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From The Church Quarterly Review. upon the mountain-side ; to the per-
fect shape of the swallow that skins THE century is drawing to a close, the summer air. He has told them the the sands of the hour-glass are fast wonderful meanings which lie hidden running out, and the number of its in the sculptured stones of Venice or years will soon be told. And as the the storied marbles of the Shepherıl's hurrying march of time ears us on-Tower. More than this, in an age i ward, the men who have made this when the struggle of life is fierce, and nineteenth-century England of ours the pressing claims of things present what she is are rapidly passing out of are apt to make us lose sight of higher sight. One by one they have left us, and diviner aims, Mr. Ruskin has never. these giauts of old days, who fifty years ceased to call us to a life of high and ago bore the brunt of the battle, and holy faith in God and active love to fought their way through storm and man. He has lifted up his voice boldly stress. Carlyle and Newman, Brown- to rebuke the idlers and the pleasureing and Tennyson, poets and prophets, seekers, and to remind us that mau painters and thinkers, we have seen does not live by bread alone. 66 The them die full of years and honors, leav- greatness of a nation,” he has often ing a bright track of light to guide our said, “must be measured not alone by footsteps through the darkness which its wealth and apparent power, but by. hides them from our eyes. Here and the degree in which its people have there one remains to make us wonder learned together in the great world of at the fire of an ardor which is still books, of art, and of nature, pure and unspent, and of an energy which age ennobling joys." cannot destroy. And one other there Wherever the English language. is is, a mighty prophet in his day, who spoken his books are read. His words has laid down his sword and shield, have borne their message to other and withdrawn himself from the din realms, and in the furthest climes luis and tumult of the camp. In his home name is honored to-day by every hon, on the heights above Coniston Water, est seeker after truth. Count Leo Mr. Ruskin is spending a calm and Tolstoi, the well-known Russian phitranquil old age. For him the heat lanthropist, told an Englishman the and burden of the day are over, and other day that he thought Ruskin one the repose of evening has been well of the greatest men of the age, anel earned. But in his peaceful retreat that if all Englislımen did not agree on that lovely shore he is not forgot- with him in this, it was because no ten. His presence seems to cast a man is a prophet in bis own country. blessed influence over all that moun- But there is no doubt, he added, that tain region, and the thoughts of his future ages will do him justice. countrymen go out to him in love and The practice of writing biographies
His name has become a of distinguished persons during their household word in English homes ; lifetime is growing every day more thousands of workers through the common. It may not commend itself breadth and length of the land remen- to our old-fashioned ideas, and it is ber him with grateful affection as they attended with some obvious drawgo out to their daily toil. Many and backs; but whether for good or evil, great are the services which he has the custom has become general. Mr. rendered the men and women of this Collingwood, who has given us a life generation. He has opened their eyes of Ruskin in two handsome volumes, to the beauty of common things ; to illustrated with portraits of his bero the splendor of the grass which grows at different stages of his life, has more
to say in defence of his action than 1 The Life and work of John Ruskin. By W. G. most biographiers of living celebrities. Collingwood, M.A., Editor of “ The Poems of John Ruskin,” etc., with Portraits and other Illustra A whole literature, as he remarks, has tions, in two volumes. London, 1893.
already grown up around Mr. Ruskiu's
Studies of Ruskin's life and of rare interest and value, but has herwork, cpitomes of his art-teaching, ac- self revised the proofs of the whole counts of the many public institutions work, making several important addiwhich he has founded or helped, have tions and corrections ; so that the presbeen published in a score of different ent life comes to us with the highest njagazines. His position as art sanction and authority. Mr. CollingCritic has been savagely attacked and wood does not pretend to give us an vigorously defended. His theories and exhaustive criticism of Mr. Ruskin's schemes of social reform have been teaching either in art or ethics. His the object of much friendly criticism, work is of a purely biographical charand not a little good-tempered ridicule. acter, and the chief events of Mr. RusMiss Thackeray has devoted a charm- kin's life are set down in proper order ing chapter to her recollections of her from his birth until the present day. father's friend, and Mr. Ruskin him- We have a full account of his journeys, self has, in his “Præterita,” given us of his studies, of his books, his lecthe most delightful autobiography of tures; of all the strange variety of his youth. We can only hope, in com- schemes which have engrossed his mon with all those who have enjoyed time and thoughts in turn.
