Rivals" and "The Duenna"] is surely a considerable man."

In the autumn Dr. Johnson went to Ashbourne to stop with his friend, the Rev. Dr. Taylor, and I joined him there. I was somewhat disappointed in finding that the edition of the "English Poets" for which he was to write prefaces and lives was not an undertaking directed by him, but that he was to furnish a preface and life to any poet the booksellers pleased. I asked him if he would do this to any dunce's works if they should ask him. Johnson: "Yes, sir, and say he was a dunce." My friend seemed now not much to relish talking of this edition; it had been arranged by the forty chief booksellers of London, and Johnson had named his own terms for the "Lives," namely, two hundred guineas.

During this visit he put into my hands the whole series of his writings in behalf of the Rev. Dr. William Dodd, who, having been chaplain-in-ordinary to his majesty, and celebrated as a very popular preacher, was this year convicted and executed for forging a bond on his former pupil, the young Earl of Chesterfield. Johnson certainly made extraordinary exertions to save Dodd. He wrote several petitions and letters on the subject, and composed for the unhappy man not only his "Speech to the Recorder of London," at the Old Bailey, when sentence of death was about to be pronounced upon him, and "The Convict's Address to his Unhappy Brethren," a sermon delivered by Dr. Dodd in the chapel of Newgate, but also "Dr. Dodd's Last Solemn Declaration," which he left with the sheriff at the place of execution.

In 1778, I arrived in London on March 18, and next day met Dr. Johnson at his old friend's, in Dean's Yard, for Dr. Taylor was a prebendary of Westminster. On Friday, March 2d, I found him at his own house, sitting with Mrs. Williams, and was informed that the room allotted to me three years previously was now appropriated to a charitable purpose, Mrs. Desmoulins, daughter of Johnson's godfather Dr. Swinfen, and, I think, her daughter, and a Miss Carmichael, being all lodged in it. Such was his humanity, and such his generosity, that Mrs. Desmoulins herself told me he allowed her half-a-guinea a week.

Unfortunately his "Seraglio," as he sometimes suffered me to call his group of females, were perpetually jarring with one another. He thus mentions them, together with honest Levett, in one of his letters to Mrs. Thrale: "Williams hates everybody; Levett hates Desmoulins, and does not love Williams--Desmoulins hates them both; Poll (Miss Carmichael) loves none of them."

On January 20, 1779, Johnson lost his old friend Garrick, and this same year he gave the world a luminous proof that the vigour of his mind in all its faculties, whether memory, judgement, and imagination, was not in the least abated, by publishing the first four volumes of his "Prefaces, Biographical and Critical, to the Most Eminent of the English Poets." The remaining volumes came out in 1781.

In 1780 the world was kept in impatience for the completion of his "Lives of the Poets," upon which he was employed so far as his indolence allowed him to labour.

This year--on March 11--Johnson lost another old friend in Mr. Topham Beauclerk, of whom he said: "No man ever was so free when he was going to say a good thing, from a look that expressed that it was coming; or, when he had said it, from a look that expressed that it had come."

XI.--Johnson's Humanity to Children, Servants, and the Poor

I was disappointed in my hopes of seeing Johnson in 1780, but I was able to come to London in the spring of 1781, and on Tuesday, March 20, I met him in Fleet Street, walking, or, rather, indeed, moving along--for his peculiar march is thus correctly described in a short life of him published very soon after his death: "When he walked the streets, what with the constant roll of his head, and the concomitant motion of his body, he appeared to make his way by that motion, independent of his feet." That he was often much stared at while he advanced in this manner may easily be believed, but it was not safe to make sport of one so robust as he was.

I waited on him next evening, and he gave me a great portion of his original manuscript of his "Lives of the Poets," which he had preserved for me.

I found on visiting his friend, Mr. Thrale, that he was now very ill, and had removed--I suppose by the solicitation of Mrs. Thrale--to a house in Grosvenor Square. I was sorry to see him sadly changed in his appearance. He died shortly after.

He told me I might now have the pleasure to see Dr. Johnson drink wine again, for he had lately returned to it. When I mentioned this to Johnson, he said: "I drink it now sometimes, but not socially." The first evening that I was with him at Thrale's, I observed he poured a large quantity of it into a glass, and swallowed it greedily. Everything about his character and manners was forcible and violent; there never was any moderation; many a day did he fast, many a year did he refrain from wine; but when he did eat, it was voraciously; when he did drink wine, it was copiously. He could practice abstinence, but not temperance.

"I am not a severe man," Johnson once said; "as I know more of mankind I expect less of them, and am ready now to call a man a good man upon easier terms than I was formerly."

This kind indulgence--extended towards myself when overcome by wine--had once or twice a pretty difficult trial, but on my making an apology, I always found Johnson behave to me with the most friendly gentleness. In fact, Johnson was not severe, but he was pugnacious, and this pugnacity and roughness he displayed most conspicuously in conversation. He could not brook appearing to be worsted in argument, even when, to show the force and dexterity of his talents, he had taken the wrong side. When, therefore, he perceived that his opponent gained ground, he had recourse to some sudden mode of robust sophistry. Once when I was pressing upon him with visible advantage, he stopped me thus: "My dear Boswell, let's have no more of this. You'll make nothing of it. I'd rather have you whistle a Scotch tune."

Goldsmith used to say, in the witty words of one of Cibber's comedies, "There is no arguing with Johnson, for when his pistol misses fire, he knocks you down with the butt end of it."

In 1782 his complaints increased, and the history of his life this year is little more than a mournful recital of the variations of his illness. In one of his letters to Mr. Hector he says, indeed, "My health has been, from my twentieth year, such as has seldom afforded me a single day of ease." At a time, then, when he was less able than he had once been to sustain a shock, he was suddenly deprived of Mr. Levett, who died on January 17. But, although his health was tottering, the powers of his mind were in no ways impaired, as his letters and conversation showed. Moreover, during the last three or four years of his life he may be said to have mellowed.

His love of little children, which he discovered upon all occasions, calling them "pretty dears," and giving them sweetmeats, was an undoubted proof of the real humanity and gentleness of his disposition. His uncommon kindness to his servants, and serious concern, not only for their comfort in this world, but their happiness in the next, was another unquestionable evidence of what all who were intimately acquainted with him knew to be true. Nor would it be just, under this head, to omit the fondness that he showed for animals which he had taken under his protection. I never shall forget the indulgence with which he treated Hodge, his cat, for whom he himself used to go out and buy oysters, lest the servants, having that trouble, should take a dislike to the poor creature.

XII.--The Last Year

In April, 1783, Johnson had a paralytic stroke, which deprived him, for a time, of the powers of speech. But he recovered so quickly that in July he was able to make a visit to Mr. Langton, at Rochester, where he passed about a fortnight, and made little excursions as easily as at any time of his life. In August he went as far as the neighbourhood of Salisbury, to Heale, the seat of William Bowles, Esq.; and it was while he was here that he had a letter from his physician, Dr. Brocklesby, acquainting him of the death of Mrs. Williams, which affected him a good deal.

In the end of 1783, in addition to his gout and his catarrhous cough, he was seized with a spasmodic asthma of such violence that he was confined to the house in great pain, being sometimes obliged to sit all night in his chair, a recumbent posture being so hurtful to his respiration that he could not endure lying in bed; and there came upon him at the same time that oppressive and fatal disease of dropsy. His cough he used to cure by taking laudanum and syrup of poppies, and he was a great believer in the advantages of being bled. But this year the very severe winter aggravated his complaints, and the asthma confined him to the house for more than three months; though he got almost complete relief from the dropsy by natural evacuation in February.

On Wednesday, May 5, 1784--the last year of Dr. Johnson's life--I arrived in London for my spring visit; and next morning I had the pleasure to find him greatly recovered. But I was in his company frequently and particularly remember the fine spirits he was in one evening at our Essex Head Club. He praised Mr. Burke's constant stream of conversation, saying, "Yes, sir; if a man were to go by chance at the same time with Burke under a shed, to shun a shower, he would say, 'This is an extraordinary man.'"

He had now a great desire to go to Oxford, as his first jaunt after his illness; we talked of it for some days, and on June 3 the Oxford post-coach took us up at Bolt Court, and we spent an agreeable fortnight with Dr. Adams at Pembroke College.

The anxiety of his friends to preserve so estimable a life made them plan for him a retreat from the severity of a British winter to the mild climate of Italy; and, after consulting with Sir Joshua Reynolds, I wrote to Lord Thurlow, the Lord Chancellor, for such an addition to Johnson's income as would enable him to bear the expense.

Lord Thurlow, who highly valued Johnson, and whom Johnson highly valued, at first made a very favourable reply, which being communicated to Dr. Johnson, greatly affected him; but eventually he had to confess that his application had been unsuccessful, and made a counter proposal, very gratefully refused by Johnson, that he should draw upon him to the amount of £500 or £600.

On Wednesday, June 30, I dined with him, for the last time, at Sir Joshua Reynolds's, no other company being present; and on July 2 I left London for Scotland.

Soon afterwards he had the mortification of being informed by Mrs. Thrale that she was actually going to marry Signor Piozzi, a papist, and her daughter's music-master. He endeavoured to prevent the marriage, but in vain.

Eleven days after I myself had left town, Johnson set out on a jaunt to Staffordshire and Derbyshire, flattering himself that he might be, in some degree, relieved; but towards the end of October he had to confess that his progress was slight. But there was in him an animated and lofty spirit, and such was his love of London that he languished when absent from it. To Dr. Brocklesby he wrote: "I am not afraid either of a journey to London, or of a residence in it. The town is my element; there are my friends, there are my books, to which I have not yet bid farewell, and there are my amusements. Sir Joshua told me long ago that my vocation was to public life, and I hope still to keep my station, till God shall bid me 'Go in peace.'"

He arrived in London on November 16. Soon after his return both the asthma and the dropsy became more violent and distressful, and though he was attended by Dr. Heberden, Dr. Brocklesby, Dr. Warren, and Dr. Butter, who all refused fees, and though he himself co-operated with them, and made deep incisions in his body to draw off the water from it, he gradually sank. On December 2, he sent directions for inscribing epitaphs for his father, mother, and brother on a memorial slab in St. Michael's Church, Lichfield. On December 8 and 9 he made his will; and on Monday, December 13, he expired about seven o'clock in the evening, with so little apparent pain that his attendants hardly perceived when his dissolution took place. A week later he was buried in Westminster Abbey, his old schoolfellow, Dr. Taylor, reading the service.

I trust I shall not be accused of affectation when I declare that I find myself unable to express all that I felt upon the loss of such a "Guide, Philosopher, and Friend." I shall, therefore, not say one word of my own, but adopt those of an eminent friend, which he uttered with an abrupt felicity: "He has made a chasm, which not only nothing can fill up, but which nothing has a tendency to fill up. Johnson is dead. Let us go to the next best: there is nobody; no man can be said to put you in mind of Johnson."


Life of Sir Isaac Newton

Sir David Brewster, a distinguished physicist, was born at Jedburgh, on December 11, 1781. He was educated at Edinburgh University, and was licensed as a clergyman of the Church of Scotland by the Presbytery of Edinburgh. Nervousness in the pulpit compelled him to retire from clerical life and devote himself to scientific work, and in 1808 he became editor of the "Edinburgh Encyclopaedia." His chief scientific interest was optics, and he invented the kaleidoscope, and improved Wheatstone's stereoscope by introducing the divided lenses. In 1815 he was elected a member of the Royal Society, and, later, was awarded the Rumford gold and silver medals for his discoveries in the polarisation of light. In 1831 he was knighted. From 1859 he held the office of Principal of Edinburgh University until his death on February 10, 1868. The "Life of Sir Isaac Newton" appeared in 1831, when it was first published in Murray's "Family Library." Although popularly written, not only does it embody the results of years of investigation, but it throws a unique light on the life of the celebrated scientist. Brewster supplemented it in 1855 with the much fuller "Memoirs of the Life, Writings, and Discoveries of Sir Isaac Newton."

I.--The Young Scientist

Sir Isaac Newton was born at the hamlet of Woolsthorpe on December 25, 1642. His father, a yeoman farmer, died a few months after his marriage, and never saw his son.

When Isaac was three years old his mother married again, and he was given over to the charge of his maternal grandmother. While still a boy at school, his mechanical genius began to show itself, and he constructed various mechanisms, including a windmill, a water-clock, and a carriage put in motion by the person who sat in it. He was also fond of drawing, and wrote verses. Even at this age he began to take an interest in astronomy. In the yard of the house where he lived he traced the varying movements of the sun upon the walls of the buildings, and by means of fixed pins he marked out the hourly and half-hourly subdivisions.

At the age of fifteen his mother took him from school, and sent him to manage the farm and country business at Woolsthorpe, but farming and marketing did not interest him, and he showed such a passion for study that eventually he was sent back to school to prepare for Cambridge.

In the year 1660 Newton was admitted into Trinity College, Cambridge. His attention was first turned to the study of mathematics by a desire to inquire into the truth of judicial astrology, and he is said to have discovered the folly of that study by erecting a figure with the aid of one or two of the problems in Euclid. The propositions contained in Euclid he regarded as self-evident; and, without any preliminary study, he made himself master of Descartes' "Geometry" by his genius and patient application. Dr. Wallis's "Arithmetic of Infinites," Sanderson's "Logic," and the "Optics" of Kepler, were among the books which he studied with care; and he is reported to have found himself more deeply versed in some branches of knowledge than the tutor who directed his studies.

In 1665 Newton took his Bachelor of Arts degree, and in 1666, in consequence of the breaking out of the plague, he retired to Woolsthorpe. In 1668 he took his Master of Arts degree, and was appointed to a senior fellowship. And in 1669 he was made Lucasian professor of mathematics.

During the years 1666-69, Newton was engaged in optical researches which culminated in his invention of the first reflecting telescope. On January 11, 1761, it was announced to the Royal Society that his reflecting telescope had been shown to the king, and had been examined by the president, Sir Robert Murray, Sir Paul Neale, and Sit Christopher Wren.

In the course of his optical researches, Newton discovered the different refrangibility of different rays of light, and in his professorial lectures during the years 1669, 1670, and 1671 he announced his discoveries; but not till 1672 did he communicate them to the Royal Society. No sooner were these discoveries given to the world than they were opposed with a degree of virulence and ignorance which have seldom been combined in scientific controversy. The most distinguished of his opponents were Robert Hooke and Huyghens. Both attacked his theory from the standpoint of the undulatory theory of light which they upheld.

II.--The Colours of Natural Bodies

In examining the nature and origin of colours as the component parts of white light, the attention of Newton was directed to the explanation of the colours of natural bodies. His earliest researches on this subject were communicated, in his "Discourse on Light and Colours," to the Royal Society in 1675.

Dr. Hooke had succeeded in splitting a mineral substance called mica into films of such extreme thinness as to give brilliant colours. One plate, for example, gave a yellow colour, another a blue colour, and the two together a deep purple, but as plates which produced this colour were always less than the twelve-thousandth part of an inch thick it was quite impracticable, by any contrivance yet discovered, to measure their thickness, and determine the law according to which the colours varied with the thickness of the film. Newton surmounted this difficulty by laying a double convex lens, the radius of the curvature of each side of which was fifty feet, upon the flat surface of a plano-convex object-glass, and in the way he obtained a plate of air, or of space, varying from the thinnest possible edge at the centre of the object-glass where it touched the plane surface to a considerable thickness at the circumference of the lens. When the light was allowed to fall upon the object-glass, every different thickness of the plate of air between the object-glasses gave different colours, so that the point where the two object-glasses touched one another was the centre of a number of concentric coloured rings. Now, as the curvature of the object-glass was known, it was easy to calculate the thickness of the plate of air at which any particular colour appeared, and thus to determine the law of the phenomena.

By accurate measurements Newton found that the thickness of air at which the most luminous parts of the first rings were produced were, in parts of an inch, as 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11 to 178,000.

If the medium or the substance of the thin plate is water, as in the case of the soap-bubble, which produces beautiful colours according to its different degrees of thinness, the thicknesses at which the most luminous parts of the ring appear are produced at 1/1.336 the thickness at which they are produced in air, and, in the case of glass or mica, at 1/1.525 at thickness, the numbers 1.336, 1.525 expressing the ratio of the sines of the angles of incidence and refraction which produce the colours.

From the phenomena thus briefly described, Newton deduced that ingenious, though hypothetical, property of light called its "fits of easy reflection and transmission." This property consists in supposing that every particle of light from its first discharge from a luminous body possesses, at equally distant intervals, dispositions to be reflected from, and transmitted through, the surfaces of the bodies upon which it is incident. Hence, if a particle of light reaches a reflecting surface of glass when in its fit of easy reflection, or in its disposition to be reflected, it will yield more readily to the reflecting force of the surface; and, on the contrary, if it reaches the same surface while in a fit of easy transmission, or in a disposition to be transmitted, it will yield with more difficulty to the reflecting force.

The application of the theory of alternate fits of transmission and reflection to explain the colours of thin plates is very simple.

Transparency, opacity and colour were explained by Newton on the following principles.

Bodies that have the greatest refractive powers reflect the greatest quantity of light from their surfaces, and at the confines of equally refracting media there is no reflection.

The least parts of almost all natural bodies are in some measure transparent.

Between the parts of opaque and coloured bodies are many spaces, or pores, either empty or filled with media of other densities.

The parts of bodies and their interstices or pores must not be less than of some definite bigness to render them coloured.

The transparent parts of bodies, according to their several sizes, reflect rays of one colour, and transmit those of another on the same ground that thin plates do reflect or transmit these rays.

The parts of bodies on which their colour depend are denser than the medium which pervades their interstices.

The bigness of the component parts of natural bodies may be conjectured by their colours.

Transparency he considers as arising from the particles and their intervals, or pores, being too small to cause reflection at their common surfaces; so that all light which enters transparent bodies passes through them without any portion of it being turned from its path by reflexion.

Opacity, he thinks, arises from an opposite cause, viz., when the parts of bodies are of such a size to be capable of reflecting the light which falls upon them, in which case the light is "stopped or stifled" by the multitude of reflections.

The colours of natural bodies have, in the Newtonian hypothesis, the same origin as the colours of thin plates, their transparent particles, according to their several sizes, reflecting rays of one colour and transmitting those of another.

Among the optical discoveries of Newton those which he made on the inflection of light hold a high place. They were first published in his "Treatise on Optics," in 1707.

III--The Discovery of the Law of Gravitation

From the optical labours of Newton we now proceed to the history of his astronomical discoveries, those transcendent deductions of human reason by which he has secured to himself an immortal name, and vindicated the intellectual dignity of his species.

In the year 1666, Newton was sitting in his garden at Woolsthorpe, reflecting on the nature of gravity, that remarkable power which causes all bodies to descend towards the centre of the earth. As this power does not sensibly diminish at the greatest height we can reach he conceived it possible that it might reach to the moon and affect its motion, and even hold it in its orbit. At such a distance, however, he considered some diminution of the force probable, and in order to estimate the diminution, he supposed that the primary planets were carried round the sun by the same force. On this assumption, by comparing the periods of the different planets with their distances from the sun, he found that the force must decrease as the squares of the distances from the sun. In drawing this conclusion he supposed the planets to move in circular orbits round the sun.

Having thus obtained a law, he next tried to ascertain if it applied to the moon and the earth, to determine if the force emanating from the earth was sufficient, if diminished in the duplicate ratio of the moon's distance, to retain the moon in its orbit. For this purpose it was necessary to compare the space through which heavy bodies fall in a second at the surface of the earth with the space through which the moon, as it were, falls to the earth in a second of time, while revolving in a circular orbit. Owing to an erroneous estimate of the earth's diameter, he found the facts not quite in accordance with the supposed law; he found that the force which on this assumption would act upon the moon would be one-sixth more than required to retain it in its orbit.

Because of this incongruity he let the matter drop for a time. But, in 1679, his mind again reverted to the subject; and in 1682, having obtained a correct measurement of the diameter of the earth, he repeated his calculations of 1666. In the progress of his calculations he saw that the result which he had formerly expected was likely to be produced, and he was thrown into such a state of nervous irritability that he was unable to carry on the calculation. In this state of mind he entrusted it to one of his friends, and he had the high satisfaction of finding his former views amply realised. The force of gravity which regulated the fall of bodies at the earth's surface, when diminished as the square of the moon's distance from the earth, was found to be exactly equal to the centrifugal force of the moon as deduced from her observed distance and velocity.

The influence of such a result upon such a mind may be more easily conceived than described. The whole material universe was opened out before him; the sun with all his attending planets; the planets with all their satellites; the comets wheeling in every direction in their eccentric orbits; and the system of the fixed stars stretching to the remotest limits of space. All the varied and complicated movements of the heavens, in short, must have been at once presented to his mind as the necessary result of that law which he had established in reference to the earth and the moon.

After extending this law to the other bodies of the system, he composed a series of propositions on the motion of the primary planets about the sun, which was sent to London about the end of 1683, and was soon afterwards communicated to the Royal Society.

Newton's discovery was claimed by Hooke, who certainly aided Newton to reach the truth, and was certainly also on the track of the same law.

Between 1686 and 1687 appeared the three books of Newton's immortal work, known as the "Principia." The first and second book are entitled "On the Motion of Bodies," and the third "On the System of the World."

In this great work Newton propounds the principle that "every particle of matter in the universe is attracted by, or gravitates to, every other particle of matter with a force inversely proportional to the squares of their distances." From the second law of Kepler, namely, the proportionality of the areas to the times of their description, Newton inferred that the force which keeps a planet in its orbit is always directed to the sun. From the first law of Kepler, that every planet moves in an ellipse with the sun in one of its foci, he drew the still more general inference that the force by which the planet moves round that focus varies inversely as the square of its distance from the focus. From the third law of Kepler, which connects the distances and periods of the planets by a general rule, Newton deduced the equality of gravity in them all towards the sun, modified only by their different distances from its centre; and in the case of terrestrial bodies, he succeeded in verifying the equality of action by numerous and accurate experiments.

By taking a more general view of the subject, Newton showed that a conic section was the only curve in which a body could move when acted upon by a force varying inversely as the square of the distance; and he established the conditions depending on the velocity and the primitive position of the body which were requisite to make it describe a circular, an elliptical, a parabolic, or a hyperbolic orbit.

It still remained to show whether the force resided in the centre of planets or in their individual particles; and Newton demonstrated that if a spherical body acts upon a distant body with a force varying as the distance of this body from the centre of the sphere, the same effect will be produced as if each of its particles acted upon the distant body according to the same law.

Hence it follows that the spheres, whether they are of uniform density, or consist of concentric layers of varying densities, will act upon each other in the same manner as if their force resided in their centres alone. But as the bodies of the solar system are nearly spherical, they will all act upon one another and upon bodies placed on their surface, as if they were so many centres of attraction; and therefore we obtain the law of gravity, that one sphere will act upon another sphere with a force directly proportional to the quantity of matter, and inversely as the square of the distance between the centres of the spheres. From the equality of action and reaction, to which no exception can be found, Newton concluded that the sun gravitates to the planets and the planets to their satellites, and the earth itself to the stone which falls upon its surface, and consequently that the two mutually gravitating bodies approach one another with velocities inversely proportional to their quantities of matter.

Having established this universal law, Newton was able not only to determine the weight which the same body would have at the surface of the sun and the planets, but even to calculate the quantity of matter in the sun and in all the planets that had satellites, and also to determine their density or specific gravity.

With wonderful sagacity Newton traced the consequences of the law of gravitation. He showed that the earth must be an oblate spheroid, formed by the revolution of an ellipse round its lesser axis. He showed how the tides were caused by the moon, and how the effect of the moon's action upon the earth is to draw its fluid parts into the form of an oblate spheroid, the axis of which passes through the moon. He also applied the law of gravitation to explain irregularities in the lunar motions, the precession of the equinoctial points, and the orbits of comets.

In the "Principia" Newton published for the first time the fundamental principle of the fluxionary calculus which he had discovered about twenty years before; but not till 1693 was his whole work communicated to the mathematical world. This delay in publication led to the historical controversy between him and Leibnitz as to priority of discovery.

In 1676 Newton had communicated to Leibnitz the fact that he had discovered a general method of drawing tangents, concealing the method in two sentences of transposed characters. In the following year Leibnitz mentioned in a letter to Oldenburg (to be communicated to Newton) that he had been for some time in possession of a method for drawing tangents, and explains the method, which was no other than the differential calculus. Before Newton had published a single word upon fluxions the differential calculus had made rapid advances on the Continent.

In 1704 a reviewer of Newton's "Optics" insinuated that Newton had merely improved the method of Leibnitz, and had indeed stolen Leibnitz's discovery; and this started a controversy which raged for years. Finally, in 1713, a committee of the Royal Society investigated the matter, and decided that Newton was the first inventor.

IV.--Later Years of Newton's Life

In 1692, when Newton was attending divine service, his dog Diamond upset a lighted taper on his desk and destroyed some papers representing the work of years. Newton is reported merely to have exclaimed: "O Diamond, Diamond, little do you know the mischief you have done me!" But, nevertheless, his excessive grief is said for a time to have affected his mind.

In 1695 Newton was appointed Warden of the Mint, and his mathematical and chemical knowledge were of eminent use in carrying on the recoinage of the mint. Four years later he was made Master of the Mint, and held this office during the remainder of his life. In 1701 he was elected one of the members of parliament for Oxford University, and in 1705 he was knighted.

Towards the end of his life Newton began to devote special attention to the theological questions, and in 1733 he published a work entitled "Observations upon the Prophecies of Daniel and the Apocalypse of St. John," which is characterised by great learning and marked with the sagacity of its distinguished author. Besides this religious work, he also published his "Historical Account of Two Notable Corruptions of Scripture," and his "Lexicon Propheticum."

In addition to theology, Newton also studied chemistry; and in 1701 a paper by him, entitled "Scala graduum caloris," was read at the Royal Society; while the queries at the end of his "Optics" are largely chemical, dealing with such subjects as fire, flame, vapour, heat, and elective attractions.

He regards fire as a body heated so hot as to emit light copiously; and flame as a vapour, fume, or exhalation, heated so hot as to shine.

In explaining the structure of solid bodies, he is of the opinion "that the smallest particles of matter may cohere by the strongest attractions, and compose bigger particles of weaker virtue; and many of these may cohere and compose bigger particles whose virtue is still weaker; and so on for diverse successions, until the progression end in the biggest particles on which the operations in chemistry and the colours of natural bodies depend, and which, by adhering, compose bodies of a sensible magnitude. If the body is compact, and bends or yields inward to pressure without any sliding of its parts, it is hard and elastic, returning to its figure with a force arising from the mutual attraction of its parts.

"If the parts slide upon one another the body is malleable and soft. If they slip easily, and are of a fit size to be agitated by heat, and the heat is big enough to keep them in agitation, the body is fluid; and if it be apt to stick to things it is humid; and the drops of every fluid affect a round figure by the mutual attraction of their parts, as the globe of the earth and sea affects a round figure by the mutual attraction of its parts by gravity."

In a letter to Mr. Boyle (1678-79) Newton explains his views respecting the ether. He considers that the ether accounts for the refraction of light, the cohesion of two polished pieces of metal in an exhausted receiver, the adhesion of quick-silver to glass tubes, the cohesion of the parts of all bodies, the phenomena of filtration and of capillary attraction, the action of menstrua on bodies, the transmutation of gross compact substances into aerial ones, and gravity. If a body is either heated or loses its heat when placed in vacuo, he ascribes the conveyance of the heat in both cases "to the vibration of a much subtler medium than air"; and he considers this medium also the medium by which light is refracted and reflected, and by whose vibrations light communicates heat to bodies and is put into fits of easy reflection and transmission. Light, Newton regards as a peculiar substance composed of heterogeneous particles thrown off with great velocity in all directions from luminous bodies, and he supposes that these particles while passing through the ether excite in it vibrations, or pulses, which accelerate or retard the particles of light, and thus throw them into alternate "fits of easy reflection and transmission." He computes the elasticity of the ether to be 490,000,000,000 times greater than air in proportion to its density.

In 1722, in his eightieth year, Newton began to suffer from stone; but by means of a strict regimen and other precautions he was enabled to alleviate the complaint, and to procure long intervals of ease. But a journey to London on February 28, 1727, to preside at a meeting of the Royal Society greatly aggravated the complaint. On Wednesday, March 15, he appeared to be somewhat better. On Saturday morning he carried on a pretty long conversation with Dr. Mead; but at six o'clock the same evening he became insensible, and continued in that state until Monday, the 20th, when he expired, without pain, between one and two o'clock in the morning, in the eighty-fifth year of his age.


Grace Abounding

During his life of sixty years Bunyan wrote sixty books, and of all these undoubtedly the most popular are the "Pilgrim's Progress," "The Holy War," and "Grace Abounding." His "Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners," generally called simply "Grace Abounding," is a record of his own religious experiences. (Bunyan, biography: see FICTION.)

I.--To the Chief of Sinners

In this relation of the merciful working of God upon my soul I do in the first place give you a hint of my pedigree and manner of bringing up. My descent was, as is well-known to many, of a low and inconsiderable generation, my father's house being of that rank that is meanest and most despised of all the families in the land. Though my parents put me to school, to my shame I confess I did soon lose that little I learnt. As for my own natural life, for the time that I was without God in the world, it was indeed according to the course of this world, and the spirit that worketh in the children of disobedience, for from a child I had but few equals for cursing, lying, and blaspheming. In these days the thoughts of religion were very grievous to me. I could neither endure it myself, nor that any other should. But God did not utterly leave me, but followed me with judgements, yet such as were mixed with mercy.

Once I fell into a creek of the sea and hardly escaped drowning; and another time I fell out of a boat into Bedford river, but mercy yet preserved me alive. When I was a soldier, I and others were drawn to such a place to besiege it; but when I was ready to go, one of the company desired to go in my place, to which I consented. Coming to the siege, as he stood sentinel, he was shot in the head with a musket bullet, and died. Here were judgement and mercy, but neither of them did awaken my soul to righteousness.

Presently, after this I changed my condition into a married state, and my mercy was to light upon a wife whose father was counted godly. Though we came together so poor that we had not so much household stuff as a dish or a spoon betwixt us both, yet she had two books which her father left her when he died: "The Plain Man's Pathway to Heaven," and "The Practice of Piety." In these I sometimes read with her, and in them found some things that were pleasing to me, but met with no conviction. Yet through these books I fell in very eagerly with the religion of the times, to wit, to go to church twice a day, though yet retaining my wicked life. But one day, as I was standing at a neighbour's shop-window, cursing after my wonted manner, the woman of the house protested that she was made to tremble to hear me, and told me I by thus doing was able to spoil all the youth in the whole town.

At this reproof I was put to shame, and that, too, as I thought, before the God of Heaven. Hanging down my head, I wished with all my heart that I might be a little child again. How it came to pass I know not, but I did from this time so leave off my swearing that it was a wonder to myself to observe it. Soon afterwards I fell in company with one poor man that made profession of religion. Falling into some liking to what he said, I betook me to my Bible, especially to the historical part. Wherefore I fell to some outward reformation, and did strive to keep the commandments, and thus I continued about a year, all which time our neighbours wondered at seeing such an alteration in my life. For though I was as yet nothing but a poor painted hypocrite, I loved to be talked of as one that was godly. Yet, as my conscience was beginning to be tender, I after a time gave up bell-ringing and dancing, thinking I could thus the better please God. But, poor wretch as I was, I was still ignorant of Jesus Christ, and was going about to establish my own righteousness.

But upon a day the good providence of God took me to Bedford, to work on my calling, and in that town I came on three or four poor women sitting at a door in the sun and talking about the things of God. I listened in silence while they spoke of the new birth and the work of God on their hearts. At this I felt my own heart began to shake, for their words convinced me that I wanted the true tokens of a godly man. I now began to look into my Bible with new eyes, and became conscious of my lack of faith, and was often ready to sink with faintness in my mind, lest I should prove not to be an elect vessel of the mercy of God. I was long vexed with fear, until one day a sweet light broke in upon me as I came on the words, "Yet there is room." Still I wavered many months between hopes and fears, though as to act of sinning I never was more tender than now. I was more loathsome in my own eyes than a toad, and I thought I was so in God's eyes, too. I thought none but the devil could equalise me for inward wickedness; and thus I continued a long while, even some years together. But afterwards the Lord did more fully and graciously discover Himself to me, and at length I was indeed put into my right mind, even as other Christians are.

I remember that one day as I was travelling into the country, and musing on the wickedness of my heart, that Scripture came to my mind. "He hath made peace by the blood of His cross." I saw that the justice of God and my sinful soul could embrace each other through this blood. This was a good day to me. At this time I sat under the ministry of holy Mr. Gifford, whose doctrine was, by God's grace, much for my stability. My soul was now led from truth to truth, even from the birth and cradle of the Son of God to His ascension and His second coming to judge the world.

One day there fell into my hands a book of Martin Luther. It was his "Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians," and the volume was so old that it was ready to fall to pieces. When I had but a little way perused it, I found that my condition was in his experience so handled as if his book had been written out of my heart. I do here wish to set forth that I do prefer this book of Martin Luther upon the Galatians (excepting the Holy Bible) before all the books I have ever seen, as most fit for a wounded conscience. About this time I was beset with tormenting fears that I had committed the unpardonable sin against the Holy Ghost, and an ancient Christian to whom I opened my mind told me he thought so, too, which gave me cold comfort. Thus, by strange and unusual assaults of the tempter was my soul, like a broken vessel, tossed and driven with winds. There was now nothing that I longed for but to be put out of doubt as to my full pardon. One morning when I was at prayer, and trembling under fear that no word of God could help me, that piece of a sentence darted in upon me: "My grace is sufficient." By these words I was sweetly sustained for about eight weeks, though not without conflicts, until at last these same words did break in with great power suddenly upon me: "My grace is sufficient for thee," repeated three times, at which my understanding was so enlightened that I was as though I had seen the Lord Jesus look down from Heaven through the tiles upon me, and direct these words to me.

One day, as I was passing in the field, with some dashes on my conscience, fearing lest yet all was not right, suddenly this sentence fell upon my soul: "Thy righteousness is in Heaven." I saw in a moment that my righteousness was not my good frame of heart, but Jesus Christ Himself, "the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever." Now shall I go forward to give you a relation of other of the Lord's dealings with me. I shall begin with what I met when I first did join in fellowship with the people of God in Bedford. Upon a time I was suddenly seized with much sickness, and was inclining towards consumption. Now I began to give myself up to fresh serious examination, and there came flocking into my mind an innumerable company of my sins and transgressions, my soul also being greatly tormented between these two considerations: Live I must not, die I dare not. But as I was walking up and down in the house, a man in a most woeful state, that word of God took hold of my heart: "Ye are justified freely by His grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ." But oh, what a turn it made upon me! At this I was greatly lightened in my mind, and made to understand that God could justify a sinner at any time. And as I was thus in a muse, that Scripture also came with great power upon my spirit: "Not by works of righteousness that we have done, but according to His mercy He hath saved us." Now was I got on high; I saw myself verily within the arms of grace and mercy; and though I was before afraid to think of a dying hour, yet now I cried with my whole heart: "Let me die."

II.--Bunyan Becomes a Preacher

And now I will thrust in a word or two concerning my preaching of the Word. For, after I had been about five or six years awakened, some of the ablest of the saints with us desired me, with much earnestness, to take a hand sometimes in one of the meetings, and to speak a word of exhortation unto them. I consented to their request, and did twice at two several assemblies, though with much weakness, discover my gift to them. At which they did solemnly protest that they were much affected and comforted, and gave thanks to the Father of Mercies for the grace bestowed on me. After this, when some of them did go to the country to teach, they would also that I should go with them. To be brief, after some solemn prayer to the Lord with fasting, I was more particularly called forth and appointed to a more ordinary and public preaching of the Word. Though of myself of all saints the most unworthy, yet I did set upon the work, and did according to my gift preach the blessed Gospel, which, when the country people understood, they came in to hear the Word by hundreds. I had not preached long before some began to be touched at the apprehension of their need of Jesus Christ, and to bless God for me as God's instrument that showed the way of salvation.

In my preaching I took special notice of this one thing, that the Lord did lead me to begin where His Word begins with sinners--that is, to condemn all flesh, because of sin. Thus I went on for about two years, crying out against men's sins, after which the Lord came in upon my soul and gave me discoveries of His Blessed grace, wherefore I now altered in my preaching, and did much labour to hold forth Christ in all His relations, offices, and benefits unto the world. After this, God led me into something of the mystery of union with Christ. Wherefore that I discovered to them also. And when I had travelled through these three chief points of the Word of God, about five years or more, I was cast into prison, where I have lain above as long again, to confirm the truth by way of suffering, as before in testifying of it by preaching according to the Scriptures.

When I went first to preach the Word, the doctors and priests of the country did open wide against me. But I was persuaded not to render railing for railing, but to see how many of their carnal professors I could convince of their miserable state by the law, and of the want and worth of Christ. I never cared to meddle with things that were controverted among the saints, especially things of the lowest nature. I have observed that where I have had a work to do for God, I have had first, as it were, the going of God upon my spirit to desire I might preach there. My great desire in my fulfilling my ministry was to get into the darkest places of the country, even amongst these people that were furthest off of profession. But in this work, as in all other work, I had my temptations attending me, and that of divers kinds. Sometimes when I have been preaching I have been violently assailed with thoughts of blasphemy, and strangely tempted to speak the words with my mouth before the congregation. But, I thank the Lord, I have been kept from consenting to these so horrid suggestions. I have also, while found in this blessed work of Christ, been often tempted to pride and liftings up of heart, and this has caused hanging down of the head under all my gifts and attainments. I have felt this thorn in the flesh the very mercy of God to me. But when Satan perceived that his thus tempting and assaulting of me would not answer his design--to wit, to overthrow my ministry--then he tried another way, which was to load me with slanders and reproaches. It began, therefore, to be rumoured up and down the country that I was a witch, a Jesuit, a highwayman, and the like. To all which I shall only say, God knows that I am innocent. Now, as Satan laboured to make me vile among my countrymen, that, if possible, my preaching might be of none effect, so there was added thereto a tedious imprisonment, of which I shall in my next give you a brief account.

III.--In a Prison Cell

Upon November 12, 1660, I was desired by some of the friends in the country to come to teach at Samsell, by Harlington, in Bedfordshire, to whom I made a promise to be with them. The justice, Mr. Francis Wingate, hearing thereof, forthwith issued out his warrant to take me and bring me before him. When the constable came in we were, with our Bibles in our hands, just about to begin our exercise. So that I was taken and forced to leave the room, but before I went away I spake some words of counsel and encouragement to the people; for we might have been apprehended as thieves or murderers. But, blessed be God, we suffer as Christians for well-doing; and we had better be the persecuted than the persecutors. But the constable and the justice's man would not be quiet till they had me away. But because the justice was not at home on that day, a friend of mine engaged to bring me to the constable next morning; so on that day we went to him, and so to the justice. He asked the constable what we did where we were met together, and what we had with us? I know he meant whether we had armour or not; but when he heard that there were only a few of us, met for preaching and hearing the Word, he could not well tell what to say. Yet, because he had sent for me, he did adventure to put a few proposals to me, to this effect: What did I there? Why did I not content myself with following my calling? For it was against the law that such as I should be admitted to do as I did. I answered that my intent was to instruct the people to forsake their sins and close in with Christ, lest they did perish miserably, and that I could do both, follow my calling and also preach without confusion.

At which words he was in a chafe, for he said he would break the neck of our meetings. I said it might be so. Then he wished me to get sureties to be bound for me, or else he would send me to the gaol. My sureties being ready, I called them in, and when the bond for my appearance was made, he told them that they were bound to keep me from preaching; and that if I did preach, their bonds would be forfeited. To which I answered that I should break them, for I should not leave preaching the Word of God. Whereat that my mittimus must be made, and I sent to the gaol, there to lie till the quarter sessions.

After I had lain in the gaol for four or five days, the brethren sought means again to get me out by bondsmen (for so runs my mittimus--that I should lie there till I could find sureties). They went to a justice at Elstow, one Mr. Crumpton, to desire him to take bond for my appearing at quarter session. At first he told them he would; but afterwards he made a demur at the business, and desired first to see my mittimus, which ran to this purpose: That I went about to several conventicles in this country, to the great disparagement of the government of the Church of England, etc. When he had seen it, he said there might be something more against me than was expressed in my mittimus; and that he was but a young man, and, therefore, he durst not do it. This my gaoler told me; whereat I was not at all daunted, but rather glad, and saw evidently that the Lord had heard me; for before I went down to the justice, I begged of God that if I might do more good by being at liberty than in prison that then I might be set at liberty; but, if not, His will be done. For I was not altogether without hopes that my imprisonment might be an awakening to the saints in this country, therefore I could not tell well which to choose; only I in that manner did commit the thing to God. And verily, at my return, I did meet my God sweetly in the prison again, comforting of me and satisfying of me that it was His will and mind that I should be there.

When I came back to prison, when I was musing at the slender answer of the justice, this word dropped in upon my heart with some life: "For He knew that for envy they had delivered him."

Thus have I, in short, declared the manner and occasion of my being in prison, where I lie waiting the good will of God, to do with me as he pleaseth; knowing that not one hair of my head can fall to the ground without the will of my Father.

IV.--Bunyan's Story Supplemented

The continuation by an intimate friend of Bunyan, written anonymously.

Reader--The painful and industrious author of this book has given you a faithful and very moving relation of the beginning and middle of the days of his pilgrimage on earth. As a true and intimate acquaintance of Mr. Bunyan's, that his good end may be known, as well as his evil beginning, I have taken upon me to piece this to the thread too soon broke off.

After his being freed from his twelve years' imprisonment, wherein he had time to furnish the world with sundry good books, etc., and by his patience to move Dr. Barlow, the then Bishop of Lincoln, and other churchmen, to pity his hard and unreasonable sufferings so far as to procure his enlargement, or there perhaps he had died by the noisomeness and ill-usage of the place. Being again at liberty, he went to visit those who had been a comfort to him in his tribulation, giving encouragement by his example, if they happened to fall into affliction or trouble, then to suffer patiently for the sake of a good conscience, so that the people found a wonderful consolation in his discourse and admonition.

As often as opportunity would permit, he gathered them together in convenient places, though the law was then in force against meetings, and fed them with the sincere milk of the Word, that they might grow in grace thereby. He sent relief to such as were anywhere taken and imprisoned on these accounts. He took great care to visit the sick, nor did he spare any pains or labour in travel though to the remote counties, where any might stand in need of his assistance.

When in the late reign liberty of conscience was unexpectedly given, he gathered his congregation at Bedford, where he mostly lived and had spent most of his life. Here a new and larger meeting-house was built, and when, for the first time, he appeared there to edify, the place was so thronged that many were constrained to stay without, though the house was very spacious.

Here he lived in much peace and quiet of mind, contenting himself with that little God had bestowed on him, and sequestering himself from all secular employments to follow that of his call to the ministry.

During these things there were regulators sent into all the cities and towns corporate, to new model the government in the magistracy, etc., by turning out some and putting in others. Against this Mr. Bunyan expressed zeal with some weariness, and laboured with his congregation to prevent their being imposed on in this kind. And when a great man in those days, coming to Bedford upon such an errand, sent for him, as it is supposed, to give him a place of public trust, he would by no means come at him, but sent his excuse.

When he was at leisure from writing and teaching, he often came up to London, and there went among the congregations of the Nonconformists, and used his talent to the great good-liking of the hearers. Thus he spent his latter years. But let me come a little nearer to particulars of time. After he was sensibly convicted of the wicked state of his life and converted, he was baptised into the congregation, and admitted a member thereof in the year 1655, and became speedily a very zealous professor. But upon the return of King Charles II. to the Crown in 1660, he was on November 12 taken as he was edifying some good people, and confined in Bedford Gaol for the space of six years; till the Act of Indulgence to dissenters being allowed, he obtained his freedom by the intercession of some in power that took pity on his sufferings; but was again taken up, and was then confined for six years more. He was chosen to the care of the congregation at Bedford on December 12, 1671. In this charge he often had disputed with scholars that came to oppose him, as thinking him an ignorant person; but he confuted, and put to silence, one after another, all his method being to keep close to Scripture.

At length, worn out with sufferings, age, and often teaching, the day of his dissolution drew near. Riding to Reading in order to plead with a young man's father for reconciliation to him, he journeyed on his return by way of London, where, through being overtaken by excessive rains and coming to his lodgings extremely wet, he fell sick of a violent fever, which he bore with much constancy and patience. Finding his vital strength decay, he resigned his soul into the hands of his most merciful Redeemer, following his Pilgrim from the City of Destruction to the New Jerusalem. He died at the house of one Mr. Straddocks, a grocer, at the Star on Snow Hill, in the Parish of St. Sepulchre, London, in the sixtieth year of his age, after ten days' sickness; and was buried in the new burying ground in Artillery Place.



Alexander Carlyle, minister of the Church of Scotland and author of the celebrated "Autobiography," was born at Cummmertrees Manse, Dumfriesshire, on January 26, 1722, and died at Inveresk on August 25, 1805. His commanding appearance won for him the sobriquet of "Jupiter Carlyle," and Sir Walter Scott spoke of him as "the grandest demi-god I ever saw." He was greatly respected in Scotland as a wise and tolerant man, where too many were narrow, bitter, and inquisitorial. With regard to freedom in religious thought he was in advance of his time, and brought the clerical profession into greater respect by showing himself a cultured man of the world as well as a leader of his Church. Carlyle, however, would hardly be remembered now but for the glimpses which his book gives of contemporary persons and manners. The work was first edited in 1860 by John Hill Burton.

I.--In the Days of Prince Charlie

I have been too late in beginning this work, as I have entered on the seventy-ninth year of my age, but I will endeavour, with God's blessing, to serve posterity to the best of my ability with such a faithful picture of times and characters as came within my view in the humble and private sphere of life in which I have always acted.

My father, minister of Prestonpans, was of a warm and benevolent temper, and an orthodox and eloquent orator. My mother was a person of an elegant and reflecting mind, and was as much respected as my father was beloved. Until 1732, when I was ten years of age, they were in very narrow circumstances, but in that year the stipend was raised from £70 to £140 per annum. In 1735 I was sent to college.

Yielding to parental wishes, I consented, in 1738, to become a student of divinity, and pursued my studies in Edinburgh and, from 1743, in Glasgow, passing my trials in the presbytery of Haddington in the summer of 1745. Early in September I was at Moffat, when I heard that the Chevalier Prince Charles had landed in the north. I repaired to Edinburgh, and joined a company of volunteers for the defence of the city. Edinburgh was in great ferment, and of divided allegiance; there was no news of the arrival of Sir John Cope with the government forces; the Highlanders came on, no resistance was made, and the city surrendered on the sixteenth. That night, my brother and I walked along the sands to Prestonpans, and carried the news. Proceeding to Dunbar, where Sir John Cope's army lay, I inquired for Colonel Gardiner, whom I found very dejected.

"Sandie," said Colonel Gardiner, "I'll tell you in confidence that I have not above ten men in my regiment whom I am certain will follow me. But we must give them battle now, and God's will be done!"

Cope's small army was totally defeated at Prestonpans on the morning of the twenty-first. I heard the first cannon that was fired, and started to my clothes. My father had been up before daylight, and had resorted to the steeple. I ran into the garden. Within ten minutes after firing the first cannon the whole prospect was filled with runaways, and Highlanders pursuing them. The next week I saw Prince Charles twice in Edinburgh. He was a good-looking man; his hair was dark red and his eyes black. His features were regular, his visage long, much sunburnt and freckled, and his countenance thoughtful and melancholy.

In October of the same year I went to Leyden, to study at the university there. Here there were twenty-two British students, among them the Honourable Charles Townshend, afterwards a distinguished statesman, and Mr. Doddeswell, afterwards Chancellor of the Exchequer. We passed our time very agreeably, and very profitably, too; for the conversations at our evening meetings of young men of good knowledge could not fail to be instructive, much more so than the lectures, which were very dull. On my return from Holland, I was introduced by my cousin, Captain Lyon, to some families of condition in London, and was carried to court of an evening, for George II. at that time had evening drawing rooms, where his majesty and Princess Amelia, who had been a lovely woman, played at cards.

I had many agreeable parties with the officers of the Horse Guards, who were all men of the world, and some of them of erudition and understanding. I was introduced to Smollett at this time, and was in the coffee-house with him when the news of the Battle of Culloden came, and when London all over was in a perfect uproar of joy. The theatres were not very attractive this season, as Garrick had gone over to Dublin; but there remained Mrs. Pritchard, Mrs. Clive, and Macklin, who were all excellent in their way. Of the literary people I met with I must not forget Thomson, the poet, and Dr. Armstrong.

In June, 1746, I was licensed to preach by the Presbytery of Haddington, and was ordained minister of Inveresk on August 2, 1748. There were many resident families of distinction, and my situation was envied as superior to that of most clergymen for agreeable society. As one of the "Moderate" party, I now became much implicated in ecclesiastical politics. Dr. Robertson, John Home, and I had an active hand in the restoration of the authority of the General Assembly over the Presbyteries.

II.--Literary Lions of Edinburgh

It was in one of these years that Smollett visited Scotland, and came out to Musselburgh. He was a man of very agreeable conversation and of much genuine humour, and, though not a profound scholar, possessed a philosophical mind, and was capable of making the soundest observations on human life, and of discerning the excellence or seeing the ridicule of every character he met with. Fielding only excelled him in giving a dramatic story to his novels, but was inferior to him in the true comic vein. At this time David Hume was living in Edinburgh, and composing his "History of Great Britain." He was a man of great knowledge, and of a social and benevolent temper, and truly the best-natured man in the world.

