« VorigeDoorgaan »
Nearer and ever nearer Him who wrought
Not matter, nor the finite-infinite,
But this main miracle, that thou art thou,
With power on thine own act and on the Out of the deep, my child, out of the deep,
world. Where all that was to be in all that was Whirl'd for a million æons thro' the vast
THE HUMAN CRY.
HALLOWED be thy name - - Halleluiah !law,
Infinite Ideality! And every phase of ever-heightening life,
Immeasurable Reality ! And nine long months of antenatal gloom,
Infinite Personality! With this last moon, this crescent — her dark
Hallowed be Thy name
Halleluiah ! orb Touch'd with earth's light — thou comest, We feel we are nothing.
II. darling boy;
for all is Thou and Our own ; a babe in lineament and limb
in Thee ; Perfect, and prophet of the perfect man;
We feel we are something - that also has come Whose face and form are hers and mine in one, We are nothing, Ó Thou – but thou wilt help
from Thee; Indissolubly married like our love ; Live and be happy in thyself, and serve
us to be. This mortal race thy kin so well that men
Hallowed be thy name - Halleluiah! May bless thee as we bless thee, O young life Nineteenth Century.
ALFRED TENNYSON. Breaking with laughter from the dark, and may The fated channel where thy motion lives Be prosperously shaped, and sway thy course Along the years of haste and random youth Unshatter'd, then full-current thro’ full man,
HORACE. — ODE TO AUGUSTUS. And last in kindly curves, with gentlest fall,
TRANSLATED BY THEODORE MARTIN. By quiet fields, a slowly-dying power, To that last deep where we and thou are still.
(We fear, from the last volume of his “Life of the Prince Consort," that Mr. Martin himself would not
consider this lively translation of his as opportune as it II.
But whether he be willing or unwilling,
many will be glad to make use of his words.) Out of the deep, my child, out of the deep, From gods benign descended, thou, From that great deep before our world begins Best guardian of the fates of Rome, Whereon the Spirit of God inoves as he will - Too long already from thy home Out of the deep, my child, out of the deep, Hast thou, dear chief, been absent now. From that true world within the world we see, Whereof our world is but the bounding shore
Oh, then, return, the pledge redeem Out of the deep, spirit, out of the deep,
Thou gav'st the Senate, and once more With this ninth moon that sends the hidden
Its light to all the land restore;
For when thy face, like spring-tide's gleam, Down yon dark sea, thou comest, darling boy.
Its brightness on the people sheds, For in the world, which is not ours, they said Then glides the day more sweetly by, • Let us make man,” and that which should be A brighter blue pervades the sky, man,
The sun a richer radiance spreads !
As on her boy the mother calls,
Beyond the vexed Carpathian deep,
And still with vow and prayer she cries,
Still gazes on the winding shore, In finite-infinite time- - our mortal veil
So yearns the country evermore
For Cæsar, with fond, wistful eyes.
For safe the herds range field and fen, Live thou, and of the grain and husk, the Full-headed stand the shocks of grain, grape
Our sailors sweep the peaceful main, And ivyberry, choose ; and still depart
And man can trust his fellow-men. From death to death thro' life and life, and find
seems to us.
From The Fortnightly Review. AN ATTEMPTED PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY. trate the nature of the change, if we ex
and it may serve in some degree to illusTHE generation wbich was growing to amine in some detail its bearing upon maturity in the decade 1850-60 received Buckle's speculations. two great intellectual shocks. The first
Some critics would hold the task to be volume of Buckle's “ History of Civiliza- superfluous.' Buckle's transitory success tion" appeared in 1857, and Mr. Darwin's was, in their opinion, due simply to the “ Origin of Species” in 1859. Buckle's arts by which a writer wins speedy popuperformance perhaps seemed the most larity at the cost of permanent influence. important at the moment. Enthusiastic To such opponents it must certainly be young ladies went about "panting for granted that Buckle's writing is often · wider generalizations,” and the general marked by a superficiality and an arroreader was agreeably thrilled by the state- gance which are rather trying to one's ment that a mysterious fate might at any soul. Nothing, to take the most obvious moment force him to commit a murder in example, can be more trivial than his order to make up the tale required by the treatment of the Middle Ages. In those laws of statistics. Buckle's influence, bad days, he tells us, everybody had to however, has faded; his name is rarely be a priest or warrior, and, “as a natural cited by the eager disputants in the excit consequence, everything of real imporing controversies of the day. Darwin- tance was altogether neglected."* ism, on the contrary, has acted like a for manners, they had none, and their leaven affecting the whole development customs were altogether beastly.” We of modern thought. Even its antagonists may seem to be listening to an echo of virtually admit its vast importance. We Voltaire, whom Buckle praises for having classify the ablest thinkers by the relation been the first to represent the Middle which their opinions bear to it, and, yhat- Ages “as what they really were ever its ultimate fate, no one can doubt period of ignorance, ferocity, and licenthat it will be the most conspicuous factor tiousness.” But, in truth, though Buckle in the history of modern speculation. I here follows Voltaire, he represents more could not discuss Mr. Darwin's book with accurately that curious tone of popular out plunging into the very thick of the complacency which was prevalent some warfare which is still raging. I can speak thirty years ago, when people held that. of Buckle's theories as I might record the the devil had finally committed suicide history of a half-forgotten skirmish in the upon seeing the Great Exhibition, having Crimean War.