And we those vivid and original pages, that he have, too, many of Mr. Ruskin's own may yet live once again to take up his letters, as well as several from Carlyle, pen and give us some more of those from Robert Browning and his wife, recollections which bring the scenes of and other friends, which are now pubpast days and their actors before us in lished for the first time. A full and a way that nothing else can ever do. accurate chronological table, a bibliogBut since at his age and in his declin- raphy of Mr. Ruskin's writings, and a ing health, we fear this must remain catalogue of his drawings are added at uncertain, we welcome this biography, the end of each volume, and greatly written by one who has long enjoyed increase the interest and usefulness of Mr. Ruskin's confidence, and that of the work. Iris nearest friends and relations, as
John Ruskin was born at his father's the best substitute that we can have house in Bloomsbury — 54 Hunter foi a continuation of " Præterita." Street, Brunswick Square, on February
Mr. Collingwood, it is well known, 8, 1819. Both his parents were of has acted in the capacity of private Scottish birth. His father, the son of secretary: to Mr. Ruskin for many an Edinburgh tradesman, came to seek years. He has lived with him at his fortunes in London as a boy, and Brantwood, and has been liberally worked his way upwards until, about supplied with material for his present 1809, he entered into partnership with work by himself and his friends. Miss a Spanish sherry merchant, Mr. Peter Prout; the daughter of the artist, has Domecq, the owner of large vineyards contributed her reminiscences of young at Macharnudo, in Spain. Ruskin conRuskiu in his early days at Denmark tributed the brains, Domecq the sherry, Hill. Both Mr. and Mrs. Arthur and a third partner, Mr. Henry Telford, Severn, who have during many years the capital necessary for the undertakmade their home with Mr. Ruskin, ing. The business prospered under have given the author the benefit of the management of the shrewd and their help and advice. Mr. Severn has energetic young Scotchman, who conadorned the book with a lovely drawing ducted the correspondence, travelled of Brantwood and Coniston Water, as for orders, and directed the Spanish well as sketches of Mr. Ruskin's for- growers himself. By degrees he made mer homes at Denmark Hill and Herne a considerable fortune, paid off the Hill; while Mrs. Severn has not only debts of his less prosperous father, and lept several of her cousin's drawings, after nine years of work and waiting, including an admirable likeness of the married his cousin, Margaret Cox, and great man by his own hand, a sketch 'settled in a house in Bloomsbury. Mr.
Ruskin, who was the only child of this nursery in his old house — to which he excellent couple, has himself made us brought my mother and me, sixty-two years familiar with the virtues and the pecul- since, I being then four years old. ... iarities, the habits and the beliefs, of have written frankly, garrulously, and at both bis parents. We know them both ease ; speaking of what it gives me joy to intimately — the father, “that eutirely
remember, at any length I like - sometimes honest man,” going daily backwards very carefully of what I think it may be
useful for others to know; and passing in and forwards to his office, yet relieving total silence things which I have no pleashis business cares by his love of books ure in reviewing (pp. V., vii). and pictures, regarded in the light of a household god at home, the mother, business, and every spring, generally
Ruskin père still travelled for the
, passionately devoted to her child, but unflinching in her stern Puritan rule, the solemnity of a religious festival, the
on May 10, the birthday observed with making little John learn whole chap- family set out in their carriage and ters of the Bible by heart at a sitting, journeyed by easy stages to the north, allowing him a single currant when he to dessert, and rigidly putting in turn, and seeing churches and cas
calling at towns and great country seats away all toys, even the Punch and Judy dressed in scarlet and gold, which tles, lakes and mountains, in their in
tervals of leisure. The English lakes, a kind aunt brought him from the Solo Bazaar. Peace, obedience, and faith, all visited in this manner.
and Scotland, Wales, and Paris were
These su:19and the habit of fixed attention were, mer tours were events of great imporMr. Ruskin considers, the chief advantages of this early training. Its de- tance in the boy Ruskin's life. He has
told us how full of wonder and delight fects were its formalism and hardness.
