[ocr errors]


Pious Princess Hilda, pure of heart, Dwelt a certain poor man in his day,

Ruling Mother, royal Edwin's niece, Near at hand to Hilda's holy house,

Cædmon at her bidding boldly sang Learning's lighthouse, blessed beacon, built

Of the Making of the World, in words High o’er sea and river, on the head,

Wondrous; whereupon they wotted well Streaneshalch in Anglo-Saxon speech,

'Twas an angel taught him, and his gift Whitby, after, by the Norsemen named.

Carne direct from God: and glad were they. Cadmon was he call'd ; he came and went, Doing humble duties for the monks,

Thenceforth Holy Hilda greeted him Helping with the horses at behest;

Brother of the brotherhood. He grew Modest, meek, unmemorable man,

Famedest monk of all the monastery ; Moving slowly into middle age,

Singing many high and holy songs Toiling on, – twelve hundred years ago.

Folk were fain to hear, and loved him for :

Till his death-day came, that comes to all. Still and silent, Cædmon sometimes sat With the serfs at lower end of hall;

Cædmon bode that evening in his bed, There he marvell'd much to hear the monks

He at peace with men and men with him; Singing sweetly hymns unto their harp, Wrapt in comfort of the Eucharist; Handing it from each to each in turn,

Weak and silent. “Soon our brethren sing Till his heartstrings trembled. Otherwhile, Evensong?” he whisper'd. “ Brother, yea.” When the serfs were merry with themselves, “Let us wait for that,” he said; and soon Sung their folk-songs upon festal nights, Sweetly sounded up the solemn chant. Handing round the harp to each in turn, Cædmon smiled and listen'd; when it lull'd, Cædinon, though he loved not lighter songs, Sidelong turn'd to sleep his old white head, Long'd to sing, — but he could never sing. Shut his eyes, and gave his soul to God,

Maker of the world.
Sad and silent would he creep away,
Wander forth alone, he wist not why,

Twelve hundred years Watch the sky and water, stars or clouds Since are past and gone, nor he forgot, Climbing from the sea; and in his soul

Earliest poet of the English race. Shadows mounted up and mystic lights, Rude and simple were his days and thoughts. Echoes vague and vast return’d the voice

Wisely speaketh no man, howso learn’d, Of the rushing river, roaring waves,

Of the making of this wondrous world, Twilight's windy whisper from the fells,

Save a poet, with a reverent soul. Howl of brindled wolf, and cry of bird;

WILLIAM ALLINGHAM. Every sight and sound of solitude

Macmillan's Magazine.
Ever mingling in a master thought,
Glorious, terrible, of the Mighty One

Note. - This alliterative metre is not at all an imiWho made all things. As the Book declared, tation, but in some degree a reminiscence of the old In the beginning He made Heaven and Earth.” | English poetry.

Thus lived Cædmon, quiet year by year;
Listen’d, learn'd a little, as he could;
Worked, and mused, and prayed, and held his

Toward the end of harvest time, the hinds

We have sung for long in the low-walled gar. Held a feast, and sung their festal songs,

den, Handing round the harp from cach to cach.

We have flitted among the ivy-leaves ; But before it came where Cadmon sat,

And oh! we know that some hearts will par. Sadly, silently, he stole away,

don Wander'd to the stable-yard and wept,

The tiny sins of such tuneful thieves. Weeping laid him low among the straw,

We have flown and hopped, to settle and

flutter Fell asleep at last. And in his sleep Came a stranger, calling him by name:

Near some poor toiler's dull window-pane; Cædmon, sing to me!” “I cannot sing.

How happy we were, when we heard her utter Wherefore - wo is me!- I left the house." A gentler speech, for our song in the rain ! Sing, I bid thee!” “ What then shall I sing?”