had things pretty much his own way till To state the contrast is to explain in Luther threw the inkstand in his face, part the decay of interest in Buckle. A and having been very needlessly reduced follower of Mill, he shared Mill's incapac- to despair by the subsequent course of ity to appreciate adequately the impor-history. Protection had been abolished tance of any theory of evolution. As the yesterday, and war was to be abolished keenest modern controversies turn upon the day after to-morrow. The philososome form of that theory, a writer who pher was to march from one triumph to ignores it has already an antiquated air. another with “ The Wealth of Nations" Buckle had the great disadvantage of in his right hand and the Sermon on the coming at the very moment when the Mount in his left, and Buckle was to be school to which he belonged was about to the inspired prophet of the new era. go through a complete transformation, This, it must be granted, is not the and the doctrine inherited by Bentham tons of a profound philosopher; but all and the Mills from Hume and Hartley to readers of the very interesting biography be superseded by the teaching of Mr. recently published will be inclined to deDarwin and Mr. Herbert Spencer. The mand at least an arrest of judgment. “ History of Civilization” has thus been left, as it were, stranded on a shore from
* History of Civilization, vol. i., p. 186 (fourth ediwhich the tide of speculation has ebbed; I tion).
They will perhaps be disposed to see in of antiquated prejudice at a university. Buckle's career one more illustration of a Yet some men of less intellectual vigor discouraging truth familiar to all candid have passed through Oxford and Camstudents of literature — the truth, namely, bridge without becoming hopeless slaves that extraordinary intellectual powers and of obsolete dogmas. It might have done a rare combination of favorable circum- Buckle no harm to learn that parsons are stances are required for the production, not invariably provided with horns and not only of one of the few books which hoofs; and in college he might have met mark an epoch in the history of specula- that admirable instructor who receives so tion, but even of one of those books of little gratitude - the youth who maintains the second order, which stimulate and that he is as good a man as you, and has astonish for the time without leaving any an unpleasant habit of proving his words. permanent and tangible result. Buckle As it was, Buckle's mental fibre was alhad powers, and opportunities for apply- ways rather soft. He was more of the ing them, such as are given to few men youthful genius lecturing an admiring auin a generation. His extraordinary mem- dience of feminine relatives than of the ory, and the curious mental quality indi- controversial athlete throwing down the cated by his superlative skill in chess, gauntlet to rival champions. Thus, too, were but subsidiary indications of a most his intellectual history includes no record remarkable intellect. His philosophical of any serious crisis. Like many other enthusiasm, the eagerness with which he men, he found out, as be grew up, that he assimilated immense stores of multifari- was a Radical and a Freethinker, instead ous knowledge, the energy with which he of being, as he had fancied, a Tory and arranged it in luminous order and applied an Evangelical. But the old husk seems it to the illustration of great principles, to have dropped off without a struggle, are proofs of rare endowments, both of and the only permanent symptom of early the moral and intellectual order. They changes was a strong dislike to Calvinism, are manifested in the honorable ambition, which proves that he had never really so rare amongst men of leisure, which entered into the spirit of the doctrine, stimulated him to concentrate many years though he had been governed by its rigid of unremitting labor upon the execution precepts. The superficial character of of a single vast design. Since Gibbon, the revolt is sufficiently proved by his no English man of letters had devoted attitude in regard to the great religious himself so systematically and vigorously problems. He is never weary of deto erect a literary monument worthy of nouncing priests, and explicitly identifies the highest abilities.