I was one of those who never believed that David Hume's sceptical principles had laid fast hold on his mind, but thought that his books proceeded rather from affectation of superiority and pride of understanding. When his circumstances were narrow, he accepted the office of librarian to the Faculty of Advocates, worth £40 per annum, and to my certain knowledge he gave every farthing of the salary to families in distress. For innocent mirth and agreeable raillery I never knew his match.

Adam Smith, though perhaps only second to David in learning and ingenuity, was far inferior to him in conversational talents. He was the most absent man in company that I ever saw, moving his lips, and talking to himself, and smiling, in the midst of large companies. If you awaked him from his reverie and made him attend to the subject of conversation, he immediately began a harangue, and never stopped till he told you all he knew about it, with the utmost philosophical ingenuity. Though Smith had some little jealousy in his temper, he had the most unbounded benevolence.

Dr. Adam Ferguson was a very different kind of man. He had been chaplain to the 42nd, adding all the decorum belonging to the clerical character to the manners of a gentleman, the effect of which was that he was highly respected by all the officers, and adored by his countrymen and the common soldiers. His office turned his mind to the study of war, which appears in his "Roman History," where many of the battles are better described than by any historian but Polybius, who was an eyewitness to so many. He had a boundless vein of humour, which he indulged when none but intimates were present; but he was apt to be jealous of his rivals and indignant against assumed superiority.

They were all honourable men in the highest degree, and John Home and I together kept them on very good terms. With respect to taste, we held David Hume and Adam Smith inferior to the rest, for they were both prejudiced in favour of the French tragedies, and did not sufficiently appreciate Shakespeare and Milton; their taste was a rational act rather than the instantaneous effect of fine feeling. In John Home's younger days he had much sprightliness and vivacity, so that he infused joy wherever he came. But all his opinions of men and things were prejudices, which, however, did not disqualify him for writing admirable poetry.

In 1754, the Select Society was established, which improved and gave a name to the literati of this country. Of the first members were Lord Dalmeny, elder brother of the present Lord Rosebery; the Duke of Hamilton of that period, a man of letters could he have kept himself sober; and Mr. Robert Alexander, wine merchant, a very worthy man but a bad speaker, who entertained us all with warm suppers and excellent claret. In the month of February, 1755, John Home's tragedy of "Douglas" was completely prepared for the stage, and he set out with it for London, attended by six or seven of us. Were I to relate all the circumstances of this journey, I am persuaded they would not be exceeded by any novelist who has wrote since the days of "Don Quixote." Poor Home had no success, for Garrick, after reading the play, returned it as totally unfit for the stage. "Douglas," however, was acted in Edinburgh in 1756, and had unbounded success for many nights; but the "high-flying" set in the Church were unanimous against it, as they thought it a sin for a clergyman to write any play, let it be ever so moral. I was summoned before the Presbytery for my conduct in attending the play, but was exonerated by the General Assembly.

About the end of February, 1758, I went to London with my sister Margaret to get her married with Dr. Dickson. It is to be noted that we could get no four-wheeled chaise till we came to Durham, those conveyances being then only in their infancy, and turnpike roads being only in their commencement in the North. Dr. Robertson having come to London to offer his "History of Scotland" for sale, we went to see the lions together. Home was now very friendly with Garrick, and I was often in company with this celebrated actor.

Garrick gave a dinner to John Home and his friends at his house at Hampton, and told us to bring golf clubs and balls that we might play on Molesey Hurst. Garrick had built a handsome temple with a statue of Shakespeare in it on the banks of the Thames. The poet and the actor were well pleased with one another, and we passed a very agreeable afternoon.

We yielded to a request of Sir David Kinloch to accompany him on a jaunt to Portsmouth, and were much pleased with the diversified beauty of the country. We viewed with much pleasure the solid foundation of the naval glory of Great Britain, in the amazing extent and richness of the dockyards and warehouses, and in the grandeur of her fleet in the harbour and in the Downs. There was a fine fleet of ten ships of the line in the Downs, with the Royal George at their head, all ready for sea.

III.--Scottish Social Life

The clergy of Scotland, being under apprehensions that the window tax would be extended to them, had given me in charge to state our case to some of the Ministers, and try to make an impression in our favour. The day came when we were presented to Lord Bute, but our reception was cold and dry. We soon took our leave, and no sooner were we out of hearing than Robert Adam, the architect, who was with us, fell a-cursing and swearing--"What! had he been most graciously received by all the princes in Italy and France, to come and be treated with such distance and pride by the youngest earl but one in all Scotland?" They were better friends afterwards, and Robert found him a kind patron when his professional merit was made known to him. Lord Bute was a worthy and virtuous man, but he was not versatile enough for a Prime Minister; and though personally brave, was void of that political firmness which is necessary to stand the storms of state. We returned to Scotland by Oxford, Warwick, and Birmingham.

In August, 1758, I rode to Inverary, being invited by the Milton family, who always were with the Duke of Argyll. We sat down every day fifteen or sixteen to dinner, and the duke had the talent of conversing with his guests so as to distinguish men of knowledge and ability without neglecting those who valued themselves on their birth and their rent-rolls. After the ladies were withdrawn and he had drunk his bottle of claret, he retired to an easy-chair by the fireplace; drawing a black silk nightcap over his eyes, he slept, or seemed to sleep, for an hour and a half.

In the meantime, the toastmaster pushed about the bottle, and a more noisy or regardless company could hardly be. Dinner was always served at two o'clock, and about six o'clock the toastmaster and the gentlemen drew off, when the ladies returned, and his grace awoke and called for his tea. Tea being over, he played two rubbers at sixpenny whist. Supper was served soon after nine, and he drank another bottle of claret, and could not be got to go to bed till one in the morning. I stayed over Sunday and preached to his grace. The ladies told me that I had pleased him, which gratified me not a little, as without him no preferment could be obtained in Scotland.

It was after this that I wrote what was called the "Militia Pamphlet," which had a great and unexpected success; it hit the tone of the country, which was irritated at the refusal to allow the establishment of a militia in Scotland.

The year 1760 was the most important of my life, for before the end of it I was united with the most valuable friend and companion that any mortal ever possessed. I owed my good fortune to the friendship of John Home, who pointed out the young lady to me as a proper object of suit, without which I should never have attempted it, for she was then just past seventeen, when I was thirty-eight. With a superior understanding and great discernment for her age, she had an ease and propriety of manners which made her much distinguished in every company. She had not one selfish corner in her whole soul, and was willing to sacrifice her life for those she loved.


Letters and Speeches of Oliver Cromwell

Thomas Carlyle, the celebrated literary moralist, was born at Ecclefechan, Scotland, Dec. 4, 1795. He was educated at the village school and at the Annan Grammar School, proceeding to Edinburgh University in 1809. The breakdown of his dogmatic beliefs made it impossible for him to enter the clerical profession, and neither school-teaching nor the study of law attracted him. Supporting himself by private teaching, Carlyle made the beginnings of a literary connection. He fought his way under great difficulties; he was hard to govern; he was a painfully slow writer; and ignorance and rusticity mar his work to the very end. Yet a fiery revolt against impostures, an ardent sympathy for humanity, a worship of the heroic, an immutable confidence in the eternal verities, and occasionally a wonderful perception of beauty, made Carlyle one of the most influential English writers of the nineteenth century. His marriage in 1826 with Jane Baillie Welsh was an unhappy one. Carlyle died on February 4, 1881, having survived his wife fifteen years. The three volumes of "Cromwell's Letters and Speeches," with elucidations by Carlyle, were published in 1845; the first work, one might say, conveying a sympathetic appreciation of the great Protector, all histories of the man and his times having been hitherto written from the point of view either of the Royalists or of the revolutionary Whigs. To neither of these was an understanding of Puritanism at all possible. Moreover, to the Cavaliers, Cromwell was a regicide; to the Whigs he was a military usurper who dissolved parliaments. To both he was a Puritan who applied Biblical phraseology to practical affairs--therefore, a canting hypocrite, though undoubtedly a man of great capacity and rugged force.

I.--Puritan Oliver

One wishes there were a history of English Puritanism, the last of all our heroisms. At bottom, perhaps, no nobler heroism ever transacted itself upon this earth; and it lies as good as lost to us in the elysium we English have provided for our heroes! The Rushworthian elysium. Dreariest continent of shot-rubbish the eye ever saw. Puritanism is not of the nineteenth century, but of the seventeenth; it is grown unintelligible, what we may call incredible. Heroes who knew in every fibre, and with heroic daring laid to heart, that an Almighty justice does verily rule this world; that it is good to fight on God's side, and bad to fight on the devil's side. Well, it would seem the resuscitation of a heroism from the past is no easy enterprise.

Of Biographies of Cromwell, there are none tolerable. Oliver's father was a country gentleman of good estate, not a brewer; grandson of Sir Richard Cromwell, or Williams, nephew of Thomas Cromwell "mauler of monasteries"; his mother a Stuart (Steward), twelfth cousin or so of King Charles. He was born in 1599, went to Cambridge in the month that Shakespeare died. Next year his father died, and Oliver went no more to Cambridge. He was the only son. In 1620 he married.

He sat in the Parliament of 1628-29; the Petition of Right Parliament; a most brave and noble Parliament, ending with that scene when Holles held the Speaker down in his chair. The last Parliament in England for above eleven years. Notable years, what with soap-monopoly, ship-money, death of the great Gustavus at Lûtzen, pillorying of William Prynne, Jenny Geddes, and National Covenant, old Field-Marshal Lesley at Dunse Law and pacification thereafter nowise lasting.

To chastise the Scots, money is not attainable save by a Parliament, which at last the king summons. This "Short Parliament," wherein Oliver sits for Cambridge, is dismissed, being not prompt with supplies, which the king seeks by other methods. But the army so raised will not fight the Scots, who march into Northumberland and Durham. Money not to be had otherwise than by a Parliament, which is again summoned; the Long Parliament, which did not finally vanish till 1660. In which is Oliver again, "very much hearkened unto," despite "linen plain and not very clean, and voice sharp and untuneable."

Protestations; execution of Strafford, "the one supremely able man the king had"; a hope of compromise being for a time introduced by "royal varnish." Then, in November, 1641, an Irish rebellion blazing into Irish massacre; and in Parliament, the Grand Remonstrance carried by a small majority. In January, the king rides over to St. Stephen's to arrest the "five members." Then on one side Commissions of Array, on the other Ordinance for the Militia. In July and August, Mr. Cromwell is active in Cambridgeshire for the defence of that county, as others are elsewhere. Then Captain Cromwell, with his troop of horse, is with Essex at Edgehill, where he does his duty; and then back in Cambridgeshire, organising the Eastern Association. So we are at 1643 with the war in full swing.

Letters have been few enough so far; vestiges, traces of Cromwell's doings in the eastern counties; a successful skirmish at Grantham, a "notable victory" at Gainsborough. In August, Manchester takes command of the Association, with Cromwell for one of his colonels; in September, first battle of Newbury, and signing of the Solemn League and Covenant at Westminster. Cromwell has written "I have a lovely company; you would respect them did you know them"--his "Ironsides." In October, Colonel Cromwell does stoutly at Winceby fight; has his horse shot under him. Lincolnshire is nearly cleared.

On March 20, 1643, there is a characteristic letter to General Crawford, concerning the dismissal of an officer, whom Cromwell would have restored. "Ay, but the man is an Anabaptist. Are you sure of that? Admit he be, shall that render him incapable to serve the public? Sir, the state, in choosing men to serve it, takes no notice of their opinions. Take heed of being too sharp against those to whom you can object little but that they square not with you in every opinion concerning matters of religion."

In July was fought, in Yorkshire, the battle of Marston Moor, the bloodiest of the whole war, which gave the whole north to the Parliamentary party. Cromwell Writes to his brother-in-law, to tell him of his son's death. Of the battle, he says, "It had all the evidences of an absolute victory obtained by the Lord's blessing upon the godly party. We never charged but we routed the enemy. God made them as stubble to our swords." Soon after he is indignant with Manchester for being "much slow in action," especially after the second battle of Newbury. Hence comes the self-denying ordinance, in December, and construction of New Model Army.

From which ordinance Cromwell is virtually dispensed, being appointed for repeated periods of forty days, and doing good work in Oxfordshire and elsewhere; clearly indispensable, till the Lord General Fairfax gets him appointed Lieutenant-general; and on his joining Fairfax, and commanding the cavalry, the king's army is shattered at Naseby. "We killed and took about 5,000," writes Cromwell to Lenthall. "Sir, this is none other but the hand of God."

Thenceforward, this war is only completing of the victory. After the storming of Bristol, Cromwell writes, "Presbyterians, Independents, all have here the same spirit of faith and prayer; they agree here, have no names of difference; pity it is it should be otherwise anywhere." No canting here!

Cromwell captures Winchester, and Baring House, and sundry other strongholds. Finally, this first civil war is ended with the king's surrender of himself to the Scots.


Thereafter, infinite negotiations, public and private; the king hoping "so to draw, either the Presbyterians or the Independents, to side with me for extirpating one another that I shall be really king again." Ending with the Scots marching home, and the king being secluded in Holmby House. We note during this time a letter to Bridget Cromwell, now the wife of General Ireton.

But now Parliament is busy carrying its Presbyterian uniformity platform. London city and the Parliament are crying out to apply the shears against sectaries and schismatics; the army is less drastic; shows, indeed, an undue tolerance to Presbyterian alarm. With Cromwell's approval the army is to be quartered not less than twenty-five miles from London. This quarrel between army and Parliament waxes; the army gains strength by securing the person of the king, finally marches onto London, and gets its way. All is turmoil again, however, when Charles escapes from Hampton Court, where they have lodged him, but is detained at Carisbrooke. When 40,000 Scots are coming to liberate the king, the army's patience breaks down. Hitherto, Cromwell has striven for an honest settlement. Now we of the army conclude, with prayer and tears, that these troubles are a penalty for our backslidings, conferences, compromises, and the like; that "if the Lord bring us back in peace," Charles Stuart, the Man of Blood, must be called to account.

The eastern counties and Wales are up; the Scots are coming. Fairfax goes to Colchester, Cromwell to Wales, where Pembroke keeps him a month; thence, to cut up the Scots army in detail in the straggling battle called Preston, of which he gives account, as also does "Dugald Dalgetty" Turner. The clearance of the north detains him for some time, during which he deals sternly with soldiers who plunder. In November he is returning from Scotland, writing, too, a suitable letter to Colonel Hammond, the king's custodian at Carisbrooke. Matters also are coming to a head between army and the Parliament, which means to make concessions--fatal in the judgement of the army--and to ignore the said army; which, on the other hand, regards itself as an authority called into being by God and having responsibilities, and purges the Parliament, Cromwell arriving in town on the evening of the first day of purging. Whereby the minority of the members is become majority. And this chapter of history is grimly closed eight weeks later with a certain death warrant.

The Rump Parliament becomes concerned with establishment of the Commonwealth Council of State; appoints Mr. Milton Secretary for Foreign Languages, and nominates Lieutenant-general Cromwell to quell rebellion in Ireland. Oliver's extant letters are concerned with domestic matters--marriage of Richard. While the army for Ireland is getting prepared, there is trouble with the Levellers, sansculottism of a sort; shooting of valiant but misguided mutineers having notions as to Millennium.

On August 15, Cromwell is in Ireland. His later letters have been full of gentle domesticities and pieties, strangely contrasted with the fiery savagery and iron grimness of the next batch. Derry and Dublin are the only two cities held for the Commonwealth. The Lord-lieutenant comes offering submission with law and order, or death. The Irish have no faith in promises; will not submit. Therefore, in the dispatches which tell the story, we find a noteworthy phenomenon--an armed soldier, solemnly conscious to himself that he is the soldier of God the Just, terrible as death, relentless as doom, doing God's judgements on the enemies of God.

Tredah, that is Drogheda, is his first objective, with its garrison of 3,000 soldiers. Drogheda is summoned to surrender on pain of storm; refuses, is stormed, no quarter being given to the armed garrison, mostly English. "I believe this bitterness will save much effusion of blood through the goodness of God." The garrison of Dundalk, not liking the precedent, evacuated it; that of Trim likewise. No resistance, in fact, was offered till Cromwell came before Wexford. After suffering a cannonade, the commandant proposed to evacuate Wexford on terms which "manifested the impudency of the men." Oliver would only promise quarter to rank and file. Before any answer came, the soldiery stormed the town, which Cromwell had not intended; but he looked upon the outcome as "an unexpected providence."

The rule of sending a summons to surrender before attacking was always observed, and rarely disregarded. "I meddle not with any man's conscience; but if liberty of conscience means liberty to exercise the mass, that will not be allowed of." The Clonmacnoise Manifesto, inviting the Irish "not to be deceived with any show of clemency exercised upon them hitherto," hardly supports the diatribes against Cromwell's "massacring" propensities. Also in Cromwell's counter-declaration is a pregnant challenge. "Give us an instance of one man since my coming to Ireland, not in arms, massacred, destroyed, or banished, concerning the massacre or destruction of whom justice hath not been done or endeavoured to be done."

That the business at Drogheda and Wexford did prevent much effusion of blood is manifest from the surrenders which invariably followed almost immediately upon summons. The last he reports is Kilkenny (March, 1650); his actual last fight is the storm of Clonmel; for, at the request of Parliament, he returns to England to attend to other matters of gravity, Munster and Leinster being now practically under control.

III.--Crowning Mercies

Matters of gravity indeed; for Scotland, the prime mover in this business of Puritanism, has for leaders Argyles, Loudons, and others of the pedant species; no inspired Oliver. So these poor Scotch governors have tried getting Charles II. to adopt the Covenant as best he can--have "compelled him to sign it voluntarily." Scotland will either invade us or be invaded by us--which we decide to be preferable. Cromwell must go, since Fairfax will not resign his command in favour of Cromwell; who does go, with the hundred-and-tenth psalm in the head and heart of him.

So he marches by way of Berwick to Musselburgh, where he finds David Lesley entrenched in impregnable lines between him and Edinburgh. He writes to the General Assembly of the Kirk in protest against a declaration of theirs. "Is it, therefore, infallibly agreeable to the Word of God, all that you say? I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible that you may be mistaken." But shrewd Lesley lies within his lines, will not be tempted out; provisions are failing, and the weather breaking. We must fall back on Dunbar--where Lesley promptly hems us in, occupying the high ground.

But presently Lesley, at whatsoever urging, moves to change ground, which movement gives Oliver his chance. He attacks instead of awaiting attack; the Scots army is scattered, 3,000 killed and 10,000 prisoners taken. Such is Dunbar Battle, or Dunbar Drove. Edinburgh is ours, though the Castle holds out; surrenders only on December 19, on most honourable terms. But what to do with Scotland, with its covenanted king, a solecism incarnate?

We have a most wifely letter to Cromwell from his wife, urging him to write oftener to herself and to important persons: correspondence concerning Dunbar medal, and Chancellorship of Oxford University; and the lord general falls ill, with recoveries and relapses.

Active military movements, however, become imperative, so far as the general's health permits. In spring and early summer is some successful skirmishing; in July Cromwell's army has, for the most part, got into Fife, thereby cutting off the supplies of the king's army at Stirling, which suddenly marches straight for the heart of England, the way being open. Cromwell, having just captured Perth, starts in pursuit, leaving George Monk to look after Scotland.

The Scots march by the Lancashire route, keeping good discipline, but failing to gather the Presbyterian allies or Royalist allies they had looked for. On August 22, Charles erects his standard at Worcester--ninth anniversary of the day Charles I. erected his at Nottingham. On the anniversary of Dunbar fight his Scotch army is crushed, battling desperately at Worcester; cut to pieces, with six or seven thousand prisoners taken. Cromwell calls it "for aught I know, a crowning mercy," and fears lest "the fullness of these continued mercies may occasion pride and wantonness." Charles, however, escapes. The general here sheaths his war-sword for good, and comes to town, to be greeted with acclamations.

Of the next nineteen months the history becomes very dim. There are but five letters, none notable. The Rump sits, conspicuous with red-tapery; does not get itself dissolved nor anything else done of consequence; leaves much that is of consequence not done. Before twelve months the officers are petitioning the lord general that something be done for a new Representative House; to be, let us say, a sort of Convention of Notables. At any rate, in April, 1653, the Rump propose to solve the problem by continuing themselves; till the lord general ejects them summarily in a manner that need not here be retold. With this for consequence, that Cromwell himself, "with the advice of my Council of Officers," nominates divers persons to form the new Parliament, which shall be hereafter known as "Bare-bones."

In this Parliament, which included not a few notable men, Cromwell made the first speech extant, justifying his dismissal of the Rump, and the summoning of this assembly, chosen as being godly men that have principles. A speech intelligible to the intelligent. But this Parliament failed of its business, which is no less than introducing the Christian religion into real practice in the social affairs of this nation; and dissolved itself after five months. Four days later the Instrument of Government is issued, naming Oliver Protector of the Commonwealth, Council of Fifteen, and other needful matters.

IV.--Protector Oliver

A new Reformed Parliament, elected, with Scotch and Irish representatives, is to meet on September 3. Parliament meets. Oliver's speech on September 3 is unreported, but we have that on September 4, and another eight days later. "You are met for healing and settling. We are troubled with those who would destroy liberty, and with those who would overturn all control. This government which has called you, a Free Parliament, together, has given you peace instead of the foreign wars that were going on; there remains plenty for you to do." But the Parliament, instead of doing it, sets to debating the "Form of Government" and its sanctioning.

Hence our second speech. "I called not myself to this place. God be judge between me and all men! I desired to be dismissed of my charge. That was refused me. Being entreated, I did accept the place and title of Protector. I do not bear witness to myself. My witnesses are the officers, the soldiery, the City of London, the counties, the judges; yea, you yourselves, who have come hither upon my writ. I was the authority that called you, which you have recognised. I will not have the authority questioned, nor its fundamental powers. You must sign a declaration of fidelity to the constitution, or you shall not enter the Parliament House."

The Parliament, however, will not devote itself to business; will turn off on side issues, and continue constitution debating. Therefore, at the end of five months lunar, not calendar, the Protector makes another speech. "You have healed nothing, settled nothing; dissettlement and division, discontent and dissatisfaction are multiplied; real dangers, too, from Cavalier party, and Anabaptist Levellers. Go!"

First Protectorate Parliament being ended, the next is not due yet awhile. The Lord Protector must look to matters which are threatening; plots on all hands, issuing in Penruddock's insurrection, which is vigorously dealt with. No easy matter to upset this Protector. He, with his Council of State, establishes military administration under ten major-generals; arbitrary enough, but beneficial.

For war, money is needed, and the second Protectorate Parliament is summoned--mostly favourable to Cromwell. The Protector addresses it. "We have enemies about us; the greatest is the Spaniard, because he is the enemy of God, and has been ours from the time of Queen Elizabeth. Therefore, we are at war with Spain, all Protestant interests being therein at one with ours. Danger also there is at home, both from Cavaliers and Levellers, which necessitates us to erect the major-generals. For these troubles, the remedies are in the first place to prosecute the war with Spain vigorously; and in the second, not to make religion a pretension for arms and blood. All men who believe in Jesus Christ are members of Jesus Christ; whoever hath this faith, let his form be what it will, whether he be under Baptism, or of the Independent judgement, or of the Presbyterian." With much more. A speech rude, massive, genuine, like a block of unbeaten gold. But the speech being spoken, members find that, after all, near a hundred of them shall have no admittance to this Parliament, seeing that this time the nation shall and must be settled.

For its wise temper and good practical tendency let us praise this second Parliament; admit, nevertheless, that its history amounts to little--that it handsomely did nothing, and left Oliver to do. But it does propose to modify our constitution, increase the Protector's powers--make him, in fact, a king--make also a second chamber. To the perturbation of sundry officers. Out of confusion of documents and speeches and conferences we extract this--that his highness is not, on the whole, willing to be called king, because this will give offence to many godly persons, and be a cause of stumbling.

The petition being settled, Parliament is prorogued till January, 1658; when there will be a House of Lords (not the old Peers!), and the excluded members will be admitted. May there not then be new troubles? The Spanish Charles Stuart invasion plot is indeed afoot, and that union abroad of the Protestant powers for which we crave is by no means accomplished. Therefore, says the Protector, you must be ready to fight on land as well as by sea. No time this for disunion, trumpery quarrels over points of form. Yet such debate has begun and continues.

After this dissolution speech, and a letter as to Vaudois persecution, there are no more letters or speeches. On September 3, 1658, for him "the ugly evil is all over, and thy part in it manfully done--manfully and fruitfully, to all eternity." Oliver is gone, and with him England's Puritanism.

The Life of Friedrich Schiller

Carlyle was under thirty years of age, and was occupied as a private tutor, when he wrote the "Life of Friedrich Schiller; comprehending an examination of his works," which had been commissioned by the "London Magazine." It was his first essay in the study of German literature, which he did so much to popularise in Britain. It appeared in book form in 1825, and a second edition was published in 1845 in order to prevent piratical reprints. In his introduction to the second edition, Carlyle pleads for the indulgence of the reader, asking him to remember constantly that "it was written twenty years ago." It has indeed been superseded by more temperate studies of Schiller, but its tone of enthusiasm gives it a great value of its own.

Schiller's Youth


Distinguished alike for the splendour of his intellectual faculties, and the elevation of his tastes and feelings, Friedrich Schiller has left behind him in his works a noble emblem of these great qualities. Much of his life was deformed by inquietude and disease, and it terminated at middle age; he composed in a language then scarcely settled into form; yet his writings are remarkable for their extent, their variety, and their intrinsic excellence, and his own countrymen are not his only, or, perhaps, his principal admirers.

Born on November 10, 1759, a few months later than Robert Burns, he was a native of Marbach in Würtemberg. His father had been a surgeon in the army, and was now in the pay of the Duke of Würtemberg; and the benevolence, integrity and devoutness of his parents were expanded and beautified in the character of their son. His education was irregular; desiring at first to enter the clerical profession, he was put to the study of law and then of medicine; but he wrenched asunder his fetters with a force that was felt at the extremities of Europe. In his nineteenth year he began the tragedy of the "Robbers," and its publication forms an era in the literature of the world.

It is a work of tragic interest, bordering upon horror. A grim, inexpiable Fate is made the ruling principle; it envelops and overshadows the whole; and under its souring influence, the fiercest efforts of human will appear but like flashes that illuminate the wild scene with a brief and terrible splendour, and are lost forever in the darkness. The unsearchable abysses of man's destiny are laid open before us, black and profound, and appalling, as they seem to the young mind when it first attempts to explore them.

Schiller had meanwhile become a surgeon in the Würtemberg army; and the Duke, scandalised at the moral errors of the "Robbers," and not less at its want of literary merit, forbade him to write more poetry. Dalberg, superintendent of the Manheim theatre, put the play on the stage in 1781, and in October, 1782, Schiller decided his destiny by escaping secretly from Stuttgart beyond the frontier. A generous lady, Madam von Wollzogen, invited him to her estate of Bauerbach, near Meiningen.

Here he resumed his poetical employments, and published, within a year, the tragedies "Verschwörung des Fiesco" and "Kabale und Liebe." This "Conspiracy of Fiesco," the story of the political and personal relations of the Genoese nobility, has the charm of a kind of colossal magnitude. The chief incidents have a dazzling magnificence; the chief characters, an aspect of majesty and force. The other play, "Court-intriguing and Love," is a tragedy of domestic life; it shows the conflict of cold worldly wisdom with the pure impassioned movements of the young heart. Now, in September, 1783, Schiller went to Manheim as poet to the theatre, a post of respectability and reasonable profit. Here he undertook his "Thalia," a periodical work devoted to poetry and the drama, in 1784. Naturalised by law in his new country, surrounded by friends that honoured him, he was now exclusively a man of letters for the rest of his days.

From His Settlement at Manheim to His Settlement at Jena


Schiller had his share of trials to encounter, but he was devoted with unchanging ardour to the cause he had embarked in. Few men have been more resolutely diligent than he, and he was warmly seconded by the taste of the public. For the Germans consider the stage as an organ for refining the hearts and minds of men, and the theatre of Manheim was one of the best in Germany.

Besides composing dramatic pieces and training players, Schiller wrote poems, the products of a mind brooding over dark and mysterious things, and his "Philosophic Letters" unfold to us many a gloomy conflict of the soul, surveying the dark morass of infidelity yet showing no causeway through it. The first acts of "Don Carlos," printed in "Thalia," had attracted the attention of the Duke of Sachsen-Weimar, who conferred on their author the title of Counsellor. Schiller was loved and admired in Manheim, yet he longed for a wider sphere of action, and he determined to take up his residence at Leipzig.

Here he arrived in March, 1785, and at once made innumerable acquaintances, but went to Dresden in the end of the summer, and here "Don Carlos" was completed. This, the story of a royal youth condemned to death by his father, is the first of Schiller's plays to bear the stamp of maturity. The Spanish court in the sixteenth century; its rigid, cold formalities; its cruel, bigoted, but proud-spirited grandees; its inquisitors and priests; and Philip, its head, the epitome at once of its good and bad qualities, are exhibited with wonderful distinctness and address. Herr Schiller's genius does not thrill, but exalts us; it is impetuous, exuberant, majestic. The tragedy was, received with immediate and universal approbation.

He now contemplated no further undertaking connected with the stage, but his mind was overflowing with the elements of poetry, and with these smaller pieces he occupied himself at intervals through the remainder of his life. "The Walk," the "Song of the Bell," contain exquisite delineations of the fortunes of man; the "Cranes of Ibycus," and "Hero and Leander," are among the most moving ballads in any language. Schiller never wrote or thought with greater diligence than while at Dresden. A novel, "The Ghostseer," was a great popular success, but Schiller had begun to think of history. Very few of his projects in this direction reached even partial execution; portions of a "History of the Most Remarkable Conspiracies and Revolutions in the Middle and Later Ages," and of a "History of the Revolt of the Netherlands," were published.

A visit to Weimar, the Athens of Germany, was accomplished in 1787; to Goethe he was not introduced, but was welcomed by Wieland and Herder. Thence he went to see his early patroness at Bauerbach, and on this journey, at Rudolstadt, he met the Fräulein Lengefeld, whose attractions made him loath to leave and eager to return. The visit was repeated next year, and this lady honoured him with a return of love. At this time, too, he first met the illustrious Goethe, whom we may contrast with Schiller as we should contrast Shakespeare with Milton. Goethe was now in his thirty-ninth year, Schiller ten years younger, and each affected the other with feelings of estrangement, almost of repugnance. Ultimately they liked each other better, and became friends; there are few things on which Goethe should look back with greater pleasure than on his treatment of Schiller.

The "Revolt of the Netherlands," of which the first volume appeared in 1788, is accurate, vivid and coherent, and unites beauty to a calm force. It happened that the professorship at the University of Jena was about to be vacant, and through Goethe's solicitations Schiller was appointed to it in 1789. In the February following he obtained the hand of Fräulein Lengefeld. "Life is quite a different thing by the side of a beloved wife," he wrote a few months later; "the world again clothes itself around me in poetic forms."

From His Settlement at Jena to His Death


The duties of his new office called upon Schiller to devote himself with double zeal to history. We have scarcely any notice of the plan or success of his academical prelections; his delivery was not distinguished by fluency or grace, but his matter, we suppose, would make amends for these deficiencies of manner. His letters breathe a spirit not only of diligence but of ardour, and he was now busied with his "History of the Thirty-Years War." This work, published in 1791, is considered his chief historical treatise, for the "Revolt of the Netherlands" was never completed. In Schiller's view, the business of the historian is not merely to record, but also to interpret; his narrative should be moulded according to the science, and impregnated with the liberal spirit of his time.

In one of his letters he says--"The problem is, to choose and arrange your materials so that, to interest, they shall not need the aid of decoration. We moderns have a source of interest at our disposal, which no Greek or Roman was acquainted with, and which the patriotic interest does not nearly equal. This last, in general, is chiefly of importance to unripe nations, for the youth of the world. But we may excite a very different sort of interest if we represent each remarkable occurrence that happened to men as of importance to man. It is a poor and little aim to write for one nation; the most powerful nation is but a fragment."

In 1791, Schiller was overtaken by a violent and threatening disorder in the chest, and though nature overcame it in the present instance, the blessing of entire health never returned to him. Total cessation from intellectual effort was prescribed to him, and his prospect was a hard one; but the hereditary Prince of Holstein-Augustenberg came to his assistance with a pension of a thousand crowns for three years, presented with a delicate politeness which touched Schiller even more than the gift itself. He bore bodily pain with a strenuous determination and with an unabated zeal in the great business of his life. No period of his life displayed more heroism than the present one.

He now released his connection with the University; his weightiest duties were discharged by proxy; and his historical studies were forsaken. His mind was being attracted by the philosophy of Kant. This transcendental system had filled Germany with violent contentions; Herder and Wieland were opposing it vehemently; Goethe alone retained his wonted composure, willing to allow this theory to "have its day, as all things have." How far Schiller penetrated its arena we cannot say, but he wrote several essays, imbued in its spirit, upon aesthetic subjects; notably, "Grace and Dignity," "Naive and Sentimental Poetry," and "Letters on the Aesthetic Culture of Man."

The project of an epic poem brought Schiller back to his art; he first thought of Gustavus Adolphus, then of Frederick the Great of Prussia, for his hero, and intended to adopt the ottave rime, and in general construction to follow the model of the "Iliad." He did not even begin to execute this work, but devoted himself instead to the tragedy of "Wallenstein," which occupied him for several years. Among other engagements were, the editing of the "Thalia," which was relinquished at the end of 1793; a new periodical, the "Horen," which began early in 1794; and another, the "Musen-Almanach," in which the collection of epigrams known as the "Xenien" appeared. In these new publications Schiller was supported by the co-operation of Goethe.

"Wallenstein." by far the best work he had yet produced, was given to the world in 1799. Wallenstein is the model of a high-souled, great, accomplished man, whose ruling passion is ambition. A shade of horror, of fateful dreariness, hangs over the hero's death, and except in Macbeth or Othello we know not where to match it. This tragedy is the greatest work of its century.

Schiller now spent his winters in Weimar, and at last lived there constantly, often staying for months with Goethe. The tragedy of "Maria Stuart," which appeared in 1800, is a beautiful work, but compared with "Wallenstein" its purpose is narrow and its result common. It has no true historical delineation. The "Maid of Orleans," 1801, a tragedy on the subject of Jeanne d'Arc, will remain one of the very finest of modern dramas, and its reception was beyond example flattering. It was followed, in 1803, by the "Bride of Messina," a tragedy which fails to attain its object; there is too little action in the play and the interest flags. But "Wilhelm Tell," 1804, exhibits some of the highest triumphs which Schiller's genius, combined with his art, ever realised. In Tell are combined all the attributes of a great man, without the help of education or of great occasions to develop them. The play has a look of nature and substantial truth, which neither of its rivals can boast of. Its characters are a race of manly husbandmen, heroic without ceasing to be homely, poetical without ceasing to be genuine.

This was Schiller's last work. The spring of 1805 came in cold, bleak and stormy, and along with it the malady returned. On May 9 the end came. Schiller died at the age of forty-five years and a few months, leaving a widow, two sons and two daughters. The news of his death fell cold on many a heart throughout Europe.

Schiller's Character

Physically, Schiller was tall and strongly boned, but unmuscular and lean; his body wasted under the energy of a spirit too keen for it. His face was pale, the cheeks and temples hollow, the chin projecting, the nose aquiline, his hair inclined to auburn. Withal his countenance was attractive, and had a certain manly beauty. To judge from his portraits, his face expressed the features of his mind: it is mildness tempering strength; fiery ardour shining through clouds of suffering and disappointment; it is at once meek, tender, unpretending and heroic.

In his dress and manner, as in all things, he was plain and unaffected. Among strangers, shy and retiring; in his own family, or among his friends, he was kind-hearted, free and gay as a little child. His looks as he walked were constantly bent on the ground, so that he often failed to notice a passing acquaintance.

Schiller's mind was grand by nature, and cultivated by the assiduous study of a life-time. It is not the predominating force of any one faculty that impresses us, but the general force of all. His intellect seems powerful and vast, rather than quick or keen; for he is not notable for wit, though his fancy is ever prompt with his metaphors, illustrations and comparisons. Perhaps his greatest faculty was a half poetical, half philosophical imagination, a faculty teeming with magnificence and brilliancy; now adorning a stately pyramid of scientific speculation; now brooding over the abysses of thought and feeling, till thoughts and feelings, else unutterable, were embodied in expressive forms.

Combined with these intellectual faculties was that vehemence of temperament which is necessary for their full development. Schiller's heart was at once fiery and tender; impetuous, soft, affectionate, his enthusiasm clothed the universe with grandeur, and sent his spirit forth to explore its secrets and mingle warmly in its interests. Thus poetry in Schiller was not one but many gifts. It was, what true poetry is always, the quintessence of general mental riches, the purified result of strong thought and conception, and of refined as well as powerful emotion.

His works exhibit rather extraordinary strength than extraordinary fineness or versatility. His power of dramatic imitation is perhaps never of the highest; and in its best state, it is further limited to a certain range of characters. It is with the grave, the earnest, the exalted, the affectionate, the mournful that he succeeds; he is not destitute of humour, but neither is he rich in it.

The sentiments which animated Schiller's poetry were converted into principles of conduct; his actions were as blameless as his writings were pure. He was unsullied by meanness, unsubdued by the difficulties or allurements of life. With the world, in fact, he had not much to do; without effort, he dwelt apart from it; its prizes were not the wealth which could enrich him. Wishing not to seem, but to be, envy was a feeling of which he knew little, even before he rose above its level. To all men he was humane and sympathising; among his friends, open-hearted, generous, helpful; in his family tender, kind, sportive. Schiller gives a fine example of the German character; he has all its good qualities.

The kingdoms which Schiller conquered were not for one nation at the expense of suffering to another; they are kingdoms conquered from the barren realms of Darkness, to increase the happiness, and dignity, and power, of all men; new forms of Truth, new maxims of Wisdom, new images and scenes of Beauty, won from the "void and formless Infinite"; a "possession for ever," to all the generations of the earth.



Benvenuto Cellini was born in Florence in the year 1500, and died in the same city on December 13, 1569. He was the greatest of the craftsmen during the height of the Renaissance period. Kings and popes vied with each other in trying to secure his services. His claims to be the king of craftsmen were admitted by his fellow-artificers, and at the zenith of his career he had no rivals. Trophies of his skill and artistic genius remain to confirm the verdict of his own time. His great bronze statue of Perseus in Florence; the Nymph of Fontainebleau, now in the Louvre; his golden salt-cellar, made for Francis I., and now in Vienna--these are a few of his masterpieces, and any one of them is of a quality to stamp its maker as a master craftsman of imaginative genius and extraordinary manual skill. A goldsmith and sculptor, he was also a soldier, and did service as a fighter and engineer in the wars of his time. Of high personal courage, he was a braggart and a ruffian, who used the dagger as freely as the tools of his craft. His many qualities and complex personality are revealed in his "Autobiography"--one of the most vivid and remarkable records ever penned. He began the work in 1558. In its history his account is accurate, but his testimony regarding his martial exploits is untrustworthy.

I.--The Making of a Craftsman

It is a duty incumbent on upright and credible men of all ranks, who have performed anything noble or praiseworthy, to record the events of their lives. Looking back on some delightful and happy events, and on many misfortunes so truly overwhelming that the appalling retrospect makes me wonder how I have reached my fifty-eighth year in vigour and prosperity, through God's goodness, I have resolved to publish an account of my life.

My name is Benvenuto, the son of Maestro Giovanni Cellini; my mother was Maria Lisabetta, daughter to Stefano Granacci; and both my parents were citizens of Florence. My ancestors lived in the valley of Ambra, where they were lords of considerable domains; they were all trained to arms, and distinguished for military prowess. Andrea Cellini, my grandfather, was tolerably well versed in the architecture of those days; and made it his profession. Giovanni, my father, acquired great proficiency in the art of designing.

I was born on All Saints' Day, in the year 1500. A girl was anticipated; but when my father saw with his own eyes the unexpected boy, clasping his hands together, he lifted up his eyes to Heaven, saying: "Lord, I thank Thee from the bottom of my heart for this present, which is very dear and welcome to me." The standers-by asked him, joyfully, how he proposed to call the child. He made no other answer than: "He is Welcome." And this name of Welcome (Benvenuto) he resolved to give me at the font, and so I was christened accordingly. At the age of fifteen I engaged myself with a goldsmith called Marcone; and so great was my inclination to improve that in a few months I rivalled most of the journeymen in the business. I also practised the art of jewellery at Siena, Bologna, Lucca, and Pisa, in all of which places I executed several fine pieces of workmanship, which inspired me with an ardent desire to become more eminent in my profession. I produced a basso-relievo in silver, carved with a group of foliages and several figures of youths, and other beautiful grotesques. This coming under the inspection of the Goldsmiths' Company of Florence, I acquired the reputation of the most expert young man in the trade.

About this time there came to Florence a sculptor named Torrigiano, who had just returned from England, where he had resided for several years. Having inspected my drawings and workmanship, Torrigiano offered to take me to England; but having abused the divine Michael Angelo, whose exquisite manner I did my utmost to learn, far from having any inclination to go with him to England, I could never more bear the sight of him.

In my nineteenth year I journeyed to Rome, where I went to work under several masters, studied the antiquities of the city, earned a great deal of money, and constantly sent the best part of my gains to my father. At the expiration of two years I returned to Florence, where I engaged a shop hard by Landi's bank, and executed many works. Envy began then to rankle in the heart of my former masters, which led to quarrels and trials before the magistrates. I had to fly back to Rome, disguised as a friar, on account of a stabbing affray. There I joined Lucagnolo a goldsmith, and was employed in making plate and jewels by the Cardinals Cibo, Cornaro, and Salviati, the Bishop of Salamanca, and Signora Porzia Chigi, and was able to open a shop entirely on my own account. I set about learning seal engraving, desiring to rival Lautzio, the most eminent master of that art, the business of medallist, and the elegant art of enamelling, with the greatest ardour, so that the difficulties appeared delightful to me. This was through the peculiar indulgence of the Author of Nature, who had gifted me with a genius so happy that I could with the utmost ease learn anything to which I gave my mind.

During the plague in Rome I was seized with the disease, but to my own great surprise survived that terrific attack. When better, I made some vases of silver for the eminent surgeon, Giacomo Carti, who afterwards showed them to the Duke of Ferrara and several other princes, assuring them that they were antiques, and had been presented to him by a great nobleman. Others were assured that there had not been a man these 3,000 years able to make such figures. Encouraged by these declarations, I confessed that they were my performances, and by this work I made considerable gain.

II.--A Soldier and Goldsmith

All Europe was now (1527) up in arms, involved in the wars between Charles V. of Germany and Francis I. of France. Pope Clement VII. alternately declared in favour of Charles and Francis, hoping to preserve the balance of political power in Europe, and disbanded the troops which had garrisoned Rome. Learning this, Charles, Duke of Bourbon, Constable of France, advanced with a large army of Germans and Spaniards through Italy, carrying terror and desolation, and appeared before the walls of Rome.

I raised a company of fifty brave young men, whom I led to the Campo Santo. When the enemy was scaling the walls I determined to perform some manly action, and, levelling my arquebuse where I saw the thickest crowd, I discharged it with a deliberate aim at a person who seemed to be lifted above the rest, and he fell wounded. He was, as I understood afterwards, the Duke of Bourbon. On another day I shot at and wounded the Prince of Orange. Leaving the Campo Santo I made for the Castle of St. Angelo, just as the castellan was letting down the portcullis. When I found myself on the castle walls, the artillery was deserted by the bombardiers, and I took direction of the fire of the artillery and falcons, and killed a considerable number of the enemy. This made some cardinals and others bless me, and extol my activity to the skies. Emboldened by this, I used my utmost exertions; let it suffice that it was I who preserved the castle that morning. I continued to direct the artillery with such signal execution as to acquire the favour and good graces of his holiness the Pope.

One day the Pope happened to walk upon the ramparts, when he saw me fire a swivel at a Spanish colonel who had formerly been in his service, and split the man into two pieces. Falling upon my knees, I entreated his holiness to absolve me from the guilt of homicide and other crimes I had committed in the castle in the service of the Church. The Pope, lifting up his hands and making the Sign of the Cross over me, blessed me, and gave his absolution for all the homicides I had ever committed, or ever should commit, in the service of the Apostolic Church. After that I kept up a constant fire, and scarcely once missed all the time. Later, Pope Clement sent for me to a private apartment, and with his master of the horse placed before me his regalia, with all the vast quantity of jewels belonging to the apostolical chamber. I was ordered to take off the gold in which they were set. I did as directed, and, wrapping up each jewel in a little piece of paper, we sewed them in the skirts of the Pope's clothes, and those of the master of the horse. The gold, which amounted to about a hundred pounds' weight, I was ordered to melt with the utmost secrecy, which I did, and carried to his holiness without being observed by anyone.

A few days after, a treaty was concluded with the Imperialists, and hostilities ceased. Worn out with my exertions during the siege, I returned to Florence and thence to Mantua, where, on the introduction of the excellent painter, Giulio Romano, I executed many commissions for the duke, including a shrine in gold in which to place the relic of the Blood of Christ, which the Mantuans boast themselves to be possessed of, and a pontifical seal for the duke's brother, the bishop. An attack of fever and a quarrel with the duke induced me to return to Florence, to find that my father and all belonging to my family, except my youngest sister and brother, were dead of the plague. I opened a shop in the New Market, and engraved many medals, which received the highest praise from the divine Michael Angelo.

On the invitation of Pope Clement VII. I retired from Florence, and repaired to Rome. His holiness commissioned me to execute a button for the pontifical cope, and to set into it the jewels which I had taken out of the two crowns in the Castle of St. Angelo. The design was most beautiful, and so pleased and astonished was the Pope that he employed me to make new coinage, and appointed me stamp-master of the mint. My gold coins were pronounced by the Pope's secretary to be superior to those of the Roman emperors. When I finished my great work upon the pontifical button it was looked upon as the most exquisite performance of the kind that had ever been seen in Rome The Pope, I thought, would never tire of praising it, and he appointed me to a post in the College of Mace-Bearers, which brought me about 200 crowns a year. About this time a tumult occurred in the city near the bridge of St. Angelo, in which my soldier brother was wounded, and died the next day. I was consumed with desire of revenge upon the musketeer who shot him. One night I saw him standing at his door, and, with a long dagger, hit him exactly upon the nape of the neck. The weapon penetrated so deep that, though I made a great effort to recover it again, I found it impossible. I took refuge in the palace of Duke Alesandro, and more than eight days afterwards the Pope sent for me. When I came into his presence he frowned upon me very much. However, upon viewing some work which I submitted to him, his countenance grew serene, and he praised me highly. Then, looking attentively at me, he said: "Now that you have recovered your health, Benvenuto, take care of yourself." I understood his meaning, and told him I should not neglect his advice.

III.--Intrigues at the Papal Court

Cardinal Salviati more than once showed himself my enemy. He had sent from Milan, of which city he was Legate, a goldsmith named Tobbia, as a great artist, capable, so he said, of humbling the pride of his holiness's favourite, Benvenuto. Another of my enemies was Pompeo, a Milanese jeweller, and near relation to his holiness's most favoured servant. At the instigation of this Pompeo I was deprived of my place in the mint. On another day Pompeo ran in all haste to the Pope, and said: "Most Holy Father, Benvenuto has just murdered Tobbia; I saw it with my own eyes." The Pope flew into a violent passion, and ordered the governor of Rome to seize and hang me directly.

The Cardinal de Medici overheard this, and sent a Roman gentleman to tell me it was impossible to save me, and advising me to fly from Rome. I took horse, and bent my course instantly towards Naples. Afterwards I found that Pope Clement had sent one of the two gentlemen of his bed-chamber to inquire after Tobbia. That gentleman, upon finding Tobbia at work, reported the real state of the case to the Pope. His holiness thereupon turned to Pompeo and said: "You are a most abandoned wretch, but one thing I can assure you of--you have stirred a snake that will sting you, and that is what you well deserve."

Arrived in Naples I was received by the viceroy, who showed me a thousand civilities, and asked me to enter his service. However, having received a letter from the Cardinal de Medici to return to Rome without loss of time, I repaired thither on horseback. On reaching my own house I finished a medal with the head of Pope Clement, and on the reverse a figure representing Peace, and stamped upon gold, silver, and copper. His holiness, when presented with the medals, told me they were very fine, that he was highly pleased with them, and asked me to make another reverse representing Moses striking the rock, and the water issuing from it. This I did.

Three days afterwards, Pope Clement died. I put on my sword, and repaired to St. Peter's, where I kissed the feet of the deceased pontiff, and could not refrain from tears. On returning, near the Campo di Fiore, I met my adversary Pompeo, encircled with his bravoes. I thereupon clapped my hand to a sharp dagger, forced my way through the file of ruffians, laid hold of Pompeo by the throat, struck him under the ear, and, upon repeating my blow, he fell down dead. I escaped, and was protected by Cardinal Cornaro in his own palace.

A few days after, Cardinal Farnese was elected as Pope Paul III. The new pontiff inquired after me, and declared he would employ nobody else to stamp his coins, A gentleman said that I was obliged to abscond for having killed one Pompeo in a fray, to which the Pope made answer: "I never heard of the death of Pompeo, but I have often heard of Benvenuto's provocation; so let a safe-conduct be instantly made out, and that will secure him from all other manner of dangers." A Milanese, who was a favourite of the pontiff, told his holiness that it might be of dangerous consequence to grant such favours immediately on being raised to his new dignity. The Pope instantly said: "You do not understand these matters; I must inform you that men who are masters in their profession, like Benvenuto, should not be subject to the laws; but he less than any other, for I am sensible that he was in the right in the whole affair." So I entered into the Pope's service.