We have seen some London sights; one neigh

bor Sing the Making of the World.” Whereon Cædmon sung: and when he woke from sleep Sharing the fruits of hard toil and labor,

Tending a lonelier, poorer waif,
Still the verses stay'd with him, and more
Sprang like fountain water from a rock

To lessen her grief, to keep her safe;
Fed from never-failing secret springs.

An old man led by a tender daughter,

To feel the kiss of the April sun; Praising Heaven most high, but nothing A little child lifting a jug of water, proud,

To help the sick woman whose work was Cædmon sought the steward and told his tale,

done. Who to Holy Hilda led him in,


[ocr errors]

From The Nineteenth Century. They were rough men themselves, and THE EARLY LIFE OF THOMAS CARLYLE. with the change of times their importance BY J. A. FROUDE.

declined. The title lapsed, the estates The river Annan, rising above Moffat were dissipated in lawsuits, and by the in Heartfell, in the Deil's Beef Tub, de- middle of the last century nothing rescends from the mountains through a val- mained of the Carlyles but one or two ley gradually widening and spreading out, households in the neighborhood of Burnsas the fells are left behind, into the rich wark who had inherited the name either and well-cultivated district known as An- through the adoption by their forefathers nandale. Picturesque and broken in the of the name of their leader, or by some upper part of its course, the stream, when descent of blood which had trickled down it reaches the lexel country, steals slowly through younger sons.* among meadows and undulating wooded In one of these families, in a house hills, till at the end of fifty miles it falls which his father, who was a mason, had into the Solway at Annan town. Annan- built with his own hands, Thomas Carlyle dale, famous always for its pasturage, suf- was born on the 4th of December, 1795. fered especially before the union of the Ecclefechan, where his father lived, is a kingdoms from border forays, the effects small market town on the east side of of which were long to be traced in a cer- Annandale, six miles inland from the Soltain wildness of disposition in the inhab- way, and about sixteen on the Great itants. Dumfriesshire, to which it be- North Road from Carlisle.t It consists longs, was sternly Cameronian. Stories of a single street, down one side of which, of the persecutions survived in the farm- at that time, ran an open brook. The houses as their most treasured historical aspect, like that of most Scotch towns, is tradition. Cameronian congregations lin. cold, but clean and orderly, with an air of gered till the beginning of the present thrifty comfort. The houses are plain, century, when they merged in other that in which the Carlyles lived alone havbodies of seceders from the established ing pretensions to originality. In appearreligion. In its hard fight for spiritual ance one, it is really double, a central arch freedom Scotch Protestantism lost respect dividing it. James Carlyle, Thomas Carfor kings and nobles, and looked to Christ lyle's father, occupied one part. His rather than to earthly rulers. Before the brother, who was his partner in his trade, Reformation all Scotland was clannish or lived in the other. feudal; and the Dumfriesshire yeomanry, In 1791, having then a house of his like the rest, were organized under great own. James Carlyle married a distant noble families, whose pennon they fol- cousin of the same name, Janet Carlyle. lowed, whose name they bore, and the They had one son, John, and then she remotest kindred with which, even to a died of fever. Her long, fair hair, which tenth generation, they were proud to had been cut off in her illness, remained claim. Among the families of the west- as a memorial of her in a drawer, into ern border the Carlyles were not the least which the children afterwards looked with distinguished. They were originally En- wondering awe. Two years after the husglish, and were called probably after Car- band married again Margaret Aitken, “a lisle town. They came to Annandale woman,” says Carlyle, "of to me the fairwith the Bruces in the time of David the est descent, that of the pious, the just, Second. A Sir John Carlyle was created and the wise." Her character will unfold Lord Carlyle of Torthorwald in reward for a beating which he had given the En- * When Carlyle became famous, a Dumfries antiglish at Anpar. Michael, the fourth lord, quary traced his ancestry with apparent success through

ten generations to the first Lord Torthorwald. There signed the Association Bond among the was much laughter about it in the house in Cheyne Protestant lords when Queen Mary was Row, but Carlyle was inclined to think on the whole sent to Lochleven, the only one among

Kirkfechan, Church of St. Fethem, it was observed, who could not channs, an Irish saint supposed to have come to Anwrite his name. Their work was rough. I vandale in the seventh century.