theology with the obscurantism which is The name, indeed, remintis us that to him the principle of evil. And yet he Gibbon had the good fortune to measure is himself a theologian after a fashion. more accurately the limits of human ac- He retains in some sense a belief in God tivity. Buckle's design, as described by and the immortality of the soul, and obhimself, seemed to imply scorn for all serves with much complacency that in such concessions. The biography allows England“ the truths of religion are rarely us to explain this error by the infirmity attacked, except by superficial thinkers."* of a powerful mind, instead of simply He succeeded, that is, in putting aside setting it down as a proof of overwhelnı- the most vital problems of the time, and ing conceit.
For it shows that Buckle those to which his own writings inevitably had always a touch of the spoilt child, attracted attention. He settled with himwhose parents have never dared to whis. self that the “ truths of religion could per that the moon is distinctly beyond the somehow be kept alive, though conreach of human fingers. He was terribly demned to isolation from any bearing in want of some of the rough experience upon actual conduct. rarely to be found in domestic life. He To say this is really to say that Buckle congratulated himself, it seems, upon not having been exposed to the atmosphere
* History of Civilization, i. 694.
was a half-hearted philosopher. There is their party ; both have a luminous style a region of thought which he dared not which never gives the reader the trouble enter; and, in fact, his references to met- of a second glance, a power of marshalaphysical problems betray the amateur. ling facts and arguments so as to give a His language is provokingly loose ; it satisfactory fulness and symmetry to their shows the brilliant man of letters, not the work. Buckle is perhaps more continuresolute thinker who has grappled with ous, and less given to excessive emphasis perplexing problems, and given days and of needless antitheses, as, on the other nights to concentrated thought. He has hand, Macaulay gives us the sense of the readiness of the popular expositor, more solid workmanship. Both, again, who does not really appreciate the nature represent that sort of one-sided common of the multitudinous pitfalls over which sense which is alternately irritating and he steps so lightly. In truth, his intellect satisfactory. Buckle would have taken belonged to a different order. An omniv- Macaulay's view of Bacon and the inorous appetite for knowledge, a power of ductive philosophy, and Macaulay would taking wide historical surveys, a quick perhaps have found little to correct in perception of the general characteristics Buckle's view of the Middle Ages. Both of the great movements of thought, may of them looked forwards to the same coexist with an absence of the strenuous millennium when cultivation (as Macaulogical faculty and the microscopic eye lay puts it) is to reach the summit of for metaphysical hair-splitting which are Helvellyn, and though Buckle called the qualifications for advancing the bor- himself a Radical rather than a Whig, ders of philosophic thought. But even their political philosophy is really an his defects fitted him to be a popular ex- idealization of true Whig principles, ponent of theories which, stated so as to with the current traditional estimate of meet the requirements of stricter think- the glorious Revolution, the freedom of ers, would repel the ordinary reader by the press, trial by jury, and the other their apparent dryness and scholastic palladia of our liberties. He is at botsubtlety. Buckle's exuberant self-confi- tom a thorough John Bull, though draped dence overrides all such scruples. He is in philosophic garments. If, in both too enthusiastic to be particular. He cases, we occasionally resent the nardashes out a broad impressive outline rowness, the excessive exaltation of the without troubling himself about the punc- more vulgar side of progress, we are tilios of the cautious thinker. And this tempted in both cases to condone the quality is represented by a literary excel- offence in consideration of the vast lence which, I think, has scarcely re- amount of solid common sense, and, what ceived justice.
is perhaps better, of really generous zeal He is a kind of philosophical Macau- for great causes, contempt for the petty lay, without the experience of actual po- foppery of effeminate prejudices, and litical affairs, but with a much keener hearty appreciation of their predecessors appreciation of the value of general prin- in the same cause. In re-reading Buckle, ciples. There is so far an external resem. I have found, as will directly appear, blance that both men were bachelors, with plenty of shortcomings, and especially of admirable domestic affections, and yet the kind of shortcoming which the dwarf most at their ease in the quiet of their can see from the giant's shoulders. But own libraries.