the world seemed to him as, sitting “I had nothing to love," he writes in
propped up by his own little trunk, be “ Præterita ;"" my parents were, in a
tween his parents, in the postchaise, be sort, visible powers of nature to me,
looked out through the glass windows more loved than the sun and moon." Happily for the lonely child, born in tenderly he recalls the days when he
at the country on either side. How the heart of London, he was from the
rambled with his nurse among the first familiar with country sights and sounds. His early summers
steep rocks and guarled trunks of Fri
ar's Crag, or gleaned the ripe corn in spent at Hampstead and Dulwich. At
the harvest-fields on Tay side with his three years old he went to Scotland and
Scotch cousins. there first saw the mountains which have been the true love of his life)
I hesitate in recording, as a constant When on his return his portrait was truth for the world, the impression left on painted by Northcote, the artist asked me, when I went gleaning with Jessie, that him whať background he would like, found in other lands, and that no harvests,
Scottish sheaves are more golden than are the child answered without a moment's elsewhere visible to human eyes, are so like hesitation, • Blue hills.” (The next
the corn of heaven," as those of Strathyear his parents moved to a house on Tay and Strath-Earn.1 Herpe Hill, surrounded by green fields
But this wise child was not content and spacious gardens that were an with seeing. He had already begun to Eden for the little boy — “all the describe what he saw on his travels ; lo more,” Mr. Collingwood suggests, write down, on his return to the hotel " that the fruit of it was forbidden"
in the evening, what he had seen in (i. 18). (Here John Ruskin's youth the day. The sight of Skiddaw and of was spent. Here the first volume of Snowdon inspired him with a burst of “ Modern Painters" was composed,
song. His journals became poems, and and here, on May 10, 1886, he wrote when he was just fourteen he poureel the preface to “ Præterita."
out his love for the “blue hills,” aud I write these few prefatory words on my father's birthday, in what was once my
1 Præterita, i, 108.
for those very Coniston Crags where Saussure's 66 Voyages dans les Alpes' day by day he still sees the morning on his next birthday gave him new inbreak, in the following lines :
terest in physical geology, and his first
published work was a short essay “On I weary for the fountain foaming,
The Strata of Mont Blanc,” which apFor shady holm and hill; My mind is on the mountain roaming,
peared in Loudon's Magazine of NatuMy spirit's voice is still.
ral History for March, 1834, together
with a letter in which he inquired the The crags are lone on Coniston
cause of the color of the Rhine water. And Glaramara's dell, And dreary on the mighty one,
The next year the Ruskins went The cloud-enwreathed Scafell.
abroad again. This time they visited Venice and Verona
where young Oh ! what although the crags be stern, Ruskin made careful drawings of the Their mighty peaks that sever
Scaligeri monuments — and spent some Fresh flies the breeze on mountain fern,
time in Switzerland. While at LuAnd free on mountain heather.
cerne he went up the Righi and saw There is a thrill of strange delight
the wonderful storm sunset, moonliglat, That passes quivering o'er me,
and daybreak, which he afterwards deWhen blue hills rise upon the sight scribed in a famous passage of “ ModLike summer clouds before me.
ern Painters." Mr. Ruskin returned A present of Rogers's “Italy,” illus- home with his family for Christmas, trated with Turner's vignettes, on lis 1835, and a few weeks later received a birthday that year, first inspired him visit from Mr. Domecq, his partner in with admiration for this painter, and a the wine business, and his four daughfew weeks later the pleasure which ters, whom John Ruskin calls “the both he and his father took in Prout's first really well-bred and well-dressed ?? Sketches in Flanders and Germany" girls” he had met. He promptly fell made his mother suggest a tour on in love with the eldest of the four, the Continent. So, the day after his Adèle, and wrote stories for her amusefather's birthday, the whole family ment, and poems in which he proşet off, travelling in good old-fash- claimed his passion. The bright-eyed ioned style, with four horses and postil- French girl laughed at her boyish lover ions, maidservants, and courier. They and his strange, shy ways, but young worked slowly through Flanders and Ruskin remained constant, and when up the Rhine, never in a hurry, finding four years afterwards he heard of her good horses and pleasant rooms every- marriage to a French baron, the shock where, and people who took off their brought on a serious illness. hats to them when they arrived and
But neither love nor despair could departed. When they reached Schaff- make him idle. His classical education hausen they took a walk one Sunday had hitherto been conducted in a someevening, and there, standing on a gar
what desultory manner.
First one d'en terrace, Johu Ruskin caught his master, then another, bad taught him first sight of the Alps.