[ocr errors]

that the descent was real.

+ Ecclefechan =


itself as the story goes on. Thomas Car- had gone to England, to Bristol among lyle was her first child; she lived to see other places, where he fell into drink and him at the height of his fame, known and gambling. He lost all his money; one honored wherever the English language morning after an orgie he Aung himself was spoken. To her care “for body and desperately out of bed and broke his leg. soul” he never ceased to say that “he When he recovered he enlisted in a brig owed endless gratitude.” Alter Thomas of war, distinguished himself by special came eight others, three sons and five gallantry in supporting his captain in a daughters, one of whom, Janet, so called mutiny, and was rewarded with the comafter the first wife, died when she was a mand of a Solway revenue cutter. After few months old.

many years of rough, creditable service The family was prosperous, as Eccle- he retired on half pay to his native village fechan working men understood prosper- of Middlebie. There, had been some ity. In one year, his best, James Carlyle family quarrel, and the brothers, though made in his business as much as 100l. living close to one another, had held no At worst he earned an artisan's substan-intercourse. They were both of them tial wages, and was thrifty and prudent. above eighty years of age. The old The children, as they passed out of in- Thomas being on his death-bed, the seafancy, ran about barefoot, but otherwise captain's heart relented. He was a grim, cleanly clothed, and fed on oatmeal, milk, broad, fierce-looking man; “prototype of and potatoes. Our Carlyle learned to Smollett's Trunnion.” Being too unread from his mother too early for distinct wieldy to walk, he was brought into Eccleremembrance; when he was five his fa- fechan in a cart, and carried in a chair up ther taught him arithmetic, and sent him the steep stairs to his dying brother's with the other village boys to school. room. There he remained some twenty Like the Carlyles generally he had a vio- minutes, and came down again with a face lent temper. John, the son of the first which printed itself in the little Carlyle's marriage, lived generally with his grand memory. They saw him no more, and father, but came occasionally to visit his after a brief interval the old generation parents. Carlyle's earliest recollection is had disappeared. of throwing his little brown stool at his Amidst such scenes our Carlyle strug. brother in a mad passion of rage, when gled through his early boyhood. he was scarcely more than two years old,

It was not a joyful life [he says] ; what life breaking a leg of it, and "feeling for the is? yet a safe and quiet one, above most others, first time the united pangs of loss and or any other I have witnessed, a wholesome remorse.” The next impression which one. We were taciturn rather than talkative, most affected him was the small, round but if little was said that little had generally a heap under the sheet upon a bed where meaning. his little sister lay dead. Death, too, he More remarkable man than my father I have made acquaintance with in another mem- never met in my journey through life ; sterling orable form. His father's eldest brother sincerity in thought, word, and deed, mostly John died. “The day before his funeral, quiet, but capable of blazing into whirlwinds an ill-behaving servant wench lifted the when needful, and such a flash of just insight coverlid irom off his pale, ghastly, befil. to every feature of it as I have never known in

and brief natural eloquence and emphasis, true leted head to show it to some crony of

any other. Humor of a most grim Scandinahers, unheeding of the child who was vian type he occasionally had ; wit rarely or alone with them, and to whom the sight never — too serious for wit — my excellent gave a new pang of horror.” The grand mother with perhaps the deeper piety in most father followed next, closing finally his senses had the most sport. No man of Anson and his “ Arabian Nights.” He my day, or hardly any man can have had better had a brother whose adventures had been parents. remarkable. Francis Carlyle, so he was Education is a passion in Scotland. It called, had been apprenticed to a shoe is the pride of every honorable peasant, maker. He, too, when his time was out, lif he has a son of any promise, to give

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


him a chance of rising as a scholar. As | impulse of rude nature which bids the deera child Carlyle could not have failed to herd fall upon any stricken hart, the duck-flock show that there was something unusual put to death any broken-winged brother or in him. The schoolmaster in Ecclefechan sister, and on all hands the strong tyrannize gave a good account of his progress in over the weak. "figures.” The minister reported favor.