Both had an amazing I have found it hard, for brief moments, power of assimilating knowledge, and to resist the contagion of boundless enBuckle's information was perhaps the thusiasm, combined with extraordinary widest, though far less exhaustive in par- fulness of mind and breadth of thought, ticular directions. There is a closer anal- even when painfully convinced that the ogy in the quality of their work. Both enthusiasm was not according to knowlhave a superlative self-confidence, com- edge. bined with an animated glow of enthusi- Buckle incidentally describes the vast asm in proclaiming the future destinies of conception which dazzled his early youth
os In par
when regretfully dropping the larger part volved in any extensive change of base. of it. It was an attempt to solve the He always worked on the same lines. great problem of affairs; to detect those The secret is fairly revealed in a striking hidden circumstances which determine passage in the "Autobiography." He the march and destiny of nations; and to there observes (à propos of his attack find in the events of the past a key to the upon Hamilton) that the difference beproceedings of the future.” To do this, tween the two schools of intuition and he explains, is “nothing less than to unite experience and association is full of pracinto a single science all the laws of the tical consequences. Whenever a reformmental and physical world."* Though er demands a change he is met by the he now sees that such a work would re- expression of some powerful prejudice, quire the labors of several minds and which he can best assail by explaining its several generations, he scarcely seems origin, and by so proving that what proeven here to grasp its stupendous magni- fesses to be an intuition or a divinely tude. The true question is whether such authorized truth, is really due to some a problem can ever represent more than a irrational association of ideas. distant ideal, to which we may conceiva- ticular,” he adds, and the remark is spebly make some imperfect and fragmentary cially significant, "I have long felt that approximation. But, however idle the the prevailing tendency to regard all the dream — and it is so idle that a sense of marked distinctions of human character the ludicrous prevents us from sympa- as innate, and to ignore the irresistible thizing unreservedly with Buckle's regret proofs that by far the greater part of these at its disappearance - the pursuit of the differences, whether between individuals, phantom led him in a right direction. races, or sexes, are such as not only The task was not only of the kind which might, but naturally would be, produced suited his peculiar powers, but it was by differences in circumstances, is one of suggested by the position of the school the chief hindrances to the rational treatto which he belonged. The English em- ment of great social questions, and one of pirical school was specially weak on the the greatest stumbling-blocks to human historical side, for reasons of which the improvement.” This passage might have general nature is sufficiently obvious. been taken as a motto by Buckle, and has History seemed to be on the side of the obviously an important bearing upon the Tories' in politics, and of the transcen- philosophy of history. dentalists in philosophy. Respect for the Every doctrine, we see, which claimed teaching of history meant a slavish rev. an a priori or intuitive character, was erence for traditional prejudice; and to therefore suspect. It was to be destroyed learn from the past was to attempt to gal- by the solvent of the association princi. vanize dead bodies into a semblance of ple, or at least to be most rigorously life. The anti-revolutionary writings of tested before it could pass muster. In Burke, the natural enemy of all Radicals abstract speculations this method is carat the beginning of the century, are a ried out by the thorough-going associacontinuous appeal to history and “pre- tionists until we not only get rid of scription;" and the philosophical import necessary truths, but have a difficulty in of the appeal was embodied in the teach- understanding even the existence of gening of Coleridge, the highest English eral truths. The mind itself seems to be representative of the principles most resolved by such writers as James Mill vitally opposed to all empirical and utili- into a mere conglomerate of accidentally tarian methods. J. S. Mill, in his essay cohering ideas. As with the transcenupon Coleridge, has emphasized this con- dentalist, the universe itself seems to be trast, and regards the creation of a phi- somehow constructed by the logical forms losophy of history as the vast service by of the mind operating in a vacuum, and which the Coleridgians compensated the all the contents of experience to be aboldeficiencies of their own party: The ished; so with the antagonists, the mind political theories of James Mill and the itself becomes apparently a nonentity, and economic theories of Ricardo, imply de- is somehow put together out of its own liberate rejection of the historic method. contents. The passage just quoted shows And though J. S. Mill here, as elsewhere, the political application of the same was sensible of the necessity of widening method. Every social bond, like every the teaching inherited from his father, he i logical principle, is to be resolved into a was not fully aware of the difficulties in case of arbitrary association.
Vol. ii., p. 327.
* Mill's Autobiography, p. 273.