However, the Pope's natural son having become my enemy, and having employed a Corsican soldier to assassinate me, I escaped to Florence, where I was appointed master of the mint by Duke Alessandro de Medici. The coins which I stamped, with the duke's head on one side and a saint on the other, his excellency declared were the finest in Christendom. Shortly after I received from Rome an ample safe-conduct from the Pope, directing me to repair forthwith to that city at the celebration of the Feast of the Virgin Mary. This I did, and the Pope granted me a patent of pardon for killing Pompeo, and caused it to be registered in the Capitol.

About this time Charles V. returned victorious from his enterprise against Tunis. When he made his triumphant entry into Rome he was received with great pomp, and I was nominated by his holiness to carry his presents of massive gold work and jewels, executed by myself, to the emperor, who invited me to his court and ordered five hundred gold crowns to be given me. Stories to my prejudice having been carried to his holiness, I felt myself to be neglected, and set out for France, but made no stay there, and returned to Rome. Here I was accused falsely by a Perugian servant of being possessed of great treasure, the greatest part of which was said to consist of jewels which belonged to the Church, and whose booty I had possessed myself of in the Castle of St. Angelo at the time of the sack of Rome. At the instigation of Pier Luigi, the Pope's illegitimate son, I was taken as prisoner to the Castle of St. Angelo, where I was put under examination by the governor of Rome and other magistrates. I vindicated myself, saying that I got nothing else in the Church's service at the melancholy sack of Rome but wounds.

Accurate inquiry having been made, none of the Pope's jewels were found missing; but I was left a prisoner in the castle, from which I made a marvellous escape, only to be consigned again, at the instigation of Luigi, to the deepest subterranean cell. I would have destroyed myself, but I had wonderful revelations and visions of St. Peter, who pleaded my cause with the beautiful Virgin Mary holding Christ in her arms. The constable informed the Pope of the extraordinary things which I declared I had seen. The pontiff, who neither believed in God nor in any other article of religion, sent word that I was mad, and advised him to think no more about me, but mind his own soul.

IV.--At the French Court

About this time the Cardinal of Ferrara came to Rome from the court of France, and in the name of King Francis urged my release, to which he got the Pope's consent during a convivial meeting without the knowledge of Luigi. The Pope's order was brought to the prison at night, and I was conducted to the palace of the Cardinal. The Cardinal was summoned by Francis I. to Paris, and to bring me with him.

The French king received me graciously, and I presented him with a cup and basin which I had executed for his majesty, who declared that neither the ancients nor the greatest masters of Italy had ever worked in so exquisite a taste. His majesty ordered me to make him twelve silver statues. They were to be figures of six gods and six goddesses, made exactly to his own height, which was very little less than three cubits. I began zealously to make a model of Jupiter. Next day I showed him in his palace the model of my great salt-cellar, which he called a noble production, and commissioned me to make it in gold, commanding that I should be given directly a thousand old gold crowns, good weight.

As a mark of distinction, the king granted me letters of naturalisation and a patent of lordship of the Castle of Nesle. Later, I submitted to the king models of the new palace gates and the great fountain for Fontainebleau, which appeared to him to be exceedingly beautiful. Unluckily for me, his favourite, Madame d'Estampes, conceived a deep resentment at my neglect for not taking notice of her in any of my designs. When the silver statue of Jupiter was finished and set up in the corridor of Fontainebleau alongside reproductions in bronze of all the first-rate antiques recently discovered in Rome, the king cried out: "This is one of the finest productions of art that was ever beheld; I could never have conceived a piece of work the hundredth part so beautiful. From a comparison with these admirable antique figures, it is evident that this statue of Jupiter is vastly superior to them."

Madame d'Estampes was more highly incensed than ever, but the king said I was one of the ablest men the world had ever produced. The king ordered me a thousand crowns, partly as a recompense for my labours, and partly in payment of some disbursed by myself. I afterwards set about finishing my colossal statue of Mars, which was to occupy the centre of the fountain at Fontainebleau, and represented the king. Madame d'Estampes continuing her spiteful artifices, I requested the Cardinal of Ferrara to procure leave for me to make a tour to Italy, promising to return whenever the king should think proper to signify his pleasure. I departed in an unlucky hour, leaving under the care of my journeymen my castle and all my effects; but all the way I could not refrain from sighing and weeping.

At this time Cosmo, Duke of Florence, resided at Poggio Cajano, a place ten miles from Florence. I there waited upon him to pay my respects, and he and his duchess received me with the greatest kindness. At the duke's request I undertook to make a great statue of Perseus delivering Andromeda from the Medusa. A site was found for me to erect a house in which I might set up my furnaces, and carry on a variety of works both of clay and bronze, and of gold and silver separately. While making progress with my great statue of Perseus, I executed my golden vases, girdles, and other jewels for the Duchess of Florence, and also a likeness of the duke larger than life.

For a time I discontinued working upon marble statues and went on with Perseus, and eventually I triumphed over all the difficulties of casting it in bronze, although the shop took fire at the critical moment, and the sky poured in so much rain and wind that my furnace was cooled. I was so highly pleased that my work had succeeded so well that I went to Pisa to pay my respects to the duke, who received me in the most gracious manner, while the duchess vied with him in kindness to me.

V.--His Later Life in Florence

About this time the war with Siena broke out, and at the request of the duke I carried out the repair of the fortifications of two of the gates of the city of Florence. At last my statue of Perseus was erected in the great square, and was shown to the populace, who set up so loud a shout of applause that I began to be comforted for the mortifications I had undergone. Sonnets and Latin and Greek odes were hung upon the gates in praise of my performance, but what gave me the highest satisfaction was that statuaries and painters emulated each other in commending it. Two days having passed, I paid a visit to the duke, who said to me with great complaisance: "My friend Benvenuto, you have given me the highest satisfaction imaginable, and I promise to reward you in such a manner as to excite your surprise." I shed tears of joy, and kissing the hem of his excellency's garment, addressed him thus: "My most noble lord, liberal patron of the arts, I beg leave to retire for a week to return thanks to the Supreme Being, for I know how hard I have worked, and I am sensible that my faith has prevailed with God to grant me His assistance." Permission was given, and I made the pilgrimage to Vallombrosa and Camaldoli, incessantly singing psalms and saying prayers to the honour and glory of God.

On my return there were great differences between the duke and myself as to the reward to be given me for the statue of Perseus, during which the duchess and the sculptor Bandinello interposed. Bandinello declared that the work had proved so admirable a masterpiece, that, in his opinion, it was worth 16,000 gold crowns and upwards. When the duke was informed of this decision he was highly displeased, and down to the close of the year 1566 I received no more than 3,000 gold crowns, given to me monthly by payments of 25, 50, or 100 crowns.

Subsequently, I was employed to erect two pulpits in the choir of St. Maria del Fiore, and adorn them with historical figures in basso-relievo of bronze, together with varieties of other embellishments. About this period, the great block of marble, intended for the gigantic statue of Neptune, to be placed near the fountain on the Ducal Piazza, was brought up the River Arno, and thence by road to Florence. A competition took place between the model which I had made for the statue of Neptune and that designed by Bandinello. The duchess, who had become my implacable enemy, favoured Bandinello, and I waited upon her, carrying to her some pretty trifles of my making, which her excellency liked very much. Then I added that I had undertaken one of the most laborious tasks in the world--the carving of a Christ crucified, of the whitest marble, upon a cross of the blackest, and as large as the life. Upon her asking me what I proposed doing with it, I said I would freely make her a present of it; that all I desired was that she would be neutral with respect to the model of the Neptune which the duke had ordered to be made.

When I had finished the model of Neptune, the duke came to see it. It gave him high satisfaction, and he said I deserved the prize. Some weeks later, Bandinello died, and it was generally thought that the grief which he felt at losing the fine piece of marble out of which the statue of Neptune was to be made greatly contributed to hasten his dissolution. When I was working at my great model of Neptune, I was seized with illness, caused by a dose of sublimate poison administered in food by a man named Sbietta and his brother, a profligate priest, from whom I had bought the annuity of a farm. Upon my recovery the duke and the duchess came unexpectedly with a grand retinue to my workshop to see the image of Christ upon the Cross, and it pleased them so greatly that they bestowed the highest encomiums on me. Though I had undergone infinite labour in its execution, yet with pleasure I made them a present of it, thinking none more worthy of that fine piece of work than their excellencies. They talked a long time in praise of my abilities, and the duchess seemed, as it were, to ask pardon for her past treatment of me.

At this juncture the Queen Dowager of France, Catherine de Medici, dispatched Signor Baccio del Bene on a mission to our duke. The signor and I were intimate friends, and he told me that the queen had a strong desire to finish the sepulchral monument to her husband, King Henry, and if I chose to return to France and again take possession of my castle, I should be supplied with whatever I wanted, in case I was willing to serve her majesty. But when this was communicated to the duke, his excellency said he meant to keep me in his own service; and the Queen of France, who had received a loan of money from the duke, did not propose the thing any more for fear of offending him; so I was obliged to stay, much against my will.

The last entry in Benvenuto Cellini's manuscript is the announcement of a journey made by Duke Cosmo with his whole court, including his brother, the Cardinal de Medici, to Pisa, where the latter was attacked by "a malignant fever, which in a few days put an end to his life. The cardinal was one of the duke's chief supporters, and highly beloved by him, being a person of great virtues and abilities. Consequently, his loss was severely felt."

In 1554, Benvenuto had been admitted to the ranks of the Florentine nobility. In 1560 he married Piera, the woman named in his will, who nursed him through his illness from the poison administered by the Sbietta family. By her he had five children, two of whom died in infancy. In 1561, Duke Cosmo made him a grant of a house near San Croce, in the Via Rosajo, Florence, "in consideration of his admirable talents in casting, sculpture, and other branches of art." The patent continues: "We look upon his productions, both in marble and bronze, as evident proofs of his surpassing genius and incomparable skill."

Benvenuto was deputed by the sculptors of Florence to attend the obsequies of his great master and friend, Michael Angelo Buonarroti, who had died on February 18, 1564. Benvenuto died on December 13, 1569, and was buried by his own direction in the Chapter House of the Church of the Annunziata, Florence, with great pomp.


Memoirs From Beyond the Grave

The "Mémoires d' Outre-Tombe," which was partly published before Chateaubriand's death, represents a work spread over a great part of Chateaubriand's life, and reveals as no other of his books the innermost personality of the man. (Chateaubriand, biography: see FICTION.)

I.--Youth and Its Follies

Four years ago, on my return from the Holy Land, I purchased a little country house, situated near the hamlet of Aulnay, in the vicinity of Sceaux and Chatenay. The house is in a valley, encircled by thickly wooded hills. The ground attached to this habitation is a sort of wild orchard. These narrow confines seem to me to be fitting boundaries of my long-protracted hopes. I have selected the trees, as far as I was able, from the various climes I have visited. They remind me of my wanderings.

Knight-errant as I am, I have the sedentary tastes of a monk. It was here I wrote the "Martyrs," the "Abencerrages," the "Itinéraire," and "Moise." To what shall I devote myself in the evenings of the present autumn? This day, October 4, being the anniversary of my entrance into Jerusalem, tempts me to commence the history of my life.

I am of noble descent, and I have profited by the accident of my birth, inasmuch as I have retained that firm love of liberty which characterises the members of an aristocracy whose last hour has sounded. Aristocracy has three successive ages--the age of superiority, the age of privilege, and the age of vanity. Having emerged from the first age, ft degenerates in the second age, and perishes in the third.

When I was a young man, and learned the meaning of love, I was a mystery to myself. All my days were adieux. I could not see a woman without being troubled. I blushed if one spoke to me. My timidity, already excessive towards everyone, became so great with a woman that I would have preferred any torment whatsoever to that of remaining alone with one. She was no sooner gone than I would have recalled her with all my heart. Had anyone delivered to me the most beautiful slaves of the seraglio, I should not have known what to say to them. Accident enlightened me.

Had I done as other men do, I should sooner have learned the pleasures and pains of passion, the germ of which I carried in myself; but everything in me assumed an extraordinary character. The warmth of imagination, my bashfulness and solitude, caused me to turn back upon myself. For want of a real object, by the power of my vague desires, I evoked a phantom which never quitted me more. I know not whether the history of the human heart furnishes another example of this kind.

I pictured then to myself an ideal beauty, moulded from the various charms of all the women I had seen. I gave her the eyes of one young village girl, and the rosy freshness of another. This invisible enchantress constantly attended me; I communed with her as with a real being. She varied at the will of my wandering fancy. Now she was Diana clothed in azure, now Aphrodite unveiled, now Thalia with her laughing mask, now Hebe bearing the cup of eternal youth.

A young queen approaches, brilliant with diamonds and flowers--this was always my sylph. She seeks me at midnight, amidst orange groves, in the corridors of a palace washed by the waves, on the balmy shore of Naples or Messina; the light sound of her footsteps on the mosaic floor mingles with the scarcely heard murmur of the waves.

Awaking from these my dreams, and finding myself a poor little obscure Breton, who would attract the eyes of no one, despair seized upon me. I no longer dared to raise my eyes to the brilliant phantom which I had attached to my every step. This delirium lasted for two whole years. I spoke little; my taste for solitude redoubled. I showed all the symptoms of a violent passion. I was absent, sad, ardent, savage. My days passed on in wild, extravagant, mad fashion, which nevertheless had a peculiar charm.

I have now reached a period at which I require some strength of mind to confess my weakness. I had a gun, the worn-out trigger of which often went off unexpectedly. I loaded this gun with three balls, and went to a spot at a considerable distance from the great Mall. I cocked the gun, put the end of the barrel into my mouth, and struck the butt-end against the ground. I repeated the attempt several times, but unsuccessfully. The appearance of a gamekeeper interrupted me in my design. I was a fatalist, though without my own intention or knowledge. Supposing that my hour was not yet come, I deferred the execution of my project to another day.

Any whose minds are troubled by these delineations should remember that they are listening to the voice of one who has passed from this world. Reader, whom I shall never know, of me there is nothing--nothing but what I am in the hands of the living God.

A few weeks later I was sent for one morning. My father was waiting for me in his cabinet.

"Sir," said he, "you must renounce your follies. Your brother has obtained for you a commission as ensign in the regiment of Navarre. You must presently set out for Rennes, and thence to Cambray. Here are a hundred louis-d'or; take care of them. I am old and ill--I have no long time to live. Behave like a good man, and never dishonour your name."

He embraced me. I felt the hard and wrinkled face pressed with emotion against mine. This was my father's last embrace.

The mail courier brought me to my garrison. Having joined the regiment in the garb of a citizen, twenty-four hours afterwards I assumed that of a soldier; it appeared as if I had worn it always. I was not fifteen days in the regiment before I became an officer. I learned with facility both the exercise and the theory of arms. I passed through the offices of corporal and sergeant with the approbation of my instructors. My rooms became the rendezvous of the old captains, as well as of the young lieutenants.

The same year in which I went through my first training in arms at Cambray brought news of the death of Frederic II. I am now ambassador to the nephew of this great king, and write this part of my memoirs in Berlin. This piece of important public news was succeeded by another, mournful to me. It was announced to me that my father had been carried off by an attack of apoplexy.

I lamented M. de Chateaubriand. I remembered neither his severity nor his weakness. If my father's affection for me partook of the severity of his character, in reality it was not the less deep. My brother announced to me that I had already obtained the rank of captain of cavalry, a rank entitling me to honour and courtesy.

A few days later I set out to be presented at the first court in Europe. I remember my emotion when I saw the king at Versailles. When the king's levée was announced, the persons not presented withdrew. I felt an emotion of vanity; I was not proud of remaining, but I should have felt humiliated at having to retire. The royal bed-chamber door opened; I saw the king, according to custom, finishing his toilet. He advanced, on his way to the chapel, to hear mass. I bowed, Marshal de Duras announcing my name--"Sire, le Chevalier de Chateaubriand."

The king graciously returned my salutation, and seemed to wish to address me; but, more embarrassed than I, finding nothing to say to me, he passed on. This sovereign was Louis XVI., only six years before he was brought to the scaffold.

II.--In the Years of Revolution

My political education was begun by my residence, at different times, in Brittany in the years 1787 and 1788. The states of this province furnished the model of the States-General; and the particular troubles which broke out in the provinces of Brittany and Dauphiny were the forerunners of those of the nation at large.

The change which had been developing for two hundred years was then reaching its limits. France was rapidly tending to a representative system by means of a contest of the magistracy with the royal power.

The year 1789, famous in the history of France, found me still on the plains of my native Brittany. I could not leave the province till late in the year, and did not reach Paris till after the pillage of the Maison Reveillon, the opening of the States-General, the constitution of the Tièrs-État in the National Assembly, the oath of the Jeu-de-Paume, the royal council of the 23rd of June, and the junction of the clergy and nobility in the Tièrs-État. The court, now yielding, now attempting to resist, allowed itself to be browbeaten by Mirabeau.

The counter-blow to that struck at Versailles was felt at Paris. On July 14 the Bastille was taken. I was present as a spectator at this event. If the gates had been kept shut the fortress would never have been taken. De Launay, dragged from his dungeon, was murdered on the steps of the Hôtel de Ville. Flesselles, the prevôt des marchands, was shot through the head. Such were the sights delighted in by heartless saintly hypocrites. In the midst of these murders the people abandoned themselves to orgies similar to those carried on in Rome during the troubles under Otto and Vitellius. The monarchy was demolished as rapidly as the Bastille in the sitting of the National Assembly on the evening of August 4.

My regiment, quartered at Rouen, preserved its discipline for some time. But at length insurrection broke out among the soldiers in Navarre. The Marquis de Mortemar emigrated; the officers followed him. I had neither adopted nor rejected the new opinions; I neither wished to emigrate nor to continue my military career. I therefore retired, and I decided to go to America.

I sailed for that land, and my heart beat when we sighted the American coast, faintly traced by the tops of some maple-trees emerging, as it were, from the sea. A pilot came on board and we sailed into the Chesapeake and soon set foot on American soil.

At that time I had a great admiration for republics, though I did not believe them possible in our era of the world. My idea of liberty pictured her such as she was among the ancients, daughter of the manners of an infant society. I knew her not as the daughter of enlightenment and the civilisation of centuries; as the liberty whose reality the representative republic has proved--God grant it may be durable! We are no longer obliged to work in our own little fields, to curse arts and sciences, if we would be free.

I met General Washington. He was tall, calm, and cold rather than noble in mien; the engravings of him are good. We sat down, and I explained to him as well as I could the motive of my journey. He answered me in English and French monosyllables, and listened to me with a sort of astonishment. I perceived this, and said to him with some warmth: "But is it less difficult to discover the north-west passage than to create a nation as you have done?"

"Well, well, young man!" cried he, holding out his hand to me. He invited me to dine with him on the following day, and we parted. I took care not to fail in my appointment. The conversation turned on the French Revolution, and the general showed us a key of the Bastille. Such was my meeting with the citizen soldier--the liberator of a world.

III.--Paris in the Reign of Terror

In 1792, when I returned to Paris, it no longer exhibited the same appearance as in 1789 and 1790. It was no longer the new-born Revolution, but a people intoxicated, rushing on to fulfil its destiny across abysses and by devious ways. The appearance of the people was no longer curious and eager, but threatening.

The king's flight on June 21, 1791, gave an immense impulse to the Revolution. Having been brought back to Paris on June 25, he was dethroned for the first time, in consequence of the declaration of the National Assembly that all its decrees should have the force of law, without the king's concurrence or assent. I visited several of the "Clubs."

The scenes at the Cordeliers, at which I was three or four times present, were ruled and presided over by Danton--a Hun, with the nature of a Goth.

Faithful to my instincts, I had returned from America to offer my sword to Louis XVI., not to involve myself in party intrigues. I therefore decided to "emigrate." Brussels was the headquarters of the most distinguished émigrés. There I found my trifling baggage, which had arrived before me. The coxcomb émigrés were hateful to me. I was eager to see those like myself, with 600 livres income.

My brother remained at Brussels as an aide-de-camp to the Baron de Montboissier. I set out alone for Coblentz, went up the Rhine to that city, but the royal army was not there. Passing on, I fell in with the Prussian army between Coblentz and Treves. My white uniform caught the king's eye. He sent for me; he and the Duke of Brunswick took off their hats, and in my person saluted the old French army.

IV.--The Army of Princes

I was almost refused admission into the army of princes, for there were already too many gallant men ready to fight. But I said I had just come from America to have the honour of serving with old comrades. The matter was arranged, the ranks were opened to receive me, and the only remaining difficulty was where to choose. I entered the 7th company of the Bretons. We had tents, but were in want of everything else.

Our little army marched for Thionville. We went five or six leagues a day. The weather was desperate. We began the siege of Thionville, and in a few days were reinforced by Austrian cannon and cannoneers. The besieged made an attack on us, and in this action we had several wounded and some killed. We relinquished the siege of Thionville and set out for Verdun, which had surrendered to the allies. The passage of Frederic William was attested on all sides by garlands and flowers. In the midst of these trophies of peace I observed the Prussian eagle displayed on the fortifications of Verdun. It was not to remain long; as for the flowers, they were destined to fade, like the innocent creatures who had gathered them. One of the most atrocious murders of the reign of terror was that of the young girls of Verdun.

"Fourteen young girls of Verdun, of rare beauty, and almost like young virgins dressed for a public fête, were," says Riouffe, "led in a body to the scaffold. I never saw among us any despair like that which this infamous act excited."

I had been wounded during the siege of Thionville, and was suffering badly. While I was asleep, a splinter from a shell struck me on the right thigh. Roused by the stroke, but not being sensible of the pain, I only saw that I was wounded by the appearance of the blood. I bound up my thigh with my handkerchief. At four in the morning we thought the town had surrendered, but the gates were not opened, and we were obliged to think of a retreat. We returned to our positions after a harassing march of three days. While these drops of blood were shed under the walls of Thionville, torrents were flowing in the prisons of Paris; my wife and sisters were in greater danger than myself.

At Verdun, fever after my wound undermined my strength, and smallpox attacked me. Yet I began a journey on foot of two hundred leagues, with only eighteen livres in my pocket. All for the glory of the monarchy! I intended to try to reach Ostend, there to embark for Jersey, and thence to join the royalists in Brittany. Breaking down on the road, I lay insensible for two hours, swooning away with a feeling of religion. The last noise I heard was the whistling of a bullfinch. Some drivers of the Prince de Ligne's waggons saw me, and in pity lifted me up and carried me to Namur. Others of the prince's people carried me to Brussels. Here I found my brother, who brought a surgeon and a doctor to attend to me. He told me of the events of August 10, of the massacres of September, and other political news of which I had not heard. He approved of my intention to go to Jersey, and lent me twenty-five louis-d'or. We were looking on each other for the last time.

After reaching Jersey, I was four months dangerously ill in my uncle's house, where I was tenderly nursed. Recovering, I went in 1793 to England, landing as a poor émigré where now, in 1822, I write these memoirs, and enjoy the dignity of ambassador.

V.--Letters from the Dead

Several of my family fell victims to the Revolution. I learned in July, 1783, that my mother, after having been thrown, at the age of seventy-two, into a dungeon, where she witnessed the death of some of her children, expired at length on a pallet, to which her misfortunes had consigned her. The thoughts of my errors greatly embittered her last days, and on her death-bed she charged one of my sisters to reclaim me to the religion in which I had been educated. My sister Julie communicated my mother's last wish to me. When this letter reached me in my exile, my sister herself was no more; she, too, had sunk beneath the effects of her imprisonment. These two voices, coming as it were from the grave--the dead interpreting the dead--had a powerful effect on me. I became a Christian. I did not, indeed, yield to any great supernatural light; my conviction came from my heart; I wept, I believed.


Letters to His Son

A capable statesman, an accomplished diplomatist, and the courtliest and best-bred man of his century, Philip Dormer Stanhope, fourth Earl of Chesterfield, born on September 22, 1694, and dead March 24, 1773, would have been almost forgotten at the present day but for the preservation of his letters to his natural son, Philip Stanhope. It was the ambition of Lord Chesterfield's life that this young man should be a paragon of learning and manners. In a voluminous series of letters, more than 400 of which are preserved, his father minutely directed his classical and political studies, and, above all, instructed him with endless insistence as to his bearing in society, impressed upon him the importance of good breeding, the "graces," and the general deportment required of a person of quality. The letters are a classic of courtliness and worldly wisdom. They were prepared for the press by Philip Stanhope's widow, and were published in 1774, under the title of "Letters Written by the Earl of Chesterfield, together with Several other Pieces on Various Subjects." Since then many editions have appeared, bearing such titles as "The Fine Gentleman," "The Elements of Polite Education," etc.

I.--On Manners and Address

London, December 29, 1747. I have received two letters from you of the 17th and 22nd, by the last of which I find that some of mine to you must have miscarried; for I have never been above two posts without writing to you or to Mr. Harte, and even very long letters. I have also received a letter from Mr. Harte, which gives me great satisfaction; it is full of your praises.

Your German will go on, of course; and I take it for granted that your stay at Leipsig will make you a perfect master of that language, both as to speaking and writing; for remember, that knowing any language imperfectly is very little better than not knowing it at all, people being as unwilling to speak in a language which they do not possess thoroughly as others are to hear them.

Go to the Duchess of Courland's as often as she and your leisure will permit. The company of women of fashion will improve your manners, though not your understanding; and that complaisance and politeness, which are so useful in men's company, can only be acquired in women's.

Remember always what I have told you a thousand times, that all the talents in the world will want all their lustre, and some part of their use, too, if they are not advanced with that easy good-breeding, that engaging manner, and those graces, which seduce and prepossess people in your favour at first sight. A proper care of your person is by no means to be neglected; always extremely clean; upon proper occasions, fine. Your carriage genteel, and your motions graceful. Take particular care of your manners and address when you present yourself in company. Let them be respectful without meanness, easy without too much familiarity, genteel without affectation, and insinuating without any seeming art or design.... Adieu!

II.--On the Art of Pleasing

Bath, March 9, 1748. I must from time to time remind you of what I have often recommended to you, and of what you cannot attend to too much: sacrifice to the graces. Intrinsic merit alone will not do; it will gain you the general esteem of all, but not the particular affection, that is the heart, of any. To engage the affections of any particular person you must, over and above your general merit, have some particular merit to that person; by services done, or offered; by expressions of regard and esteem; by complaisance, attentions, etc., for him; and the graceful manner of doing all these things opens the way to the heart, and facilitates, or rather, insures, their effects.

A thousand little things, not separately to be described, conspire to form these graces, this je ne scais quoi, that always pleases. A pretty person, a proper degree of dress, an harmonious voice, something open and cheerful in the countenance, but without laughing; a distinct and properly varied manner of speaking; all these things and many others are necessary ingredients in the composition of the pleasing je ne scais quoi, which everybody feels, though nobody can describe. Observe carefully, then, what displeases or pleases you in others, and be persuaded that, in general, the same things will please or displease them in you.

Having mentioned laughing, I must particularly warn you against it; and I would heartily wish that you may often be seen to smile, but never heard to laugh while you live. Frequent and loud laughter is the characteristic of folly and ill-manners; it is the manner in which the mob express their silly joy at silly things; and they call it being merry. In my mind there is nothing so illiberal, and so ill-bred, as audible laughter. I am neither of a melancholy nor a cynical disposition, and am as willing and as apt to be pleased as anybody; but I am sure that since I have had the full use of my reason nobody has ever heard me laugh. Many people, at first, from awkwardness and mauvaise honte, have got a very disagreeable and silly trick of laughing whenever they speak.

This, and many other very disagreeable habits, are owing to mauvaise honte at their first setting out in the world. They are ashamed in company, and so disconcerted that they do not know what they do, and try a thousand tricks to keep themselves in countenance; which tricks afterwards grow habitual to them. Some put their fingers in their nose, others scratch their heads, others twirl their hats; in short, every awkward, ill-bred body has its tricks. But the frequency does not justify the thing, and all these vulgar habits and awkwardness are most carefully to be guarded against, as they are great bars in the way of the art of pleasing.

London, September 5, 1748. I have received yours, with the enclosed German letter to Mr. Grevenkop, which he assures me is extremely well written, considering the little time that you have applied yourself to that language.

St. Thomas's Day now draws near, when you are to leave Saxony and go to Berlin. Berlin will be entirely a new scene to you, and I look upon it, in a manner, as your first step into the great world; take care that step be not a false one, and that you do not stumble at the threshold. You will there be in more company than you have yet been; manners and attentions will, therefore, be more necessary.

You will best acquire these by frequenting the companies of people of fashion; but then you must resolve to acquire them, in those companies, by proper care and observation. When you go into good company--by good company is meant the people of the first fashion of the place--observe carefully their turn, their manners, their address; and conform your own to them. But this is not all either; go deeper still; observe their characters, and pry into both their hearts and their heads. Seek for their particular merit, their predominant passion, or their prevailing weakness; and you will then know what to bait your hook with to catch them.

As women are a considerable, or, at least, a pretty numerous part of company; and as their suffrages go a great way towards establishing a man's character in the fashionable part of the world, which is of great importance to the fortune and figure he proposes to make in it, it is necessary to please them. I will, therefore, upon this subject, let you into certain arcana that will be very useful for you to know, but which you must, with the utmost care, conceal and never seem to know.

Women, then, are only children of a larger growth; they have an entertaining tattle, and sometimes wit; but for solid reasoning, good sense, I never knew in my life one that had it, or who reasoned or acted consequentially for four-and-twenty hours together. Some little passion or humour always breaks in upon their best resolutions. Their beauty neglected or controverted, their age increased or their supposed understandings depreciated, instantly kindles their little passions, and overturns any system of consequential conduct that in their most reasonable moments they have been capable of forming. A man of sense only trifles with them, plays with them, humours and flatters them, as he does with a sprightly, forward child; but he neither consults them about nor trusts them with, serious matters; though he often makes them believe that he does both, which is the thing in the world that they are proud of.

But these are secrets, which you must keep inviolably, if you would not, like Orpheus, be torn to pieces by the whole sex. On the contrary, a man who thinks of living in the great world must be gallant, polite, and attentive to please the women. They have, from the weakness of men, more or less influence in all courts; they absolutely stamp every man's character in the beau monde, and make it either current, or cry it down, and stop it in payment.

It is, therefore, absolutely necessary to manage, please, and flatter them; and never to discover the least mark of contempt, which is what they never forgive; but in this they are not singular, for it is the same with men, who will much sooner forgive an injustice than an insult.

These are some of the hints which my long experience in the great world enables me to give you, and which, if you attend to them, may prove useful to you in your journey through it. I wish it may be a prosperous one; at least, I am sure that it must be your own fault if it is not.

III.--The Secret of Good Breeding

London, November 3, 1749. From the time that you have had life, it has been the principal and favourite object of mine to make you as perfect as the imperfections of human nature will allow. In this view, I have grudged no pains nor expense in your education, convinced that education, more than nature, is the cause of that great difference which you see in the characters of men. While you were a child I endeavoured to form your heart habitually to virtue and honour, before your understanding was capable of showing you their beauty and utility. Those principles, which you then got, like your grammar rules, only by rote, are now, I am persuaded, fixed and confirmed by reason.

My next object was sound and useful learning. All that remains for me then to wish, to recommend, to inculcate, to order, and to insist upon, is good breeding, without which all your other qualifications will be lame, unadorned, and to a certain degree unavailing. And here I fear, and have too much reason to believe, that you are greatly deficient. The remainder of this letter, therefore, shall be--and it will not be the last by a great many--upon the subject of good breeding.

A friend of yours and mine has very justly defined good breeding to be the result of much good sense, some good nature, and a little self-denial for the sake of others, and with a view to obtain the same indulgence from them. Taking this for granted, as I think it cannot be disputed, it is astonishing to me that anybody who has good sense and good nature, and I believe you have both, can essentially fail in good breeding. As to the modes of it, indeed, they vary according to persons and places and circumstances, and are only to be acquired by observation and experience; but the substance of it is everywhere and eternally the same. Good manners are, to particular societies, what good morals are to society in general; their cement and their security. And as laws are enacted to enforce good morals, or, at least, to prevent the ill-effects of bad ones, so there are certain rules of civility, universally implied and received, to enforce good manners, and punish bad ones.

Mutual complaisances, attentions, and sacrifices of little conveniences, are as natural an implied compact between civilised people as protection and obedience are between kings and subjects; whoever, in either case, violates that compact justly forfeits all advantages arising from it. For my own part, I really think that, next to the consciousness of doing a good action, that of doing a civil one is the most pleasing; and the epithet which I should covet the most, next to that of Aristides, would be that of well-bred.

I will conclude with these axioms:

That the deepest learning, without good breeding, is unwelcome and tiresome pedantry, and of use nowhere but in a man's own closet; and, consequently, of little or no use at all.

That a man who is not perfectly well-bred, is unfit for good company, and therefore unwelcome in it; will consequently dislike it soon, afterwards renounce it, and be reduced to solitude, or, what is considerably worse, low and bad company.

IV.--The Fruits of Observation

London, September 22, 1752. The day after the date of my last, I received your letter of the 8th. I approve extremely of your intended progress. I would have you see everything with your own eyes, and hear everything with your own ears, for I know, by very long experience, that it is very unsafe to trust to other people's, Vanity and interest cause many misrepresentations, and folly causes many more. Few people have parts enough to relate exactly and judiciously; and those who have, for some reason or other, never fail to sink or to add some circumstances.

The reception which you have met with at Hanover I look upon as an omen of your being well-received everywhere else, for, to tell you the truth, it was the place that I distrusted the most in that particular. But there is a certain conduct, there are certaines manières, that will, and must, get the better of all difficulties of that kind. It is to acquire them that you still continue abroad, and go from court to court; they are personal, local, and temporal; they are modes which vary, and owe their existence to accidents, whim, and humour. All the sense and reason in the world would never point them out; nothing but experience, observation, and what is called knowledge of the world can possibly teach them.

This knowledge is the true object of a gentleman's travelling, if he travels as he ought to do. By frequent good company in every country he himself becomes of every country; he is no longer an Englishman, a Frenchman, or an Italian; but he is a European. He adopts respectively the best manners of every country, and is a Frenchman at Paris, an Italian at Rome, an Englishman at London.

This advantage, I must confess, very seldom accrues to my countrymen from their travelling, as they have neither the desire nor the means of getting into good company abroad; for, in the first place, they are confoundedly bashful; and, in the next place, they either speak no foreign language at all, or, if they do, it is barbarously. You possess all the advantages that they want; you know the languages in perfection, and have constantly kept the best company in the places where you have been, so that you ought to be a European.

There is, in all good company, a fashionable air, countenance, manner, and phraseology, which can only be acquired by being in good company, and very attentive to all that passes there. There is a certain distinguishing diction of a man of fashion; he will not content himself with saying, like John Trott, to a new-married man, "Sir, I wish you joy"--or to a man who lost his son, "Sir I am sorry for your loss," and both with a countenance equally unmoved; but he will say in effect the same thing in a more elegant and less trivial manner, and with a countenance adapted to the occasion. He will advance with warmth, vivacity, and a cheerful countenance to the new-married man, and, embracing him, perhaps say to him, "If you do justice to my attachment to you, you will judge of the joy that I feel upon this occasion better than I can express it." To the other, in affliction, he will advance slowly, with a grave composure of countenance, in a more deliberate manner, and with a lower voice perhaps, say, "I hope you do me the justice to be convinced that I feel whatever you feel, and shall ever be affected where you are concerned."

V.--On the Arts

Mr. Harte tells me that he intends to give you, by means of Signor Vincentini, a general notion of civil and military architecture; with which I am very well pleased. They are frequent subjects of conversation. I would also have you acquire a liberal taste of the two liberal arts of painting and sculpture. All these sorts of things I would have you know, to a certain degree; but remember that they must only be the amusements, and not the business, of a man of parts.

As you are now in a musical country [Italy], where singing, fiddling, and piping are not only the common topics of conversation but almost the principal objects of attention, I cannot help cautioning you against giving in to those--I will call them illiberal--pleasures, though music is commonly reckoned one of the liberal arts, to the degree that most of your countrymen do when they travel in Italy. If you love music, hear it; go to operas, concerts, and pay fiddlers to play to you, but I insist upon your neither piping nor fiddling yourself. It puts a gentleman in a very frivolous, contemptible light, brings him into a great deal of bad company, and takes up a great deal of time which might be much better employed.

I confess I cannot help forming some opinion of a man's sense and character from his dress, and I believe most people do as well as myself. A man of sense carefully avoids any particular character in his dress; he is accurately clean for his own sake; but all the rest is for other people's. He dresses as well, and in the same manner, as the people of sense and fashion of the place where he is. If he dresses better, as he thinks, that is, more than they, he is a fop; if he dresses worse, he is unpardonably negligent; but of the two, I would rather have a young fellow too much than too little dressed--the excess on that side will wear off with a little age; but if he is negligent at twenty, he will be a sloven at forty, and stink at fifty years old.

As to the genius of poetry, I own, if Nature has not given it you, you cannot have it, for it is a true maxim that Poeta nascitur non fit. It is much otherwise with oratory, and the maxim there is Orator fit, for it is certain that by study and application every man can make himself a pretty good orator, eloquence depending upon observation and care. Every man, if he pleases, may choose good words instead of bad ones, may speak properly instead of improperly, may be clear and perspicuous in his recitals instead of dark and muddy, may have grace instead of awkwardness in his motions and gestures, and, in short, may be a very agreeable instead of a very disagreeable speaker if he will take care and pains. And surely it is very well worth while to take a great deal of pains to excel other men in that particular article in which they excel beasts.

That ready wit, which you so partially allow me, and so justly Sir Charles Williams, may create many admirers; but, take my word for it, it makes few friends. It shines and dazzles like the noonday sun, but, like that, too, is very apt to scorch, and therefore is always feared. The milder morning and evening light and heat of that planet soothe and calm our minds. Never seek for wit; if it presents itself, well and good; but even in that case, let your judgement interpose, and take care that it be not at the expense of anybody.


The Letters of Cicero

Marcus Tullius Cicero was born on January 3, 106 B.C. Educated under the best teachers in the Greek culture of the day, he won a speedy reputation at the Bar and developed a keen interest in the various schools of Greek philosophy. His able and intrepid exposure of Catiline's conspiracy brought him the highest popularity, but he was attacked, in turn, by the ignoble Clodius, who obtained his banishment in 58 B.C. In the ensuing conflict between Cæsar and Pompey, Cicero was attached to the party of Pompey and the senate, as against Cæsar and the people. He kept clear of the conspiracy against Cæsar's life, but after the assassination he undertook an oratorical campaign against Antony, and was entrusted with the government of the city. But on the return of the triumvirate, Octavianus, Antony, and Lepidus, Cicero's name was included in the list of those who were to be done away, and he was murdered in the year 43 B.C., at 63 years of age. The correspondence of the great Roman advocate, statesman, and man of letters, preserved for us by the care of his freedman Tiro, is the richest and most interesting collection of its kind in the world's archives. The many-sided personality of their writer, his literary charm, the frankness with which he set down his opinions, hopes, and anxieties, the profound historical interest of this period of the fall of the republic, and the intimate glimpses which we get of Roman life and manners, combine to make Cicero's "Letters" perennially attractive. The series begins in B.C. 68, when Cicero was 38 years of age, and runs on to within a short time of his death in B.C. 43. The letters, of which there are 800, are addressed to several correspondents, of whom the most frequent and important is Titus Pomponius, surnamed Atticus, whose sister had married Cicero's brother Quintus. Atticus was a wealthy and cultivated man who had lived many years in Athens. He took no side in the perilous politics of the time, but Cicero relied always on his affectionate counsel, and on his ever-ready service in domestic matters.

To Atticus

There is nothing I need so much just now as someone with whom I may discuss all my anxieties, someone with whom I may speak quite frankly and without pretences. My brother, who is all candour and kindness, is away. Metellus is empty as the air, barren as the desert. And you, who have so often relieved my cares and sorrows by your conversation and counsel, and have always been my support in politics and my confidant in all private affairs, the partner of all my thoughts and plans--where are you?

I am so utterly deserted that I have no other comfort but in my wife and daughter and dear little Cicero. For those ambitious friendships with great people are all show and tinsel, and contain nothing that satisfies inwardly. Every morning my house swarms with visitors; I go down to the Forum attended by troops of friends; but in the whole crowd there is no one with whom I can freely jest, or whom I can trust with an intimate word. It is for you that I wait; I need your presence; I even implore you to come.

I have a load of anxieties and troubles, of which, if you could listen to them in one of our walks together, you would go far to relieve me. I have to keep to myself the stings and vexations of my domestic troubles; I dare not trust them to this letter and to an unknown courier. I don't want you to think them greater than they are, but they haunt and worry me, and there is no friendly counsel to alleviate them. As for the republic, though my courage and will toward it are not diminished, yet it has again and again itself evaded remedy. If I were to tell you all that has happened since you went away, you would certainly say that the Roman state must be nearing its fall. The Clodian scandal was, I think, the first episode after your departure. On that occasion, thinking that I had an opportunity of cutting down and restraining the licentiousness of the young men, I exerted myself with all my might, and brought into play every power of my mind, not in hostility to an individual, but in the hope of correcting and healing the state. But a venal and profligate verdict in the matter has brought upon the republic the gravest injury. And see what has taken place since.

A consul has been imposed upon us whom no one, unless a philosopher like ourselves, can look at without a sigh. What an injury that is! Again, although a decree of the senate with regard to bribery and corruption has been passed, no law has been carried through; and the senate has been harassed beyond endurance and the Roman knights have been alienated. So, in one year, two pillars of the republic, which had been established by me alone, have been overturned; the authority of the senate has been destroyed and the concord of the two orders has been violated.

To Lucius Lucceius, the Historian

B.C. 56

I have often intended to speak to you about the subject of this letter, and have always been restrained by a certain awkward bashfulness. But a letter will not blush; I can make my request at a distance. It is this: I am incredibly eager, and, after all, there is nothing disgraceful in my eagerness, that the history which you are writing should give prominence to my name, and praise it frequently. You have often given me to understand that I should receive that honour, but you must pardon my impatience to see it actually conferred. I have always expected that your work would be of great excellence, but the part which I have lately seen exceeds all that I had imagined, and has inflamed me with the keenest desire that my career should at once be celebrated in your records. What I desire is not only that my name should go down to future ages, but also that even while I live I may see my reputation endorsed by your authority and illumined by your genius.

Of course, I know very well that you are sufficiently occupied with the period on which you are engaged. But, realising that your account of the Italian and Marian civil wars is almost completed, and that you are already entering upon our later annals, I cannot refrain from asking you to consider whether it would be better to weave my career into the general texture of your work, or to mould it into a distinct episode. Several Greek writers have given examples of the latter method; thus Callisthenes, Timaeus, and Polybius, treating respectively of the Trojan war, and of the wars of Pyrrhus and of Numantia, detached their narratives of these conflicts from their main treatises; and it is open to you, in a similar way, to treat of the Catiline conspiracy independently of the main current of your history.

In suggesting this course, I do not suppose that it will make much difference to my reputation; my point is rather that my desire to appear in your work will be satisfied so much the earlier if you proceed to deal with my affairs separately and by anticipation, instead of waiting until they arise as elements in the general course of affairs. Besides, by concentrating your mind on one episode and on one person, your matter will be much more detailed and your treatment of it far more elaborate.

I am conscious, of course, that my request is not exactly a modest one. It is to lay a task on you which your occupations may well justify you in refusing; and, again, it is to ask you to celebrate actions which you may not think altogether worthy of so much honour. But having already passed beyond the bounds of modesty, I may as well show myself boldly shameless. Well, then, I implore you repeatedly, not only to praise my conduct more warmly than may be justified by your feeling with regard to it, but even, if necessary, to transgress the laws of history. One of your prefaces indicates, most acceptably and plainly, your personal amity; but just as Hercules, according to Xenophon, was incorruptible by pleasure, so you have made a point of resisting the influence of private feeling. I ask you not to resist this partiality; to give to affection somewhat more than truth can afford.

If I can prevail upon you to fall in with my proposal, I am confident that you will find the subject not unworthy of your genius and of your eloquence. The period from the rise of Catiline's conspiracy to my return from banishment should furnish a memoir of moderate size, and the story of my fortunes would supply you with a variety of incident, such as might be made, in your hands, a work of great charm and interest. For these reasons you will best meet my wishes if you determine to make a separate book out of the drama of my life and fortunes.

To Marcus Marius

B.C. 55

If it was ill-health that kept you from coming up to town for the games, I must set down your absence to fortune and not to your own wisdom. But if it was because you despise these shows which the world admires so much, then I congratulate you on your health and your good sense alike. You were left almost alone in your charming country, and I have no doubt that on mornings when the rest of us, half asleep, were sitting out stale farces, you were reading in your library.

The games were magnificent, but not what you would have cared for. At least, they were far from my taste. In honour of the occasion, certain veteran actors returned to the stage, which they had left long ago, as I imagined, in the interests of their own reputation. My old friend Aesop, in particular, had failed so much that no one could be sorry he had retired; his voice gave way altogether. AS for the rest of the festival, it was not even so attractive as far less ambitious shows generally are; the pageants were on such an enormous scale that light-hearted enjoyment was out of the question. You need not mind having missed them. There is no pleasure, for instance, in seeing six hundred mules at once in "Clytaemnestra," or a whole army of gaily-dressed horse and foot engaged in a theatrical battle. These spectacular effects delight the crowd, but not you. If you were listening to your reader Protogenes, you had greater pleasure than fell to any of us. The big-game hunts, continued through five days, were certainly magnificent. Yet, after all, how can a person of any refinement enjoy seeing a helpless man torn by a wild beast of enormous strength, or a noble animal dying under a spear thrust? If there is anything worth seeing in exhibitions of that kind, you have often seen it; there was nothing new to me in all I saw. On the last day the elephants were brought out, and though the populace were mightily astonished they were not by any means pleased. On the contrary, a wave of pity went through them, and there was a general impression that these great creatures have something in common with man.

To Atticus, in Rome

Laodicea, B.C. 51

I reached Laodicea on July 31, so you may reckon the year of my government of the province from that day. Nothing could be more eagerly awaited or more warmly welcomed than my arrival. But you would hardly believe how the whole affair bores me. The wide scope of my mind has no sufficient field, and my well-known industry is wasted here. Imagine! I administer justice at Laodicea, while A. Plotius presides in the courts of Rome! And while our friend is at the head of so great an army, I have, in name only, two miserable legions! But all that is nothing; what I miss is the glamour of life, the Forum, the city, my own house, and--you. But I will bear it as best I can, so long as it is for one year only. If my term is extended, it is all over with me. But this may easily be prevented, if only you will stay in Rome.

You ask about my doings. Well, I am living at enormous expense, and am wonderfully pleased with my way of life. My strict abstinence from all extortion, based on your counsels, is such that I shall probably have to raise a loan to pay off what you lent me. My predecessor, Appius, has left open wounds in the province; I refrain from irritating them. I am writing on the eve of starting for the camp in Lycaonia, and thence I mean to proceed to Mount Taurus to fight Maeragenes. All this is no proper burden for me; but I will bear it. Only, as you love me, let it not exceed the year.

To Atticus, a Few Days Later


The couriers of the tax-farmers are just going, and, though I am actually travelling on the road, I must steal a moment to assure you that I have not forgotten your injunctions. I am sitting by the roadside to jot down a few notes about matters which really need a long letter. I entered, on July 31, with a most enthusiastic reception, into a devastated and utterly ruined province. During the three days at Laodicea, three at Apamea, and three at Synnada, I heard of nothing but the actual inability of the people to pay the poll-tax; everywhere they have been sold up; the towns were filled with groans and lamentations. They have been ravaged rather by a wild beast than by a man. They are tired of life itself.

Well, these unfortunate towns are a good deal relieved when they find that neither I, nor my lieutenants, nor quaestor, nor any of my suite, is costing them a penny. I not only refuse to accept forage, which is allowed by the Julian law, but even firewood. We take from them not a single thing except beds and a roof to cover us; and rarely so much even as that, for we generally camp out in tents. The result is, we are welcomed by crowds coming out to meet us from the countryside, the villages, the houses, everywhere. By Hercules, the mere approach of your Cicero puts new life into them, such reports have spread of his justice and moderation and clemency! He has exceeded every expectation. I hear nothing of the Parthians. We are hastening to join the army, which is two days distant.

To Marcus Caelius Rufus

Asia, B.C. 50

Nothing could have been more apt or judicious than your management of the application to the senate for a public thanksgiving to me. The arrangement of the matter has been just what I desired; not only has it been passed through quickly, but Hirrus, your rival and mine, associated himself with Cato's unbounded praise of my achievements. I have some hope that this may lead to a triumph; you should be prepared for that.

I am glad to hear that you think well of Dolabella and like him; and, as you say, my Tullia's good sense may moderate him. May they be fortunate together! I hope that he will prove a good son-in-law, and am sure that your friendship will help to that end.

About public affairs I am more anxious than I can say. I like Curio; I hope Cæsar may prove himself an honourable man; for Pompey I would willingly give my life; yet, after all, I love no man so dearly as I love the republic. You do not seem to be taking any very prominent part in these difficulties; but you are somewhat tied by being at once a good patriot and a loyal friend.

To Atticus, in Rome

Athens, B.C. 50

I arrived in Athens two days ago on my way home from my province, and received your letter. I have been appalled by what you tell me about Cæsar's legions. I beg you, in the name of fortune, to apply all your love for me and all your incomparable wisdom to the consideration of my whole situation. I seem to see a dreadful contest coming, unless some divinity have pity on the republic--such a contest as has never been before. I do not ask you to think of this catastrophe; after all, it is a calamity for all the world as well as for me.

What I want is that you should go into my personal dilemma. It was you who advised me to secure the friendship of both parties; and much I wish that I had attended from the first to your counsels. You persuaded me to embrace the one, because he had done so much for me, and the other, because he was powerful; and so I succeeded in engaging the affection of both.