Carlyle retained to the end of his days ably of his Latin. “I do not grudge thee

a painful and indeed resentful recollecthy schooling, Tom,” his father said to tion of these school experiences of his. him one day, “ now that thy uncle Frank “ This,” he said of the passage just quoted owns thee a better arithmetician than from “ Sartor,” “is true, and not half the himself." It was decided that he should truth. Unspeakable is the damage and go to Annan Grammar School, and thence, defilement I received from those coarse, if he prospered, to the university, with misguided, tyrannous cubs. One way and final outlook to the ministry.

another I had never been so wretched as He was a shy, thoughtful boy, shrinking here, and the first two years of my time generally from rough companions, but I still count among the miserable of my with a hot and even violent temper. His

life." mother, naturally anxious for him, and

He had obeyed his mother's injunctions. fearing perhaps the family tendency, ex. He had courage in plenty to resent ill tracted a promise before parting with

usage, but his promise was sacred. He him that he would never return a blow, was passionate, but fight he would not, and, as might be expected, kis first expe- and every one who knows English and riences of school were extremely misera. Scotch life will understand what his fate ble. Boy's of genius are never well re- must have been. One consequence was ceived by the common flock, and escape a near escape from drowning. The boys persecution only when they are able to had all gone to bathe; the lonely child defend themselves.

had strayed apart from the rest, where he “Sartor Resartus” is generally mythic, could escape from being tormented. He but parts are historical, and among them found himself in a deep pool which had the account of the first launch of Teu- been dug out for a dock and had been felsdröckh into the Hinterschlag Gymna filled with the tide. The mere accident sium. Hinterschlag (smack behind) is of some one passing at the time saved Annan. Thither, leaving home and his

him. At length he could bear his condi. mother's side, Carlyle was taken by his tion no longer ; he turned on the biggest father, being then in his tenth year, and bully in the school and furiously kicked ' fluttering with boundless hopes,” at him; a battle followed in which he was Whitsuntide, 1805, to the school which beaten; but he left marks of his fists upon was to be his first step into a higher life. bis adversary, which were not forgotten. Well do I remember [says Teufelsdröckh] He taught his companions to fear him, if

He was perthe red sunny Whitsuntide morning when, only like Brasidas's mouse. trotting full of hope by the side of Father An- secuted no longer, but he carried away dreas, I entered the main street of the place bitter and resentful recollections of what and saw its steeple clock (then striking eight) he had borne, which were never entirely and Schuldthurm (jail) and the aproned or obliterated. disaproned Burghers moving in to breakfast;

The teaching which Carlyle received a little dog, in mad terror, was rushing past, at Annan, he says, was limited, and of for some human imps had tied a tin kettle to its kind only moderately good. Latin and its tail, fit emblem of much that awaited my: French I did get to read with fluency. self in that mischievous den. Alas! the kind Latin quantity was left a frightful chaos, beech rows of Entepfuhl (Ecclefechan) were hidden in the distance

. I was among strangers and I had to learn it afterwards ; some harshly, at best indifferently, disposed to me; geometry; algebra, arithemetic tolerably the young heart felt for the first time quite well

. Vague outlines of geography I orphaned and alone. My schoolfellows learnt; all the books I could get were were boys, mostly rude boys, and obeyed the also devoured. Greek consisted of the

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

alphabet merely.” Of holidays we hear my mother. He had an air of deepest gravity nothing, though holidays there must have and even sternness. He had the most entire been at Christmas and midsummer; little and open contempt for idle tattle — what he also of school friendships or amusements.

