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lie in waiting for the “Duke of Weimar," nor in turning ourselves over, as clay to the potter, to some “well-gifted cadet, younger son of a duke, of an earl, of a queen herself, doomed now to go mainly to the devil for absolute want of a career.” Most lame and impotent conclusion that, — most lamentable and unpromising method of developing and sustaining brain. We shall never get Hercules so, or by simply shouting for him. Better, as Mr. Lowell says, if we are in trouble, “make a lever with a rail from the next fence, and call in the neighbors.” The leaven of the principle of neighborhood - Lessing's “Humanity,” Mazzini's “ Association,” “Swarmery” if you please — is what Carlyle's political philosophy chiefly lacks. This,
1 This is saying nothing about his sympathies. How deep his sympathies with the masses Corn-Law Rhymes and the whole of Past and Present sufficiently prove. “I believe,” writes Leigh Hunt, in his autobiography, “that what he loves better than his fault-finding, with all its eloquence, is the face of any human creature that looks suffering, and loving, and sincere ; and I believe, further, that if the fellow-creature were suffering only, and neither loving nor sincere, but had come to a pass of agony in this life which put him at the mer. cies of some good man for some last help and consolation toward his grave, even at the risk of loss to repute, and a sure amount of pain and vexation, that man, if the groan reached him in its forlornness, would be Thomas Carlyle.” “ The rare touches,” says a recent writer on Carlyle, — “rare, because it was not his special mission to utter them, - of sympathy with failure and incompetence, which are to be found in his work, are worth libraries of plaintive gush over such things.”
GOVERNORS AND TEACHERS. 129 as Mr. James has said, is the very gospel of Christ; and this is the principle to which we are now inevitably committed, and which has got to be worked out. This is at least sincere, — all else to-day is make-believe. And this, too, if we look well to it, satisfies the first condition of Carlyle's philosophy, “Do, that you may know.” If this rule is good for anything, then we must believe that in political activity men will most surely attain political wisdom ; that as citizens, and not as subjects, they will most surely develop the true eye for talent, and the will to make it master. Meantime, “government” is not the State, nor is it always, perhaps, the institution which most profoundly influences the State, or is its most reliable exponent. It becomes every day less important who our “governors ” are, and more important who our teachers are. The Ways and Means committee is less than the writer of books, and Carlyle is more than prime minister. Government is much, and let us have an Aristocracy of Talent; but let us chiefly have a University of Talent.
Here we pause-for somewhere we must — in a study which might be indefinitely continued. Yet may these fragmentary words provoke some thought that shall tend definitely somewhither! More and better — may all this talk to-day about Carlyle bring forth somewhere and somehow the fruits of
good living! That is all he cared about — and he would thank us little for talking so long now about what he thought, unless so be we get a slant upward, and translate something into life. His opinions and his philosophy must go for what they are worth — but let us look at his life, and get the upward impulse. If it be true that circumstances make the man, learn we that our only salvation lies in acting as though it were not true. Independence of circumstances makes the man. “I came hither,” wrote the young Carlyle to the old Goethe from the wilds of Craigenputtoch, where Emerson found him, “solely with the design to simplify my way of life and to secure the independence through which I could be enabled to remain true to myself ;” and at Craigenputtoch he learned once for all that “the fraction of life can be increased in value not so much by increasing your numerator as by lessening your denominator.” This, it seems to me, is the lesson for the young American scholar, in an age of luxury and money, an age of “circumstances ” — the lesson that the man of science must find his satisfaction in his science, the artist live in art, the honest man find life, sufficient and abundant, in the truth for which he stands, careless of place or property, or the approbation of men who know less than himself. If he cannot do this, then let him consider whether he be, in the first place, a man of science, an artist, or a sincere man at all.. Listen too long to the
THE LESSCY OF CARLYLE'S LIFE. 131
dictum of the club about insurance and a basis of bullion, and your digging downward will not stop. The way to earn the ear and fear of material men is not by throwing a sop to their materialism, and the quickest way to be rich, and the noblest withal, is by daring to be poor. Strong and single indeed is he who begins by making friend of the mammon of unrighteousness and does not end by becoming its hanger-on; and he who puts off high thinking to a more convenient season will fetch up in contentment with low thinking. America vants a generation of scholars like Agassiz, who “ have n’t time to make money,” of men who put science, art, and truth in the first place, and not in the second place, and to whom a life is more than a living, men who, with the repose of Jesus in ideas, seek first the kingdom of God, and trust in God for the necessary things of the Gentiles — which are not many nor much to the man who is much. So Carlyle found it and such was he. “He has taught scholars their lofty duty.” The hell of the modern English soul, he said, is “the terror of 'not succeeding,' of not making money, fame, or some other figure in the world, — chiefly of not making money.” He knew no hell but the possibility, among conservatives and destructives, of not being a productive. “With those,” he said, “who in true manful endeavor, were it under despotism or under sansculottism, create somewhat, with those alone does the hope of the world lie.”
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“ The unwearied Workman now rests from his labors,"— they are his words of the great productive whom he called master ; we speak them of him, and turn each to his appointed task; -“the fruit of these is left growing and to grow. His earthly years have been numbered and ended; but of his activity, for it stood rooted in the Eternal, there is no end. The literature of Europe will pass away ; Europe itself, the Earth itself, will pass away; this little life-boat of an Earth, with its noisy crew of a mankind and all their troubled history, will one day have vanished, faded like a cloud-speck from the azure of the All! What, then, is man! What, then, is man! He endures but for an hour, and is crushed before the moth. Yet in the being and in the working of a faithful man is there already (as all faith, from the beginning, gives assurance), a something that pertains not to this wild deathelement of Time, that triumphs over Time, and is and will be, when Time shall be no more.
“ And now we turn back into the world, withdrawing from this new-made grave. The man whom we love lies there : but glorious, worthy; and his spirit yet lives in us with an authentic life. Could each here vow to do his little task, even as the Departed did his great one, in the manner of a true man, not for a Day, but for Eternity! To live as he counselled and commanded, not commodiously in the reputable, the plausible, the half, but resolutely in the Whole, the Good, the True :
“. Im Ganzen, Guten, Wahren resolut zu leben!""