It seemed then quite clear that a friendship with Pompey need involve no wrong to the republic, and that an allegiance to Cæsar implied no hostility to Pompey--such, at that time, was their union. But now, as you show and as I plainly see, there will be a duel to the death; and each, unless one of them is feigning, regards me as his. Pompey has no doubt of it, for he knows that I approve of his political principles. Moreover, I have a letter from each of them, arriving at the same time as yours, indicating that neither of them values anyone more than me. What am I to do?

If the worst comes to the worst, I know what to do. In the case of civil war I am clear that it is better to be conquered with the one than to conquer with the other. But I am in doubt how to meet the questions which will be in active discussion when I arrive--whether he may be a candidate in his absence from Rome, whether he must not dismiss his army, and so on. When the president calls my name in the senate--"Speak, Marcus Tullius!" am I to say, "Please wait until I have had a talk with Atticus"?

The time for hedging has passed. Shall it be against Cæsar? What then becomes of our pledges to one another? Or shall I change my political opinions? I could not face Pompey, nor men and women--you yourself would be the first to reproach me. You may laugh at what I am going to say. How I wish I were even now back in my province! Though nothing could be more disagreeable. By the way, I ought to tell you that all those virtues which adorned the early days of my government, which your letters praised to the skies, were very superficial. How difficult a thing is virtue!

To L. Papirius

Rome, B.C. 46

I am writing at dinner at the house of Volumnius; we lay down at three o'clock; your friends Atticus and Verrius are to my right and left. Are you surprised that we pass the time of our bondage so gaily? What else should I do? Tell me, student of philosophy! shall I make myself miserable? What good would it serve, or how long would it last? But you say, "Spend your days in reading." As a matter of fact, I do nothing else; it's my only way to keep alive. But one cannot read all day; and when I have put away my books I don't know any better way of spending the evening than at dinner.

I like dining out. I like to talk without restraint, saying just what comes to my tongue, and laughing care and sorrow from my heart. You are no more serious yourself. I heard how you mocked a grave philosopher when he invited questions: you said that the question that haunted your mornings was, "Where shall I dine to-day?" He thought, poor fool, that you were going to ask whether there was one heaven or many.

I give part of the day to reading or writing; then, not to shut myself up from my friends, I dine with them. You need not be afraid of my coming; you will receive a guest of more humour than appetite.

To L. Minucius Basilus

Rome, March, B.C. 44

My congratulations! I rejoice with you! I love you! I have your interests at heart! I pray you love me, and let me know how you are, and what is happening. [Written to one of Cæsar's assassins; apparently, immediately after the event.]

To Atticus

May, B.C. 44

I see I have been a fool to take comfort in the Ides of March. We had indeed the courage of men, but no more wisdom than children have. The tree was cut down, but its roots remained, and it is springing up again. The tyrant was removed, but the tyranny is with us still. Let us therefore return to the "Tusculan Disputations" which you often quote, with their reasons why death is not to be feared.


Biographia Literaria

Samuel Taylor Coleridge was born at Ottery St. Mary, in the county of Devon, on October 21, 1772. He was educated at Christ Hospital where Charles Lamb was among his friends. He read very widely but was without any particular ambition or practical bent, and had undertaken to apprentice himself to a shoemaker, when his head-master interfered. He entered Jesus College, Cambridge, in 1791. During the second year of his residence at the University, he left Cambridge, on account of an unsuccessful love affair, and enlisted in the regiment of dragoons under an assumed name. He soon secured his discharge from the army and went to Bristol where he met Southey. In 1795 he married Miss Fricker, and removed to Nether Stowey, a village in Somersetshire, where he wrote the "Ancient Mariner" and the first part of "Christabel." While here he became a close friend of Wordsworth. Coleridge originally intended his "Biographia Literaria" to be a kind of apologia, in other words, to put forth his claims for public recognition; and although he began the book with this intention, it subsequently developed into a book containing some of his most admirable criticism. He gives voice to a crowd of miscellaneous reflections, suggested, as the work got under way, by popular events, embracing politics, religion, philosophy, poetry, and also finally settling the controversy that had arisen in respect of the "Lyrical Ballads." The autobiographical parts of the "Biographia" are confined solely to his intellectual experiences, and the influences to which his life was subjected. As a treatise on criticism, especially on Wordsworth, the book is of supreme importance. "Here," says Principal Shairp, "are canons of judgement, not mechanical, but living." Published in 1817, it was followed shortly after his death by a still more important edition with annotations and an introduction by the poet's daughter Sara.

I.--The Nature of Poetic Diction

Little of what I have here written concerns myself personally; the narrative is designed chiefly to introduce my principles of politics, religion, and poetry. But my special purpose is to decide what is the true nature of poetic diction, and to define the real poetic character of the works of Mr. Wordsworth, whose writings have been the subject of so much controversy.

At school I had the advantage of a very sensible though severe master. I learned from him that poetry, even that of the loftiest odes, had a logic of its own as severe as that of science, and more difficult, because more subtle. In the truly great poets, he would say, there is a reason assignable, not only for every word, but for the position of every word. In our English compositions he showed no mercy to phrase, metaphor, or image, where the same sense might have been conveyed with equal force and dignity in plainer words. In fancy, I can almost hear him now exclaiming: "Harp? Lyre? Pen and ink, boy, you mean!" Nay, certain introductions, similes, and examples were placed by name on a list of interdiction.

I had just entered my seventeenth year when the sonnets of Mr. Bowles were made known to me, and the genial influence of his poetry, so tender, yet so manly, so natural and real, yet so dignified and harmonious, recalled me from a premature bewilderment in metaphysics and theology. Well were it for me, perhaps, if I had never relapsed into the same mental disease.

The poetry of Pope and his followers, a school of French poetry invigorated by English understanding, which had predominated from the last century, consisted of prose thoughts translated into poetic language. I was led to the conjecture that this style had been kept up by, if it did not wholly arise from, the custom of writing Latin verses. I began to defend the use of natural language, such as "I will remember thee," instead of "Thy image on her wing, Before my fancy's eye shall memory bring;" and adduced, as examples of simplicity, the diction of Greek poets, and of our elder English poets, from Chaucer to Milton. I arrived at two critical aphorisms, as the criteria of poetic style: first, that not the poem which we have read with the greatest pleasure but that to which we return with the greatest pleasure possesses the genuine power; and, second, that whatever lines can be translated into other words of the same language, without diminution of their significance, are so far vicious in their diction.

One great distinction between even the characteristic faults of our elder poets and the false beauties of the moderns is this. In the former, from Donne to Cowley, we find the most fantastic out-of-the-way thoughts, but the most pure and genuine mother English; in the latter, the most obvious thoughts, in language the most fantastic and arbitrary. Our faulty elder poets sacrificed the passion, and passionate flow of poetry, to the subtleties of intellect and to the starts of wit; the moderns to the glare and glitter of a perpetual yet broken and heterogeneous imagery. The one sacrificed the heart to the head, the other both heart and head to drapery.

II.--In Praise of Southey

Reflect on the variety and extent of his acquirements! He stands second to no man, either as a historian or as a bibliographer; and when I regard him as a popular essayist I look in vain for any writer who has conveyed so much information, from so many and such recondite sources, with as many just and original reflections, in a style so lively yet so uniformly classical and perspicuous; no one, in short, who has combined so much wisdom with so much wit; so much truth and knowledge with so much life and fancy.

Still more striking to those who are familiar with the general habits of genius will appear the poet's matchless industry and perseverance in his pursuits, the worthiness and dignity of those pursuits, his generous submission to tasks of transitory interest. But as Southey possesses, and is not possessed by, his genius, even so is he the master even of his virtues. The regular and methodical tenor of his daily labours, which might be envied by the mere man of business, lose all semblance of formality in the dignified simplicity of his manners, in the spring and healthful cheerfulness of his spirit. Always employed, his friends find him always at leisure.

No less punctual in trifles than steadfast in the performance of highest duties, he inflicts none of those small pains and discomforts which irregular men scatter about them, and which in the aggregate so often become formidable obstacles both to happiness and utility. He bestows all the pleasures, and inspires all that ease of mind on those around him, which perfect consistency and absolute reliability cannot but bestow. I know few men who so well deserve the character which an ancient attributes to Marcus Cato--namely, that he was likest virtue, inasmuch as he seemed to act aright, not in obedience to any law or outward motive, but by the necessity of a happy nature which could not act otherwise.

As a son, brother, husband, father, master, friend, he moves with firm yet light steps, alike unostentatious and alike exemplary. As a writer, he has uniformly made his talents subservient to the best interests of humanity, of public virtue, and domestic piety; his cause has ever been the cause of pure religion and of liberty, of national independence and of national illumination.

When future critics shall weigh out his guerdon of praise and censure, it will be Southey the poet only that will supply them with the scanty materials for the latter. They will not fail to record that as no man was ever a more constant friend, never had poet more friends and honourers among the good of all parties, and that quacks in education, quacks in politics, and quacks in criticism, were his only enemies.

III.--Wordsworth's Early Poems

During the last year of my residence at Cambridge I became acquainted with Mr. Wordsworth's first publication, entitled "Descriptive Sketches," and seldom, if ever, was the emergence of an original poetic genius above the literary horizon more evidently announced. In the whole poem there is a harshness and acerbity, combined with words and images all aglow, which might recall gorgeous blossoms rising out of a hard and thorny rind and shell, within which the rich fruit was elaborating. The language was not only peculiar and strong, but at times knotty and contorted, as by its own impatient strength. It not seldom, therefore, justified the complaint of obscurity.

I was in my twenty-fourth year when I had the happiness of knowing Mr. Wordsworth personally, and by that time the occasional obscurities which had arisen from an imperfect control over the resources of his native language had almost wholly disappeared, together with that worse defect of arbitrary and illogical phrases, at once arbitrary and fantastic, which alloy the earlier poems of the truest genius. There was only evident the union of deep feeling with profound thought; and the original gift of spreading the tone, the atmosphere, and with it the depth and height of the ideal world, around forms, incidents, and situations of which, for the common view, custom had bedimmed all the lustre, had dried up the sparkle and the dewdrops.

To find no contradiction in the union of old and new, to contemplate the Ancient of Days and all His works With feelings as fresh as if all had then sprung forth at the first creative fiat, characterises the mind that feels the riddle of the world, and may help to unravel it. To carry on the feelings of childhood into the powers of manhood, to combine the child's sense of wonder and novelty with the appearances which every day for perhaps forty years had rendered familiar--this is the character and privilege of genius. And it is the prime merit of genius, and its most unequivocal mode of manifestation, so to represent familiar objects as to awaken in the minds of others that freshness of sensation which is the constant accompaniment of mental, no less than of bodily, convalescence.

This excellence, which constitutes the character of Mr. Wordsworth's mind, I no sooner felt than I sought to understand. Repeated meditations led me to suspect that fancy and imagination were two distinct and widely different faculties, instead of being, according to the general belief, the lower and higher degree of one and the same power. Milton had a highly imaginative, Cowley a very fanciful, mind. The division between fancy and imagination is no less grounded in nature than that of delirium from mania; or of Otway's

    Lutes, laurels, seas of milk, and ships amber,

from Shakespeare's

    What! Have his daughters brought him to this pass?

IV.--The Philosophical Critic

As materialism has been generally taught, it is utterly unintelligible, and owes all its proselytes to the propensity, so common among men, to mistake distinct images for clear conceptions, and, vice versâ, to reject as inconceivable whatever from its own nature is unimaginable. If God grant health and permission, this subject will be treated of systematically in a work which I have many years been preparing on the Productive Logos, human and divine, with, and as an introduction to, a full commentary on the Gospel of St. John.

To make myself intelligible, so far as my present subject, the imagination, requires, it will be sufficient briefly to observe: (1) That all association demands and presupposes the existence of the thoughts and images to be associated. (2) The hypothesis of an external world exactly correspondent to those images or modifications of our own being, which alone--according to this system--we actually behold, is as thorough idealism as Berkeley's, inasmuch as it equally removes all reality and immediateness of perception, and places us in a dream-world of phantoms and spectres, the inexplicable swarm and equivocal generation of motion in our own brains. (3) That this hypothesis neither involves the explanation nor precludes the necessity of a mechanism and co-adequate forces in the percipient, which, at the more than magic touch of the impulse from without, creates anew for himself the correspondent object. The formation of a copy is not solved by the mere pre-existence of an original; the copyist of Raffael's "Transfiguration" must repeat more or less perfectly the process of Raffael.

The imagination, therefore, is essentially creative. I consider imagination either as primary or secondary. The primary imagination I hold to be the living power and prime agent of all human perception, and as a repetition in the finite mind of the eternal act of creation in the infinite I AM.

The secondary I consider as an echo of the former; it dissolves, diffuses, dissipates, in order to re-create; or where this process is rendered impossible, yet still, at all events, it struggles to idealise and to unify. It is essentially vital, even as all objects are essentially fixed and dead.

Fancy, on the contrary, has no other counters to play with but fixities and definites. The fancy is no other than a mode of memory emancipated from the order of time and space, and blended with, and modified by, choice. But, equally with the ordinary memory, it must receive its materials ready made, from the law of association.

V.--What is a Poem?

During the first year that Mr. Wordsworth and I were neighbours our conversations turned frequently on the two cardinal points of poetry--the power of exciting the sympathy of the reader by a faithful adherence to the truth of Nature, and the power of giving the interest of novelty by the modifying colours of imagination. The sudden charm which accidents of light and shade, moonlight or sunset, diffuse over a familiar landscape appeared to represent the practicability of combining both.

The thought suggested itself that a series of poems might be composed of two sorts. In the one the incidents and agents were to be, in part at least, supernatural; and the excellence aimed at was to consist in the interesting of the affections by the dramatic truth of such emotions as would naturally accompany such situations. For the second class, subjects were to be chosen from ordinary life; the characters and incidents were to be such as will be found in every village and its vicinity where there is a meditative and feeling mind to seek them.

In this idea originated the plan of the "Lyrical Ballads," in which my endeavours were to be directed to persons and characters supernatural, or at least romantic. Mr. Wordsworth, on the other hand, was to attempt to give the charm of novelty to things of every day, and to excite a feeling analogous to the supernatural by awakening the mind's attention from the lethargy of custom, and directing it to the loveliness and the wonders of the world before us--an inexhaustible treasure, but for which, in consequence of the film of familiarity and selfish solicitude, we have eyes, yet see not, and hearts that neither feel nor understand.

With this view I wrote the "Ancient Mariner," and was preparing, among other poems, the "Dark Ladie" and "Christabel." But the number of Mr. Wordsworth's poems was so much greater that my compositions appeared rather an interpolation of heterogeneous matter.

With many parts of Mr. Wordsworth's preface to the "Lyrical Ballads," in which he defines his poetic creed, I have never concurred, and I think it expedient to declare in what points I coincide with his opinions, and in what points I differ.

A poem contains the same elements as a prose composition; the difference, therefore, must consist in a different combination of them, in consequence of a different object proposed. The mere addition of metre does not in itself entitle a work to the name of poem, for nothing can permanently please which does not contain in itself the reason why it is so and not otherwise. Our definition of a poem may be thus worded. "A poem is that species of composition which is opposed to works of science, by proposing for its immediate object pleasure, not truth; and from all other species (having this object in common with it) it is discriminated by proposing to itself such delight from the whole as is compatible with a distinct gratification from each component part."

For, in a legitimate poem, the parts must mutually support and explain each other; all in their proportion harmonising with, and supporting the purpose and known influences of, metrical arrangement.

VI.--A Criticism of Wordsworth

Let me enumerate the prominent defects, and then the excellences, of Mr. Wordsworth's published poems. The first characteristic, though only an occasional defect, is the inconstancy of style; the sudden and unprepared transitions from lines or sentences of peculiar felicity to a style not only unimpassioned, but undistinguished. He sinks too often, too abruptly, into the language of prose. The second defect is a certain matter-of-factness in some of his poems, consisting in a laborious minuteness and fidelity in the representations of objects, and in the insertion of accidental circumstances, such as are superfluous in poetry. Thirdly, there is in certain poems an undue predilection for the dramatic form; and in these cases either the thoughts and diction are different from those of the poet, so that there arises an incongruity of style, or they are the same and indistinguishable, and then it presents a species of ventriloquism. The fourth class includes prolixity, repetition, and an eddying instead of progression of thought. His fifth defect is the employment of thoughts and images too great for the subject; an approximation to what might be called mental bombast, as distinguished from verbal.

To these occasional defects I may oppose the following excellences. First, an austere purity of language both grammatically and logically; in short, a perfect appropriateness of the words to the meaning. Secondly, a correspondent weight and sanity of the thoughts and sentiments, won not from books, but from the poet's own meditative observation. They are fresh, and have the dew upon them. Third, the sinewy strength and originality of single lines and paragraphs; the frequent curious felicity of his diction. Fourth, the perfect truth of Nature in his images and descriptions as taken immediately from Nature, and proving a long and genial intimacy with the very spirit which gives the expression to all the works of nature. Like a green field reflected in a calm and perfectly transparent lake, the image is distinguished from the reality only by its greater softness and lustre.

Fifth, a meditative pathos, a union of deep and subtle thought with sensibility; a sympathy with man as man; the sympathy of a contemplator, from whose view no difference of rank conceals the sameness of the nature; no injuries of wind or weather, of toil, or even of ignorance, wholly disguise the human face divine. The superscription and the image of the Creator still remain legible to him under the dark lines with which guilt or calamity had cancelled or cross-barred it. In this mild and philosophic pathos, Wordsworth appears to me without a compeer.

Lastly, and pre-eminently, I challenge for this poet the gift of imagination in the highest and strictest sense of the word. In the play of fancy, Wordsworth, to my feelings, is not always graceful, and is sometimes recondite. But in imaginative power he stands nearest of all modern writers to Shakespeare and Milton; and yet in a kind perfectly unborrowed and his own. To employ his own words, he does indeed to all thoughts and to all objects

                Add the gleam,
The light that never was on sea or land,
The consecration, and the poet's dream.


Letters Written in the Years 1782-1790

William Cowper, son of a chaplain to George II., was born at Berkhampstead Parsonage on November 15, 1731. After being educated at Westminster School, he studied law for three years, and in 1752 took up his residence, for a further course, in the Middle Temple. Though called to the Bar in 1754, he never practised, for he profoundly hated law, while he passionately loved literary pursuits. His friends having provided him with sufficient funds for subsistence, in addition to a small patrimony left by his father, Cowper went to live at Huntingdon, where he formed a deep attachment with the Unwin family, which proved to be a lifelong friendship. The latter years of his life were spent at Olney. He achieved wide fame by the publication of "The Task," which was pronounced by many critics the greatest poem of the period. The main characteristics of his style are its simplicity, its sympathy with nature and with ordinary life, and its unaffected devotional accent. But Cowper is now appreciated more for his incomparably delightful epistles to his friends than for his poetry. Few letters in our language can compare with these for incisive but kindly and gentle irony; innocent but genuine fun; keen and striking acumen, and tender melancholy. Cowper died on April 25, 1800.

To the Rev. John Newton

Olney, January 13, 1782. I am rather pleased that you have adopted other sentiments respecting our intended present to Dr. Johnson. I allow him to be a man of gigantic talents and most profound learning, nor have I any doubts about the universality of his knowledge; but, by what I have seen of his animadversions on the poets, I feel myself much disposed to question, in many instances, either his candour or his taste.

He finds fault too often, like a man that, having sought it very industriously, is at last obliged to stick it on a pin's point, and look at it through a microscope; and I could easily convict him of having denied many beauties, and overlooked more. Whether his judgement be in itself defective, or whether it be warped by collateral considerations, a writer upon such subjects as I have chosen would probably find but little mercy at his hands.

To the Rev. William Unwin

I say amen, with all my heart, to your observations on religious characters. Men who profess themselves adepts in mathematical knowledge, in astronomy, or jurisprudence, are generally as well qualified as they would appear. The reason may be that they are always liable to detection should they attempt to impose upon mankind, and therefore take care to be what they pretend. In religion alone a profession is often taken up and slovenly carried on, because, forsooth, candour and charity require us to hope the best, and to judge favourably of our neighbour, and because it is easy to deceive the ignorant, who are a great majority, upon this subject.

Let a man attach himself to a particular party, contend furiously for what are properly called evangelical doctrines, and enlist himself under the banner of some popular preacher, and the business is done. Behold a Christian! a saint! a phoenix! In the meantime, perhaps, his heart and his temper, and even his conduct, are unsanctified; possibly less exemplary than those of some avowed infidels. No matter--he can talk--he has the shibboleth of the true Church--the Bible in his pocket, and a head well stored with notions.

But the quiet, humble, modest, and peaceable person, who is in his practice what the other is only in his profession, who hates a noise, and therefore makes none; who, knowing the snares that are in the world, keeps himself as much out of it as he can, is the Christian that will always stand highest in the estimation of those who bring all characters to the test of true wisdom, and judge of the tree by its fruit.

To the Same

Olney, August 3, 1782. It is a sort of paradox, but it is true; we are never more in danger than when we think ourselves most secure, nor in reality more secure than when we seem to be most in danger. Both sides of this apparent contradiction were lately verified in my experience. Passing from the greenhouse to the barn, I saw three kittens--for we have so many in our retinue--looking with fixed attention on something which lay on the threshold of a door nailed up. I took but little notice of them at first, but a loud hiss engaged me to attend more closely, when behold--a viper! the largest that I remember to have seen, rearing itself, darting its forked tongue, and ejaculating the aforesaid hiss at the nose of a kitten, almost in contact with his lips. I ran into the hall for a hoe with a long handle, with which I intended to assail him, and, returning in a few minutes, missed him; he was gone, and I feared had escaped me. Still, however, the kitten sat, watching immovably, on the same spot. I concluded, therefore, that, sliding between the door and the threshold, he had found his way out of the garden into the yard.

I went round, and there found him in close conversation with the old cat, whose curiosity, being excited by so novel an appearance, inclined her to pat his head repeatedly with her fore foot, with her claws, however, sheathed, and not in anger, but in the way of philosophic inquiry and examination. To prevent her falling a victim to so laudable an exercise of her talents, I interposed in a moment with the hoe, and performed on him an act of decapitation which, though not immediately mortal, proved so in the end.

Had he slid into the passages, where it is dark, or had he indeed, when in the yard, met with no interruption from the cat, and secreted himself in any of the out-houses, it is hardly possible but that some member of the family must have been bitten.

To the Same

Olney, November 4, 1782. You tell me that John Gilpin made you laugh to tears, and that the ladies at court are delighted with my poems. Much good may they do them! May they become as wise as the writer wished them, and they will be much happier than he. I know there is in the book that wisdom that cometh from above, because it was from above that I received it. May they receive it too! For whether they drink it out of the cistern, or whether it falls upon them immediately from the clouds--as it did on me--is all one. It is the water of life, which whosoever shall drink it shall thirst no more. As to the famous horseman above mentioned, he and his feats are an inexhaustible source of merriment. At least we find him so, and seldom meet without refreshing ourselves with the recollection of them. You are at liberty to deal with them as you please.

To Mrs. Newton

Olney, November 23, 1782. Accept my thanks for the trouble you take in vending my poems, and still more for the interest you take in their success. To be approved by the great, as Horace observed many years ago, is fame indeed.

The winter sets in with great severity. The rigour of the season, and the advanced price of grain, are very threatening to the poor. It is well with those that can feed upon a promise, and wrap themselves up warm in the robe of salvation. A good fireside and a well-spread table are but very indifferent substitutes for those better accommodations; so very indifferent, that I would gladly exchange them both for the rags and the unsatisfied hunger of the poorest creature that looks forward with hope to a better world, and weeps tears of joy in the midst of penury and distress.

What a world is this! How mysteriously governed, and in appearance left to itself! One man, having squandered thousands at a gaming-table, finds it convenient to travel; gives his estate to somebody to manage for him; amuses himself a few years in France and Italy; returns, perhaps, wiser than he went, having acquired knowledge which, but for his follies, he would never have acquired; again makes a splendid figure at home, shines in the senate, governs his country as its minister, is admired for his abilities, and, if successful, adored at least by a party. When he dies, he is praised as a demi-god, and his monument records everything but his vices.

The exact contrary of such a picture is to be found in many cottages at Olney. I have no need to describe them; you know the characters I mean. They love God, they trust Him, they pray to Him in secret, and, though He means to reward them openly, the day of recompense is delayed. In the meantime, they suffer everything that infirmity and poverty can inflict upon them. Who would suspect, that has not a spiritual eye to discern it, that the fine gentleman was one whom his Maker had in abhorrence, and the wretch last mentioned dear to Him as the apple of His eye?

It is no wonder that the world, who are not in the secret, find themselves obliged, some of them, to doubt a Providence, and others absolutely to deny it, when almost all the real virtue there is in it is to be found living and dying in a state of neglected obscurity, and all the vices of others cannot exclude them from worship and honour. But behind the curtain the matter is explained, very little, however, to the satisfaction of the great.

To the Rev. John Newton

Olney, January 26, 1783. It is reported among persons of the best intelligence at Olney--the barber, the schoolmaster, and the drummer of a corps quartered at this place--that the belligerent powers are at last reconciled, the articles of the treaty adjusted, and that peace is at the door.

The powers of Europe have clashed with each other to a fine purpose. Your opinions and mine, I mean our political ones, are not exactly of a piece, yet I cannot think otherwise on this subject than I have always done. England, more perhaps through the fault of her generals than her councils, has in some instances acted with a spirit of cruel animosity she was never chargeable with till now. But this is the worst that can be said.

On the other hand, the Americans, who, if they had contented themselves with a struggle for lawful liberty, would have deserved applause, seem to me to have incurred the guilt of parricide, by renouncing their parent, by making her ruin their favourite object, and by associating themselves with her worst enemy for the accomplishment of their purpose. France, and, of course, Spain, have acted a treacherous, a thievish part. They have stolen America from England, and, whether they are able to possess themselves of that jewel or not hereafter, it was doubtless what they intended. Holland appears to me in a meaner light than any of them. They quarrelled with a friend for an enemy's sake. The French led them by the nose, and the English have thrashed them for suffering it.

My views of the contest being as they have always been, I have consequently brighter hopes for England than her situation some time since seemed to justify. She is the only injured party.

America may perhaps call her the aggressor; but, if she were so, America has not only repelled the injury, but done a greater. As to the rest, if perfidy, treachery, avarice, and ambition can prove their cause to have been a rotten one, those proofs are found on them. I think, therefore, that, whatever scourge may be prepared for England on some future day, her ruin is not yet to be expected.

To the Same

Olney, November 17, 1783. Swift observes, when he is giving his reasons why the preacher is elevated always above his hearers, that, let the crowd be as great as it will below, there is always room enough overhead.

If the French philosophers can carry their art of flying to the perfection they desire, the observation may be reversed, the crowd will be overhead, and they will have most room who stay below. I can assure you, however, upon my own experience, that this way of travelling is very delightful.

I dreamt a night or two since that I drove myself through the upper regions in a balloon and pair, with the greatest ease and security. Having finished the tour I intended, I made a short turn, and with one flourish of my whip, descended; my horses prancing and curvetting with an infinite share of spirit, but without the least danger either to me or my vehicle. The time, we may suppose, is at hand, and seems to be prognosticated by my dream, when these airy excursions will be universal, when judges will fly the circuit and bishops their visitations, and when the tour of Europe will be performed with much greater speed and with equal advantage by all who travel merely for the sake of saying that they have made it.

To His Cousin, Lady Hesketh

Olney, November 9, 1785. I am happy that my poems have pleased you. My volume has afforded me no such pleasure at any time, either while I was writing it or since its publication, as I have derived from yours and my uncle's opinion of it. But, above all, I honour John Gilpin, since it was he who first encouraged you to write. I made him on purpose to laugh at, and he served his purpose well.

To the Same

Olney, February 9, 1786. Let me tell you that your kindness in promising to visit us has charmed us both. I shall see you again. I shall hear your voice. We shall take walks together. I will show you my prospects, the hovel, the alcove, the banks of the Ouse, everything I have described. My dear, I will not let you come till the end of May, or the beginning of June, because, before that time my greenhouse will not be ready to receive us, and it is the only pleasant room belonging to us. When the plants go out, we go in.

I will tell you what you shall find at your first entrance. Imprimis, as soon as you have entered the vestibule, if you cast a look on either side of you, you shall see on the right hand a box of my making. It is the box in which have been lodged all my hares, and in which lodges Puss at present. But he, poor fellow, is worn out with age, and promises to die before you can see him.

My dear, I have told Homer what you say about casks and urns, and have asked him whether he is sure that it is a cask in which Jupiter keeps his wine. He swears that it is a cask, and that it will never be anything better than a cask to all eternity. So if the god is content with it, we must even wonder at his taste and be so too.

To the Same

Olney, March 6, 1786. Your opinion has more weight with me than that of all the critics in the world. To give you a proof of it, I make you a concession that I would hardly have made to them all united. I do not indeed absolutely covenant that I will discard all my elisions, but I hereby bind myself to discard as many of them as, without sacrificing energy to sound, I can. It is incumbent on me, in the meantime, to say something in justification of the few I shall retain, that I may not seem a poet mounted on a mule rather than on Parnassus. In the first place, "the" is a barbarism. We are indebted for it to the Celts, or the Goths, or the Saxons, or perhaps to them all. In the two best languages that ever were spoken, the Greek and the Latin, there is no similar encumbrance of expression to be found. Secondly, the perpetual use of it in our language is, to us miserable poets, attended with two great inconveniences.

Our verse consisting of only ten syllables, it not infrequently happens that the fifth part of a line is to be engrossed, and necessarily too, unless elision prevents it, by this abominable intruder; and, which is worse in my account, open vowels are continually the consequence--the element--the air, etc. Thirdly, the French, who are equally chargeable with the English with barbarism in this particular, dispose of their le and their la without ceremony, and always take care that they shall be absorbed, both in verse and in prose, in the vowel that immediately follows them. Fourthly, and I believe lastly, the practice of cutting short "the" is warranted by Milton, who of all English poets that ever lived, had certainly the finest ear.

Thou only critic of my verse that is to be found in all the earth, whom I love, what shall I say in answer to your own objection to that passage--

                Softly he placed his hand
On th' old man's hand, and pushed it gently away.

I can say neither more nor less than this, that when our dear friend the general sent me his opinion on the specimen, quoting those very words from it, he added, "With this part I was particularly pleased; there is nothing in poetry more descriptive."

Taste, my dear, is various; there is nothing so various, and even between persons of the best taste there are diversities of opinion on the same subject, for which it is by no means possible to account.

To John Johnson, Esq.

Weston, June 7, 1790. You never pleased me more than when you told me you had abandoned your mathematical pursuits. It grieved me to think that you were wasting your time merely to gain a little Cambridge fame, not worth having. I cannot be contented that your renown should thrive nowhere but on the banks of the Cam. Conceive a nobler ambition, and never let your honour be circumscribed by the paltry dimensions of a university! It is well that you have already, as you observe, acquired sufficient information in that science to enable you to pass creditably such examinations as, I suppose, you must hereafter undergo. Keep what you have gotten, and be content.

You could not apply to a worse than I am to advise you concerning your studies. I was never a regular student myself, but lost the most valuable years of my life in an attorney's office and in the Temple. It seems to me that your chief concern is with history, natural philosophy, logic, and divinity. As to metaphysics, I know little about them. Life is too short to afford time even for serious trifles. Pursue what you know to be attainable, make truth your object, and your studies will make you a wise man. Let your divinity, if I may advise, be the divinity of the glorious Reformation. I mean in contradiction to Arminianism, and all the isms that were ever broached in this world of ignorance and error.

Obiter Dicta

Men of lively imaginations are not often remarkable for solidity of judgement. They have strong passions to bias it, and are led far away from their proper road, in pursuit of petty phantoms of their own creating.

Excellence is providentially placed beyond the reach of indolence, that success may be the reward of industry, and that idleness may be punished with obscurity and disgrace.

I do not think that in these costermonger days, as I have a notion Falstaff calls them, an antediluvian age is at all a desirable thing, but to live comfortably while we do live is a great matter, and comprehends in it everything that can be wished for on this side the curtain that hangs between time and eternity.

Wherever there is war, there is misery and outrage; notwithstanding which, it is not only lawful to wish, but even a duty to pray for the success of one's country. And as to the neutralities, I really think the Russian virago an impertinent puss for meddling with us, and engaging half a score kittens of her acquaintance to scratch the poor old lion, who, if he has been insolent in his day, has probably acted no otherwise than they themselves would have acted in his circumstances and with his power to embolden them.

Though a Christian is not to be quarrelsome, he is not to be crushed. Though he is but a worm before God, he is not such a worm as every selfish and unprincipled wretch may tread on at his pleasure.

St. Paul seems to condemn the practice of going to law. "Why do ye not suffer wrong, etc." But if we look again we shall find that a litigious temper prevailed among the professors of that day. Surely he did not mean, any more than his Master, that the most harmless members of society should receive no advantage of its laws, or should be the only persons in the world who should derive no benefit from those institutions without which society cannot subsist.

Tobacco was not known in the Golden Age. So much the worse for the Golden Age. This age of iron and lead would be insupportable without it; and therefore we may reasonably suppose that the happiness of those better days would have been much improved by the use of it.

No man was ever scolded out of his sins. The heart, corrupt as it is, and because it is so, grows angry if it be not treated with some management and good manners, and scolds again. A surly mastiff will bear perhaps to be stroked, though he will growl even under that operation, but, if you touch him roughly, he will bite.

Simplicity is become a very rare quality in a writer. In the decline of great kingdoms, and where refinement in all the arts is carried to an excess, I suppose it is always so. The later Roman writers are remarkable for false ornament; they were without doubt greatly admired by the readers of their own day; and with respect to authors of the present era, the popular among them appear to me to be equally censurable on the same account. Swift and Addison were simple.


Confessions of an English Opium-Eater

Thomas de Quincey, scholar, essayist, critic, opium-eater, was born at Manchester on August 15, 1785. A singularly sensitive and imaginative boy, De Quincey rapidly became a brilliant scholar, and at fifteen years of age could speak Greek so fluently as to be able, as one of his masters said, "to harangue an Athenian mob." He wished to go early to Oxford, but his guardians objecting, he ran away at the age of seventeen, and, after wandering in Wales, found his way to London, where he suffered privations that injured his health. The first instalment of his "Confessions of an English Opium-Eater" appeared in the "London Magazine" for September 1821. It attracted universal attention both by its subject-matter and style. De Quincey settled in Edinburgh, where most of his literary work was done, and where he died, on December 8, 1859. His collected works, edited by Professor Masson, fill fourteen volumes. After he had passed his seventieth year, De Quincey revised and extended his "Confessions," but in their magazine form, from which this epitome is made, they have much greater freshness and power than in their later elaboration. Many popular editions are now published.

I.--The Descending Pathway

I here present you, courteous reader, with the record of a remarkable period in my life, and I trust that it will prove not merely an interesting record, but in a considerable degree useful and instructive. That must be my apology for breaking through the delicate and honourable reserve which, for the most part, restrains us from the public exposure of our own errors and infirmities.

If opium-eating be a sensual pleasure, and if I am bound to confess that I have indulged in it to an excess not yet recorded of any other man, it is no less true that I have struggled against this fascinating enthralment with a religious zeal, and have at length accomplished what I never yet heard attributed to any other man--have untwisted, almost to its final links, the accursed chain which fettered me.

I have often been asked how I first came to be a regular opium-eater, and have suffered, very unjustly, in the opinion of my acquaintances, from being reputed to have brought upon myself all the sufferings which I shall have to record, by a long course of indulgence in this practice purely for the sake of creating an artificial state of pleasurable excitement. This, however, is a misrepresentation of my case. It was not for the purpose of creating pleasure, but of mitigating pain in the severest degree, that I first began to use opium as an article of daily diet.

The calamities of my novitiate in London, when, as a runaway from school, I made acquaintance with starvation and horror, had struck root so deeply in my bodily constitution that afterwards they shot up and flourished afresh, and grew into a noxious umbrage that has overshadowed and darkened my latter years.

It is so long since I first took opium that, if it had been a trifling incident in my life, I might have forgotten its date; but, from circumstances connected with it, I remember that it must be referred to the autumn of 1804. During that season I was in London, having come thither for the first time since my entrance at college. And my introduction to opium arose in the following way. One morning I awoke with excruciating rheumatic pains of the head and face, from which I had hardly any respite.

On the twenty-first day, I think it was, and on a Sunday, I went out into the streets, rather to run away, if possible, from my torments than with any distinct purpose. By accident, I met a college acquaintance, who recommended opium. Opium! dread agent of unimaginable pleasure and pain! I had heard of it as I had of manna or of ambrosia, but no further. My road homewards lay through Oxford Street; and near "the stately Pantheon" I saw a druggist's shop, where I first became possessed of the celestial drug.

Arrived at my lodgings, I took it, and in an hour--oh, heavens! what a revulsion! what an unheaving, from its lowest depths, of the inner spirit! what an apocalypse of the world within me! That my pains had vanished was now a trifle in my eyes; this negative effect was swallowed up in the immensity of those positive effects which had opened before me, in the abyss of divine enjoyment thus suddenly revealed.

II.--Effects of the Seductive Drug

First one word with respect to its bodily effects. It is not so much affirmed as taken for granted that opium does, or can, produce intoxication. Now, reader, assure yourself that no quantity of the drug ever did, or could, intoxicate. The pleasure given by wine is always mounting and tending to a crisis, after which it declines; that from opium, when once generated, is stationary for eight or ten hours; the one is a flame, the other a steady and equable glow.

Another error is that the elevation of spirits produced by opium is necessarily followed by a proportionate depression. This I shall content myself with simply denying; assuring my readers that for ten years, during which I took opium at intervals, the day succeeding to that on which I allowed myself this luxury was always a day of unusually good spirits.

With respect to the torpor supposed to accompany the practice of opium-eating, I deny that also. The primary effects of opium are always, and in the highest degree, to excite and stimulate the system. But, that the reader may judge of the degree in which opium is likely to stupefy the faculties of an Englishman, I shall mention the way in which I myself often passed an opium evening in London during the period between 1804 and 1812. I used to fix beforehand how often within a given time, and when, I would commit a debauch of opium. This was seldom more than once in three weeks, and it was usually on a Tuesday or a Saturday night; my reason for which was this: in those days Grassini sang at the opera, and her voice was delightful to me beyond all that I had ever heard. The choruses were divine to hear, and when Grassini appeared in some interlude, as she often did, and poured forth her passionate soul as Andromache at the tomb of Hector, etc., I question whether any Turk, of all that ever entered the paradise of opium-eaters, can have had half the pleasure I had.

Another pleasure I had which, as it could be had only on a Saturday night, occasionally struggled with my love of the opera. The pains of poverty I had lately seen too much of; but the pleasures of the poor, their consolations of spirit, and their reposes from bodily toil, can never become oppressive to contemplate. Now, Saturday night is the season for the chief, regular, and periodic return of rest for the poor. For the sake, therefore, of witnessing a spectacle with which my sympathy was so entire, I used often on Saturday nights, after I had taken opium, to wander forth, without much regarding the direction or the distance, to all the markets, and other parts of London to which the poor resort of a Saturday night for laying out their wages.

Sometimes in my attempts to steer homewards by fixing my eye on the Pole star, and seeking ambitiously for a north-west passage, instead of circumnavigating all the capes and headlands I had doubled in my outward voyage, I came suddenly upon such knotty problems of alleys, such enigmatical entries, and such sphinx's riddles of streets without thoroughfares, as must, I conceive, baffle the audacity of porters, and confound the intellects of hackney coachmen. For all this I paid a heavy price in distant years, when the human face tyrannised over my dreams, and the perplexities of my steps in London came back and haunted my sleep with the feeling of perplexities, moral and intellectual, that brought confusion to the reason, or anguish and remorse to the conscience.

III.--A Fearful Nemesis

Courteous reader, let me request you to move onwards for about eight years, to 1812. The years of academic life are now over and gone--almost forgotten. Am I married? Not yet. And I still take opium? On Saturday nights. And how do I find my health after all this opium-eating? In short, how do I do? Why, pretty well, I thank you, reader. In fact, though, to satisfy the theories of medical men, I ought to be ill, I never was better in my life than in the spring of 1812. To moderation, and temperate use of the article I may ascribe it, I suppose, that as yet, at least, I am unsuspicious of the avenging terrors which opium has in store for those who abuse its lenity.

But now comes a different era. In 1813 I was attacked by a most appalling irritation of the stomach, and I could resist no longer. Let me repeat, that at the time I began to take opium daily, I could not have done otherwise. Still, I confess it as a besetting infirmity of mine that I hanker too much after a state of happiness, both for myself and others. From 1813, the reader is to consider me as a regular and confirmed opium-eater. Now, reader, from 1813 please walk forward about three years more, and you shall see me in a new character.

Now, farewell--a long farewell--to happiness, winter or summer! Farewell to smiles and laughter! Farewell to peace of mind! Farewell to hope and to tranquil dreams, and to the blessed consolations of sleep. For more than three years and a half I am summoned away from these. I am now arrived at an Iliad of woes.

It will occur to you to ask, why did I not release myself from the horrors of opium by leaving it off or diminishing it? The reader may be sure that I made attempts innumerable to reduce the quantity. It might be supposed that I yielded to the fascinations of opium too easily; it cannot be supposed that any man can be charmed by its terrors.

My studies have now been long interrupted. I cannot read to myself with any pleasure, hardly with a moment's endurance. This intellectual torpor applies more or less to every part of the four years during which I was under the Circean spells of opium. But for misery and suffering, I might, indeed, be said to have existed in a dormant state. I seldom could prevail on myself even to write a letter. The opium-eater loses none of his moral sensibilities or aspirations. He wishes and longs as earnestly as ever to realise what he believes possible, and feels to be exacted by duty; but his intellectual apprehension of what is possible infinitely outruns his power, not of execution only, but even of power to attempt.

IV.--The Horrors of Dreamland

I now pass to what is the main subject of these latter confessions, to the history of what took place in my dreams, for these were the immediate and proximate cause of my acutest suffering. I know not whether my reader is aware that many children, perhaps most, have a power of painting, as it were, upon the darkness all sorts of phantoms.

In the middle of 1817, I think it was, this faculty became positively distressing to me. At nights, when I lay awake in bed, vast processions passed along in mournful pomp; friezes of never-ending stories, that to my feelings were as sad and solemn as if they were stories drawn from times before Aedipus or Priam, before Tyre, before Memphis. And at the same time a corresponding change took place in my dreams; a theatre seemed suddenly opened and lighted up within my brain, which presented nightly spectacles of more than earthly splendour.

All changes in my dreams were accompanied by deep-seated anxiety and gloomy melancholy, such as are wholly incommunicable by words. I seemed every night to descend, not metaphorically, but literally, to descend into chasms and sunless abysses, depths below depths, from which it seemed hopeless that I should ever re-ascend. Nor did I, even by waking, feel that I had re-ascended.

The sense of space, and, in the end, the sense of time, were both powerfully affected. Buildings, landscapes, etc., were exhibited in proportions so vast as the bodily eye is not fitted to receive. Space swelled, and was amplified to an extent of unutterable infinity. This, however, did not disturb me so much as the vast expansion of time; I sometimes seemed to have lived far beyond the limits of any human experience.

The minutest incidents of childhood, or forgotten scenes of later years, were often revived. Of this, at least, I feel assured, that there is no such thing as forgetting possible to the mind. A thousand accidents may and will interpose a veil between our present consciousness and the secret inscriptions of the mind; accidents of the same sort will also rend away this veil; but alike, whether veiled or unveiled, the inscription remains for ever; just as the stars seem to withdraw before the common light of day, whereas, in fact, we all know that it is the light which is drawn over them as a veil, and that they are but waiting to be revealed when the obscuring daylight shall have withdrawn.

In the early stage of my malady the splendours of my dreams were indeed chiefly architectural; and I beheld such pomp of cities and palaces as was never yet beheld by the waking eye, unless in the clouds. To architecture succeeded dreams of lakes and silvery expanses of water. The waters then changed their character--from translucent lakes shining like mirrors they now became seas and oceans.

And now came a tremendous change, which, unfolding itself slowly like a scroll through many months, promised an abiding torment; and, in fact, it never left me until the winding up of my case. Hitherto the human face had mixed often in my dreams, but not despotically, nor with any special power of tormenting. But now that which I have called the tyranny of the human face began to unfold itself. Perhaps some part of my London life might be answerable for this. Be that as it may, now it was that upon the rocking waters of the ocean the human face began to appear; the sea appeared paved with innumerable faces upturned to the heavens--faces imploring, wrathful, despairing, surged upwards by thousands, by myriads, by generations, by centuries; my agitation was infinite, my mind tossed and surged with the ocean.

V.--The Monster-Haunted Dreamer

I know not whether others share in my feelings on this point; but I have often thought that if I were compelled to forego England and to live in China, and among Chinese manners and modes of life and scenery, I should go mad. Southern Asia in general is the seat of awful images and associations. As the cradle of the human race, it would alone have a dim and reverential feeling connected with it. But there are other reasons. No man can pretend that the wild, barbarous, and capricious superstitions of Africa, or of savage tribes elsewhere, affect him in the way that he is affected by the ancient, monumental, cruel, and elaborate religions of Indostan, etc. The mere antiquity of Asiatic things, of their institutions, histories, modes of faith, etc., is so impressive that, to me, the vast age of the race and name overpowers the sense of youth in the individual. A young Chinese seems to me an antediluvian man renewed.

All this, and much more than I can say or have time to say, the reader must enter into before he can comprehend the unimaginable horror which these dreams of Oriental imagery and mythological tortures impressed upon me. Under the connecting feeling of tropical heat and vertical sunlight, I brought together all creatures, birds, beasts, reptiles, all trees and plants, usages and appearances, that are found in all tropical regions, and assembled them together in China or Indostan. From kindred feelings I soon brought Egypt and all her gods under the same law. I was stared at, hooted at, grinned at, chattered at, by monkeys, by paroqueats, by cockatoos. I ran into pagodas, and was fixed for centuries, at the summit, or in secret rooms; I was the idol; I was the priest; I was worshipped; I was sacrificed. I fled from the wrath of Brahma through all the forests of Asia; Vishnu hated me; Siva laid wait for me. I came suddenly upon Isis and Osiris; I had done a deed, they said, which the ibis and the crocodile trembled at I was buried for a thousand years in stone coffins, with mummies and sphinxes, in narrow chambers at the heart of eternal pyramids. I was kissed by crocodiles; and laid, confounded with all unutterable slimy things, amongst reeds and Nilotic mud.

Over every form and threat and punishment brooded a sense of eternity and infinity that drove me into an oppression as of madness. Into these dreams only it was, with one or two slight exceptions, that any circumstances of physical horror entered. But here the main agents were ugly birds, or snakes, or crocodiles; especially the last. The cursed crocodile became to me the object of more horror than almost all the rest. I was compelled to live with him, and--as was almost always the case in my dreams--for centuries. And so often did this hideous reptile haunt my dreams that many times the very same dream was broken up in the very same way. I heard gentle voices speaking to me--I hear everything when I am sleeping--and instantly I awoke. It was broad noon, and my children were standing, hand in hand, at my bedside--come to show me their coloured shoes, or new frocks, or to let me see them dressed for going out. I protest that so awful was the transition from the detestable crocodile, and the other unutterable monsters and abortions of my dreams, to the sight of innocent human natures and of infancy that in the mighty and sudden revulsion of mind I wept, and could not forbear it, as I kissed their faces.

VI.--The Agonies of Sleep

As a final specimen, I cite a dream of a different character, from 1820. The dream commenced with a music which now I often heard in dreams--a music of preparation and of awakening suspense, a music like the opening of the Coronation Anthem, and which, like that, gave the feeling of a vast march, of infinite cavalcades filing off, and the tread of innumerable armies. The morning was come of a mighty day--a day of crisis and of final hope for human nature, then suffering some mysterious eclipse, and labouring in some dread extremity. Somewhere, I knew not where--somehow, I knew not how--by some beings, I knew not whom--a battle, a strife, an agony, was conducting, was evolving like a great drama or piece of music, with which my sympathy was the more insupportable from my confusion as to its place, its cause, its nature, and possible issue.

I, as is usual in dreams--where, of necessity, we make ourselves central to every movement--had the power, and yet had not the power, to decide it. I had the power, if I could raise myself to will it, and yet again had not the power, for the weight of twenty Atlantics was upon me, or the oppression of inexpiable guilt. "Deeper than ever plummet sounded," I lay inactive. Then, like a chorus, the passion deepened. Some greater interest was at stake, some mightier cause than ever yet the sword had pleaded, or trumpet had proclaimed. Then came sudden alarms, hurryings to and fro, trepidations of innumerable fugitives--I knew not whether from the good cause or the bad--darkness and lights, tempest and human faces, and at last, with the sense that all was lost, female forms, and the features that were worth all the world to me, and but a moment allowed--and clasped hands, and heart-breaking partings, and then--everlasting farewells! And with a sigh such as the caves of hell sighed when the incestuous mother uttered the abhorred name of death, the sound was reverberated--everlasting farewells! And again and yet again reverberated--everlasting farewells! And I awoke in struggles, and cried aloud, "I will sleep no more."

It now remains that I should say something of the way in which this conflict of horrors was finally brought to a crisis. I saw that I must die if I continued the opium. I determined, therefore, if that should be required, to die in throwing it off. I triumphed. But, reader, think of me as one, even when four months had passed, still agitated, writhing, throbbing, palpitating, shattered. During the whole period of diminishing the opium I had the torments of a man passing out of one mode of existence into another. The issue was not death, but a sort of physical regeneration.

One memorial of my former condition still remains--my dreams are not yet perfectly calm; the dread swell and agitation of the storm have not wholly subsided; the legions that encamped in them are drawing off, but not all departed; my sleep is still tumultuous, and, like the gates of Paradise to our first parents when looking back from afar, it is still--in Milton's tremendous line--"With dreadful faces throng'd and fiery arms."