called clatter. Any talk that bad meaning in In the last, in such shape as could have it he could listen to; what had no meaning in been found in boys of his class in Annan, could not and would not hear, but abruptly

it, above all what seemed false, he absolutely Carlyle could have had little interest, turned from it. Long may we remember his He spoke warmly of his mathematical " I don't believe thee;" his tongue-paralyzing teacher, a certain Mr. Morley from Cum. cold indifferent “ Hah.” berland, “whom he loved much, and who taught him well.” He had formed a com

Besides fear, Carlyle, as he grew older, radeship with one or two boys' of bis own began to experience a certain awe of his age, who were not entirely uncongenial to father as of a person of altogether suhim; but only one incident is preserved perior qualities. which was of real moment. In his third

None of us [he writes] will ever forget that year Carlyle first consciously saw Edward bold glowing style of his

, flowing free from the Irving. Irving's family lived in Annan. untutored soul, full of metaphor, though he He had himself been at the school, and knew not what metaphor was, with all manner had gone thence to the University of of potent words which he appropriated and Edinburgh. He bad distinguished him- applied with surprising accuracy - brief, enerself there, gained prizes, and was other- getic, conveying the most perfect picture, defiwise honorably spoken of. Annan, both nite, clear, not in ambitious colors, but in full town and school, was proud of the bril- white sunlight. Emphatic I have heard him Jiant lad that they had produced; and oaths; his words were like sharp arrows that

beyond all men. In anger he had no need of Irving one day looked in upon the school,

smote into the very heart. the masters out of compliment attending him. “He was scrupulously dressed, Such a father may easily have been black coat, tight pantaloons, in the fashion alarming, and slow to gain his children's of the day, and looked very neat, self-pos- confidence. He had silently observed sessed, and amiable; a flourishing slip of his little Tom, however. The reports a youth with coal-black hair, swarthy clear from the Annan masters were all favorcomplexion, very straight on bis feet, and, able, and when the question rose what except for the glaring squint, decidedly was to be done with him, inclined to venhandsome.” The boy's listened cagerly ture the university. The wise men of as he talked in a free airy way about Ecclefechan shook their heads. “EduEdinburgh and its professors. A uni- cate a boy,” said one of them, “and he versity man who has made a name for grows up to despise his ignorant parents.” himself is infinitely admirable to younger Others said it was a risk, it was waste of ones; he is not too far above them to be money, there was a large family to be comprehensible; they know what he lias provided for, too much must not be spent done, and they hope distantly that they upon one, etc. James Carlyle had seen too one day may do the like. Of course something in his boy's character which Irving did not distinguish Carlyle. He showed him that the risk, if risk there walked through the rooms and disap- was, must be ventured; and to Edinburgh peared.

it was decided that Tom should go and The Hinterschlag Gymnasium was over be made a scholar of. soon after, and Carlyle's future career was To English ears university life suggests now to be decided on. The Ecclefechan splendid buildings, luxurious rooms, rich family life did not look with favor on dis- endowments as the reward of successful plays of precocious genius. Vanity was industry; the students as young men be. the last quality that such a man as James tween nineteen and twenty-three with Carlyle would encourage, and there was a handsome allowances, spending each of severity in his manner which effectively them on an average double the largest inrepressed a disposition to it.

come which James Carlyle had earned in We had all to complain (Carlyle says) that of the Tweed had in those days no money

any year of his life. Úniversities north we dared not freely love our father. His heart seemed as if walled in. My mother has owned prizes to offer, no fellowships and scholarto me that she could never understand him, ships, nothing at all out an education and and that her aifection and admiration of him a discipline in poverty and self-denial. were obstructed. It seemed as if an atmo. The lads who went to them were the chilsphere of fear repelled us from him, me espe- dren, for the most part, of parents as poor cially. My heart and tongue played freely with | as Carlyle's father. They knew at what a

« VorigeDoorgaan »