Greek and Latin. He had taken les
in mathematics and attended They were clear as crystal, sharp on the pure horizon sky, and already tinged with courses of lectures at King's College to rose by the setting sun. Infinitely beyond prepare himself for matriculation at all that we had ever thought or dreamed ; Oxford. His father destined him for the seen walls of lost Eden could not have the Church, and hoped to see him a been more beautiful to us ; not more awful, bishop before he died. Before he was round heaven, the walls of sacred Death.1 three years old he had climbed into a
At every place he wrote verses and chair and preached his first sermon, made pen-and-iuk sketches in imitation thumping on a red cushion before him, of Turner's vignettes. The gift of
and saying, “ Peeple, be dood. If you
are dood, Dod will love you. If you 1 Præterita, i. 195.
are not dood, Dod will not love you.
Peeple, be dood” (i. 21). A sermon | Harlech Castle. He records the imwhich, as Miss Thackeray remarks, pression which his first sight of Turner. Mr. Ruskin has been preaching all his made upon him in his journal in the life long With this end in view, following characteristic lines : young Ruskin's name was put down by
found in him a somewhat eccentric, his father at Christ Church, and here keen-mannered, matter-of-fact, Englishhe entered as gentleman commoner in minded gentleman ; good-natured evidently, January, 1837. His mother, in her bad-tempered evidently, hating humbug of anxiety to be near her son, left home all sorts, shrewd, perhaps a little selfish, and took lodgings in the High Street, highly intellectual, the powers of the mind where she remained during his resi- not brought out with any delight in their dence at college, and saw him con- manifestation or intention of display, but stantly. The three years which he
flashing out occasionally in a word or look. spent at Oxford were not thrown away. to be set down at the first glimpse, and set
Pretty close that she adds later] and fully Young
Ruskin studied hard, made down the same evening (i. 90). friends with Dr. Acland and the veteran geologist, Dr. Buckland, and won
Three months after his coming of the Newdigate after two unsuccessful age, a sudden breakdown of health attempts, in the first of which Denn brought Ruskin's Oxford career to an Stanley bore off the prize. But he did abrupt end. This collapse was caused not neglect his art-studies, and found partly by overwork, partly by the grief time to write a series of papers on
at the disappointment of the love affair “The Poetry of Architecture, or the on which his hopes had been set. He
was ordered abroad for the winter, Architecture of the Nations of Europe
fell considered in its association with Nat- ill with fever in Rome, and was taken ural Scenery and National Character," by his parents to Naples, and afterwhich appeared in Loudon's magazine, wards to Venice and Switzerland. On and have been quite recently published his return to England he went up to in a separate form. His love and ad- Oxford for a pass, and took his B.A.
1841. miration for Turner increased daily, degree in May, and on his twenty-first birthday his When I was sure I had got through [he father presented him with a picture of writes] I went out for a walk in the fields Winchelsea by his favorite master, and north of New College, happy in the sense gave him an allowance of 2001. a year ful to what use I should put it. There I
of recovered freedom, but extremely doubtfor pocket-money. The first use he
was at two-and-twenty, with such and such made of his wealth was to buy another
powers, all second-rate, except the analytTurner, a drawing of Harlech Castle. ical ones, which were as much in embryo The transaction, Mr. Collingwood tells as the rest, and which I had no means of us, was by no means agreeable to his meas
easuring ; such and such likings hitherto father “the canny Scotch merchant, indulged rather against conscience, and a who had heaped up riches, hoping his dim sense of duty to myself, my parents, son would gather them ” (i. 89); but and a daily more vague shadow of Eternal even his parent's disapproval could not Law. What should I be or do? ... Oxdamp the young man's pride and de- ford taught me as much Latin and Greek light in his newly acquired treasure.
as she could, and though I think she might
have also told me that fritillaries' grew in " It was not a piece of painted paper, Isley meadow, it was better that she left but a Welsh castle and village, and me to find them for myself. I must get on Snowdon in blue cloud, that I bought to the days of opening sight and effective for my seventy pounds.”? The pur- labor, and to the scenes of nobler educachase of this picture, moreover, led to tion, which all men who keep their hearts an introduction to the paiuter himself, open receive in the end of days.2 whom young Ruskin met at the house
The result of these meditations apof the dealer who had sold him the peared in the first volume of “ Modern 1 Præterita, ii. 29
? Præterita, ii. 33.