Alexandre Dumas père, the great French novelist and dramatist, who here tells the story of his youth, was born on July 24, 1802, and died on December 5, 1870. He was a man of prodigious vitality, virility, and invention; abounding in enjoyment, gaiety, vanity, and kindness; the richness, force, and celerity of his nature was amazing. In regard to this peculiar vivacity of his, it is interesting to remember that one of his grandparents was a full-blooded negress. Dumas' literary work is essentially romantic; his themes are courage, loyalty, honour, love, pageantry, and adventure; he belongs to the tradition of Scott and Schiller, but as a story-teller excels every other. His plays and novels are both very numerous; the "OEuvres Complètes," published between 1860 and 1884, fill 277 volumes. Probably "Monte Cristo" and "The Three Musketeers" are the most famous of his stories. He was an untiring and exceedingly rapid worker, a great collaborator employing many assistants, and was also a shameless plagiarist; but he succeeded in impressing his own quality on all that he published. Besides plays and novels there are several books of travel. His son, Alexandre, was born in 1824. The "Memoirs," published in 1852, which are here followed through their author's struggles to his triumph, may be the work of the novelist as well as of the chronicler, but they give a most convincing impression of his courageous and brilliant youth, fired equally by art and by ambition.

I.--Memories of Boyhood

I was born on July 24, 1802, at Villers-Cotterets, a little town of the Department of Aisne, on the road from Laon to Paris, so that, writing now in 1847, I am forty-five years old. My father was the republican general, Thomas-Alexandre Dumas-Davy de la Pailleterie, and I still use this patronymic in signing official documents. It came from my grandfather, marquis of that name, who sold his properties in France, and settled down in 1760 on vast estates in San Domingo. There, in 1762, my father was born; his mother, Louise-Cessette Dumas, died in 1772; and in 1780, when my father was eighteen, the West Indian estates were leased, and the marquis returned to his native country.

My father spent the next years among the youth of the great families of that period. His handsome features--all the more striking for the dark complexion of a mulatto--his prodigious physical strength, his elegant creole figure, with hands and feet as small as a woman's, his unrivalled skill in bodily exercises, and especially in fencing and horsemanship, all marked him out as one born for adventures. The spirit of adventure was there, too. Assuming the name of Dumas because his father objected to the family name being dragged through the ranks, he enlisted as a private in a regiment of dragoons in 1786, at the age of twenty-four. Quartered at Villers-Cotterets in 1790, he met my mother, Marie-Louise-Elisabeth Labouret, whom he married two years later. Their children were one daughter, and then myself. The marquis had died in 1786.

My memory goes back to 1805, when I was three, and to the little country house, Les Fosses, we lived in. I remember a journey to Paris in the same year, and the death of my father in 1806. Then my mother, sister, and I, left in poverty, went to live with grandfather and grandmother Labouret. Here, in gardens full of shady trees and gorgeous blossoms, I spent those happy days when hope extends hardly further than to-morrow, and memory hardly further than yesterday; storing my mind with classical mythology and Bible stories, the "Arabian Nights," the natural history of Buffon, and the geography of "Robinson Crusoe."

Then came my tenth year and the age for school. It was decided that I should go to the seminary and be educated for a priest; but I settled that matter by running away and living for three days in the hut of a friendly bird-catcher in the woods. So I passed instead into our little school of the Abbé Grégoire--a just and good man, of whom I learned little but to love him; and from another parish priest, an uncle of mine, a few miles away, I gained a passion for shooting the hares and partridges with which our country swarmed.

But while I was living in twelve-year-old joys and sorrows, the enemy was marching on French soil, and all confidence in Napoleon's star had vanished. God had forsaken him. A retreating wave of our army swept over the countryside, followed by alien forces. We lived in the midst of fighting and alarms, and my mother and her friends worked like sisters of charity. There followed Bonaparte's exile in Elba, and then the astonishing report that he had landed near Cannes, and was marching on Paris. He reached the Tuileries on March 20, 1815; in May, his troops were marching through our town on their way to Waterloo, glory, and the grave. I saw him passing in his carriage, his face, pale and sickly, leaning forward, chin on breast. He raised his head, and glanced around.

"Where are we?"

"At Villers-Cotterets, sire."

"Forward! Faster!" he cried, and fell back into his lethargy. Whips cracked, and the gigantic vision had passed. That was June 11--Waterloo was the 18th. On the 20th, three or four hours after the first doubtful rumour had reached us, a carriage drew up to change horses. There was the same inert figure, and the same question and answer. The team broke into a gallop, and the fallen Napoleon was gone. Soon all went on in the ordinary way, and in our little town, isolated in the midst of its forest, one might have thought no changes had taken place; people had had an evil dream--that was all.

My memories of this period are chiefly memories of the woods--shooting parties, now and then a wolf or boar hunt, often a poaching adventure with a friend. But at fifteen years of age I was placed in a notary's office; at sixteen I learned to love, and shortly afterwards I saw "Hamlet" played by a touring company. It made a profound impression on me, awakening vast, aimless desires, strange gleams of mystery. A friend of mine, Adolphe de Leuven, himself an ardent versifier, guided me to a first sense of my vocation, and together we set to work as playwrights.

Adolphe and his father went up to live in Paris, and our plays were submitted everywhere in vain. My ardour for the great city grew daily until it became irresistible; and at length, in the temporary absence of my notary, I made a three days' escape with a friend, saw Talma act, and was even introduced to him by Adolphe. His playing opened a new world to me, and the great man playfully foretold my destiny.

As one enchanted, I returned to the office, accepted my employers' rebuke as a dismissal, and went home. I was without a penny, but was immediately visited by a wonderful run of fortune. Among other strokes of luck, I sold my rascal dog for $25 to an infatuated Englishman, and won six hundred glasses of absinthe at a single game of billiards from the proprietor of the Paris coach, commuting them for a dozen free passages. I said good-bye to the dear mother and the saintly abbé, and found myself early on a May morning at Adolphe's door. I had come to try my fortune with my father's brothers-at-arms.

Of course, there were bitter disappointments, and when I called on General Foy he was my last hope. Alas! did I know this subject, or that, or that? My answer was always "No." But the general would at least keep my address; and no sooner had I written it down than he cried aloud that we were saved! It appeared that I had a good writing, and the Duke of Orleans needed another copyist in his office. The next morning I was engaged at a salary of twelve hundred francs. I came home for three days with my mother, and on the advice of the bird-catcher took a ticket at the lottery, which brought me 146 francs. And so, with a few bits of furniture from home, I took up my lodging in a Parisian garret.

II.--Launched in Paris

Now began a life of daily work at the office, with agreeable companions, and of evenings spent at the theatre or in study. On the first night I went to the Porte-Sainte-Martin Theatre, where a melodrama, "The Vampire," was presented, and fell into conversation with my neighbour, a man of about forty, of fascinating discourse, who was inordinately impatient with the piece, and was at last turned out of the theatre for his expressions of disapproval. His talk, far more interesting than the play, turned on rare editions of old books, on the sylphs, gnomes, Undines of the invisible world, on microscopic creatures he had himself discovered, and on vampires he had seen in Illyria. I learned next day that this was the celebrated author and bibliophile, Charles Nodier, himself one of the anonymous authors of the play he so vilified.

Lassagne, a genial colleague in the office, not only put me in the way of doing my work, which I quickly picked up, but was good enough also to guide my reading, for I was deplorably ignorant. In those days Scribe was the great dramatist, producing innumerable clever plots of intrigue, modelled on no natural society, but on a society all his own, composed almost exclusively of colonels, young widows, old soldiers, and faithful servants. No one had ever seen such widows and colonels, never soldiers spoke as these did, never were servants so devoted; yet this society of Scribe's was all the fashion.

The men most highly placed in literature at the time when I came to Paris were MM. de Chateaubriand, Jouy, Lemercier, Arnault, Etienne, Baour-Lormian, Béranger, Charles Nodier, Viennet Scribe, Théaulon, Soumet, Casimir Delavigne, Lucien Arnault, Ancelot, Lamartine, Victor Hugo, Désaugiers, and Alfred de Vigny. After them came names half literary, half political, such as MM. Cousin, Salvandy, Yillemain, Thiers, Augustin Thierry, Michelet, Mignet, Vitet, Cavé, Mérimée, and Guizot. Others, who were not yet known, but were coming forward, were Balzac, Soulié, De Musset, Sainte-Beuve, Auguste Barbier, Alphonse Karr, Théophile Gautier. Madame Sand was not known until her "Indiana," in 1828. I knew all this constellation, some of them as friends and supporters, others as enemies.

In December, 1823, Talma made perhaps the greatest success of his life in Delavigne's "L'Ecole des Vieillards," in which his power of modulating his voice to the various emotions of old age was superbly shown. But Talma was never content with his triumphs; he awaited eagerly the rise of a new drama; and when I confided to him my ambitions, he would urge me to be quick and succeed within his day. Art was all that he lived for. How wonderful a thing is art, more faithful than a friend or lover!

On the first day of 1824 I rose to be a regular clerk at 1,500 francs, and determined to bring up my mother from the country. It was now nine months since I had seen her. So she sold her tobacco shop and came up to Paris with a little furniture and a hundred louis. We were both very glad to be united, though she was anxious about my future.

I had by this time learned my ignorance of much that was necessary to my success as a dramatist, and began to devote every hour of my leisure to study, attending the theatre as often as I could get a pass. A young medical man named Thibaut helped me much in my education; he took me to the hospital, where I picked up a knowledge of medicine and surgery which has repeatedly done service in my novels, and I learned from him the actions of poisons, such as I have used in "Monte Cristo."

I read also under the guidance of Lassagne, beginning with "Ivanhoe," in which the pictures of mediæval life cleared the clouds from my vision and gave me a far wider horizon. Next the vast forests, prairies, and oceans of Cooper held me; and then I came to Byron, who died in Greece at the very time when I was entering on my apprenticeship to poetry. The romantic movement in France was beginning to invade literature and the drama, but its expression was still most evident in the younger painters.

My mother's little capital only lasted eighteen months, and I found myself forced to supplement my salary by other work. I had until now collaborated with Adolphe, but all in vain, and we now determined to associate Ph. Rousseau with our efforts. The three of us together quickly produced a vaudeville in twenty-one scenes, "La Chasse et l'Amour," of which I wrote the first seven scenes, Adolphe the second seven, and Rousseau the conclusion. The piece was rejected at the Gymnase, but accepted at the Ambigu; and my share of the profits came to six francs a night.

A.M. Porcher, who always had a pleasant welcome and an open purse for a literary man, lent me 300 francs on the security of my receipts, and with that money I printed a volume of three stories under the title of "Nouvelles Contemporaines," of which, however, only four copies were sold. But the next adventure was more profitable. A play, by Lassagne and myself, "La Noce et l'Enterrement," was presented at the Porte-Sainte-Martin in November 1826, and brought me eight francs a night for forty nights.

III.--Under Shakespeare's Spell

As recently as 1822 an English theatrical company, which had opened at the Porte-Sainte-Martin Theatre, had been hissed and pelted off the stage for offering the dramas of the barbaric Shakespeare. But when, in September 1827, another English company brought Shakespeare's plays to the Odéon, this contempt for English literature had changed to ardent admiration--so quickly had the mind of Paris broadened. Shakespeare had been translated by Guizot, and everyone had read Scott, Cooper, and Byron.

The English season was opened by Sheridan's "Rivals," followed by Allingham's "Fortune's Freak." Then came "Hamlet," which infinitely surpassed all my expectations. Kemble's Hamlet was amazing, and Miss Smithson's Ophelia adorable. From that very night, but not before, I knew what the theatre was. I had seen for the first time real men and women, of flesh and blood, moved by real passions. I understood Talma's continual lament, his incessant desire for plays which should show him, not as a hero only, but also as a man. "Romeo and Juliet," "Othello," and all the other masterpieces followed. Then, in their turn, Macready and Kean appeared in Paris.

I knew now that everything in the world of drama derives from Shakespeare, as everything in the natural world depends on the sun; I knew that, after God, Shakespeare was the great creator. And from the night when I had first seen, in these English players, men on the stage forgetful of the stage, and revealing themselves, by natural eloquence and manner, as God's creatures, with all their good and evil, their passions and weaknesses, from that night my vocation was irrevocable. A new confidence was given me, and I boldly adventured on the future. Besides observing mankind, I entered with redoubled zest upon the dissection and study of the words of the great dramatists.

My attention had been turned to the story of Christine and the murder of Monaldeschi by an exquisite little bas-relief in the Salon; and reading up the history in the biographical dictionary, I saw that it held the possibility of a tremendous drama. The subject haunted my mind continually, and soon my "Christine" came into life and was written. But Talma was dead; I had now no friend at the theatre; and I cast about me in vain for the means of getting my play produced.

Baron Taylor was at this time the official charged with the acceptance or rejection of plays, and Charles Nodier, so Lassagne informed me, was on intimate terms with him. Lassagne suggested that I should write to Nodier, reminding him of our chat on the night of "The Vampire," and asking for an introduction to the Baron. I did so, and the reply came from Baron Taylor himself, offering me an interview at seven in the morning.

At the appointed time, my heart beating fast, I rang the bell of his flat, and as I waited for someone to come, I wondered at a strange noise that was going on within--a deep, monotonous recitation, interrupted by occasional explosions of rage in a higher voice. I rang for the third time, and as a door opened within, the mysterious sounds doubled in volume. Then the outer door opened, and the Baron's old servant hurried me in. "Come in, sir," she said, "come in; the Baron is longing for you to come!" I found Baron Taylor in his bath, and beside him a playwright reading a tragedy. The fellow had insisted on entering, had caught the examiner of plays in his bath, and was inflicting on him a play of over two thousand lines! Undaunted by the Baron's rage, and unmoved by my arrival, he proceeded with his reading, while I waited in the bedroom.

When Baron Taylor at last came in and got into bed, he was shivering with cold, and I proposed to put off my reading; but he would not hear of it, and trembling, I began my play. At the end of each act the Baron himself asked for the next, and when it was finished he leapt from bed and called for his clothes that he might go and arrange for an immediate hearing before the committee at the Français.

And so a special meeting was called, and I read "Christine" to a gathering of the greatest actors and actresses of the time, all fully dressed as if for a dance. I have rarely seen a play meet with so great a success at this ordeal; I was off my head with pleasure; the play was accepted by acclamation. I ran home to our rooms to tell my mother the great news of this great day, April 30, 1828, and then back to the office to copy out a heap of papers.

"Christine" was not, however, produced at this time. Another play on the same subject, written by a M. Brault, had also been accepted by the committee, and its author was suffering from an illness from which it was impossible that he should recover. Under these circumstances it was felt right to present the dying man's play while he was able to see it, and I willingly acceded to the requests, made by his son and friends, that my work should stand aside.

IV.--Dumas Arrives

But now, by a happy chance, in a book that lay open on a table in the office, I came across the suggestions for my "Henry III."; and as soon as the plot had grown clear in my mind, I wrote the play in a couple of months. I was only twenty-five, and this was only my second play; yet it is as well constructed as any of the fifty which I have since written.

Béranger, the great poet of democracy, and a man at that time of unrivalled influence, was present at a private reading of "Henry III.," and foretold its great success. The official reading was on September 17, 1828, when the play was accepted by acclamation, and the parts were cast. But my good fortune had not got into the papers, and this, as well as my frequent absences at the theatre, had done me no good at the office. So I was sent for one morning by M. de Broval, the director-general, and was given, in set terms, my choice between my situation as a clerk and my literary career. Only one choice was now possible, and from that very day my salary ceased.

The year 1829 was that in which my position was made and my future assured. But it opened with a great sorrow. I was one day at the theatre when a messenger ran in to tell me that my mother had fallen ill. I sent for a doctor, hurried to her side, and found that she was unable to speak, and that one side of her body was totally paralysed. My sister was soon with us, having come up to town for the first night of the play. My state of mind during the following days may be imagined, under the dreadful affliction of seeing my mother dying, and under the enormous burden of producing my first play.

On the day before the presentation of "Henry III.," I went to the palace, sent in my name to the Duke of Orleans, and boldly asked him the favour, or, rather, the act of justice, that he would be present at the theatre on the first night. I pointed out to him that he had given ear to those who had charged me with vanity and willfulness, and begged him to come and hear the verdict of the public. When his Highness told me that he could not come, because he had over a score of princes and princesses dining with him on that night, I suggested that he should bring them too. And so it was arranged.

February 11, so long awaited, dawned at last, and I spent the whole day until evening with my mother. I had given an order for the play to every one of my old colleagues at the office; I had a tiny stage-box; my sister had a box in which she entertained Boulanger, De Vigny, and Victor Hugo; every other place in the theatre was sold. The circle was gorgeous with princes decorated with their orders, and the boxes with the nobility, the ladies all glittering with diamonds.

The curtain went up. I have never felt anything to compare with the cool breath of air from the stage, which fanned my heated brow. The first act was received sympathetically, and was followed by applause, and I seized the interval to run and see my mother. The second act passed without disapproval. The third, I knew, would mean success or disaster. It called forth cries of fear, but also thunders of applause; never before had they seen a dramatic situation so realistically, I had almost said so brutally, presented. Again I visited my mother; how I wished she could have been there! Then came the fourth and fifth acts, which were received by a tumultuous frenzy of delight; and when the author's name was called, the Duke of Orleans himself stood up to honour it.

The days of struggle were over, the triumph had come. Utterly unknown that evening, I was next morning the talk of Paris. They little knew that I had spent the night on the floor, by the bed of my dying mother.



John Evelyn, English country gentleman, courtier, diarist, and miscellaneous author, was born at Wotton, in Surrey, on October 31, 1620, and was educated at Lewes, and then at Balliol College, Oxford. He then lived at the Middle Temple, London; but after the death of Strafford, disliking the unsettled state of England, he spent three months in the Low Countries. Returning for a short time to England, he followed the Royalist army for three days; but his prudence overcame his loyalty, and, crossing the Channel again, he wandered for four years in France and Italy. His observations abroad are minutely recorded in the "Diary," which in its earlier part too often resembles a guide-book. Having married, in Paris, the British ambassador's daughter, Evelyn made his home, in 1652, at Sayes Court, Deptford, until he moved, in 1694; to Wotton, where he died on February 27, 1706. He was honourably employed, after the Restoration, on many public commissions, and was one of the founders of the Royal Society. Like his friend Samuel Pepys, Evelyn was a man of very catholic tastes, and wrote on a multitude of subjects, including history, politics, education, the fine arts, gardening, and especially forestry, his "Sylva, or a Discourse of Forest Trees," 1664, being, after the "Diary," his most famous work. Evelyn's character is very engaging in its richness, uprightness, and lively interests. His "Diary," like that of Pepys, lay long unpublished, and first saw the light in 1818.

I.--Early Years

I was born at Wotton, in the county of Surrey, October 31, 1620, after my father had been married about seven years, and my mother had borne him two daughters and one son.

My father's countenance was clear and fresh-coloured, his eyes quick and piercing, an ample forehead and manly aspect. He was ascetic and sparing; his wisdom was great, his judgement acute; affable, humble, and in nothing affected; of a thriving, silent, and methodical genius. He was distinctly severe, yet liberal on all just occasions to his children, strangers, and servants, a lover of hospitality; of a singular and Christian moderation in all his actions. He was justice of the peace, and served his country as high sheriff for Surrey and Sussex together, and was a person of rare conversation. His estate was esteemed about £4,000 per annum, well wooded, and full of timber.

My mother was of an ancient and honourable family in Shropshire. She was of proper personage, of a brown complexion, her eyes and hair of a lovely black, of constitution inclined to a religious melancholy or pious sadness, of a rare memory and most exemplary life, for economy and prudence esteemed one of the most conspicuous in her country.

Wotton, the mansion house of my father, is in the southern part of the shire, three miles from Dorking, and is upon part of Leith Hill, one of the most eminent in England for the prodigious prospect to be seen from its summit.

From it may be discerned twelve or thirteen counties, with part of the sea on the coast of Sussex on a serene day. The house large and ancient, suitable to those hospitable times, and sweetly environed with delicious streams and venerable woods.

November 3, 1640. A day never to be mentioned without a curse, began that long, foolish, and fatal Parliament, the beginning of all our sorrows for twenty years after.

January 2, 1641. We at night followed the hearse to the church at Wotton, where my father was interred, and mingled with the ashes of our mother, his dear wife. Thus we were bereft of both our parents in a period when we most of all stood in need of their counsel and assistance, especially myself, of a raw and unwary inclination.

II.--Travels Abroad

May 12, 1641. I beheld on Tower Hill the fatal stroke which severed the wisest head in England from the shoulders of the Earl of Strafford, whose crime coming under the cognisance of no human law, a new one was made to his destruction--to such exorbitancy were things arrived.

July 21. Having procured a pass at the custom-house, embarked in a Dutch frigate bound for Flushing, convoyed by five other stout vessels, whereof one was a man-of-war.

April 19, 1644. Set out from Paris for Orleans. The way, as indeed most of the roads in France, is paved with a small square freestone, so that there is little dirt and bad roads, as in England, only it is somewhat hard to the poor horses' feet.

October 7. We had a most delicious journey to Marseilles, through a country full of vineyards, oliveyards, orange-trees, and the like sweet plantations, to which belong pleasantly situated villas built all of freestone.

We went to visit the galleys; the captain of the galley-royal gave us most courteous entertainment in his cabin, the slaves playing loud and soft music. Then he showed us how he commanded their motions with a nod and his whistle, making them row out. The spectacle was to me new and strange, to see so many hundreds of miserably naked persons, having their heads shaven close, and having only high red bonnets, a pair of coarse canvas drawers, their whole backs and legs naked, doubly chained about their middles and legs in couples, and made fast to their seats, and all commanded by a cruel seaman. Their rising forward and falling back at their oar is a miserable spectacle, and the noise of their chains with the roaring of the beaten waters has something of the strange and fearful to one unaccustomed to it. They are chastised on the least disorder, and without the least humanity; yet are they cheerful and full of knavery.

January 31, 1645. Climbing a steep hill in Naples, we came to the monastery of the Carthusians, from whence is a most goodly prospect towards the sea and city, the one full of galleys and ships, the other of stately palaces, churches, castles, gardens, delicious fields and meadows, Mount Vesuvius smoking, doubtless one of the most considerable vistas in the world.

The inhabitants greatly affect the Spanish gravity in their habit, delight in good horses; the streets are full of gallants on horseback, in coaches, and sedans. The country people are so jovial and addicted to music that the very husbandmen almost universally play on the guitar, singing and composing songs in praise of their sweethearts, and will commonly go to the field with their fiddle; they are merry, witty, and genial, all which I much attribute to the excellent quality of the air. They have a deadly hatred to the French, so that some of our company were flouted at for wearing red cloaks, as the mode then was.

This I made the end of my travels, sufficiently sated with rolling up and down, since, from the report of divers experienced and curious persons, I had been assured there was little more to be seen in the rest of the civil world, after Italy, France, Flanders, and the Low Country, but plain and prodigious barbarism.

Thus, about February 7, we set out on our return to Rome by the same way we came, not daring to adventure by sea, as some of our company were inclined, for fear of Turkish pirates hovering on that coast.

III.--Evelyn in England

May 22, 1647. I had contracted a great friendship with Sir Richard Browne, his majesty's Resident at the Court of France, his lady and family, and particularly set my affections on a daughter.

June 10. We concluded about my marriage, and on Thursday 27, Dr. Earle married us in Sir Richard Browne's chapel, betwixt the hours of eleven and twelve some few select friends being present; and this being Corpus Christi, feast was solemnly observed in this country; the streets were sumptuously hung with tapestry and strewn with flowers.

July 8, 1656. At Ipswich--one of the sweetest, most pleasant, well-built towns in England. I had the curiosity to visit some Quakers here in prison--a new fanatic sect, of dangerous principles, who show no respect to any man, magistrate or other, and seem a melancholy, proud sort of people, and exceedingly ignorant.

November 2. There was now nothing practical preached in the pulpits, or that pressed reformation of life, but high and speculative points that few understood, which left people very ignorant and of no steady principles, the source of all our sects and divisions, for there was much envy and uncharity in the world--God of His mercy amend it!

January 27, 1658. After six fits of an ague died my dear son Richard, to our inexpressible grief and affliction, five years and three days only, but at that tender age a prodigy for wit and understanding, and for beauty of body a very angel. At two years and a half old he could perfectly read any of the English, Latin, French, or Gothic letters, pronouncing the three first languages perfectly. He had before the fifth year, or in that year, not only skill to read most written hands, but to decline all the nouns, conjugate the verbs regular, and most of the irregular; got by heart almost the entire vocabulary of Latin and French primitives and words, could make congruous syntax, turn English into Latin and vice versa, construe and prove what he read, began himself to write legibly, and had a strong passion for Greek. The number of verses he could recite was prodigious, and he had a wonderful disposition to mathematics. As to his piety, astonishing were his applications of Scripture upon occasion, and his sense of God. He was all life, all prettiness, far from morose, sullen or childish in anything he said or did. Such a child I never saw; for such a child I bless God, in whose bosom he is!

November 22. Saw the superb funeral of the Protector. He was carried from Somerset House in a velvet bed of state, drawn by six horses housed with the same, the pall held up by his new lords; Oliver lying in effigy in royal robes, and with a crown, sceptre and globe, like a king; pendants carried by officers, imperial banners by the heralds; a rich caparisoned horse, embroidered all over with gold, a knight of honour armed cap-à-pie, guards, soldiers, and innumerable mourners. In this equipage they proceeded to Westminster; but it was the joyfullest funeral I ever saw, for there were none that cried but dogs, which the soldiers hooted away with a barbarous noise, drinking and taking tobacco in the streets as they went.

May 29, 1660. This day his Majesty Charles II. came to London after a sad and long exile and calamitous suffering both of the king and church, being seventeen years. This also was his birthday, and with a triumph of above 20,000 horse and foot, brandishing their swords and shouting with inexpressible joy; the ways strewed with flowers, the bells ringing, the streets hung with tapestry, fountains running with wine; the mayor, aldermen, and all the companies in their liveries, chains of gold, and banners; lords and nobles clad in cloth of silver, gold, and velvet; the windows and balconies all set with ladies; trumpets, music, and myriads of people flocking, even so far as from Rochester, so as they were seven hours in passing the city. I stood in the Strand and beheld it, and blessed God.

January 6, 1661. This night was suppressed a bloody insurrection of some fifth-monarchy enthusiasts.

I was now chosen a Fellow of the Philosophical Society, now meeting at Gresham College, where was an assembly of divers learned gentlemen; this being the first meeting since the king's return; but it had been begun some years before at Oxford, and was continued with interruption here in London during the Rebellion.

January 16. I went to the Philosophic Club, where was examined the Torricellian experiment. I presented my Circle of Mechanical Trades, and had recommended to me the publishing of what I had written upon chalcography.

January 30. This day--O the stupendous and inscrutable judgements of God!--were the carcases of those arch-rebels Cromwell, Bradshawe, and Ireton dragged out from their superb tombs in Westminster among the kings, to Tyburn, and hanged on the gallows there from morning till night, and then buried under that ignominious monument in a deep pit; thousands of people who had seen them in all their pride being spectators. Look back at November 22, 1658, and be astonished! And fear God and honour the king; but meddle not with them who are given to change!

July 31, 1662. I sat with the commissioners about reforming the buildings and streets of London, and we ordered the paving of the way from St. James's north, which was a quagmire, and also of the Haymarket about Piqudillo [Piccadilly].

August 23. I was spectator of the most magnificent triumph that ever floated on the Thames, considering the innumerable boats and vessels, dressed and adorned with all imaginable pomp, but above all, the thrones, arches, pageants, and other representations, stately barges of the Lord Mayor and Companies, with music and peals of ordnance from the vessels and the shore, going to meet and conduct the new queen from Hampton Court to Whitehall, at the time of her first coming to town. His majesty and the queen came in an antique-shaped open vessel, covered with a canopy of cloth of gold, made in the form of a cupola, supported with high Corinthian pillars, wreathed with flowers and festoons.

IV.--Plague and Fire

July 16, 1665. There died of the plague in London this week 1,100, and in the week following above 2,000.

August 28. The contagion still increasing, I sent my wife and whole family to my brother's at Wotton, being resolved to stay at my house myself and to look after my charge, trusting in the providence and goodness of God.

September 7. Came home from Chatham. Perishing near 10,000 poor creatures weekly. However, I went all along the city and suburbs from Kent Street to St. James's, a dismal passage, and dangers to see so many coffins exposed in the streets, now thin of people; the shops shut up, and all in mournful silence, as not knowing whose turn might be next. I went to the Duke of Albemarle for a pest-ship, for our infected men.

September 2, 1666. This fatal night, about ten, began that deplorable fire near Fish Street in London.

September 3. After dinner I took coach with my wife and son, and went to the Bank Side in Southwark, where we beheld the dismal spectacle, the whole city in dreadful flames near the water-side.

The fire having continued all this night, which was as light as day for ten miles round, in a dreadful manner, I went on foot to the same place. The conflagration was so universal, and the people so astonished, that from the beginning they hardly stirred to quench it, so that there was nothing heard or seen but crying out and lamentation, running about like distracted creatures, without attempting to save even their goods. It leapt after a prodigious manner from house to house, and street to street, at great distances one from the other. Here we saw the Thames covered with goods floating, all the barges and boats laden with what some had time and courage to save. And the fields for many miles were strewn with movables of all sorts, and tents erecting to shelter both people and what goods they could get away. Oh, the miserable and calamitous spectacle! London was, but is no more!

October 17, 1671. My Lord Henry Howard would needs have me go with him to Norwich. I was not hard to be persuaded, having a desire to see that famous scholar and physician, Dr. T. Browne, author of the "Religio Medici," now lately knighted. Thither, then, went my lord and I alone in his flying chariot with six horses.

Next morning I went to see Sir Thomas Browne. His whole house and garden were a paradise and cabinet of rarities, especially medals, books, plants, and natural things. Sir Thomas had a collection of the eggs of all the birds he could procure, that country being frequented by several birds which seldom or never go farther into the land--as cranes, storks, eagles, and variety of waterfowl. He led me to see all the remarkable places of this ancient city, being one of the largest and noblest in England.

January 5, 1674. I saw an Italian opera in music, the first that had been in England of this kind.

November 15, 1678. The queen's birthday. I never saw the court more brave, nor the nation in more apprehension and consternation. Titus Oates has grown so presumptuous as to accuse the queen of intending to poison the king, which certainly that pious and virtuous lady abhorred the thought of. Oates probably thought to gratify some who would have been glad his majesty should have married a fruitful lady; but the king was too kind a husband to let any of these make impression on him. However, divers of the Popish peers were sent to the Tower, accused by Oates, and all the Roman Catholic lords were by a new Act for ever excluded the Parliament, which was a mighty blow.

May 5, 1681. Came to dine with me Sir Christopher Wren, his majesty's architect and surveyor, now building the cathedral of St. Paul, and the column in memory of the City's conflagration, and was in hand with the building of fifty parish churches. A wonderful genius had this incomparable person.

January 24, 1684. The frost continuing more and more severe, the Thames before London was planted with booths in formal streets, all sorts of trades and shops furnished and full of commodities, even to a printing press. Coaches plied from Westminster to the Temple, as in the streets; sleds, sliding with skates, bull-baiting, horse and coach races, puppet plays, cooks, tippling, so that it seemed to be a carnival on the water; while it was a severe judgement on the land, the trees splitting, men and cattle perishing, and the very seas locked up with ice. London was so filled with the fuliginous steam of the coal that hardly could one see across the streets, and this filling the lungs with its gross particles, so as one could scarcely breathe.

V.--Fall of the Stuarts

February 4, 1685. King Charles II. is dead. He was a prince of many virtues, and many great imperfections; debonair, easy of access, not bloody nor cruel; his countenance fierce, his voice great, proper of person, every motion became him; a lover of the sea, and skillful in shipping; he loved planting and building, and brought in a politer way of living, which passed to luxury and expense. He would have been an excellent prince had he been less addicted to women, who made him always in want to supply their immeasurable profusion.

Certainly never had king more glorious opportunities to have made himself, his people, and all Europe happy, had not his too easy nature resigned him to be managed by crafty men, and some abandoned and profane wretches who corrupted his otherwise sufficient parts.

I can never forget the inexpressible luxury and profaneness, gaming and all dissoluteness, and, as it were, total forgetfulness of God (it being Sunday evening) which day se'nnight I was witness of, the king sitting and toying with his concubines, a French boy singing love-songs, in that glorious gallery, while twenty great courtiers and other dissolute persons were gaming at a large table, a bank of at least £2,000 in gold before them. Six days after all was in the dust!

November 5, 1688. I went to London, heard the news of the Prince of Orange having landed at Torbay, coming with a fleet of near 700 sail, passing through the Channel with so favourable a wind that our navy could not intercept them. This put the king and court into great consternation.

November 13. The Prince of Orange is advanced to Windsor, and is invited by the king to St. James's. The prince accepts the invitation, but requires his majesty to retire to some distant place, that his own guards may be quartered about the palace and city. This is taken heinously, and the king goes privately to Rochester; is persuaded to come back; comes on the Sunday, goes to mass, and dines in public, a Jesuit saying grace. I was present.

November 18. All the world go to see the prince at St. James's, where there is a great court. He is very stately, serious, and reserved.

November 24. The king passes into France, whither the queen and child were gone a few days before.

May 26, 1703. This day died Mr. Sam Pepys, a very worthy, industrious, and curious person; none in England exceeding him in knowledge of the navy, in which he had passed through all the most considerable offices, all of which he performed with great integrity. When King James II. went out of England, he laid down his office, and would serve no more; but, withdrawing himself from all public affairs, he lived at Clapham with his partner, Mr. Hewer, formerly his clerk, in a very noble house and sweet place, where he enjoyed the fruit of his labours in great prosperity. He was universally beloved, hospitable, generous, learned in many things, skilled in music, a very great cherisher of learned men. His library and collection of other curiosities were of the most considerable, the models of ships especially.

October 31, 1705. I am this day arrived to the eighty-fifth year of my age. Lord teach me so to number my days to come that I may apply them to wisdom!


Life of Goldsmith

John Forster is best remembered as writer of the biographies of the statesmen of the commonwealth, of Goldsmith, Landor, Dickens. To his own generation he was for twenty years one of the ablest of London journalists. In his later days, as a Commissioner in Lunacy, he had time to devote himself more closely to historical research. He was born at Newcastle on April 2, 1812, was turned aside from the Bar by success in newspaper work, and became editor first of the "Foreign Quarterly Review," then of the "Daily News," on which he succeeded Dickens, and lastly of "The Examiner." His "Life of Goldsmith" was published in 1848, and enlarged in 1854. Forster was different from all that he looked. He seemed harsh, exacting, and stubborn. He was one of the most loyal of friends, and tender-hearted towards all good fellows, alive or dead. His picture of Goldsmith is an understanding defence of that strangely-speckled genius, written from the heart. Forster died on February 1, 1876, two years after his retirement from official life.

I.--Misery and Ill-luck

The marble in Westminster Abbey is correct in the place, but not in the time, of the birth of Oliver Goldsmith. He was born at a small old parsonage house in an almost inaccessible Irish village called Pallas, in Longford, November 10, 1728. His father, the Rev. Charles Goldsmith, was a Protestant clergyman with an uncertain stipend, which, with the help of some fields he farmed, averaged forty pounds a year. They who have lived, laughed, and wept with the father of the man in black in the "Citizen of the World," the preacher of "The Deserted Village," or the hero of "The Vicar of Wakefield," have given laughter, love, and tears to the Rev. Charles Goldsmith.

Oliver had not completed his second year when the family moved to a respectable house and farm on the verge of the pretty little village of Lissoy, in West Meath. Here the schoolmistress who first put a book into Oliver Goldsmith's hands confessed, "Never was so dull a boy; he seemed impenetrably stupid."

Yet all the charms of Goldsmith's later style are to be traced in the letters of his youth, and he began to scribble verses when he could scarcely write. At the age of eight he went to the Rev. Mr. Gilpin's superior school of Elphin, in Roscommon, where he was considered "a stupid, heavy blockhead, little better than a fool, whom everyone made fun of." Indeed, from his earliest youth he was made to feel an intense, uneasy consciousness of supposed defects. Later he went to school at Athlone and at Edgeworthstown, and was in every school trick, either as an actor or a victim. On leaving the school at Edgeworthstown, Oliver entered Dublin University as a sizar, "at once studying freedom and practising servitude." Little went well with him in his student course. He had a menial position, a savage brute for a tutor, and few inclinations to the study exacted. But he was not without his consolations; he could sing a song well, and, at a new insult, could blow off excitement through his flute. The popular picture of him in these days is of a slow, hesitating, somewhat hollow voice, a low-sized, thick, robust, ungainly figure, lounging about the college courts on the wait for misery and ill-luck.

In Oliver's second year at college his father died suddenly, and the scanty sum required for his support stopped. Squalid poverty relieved by occasional gifts was Goldsmith's lot thenceforward. He would write street-ballads to save himself from actual starving, sell them for five shillings a-piece, and steal out of the college at night to hear them sung. It is said to have been a rare occurrence when the five shillings reached home with him. It was more likely, when he was at his utmost need, to stop with some beggar on the road who had seemed to him even more destitute than himself.

He took his degree as bachelor of arts on February 27, 1749 and returning to his mother's house, at Ballymahon, waited till he could qualify himself for orders. This is the sunny time between two dismal periods of his life--the day occupied in the village school, the winter nights in presiding at Conway's inn, the summer evenings strolling up the banks of the Inny to play the flute, learning French from the Irish priests, or winning a prize for throwing a sledge-hammer at the fair.

When the time came for Goldsmith to take orders, one report says he did not deem himself good enough for it, and another says that he presented himself before the Bishop of Elphin in scarlet breeches; but in truth his rejection is the only certainty.

A year's engagement as a tutor followed, and from it he returned home with thirty pounds in his pocket, and was the undisputed owner of a good horse. Thus furnished and mounted he set off for Cork with a vision of going to America, but returned presently with only five shillings and a horse he had bought for one pound seventeen.

Law was the next thing thought of, and his uncle Contarine, who had married his father's sister, came forward with fifty pounds. With this sum Oliver started for London, but gambled it all away in Dublin. In bitter shame he wrote to his uncle, confessed, and was forgiven, and the good uncle then made up a small purse to carry him to Edinburgh for the study of medicine.

No traditions remain in Edinburgh as to the character or extent of Goldsmith's studies there, but it may be supposed that his eighteen months' residence was, on the whole, not unprofitable. A curious document that has been discovered is a torn leaf of a tailor's ledger radiant with "rich sky-blue satin, fine sky-blue shalloon, a superfine silver-laced small hat, rich black Genoa velvet, and superfine high claret-coloured cloth," ordered by Mr. Oliver Goldsmith, student.

II.--Through Europe with a Flute

From Edinburgh he sailed for Leyden, but called on the way at Newcastle and saw enough of England to be able to say that "of all objects on this earth an English farmer's daughter is the most charming." Little is known of his pursuits at Leyden, where his principal means of support were as a teacher. After staying there nearly a year, he quitted it (1755) at the age of twenty-seven, for a travel tour through Europe, with a guinea in his pocket, one shirt on his back, and a flute in his hand.

Goldsmith started on his travels in February, 1755, and stepped ashore at Dover February 1, 1756. For his route it is necessary to consult his writings. His letters of the time have perished. In later life, Foote tells us, "he frequently used to talk, with great pleasantry, of his distresses on the Continent, such as living on the hospitalities of the friars, sleeping in barns, and picking up a kind of mendicant livelihood by the German flute." His early memoir-writers assert with confidence that in some small portion of his travels he acted as companion to a young man of large fortune. It is certain that the rude, strange wandering life to which his nature for a time impelled him was an education picked up from personal experience and by actual collision with many varieties of men, and that it gave him on several social questions much the advantage over the more learned of his contemporaries. As he passed through Flanders, Louvain attracted him, and here, according to his first biographer, he took the degree of medical bachelor. This is likely enough. Certain it is he made some stay at Louvain, became acquainted with its professors, and informed himself of its modes of study. Some little time he also passed at Brussels. Undoubtedly he visited Antwerp, and he rested a brief space in Paris. He must have taken the lecture-rooms of Germany on his way to Switzerland. Passing into that country he saw Schaffhausen frozen. Geneva was his resting-place in Switzerland, but he visited Basle and Berne. Descending into Piedmont, he saw Milan, Verona, Mantua, and Florence, and at Padua is supposed to have stayed some six months, and, it has been asserted, received his degree. "Sir," said Johnson to Boswell, "he disputed his passage through Europe."

III.--Physic, Teaching, and Authorship

Landing at Dover without a farthing in his pocket, the traveller took ten days to reach London, where an uncertain story says he gained subsistence for a few months as an usher, under a feigned name. At last a chemist of the name of Jacob, at the corner of Monument Yard, engaged him. While employed among the drugs he met an old Edinburgh fellow-student, Owen Sleigh, who, "with a heart as warm as ever, shared his home and friendship." Goldsmith now began to practise as a physician in a humble way, and through one of his patients was introduced to Richardson and appointed for a short time reader and corrector to his press in Salisbury Court. Next we find him at Peckham Academy, acting as assistant to Dr. Milner, whose son had been at Edinburgh.

Milner was a contributor to the "Monthly Review," published by Griffiths, the bookseller, and at Milner's table Griffiths and Goldsmith met, with the result that Goldsmith entered into an agreement to devote himself to the "Monthly Review" for a year. In fulfilment of that agreement Mr. and Mrs. Griffiths provided him with bed and board in Paternoster Row, and, at the age of nine-and-twenty, he began his work as an author by profession.

The twelve months' agreement was not carried out. At the end of five months Goldsmith left the "Monthly Review." During that period he had reviewed Professor Mallet's translations of Scandinavian poetry and mythology; Home's tragedy of "Douglas," Burke's "Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful," Smollett's "Complete History of England," and Gray's "Odes." Though he was no longer "a not unuseful assistant" to Griffiths, he kept up an irregular business association with that literary slave-driver. He also became a contributor to Newbery's "Literary Magazine." At last, in despair, he turned again from the miseries of Grub Street to Dr. Milner's school-room at Peckham, and, after another brief period of teaching, Dr. Milner secured for him the promise of an appointment as medical officer to one of the East India Company's factories on the coast of Coromandel. Partly to utilise his travel experiences in a more formal manner than had yet been possible, and partly to provide funds for his equipment for foreign service, he now wrote his "Inquiry into the Present State of Polite Learning in Europe," and, leaving Dr. Milner's, became a contributor to Hamilton's "Critical Review," a rival to Griffiths's "Monthly." In these days he lived in a garret in Green Arbour Court, Old Bailey, with a single chair in the room, and a window seat for himself if a visitor occupied the chair. For some unknown reason the Coromandel appointment was withdrawn, and failure in an examination as a hospital-mate left no hope except in literature.

The turning-point of Goldsmith's life was reached when Griffiths became security for a new suit of clothes in which that unfortunate hospital-mate examination might be attended. On Griffiths finding that the new suit had been pawned to free the poet's landlady from the bailiffs, he abused him as a sharper and a villain, and threatened to proceed against him by law as a criminal. This attack forced from Goldsmith the rejoinder, "Sir, I know of no misery but a jail to which my own imprudences and your letter seem to point. I have seen it inevitable these three or four weeks, and, by heavens! regard it as a favour, as a favour that may prevent somewhat more fatal. I tell you again and again I am now neither able nor willing to pay you a farthing, but I will be punctual to any appointment you or the tailor shall make; thus far at least I do not act the sharper, since, unable to pay my debts one way, I would willingly give some security another. No, sir; had I been a sharper, had I been possessed of less good nature and native generosity, I might surely now have been in better circumstances. My reflections are filled with repentance for my imprudence, but not with any remorse for being a villain."

The result of this correspondence was that Goldsmith contracted to write for Griffiths a "Life of Voltaire"; the payment being twenty pounds, with the price of the clothes to be deducted from the sum.

In the autumn of 1759 Goldsmith commenced, for bookseller Wilkie, of St. Paul's Churchyard, the weekly writing of "The Bee," a threepenny magazine of essays. It ended with its eighth number, for the public would not buy it. At the same time he was writing for Mr. Pottinger's "Busybody," and Mr. Wilkie's "Lady's Magazine." "The Bee," though unsuccessful, brought Goldsmith useful friends--Smollett and Garrick, and Mr. Newbery, the publisher--and with the New Year (1760) he was working with Smollett on "The British Magazine," and, immediately afterwards, on Newbery's "Public Ledger," a daily newspaper, for which he wrote two articles a week at a guinea for each article. Among the articles were the series that still divert and instruct us--"The Citizen of the World." This was the title given when the "Letters from a Chinese Philosopher in London to his Friend in the East" were republished by Newbery, at the end of the year. Goldsmith now began to know his own value as a writer.

IV.--Social and Literary Success

His widening reputation brought him into association and friendship with Johnson, to whom he was introduced by Dr. Percy, the collector of the "Reliques of Ancient English Poetry." Goldsmith gave a supper in honour of his visitor, and when Percy called on Johnson to accompany him to their host's lodgings, to his great astonishment he found Johnson in a new suit of clothes, with a new wig, nicely powdered, perfectly dissimilar from his usual appearance. On being asked the cause of this transformation Johnson replied, "Why, sir, I hear that Goldsmith, who is a very great sloven, justifies his disregard of cleanliness and decency by quoting my practice; and I am desirous this night to show him a better example."

Johnson was perhaps the first literary man of the times who estimated Goldsmith according to his true merits as a writer and thinker, and he was repaid by an affectionate devotion that was never worn out during the later years when the Dictator was too ready to make a butt of the unready Irishman. Goldsmith now joined the group of literary friends who gathered frequently at the shop of Tom Davies, the bookseller, where Johnson and Boswell first met, and he was one of the famous Literary Club which grew out of these meetings.

"Sir," said Johnson to Boswell, at one of their first meetings, "Goldsmith is one of the first men we have as an author."

This was said at a time when all Goldsmith's best works had yet to be written. He was still working for the booksellers, and in 1763, issued anonymously a "History of England in a Series of Letters from a Nobleman to his Son." To various noblemen credit for this popular work was given, including Lord Chesterfield. Growing success was only an excuse for growing extravagance, and in 1764 Goldsmith was placed temporarily under arrest for debt, probably by his landlady, Mrs. Fleming, with whom he had been living at Islington under an arrangement made by Newbery. His withdrawal from the town had given him opportunities for congenial labour on "The Traveller" and "The Vicar of Wakefield," and when Johnson appeared, in answer to his urgent summons, it was the manuscript of "The Vicar" that he carried off, and sold for sixty pounds, to relieve immediate anxieties.

Still, it was "The Traveller" that was first published (December 19, 1764). Johnson pronounced it a poem to which it would not be easy to find anything equal since the death of Pope. The predominant impression of "The Traveller" is of its naturalness and facility. The serene graces of its style, and the mellow flow of its verse, take us captive before we feel the enchantment of its lovely images of various life reflected from its calm, still depths of philosophic contemplation. A fourth edition was issued by August, and a ninth appeared in the year when the poet died. The price paid for it by Newbery was, apparently, twenty guineas.

It was in the spring of 1766, fifteen months after it had been acquired by Newbery, that "The Vicar of Wakefield" was published. No book upon record has obtained a wider popularity, and none is more likely to endure. It is our first pure example of the simple, domestic novel. As a refuge from the compiling of books was this book undertaken. Simple to baldness are the materials used, but Goldsmith threw into the midst of them his own nature, his actual experience, the suffering, discipline, and sweet emotion of his chequered life, and so made them a lesson and a delight to all men. The book silently forced its way. No noise was made about it, no trumpets were blown for it, but admiration gathered steadily around it, and by August a third edition had been reached.

V.--Poet, Dramatist, and Spendthrift

Goldsmith had long been a constant frequenter of the theatres, and one of the most sagacious critics of the actors of his day; and it was natural that, having succeeded as an essayist, a poet, and a novelist, he should try his fortune with the drama. In 1767 a comedy was in Garrick's hands, wherein, following the method of Farquhar, he attempted by the help of nature, humour, and character, to invoke the spirit of laughter, happy, unrestrained, and cordial. After long, and not very friendly, temporising by the great actor, Goldsmith withdrew the play from Drury Lane and committed it to Colman at Covent Garden; but it was not till January 29, 1768, that "The Good-Natur'd Man" was acted. It proved a reasonably fair success. Johnson, who wrote the prologue, went to see the comedy rehearsed, and showed unwavering kindness to his friend at this trying time.

While the play was under discussion and preparation, Goldsmith was engaged in writing for Tom Davies an easy, popular, "History of Rome," in the style of his anonymous "Letters from a Nobleman to His Son," proceeding with it at leisure in his cottage at Edgeware. The success of "The Good-Natured Man," though far from equal to its claims of character, wit, and humour, very sensibly affected its author's ways of life. It put £500 in his pocket, which he at once proceeded to squander on fine chambers in the Temple, and new suits of gay clothing followed in quick succession.

During the next year, 1769, the "Roman History" was published, and the first month's sale established its success so firmly that Goldsmith received an offer of £500 for a "History of England," in four volumes, to be "written and compiled in two years." At the same time he was under agreement for his "Natural History," or, as it was finally termed, his "History of Animated Nature."

These years of heavy work were among the happiest of Goldsmith's life, for he had made the acquaintance of the Misses Horneck, girls of nineteen and seventeen. The elder, Catherine, or "Little Comedy," was already engaged; the younger, Mary, who had the loving nickname of the "Jessamy Bride," exercised over him a strong fascination. Their social as well as personal charms are uniformly spoken of by all. Mary, who did not marry till after Goldsmith's death, lived long enough to be admired by Hazlitt, to whom she talked of the poet with affection unabated by age, till he "could almost fancy the shade of Goldsmith in the room, looking round with complacency."

It was during these years of busy bookmaking, too, that the poet was perfecting his "Deserted Village." On May 26, 1770, it appeared, published at two shillings. Its success was instant and decisive. By August 16, a fifth edition had appeared. When Gray heard the poem read, he exclaimed, "This man is a poet!" The judgment has since been affirmed by hundreds of thousands of readers, and any adverse appeal is little likely now to be lodged against it. Within the circle of its claims and pretensions, a more entirely satisfactory and delightful poem than "The Deserted Village" was probably never written. It lingers in the memory where once it has entered; and such is the softening influence on the heart of the mild, tender, yet clear light which makes its images so distinct and lovely, that there are few who have not wished to rate it higher than poetry of yet higher genius. Goldsmith looked into his heart and wrote.

The poet had now attained social distinction, and we find him passing from town to country with titled friends, and visiting, in somewhat failing health, fashionable resorts, such as Bath. His home remained in the Temple. His worldly affairs continued a source of constant embarrassment, however, and when, in 1772, he had placed the manuscript of "She Stoops to Conquer" in the hands of Colman, not only his own entreaties but the interference of Johnson were used to hasten its production in order to relieve his anxieties. Colman was convinced the comedy would be unsuccessful. It was first acted on March 15, 1773, and, "quite the reverse to everybody's expectation," it was received with the utmost applause.

At this time Goldsmith was sadly in arrears with work he had promised to the booksellers; disputes were pending, and his circumstances were verging on positive distress. The necessity of completing his "Animated Nature"--for which all the money had been received and spent--hung like a mill-stone upon him. His advances had been considerable on other works not yet begun. In what leisure he could get from these tasks he was working at a "Grecian History" to procure means to meet his daily liabilities.

It occurred to friends at this time to agitate the question of a pension for him, on the ground of "distinction in the literary world, and the prospect of approaching distress," but as he had never been a political partisan, the application was met by a firm refusal. Out of the worries of this darkening period, with ill-health adding to his cares, the genius of the poet flashed forth once more in his personal poem, "Retaliation." At a club dinner at St. James's coffee-house, the proposition was made that each member present should write an epitaph on Goldsmith, and Garrick started with:

Here is Nolly Goldsmith, for shortness called Noll,
Who wrote like an angel, and talked like poor Poll.

Later, Goldsmith retaliated with epitaphs on his circle of club friends. His list of discriminating pictures was not complete when he died. Indeed, the picture of Reynolds breaks off with a half line.

On March 25, 1774, the poet was too ill to attend the club gathering--how ill, his friends failed to realise. On the morning of April 4, he died from weakness following fever. "Is your mind at ease?" asked his doctor. "No, it is not," was the melancholy answer, and his last recorded words. His debts amounted to not less than two thousand pounds. "Was ever poet so trusted!" exclaimed Johnson.

His remains were committed to their final resting-place in the burial ground of the Temple Church, and the staircase of his chambers is said to have been filled with mourners the reverse of domestic--women without a home, without domesticity of any kind, with no friend but him they had come to weep for, outcasts of that great, solitary, wicked city, to whom he had never forgotten to be kind and charitable.

Johnson spoke his epitaph in an emphatic sentence: "He had raised money, and squandered it, by every artifice of acquisition and folly of expense; but let not his frailties be remembered--he was a very great man."



George Fox, the founder of the Society of Friends, or "Friends of the Truth," was born at Drayton, Leicestershire, in July, 1624, and died in London on January 13, 1691. His "Journal," here epitomised, was published in 1694, after being revised by a committee under the superintendence of William Penn, and prefaced for the press by Thomas Ellwood, the Quaker. Fox rejected all outward shows of religion, and believed in an inward light and leading. He claimed to be divinely directed as he wandered, Bible in hand, through the country, denouncing church-worship, a paid ministry, religious "profession," and advocating a spiritual affiliation with Christ as the only true religion. He was imprisoned often and long for "brawling" in churches and refusing to take oaths then required by law. Fox wrote in prison many books of religious exhortation, his style being tantalisingly involved. The one work that lives is the "Journal," a quaintly egotistic record of unquestioning faith and unconquerable endurance in pursuit of a spiritual ideal through a rude age.

I.--His Youth and Divine Calling

I was born in the month called July, 1624, at Drayton-in-the-Clay, in Leicestershire. My father's name was Christopher Fox; he was by profession a weaver, an honest man, and there was a seed of God in him. In my very young years I had a gravity and staidness of mind and spirit not usual in children. When I came to eleven years of age I knew pureness and righteousness. The Lord taught me to be faithful in all things, inwardly to God and outwardly to man, and to keep to "Yea" and "Nay" in all things.

Afterwards, as I grew up, I was put to a man, a shoemaker by trade, who dealt in wool, and was a grazier, and sold cattle, and a great deal went through my hands. I never wronged man or woman in all that time; for the Lord's power was with me, and over me to preserve me. While I was in that service, it was common saying among people that knew me, "If George says 'Verily,' there is no altering him."

At the command of God, on the ninth day of the seventh month, 1643, I left my relations, and broke off all familiarity or fellowship with old or young. I went to Barnet in the month called June, in 1644. Now, during the time that I was at Barnet a strong temptation to despair came upon me. Then I thought, because I had forsaken my relations, I had done amiss against them. I was about twenty years of age when these exercises came upon me, and I continued in that condition some years in great trouble. I went to many a priest to look for comfort, but found no comfort from them. Then the priest of Drayton, the town of my birth, whose name was Nathaniel Stephens, came often to me, and I went often to him. At that time he would applaud and speak highly of me to others, and what I said in discourse to him on the week days he would preach of on the first days, for which I did not like him. This priest afterwards became my great persecutor.

After this I went to another ancient priest at Mancetter, in Warwickshire, and reasoned with him about the ground of despair and temptations; but he was ignorant of my condition, he bade me take tobacco and sing psalms. Tobacco was a thing I did not love, and psalms I was not in a state to sing. Then I heard of a priest living about Tamworth, but I found him only like an empty, hollow cask. Later I went to another, one Mackam, a priest of high account. He would needs give me some physic, and I was to have been let blood. I thought them miserable comforters, and saw they were all as nothing to me, for they could not reach my condition. And this struck me, "that to be bred at Oxford or Cambridge was not enough to make a man fit to be a minister of Christ." So neither these, nor any of the dissenting people, could I join with, but was a stranger to all, relying wholly upon the Lord Jesus Christ.

It was now opened in me "that God, who made the world, did not dwell in temples made with hands," but in people's hearts, and His people were His temple. During all this time I was never joined in profession of religion with any, being afraid both of professor and profane. For which reason I kept myself much a stranger, seeking heavenly wisdom and getting knowledge from the Lord.

When all my hopes in them were gone, then--oh, then--I heard a voice which said, "There is one, even Christ Jesus, that can speak to thy condition." And when I heard it my heart did leap for joy, and the Lord stayed my desires upon himself.

II.--Preaching and Persecution

Then came people from far and near to see me, and I was made to speak and open things to them. And there was one Brown, who had great prophecies and sights upon his death-bed of me. He spoke only of what I should be made instrumental by the Lord to bring forth. And I had great openings and prophecies, and spoke of the things of God.

And many who heard me spread the fame thereof, and the Lord's power got ground, and many were turned from the darkness to the light within the compass of these three years--1646, 1647, and 1648. Moreover, when the Lord sent me forth, he forbade me to "put off my hat" to any, high or low. And I was required to "thee" and "thou" all, men and women, without any respect to rich or poor, great or small. But, oh, the rage that then was in the priests, magistrates, professors, and people of all sorts; but especially in priests and professors! Oh, the scorn, the heat and fury that arose! Oh, the blows, punchings, beatings, and imprisonments that we underwent!

About this time I was sorely exercised in speaking and writing to judges and justices to do justly; in warning such as kept public-houses for entertainment that they should not let people have more drink than would do them good. In fairs also and in markets I was made to declare against their deceitful merchandise, cheating, and cozening; warning all to deal justly, to speak the truth, to let their yea be yea, and their nay be nay. Likewise I was made to warn masters and mistresses, fathers and mothers in private families, to take care that their children and servants might be trained up in the fear of the Lord; and that they themselves should be therein examples and patterns of sobriety and virtue.

But the earthly spirit of the priests wounded my life, and when I heard the bell toll to call people together to the steeple-house it struck at my life; for it was just like a market-bell to gather people together, that the priest might set forth his wares to sale.

III.--In Perils Oft

Now as I went towards Nottingham on a first-day, when I came on the top of a hill in sight of the town, I espied the great steeple-house, and the Lord said unto me, "Thou must go cry against yonder great idol, and against the worshippers therein." When I came there all the people looked like fallow ground, the priest (like a great lump of earth) stood in his pulpit above. Now the Lord's power was so mighty upon me that I could not hold, but was made to cry out.

As I spoke, the officers came and took me away, and put me into a nasty, stinking prison, the smell whereof got so into my nose and throat that it very much annoyed me. But that day the Lord's power sounded so in their ears that they were amazed at the voice. At night they took me before the mayor, aldermen, and sheriffs of the town. They examined me at large, and I told them how the Lord had moved me to come. After some discourse between them and me, they sent me back to prison again; but some time after the head sheriff sent for me to his house. I lodged at the sheriff's, and great meetings we had in his house. The Lord's power was with this friendly sheriff, and wrought a mighty change in him; and accordingly he went into the market, and into several streets, and preached repentance to the people. Hereupon the magistrates grew very angry, and sent for me from the sheriff's house, and committed me to the common prison. Now, after I was released from Nottingham gaol, where I had been kept prisoner for some time, I travelled as before in the work of the Lord.

And while I was at Mansfield-Woodhouse, I was moved to go to the steeple-house there, and declare the truth to the priest and people; but the people fell upon me in great rage, struck me down, and almost stifled and smothered me; and I was cruelly beaten and bruised by them with their hands, Bibles, and sticks. Then they haled me out, though I was hardly able to stand, and put me into the stocks, where I sat some hours. After some time they had me before the magistrate, who, seeing how evilly I had been used, after much threatening, set me at liberty. But the rude people stoned me out of the town for preaching the word.

IV.--A Willing Sufferer

While I was in the house of correction at Derby as a blasphemer, my relations came to see me, and being troubled for my imprisonment they went to the justices that cast me into prison, and desired to have me home with them, offering to be bound in one hundred pounds, and others of Derby with them in fifty pounds each, that I should come no more thither to declare against the priests. So I was had up before the justices, and because I would not consent that they or any should be bound for me--for I was innocent from any ill-behaviour, and had spoken the word of life and truth unto them--Justice Bennett rose up in a rage; and as I was kneeling down to pray to the Lord to forgive him, he ran upon me, and struck me with both his hands. Whereupon I was had again to the prison, and there kept until six months were expired.

Now the time of my commitment being nearly ended, the keeper of the house of correction was commanded to bring me before the commissioners and soldiers in the market-place, and there they offered me preferment, as they called it, asking me if I would take up arms for the commonwealth against Charles Stuart; but I told them I lived in the virtue of that life and power that took away the occasion of all wars, and was come into the covenant of peace which was before wars and strifes were.

I then passed through the country, clearing myself amongst the people; and some received me lovingly, and some slighted me. And some when I desired lodging and meat, and would pay for it, would not lodge me except I would go to the constable, which was the custom, they said, of all lodgers at inns, if strangers. I told them I should not go, for that custom was for suspicious persons, but I was an innocent man.

And I passed in the Lord's power into Yorkshire, and came to Tickhill, where I was moved to go to the steeple-house. But when I began to speak they fell upon me, and the clerk took up his Bible and struck me in the face with it, so that it gushed out with blood, and I bled exceedingly in the steeple-house. Then the people got me out and beat me exceedingly, stoning me as they drew me along, so that I was besmeared all over with blood and dirt. Yet when I got upon my legs again I declared to them the word of life. Some moderate justices, hearing of it, came to hear and examine the business, and he that shed my blood was afraid of having his hand cut off for striking me in the church (as they called it), but I forgave him, and would not appear against him.

Then I went to Swarthmore to Judge Fell's, and from there to Ulverstone, where the people heard me gladly, until Justice Sawrey--the first stirrer-up of cruel persecution in the North--incensed them against me, to hale, beat, and bruise me, and the rude multitude, some with staves and others with holly-bushes, beat me on the head, arms, and shoulders till they deprived me of sense. And my body and arms were yellow, black, and blue with the blows I received that day, and I was not able to bear the shaking of a horse without much pain. And Judge Fell, coming home, asked me to give him a relation of my persecution, but I made light of it--as he told his wife--as a man that had not been concerned, for, indeed, the Lord's power healed me again.

V.--Encounters with Cromwell

When I came to Leicester I was carried up a prisoner by Captain Drury, one of the Protector's life-guards, who brought me to London and lodged me at the Mermaid, over against the Mews at Charing Cross. And I was moved of the Lord to write a paper to Oliver Cromwell, wherein I declared against all violence, and that I was sent of God to bring the people from the causes of war and fighting to a peaceable gospel. After some time Captain Drury brought me before the Protector himself at Whitehall, and I spoke much to him of truth and religion, wherein he carried himself very moderately; and as I spoke he several times said it was very good and it was truth, and he wished me no more ill than he did his own soul.

When I went into Cornwall I was seized and brought to Launceston to be tried, and being settled in prison upon such a commitment that we were not likely to be soon released, we were put down into Doomsdale, a nasty, stinking place where they put murderers after they were condemned; and we were fain to stand all night, for we could not sit down, the place was so filthy. We sent a copy of our sufferings to the Protector, who sent down General Desborough to offer us liberty if we would go home and preach no more; but we could not promise him. At last he freely set us at liberty, and in Cornwall, Devonshire, Dorsetshire, and Somersetshire, the truth began to spread mightily.

After a little while Edward Pyot and I were moved to speak to Oliver Cromwell again concerning the sufferings of Friends, and we laid them before him, and directed him to the light of Christ. Afterwards we passed on through the counties to Wales, and by Manchester to Scotland; but the Scots, being a dark, carnal people, gave little heed, and hardly took notice of what was said.

And when I had returned to London I was moved to write again to Oliver Cromwell. There was a rumour about this time of making Cromwell king, whereupon I warned him against it, and he seemed to take well what I said to him, and thanked me. Taking boat to Kingston, and thence to Hampton Court, to speak with him about the sufferings of Friends, I met him riding into Hampton Court Park before I came to him. As he rode at the head of his life-guards, I felt a waft of death go forth against him, and he looked like a dead man. After I had warned him, as I was moved, he bid me come to his house. But when I came he was sick, so I passed away, and never saw him more.

After, I was imprisoned in Lancaster, but when I had been in gaol twenty weeks was released on King Charles being satisfied of my innocency. Then I was tried at Leicester and found guilty, but was set at liberty suddenly. And at Lancaster I was tried because when they tendered me the oaths of allegiance and supremacy I would not take any oath at all, and there I was a prisoner in the castle for Christ's sake, but was never called to hear sentence given, but was removed by an order from the king and council. And afterwards I lay a year in Scarborough gaol, but was discharged by order of the king as a man of peaceable life.

And on the 2nd of the second month of the year 1674 I was brought to trial at Worcester, and during my imprisonment there I wrote several books for the press, and this imprisonment so much weakened me that I was long before I recovered my natural strength again, and in later years my body was never able to bear the closeness of cities long.



Benjamin Franklin, a great and typical American, and one of the most influential founders of the young republic, was born at Boston, Mass., on January 17, 1706. The story of his first fifty years is related in the vigorous and inspiring "Autobiography," published in 1817. But the book does not carry the story further than the year 1758, which was just the time when he took a foremost place in world-politics, as official representative of the New World in the Old World. He came in that year to England, where he remained five years as agent of the colony of Pennsylvania. Again in London, as agent for several colonies, from 1764 to 1775, Franklin fought for their right not to be taxed by the home country without having a voice in matters which concerned themselves; and from 1776 to 1785 he represented his country in Paris, obtaining the assistance of the French government in the War of Independence. On his return to America in 1785 Franklin was chosen President of the State of Pennsylvania. He died on April 17, 1790. Franklin's correspondence, during these important years in Europe, as well as the letters of the last five years of his life, have been ably edited by John Bigelow, and form, in some sort, a continuation of the "Autobiography," published in 1874. The "Autobiography" is published in a number of inexpensive forms.

I.--Early Education

Our family had lived in the village of Ecton, Northamptonshire, for 300 years, the eldest son being always bred to the smith's business. I was the youngest son of the youngest son for five generations back. My father married young, and carried his wife and three children to New England, about 1682, in order that they might there enjoy their Non-conformist religion with freedom. He married a second time, and had in all seventeen children.

I had but little schooling, being taken home at ten years to help my father's business of tallow-chandler. I disliked the trade, and desired to go to sea; living near the water in our home at Boston, I learned to swim well, and to manage boats. From a child I was fond of reading, and laid out all my little money on books, such as Bunyan's works, which I sold to get Burton's "Historical Collections"; and in my father's little library there were Plutarch's "Lives," De Foe's "Essays on Projects," and Mather's "Essays to do Good." This bookish inclination determined my father to bind me apprentice to my brother James, a printer in Boston, and in a little time I became very proficient. I had access to more books, and often sat up most of the night reading. I had also a fancy to poetry, and made some little pieces; my brother printed them, and sent me about the town to sell them.

I now took in hand the improvement of my writing by various exercises in prose and verse, being extremely ambitious to become a good English writer. My time for these exercises was at night and on Sundays. At about 16 years of age, meeting with a book on the subject, I took to a vegetable diet, and thus not only saved an additional fund to buy books, but also gained greater clearness of head. I now studied arithmetic, navigation, geometry, and read Locke "On the Human Understanding," the "Art of Thinking," by Messrs. du Port Royal, and Xenophon's "Memorable Things of Socrates." From this last I learned to drop my abrupt contradiction and positive argumentation, and to put on the humble inquirer and doubter.

My brother had begun to print a newspaper, "The New England Courant," the second that appeared in America. Some of his friends thought it not likely to succeed, one newspaper being enough for America; yet at this time there are not less than five-and-twenty. To this paper I began to contribute anonymously, disguising my hand, and putting my MSS. at night under the door of the printing-house. These were highly approved, until I claimed their authorship.

But I soon took upon me to assert my freedom, and determined to go to New York. A friend of mine agreed with the captain of a sloop for my passage; I was taken on board privately, and in three days found myself in New York, near 300 miles from home, a boy of but seventeen, and with very little money in my pocket. The printer there could not give me employment, but told me of a vacancy in Philadelphia, 100 miles further. Thither, therefore, I proceeded, partly by land, and partly by sea, and landed with one Dutch dollar in my pocket.

There were two printers in the town, both of them poorly qualified. Bradford was very illiterate, and Keimer, though something of a scholar, was a mere compositor, knowing nothing of press-work. Keimer gave me employment. He had been one of the French prophets, and could act their enthusiastic agitations. He did not profess any particular religion, but something of all on occasion, and had a good deal of the knave in his composition. I began to have acquaintance among the young people that were lovers of reading; and gaining money by industry and frugality, I lived very agreeably, forgetting Boston as much as I could.

At length my brother-in-law, master of a sloop, heard of me, and wrote exhorting me to return, to which I answered in a letter which came under the eyes of Sir William Keith, governor of the province. He was surprised when he was told my age, and said that I ought to be encouraged; if I would set up in Philadelphia he would procure me the public business.

Sir William promised to set me up himself. I did not know his reputation for promises which he never meant to keep, and at his suggestion I sailed for England to choose the types. Understanding that his letters recommendatory to a number of friends and his letter of credit to furnish me with the necessary money, which he had failed to give me before the ship sailed, were with the rest of his despatches, I asked the captain for them, and when we came into the Channel he let me examine the bag. I found none upon which my name was put as under my care. I began to doubt his sincerity, and a fellow passenger, on my opening the affair to him, let me into the governor's character, and told me that no one had the smallest dependence on him.

I immediately got work at Palmer's, a famous printing-house in Bartholomew Close, London. I was employed in composing for the second edition of Wollaston's "Religion of Nature," and some of his reasonings not appearing to me well-founded, I wrote a little metaphysical piece entitled "A Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity, Pleasure and Pain." This brought me the acquaintance of Dr. Mandeville, author of the "Fable of the Bees," a most facetious, entertaining companion. I presently left Palmer's to work at Watts, near Lincoln's Inn Fields, and here I continued for the rest of my eighteen months in London. But I had grown tired of that city, and when a Mr. Denham, who was returning to Philadelphia to open a store, offered to take me as his clerk, I gladly accepted.

We landed in Philadelphia on October 11, 1726, where I found sundry alterations. Keith was no longer governor; and Miss Read, to whom I had paid some courtship, had been persuaded in my absence to marry one Rogers, a potter. With him, however, she was never happy, and soon parted from him; he was a worthless fellow. Mr. Denham took a store, but died next February, and I returned to Keimer's printing-house.

II.--Making His Way

I had now just passed my twenty-first year; and it may be well to let you know the then state of my mind with regard to my principles and morals. My parents had brought me through my childhood piously in the dissenting way, but now I had become a thorough Deist. My arguments had perverted some others, but as each of these persons had afterwards wronged me greatly without the least compunction, and as my own conduct towards others had given me great trouble, I began to suspect that this doctrine, though it might be true, was not very useful. I now, therefore, grew convinced that truth, sincerity, and integrity between man and man were of the utmost importance to the felicity of life; and I formed written resolutions to practice them ever while I lived.

I now set up in partnership with Meredith, one of Keimer's workmen, the money being found by Meredith's father. In the autumn of the preceding year, I had formed most of my ingenious acquaintance into a club of mutual improvement, which we called the Junto; it met on Friday evenings for essays and debates. Every one of its members exerted himself in recommending business to our new firm.

Soon Keimer started a newspaper, "The Universal Instructor in all Arts and Sciences and Pennsylvania Gazette," but after carrying it on for some months with only ninety subscribers he sold it to me for a trifle, and it proved in a few years extremely profitable. With the help of two good friends I bought out Meredith in 1729, and continued the business alone.

I had turned my thoughts to marriage, but soon found that, the business of a printer being thought a poor one, I was not to expect money with a wife. Friendly relations had continued between me and Mrs. Read's family; I pitied poor Miss Read's unfortunate situation, and our mutual affection revived. Though there was a report of her husband's death, and another report that he had a preceding wife in England, neither of these were certain, and he had left many debts, which his successor might be called on to pay.

But we ventured over these difficulties, and I took her to wife September 1, 1730. None of the inconveniences happened that we had apprehended; she proved a good and faithful helpmate, assisted me much by attending the shop; we throve together, and have ever mutually endeavoured to make each other happy.

I now set on foot my first project of a public nature, that for a subscription library. By the help of our club, the Junto, I procured fifty subscribers of forty shillings each to begin with, and ten shillings a year for fifty years. We afterwards obtained a charter, and this was the mother of all the North American subscription libraries now so numerous, which have made the common tradesmen and farmers as intelligent as most gentlemen from other countries.

III.--The Scheme of Virtues

It was about 1733 that I conceived the bold and arduous project of arriving at moral perfection. I wished to live without committing any fault at any time; I would conquer all that natural inclination, custom, or company might lead me into. As I knew, or thought I knew, what was right and wrong, I did not see why I might not always do the one and avoid the other. But I soon found that I had undertaken a task of great difficulty, and I therefore contrived the following method. I included under thirteen names of virtues all that at that time occurred to me as necessary or desirable, and annexed to each a short precept, which expressed the extent which I gave to its meaning.

The names of virtues were: Temperance, silence, order, resolution, frugality, industry, sincerity, justice, moderation, cleanliness, tranquillity, chastity, and humility. My list contained at first only twelve virtues, but a friend having informed me that I was generally thought proud, I determined endeavouring to cure myself of this vice or folly among the rest; and, though I cannot boast of much success in acquiring the reality of this virtue, I had a good deal of success with regard to the appearance of it. My intention being to acquire the habitude of all these virtues, I determined to give a week's strict attention to each of them successively, thus going through a complete course in thirteen weeks, and four courses in a year. I had a little book, in which I allotted a page for each of the virtues; the page was ruled into days of the week, and I marked in it, by a little black spot, every fault I found by examination to have been committed respecting that virtue upon that day.

I was surprised to find myself much fuller of faults than I had imagined, but I had the satisfaction of seeing them diminish. After a while I went through one course only in a year, and afterwards only one in several years, till at length I omitted them entirely; but I always carried my little book with me. My scheme of order gave me most trouble. It was as follows.

5--8 a.m. What good shall I do this day? Rise, wash, and address Powerful Goodness. Contrive day's business, and take the resolution of the day; prosecute the present study, and breakfast.

8 a.m.--12 noon. Work.

12--1 p.m.--Read, or overlook my accounts, and dine.

2--6 p.m. Work.

6--10 p.m. Put things in their places. Supper. Music or diversion, or conversation. Examination of the day. What good have I done this day?

10 p.m.--5 a.m. Sleep.

In truth, I found myself incorrigible with regard to order, yet I was, by the endeavour, a better and a happier man than I should have been if I had not attempted it. It may be well that my posterity should be informed that to this little artifice, with the blessing of God, their ancestor owed the constant felicity of his life.

I purposed publishing my scheme, writing a little comment on each virtue, and I should have called my book "The Art of Virtue," distinguishing it from the mere exhortation to be good. But my intention was never fulfilled, for it was connected in my mind with a great and extensive project, which I have never had time to attend to. I had set forth on paper the substance of an intended creed, containing, as I thought, the essentials of every known religion, and I conceived the project of raising a united party for virtue, by forming the virtuous and good men of all nations into a regular body, to be governed by suitable good and wise rules. I thought that the sect should be begun and spread at first among young and single men only, that each person to be initiated should declare his assent to my creed, and should have exercised himself with the thirteen weeks' practice of the virtues, that the existence of the society should be kept a secret until it was become considerable, that the members should engage to assist one another's interests, business, and advancement in life, and that we should be called "The Society of the Free and Easy," as being free from the dominion of vice and of debt. I am still of opinion that it was a practicable scheme.

In 1732 I first published my Almanack, commonly called "Poor Richard's Almanack," and continued it for about twenty-five years. It had a great circulation, and I considered it a proper vehicle for conveying instruction among the common people. Thus, I assembled the proverbs containing the wisdom of many ages and nations into a discourse prefixed to the Almanack of 1757, as the harangue of a wise old man to the people attending an auction. I considered my newspaper also as a means of instruction, and published in it extracts from moral writers and little pieces of my own, in the form sometimes of a Socratic dialogue, tending to prove the advantages of virtue.

I had begun in 1733 to study languages. I made myself master of French so as to be able to read books with ease, and then Italian, and later Spanish. Having an acquaintance with these, I found, on looking over a Latin Testament, that I understood much of that language, which encouraged me to study it with success.

Our secret club, the Junto, had turned out to be so useful that I now set every member of it to form each of them a subordinate club, with the same rules, but without informing the new clubs of their connection with the Junto. The advantages proposed were, the improvement of so many young citizens; our better acquaintance with the general sentiments of the inhabitants on any occasion, as the Junto member was to report to the Junto what passed in his separate club; the promotion of our particular interests in business by more extensive recommendation; and the increase of our influence in public affairs. Five or six clubs were completed, and answered our views of influencing public opinion on particular occasions.

IV.--Public Life

My first promotion was my being chosen, in 1736, clerk of the General Assembly. In the following year I received the commission of postmaster at Philadelphia, and found it of great advantage. I now began to turn my thoughts a little to public affairs, beginning, however, with small matters, and preparing the way for my reforms through the Junto and subordinate clubs. Thus I reformed the city watch, and established a company for the extinguishing of fires. In 1739 the Rev. Mr. Whitefield arrived among us and preached to enormous audiences throughout the colonies. I knew him intimately, being employed in printing his sermons and journals; he used sometimes to pray for my conversion, but never had the satisfaction of believing that his prayers were heard. Our friendship lasted till his death.

My business was now continually augmenting, and my circumstances daily growing easier. Spain having been several years at war against Great Britain, and being at length joined by France, our situation became one of great danger; our colony was defenceless, and our Assembly was composed principally of Quakers. I therefore formed an association of citizens, numbering ten thousand, into a militia; these all furnished themselves with arms and met every week for drill, while the women provided silk colours painted with devices and mottoes which I supplied. With the proceeds of a lottery we built a battery below the town, and borrowed eighteen cannon of the governor of New York.

Peace being concluded, and the association business therefore at an end, I turned my thoughts to the establishment of an academy. I published a pamphlet; set on foot a subscription, not as an act of mine, but of some "public-spirited gentleman," and the schools were opened in 1749. They were soon moved to our largest hall; the trustees were incorporated by a charter from the governor, and thus was established the University of Pennsylvania. The building of a hospital for the sick, and the paving, lighting, and sweeping of the streets of the city, were among the reforms in which I had a hand at this time. In 1753 I was appointed, jointly with another, postmaster-general of America, and the following year I drew up a plan for the union of all the colonies under one government for defence and other important general purposes. Its fate was singular; the assemblies did not adopt it, as they thought there was too much prerogative in it, and in England it was judged to be too democratic. The Board of Trade therefore did not approve of it, but substituted another scheme for the same end. I believe that my plan was really the true medium, and that it would have been happy for both sides of the water if it had been adopted.

When war was in a manner commenced with France, the British Government, not choosing to trust the union of the colonies with their defence, lest they should feel their own strength, sent over General Braddock in 1755 with two regiments of regular English troops for that purpose. He landed at Alexandria and marched to Frederictown in Maryland, where he halted for carriages. I was sent to him by the Assembly, stayed with him for several days, and had full opportunity of removing all his prejudices against the colonies by informing him of what the essemblies had done and would still do to facilitate his operations.

This general was a brave man, and might have made a figure as a good officer in some European war. But he had too much self-confidence, too high an opinion of regular troops, and too mean a one of both Americans and Indians. Our Indian interpreter joined him with 100 guides and scouts, who might have been of great use to him; but he slighted and neglected them and they left him. He said to one of the Indians, "These savages may indeed be a formidable enemy to your raw American militia, but upon the king's regular and disciplined troops, sir, it is impossible that they should make any impression." In the first engagement his force was routed in panic, and two-thirds of them were killed, by no more than 400 Indians and French together. This gave us the first suspicion that our exalted ideas of the prowess of British regulars had not been well founded. Besides, from the day of their landing, they had plundered, insulted, and abused our inhabitants. We wanted no such defenders.

After this the governor prevailed with me to take charge of our north-west frontier, which was infested by the enemy, and I undertook this military business, although I did not conceive myself well suited for it.

My account of my electrical experiments was read before the Royal Society of London, and afterwards printed in a pamphlet. The Count de Buffon, a philosopher of great reputation, had the book translated into French, and then it appeared in the Italian, German, and Latin languages. What gave it the more sudden celebrity was the success of its proposed experiment for drawing lightning from the clouds. I was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, and they presented me with the gold medal of Sir Godfrey Copley, for 1753.

The Assembly had long had much trouble with the "proprietary," or great hereditary landowners. Finally, finding that they persisted obstinately in manacling their deputies with instructions inconsistent, not only with the privileges of the people, but with the service of the crown, the Assembly resolved to petition the king against them, and appointed me agent in England to present and support the petition. I sailed from New York with my son in the end of June; we dropped anchor in Falmouth harbour, and reached London on July 27, 1757.


The Life of Charlotte Bronte

Elizabeth Cleghorn Stevenson, afterwards Mrs. Gaskell, was born at Chelsea on September 29, 1810. At the age of twenty-two she married William Gaskell, a minister of the Unitarian Church in Manchester. She became famous in 1848 on the publication of "Mary Barton," a novel treating of factory life. Her "Life of Charlotte Brontë," published in 1857, caused much controversy, which became bitter, and occasioned the fixed resolve on the part of its author that her own memoirs should never be published. This gloomily-haunting, vivid human "Life of Charlotte Brontë" was written at the request of the novelist's father, who placed all the materials in his possession at the disposal of the biographer. Mrs. Gaskell took great pains to make her work complete, and, though published only two years after Charlotte Brontë's death, it still holds the field unchallenged. Mrs. Gaskell died on November 12, 1865.

I.--The Children Who Never Played

Into the midst of the lawless yet not unkindly population of Haworth, in the West Riding, the Rev. Patrick Brontë brought his wife and six little children in February, 1820, seven heavily-laden carts lumbering slowly up the long stone street bearing the "new parson's" household goods.

A native of County Down, Mr. Brontë had entered St. John's College, Cambridge, in 1802, obtained his B.A. degree, and after serving as a curate in Essex, had been appointed curate at Hartshead, in Yorkshire. There he was soon captivated by Maria Branwell, a little gentle creature, the third daughter of Mr. Thomas Branwell, merchant, of Penzance. In 1816 he received the living of Thornton, in Bradford Parish, and there, on April 21, Charlotte Brontë was born. She was the third daughter, Maria and Elizabeth being her elder sisters, and fast on her heels followed Patrick Branwell, Emily Jane and Anne.

"They kept themselves to themselves very close," in the account given by those who remember the family coming to Haworth. From the first, the walks of the children were directed rather towards the heathery moors sloping upwards behind the parsonage than towards the long descending village street. Hand in hand they used to make their way to the glorious moors, which in after days they loved so passionately.

They were grave and silent beyond their years. "You would never have known there was a child in the house, they were such still, noiseless, good little creatures," said one of my informants. "Maria would often shut herself up" (Maria of seven!) "in the children's study with a newspaper or a periodical, and be able to tell anyone everything when she came out, debates in parliament, and I know not what all."

Mr. Brontë wished to make the children hardy, and indifferent to the pleasures of eating and dress. His strong passionate nature was in general compressed down with resolute stoicism. Mrs. Brontë, whose sweet spirit thought invariably on the bright side, would say: "Ought I not to be thankful that he never gave me an angry word?"

In September, 1821, Mrs. Brontë died, and the lives of those quiet children must have become quieter and lonelier still. Their father did not require companionship, and the daughters grew out of childhood into girlhood bereft in a singular manner of such society as would have been natural to their age, sex and station. The children did not want society. To small infantine gaieties they were unaccustomed. They were all in all to each other. They had no children's books, but their eager minds "browsed undisturbed among the wholesome pasturage of English literature," as Charles Lamb expressed it.

Their father says of their childhood that "since they could read and write they used to invent and act little plays of their own, in which the Duke of Wellington, Charlotte's hero, was sure to come off conqueror. When the argument got warm I had sometimes to come in as arbitrator." Long before Maria Brontë died, at the age of eleven, her father used to say he could converse with her on any topic with as much freedom and pleasure as with any grown-up person.

In 1824, the four elder girls were admitted as pupils to Cowan Bridge School for the daughters of clergymen, where they were half starved amid the most insanitary surroundings. Helen Burns in "Jane Eyre" is as exact a transcript of Maria Brontë as Charlotte's wonderful power of representing character could give. In 1825 both Maria and Elizabeth died of consumption, and Charlotte was suddenly called from school into the responsibilities of the eldest sister in a motherless family.

At the end of the year, Charlotte and Emily returned home, where Branwell was being taught by his father, and their aunt, Miss Branwell, who acted as housekeeper, taught them what she could. An immense amount of manuscript dating from this period is in existence--tales, dramas, poems, romances, written principally by Charlotte, in a hand it is almost impossible to decipher without the aid of a magnifying glass. They make in the whole twenty-two volumes, each volume containing from sixty to a hundred pages, and all written in about fifteen months. The quality strikes me as of singular merit for a girl of thirteen or fourteen.

II.--Girlhood of Charlotte Bronte

In 1831, Charlotte Brontë was a quiet, thoughtful girl, nearly fifteen years of age, very small in figure--stunted was the word she applied to herself--fragile, with soft, thick, brown hair, and peculiar eyes. They were large and well shaped, their colour a reddish brown, and if the iris was closely examined, it appeared to be composed of a great variety of tints. The usual expression was of quiet, listening intelligence, but now and then, on some just occasion for vivid interest or wholesome indignation, a light would shine out as if some spiritual lamp had been kindled which glowed behind those expressive orbs. I never saw the like in any other human creature. The rest of her features were plain, large, and ill-set; but you were hardly aware of the fact, for the eyes and power of the countenance overbalanced every physical defect. The crooked mouth and the large nose were forgotten, and the whole face arrested the attention, and presently attracted all those whom she would herself have cared to attract. Her hands and feet were the smallest I ever saw; when one of her hands was placed in mine it was like the soft touch of a bird in the middle of my palm.

In January, 1831, Charlotte was sent to school again, this time as a pupil of Miss Wooler, who lived at Roe Head, between Leeds and Huddersfield, the surroundings being those described in "Shirley." The kind motherly nature of Miss Wooler, and the small number of the girls, made the establishment more like a private family than a school. Here Charlotte formed friendships with Miss Wooler and girls attending the school--particularly Ellen Nussey and Mary Taylor--which lasted through life.

Writing of Charlotte at this time "Mary" says the other girls "thought her very ignorant, for she had never learned grammar at all, and very little geography, but she would confound us by knowing things that were out of our range altogether. She said she had never played, and could not play. She used to draw much better and more quickly than we had seen before, and knew much about celebrated pictures and painters. She made poetry and drawing very interesting to me, and then I got the habit I have yet of referring mentally to her opinion all matters of that kind, resolving to describe such and such things to her, until I start at the recollection that I never shall."

This tribute to her influence was written eleven years after Mary had seen Charlotte, nearly all those years having been passed by Mary at the Antipodes.

"Her idea of self improvement," continues Mary, "was to cultivate her tastes. She always said there was enough of useful knowledge forced on us by necessity, and that the thing most needed was to soften and refine our minds, and she picked up every scrap of information concerning painting, sculpture and music, as if it were gold."

In spite of her unsociable habits, she was a favourite with her schoolfellows, and an invaluable story-teller, frightening them almost out of their lives as they lay in bed.

III.--Her Life as a Governess

After a year and a half's residence at Roe Head, beloved and respected by all, laughed at occasionally by a few, but always to her face, Charlotte returned home to educate her sisters, to practise household work under the supervision of her somewhat exacting aunt, and to write long letters to her girl friends, Mary and Ellen--Mary, the Rose Yorke, and Ellen, the Caroline Helstone of "Shirley." Three years later she returned to Roe Head as a teacher, in order that her brother Branwell might be placed at the Royal Academy and her sister Emily at Roe Head. Emily Brontë, however, only remained three months at school, her place being taken there by her younger sister, Anne.

"My sister Emily loved the moors," wrote Charlotte, explaining the change. "Flowers brighter than the rose bloomed in the blackest of the heath for her; out of a sullen hollow in the livid hillside her mind could make an Eden. She found in the bleak solitude many a dear delight; and not the least and best loved was liberty. Without it she perished. Her nature proved here too strong for her fortitude. In this struggle her health was quickly broken. I felt in my heart that she would die if she did not go home, and with this conviction obtained her recall."

Charlotte's own life at Miss Wooler's was a very happy one until her health failed, and she became dispirited, and a prey to religious despondency. During the summer holidays of 1836, all the members of the family were occupied with thoughts of literature. Charlotte wrote to Southey, and Branwell to Wordsworth, of their ambitions, and Southey replied that "literature cannot be the business of a woman's life, and ought not to be. The more she is engaged in her proper duties the less leisure she will have for it, even as an accomplishment and recreation." To this Charlotte meekly replied: "I trust I shall never more feel ambitious to see my name in print."

On the school being removed to Dewsbury Moor, Charlotte, whose health and spirits had been affected by the change, and Anne returned home. "I stayed at Dewsbury Moor," she said in a letter to Ellen Nussey, "as long as I was able; but at length I neither could nor dare stay any longer. My life and spirits had utterly failed me; so home I went, and the change at once roused and soothed me."

At this time Charlotte received an offer of marriage from a clergyman having a resemblance to St. John Rivers in "Jane Eyre"--a brother of her friend Ellen; but she refused him as she explains:

"I had a kindly leaning towards him as an amiable and well-disposed man. Yet I had not and could not have that intense attachment which would make me willing to die for him; and if ever I marry it must be in that light of adoration that I will regard my husband."

Teaching now seemed to the three sisters to be the only way of earning an independent livelihood, though they were not naturally fond of children. The hieroglyphics of childhood were an unknown language to them, for they had never been much with those younger than themselves; and they were not as yet qualified to take charge of advanced pupils. They knew but little French, and were not proficient in music. Still, Charlotte and Anne both took posts as governesses, and eventually formed a plan of starting a school on their own account, their housekeeping Aunt Branwell providing the necessary capital. To fit them for this work Charlotte and Emily entered, in February, 1842, the Héger Pensionnat, Brussels, and meantime Anne came home to Haworth from her governess life. The brother, Branwell, had now given up his idea of art, and was a clerk on the Leeds and Manchester Railway.

In Brussels, Emily was homesick as ever, the suffering and conflict being heightened, in the words of Charlotte, "by the strong recoil of her upright, heretic, and English spirit from the gentle Jesuitry of the foreign and Romish system. She was never happy till she carried her hard-won knowledge back to the remote English village, the old parsonage house, and desolate Yorkshire hills." "We are completely isolated in the midst of numbers. Yet I think I am never unhappy; my present life is so delightful, so congenial to my own nature, compared with that of a governess," was Charlotte's further description.

The sisters were so successful with their study of French that Madame Héger proposed that both should stay another half year, Charlotte to teach English, and Emily music; but from Brussels the girls were brought hastily home by the illness and death of their aunt, who left to each of them independently a share of her savings--enough to enable them to make whatever alterations were needed to turn the parsonage into a school. Emily now stayed at home, and Charlotte (January, 1843) returned to Brussels to teach English to Belgian pupils, under a constant sense of solitude and depression, while she learned German. A year later she returned to Haworth, on receiving news of the distressing conduct of her brother Branwell and the rapid failure of her father's sight. On leaving Brussels, she took with her a diploma certifying that she was perfectly capable of teaching the French language, and her pupils showed for her, at parting, an affection which she observed with grateful surprise.

IV.--The Sisters' Book of Poems

The attempt to secure pupils at Haworth failed. At this time the conduct of the now dissipated brother Branwell--conduct bordering on insanity--caused the family the most terrible anxiety; their father was nearly blind with cataract, and Charlotte herself lived under the dread of blindness. It was now that she paid a visit to her friends the Nusseys, at Hathersage, in Derbyshire, the scene of the later chapters of "Jane Eyre." On her return she found her brother dismissed from his employment, a slave to opium, and to drink whenever he could get it, and for some time before he died he had attacks of delirium tremens of the most frightful character.

In the course of this sad autumn of 1845 a new interest came into the lives of the sisters through the publication, at their own expense, of "Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell," as explained in the biographical notice of her sisters, which Charlotte prefaced to the edition of "Wuthering Heights" and "Agnes Grey," that was published in 1850.

"One day in the autumn of 1845 I accidentally lighted on a manuscript volume of verses in my sister Emily's handwriting. Of course I was not surprised, knowing that she could and did write verses. I looked it over, and then something more than surprise seized me--a deep conviction that these were not common effusions, not at all like the poetry a woman generally writes. I thought them condensed and terse, vigorous and genuine. To my ear they had also a peculiar music, wild, melancholy, and elevating. I took hours to reconcile my sister to the discovery I had made, and days to persuade her that such poems merited publication. Meantime, my younger sister quietly produced some of her own compositions, intimating that since Emily's had given me pleasure I might like to look at hers. I thought that these verses too had a sweet sincere pathos of their own. We had very early cherished the dream of one day being authors. We agreed to arrange a small selection of our poems, and if possible get them printed."

The "Poems" obtained no sale until the authors became otherwise known.

During the summer of 1846 the three sisters made attempts to find a publisher for a volume that was to consist of three prose tales, "Wuthering Heights," by Emily, "Agnes Grey" by Anne, and "The Professor" by Charlotte. Eventually the two former were accepted for a three-volume issue, though eighteen months passed and much happened before the book was actually circulated. Meantime, "The Professor" was plodding its way round London through many rejections. Under these circumstances, her brother's brain mazed and his gifts and life lost, her father's sight hanging on a thread, her sisters in delicate health and dependent on her care, did the brave genius begin, with steady courage, the writing of "Jane Eyre." While refusing to publish "The Professor," Messrs. Smith, Elder & Co. expressed their willingness to consider favourably a new work in three volumes which "Currer Bell" informed them he was writing; and by October 16, 1847, the tale--"Jane Eyre"--was accepted, printed, and published.

V.--The Coming of Success

The gentleman connected with the firm who first read the manuscript was so powerfully struck by the character of the tale that he reported his impressions in very strong terms to Mr. Smith, who appears to have been much amused by the admiration excited. "You seem to have been so enchanted that I do not know how to believe you," he laughingly said. But when a second reader, in the person of a clear-headed Scotsman, not given to enthusiasm, had taken the manuscript home in the evening, and became so deeply interested in it as to sit up half the night to finish it, Mr. Smith's curiosity was sufficiently excited to prompt him to read it himself; and great as were the praises which had been bestowed upon it he found that they did not exceed the truth. The power and fascination of the tale itself made its merits known to the public without the kindly fingerposts of professional criticism, and early in December the rush for copies began.

When the demand for the work had assured success, her sisters urged Charlotte to tell their father of its publication. She accordingly went into his study one afternoon, carrying with her a copy of the book and two or three reviews, taking care to include a notice adverse to it, and the following conversation took place.

"Papa, I've been writing a book."

"Have you, my dear?"

"Yes; and I want you to read it."

"I am afraid it will try my eyes too much."

"But it is not in manuscript; it is printed."

"My dear, you've never thought of the expense it will be! It will be almost sure to be a loss; for how can you get a book sold? No one knows you or your name."

"But, papa, I don't think it will be a loss. No more will you if you will just let me read you a review or two, and tell you more about it."

So she sat down and read some of the reviews to her father, and then, giving him the copy of "Jane Eyre" that she intended for him, she left him to read it. When he came in to tea he said: "Girls, do you know Charlotte has been writing a book, and it is much better than likely?"

Soon the whole reading world of England was in a ferment to discover the unknown author. Even the publishers were ignorant whether "Currer Bell" was a real or an assumed name till a flood of public opinion had lifted the book from obscurity and had laid it high on the everlasting hills of fame.

The authorship was kept a close secret in the Brontë family, and not even the friend who was all but a sister--Ellen Nussey--knew more about it than the rest of the world. It was indeed through an attempt at sharp practice by another firm that Messrs. Smith & Elder became aware of the identity of the author with Miss Brontë. In the June of 1848, "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall," a second novel by Anne Brontë--"Acton Bell"--was submitted for publication to the firm which had previously published "Wuthering Heights" and "Agnes Grey," and this firm announced the new book in America as by the author of "Jane Eyre," although Messrs. Smith, Elder & Co. had entered into an agreement with an American house for the publication of "Currer Bell's" next tale. On hearing of this, the sisters, Charlotte and Anne, set off instantly for London to prove personally that they were two and not one; and women, not men.

On reaching Mr. Smith's office, Charlotte put his own letter into his hand as an introduction.

"Where did you get this?" said he, as if he could not believe that the two young ladies dressed in black, of slight figures and diminutive stature, looking pleased yet agitated, could be the embodied Currer and Acton Bell for whom curiosity had been hunting so eagerly in vain.

An explanation ensued, and the publisher at once began to form plans for the amusement of the visitors during their three days' stay in London.

In September, 1848, her brother Branwell died. After the Sunday succeeding Branwell's death, Emily Brontë never went out of doors, and in less than three months she, too, was dead. To the last she adhered tenaciously to her habits of independence. She would suffer no one to assist her. On the day of her death she arose, dressed herself, and tried to take up her sewing.

Anne Brontë, too, drooped and sickened from this time in a similar consumption, and on May 28, 1849, died peacefully at Scarborough, pathetically appealing to Charlotte with her ebbing breath: "Take courage, Charlotte; take courage."

VI.--Charlotte Brontë's Closing Years

"Shirley" had been begun soon after the publication of "Jane Eyre." Shirley herself is Charlotte's representation of Emily as she would have been if placed in health and prosperity. It was published five months after Anne's death. The reviews, Charlotte admitted, were "superb."

Visits to London made Miss Brontë acquainted with many of the literary celebrities of the day, including Thackeray and Miss Martineau. In Yorkshire her success caused great excitement. She tells herself how "Martha came in yesterday puffing and blowing, and much excited. 'Please, ma'am, you've been and written two books--the grandest books that ever was seen. They are going to have a meeting at the Mechanics' Institute to settle about ordering them.' When they got the volumes at the Mechanics' Institute, all the members wanted them. They cast lots, and whoever got a volume was allowed to keep it two days, and was to be fined a shilling per diem for longer detention."

In the spring of 1850, Charlotte Brontë paid another visit to London, and later to Scotland, where she found Edinburgh "compared to London like a vivid page of history compared to a dull treatise on political economy; as a lyric, brief, bright, clean, and vital as a flash of lightning, compared to a great rumbling, rambling, heavy epic."

She was in London again in 1851, and was dismayed by the attempts to lionise her. "Villette," written in a constant fight against ill-health, was published in 1853, and was received with one burst of acclamation. This brought to a close the publication of Charlotte's life-time.

The personal interest of the two last years of Charlotte Brontë's life centres on her relations with her father's curate, the Rev. A.B. Nicholls. In 1853, he asked her hand in marriage. He was the fourth man who had ventured on the same proposal. Her father disapproved, and Mr. Nicholls resigned his curacy. Next year, however, her father relented. Mr. Nicholls again took up the curacy, and the marriage was celebrated on June 29, 1854. Henceforward the doors of home are closed upon her married life.

On March 31, 1855, she died before she had attained to motherhood, her last recorded words to her husband being: "We have been so happy." Her life appeals to that large and solemn public who know how to admire generously extraordinary genius, and how to reverence all noble virtue.



Gibbon's autobiography was published in 1796, two years after his death, by his friend, Lord Sheffield, under the title "Miscellaneous Works of Edward Gibbon, Esq., with Memoirs of His Life and Writings, Composed by Himself." "After completing his history," says Mr. Birrell, "Gibbon had but one thing left him to do in order to discharge his duty to the universe. He had written a magnificent history of the Roman Empire; it remained to write the history of the historian. It is a most studied performance, and may be boldly pronounced perfect. It is our best, and best known, autobiography." That the writing was studied is shown by the fact that six different sketches were left in Gibbon's handwriting, and from all these the published memoirs were selected and put together. The memoir was briefly completed by Lord Sheffield. Bagehot described the book as "the most imposing of domestic narratives." Truly, it was impossible for Gibbon to doff his dignity, but through the cadenced formality of his style the reader can detect a happy candour, careful sincerity, complacent temper, and a loyalty to friendship that recommend the man as truly as the writer. (See also HISTORY.)

I.--Birth and Education

I was born at Putney, in the county of Surrey, April 27, in the year 1737, the first child of the marriage of Edward Gibbon, Esq., and Jane Porten.

From my birth I have enjoyed the right of primogeniture; but I was succeeded by five brothers and one sister, all of whom were snatched away in their infancy. So feeble was my constitution, so precarious my life, that in the baptism of each of my brothers my father's prudence successively repeated my Christian name of Edward, that, in the case of the departure of the eldest son, this patronymic appellation might be still perpetuated in the family.

To preserve and to rear so frail a being the most tender assiduity was scarcely sufficient, and my mother's attention was somewhat diverted by an exclusive passion for her husband and by the dissipation of the world; but the maternal office was supplied by my aunt, Mrs. Catherine Porten, at whose name I feel a tear of gratitude trickling down my cheek.

After this instruction at home, I was delivered at the age of seven into the hands of Mr. John Kirkby, who exercised for about eighteen months the office of my domestic tutor, enlarged my knowledge of arithmetic, and left me a clear impression of the English and Latin rudiments. In my ninth year, in a lucid interval of comparative health, I was sent to a school of about seventy boys at Kingston-upon-Thames, and there, by the common methods of discipline, at the expense of many tears and some blood, purchased a knowledge of the Latin syntax. After a nominal residence at Kingston of nearly two years, I was finally recalled by my mother's death. My poor father was inconsolable, and he renounced the tumult of London, and buried himself in the rustic solitude of Buriton; but as far back as I can remember, the house of my maternal grandfather, near Putney Bridge, appears in the light of my proper and native home, and that excellent woman, Mrs. Catherine Porten, was the true mother of my mind, as well as of my health.

At this time my father was too easily content with such teachers as the different places of my residence could supply, and it might now be apprehended that I should continue for life an illiterate cripple; but as I approached my sixteenth year, nature displayed in my favour her mysterious energies: my constitution was fortified and fixed, and my disorders most wonderfully vanished.

Without preparation or delay, my father carried me to Oxford, and I was matriculated in the university as a gentleman commoner of Magdalen College before I had accomplished the fifteenth year of my age. As often as I was tolerably exempt from danger and pain, reading, free desultory reading, had been the employment and comfort of my solitary hours, and I was allowed, without control or advice, to gratify the wanderings of an unripe taste. My indiscriminate appetite subsided by degrees into the historic line; and I arrived at Oxford with a stock of erudition that might have puzzled a doctor, and a degree of ignorance of which a schoolboy would have been ashamed.

The happiness of boyish years I have never known, and that time I have never regretted. To the university of Oxford I acknowledge no obligation. I spent fourteen months at Magdalen College, and they proved the fourteen months the most idle and profitless of my whole life. The sum of my improvement there is confined to three or four Latin plays. It might at least be expected that an ecclesiastical school should inculcate the orthodox principles of religion. But our venerable mother had contrived to unite the opposite extremes of bigotry and indifference. The blind activity of idleness urged me to advance without armour into the dangerous mazes of controversy, and at the age of sixteen I bewildered myself in the errors of the church of Rome. Translations of two famous works of Bossuet achieved my conversion, and surely I fell by a noble hand.

No sooner had I settled my new religion than I resolved to profess myself a Catholic, and on June 8, 1753, I solemnly abjured the errors of heresy. An elaborate controversial epistle, addressed to my father, announced and justified the step which I had taken. My father was neither a bigot nor a philosopher, but his affection deplored the loss of an only son, and his good sense was astonished at my departure from the religion of my country. In the first sally of passion, he divulged a secret which prudence might have suppressed, and the gates of Magdalen College were for ever shut against my return.

II.--A Happy Exile

It was necessary for my father to form a new plan of education, and effect the cure of my spiritual malady. After much debate it was determined to fix me for some years at Lausanne, in Switzerland, under the roof and tuition of M. Pavilliard, a Calvinist minister. Suddenly cast on a foreign land, I found myself deprived of the use of speech and hearing, incapable of asking or answering a question in the common intercourse of life. Such was my first introduction to Lausanne, a place where I spent nearly five years with pleasure and profit.

This seclusion from English society was attended with the most solid benefits. Before I was recalled home, French, in which I spontaneously thought, was more familiar than English to my ear, my tongue, and my pen. My awkward timidity was polished and emboldened; M. Pavilliard gently led me from a blind and undistinguishing love of reading into the path of instruction. He was not unmindful that his first task was to reclaim me from the errors of popery, and I am willing to allow him a handsome share of the honour of my conversion, though it was principally effected by my private reflections.

It was now that I regretted the early years which had been wasted in sickness or idleness or mere idle reading, and I determined to supply this defect. My various reading I now digested, according to the precept and model of Mr. Locke, into a large commonplace book--a practice, however, which I do not strenuously recommend. I much question whether the benefits of this laborious method are adequate to the waste of time, and I must agree with Dr. Johnson that what is twice read is commonly better remembered than what is transcribed.

I hesitate from the apprehension of ridicule when I approach the delicate subject of my early love. I need not blush at recollecting the object of my choice, and, though my love was disappointed of success, I am rather proud that I was once capable of feeling such a pure and exalted sentiment. The personal attractions of Mademoiselle Curchod were embellished by the virtues and talents of the mind. Her father lived content with a small salary and laborious duty in the obscure lot of minister of Crassy. In the solitude of a sequestered village he bestowed a liberal, and even learned, education on his only daughter. In her short visit to Lausanne, the wit, the beauty, the erudition of Mademoiselle Curchod were the theme of universal applause. The report of such a prodigy awakened my curiosity; I saw and loved. At Crassy and Lausanne I indulged my dream of felicity, but on my return to England I discovered that my father would not hear of this alliance. After a painful struggle I yielded. I sighed as a lover, I obeyed as a son; my wound was insensibly healed by time, absence, and the habits of a new life.

III.--To England and Authorship

In the spring of the year 1758 my father signified his permission that I should immediately return home. The whole term of my absence from England was four years ten months and fifteen days. The only person in England whom I was impatient to see was my Aunt Porten, the affectionate guardian of my tender years. It was not without some awe and apprehension that I approached my father; but he received me as a man and a friend. All constraint was banished at our first interview, and afterwards we continued on the same terms of easy and equal politeness.

Of the next two years, I passed about nine months in London, and the rest in the country. My progress in the English world was in general left to my own efforts, and those efforts were languid and slow. But my love of knowledge was inflamed and gratified by the command of books, and from the slender beginning in my father's study I have gradually formed a numerous and select library, the foundation of my works, and the best comfort of my life both at home and abroad. In this place I may allow myself to observe that I have never bought a book from a motive of ostentation, and that every volume before it was deposited on the shelf was either read or sufficiently examined.

The design of my first work, the "Essay on the Study of Literature," was suggested by a refinement of vanity--the desire of justifying and praising the object of a favourite pursuit. I was ambitious of proving that all the faculties of the mind may be exercised and displayed by the study of ancient literature.

My father fondly believed that the proof of some literary talents might introduce me to public notice. The work was printed and published under the title "Essai sur l'Etude de la Littérature." It is not surprising that a work of which the style and sentiments were so totally foreign should have been more successful abroad than at home. I was delighted by the warm commendations and flattering predictions of the journals of France and Holland. In England it was received with cold indifference, little read, and speedily forgotten. A small impression was slowly dispersed.

IV.--Soldiering and Travel

An active scene now follows which bears no affinity to any other period of my studious and social life. On June 12, 1759, my father and I received our commissions as major and captain in the Hampshire regiment of militia, and during two and a half years were condemned to a wandering life of military servitude. My principal obligation to the militia was the making me an Englishman and a soldier. In this peaceful service I imbibed the rudiments of the language and science of tactics, which opened a new field of study and observation. The discipline and evolutions of a modern battalion gave me a clearer notion of the phalanx and the legion; and the captain of the Hampshire Grenadiers--the reader may smile--has not been useless to the historian of the Roman Empire.

I was detained above four years by my rash engagement in the militia. I eagerly grasped the first moments of freedom; and such was my diligence that on my father consenting to a term of foreign travel, I reached Paris only thirty-six hours after the disbanding of the militia. Between my stay of three months and a half in Paris and a visit to Italy, I interposed some months of tranquil simplicity at Lausanne. My old friends of both sexes hailed my voluntary return--the most genuine proof of my attachment. The public libraries of Lausanne and Geneva liberally supplied me with books, from which I armed myself for my Italian journey. On this tour I was agreeably employed for more than a year. Turin, Milan, Genoa, Parma, Modena, and Florence were visited, and here I first acknowledged, at the feet of the Venus of Medici, that the chisel may dispute the preeminence with the pencil, a truth in the fine arts which cannot on this side of the Alps be felt or understood.

After leaving Florence, I passed through Pisa, Leghorn, and Sienna to Rome. My temper is not very susceptible to enthusiasm; and the enthusiasm which I do not feel, I have ever scorned to affect. But, at the distance of twenty-five years, I can neither forget nor express the strong emotions which agitated my mind as I first approached and entered the Eternal City. After a sleepless night, I trod, with a lofty step, the ruins of the Forum; each memorable spot, where Romulus stood, or Tully spoke, or Cæsar fell, was at once present to my eye; and several days of intoxication were lost, or enjoyed, before I could descend to a cool and minute observation.

It was in Rome, on October 15, 1764, as I sat musing amidst the ruins of the Capitol, while the bare-footed friars were singing vespers in the Temple of Jupiter, that the idea of writing the decline and fall of the city first started to my mind. But my original plan was circumscribed to the decay of the city rather than the empire; and though my reading and reflections began to point towards that object, some years elapsed, and several avocations intervened, before I was seriously engaged in the execution of that laborious work.

V.--History and Politics

The five years and a half between my return from my travels and my father's death are the portion of my life which I passed with the least enjoyment, and which I remember with the least satisfaction. In the fifteen years between my "Essay on the Study of Literature" and the first volume of the "Decline and Fall," a criticism of Warburton on Virgil and some articles in "Mémoires Littéraires de la Grande Bretagne" were my sole publications. In November, 1770, my father sank into the grave in the sixty-fourth year of his age. As soon as I had paid the last solemn duties to my father, and obtained from time and reason a tolerable composure of mind, I began to form the plan of an independent life most adapted to my circumstances and inclination. I had now attained the first of earthly blessings--independence. I was absolute master of my hours and actions; and no sooner was I settled in my house and library than I undertook the composition of the first volume of my history. Many experiments were made before I could hit the middle tone between a dull chronicle and a rhetorical declamation; three times did I compose the first chapter, and twice the second and third, before I was tolerably satisfied with their effect. In the remainder of the way I advanced with a more equal and easy pace.

By the friendship of Mr. (now Lord) Eliot, who had married my first cousin, I was returned member of parliament for the borough of Liskeard. I took my seat at the beginning of the memorable contest between Great Britain and America, and supported, with many a sincere and silent vote, the rights, though not, perhaps, the interest, of the Mother Country. After a fleeting, illusive hope, prudence condemned me to acquiesce in the humble station of a mute. But I listened to the attack and defence of eloquence and reason; I had a near prospect of the characters, views, and passions of the first men of the age. The eight sessions that I sat in parliament were a school of civil prudence, the first and most essential virtue of an historian.

The first volume of my history, which had been somewhat delayed by the novelty and tumult of a first session, was now ready for the press. During the awful interval of awaited publication, I was neither elated by the ambition of fame nor depressed by the apprehension of contempt. My diligence and accuracy were attested by my own conscience. I likewise flattered myself that an age of light and liberty would receive without scandal an inquiry into the human causes of progress of Christianity.

I am at a loss how to describe the success of the work without betraying the vanity of the writer. The first impression was exhausted in a few days; a second and third edition were scarcely adequate to the demand. My book was on every table; nor was the general voice disturbed by the barking of any profane critic. Let me frankly own that I was startled at the first discharge of ecclesiastical ordnance; but I soon discovered that this empty noise was mischievous only in intention, and every feeling of indignation has long since subsided.

Nearly two years elapsed between the publication of my first and the commencement of my second volume. The second and third volumes of the "Decline and Fall" insensibly rose in sale and reputation to a level with the first volume. So flexible is the title of my history that the final era might be fixed at my own choice, and I long hesitated whether I should be content with the three volumes, the "Fall of the Western Empire." The tumult of London and attendance at parliament were now grown irksome, and when I had finished the fourth volume, excepting the last chapter, I sought a retreat on the banks of the Leman Lake.

VI.--A Quiet Consummation

My transmigration from London to Lausanne could not be effected without interrupting the course of my historical labours, and a full twelvemonth was lost before I could resume the thread of regular and daily industry. In the fifth and sixth volumes the revolutions of the empire and the world are most rapid, various, and instructive. It was not till after many designs and many trials that I preferred the method of grouping my picture by nations; and the seeming neglect of chronological order is surely compensated by the superior merits of interest and perspicacity. I was now straining for the goal, and in the last winter many evenings were borrowed from the social pleasures of Lausanne.

I have presumed to mark the moment of conception; I shall now commemorate the hour of my final deliverance. It was on the night of June 27, 1787, between the hours of eleven and twelve, that I wrote the last lines of the last page in a summer-house in my garden. After laying down my pen, I took several turns in a covered walk of acacias, which commands a prospect of the country, the lake, and the mountains. The air was temperate, the sky was serene, the silver orb of the moon was reflected from the waters, and all nature was silent. I will not dissemble the first emotions of joy on the recovery of my freedom, and perhaps the establishment of my fame. But my pride was soon humbled, and a sober melancholy was spread over my mind by the idea that I had taken an everlasting leave of an agreeable companion, and that whatsoever might be the future fate of my history, the life of the historian must be short and precarious.

The day of publication of my three last volumes coincided with the fifty-first anniversary of my own birthday. The conclusion of my work was generally read and variously judged. Upon the whole, the history of "The Decline and Fall" seems to have struck root both at home and abroad.

When I contemplate the common lot of mortality, I must acknowledge that I have drawn a high prize in the lottery of life. I am endowed with a cheerful temper. The love of study, a passion which derives fresh vigour from enjoyment, supplies each day, each hour, with a perpetual source of independent and rational pleasure; and I am not sensible of any decay of the mental faculties. I am disgusted with the affectation of men of letters who complain that they have renounced a substance for a shadow. My own experience, at least, has taught me a very different lesson. Twenty happy years have been animated by the labour of my history; and its success has given me a name, a rank, a character in the world to which I should not otherwise have been entitled.

The present is a fleeting moment, the past is no more; and our prospect of futurity is dark and doubtful I shall soon enter into the period which was selected by the judgment and experience of the sage Fontenelle as the most agreeable of his long life. I am far more inclined to embrace than to dispute this comfortable doctrine. I will not suppose any premature decay of the mind or body; but I must reluctantly observe that two causes, the abbreviation of time and the failure of hope, will always tinge with a browner shade the evening of life.


Letters to Zelter

The correspondence of Goethe with his friends, especially his voluminous letters to his friend Zelter, will always be resorted to by readers who wish for intimate knowledge of the innermost processes of the great poet's mind. Zelter was himself an extraordinary man. By trade he was a stonemason, but he became a skilled musical amateur, and a most versatile and entertaining critic. To him fell the remarkable distinction of becoming the tutor of that musical genius, Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, while he also acquired the glory of being "the restorer of Bach to the Germans." Like Eckermann, the other beloved friend of Goethe, he possessed the power of eliciting the great poet-philosopher's dicta on all imaginable topics. Zelter wrote to Goethe on anything and everything, trivial and otherwise, but his letters never failed to educe strains of the most illuminating comment. The "Letters to Zelter" were published in Berlin in 1833, and the following epitome is prepared from the German text.

I.--Art Greater than the Beauty of Art

Lauchstadt, September 1, 1805. As we are convinced that he who studies the intellectual world, and perceives the beauty of the true intellect, can also realise the Father of them, who is supreme above all sense, let us therefore seek as best we may to achieve insight into the beauty of the mind and of the world, and to express it for ourselves.

Suppose, then, two blocks of stone, side by side, one rough and unshaped, the other artistically shaped into a statue. To you the stone worked into a beautiful figure appears lovely not because it is stone, but because of the form which art has given it. But the material had not such a form, for this was in the mind of the artist before it reached the stone. Of course, art is greater than that which it produces. Art is greater than the beauty of art. The motive power must be greater than the result. For as the form gains extension by advancing into the material, yet by that very process it becomes weaker than that which remains whole. For that which endures removal from itself steps aside from itself--strength from strength, warmth from warmth, force from force, so also beauty from beauty.

Should anyone disparage the arts because they imitate nature, let him note that nature also imitates much besides; and, further, that the arts do not precisely imitate what we see but go back to that rational element of which nature consists, and according to which she acts.

Carlsbad, June 22, 1808. It is an extraordinary fact that man in himself, so far as he avails himself of his sound mind, is the greatest and most precise physical apparatus that can be. And it is in fact the greatest evil of the newer physics that experiments are, as it were, separated from man himself, so that nature is recognised only in what is ascertained by artificial instruments. It is exactly so with calculation. Much is true which cannot be computed, just as much can never be experimentally demonstrated.

Man, however, stands so high that that which otherwise admits of no representation is represented in him. What, then, is a string and all its mechanical division compared with the ear of the musician? Indeed, it may be said what are the elementary phenomena of nature compared with man, who must first master and modify them all in order to assimilate them to himself?

II.--Music and Musicians

Weimar, November 16, 1816. I send you a few words with reference to your proposal to write a cantata for the Reformation Jubilee. It might best be contrived after the method of Handel's "Messiah," into which you have so deeply penetrated.

As the main idea of Lutheranism rests on a very excellent foundation, it affords a fine opportunity both for poetical and also for musical treatment. Now, this basis rests on the decided contrast between the law and the Gospel, and secondly on the accommodation of these two extremes. And now, if in order to attain a higher standpoint we substitute for those two words the terms "necessity" and "freedom," with their synonyms, their remoteness and proximity, you see clearly that everything interesting to mankind is contained in this circle.

And thus Luther perceives in the Old and New Testaments the symbol of the great and ever-recurring world-order. On the one hand, the law, striving after love; on the other, love, striving back towards the law, and fulfilling it, though not of its own power and strength, but through faith; and that, too, by exclusive faith in the all-powerful Messiah proclaimed to all.

Thus, briefly, are we convinced that Lutheranism can never be united with the Papacy, but that it does not contradict pure reason, so soon as reason decides to regard the Bible as the mirror of the world; which certainly should not be difficult. To express these ideas in a poem adapted to music, I should begin with the thunder on Mount Sinai, with the Thou shalt! and conclude with the resurrection of Christ, and the Thou wilt!

This may be the place to add a few words about Catholicism. Soon after its origin and promulgation, the Christian religion, through rational and irrational heresies, lost its original purity. But as it was called on to check barbarous nations, harsh methods were needed for the service, not doctrine. The one Mediator between God and man was not enough, as we all know. Thus arose a species of pagan Judaism, sustained even to this day. This had to be revolutionised entirely in the minds of men, therefore Lutheranism depends solely on the Bible. Luther's behaviour is no secret, and now that we are going to commemorate him, we cannot do so in the right sense unless we acknowledge his merit, and represent what he accomplished for his own age and for posterity. This celebration should be so arranged that every fair-minded Catholic should be able to participate in it. The Weimar friends of art have already prepared their designs for the monument. We make no secret of the matter, and at all events hope to contribute our share.

Jena, February 16, 1818. You know Jena too little for it to mean anything to you when I say that on the right bank of the Saale, near the Camsdorf bridge, above the ice-laden water rushing through the arches, I have occupied a tower which has attracted me and my friends for years. Here I pass the happiest hours of the day, looking out on the river, bridge, gravel walks, meadows, gardens, and hills, famous in war, rising beyond. At sunset I return to town.

In observing atmospheric changes I endeavour to interweave cloud-forms and sky-tints with words and images. But as all this, except for the noise of wind and water, runs off without a sound, I really need some inner harmony to keep my ear in tune; and this is only possible by my confidence in you and in what you do and value. Therefore, I send you only a few fervent prayers as branches from my paradise. If you can but distil them in your hot element, then the beverage can be swallowed comfortably, and the heathen will be made whole. Apocalypse, last chapter, and the second verse.

Vienna, July 27. Pyrotechnical displays seem to me the only pleasure in which the Austrians are willing to dispense with their music, which here persecutes us in every direction. In Carlsbad a musician declared to me that music as a profession was a sour crust. I replied that the musicians were better off than the visitors. "How so?" asked he. Said I, "Surely they can eat without music."

The good man went away ashamed, and I felt sorry for him, though my remark was quite in place, for it is really cruel in this manner to torture patients and convalescents. I can, indeed, endure much, but when, after coming from the opera, I sit down to supper, and am annoyed instantly by the strains of a harp or a singer, jarring with what I have been hearing, it is too much; and, wretch that I am, I am forgetting that this scribble is also too much. So farewell. God bless you!

Vienna, July 29, 1819. Beethoven, whom I should have liked to see once more in this life, lives somewhere in this country, but nobody can tell me where. I wanted to write to him, but I am told he is almost unapproachable, as he is almost without hearing. Perhaps it is better that we should remain as we are, for it might make me cross to find him cross.

Much is thought of music here, and this in contrast to Italy, which reckons itself the "only saving Church." But the people here are really deeply cultured in music. It is true that they are pleased with everything, but only the best music survives. They listen gladly to a mediocre opera which is well cast; but a first-class work, even if not given in the best style, remains permanently with them.

Beethoven is extolled to the heavens, because he toils strenuously and is still alive. But it is Haydn who presents to them their national humour, like a pure fountain unmingled with any other stream, and it is he who lives among them, because he belongs to them. They seem each day to forget him, and each day he rises to life again among them.

III.--"Poetry and Truth"

Weimar, March 29, 1827. The completion of a work of art in itself is the eternal, indispensable requisite. Aristotle, who had perfection before him, must have thought of the effect. What a pity! Were I yet, in these peaceful times, possessed of my youthful energies, I would surrender myself entirely to the study of Greek, in spite of all the difficulties of which I am conscious. Nature and Aristotle would be my aim. We can form no idea of all that this man perceived, saw, noticed, observed; but certainly in his explanations he was over-hasty.

But is it not just the same with us to-day? Experience does not fail us, but we lack serenity of mind, whereby alone experience becomes clear, true, lasting, and useful. Look at the theory of light and colour as interpreted before my very eyes by Professor Fries of Jena. It is a series of superficial conclusions, such as expositors and theorists have been guilty of for more than a century. I care to say nothing more in public about this; but write it I will. Some truthful mind will one day grasp it.

Weimar, April 18, 1827. Madame Catalini has scented out a few of our extra groschen, and I begrudge her them. Too much is too much! She makes no preparation for leaving us, for she has still to ring the changes on a couple of old-new transmogrified airs, which she might just as well grind out gratis. After all, what are two thousand of our thalers, when we get "God save the King" into the bargain?

It is truly a pity. What a voice! A golden dish with common mushrooms in it! And we--one almost swears at oneself--to admire what is execrable! It is incredible! An unreasoning beast would mourn at it. It is an actually impossible state of things. An Italian turkey-hen comes to Germany, where are academies and high schools, and old students and young professors sit listening while she sings in English the airs of the German Handel. What a disgrace if that is to be reckoned an honour! In the heart of Germany, too!

Weimar, December 25, 1829. Lately by accident I fell in with "The Vicar of Wakefield" and felt constrained to read it again from beginning to end, impelled not a little by the lively consciousness of all that I have owed to the author for the last seventy years. It would not be possible to estimate the influence of Goldsmith and Sterne, exercised on me just at the chief point of my development. This high, benevolent irony, this gentleness to all opposition, this equanimity under every change, and whatever else all the kindred virtues may be called--such things were a most admirable training for me, and surely these are the sentiments which, in the end, lead us back from all the mistaken paths of life. By the way, it is strange that Yorick should incline rather to that which has no form, while Goldsmith is all form, as I myself aspired to be when the worthy Germans had convinced themselves that the peculiarity of true humour is to have no form.

Weimar, February 15, 1830. As to the title, "Poetry and Truth," of my autobiography, it is certainly somewhat paradoxical. I adopted it because the public always cherishes doubt as to the truth of such biographical attempts. My sincere effort was to express the genuine truth which had prevailed throughout my life. Does not the most ordinary chronicle necessarily embody something of the spirit of the time in which it was written? Will not the fourteenth century hand down the tradition of a comet more ominously than the nineteenth? Nay, in the same town you will hear one version of an incident in the morning, and another in the evening.

All that belongs to the narrator and the narrative I included under the word Dichtung (poetry), so that I could for my own purpose avail myself of the truth of which I was conscious. In every history, even if it be diplomatically written, we always see the nation, the party of the writer, peering through. How different is the accent in which the French describe English history from that of the English themselves!

Remember that with every breath we draw, an ethereal stream of Lethe runs through our whole being, so that we have but a partial recollection of our joys, and scarcely any of our sorrows. I have always known how to value, and use, this gift of God.

IV.--The Birth of "Iphigenia"

Weimar, March 31, 1831. I have received a delightful letter from Mendelssohn, dated Rome, March 5, which gives the most transparent picture of that rare young man. About him we need cherish no further care. The fine swimming-jacket of his genius will carry him safely through the waves and surf of the dreaded barbarism.

Now, you well remember that I have always passionately adopted the cause of the minor third, and was angry that you theoretical cheap-jacks would not allow it to be a donum naturæ. Certainly a wire or piece of cat-gut is not so precious that nature should exclusively confide to it her harmonies. Man is worth more, and nature has given him the minor third, to enable him to express with cordial delight to himself that which he cannot name, and that for which he longs.

Weimar, November 23, 1831. To begin with, let me tell you that I have retreated into my cloister cell, where the sun, which is just now rising, shines horizontally into my room, and does not leave me till he sets, so that he is often uncomfortably importunate--so much so that for a time I really have to shut him out.

Further, I have to mention that a new edition of the "Iphigenia in Aulis" of Euripides has once more turned my attention to that incomparable Greek poet. Of course, his great and unique talent excited my admiration as of old, but what has now mainly attracted me is the element, as boundless as it is potent, in which he moves.

Among the Greek localities and their mass of primeval, mythological legends, he sails and swims, like a cannon-ball on a quick-silver sea, and cannot sink, even if he wished. Everything is ready to his hand--subject matter, contents, circumstances, relations. He has only to set to work in order to bring forward his subjects and characters in the simplest way, or to render the most complicated limitations even more complex, and then finally and symmetrically, to our complete satisfaction, either to unravel or cut the knot.

I shall not quit him all this winter. We have translations enough which will warrant our presumption in looking into the original. When the sun shines into my warm room, and I am aided by the stores of knowledge acquired in days long gone by, I shall, at any rate, fare better than I should, at this moment, among the newly discovered ruins of Messene and Megalopolis.

Poetry and Truth from My Own Life

As "Werther" and "Wilhelm Meister" belong to the earlier and to the middle periods of Goethe's literary activity, so the following selections fall naturally into the last division of his life. The death of Schiller in 1805 had given a blow to his affections which even his warm relationship with other friends could not replace, and hereafter he begins to concentrate more and more upon himself to the completion of those works which he had had in mind and preparation through so many years, the greatest of which was to be the "Faust." In "Poetry and Truth from My Own Life," which appeared in 1811-14, he was actuated by the desire of supplying some kind of a key to the collected edition of his works that had been published in 1808; and whatever faults, or errors, it may contain as a history, as a piece of writing it is finely characteristic of the ease and simplicity of his later style.

I.--Birth and Childhood

On August 28, 1749, at midday, I came into the world at Frankfort-on-Maine. Our house was situated in a street called the Stag-Ditch. Formerly the street had been a ditch, in which stags were kept. On the second floor of the dwelling was a room called the garden-room, because there they had endeavoured to supply the want of a garden by means of a few plants placed before a window. As I grew older, it was there that I made my somewhat sentimental retreat, for from thence might be viewed a beautiful and fertile plain.

When I became acquainted with my native city, I loved more than anything else to promenade on the great bridge over the Maine. Its length, its firmness, and fine aspect rendered it a notable structure. And one liked to lose oneself in the old trading town, particularly on market days, among the crowd collected about the church of St. Bartholomew. The Römerberg was a most delightful place for walking.

My father had prospered in his own career tolerably according to his wishes; I was to follow the same course, only more easily and much further. He had passed his youth in the Coburg Gymnasium, which stood as one of the first among German educational institutions. He had there laid a good foundation, and had subsequently taken his degree at Giessen. He prized my natural endowments the more because he was himself wanting in them, for he had acquired everything simply by means of diligence and pertinacity.

During my childhood the Frankforters passed a series of prosperous years, but scarcely, on August 28, 1756, had I completed my seventh year, when that world-renowned war broke out, which was also to exert great influence upon the next seven years of my life. Frederick II. of Prussia had fallen upon Saxony with 60,000 men. The world immediately split into two parties, and our family was an image of the great whole. My grandfather took the Austrian side, with some of his daughters and sons-in-law; my father leaned towards Prussia, with the other and smaller half of the family; and I also was a Prussian in my views, for the personal character of the great king worked on our hearts.

As the eldest grandson and godchild, I dined every Sunday with my grandparents, and the event was always the most delightful experience of the week. But now I relished no morsel that I tasted, because I was compelled to listen to the most horrible slanders of my hero. That parties existed had never entered into my conceptions. I trace here the germ of that disregard and even disdain of the public which clung to me for a whole period of my life, and only in later days was brought within bounds by insight and cultivation. We continued to tease each other till the occupation of Frankfort by the French, some years afterwards, brought real inconvenience to our homes.

The New Year's Day of 1759 approached, as desirable and pleasant to us children as any preceding one, but full of import and foreboding to older persons. To the passage of French troops the people had certainly become accustomed; but they marched through the city in greater masses on this day, and on January 2 the troops remained and bivouacked in the streets till lodgings were provided for them by regular billeting.

Siding as my father did with the Prussians, he was now to find himself besieged in his own chambers by the French. This was, according to his way of thinking, the greatest misfortune that could happen to him. Yet, could he have taken the matter more easily, he might have saved himself and us many sad hours, for he spoke French well, and it was the Count Thorane, the king's lieutenant, who was quartered on us. That officer behaved himself in a most exemplary manner, and if it had been possible to cheer my father, this altered state of things would have caused little inconvenience.

During this French occupation I made great progress with the French language. But the chief profit was that which I derived from the theatre, for which my grandfather had given me a free ticket. I saw many French comedies acted, and became friendly with some of the young people connected with the stage. From the first day of the military occupation there was no lack of diversion; plays and balls, parades and marches constantly attracted our attention.

II.--A Romantic Episode

After the French occupation we children could not fail to feel as if the house were deserted. But new lodgers came in, Chancery-Director Moritz and his family being received in this capacity. They were quiet and gentle, and peace and stillness reigned. About this time a long-debated project for giving us lessons in music was carried into effect. It was settled that we should learn the harpsichord. And as we also received lessons from a drawing-master, the way to two arts was thus early enough opened to me.

English was also added to my studies; and as on my own account I soon felt that I ought to know Hebrew, my father allowed the rector of our gymnasium to give me private lessons. I studied the Old Testament no longer in Luther's translation, but in the literal version of Schmid. I also paid great attention to sermons at church, and wrote out many that I heard, doing this in a style that greatly gratified my father.

At this time my first romantic experience occurred. I fell under the enchantment of Gretchen, a beautiful girl who waited on me and some comrades at a restaurant. The form of that girl followed me from that moment on every path. At church, during the long Protestant service, I gazed my fill at her. I wrote her love-letters, which she did not resent. The first propensities to love in an uncorrupted youth take altogether a spiritual direction. Nature seems to desire that one sex may by the senses perceive goodness and beauty in the other. And thus to me, by the sight of this girl, a new world of the beautiful and excellent had arisen. But my friendship for this maiden being discovered by my father, a family disturbance ensued which plunged me into illness. I had been ordered to have nothing to do with anyone but the family.

My sorrow was deepened as I slowly recovered by the addition of a certain secret chagrin, for I plainly perceived that I was watched. It was not long before my family gave me a special overseer. Fortunately, it was a man whom I loved and valued. He had held the place of tutor in the family of one of our friends, and his former pupil had gone to the university. This friend, in skillful conversations, began to make me acquainted with the secrets of philosophy. He had studied at Jena under Daries, and had acutely seized the relations of that doctrine, which he now sought to impart to me.

After a time I took to wandering about the mountain range, and thus visited Homburg, Kronenburg, Wiesbaden, Schwalbach, and reached the Rhine. But the time was approaching when I was to go to the university. My mind was quite as much excited about my life as about my learning. I grew more and more conscious of an aversion from my native city. I never again went into Gretchen's quarter of it, and even my old walls and towers had become disagreeable.

III.--University Life

I had always had my eye upon Göttingen, but my father obstinately insisted on Leipzig. I arrived in that handsome city just at the time of the fair, from which I derived particular pleasure, being specially attracted by the inhabitants of eastern countries in their strange dresses. I commenced to study under Böhme, professor of history and public law, and Gellert, professor of literature. The reverence with which Gellert was regarded by all young people was extraordinary.

Much has been written about the condition of German literature at that time. I need only state how it stood towards me. The literary epoch in which I was born was developed out of the preceding one by opposition. Foreign influences had previously predominated, but in this epoch the German sense of freedom and joy began to stir itself. Göttsched, Lessing, Haller, and, above all, Wieland, had produced works of genius. The venerable Bengel had procured a decided reception for his labours on the Revelation of St. John, from the fact that he was known as an intelligent, upright, God-fearing, blameless man. Deep minds are compelled to live in the past as well as the future.

Plunging into literature on my own account, I at this period wrote the oldest of my extant dramatic labours, "The Lover's Caprice," following it with "The Accomplices." I had seen already many families ruined by bankruptcies, divorces, vice, murders, burglaries, and poisonings, and, young as I was, I had often, in such cases, lent a hand for help and preservation. Accordingly, these pieces were written from an elevated point of view, without my having been aware of it. But they could find no favour on the German stage.

My health had become somewhat impaired, though I did not think I should soon become apprehensive about my life. I had brought with me from home a certain touch of hypochondria, and a chronic pain in my breast, induced by a fall from horseback, perceptibly increased, and made me dejected. By an unfortunate diet I destroyed my powers of digestion, so that I experienced great uneasiness, yet without being able to embrace a resolution for a more rational mode of life. Besides the epoch of the cold-water bath, the hard bed slightly covered, and other follies unconditionally recommended, had begun, in consequence of some misunderstood suggestions of Rousseau, under the idea of bringing us nearer to nature and delivering us from the corruption of morals.

One night I awoke with a violent hemorrhage, and for several days I wavered between life and death. Recovery was slow, but nature helped me, and I appeared to have become another man, for I had gained a greater cheerfulness of mind than I had known for a long time, and I was rejoiced to feel my inner self at liberty. But what particularly set me up at this time was to see how many eminent men had undeservedly given me their affection, among them being Dr. Hermann Groening, Horn, and, above all, Langer, afterwards librarian at Wolfenbüttel, whose conversation so far blinded me to the miserable state I was in that I actually forgot it.

The confidence of new friends develops itself by degrees. The religious sentiments, the affairs of the heart which relate to the imperishable, are the things which both establish the foundation and adorn the summit of friendship. The Christian religion was wavering between its own historically positive base and a pure deism, which, grounded on morality, was in its turn to lay the foundation of ethics. Langer was of the class who, though learned, yet give the Bible a peculiar preeminence over other writings. He belongs to those who cannot conceive an immediate connection with the great God of the universe; a mediation, therefore, was necessary for him, an analogy to which he thought he could find everywhere, in earthly and heavenly things. Grounded as I was in the Bible, all that I wanted was merely the faith to explain as divine that which I had hitherto esteemed in human fashion. To a sufferer, delicate and weak, the Gospel was therefore welcome.

I left Leipzig in September, 1768, for my native city and my home, where my delicate appearance elicited loving sympathy. Again sickness ensued, and my life was once more in peril, chiefly through a disturbed, I might even say, for certain moments, destroyed digestion. But a skillful physician helped me to convalescence. In the spring I felt so much stronger that I longed to wander forth again from the chambers and spots where I had suffered so much. I journeyed to beautiful Alsace and took up lodgings on the summer-side of the fish-market in Strasburg, where I designed to continue my studies in law. Most of my fellow-boarders were medical students, and at table I heard nothing but medical conversations.

I was thus easily borne along the stream, and at the beginning of the second half-year I attended lectures on chemistry and anatomy. Yet this dissipation and dismemberment of my studies were not enough, for a remarkable political event secured for us a succession of holidays. Marie Antoinette was to pass through Strasburg on her way to Paris, and the solemnities were abundantly prepared. In the grand saloon erected on an island in the Rhine I saw a specimen of the tapestries worked after Raffaele's cartoons, and this sight was for me a very decided influence, for I became acquainted with the true and the perfect on a large scale.

IV.--Fascinating Friendship

The most important event at this period, and one that was to have the weightiest consequences for me, was my meeting with Herder. He accompanied on his travels the Prince of Holstein-Eutin, who was in a melancholy state of mind, and had come with him to Strasburg. Herder was singular, both in his personal appearance and also in his demeanour. He had somewhat of softness in his manner, which was very suitable and becoming, without being exactly easy. I was of a very confiding disposition, and with Herder especially I had no secrets; but from one of his habits--a spirit of contradiction--I had much to endure.

Herder could be charmingly prepossessing and brilliant, but he could just as easily turn an ill-humoured side forward. He resolved to stay in Strasburg because of a complaint in one of his eyes of the most irritating nature, which required a tedious and uncertain operation, the tear-bag being closed below. Therefore he separated from the prince and removed into lodgings of his own for the purpose of the operation. He confided to me that he intended to compete for a prize offered at Berlin for the best treatise on the origin of language. His work, written in a very neat hand, was nearly completed. During the troublesome and painful cure he lost none of his vivacity, but he became less and less amiable. He could not write a note to ask for anything without scoffing rudely and bitterly, generally in sardonic verse.

Herder contributed much to my culture, yet he destroyed my enjoyment of much that I had loved before, and especially blamed me in the strongest manner for the pleasure I took in Ovid's "Metamorphoses." I most carefully concealed from him my interest in certain subjects which had rooted themselves within me, and were little by little moulding themselves into poetic form. These were "Goetz von Berlichingen" and "Faust." Of my poetical labours, I believe I laid before him "The Accomplices," but I do not recollect that on this account I received from him either correction or encouragement.

At this epoch of my life took place a singular episode. During a delightful tour in beautiful Alsace, round about the Vosges, I and two fellow-students halted for a time at the house of a Protestant clergyman, pastor in Sesenheim. I had visited the family previously. Herder here joined us, and during our readings in the evenings introduced to us an excellent work, "The Vicar of Wakefield." With the German translation, he undertook to make us acquainted by reading it aloud.

The pastor had two daughters and a son. The family struck me as corresponding in the most extraordinary manner to that delineated by Goldsmith. The elder daughter might be taken for Olivia in the story, and Frederica, the younger, for Sophia, while, as I looked at the boy, I could scarcely help exclaiming, "Moses, are you here, too?" A Protestant country clergyman is, perhaps, the most beautiful subject for a modern idyl; he appears, like Melchizedek, as priest and king in one person.

Between me and the charming Frederica a mutual affection sprang up. Her beautiful nature attracted me irresistibly, and I was happy beyond all bounds at her side. For her I composed many songs to well-known melodies. They would have made a pretty book; a few of them still remain, and may easily be found among the others. But we were destined soon to part. Such a youthful affection, cherished at random, may be compared to a bombshell thrown at night, which rises with a soft, brilliant light, mingles for a moment with the stars, then, in descending, describes a similar path in the reverse direction, and at last brings destruction where it terminates its course.

V.--Among the Jurists

In 1772 I went to Wetzlar, the seat of the Reichskammergericht, or Imperial Chamber. This was a kind of court of chancery for the whole empire; and I went there in order to gain increased experience in jurisprudence. Here I found myself in a large company of talented and vivacious young men, assistants to the commissioners of the various states, and by them was accorded a genial welcome.

To one of the legations at Wetzlar was attached a young man of good position and abilities, named Jerusalem, whose sad suicide soon afterwards resulted through an unhappy passion for the wife of a friend. On this history the plan of "The Sorrows of Werther" was founded. The effect of this little book was great, nay, immense, and chiefly because it exactly hit the temper of the times. For as it requires but a little match to blow up an immense mine, so the explosion which followed my publication was mighty from the circumstances that the youthful world had already undermined itself; and the shock was great because all extravagant demands, unsatisfied passions, and imaginary wrongs, were suddenly brought to an eruption.

At this period I usually combined the art of design with poetical composition. Whenever I dictated, or listened to reading, I drew the portraits of my friends in profile on grey paper in white and black chalk. But feeling the insufficiency of this copying, I betook myself once more to language and rhythm, which were much more at my command. How briskly, how joyously, I went to work with them will appear from the many poems which, enthusiastically proclaiming the art of nature and the nature of art, infused, at the moment of production, new spirit into me as well as in my friends.

At this epoch, and in the midst of these occupations, I was sitting one evening with a struggling light in my chamber, when there entered a well-formed, slender man, who announced himself by the name of Von Knebel. Much to my satisfaction, I learned that he came from Weimar, where he was the companion of Prince Constantin. Of matters there I had already heard much that was favourable; for several strangers who had come from Weimar assured us that the widowed Duchess Amalia had gathered round her the best men to assist in the education of the princes, her sons; that the arts were not only protected by this princess, but were practised by her with great diligence and zeal.

At Weimar was also one of the best theatres of Germany, which was made famous by its actors, as well as by the authors who wrote for it. When I expressed a wish to become better acquainted with these persons and things, my visitor replied, in the most friendly manner possible, that nothing was easier, since the hereditary prince, with his brother, the Prince Constantin, had just arrived in Frankfort, and desired to see and know me.

I at once expressed the greatest willingness to wait upon them; and my new friend told me that I must not delay, as their stay would not be long. I proceeded with Von Knebel to the young princes, who received me in a very easy and friendly manner.

As the stay of the young princes in Frankfort was necessarily short, they made me promise to follow them to Mayence. I gave this promise gladly enough, and visited them. The few days of my stay passed very pleasantly, for when my new patrons, with whom I enjoyed delightful conversations on literature, were abroad on visits and banquets, I remained with their attendants, drew portraits, or went skating. I returned home full of the kindness I had met with.

Conversations with Eckermann

The outstanding feature of the remarkable "Conversations with Eckermann" is this, that the compilation furnishes an altogether unique record of the working of Goethe's mature mind. For Goethe's age at the period when the "Conversations" begin is seventy-three, and eighty-two when they end. John Peter Eckermann published his work in 1836. In 1848 appeared an additional portion. Eckermann, born at Winsen, in Hanover, was the son of a woollen draper. He received an excellent education, and studied art, under Ramber, in Hanover, but soon became enamoured of poetry through the influence of Körner and of Goethe. He became the intimate friend of Goethe, and lived with him for several years. In describing the friendship, Eckermann says, "My relation to him was peculiar, and of a very intimate kind. It was that of the scholar to the master, of the son to the father, of the poor in culture to the rich in culture. His conversation was as varied as his works. Winter and summer, age and youth, seemed with him to be engaged in a perpetual strife and change." Goethe was one of the world's most brilliant conversationalists, ranking in this respect with Coleridge.

I.--On Poets and Poetry

Weimar, June 10, 1823. I reached here a few days ago, but have not seen Goethe until to-day. He gave me a most cordial reception. I esteem this the most fortunate day of my life. Goethe was dressed in a blue frock-coat. He is a sublime figure. His first words were concerning my manuscript. "I have just come from you" said he. He meant that he had been reading it all the morning. He commented it enthusiastically. We talked long together. But I could say little for I could not look at him enough, with his strong, brown face, full of wrinkles, each wrinkle being full of expression. He spoke like some old monarch. We parted affectionately, for every word of his breathed kindness.

Jena, September 8, 1823. Yesterday morning I had the happiness of another interview with Goethe. What he said to me was quite important, and will have a beneficial influence on all my life. All the young poets of Germany should have the benefit of it. "Do not," said he, "attempt to produce a great work. It is just this mistake which has done harm to our best minds. I have myself suffered from this error. What have I not dropped into the well! The present must assert its rights, and so the poet will and should give out what presses on him. But if one has a great work in his head, it expels everything else and deprives life for the time of all comfort. If as to the whole you err, all time and trouble are lost. But if the poet daily grasps the present, treating with fresh sentiment what it offers, he always makes sure of something good. If sometimes he does not succeed, at any rate he has lost nothing. The world is so great and rich, and life is so manifold, that occasions for poems are never lacking. But they must all be poems for special occasions (Gelegenheitsgedichte). All my poems are thus suggested by incidents in real life. I attach no value to poems snatched out of the air. You know Furnstein, the so-called poet of nature? He has written the most fascinating poem possible on hop-culture. I have suggested to him that he should write songs on handicrafts, especially a weaver's song, for he has spent his life from youth amongst such folk, and he understands the subject through and through."

February 24, 1824. At one to-day I went to Goethe's. He showed me a short critique he had written on Byron's "Cain," which I read with much interest. "We see," said he, "how the defectiveness of ecclesiastical dogmas affects such a mind as Byron's, and how by such a piece he seeks to emancipate himself from doctrine which has been thrust on him. Truly the English clergy will not thank him, but I shall wonder whether he will not proceed to treat Bible subjects, not letting slip such topics as the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah."

II.--Philosophical Discussions

February 25, 1824. Goethe was in high spirits at table. He showed me Frau von Spiegel's album, in which he had written some very beautiful verses. For two years a place had been left open for him, and he was delighted that at length he had been able to fulfil an old promise. Noticing on another page of the album a poem by Tiedge in the style of his "Urania," Goethe observed that he had suffered considerably from Tiedge's "Urania," for at one time nothing else was sung and recited. Said he, "Wherever you went, you found 'Urania' on the table, and that poem and immortality were the subjects of every conversation. By no means would I lose the happiness of believing in a future existence, and indeed I would say with Lorenzo de Medici that all they are dead, even for this life, who believe in no other.

"But such incomprehensible matters lie too far off to be a theme of daily meditation and thought-distracting speculation. And further, let him who believes in immortality be happy in silence; he has no reason to hold his head high because of his conviction. Silly women, priding themselves on believing with Tiedge in immortality, have been offended at my declaring that in the future state I hoped I should meet none of those who had believed in it here. For how I should be tormented! The pious would crowd about me, saying, 'Were we not right? Did we not predict it? Has it not turned out exactly so?' And thus even up yonder there would be everlasting ennui."

April 14, 1824. I went, about one, for a walk with Goethe. We conversed on the style of different authors. Said he, "Philosophical speculation is, on the whole, a hindrance to the Germans, for it tends to induce a tendency to obscurantism. The nearer they approach to certain philosophical schools, the worse they write. Those Germans write best who, as business men, and men of real life, confine themselves to the practical. Thus, Schiller's style is the noblest and most impressive, as soon as he ceases to philosophise, as I see from his highly interesting letters, on which I am now busy. Many of our genial German women in their style excel even many of our famous male writers.

"The French, in their style, are consistent with their general character. They are sociable by nature and as such never forget the public whom they address. They take the trouble to be clear in order to convince, and agreeable in order to please. The English, as a rule, write well, as born orators and as practical and realistic men. Altogether, the style of a writer is a true reflection of his mind. If anyone would acquire a lucid style, let him first be clear in his thoughts; if he would command a noble style, he must first possess a noble character."

May 2, 1824. During a drive over the hills through Upper Weimar we could not look enough at the trees in blossom. We remarked that trees full of white blossom should not be painted, because they make no picture, just as birches with their foliage are unfit for the foreground of a picture, because the delicate foliage does not adequately balance the white trunk. Said Goethe, "Ruysdael never placed a foliaged birch in the foreground, but only broken birch stems, without leaves. Such a trunk suits the foreground admirably, for its bright form stands out most powerfully."

After some slight discussion of other subjects, we talked of the erroneous tendency of such artists as would make religion art, while their art ought to be religion. Goethe observed, "Religion stands in the same relation to art as every other higher interest of life. It is merely to be regarded as a material, which has equal claims with all other vital materials. Also, faith and unbelief are not those organs with which a work of art is to be comprehended. Far otherwise; totally different human powers and capacities are required for such comprehension. Art must appeal to those organs with which we can apprehend it, or it misses its aim. A religious material may be a good subject for art, but only if it possesses general human interest. Thus, the Virgin with the Child is a good subject that may be treated a hundred times, and will always be seen again with pleasure."

November 24, 1824. In a conversation this evening concerning Roman and Greek history, Goethe said, "Roman history is certainly no longer suited to our time. We have become too humane for the triumphs of Cæsar to be anything but repellent to us. So also does Greek history offer little to allure us. The resistance to a foreign enemy is indeed glorious, but the constant civil wars of states against each other are intolerable. Besides, the history of our own time is overwhelmingly important. The battles of Leipzig and Waterloo eclipse Marathon, and such heroes as Blücher and Wellington are rivals of those of antiquity."

III.--Literary Dicta

January 10, 1825. In accordance with his deep interest in the English, Goethe requested me to introduce to him the young Englishmen staying here. I took this afternoon Mr. H., a young English officer, who, in the course of the conversation, mentioned that he was reading "Faust," but found it somewhat difficult.

Said Goethe, laughing, "Really, I should not have recommended you to undertake 'Faust.' It is mad stuff, and goes beyond all usual feeling. But as you have done it of your own accord, without asking me, you will see how you get through. Faust is so strange an individual that only a few persons can sympathise with his inner condition. Then the character of Mephistopheles is also very difficult, because of his irony, and also because he is the living result of an extensive acquaintance with the world. But you will see what light comes to you.

"'Tasso,' on the other hand, lies far nearer to the common feeling of mankind, and the elaboration of its form is favourable to an easier understanding of it. What is chiefly needed for reading 'Tasso' is that one should be no longer a child, and should not have been deprived of good society."

October 15, 1825. I found Goethe this evening in a very elevated mood, and had the happiness of hearing from him many significant observations. Concerning the state of the newest literature, he said, "Want of character in individual investigators and writers is the source of all the evils in our most recent literature. Till now the world believed in the heroism of Lucretia and of Mucius Scævola, and allowed itself thus to be stimulated and inspired. But now comes historical criticism, and says that those persons never lived, but are to be regarded as fables and fictions, imagined by the great mind of the Romans. What are we to do with so pitiful a truth? And if the Romans were great enough to invent such stories, we should at least be great enough to believe them."

December 25, 1825. I found Goethe alone this evening, and passed with him some delightful hours. The conversation at one time turned on Byron, especially on the disadvantage at which he appears when compared with the innocent cheerfulness of Shakespeare, and on the frequent and usually not unmerited blame which he drew on himself by his manifold works of negation. Said Goethe, "If Byron had had the opportunity of working off all the opposition that was in him, by delivering many strong speeches in parliament, he would have been far purer as a poet. But as he scarcely ever spoke in parliament, he kept in his heart all that he felt against his nation, and no other means than poetical expression of his sentiments remained to him. I could therefore style a great part of his works of negation suppressed parliamentary speeches, and I think the characterisation would suit them well."

IV.--"Faust" and Victor Hugo

May 6, 1827. At a dinner-party at Goethe's, after conversation on certain poems, he said, "The Germans are certainly strange people. They make life much more burdensome to themselves than they ought by their deep thoughts and ideas, which they seek everywhere and fix on everything. Only have the courage to surrender yourself to your impressions, permit yourself to be moved, instructed and inspired for something great. But never imagine that all is vanity, if it is not abstract thought and idea.

"Next they come and ask what idea I meant to embody in my 'Faust'? As if I knew that myself, and could inform them. From Heaven through the world to hell would, indeed, be something; but that is no idea, only a course of action. And further, that the devil loses the wager, and that a man, continually struggling from difficult errors towards something better, should be redeemed, is truly a more effective, and to many a good, enlightening thought; but it is no idea lying at the basis of the whole, and of each individual scene. It would have been a fine thing, indeed, if I had strung so rich and diversified a life as I have brought to view in 'Faust' upon the slender thread of one single, pervading idea.

"It was altogether out of my province, as a poet, to strive to embody anything abstract. I received in my mind impressions of an animated, charming, hundredfold kind, just as a lively imagination presented them; and as a poet I had nothing more to do than artistically to elaborate these impressions, and so to present them that others might receive like impressions. But I am somewhat of the opinion that the more incommensurable, and the more incomprehensible to the understanding a poetic production is, so much the better it is."

June 20, 1831. At Goethe's, after dinner, the conversation fell upon the use and misuse of terms. Said he, "The French use the word 'composition' inappropriately. The expression is degrading as applied to genuine productions of art and poetry. It is a thoroughly contemptible word, of which we should seek to get rid as soon as possible.

"How can one say, Mozart has composed 'Don Juan'! Composition! As if it were a piece of cake or biscuit, which had been mixed together with eggs, flour, and sugar! It is a spiritual creation, in which the details as well as the whole are pervaded by one spirit. Consequently, the producer did not follow his own experimental impulse, but acted under that of his demoniac genius."

June 27, 1831. We conversed about Victor Hugo. "He has a fine talent," said Goethe. "But he is altogether ensnared in the unhappy romantic tendency of his time, by which he is constrained to represent, side by side with the beautiful, the most hateful and intolerable. I have recently read his 'Notre Dame de Paris,' and needed no little patience to endure the horror that I felt. It is the most abominable book ever written! And one is not even compensated by truthful representation of human nature or character. On the contrary, his book is totally destitute of nature and truth. The so-called acting personages whom he brings forward are not men with living flesh and blood, but miserable wooden puppets, moved according to his fancy and made to produce all sorts of contortions and grimaces. But what kind of an age is this, which not only makes such a book possible, but even finds it endurable and delightful!"

V.--On the Bible

Sunday, March 11, 1832. This evening for an hour Goethe talked on various excellent topics. I had purchased an English Bible, but found to my great regret that it did not include the Apocrypha, because these were not considered genuine and divinely inspired. I missed the truly noble Tobias, the wisdom of Solomon and Jesus Sirach, all writings of such deeply spiritual value, that few others equal them. I expressed to Goethe my regret at the narrow exclusiveness thus manifested. He entirely agreed with me.

"Still," said he, "there are two points of view from which Biblical subjects may be regarded. There is that of primitive religion, of pure nature and reason, which is of divine origin. This will ever remain the same, and will endure as long as divinely endowed beings exist. It is, however, only for the elect, and is far too high and noble to become universal.

"Then there is the point of view of the Church, which is of a more human nature. This is fallible and fickle, but, though perpetually changing, it will last as long as there are weak human beings. The light of cloudless divine revelation is far too pure and radiant for poor, weak man. But the Church interposes as mediator, to soften and moderate, and all are helped. Its influence is immense, through the notion that as successor of Christ it can relieve the burden of human sin. To secure this power, and to consolidate ecclesiasticism is the special aim of the Christian priesthood.

"Therefore it does not so much ask whether this or that book in the Bible effects a great enlightenment of the mind, it much more looks to the Mosaic and prophetic and Gospel records for allusions to the fall of man, and the advent to earth and death of Christ, as the atonement for sin. Thus you see that for such purposes the noble Tobias, the wisdom of Solomon, and the sayings of Sirach have little weight.

"Still, the question as to authenticity in details of the Bible is truly singular. What is genuine but the really excellent, which harmonises with the purest reason and nature, and even now ministers to our highest development? What is spurious but the absurd, hollow, and stupid, which brings no worthy fruit? If the authenticity of a Biblical writing depends on the question whether something true throughout has been handed down to us, we might on some points doubt the genuineness of the Gospels, of which Mark and Luke were not written from immediate presence and experience, but long afterwards from oral tradition. And the last, by the disciple John, was written in his old age.

"Yet I hold all four evangelists as thoroughly genuine, for there is in them the reflection of a greatness which emanated from the person of Jesus, such as only once has appeared on earth. If anyone asks whether it is in my nature to pay Him devout reverence, I say--'Surely, yes!' I bow before Him as the divine revelation of the highest principle of morality. If I am asked whether it is in my nature to revere the sun, again I say--'Surely, yes!' For the sun is also a manifestation of the highest, and, indeed, the mightiest which we children of earth are allowed to behold. But if I am asked whether I am inclined to bow before a thumb-bone of the apostle Peter or Paul, I say, 'Spare me, and stand off with your absurdities!'

"Says the apostle, 'Quench not the spirit.' The high and richly-endowed clergy fear nothing so much as the enlightenment of the lower orders. They withheld the Bible from them as long as possible. What can a poor member of the Christian church think of the princely pomp of a richly endowed bishop, when against this he sees in the Gospels the poverty of Christ, travelling humbly on foot with His disciples, while the princely bishop drives along in a carriage drawn by six horses!

"We do not at all know," continued Goethe, "all that we owe to Luther and the Reformation generally. We are emancipated from the fetters of spiritual narrowness. In consequence of our increasing culture, we have become capable of reverting to the fountain-head, and of comprehending Christianity in its purity. We have again the courage to stand with firm feet upon God's earth, and to realise our divinely endowed human nature. Let spiritual culture ever go on advancing, let the natural sciences go on ever gaining in breadth and depth, and let the human mind expand as it may, it will never go beyond the elevation and moral culture of Christianity as it shines and gleams in the Gospel!

"But the more effectually we Protestants advance in our noble development, so much the more rapidly will the Catholics follow. As soon as they feel themselves caught in the current of enlightenment, they must go on to the point where all is but one.

"The mischievous sectism of Protestantism will also cease, and with it alienation between father and son, brother and sister. For as soon as the pure teaching and love of Christ, as they really are, are comprehended and consistently practised, we shall realise our humanity as great and free, and cease to attach undue importance to mere outward form.

"Furthermore, we shall all gradually advance from a Christianity of word and faith to one of feeling and action."

The conversation next turned on the question how far God is influencing the great natures of the present world. Said Goethe, "If we notice how people talk, we might almost believe them to be of opinion that God had withdrawn into silence since that old time before Christ, and that man was now placed on his own feet, and must see how he can get on without God. In religious and moral matters a divine influence is still admitted, but in matters of science and art it is insisted that they are merely earthly, and nothing more than a product of pure human powers.

"But now let anyone only attempt with human will and human capabilities to produce something comparable with the creations that bear the names of Mozart, Raphael, or Shakespeare. I know right well that these three noble men are not the only ones, and that in every department of art innumerable excellent minds have laboured, who have produced results as perfectly good as those mentioned. But, if they were as great as those, they transcended ordinary human nature, and were in just the same degree divinely gifted."

Goethe was silent, but I cherished his great and good words in my heart.



Thomas Gray, the poet and author of the "Elegy written in a Country Churchyard," was born on December 26, 1716, in London, and was the only survivor of twelve children. At Eton he formed friendships with Horace Walpole, Thomas Ashton, and Richard West, who were later his chief correspondents. At Cambridge, where Gray took no degree, he began to make experiments in poetry. In 1739 and 1740 he travelled in Europe, and in 1742 he had established himself at Peterhouse, Cambridge, without University position or recognition of any kind. Here he plunged into the study of classical literature, and began to work on the "Elegy," which was published in 1751. He was a shy, sensitive man of very wide learning. Couched in graceful language, the letters are typical of the best in the best age of letter-writing, and not only are they fascinating for the tender and affectionate nature they reveal, but also for the gleam of real humour which Walpole declared was the poet's most natural vein. He died on July 30, 1771.

I.--The Student's Freedom


Peterhouse, December, 1736. After this term I shall have nothing more of college impertinences to undergo. I have endured lectures daily and hourly since I came last, supported by the hopes of being shortly at liberty to give myself up to my friends and classical companions, who, poor souls, though I see them fallen into great contempt with most people here, yet I cannot help sticking to them.

Indeed, what can I do else? Must I plunge into metaphysics? Alas! I cannot see in the dark. Nature has not furnished me with the optics of a cat. Must I pore upon mathematics? Alas! I cannot see in too much light. I am no eagle. It is very possible that two and two make four, but I would not give four farthings to demonstrate this ever so clearly; and if these be the profits of life, give me the amusements of it. The people I behold all around me, it seems, know all this, and more, and yet I do not know one of them who inspires me with any ambition of being like him. Surely it was of this place, now Cambridge, but formerly known by the name of Babylon, that the prophet spoke when he said, "The wild beasts of the desert shall dwell there, and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures, and owls shall build there and satyrs shall dance there." You see, here is a pretty collection of desolate animals, which is verified in this town to a tittle.


Burnham, September, 1737. I have at the distance of half a mile through a green lane a forest all my own, for I spy no human thing in it but myself. It is a little chaos of mountains and precipices; mountains, it is true, that do not ascend much above the clouds, nor are the declivities quite so amazing as Dover cliff; but just such hills as people who love their necks as well as I do may venture to climb, and crags that give the eye as much pleasure as if they were more dangerous. Both vale and hill are covered with most venerable beeches, and other very reverend vegetables, that, like most other ancient people, are always dreaming out their old stories to the winds. At the foot of one of these squat I, "Il penseroso," and there grow to the trunk for a whole morning. The timorous hare and sportive squirrel gambol around me like Adam in Paradise, before he had an Eve; but I do not think he read Virgil, as I commonly do there.

II.--Travels with Horace Walpole


Amiens, April, 1739. We left Dover at noon, and with a pretty brisk gale reached Calais by five. This is an exceeding old, but very pretty town, and we hardly saw anything there that was not so new and so different from England that it surprised us agreeably. We went the next morning to the great church, and were at high mass, it being Easter Monday. In the afternoon we took a post-chaise for Boulogne, which was only eighteen miles further.

This chaise is a strange sort of conveyance, resembling an ill-shaped chariot, only with the door opening before, instead of the side; three horses draw it, one between the shafts, and the other two on each side, on one of which the postillion rides and drives, too. This vehicle will, upon occasion, go fourscore miles a day; but Mr. Walpole, being in no hurry, chooses to make easy journeys of it, and we go about six miles an hour. They are no very graceful steeds, but they go well, and through roads which they say are bad for France, but to me they seem gravel walks and bowling greens. In short, it would be the finest travelling in the world were it not for the inns, which are most terrible places indeed.

The country we have passed through hitherto has been flat, open, but agreeably diversified with villages, fields well cultivated, and little rivers. On every hillock is a windmill, a crucifix, or a Virgin Mary dressed in flowers and a sarcenet robe; one sees not many people or carriages on the road; now and then, indeed, you meet a strolling friar, a countryman, or a woman riding astride on a little ass, with short petticoats and a great headdress of blue wool.


Paris, April, 1739. Here there are infinite swarms of inhabitants and more coaches than men. The women in general dress in sacs, flat hoops of five yards wide, nosegays of artificial flowers on one shoulder, and faces dyed in scarlet up to the eyes. The men in bags, roll-ups, muffs, and solitaires.

We had, at first arrival, an inundation of visits pouring in upon us, for all the English are acquainted, and herd much together, and it is no easy matter to disengage oneself from them, so that one sees but little of the French themselves. To be introduced to people of high quality it is absolutely necessary to be master of the language. There is not a house where they do not play, nor is any one at all acceptable unless he does so, too, a professed gamester being the most advantageous character a man can have at Paris. The abbés and men of learning are of easy access enough, but few English that travel have knowledge enough to take any great pleasure in that company.

We are exceedingly unsettled and irresolute; don't know our own minds for two moments together, and try to bring ourselves to a state of perfect apathy. In short, I think the greatest evil that could have happened to us is our liberty, for we are not at all capable to determine our own actions.


Lyons, October 13, 1739. We have been to see a famous monastery, called the Grand Chartreuse, and had no reason to think our time lost. After having travelled seven days, very slow (for we did not change horses, it being impossible for a chaise to go post in these roads), we arrived at a little village among the mountains of Savoy, called Echelles; from thence we proceeded on horses, who are used to the way, to the mountain of the Chartreuse. It is six miles to the top; the road runs winding up it, commonly not six feet broad; on one hand is the rock, with woods of pine-trees hanging overhead; on the other, a monstrous precipice, almost perpendicular, at the bottom of which rolls a torrent, that sometimes is tumbling among the fragments of stone that have fallen from on high, and sometimes precipitating itself down vast descents with a noise like thunder, which is made still greater by the echo from the mountains on each side, concurs to form one of the most solemn, the most romantic, and the most astonishing scenes I ever beheld. Add to this the strange views made by the crags and cliffs on the other hand, the cascades that in many places throw themselves from the very summit down into the vale and the river below.

This place St. Bruno chose to retire to, and upon its very top founded the convent, which is the superior of the whole order. When we came there, the two fathers who are commissioned to entertain strangers (for the rest must neither speak to one another nor to anyone else) received us very kindly, and set before us a repast of dried fish, eggs, butter, and fruits, all excellent in their kind, and extremely neat. They pressed us to spend the night there, and to stay some days with them; but this we could not do, so they led us about their house, which is like a little city, for there are 100 fathers, besides 300 servants, that make their clothes, grind their corn, press their wine, and do everything among themselves. The whole is quite orderly and simple; nothing of finery, but the wonderful decency and the strange situation more than supply the place of it.


Turin, November 7, 1739. I am this night arrived here, and have just set down to rest me after eight days tiresome journey. On the seventh day we came to Lanebourg, the last town in Savoy; it lies at the foot of the famous Mount Cenis, which is so situated as to allow no room for any way but over the very top of it. Here the chaise was forced to be pulled to pieces, and the baggage and that to be carried by mules. We ourselves were wrapped up in our furs, and seated upon a sort of matted chair without legs, which is carried upon poles in the manner of a bier, and so began to ascend by the help of eight men.

It was six miles to the top, where a plain opens itself about as many more in breadth, covered perpetually with very deep snow, and in the midst of that a great lake of unfathomable depth, from whence a river takes its rise, and tumbles over monstrous rocks quite down the other side of the mountain. The descent is six miles more, but infinitely more steep than the going up; and here the men perfectly fly down with you, stepping from stone to stone with incredible swiftness, in places where none but they could go three places without falling. The immensity of the precipices, the roaring of the river and torrents that run into it, the huge crags covered with ice and snow, and the clouds below you and about you, are objects it is impossible to conceive without seeing them. We were but five hours in performing the whole, from which you may judge of the rapidity of the men's motion.


Rome, April 2, 1740. The first entrance of Rome is prodigiously striking. It is by a noble gate, designed by Michael Angelo, and adorned with statues; this brings you into a large square, in the midst of which is a large block of granite, and in front you have at one view two churches of a handsome architecture, and so much alike that they are called the twins; with three streets, the middle-most of which is one of the longest in Rome. As high as my expectation was raised, I confess, the magnificence of this city infinitely surpasses it. You cannot pass along a street but you have views of some palace, or church, or square, or fountain, the most picturesque and noble one can imagine.

III.--The Birth of the "Elegy"


January, 1747. I am very sorry to hear you treat philosophy and her followers like a parcel of monks and hermits, and think myself obliged to vindicate a profession I honour. The first man that ever bore the name used to say that life was like the Olympic games, where some came to show the strength and agility of their bodies; others, as the musicians, orators, poets, and historians, to show their excellence in those arts; the traders to get money; and the better sort, to enjoy the spectacle and judge of all these. They did not then run away from society for fear of its temptations; they passed their days in the midst of it, conversation was their business; they cultivated the arts of persuasion, on purpose to show men it was their interest, as well as their duty, not to be foolish and false and unjust; and that, too, in many instances with success; which is not very strange, for they showed by their life that their lessons were not impracticable.


Cambridge, February 11, 1751. As you have brought me into a little sort of distress, you must assist me, I believe, to get out of it as well as I can. Yesterday I had the misfortune of receiving a letter from certain gentlemen who have taken the "Magazine of Magazines" into their hands. They tell me that an "ingenious" poem, called "Reflections in a Country Church-* yard," has been communicated to them, which they are printing forthwith; that they are informed that the "excellent" author of it is I by name, and that they beg not only his "indulgence," but the "honour" of his correspondence, etc.

As I am not at all disposed to be either so indulgent or so correspondent as they desire, I have but one bad way left to escape the honour they would inflict upon me; and therefore am obliged to desire you would make Dodsley print it immediately (which may be done in less than a week's time) from your copy, but without my name, in what form is most convenient for him, but on his best paper and character. He must correct the press himself, and print it without any interval between the stanzas, because the sense is in some places continued beyond them; and the title must be, "Elegy, written in a Country Churchyard." If he would add a line or two to say it came into his hands by accident, I should like it better.


Cambridge, August 18, 1758. I am as sorry as you seem to be that our acquaintance harped so much on the subject of materialism when I saw him with you in town. That we are indeed mechanical and dependent beings, I need no other proof than my own feelings; and from the same feelings I learn with equal conviction that we are not merely such; that there is a power within that struggles against the force and bias of that mechanism, commands its motion, and, by frequent practice, reduces it to that ready obedience which we call "habit"; and all this in conformity to a preconceived opinion, to that least material of all agents, a thought.

I have known many in his case who, while they thought they were conquering an old prejudice, did not perceive they were under the influence of one far more dangerous; one that furnishes us with a ready apology for all our worst actions, and opens to us a full licence for doing whatever we please; and yet these very people were not at all the more indulgent to other men, as they should have been; their indignation to such as offended them was nothing mitigated. In short, the truth is, they wished to be persuaded of that opinion for the sake of its convenience, but were not so in their heart.


1760. I am so charmed with the two specimens of Erse poetry (Macpherson's) that I cannot help giving you the trouble to inquire a little farther about them.

Is there anything known of the author or authors, and of what antiquity they are supposed to be? Is there any more to be had of equal beauty, or at all approaching to it? I have often been told that the poem called "Hardycanute," which I always admired, and still admire, was the work of somebody that lived a few years ago. This I do not at all believe, though it has evidently been retouched in places by some modern hand; but, however, I am authorised by this report to ask whether the two poems in question are certainly antique and genuine. I make this inquiry in quality of an antiquary, and am not otherwise concerned about it; for, if I were sure that anyone now living in Scotland had written them to divert himself, and laugh at the credulity of the world, I would undertake a journey into the Highlands only for the pleasure of seeing him.


Memoirs of the Count de Grammont

Count Antony Hamilton, soldier, courtier, and author, was born at Roscrea, Tipperary, in 1646. His father was George Hamilton, grandson of the Duke of Hamilton. At the death of Charles I., the Hamilton family took refuge abroad until the Restoration, and Antony's boyhood, until his fourteenth year, was spent in France. Shortly after their return with the Stuart dynasty, the illustrious Count de Grammont, exiled from France in 1662, won the affections of Elizabeth, Antony's sister, and then with characteristic inconstancy, chose to forget her; but he was caught up at Dover by the brothers Antony and George, and brought back to fulfil his engagement. After James II. had retired from England, Antony Hamilton frequented the court of the fallen monarch at Saint-Germain, where he died on April 21, 1720. In the "Memoirs of the Count de Grammont," first published anonymously in 1713, Hamilton, though of British birth, wrote one of the great classics of the French language. The spirited wit, the malicious and graceful gaiety of these adventures, are perfectly French in quality.

I.--Soldier and Gamester

Those who read only for their amusement seem to me more reasonable than those who read only in order to discover errors; and I may say at once that I write for the former, without troubling myself about the erudition of the critics. What does chronological order matter, or an exact narrative, if only this sketch succeeds in giving a perfect impression of its original?

I write, with something of Plutarch's freedom, a life more amazing than any which that author has left us; an inimitable character whose radiance covers faults which it would be vain to dissemble; an illustrious personality whose vices and virtues are inextricably interwoven, and seem as rare in their perfect harmony as they are brilliant in their contrast. In war, in love, at the gaming-table, and in all the varied circumstances of a long career, Count de Grammont has been the wonder of his age.

It is not for me to describe him as Bussy and Saint-Evremond have tried to do; his own words shall tell the pleasant story of sieges and battles, and of his not less glorious stratagems in love or at play.

Louis XIII. reigned, and Cardinal Richelieu governed the kingdom. Great men were in command of little armies, and these little armies won great achievements. The fortunes of powerful houses depended on the minister's favour. His vast projects were establishing the formidable grandeur of the France of to-day. But matters of police were a trifle neglected; the highways were unsafe, and theft went unpunished. Youth, entering on life, took what part it chose; everyone might be a knight; everyone who could became a beneficed priest. The sacred and military callings were not distinguished by their dress, and the Chevalier de Grammont adorned them both at the siege of Trin.

Many deeds of daring marked this siege of Trin; there had been great fatigues and many losses. But of boredom, after De Grammont's arrival, there was never any throughout the army; no more weariness in the trenches, no more dulness among the generals. Everywhere, this man sought and carried joy.

Some vainly imitated him; others more wisely sought his friendship. Among these was Matta, a fellow of infinite frankness, probity, and naturalness, and of the finest discernment and delicacy. A friendship was quickly established between the two; they agreed to live together, sharing expenses, and began to give a series of sumptuous and elegant banquets, at which they found the cards marvellously profitable. The chevalier became the fashion, and it was considered bad form to contravene his taste.

But the greatest prosperity is not always the most lasting. Lavish expenditure such as theirs begins to be felt when the luck changes, and the chevalier soon had to call his genius to aid him in maintaining his honourable reputation. Rejecting Matta's suggestion of retrenchment and reforms as contrary to the honour of France, Grammont laid before him the better way. He proposed to invite Count de Caméran, a wealthy and eager player, to supper on the following evening. Matta objected their present straits.

"Have you not a grain of imagination?" continued the chevalier. "Order a supper of the best. He will pay. But listen first to the simple precautions which I mean to take. You command the Guards, don't you? Well, have fifteen or twenty men, under your Sergeant Laplace, lying in some quiet place between here and headquarters."

"Great heavens!" cried Matta. "An ambush? You mean to rob the unhappy man? I cannot go so far as that!"

"Poor simpleton that you are!" was the reply. "Look fairly at the facts. There is every appearance that we shall gain his money. The Piedmontese, such as he is, are honest enough, but are by nature absurdly suspicious. He commands the cavalry. Well, you are a man who cannot rule your tongue, and it is ten to one that some of your jests will make him anxious. If he were to take into his head that he was being cheated, what might not happen? He usually has eight or ten mounted men attending him, and we must guard against his natural resentment at losing."

"Give me your hand, dear chevalier," said Matta, "and forgive me for having doubted you. How wonderful you are! It had never occurred to me before that a player at the card-table should be backed by a detachment of infantry outside."

The supper passed most agreeably, Matta drinking more than usual to stifle some remaining scruples. The chevalier, brilliant as ever, kept his guest in continual merriment, whom he was soon to make so serious; and Caméran's ardour was divided between the good cheer on the table and the play that was to follow. Meanwhile, the trusty Laplace drew up his men in the darkness.

De Grammont, calling to mind the many deceits that had at various times been practised upon him, steeled his heart against sentimental weakness; and Matta, unwilling spectator of violated hospitality, went to sleep in an easy-chair. Play began for small sums, but rose to higher stakes; and presently Matta was awakened by the loud indignation of their unfortunate guest to find the cards flying through the air.

"Play no more, my poor count!" cried Matta, laughing at his transports of rage. "Don't hope for a change of luck!"

Caméran insisted, however, and Matta was again aroused by a more furious storm. "Stop playing!" he shouted. "Don't I tell you it is impossible that you should win? We are cheating you!"

The Chevalier de Grammont, all the more annoyed at this ill-placed jest because it had a certain appearance of truth, rebuked Matta for his rude gaiety; but the losing player, reassured by Matta's frankness, refused to be offended by him, and turned again to deal the cards. Caméran lost fifteen hundred pistoles and paid them the next morning. Matta, severely reprimanded for his dangerous impertinence, confessed that a brush between the opposing forces outside would have been a diverting conclusion to the evening.

II.--A Complete Education

"Tell me the story of your education," said Matta one evening, as the intimacy of the two friends advanced. "The most trifling particulars of a life like yours must be well worth knowing. But don't begin with an enumeration of your ancestors, for I know you are wholly ignorant of their name and rank."

"What poor jest is that?" replied the count. "Not all the world is as ignorant as you. It was owing to my father's own choice that he was not son of King Henry IV. His majesty desired nothing more than to recognise him, but my treacherous parent was obdurate to the end. Think how the De Grammonts would have stood if he had only kept to the truth. I see you laugh, but it's as true as the Gospel.

"But to come to facts. I was sent to college with a view to the Church, but as I had other views, I profited little. I was so fond of gaming that my teachers lost their Latin in trying to teach it to me. Old Brinon, who accompanied me as servant and governor, threatened me with my mother's anger, but I rarely listened. I left college very much as I entered it, though they considered that I knew enough for the living which my brother had procured for me.

"He had just married the niece of the great Richelieu, to whom he wished to present me. I arrived in Paris, and after enjoying for a few days the run of the town in order to lose my rusticity, I put on a cassock to appear at court in a clerical character. But my hair was well powdered and dressed, my white boots and gilt spurs showed below, and the cardinal was offended at what he took to be a slight on the tonsure.

"The costume, a compromise between Rome and the army, delighted the court, but my brother pointed out that the time had come to choose between them. 'On the one hand,' he said, 'by declaring for the Church you may have great possessions and a life of idleness; on the other hand, a soldier's life offers you slender pay, broken arms and legs, the court's ingratitude, and at length, perhaps, the rank of camp-marshal, with a glass eye and a wooden leg. Choose.'

"'I very well know,' I replied, 'that these two careers cannot be compared as regards the comfort and convenience of life; but since it is our duty to seek salvation first of all, I will renounce the Church that I may save my soul--always on the understanding that I may keep my benefice.' Neither my brother's remonstrances nor his authority could shake my resolution, and I had even to go without my benefice.

"My mother, who hoped that I should be a saint in the Church, but feared that in the world I should become a devil, or be killed in battle, was at first inconsolable. But after I had somewhat acquired the manners of the court and of society she idolised me, and kept me with her as long as possible. At last the time came for my departure to the war, and the faithful Brinon undertook to be responsible for my morals and welfare, as well as for my safety on the field.

"Brinon and I fell out very soon. He had been entrusted with four hundred pistoles for my charges, and I naturally wanted to have them. Brinon refused to part with the money, and I was compelled to take it by force. He made such ado about it I might have been tearing the heart from his breast. From this point my spirits rose exceedingly.

"At last we reached Lyons. Two soldiers stopped us at the gate to take us to the governor, and I ordered one of them to guide me to the best hotel, while the other should take Brinon before the governor to give an account of my journey and purpose. There is as good entertainment in Lyons as in Paris, but, as usual, my soldier led me to the house of one of his friends, praising it as the haunt of the best company. We came thither, and I was left in the hands of the landlord, who was Swiss by race, poisoner by profession, and robber by custom.

"Presently Brinon arrived, angrier than an aged monkey, and, finding me preparing to go down to the company below, assured me that there were none in the house but a dozen noisy gamblers, playing cards and dice. But I had become ungovernable since I had secured the money, and sent him off to sup and sleep, ordering the horses for the hour before dawn. My money began to tingle in my pocket from the moment when Brinon spoke of the cards.

"The public room below was crowded with the most astonishing figures. I had expected well-dressed folk, and here were German and Swiss chapmen playing backgammon with the manners of cattle. One especially was pointed out to me by my host as a horse-dealer from Basle, who was willing to play high, and was always ready to pay his losses. This was sufficient. I immediately proposed to ruin that horse-dealer. I stood behind him and studied his play, which was inconceivably bad.

"We dined side by side, and when the worst meal I have ever taken was finished, everyone disappeared, with the exception of my Swiss and the landlord. After a little conversation I proposed a game, and, apologising for the great liberty he was taking, the horse-dealer consented. I won, and won again. Brinon entered to interrupt us, and I turned him out of the room. The play continued in my favour until the little Swiss, having passed over the stakes, apologised again, and would have retired. That, however, was not what I wanted. I offered to stake all my winnings in one throw. He made a good deal of difficulty over it, but at last consented, and won. I was annoyed, and staked again. Again he won. There was no more bad play now. Throw after throw, without exception, went in his favour, until all my money was gone. Then he rose, apologetic as ever, wished me good-night, and left the house. Thus my education was completed."

"But what did you do then?" Matta inquired.

"Brinon hadn't given me all the money."

III.--The Restoration Court

The Chevalier de Grammont had visited England at the time when that proud nation lay under Cromwell's yoke, and all was sad and serious in the finest city of the world. But he found a very different scene the next time he crossed the Channel. The joy of the Restoration was everywhere. The very people who had solemnly abjured the Stuart line were feasting and rejoicing on its return.

He arrived about two years after Charles II. had ascended the throne, and his welcome at the English court mitigated his sorrows at leaving France. It was indeed a happy retreat for an exile of his character. Accustomed as he was to the grandeur of the French court, he was surprised at the refinement and majesty of that of England. The king was second to none in bodily or in mental graces, his temperament was agreeable and familiar. Capable of everything when affairs of state were urgent, he was unable to apply himself in times of ease; his heart was often the dupe, and oftener still the slave, of his affections. The Duke of York was of a different character. His courage was reputed indomitable, his word inviolable, and his economy, pride, and industry were praised by all.

The Duke of Ormonde enjoyed the confidence and esteem of his royal master. The magnitude of his services, his high birth and personal merit, and the sacrifices which he had made in following the fortunes of Charles II. justified his elevation to be master of the king's household, first gentleman of the chamber, and governor of Ireland. He was, so to speak, the Marshal de Grammont of the English court. The Duke of Buckingham and the Count of St. Albans were in England what they had been in France; the former, spirited and fiery, dissipating ingloriously his immense possessions; the other, without notable talent, having risen from indigence to a considerable fortune, which his losses at play and abundant hospitality seemed only to increase.

Lord Berkeley, who later became Lord Falmouth, was the king's confidant and favourite, though a man of no great gifts, either physical or intellectual; but the native nobility of his mind was shown in an unprecedented disinterestedness, so that he cared for nothing but the glory of his master. So true-hearted was he, that no one would have taken him to be a courtier.

The eldest of the Hamiltons was the best-dressed man at court. He was handsome, and had those happy talents which lead to fortune and to the victories of love. He was the most assiduous and polished of courtiers; no one danced or flirted more gracefully, and these are no small merits in a court which lives on feasts and gallantry. The handsome Sydney, less dangerous than he seemed, had too little vivacity to make good the promise of his features.

Strangely enough, it was on the little Jermyn, nephew and adopted son of the aged St. Albans, that all good fortunes showered. Backed by his uncle's wealth, he had made a brave show at the court of the Princess of Orange, and, as is so often the case, magnificent equipments had made a way for love. True, he was a courageous and well-bred man, but his personal attractions were slight; he was small, with a big head and short legs, and though his features were not disagreeable, his gait and manner were affected. His wit was limited to a few expressions, which he used indiscriminately in raillery and in wooing; yet on these poor advantages was founded a formidable success in gallantry. His reputation was well established in England before ever he arrived. If a woman's mind be prepared, the way is open to her heart, and Jermyn found the ladies of the English court favourably disposed.

Such were the heroes of the court. As for the beauties, one could not turn without seeing some of them. Those of greatest repute were Lady Castlemaine (later Duchess of Cleveland), Lady Chesterfield, Lady Shrewsbury, with a hundred other stars of this shining constellation; but Miss Hamilton and Miss Stewart outshone them all. The new queen added but little to its brilliancy, either personally or by the members of her suite.

Into this society, then, the Chevalier de Grammont entered. He was familiar with everyone, adapted himself readily to their customs, enjoyed everything, praised everything, and was delighted to find the manners of the court neither coarse nor barbarous. With his natural complacency, instead of the impertinent fastidiousness of which other foreigners had been guilty, he delighted the whole of England.

At first he paid court to the king, with whom he found favour. He played high, and rarely lost. He was soon in so much request that his presence at a dinner or reception had to be secured eight or ten days beforehand. These unintermitted social duties wearied him, but he acceded to them as inevitable, keeping himself free, however, for supper at home. The hour of these exquisite little suppers was irregular, because it depended on the course of play; the company was small, but well-chosen. The pick of the courtiers accepted his invitations, and the celebrated Saint-Evremond, a fellow exile, was always of the party. De Grammont was his hero, and Saint-Evremond used to make prudent little lectures on his friend's weakness.

"Here you are," he would say, "in the most agreeable and fortunate circumstances which a man of your humour could find. You are the delight of a youthful, lively and gallant court. The king makes you one of every pleasant party. You play every night to morning, without knowing what it is to lose. You spend lavishly, but your fortune is multiplying itself beyond your wildest dreams. My dear Chevalier, leave well alone. Don't renew your ancient follies. Keep to your gaming; amass money; do not interfere with love." And De Grammont would laugh at his mentor as the "Cato of Normandy."

IV.--The Chevalier's Marriage

The Hamilton family lived next to court, in a large house where the most distinguished people in London, and among them the Chevalier de Grammont, were to be found daily. Everyone agreed that Miss Hamilton deserved a sincere and worthy attachment; her birth was of the highest and her charms were universally acknowledged. Her figure was beautiful, every movement was gracious, and the ladies of the court were led by her taste in dress and in coiffure. Affecting neither vivacity nor deliberation in speech, she said as much as was needed, and no more. After seeing her, the Chevalier wasted no more time elsewhere.

The English court was at this time seething with amorous intrigues, and the Chevalier and his friends were involved in many a risky adventure. The days were spent in hunting, the nights in dancing and at play. One of the most splendid masquerades was devised by the queen herself. In this spectacle, each dancer was to represent a particular nation; and you may imagine that the tailors and dressmakers were kept busy for many days. During these preparations, Miss Hamilton took a fancy to ridicule two very pushing ladies of the court.

Lady Muskerry, like most great heiresses, was without physical endowments. She was short, stout, and lame, and her features were disagreeable; but she was the victim of a passion for dress and for dancing. The queen, in her kindness to the public, never omitted to make Lady Muskerry dance at a court ball; but it was impossible to introduce her into a superb pageant such as the projected masquerade.

To this lady, then, when the queen was sending her invitations, Miss Hamilton addressed a fac-simile note, commanding her attendance in the character of a Babylonian; and to another, a Miss Blague, who was extremely blonde with a most insipid tint, she sent several yards of the palest yellow ribbon, requesting her to wear it in her hair. The jest, which succeeded admirably, was characteristic of Miss Hamilton's playful disposition.

During a season at Tunbridge Wells, and another a Bath, the brilliant Chevalier, admired by all and more successful than ever at play, prosecuted his suit. Then, almost all the merry courtier-lovers fell at once into the bonds of marriage. The beautiful Miss Stewart married the Duke of Richmond; the invincible little Jermyn fell to a conceited lady from the provinces; Lord Rochester took a melancholy heiress; George Hamilton married the lovely Miss Jennings; and, lastly, the Chevalier de Grammont, as the reward of a constancy which he had never shown before, and which he has never practised since, became the possessor of the charming Miss Hamilton.


Our Old Home

On the election of Franklin Pierce as President of the United States, Hawthorne was appointed consul at Liverpool, whither he sailed in 1853, resigning in 1857 to go to Rome, and returning to America four years later. "Our Old Home" is the fruit of this period spent in England. It was written at Concord, and first appeared serially during 1863 in the "Atlantic Monthly." Although "Our Old Home" gave no little offence to English readers, nevertheless it exhibits the author as keenly observant of their characteristics and life. (See FICTION.)

I.--Consular Experiences

The Liverpool Consulate of the United States, in my day, was located in Washington Buildings, in the neighbourhood of some of the oldest docks. Here in a stifled and dusky chamber I spent wearily four good years of my existence. Hither came a great variety of visitors, principally Americans, but including almost every other nationality, especially the distressed and downfallen ones. All sufferers, or pretended ones, in the cause of Liberty sought the American Consulate in hopes of bread, and perhaps to beg a passage to the blessed home of Freedom.

My countrymen seemed chiselled in sharper angles than I had imagined at home. They often came to the Consulate in parties merely to see how their public servant was getting on with his duties.

No people on earth have such vagabond habits as ourselves. A young American will deliberately spend all his resources in an aesthetic peregrination of Europe. Often their funds held out just long enough to bring them to the doors of my Consulate. Among these stray Americans I remember one ragged, patient old man, who soberly affirmed that he had been wandering about England more than a quarter of a century, doing his utmost to get home, but never rich enough to pay his passage.

I recollect another queer, stupid, fat-faced individual, a country shopkeeper from Connecticut, who had come over to England solely to have an interview with the queen. He had named one of his children for her majesty, and the other for Prince Albert, and had transmitted photographs of them to the illustrious godmother, which had been acknowledged by her secretary. He also had a fantastic notion that he was rightful heir to a rich English estate. The cause of this particular insanity lies deep in the Anglo-American heart. We still have an unspeakable yearning towards England, and I might fill many pages with instances of this diseased American appetite for English soil. A respectable-looking woman, exceedingly homely, but decidedly New Englandish, came to my office with a great bundle of documents, containing evidences of her indubitable claim to the site on which all the principal business part of Liverpool has long been situated.

All these matters, however, were quite distinct from the real business of that great Consulate, which is now woefully fallen off. The technical details I left to the treatment of two faithful, competent English subordinates. An American has never time to make himself thoroughly qualified for a foreign post before the revolution of the political wheel discards him from his office. For myself, I was not at all the kind of man to grow into an ideal consul. I never desired to be burdened with public influence, and the official business was irksome. When my successor arrived, I drew a long, delightful breath.

These English sketches comprise a few of the things that I took note of, in many escapes from my consular servitude. Liverpool is a most convenient point to get away from. I hope that I do not compromise my American patriotism by acknowledging that in visiting many famous localities, I was often conscious of a fervent hereditary attachment to the native soil of our forefathers, and felt it to be our Old Home.

II.--A Sentimental Experience

There is a small nest of a place in Leamington which I remember as one of the cosiest nooks in England. The ordinary stream of life does not run through this quiet little pool, and few of the inhabitants seem to be troubled with any outside activities.

Its original nucleus lies in the fiction of a chalybeate well. I know not if its waters are ever tasted nowadays, but it continues to be a resort of transient visitors. It lies in pleasant Warwickshire at the very midmost point of England, surrounded by country seats and castles, and is the more permanent abode of genteel, unoccupied, not very wealthy people.

My chief enjoyment there lay in rural walks to places of interest in the neighbourhood. The high-roads are pleasant, but a fresher interest is to be found in the footpaths which go wandering from stile to stile, along hedges and across broad fields, and through wooded parks. These by-paths admit the wayfarer into the very heart of rural life. Their antiquity probably exceeds that of the Roman ways; the footsteps of the aboriginal Britons first wore away the grass, and the natural flow of intercourse from village to village has kept the track bare ever since. An American farmer would plough across any such path. Old associations are sure to be fragrant herbs in English nostrils, but we pull them up as weeds.

I remember such a path, which connects Leamington with the small village of Lillington. The village consists chiefly of one row of dwellings, growing together like the cells of a honeycomb, without intervening gardens, grass-plots, orchards, or shade trees. Beyond the first row there was another block of small, old cottages with thatched roofs. I never saw a prettier rural scene. In front of the whole row was a luxuriant hawthorne hedge, and belonging to each cottage was a little square of garden ground. The gardens were chock-full of familiar, bright-coloured flowers. The cottagers evidently loved their little nests, and kindly nature helped their humble efforts with its flowers, moss, and lichens.

Not far from these cottages a green lane turned aside to an ideal country church and churchyard. The tower was low, massive, and crowned with battlements. We looked into the windows and beheld the dim and quiet interior, a narrow space, but venerable with the consecration of many centuries. A well-trodden path led across the churchyard. Time gnaws an English gravestone with wonderful appetite. And yet this, same ungenial climate has a lovely way of dealing with certain horizontal monuments. The unseen seeds of mosses find their way into the lettered furrows, and are made to germinate by the watery sunshine of the English sky; and by-and-bye, behold, the complete inscription beautifully embossed in velvet moss on the marble slab! I found an almost illegible stone very close to the church, and made out this forlorn verse.

Poorly lived,
And poorly died;
Poorly buried,
And no one cried.

From Leamington, the road to Warwick is straight and level till it brings you to an arched bridge over the Avon. Casting our eyes along the quiet stream through a vista of willows, we behold the grey magnificence of Warwick Castle. From the bridge the road passes in front of the Castle Gate, and enters the principal street of Warwick.

Proceeding westward through the town, we find ourselves confronted by a huge mass of rock, penetrated by a vaulted passage, which may well have been one of King Cymbeline's gateways; and on the top of the rock sits a small, old church, communicating with an ancient edifice that looks down on the street. It presents a venerable specimen of the timber-and-plaster style of building; the front rises into many gables, the windows mostly open on hinges; the whole affair looks very old, but the state of repair is perfect.

On a bench, enjoying the sunshine, and looking into the street, a few old men are generally to be seen, wrapped in old-fashioned cloaks and wearing the identical silver badges which the Earl of Leicester gave to the twelve original Brethren of Leicester's Hospital--a community which exists to-day under the modes established for it in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. This sudden cropping-up of an apparently dead and buried state of society produces a picturesque effect.

The charm of an English scene consists in the rich verdure of the fields, in the stately wayside trees, and in the old and high cultivation that has humanised the very sods. To an American there is a kind of sanctity even in an English turnip-field.

After my first visit to Leamington, I went to Lichfield to see its beautiful cathedral, and because it was the birthplace of Dr. Johnson, with whose sturdy English character I became acquainted through the good offices of Mr. Boswell. As a man, a talker, and a humorist, I knew and loved him. I might, indeed, have had a wiser friend; the atmosphere in which he breathed was dense, and he meddled only with the surface of life. But then, how English!

I know not what rank the cathedral of Lichfield holds among its sister edifices. To my uninstructed vision it seemed the object best worth gazing at in the whole world.

Seeking for Johnson's birthplace, I found a tall and thin house, with a roof rising steep and high. In a corner-room of the basement, where old Michael Johnson may have sold books, is now what we should call a dry-goods store. I could get no admittance, and had to console myself with a sight of the marble figure sitting in the middle of the Square with his face turned towards the house. A bas-relief on the pedestal shows Johnson doing penance in the market-place of Uttoxeter for an act of disobedience to his father, committed fifty years before.

The next day I went to Uttoxeter on a sentimental pilgrimage to see the very spot where Johnson had stood. How strange it is that tradition should not have kept in mind the place! How shameful that there should be no local memorial of this incident, as beautiful and touching a passage as can be cited out of any human life!

III.--The English Vanity Fair

One summer we found a particularly delightful abode in one of the oases that have grown up on the wide waste of Blackheath. A friend had given us pilgrims and dusty wayfarers his suburban residence, with all its conveniences, elegances, and snuggeries, its lawn and its cosy garden-nooks. I already knew London well, and I found the quiet of my temporary haven more attractive than anything that the great town could offer. Our domain was shut in by a brick wall, softened by shrubbery, and beyond our immediate precincts there was an abundance of foliage. The effect was wonderfully sylvan and rural; only we could hear the discordant screech of a railway-train as it reached Blackheath. It gave a deeper delight to my luxurious idleness that we could contrast it with the turmoil which I escaped.

Beyond our own gate I often went astray on the great, bare, dreary common, with a strange and unexpected sense of desert freedom. Once, about sunset, I had a view of immense London, four or five miles off, with the vast dome in the midst, and the towers of the Houses of Parliament rising up into the smoky canopy--a glorious and sombre picture, but irresistibly attractive.

The frequent trains and steamers to Greenwich have made Blackheath a playground and breathing-place for Londoners. Passing among these holiday people, we come to one of the gateways of Greenwich Park; it admits us from the bare heath into a scene of antique cultivation, traversed by avenues of trees. On the loftiest of the gentle hills which diversify the surface of the park is Greenwich Observatory. I used to regulate my watch by the broad dial-plate against the Observatory wall, and felt it pleasant to be standing at the very centre of time and space.

The English character is by no means a lofty one, and yet an observer has a sense of natural kindness towards them in the lump. They adhere closer to original simplicity; they love, quarrel, laugh, cry, and turn their actual selves inside out with greater freedom than Americans would consider decorous. It was often so with these holiday folk in Greenwich Park, and I fancy myself to have caught very satisfactory glimpses of Arcadian life among the cockneys there.

After traversing the park, we come into the neighbourhood of Greenwich Hospital, an establishment which does more honour to the heart of England than anything else that I am acquainted with. The hospital stands close to the town, where, on Easter Monday, it was my good fortune to behold the festivity known as Greenwich Fair.

I remember little more of it than a confusion of unwashed and shabbily dressed people, such as we never see in our own country. On our side of the water every man and woman has a holiday suit. There are few sadder spectacles than a ragged coat or a soiled gown at a festival.

The unfragrant crowd was exceedingly dense. There were oyster-stands, stalls of oranges, and booths with gilt gingerbread and toys for the children. The mob were quiet, civil, and remarkably good-humoured, making allowance for the national gruffness; there was no riot. What immensely perplexed me was a sharp, angry sort of rattle sounding in all quarters, until I discovered that the noise was produced by a little instrument called "the fun of the fair," which was drawn smartly against people's backs. The ladies draw their rattles against the young men's backs, and the young men return the compliment. There were theatrical booths, fighting men and jugglers, and in the midst of the confusion little boys very solicitous to brush your boots. The scene reminded me of Bunyan's description of Vanity Fair.

These Englishmen are certainly a franker and simpler people than ourselves, from peer to peasant; but it may be that they owe those manly qualities to a coarser grain in their nature, and that, with a fine one in ours, we shall ultimately acquire a marble polish of which they are unsusceptible.

From Greenwich the steamers offer much the most agreeable mode of getting to London. At least, it might be agreeable except for the soot from the stove-pipe, the heavy heat of the unsheltered deck, the spiteful little showers of rain, the inexhaustible throng of passengers, and the possibility of getting your pocket picked.

A notable group of objects on the bank of the river is an assemblage of walls, battlements, and turrets, out of the midst of which rises one great, greyish, square tower, known in English history as the Tower. Under the base of the rampart we may catch a glimpse of an arched water-entrance; it is the Traitor's Gate, through which a multitude of noble and illustrious personages have entered the Tower on their way to Heaven.

Later, we have a glimpse of the holy Abbey; while that grey, ancestral pile on the opposite side of the river is Lambeth Palace. We have passed beneath half a dozen bridges in our course, and now we look back upon the mass of innumerable roofs, out of which rise steeples, towers, columns, and the great crowning Dome--look back upon that mystery of the world's proudest city, amid which a man so longs and loves to be, not, perhaps, because it contains much that is positively admirable and enjoyable, but because the world has nothing better.