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mas should fall out in the middle of winter. It is the most dead uncomfortable time of the year, when the poor people would suffer very much from their poverty and cold, if they had not good cheer, warm fires, and Christmas gambols to support them. I love to rejoice their poor hearts at this season, and to see the whole village merry in my great hall. I allow a double quantity of malt to my
small-beer, and set it a running for twelve days to every one that calls for it. I have always a piece of cold beef and a mince-pie upon the table, and am wonderfully pleased to see my tenants pass away a whole evening in playing their innocent tricks, and smutting one another. Our friend Will Wimble is as merry as any of them, and shows a thousand roguish tricks upon these occasions.'
"Having passed away the greatest part of the morning in hearing the knight's reflections, which were partly private and partly political, he asked me if I would smoke a pipe with him over a dish of coffee at Squires's. As I love the old man, I take delight in complying with every thing that is agreeable to him, and accordingly waited on him to the coffee-house, where his venerable figure drew upon us the eyes of the whole room. He had no sooner seated himself at the upper end of the high table, but he called for a clean pipe, a paper of tobacco, a dish of coffee, a wax-candle, and the 'Supplement,' with such an air of cheerfulness and good humour, that all the boys in the coffee-room (who seemed to take pleasure in serving him) were at once employed on his several errands, insomuch that nobody else could come at a dish of tea until the knight had got all his conveniences about him.”
When Addison has got Sir Roger fairly in London, he will not trust him to inferior hands. The 'Spectator,' No. 329, is a genuine morsel of quiet humour. The idea of the good old country squire displaying his historical knowledge, upon the strength of Baker's Chronicle, is highly amusing. Nothing can be happier than his wonder that he did not find the history of the wax-work maid of honour in the State Annals of Queen Elizabeth.
"My friend Sir Roger de Coverley told me t'other night, that he had been reading my paper upon Westminster Abbey, in which, says he, there are a great many ingenious fancies. He told me at the same time, that he observed I had promised another paper upon the tombs, and that he should be glad to go and see them with me, not having visited them since he had read history. I could not imagine
at first how this came into the knight's head, till I recollected that he had been busy all last summer upon Baker's Chronicle,' which he has quoted several times in his disputes with Sir Andrew Freeport since his last coming to town. Accordingly I promised to call upon him the next morning, that we might go together to the abbey. . As we went up the body of the church, the knight pointed at the trophies upon one of the new monuments, and cried out, A brave man, I warrant him!' Passing afterward by Sir Cloudesley Shovel, he flung his hand that way, and cried, Sir Cloudesley Shovel! a very gallant man.' As we stood before Busby's tomb, the knight uttered himself again after the same manner: 'Dr. Busby! a great man! he whipped my grandfather; a very great man! I should have gone to him myself, if I had not been a blockhead: a very great man!'
"We were immediately conducted into the little chapel on the right hand. Sir Roger, planting himself at our historian's elbow, was very attentive to every thing he said, particularly to the account he gave us of the lord who had cut off the King of Morocco's head. Among several other figures, he was very well pleased to see the statesman Cecil upon his knees; and concluding them all to be great men, was conducted to the figure which represents that martyr to good housewifery who died by the prick of a needle. Upon our interpreter's telling us that she was maid of honour to Queen Elizabeth, the knight was very inquisitive into her name and family; and after having regarded her finger for some time, 'I wonder,' says he, that Sir Richard Baker has said nothing of her in his Chronicle.'
"We were then conveyed to the two coronation chairs, where my old friend, after having heard that the stone under the most ancient of them, which was brought from Scotland, was called Jacob's pillar, sat himself down in the chair, and, looking like the figure of an old Gothic king, asked our interpreter what authority they had to say that Jacob had ever been in Scotland. The fellow, instead of returning him an answer, told him, that he hoped his honour would pay his forfeit. I could observe Sir Roger a little ruffled upon being thus trepanned; but our guide not insisting upon his demand, the knight soon recovered his good humour, and whispered in my ear, that if Will Wimble were with us, and saw those chairs, it would go hard but he would get a tobacco-stopper out of one or t' other of them.
'Sir Roger in the next place laid his hand upon Edward III.'s
sword, and, leaning upon the pommel of it, gave us the whole history of the Black Prince, concluding that in Sir Richard Baker's opinion Edward III. was one of the greatest princes that ever sat upon the English throne.
We were then shown Edward the Confessor's tomb; upon which Sir Roger acquainted us that he was the first who touched for the evil: and afterward Henry IV.'s, upon which he shook his head, and told us there was fine reading in the casualties of that reign.
"Our conductor then pointed to that monument where there is the figure of one of our English kings without a head; and upon giving us to know that the head, which was of beaten silver, had been stolen away several years since- Some Whig, I'll warrant you,' says Sir Roger: you ought to lock up your kings better; they will carry off the body too, if you don't take care.'
"The glorious names of Henry V. and Queen Elizabeth gave the knight great opportunities of shining, and of doing justice to Sir Richard Baker, who, as our knight observed with some surprise, had a great many kings in him, whose monuments he had not seen in the abbey.
For my own part, I could not but be pleased to see the knight show such an honest passion for the glory of his country, and such a respectful gratitude to the memory of its princes.
"I must not omit that the benevolence of my good old friend, which flows out towards every one he converses with, made him very kind to our interpreter, whom he looked upon as an extraordinary man, for which reason he shook him by the hand at parting, telling him that he should be very glad to see him at his lodgings in Norfolk-buildings, and talk over these matters with him more at leisure."
[THOMAS CARLYLE, one of the most remarkable writers of our own times, is a native of Scotland. His mind has been chiefly formed in the German school of literature and philosophy; but he rises far above the character of a mere imitator. His style is entirely his own -at first repulsive, but when familiar to the reader, highly exciting. Perhaps this style may occasionally gild over common thoughts; but
Mr. Carlyle's thoughts are, for the most part, of a solid metal that requires no plating. In graphic power of description, whether of scenes or of characters, he has not a living equal. There are passages in his French Revolution, a History,' which can never be forgotten by any reader of imagination. The following extract is from Past and Present."]
There is a perennial nobleness, and even sacredness, in Work. Were he never so benighted, forgetful of his high calling, there is always hope in a man that actually and earnestly works; in idleness alone is there perpetual despair. Work, never so Mammonish, mean, is in communication with Nature; the real desire to get Work done will itself lead one more and more to truth, to Nature's appointments and regulations which are truth.
The latest Gospel in this world is, know thy work and do it. "Know thyself;" long enough has that poor "self" of thine tormented thee; thou wilt never get to "know" it, I believe ! Think it not thy business, this of knowing thyself; thou art an unknowable individual: know what thou canst work at; and work at it like a Hercules! That will be thy better plan.
It has been written "an endless significance lies in work ;" as man perfects himself by writing. Foul jungles are cleared away, fair seedfields rise instead, and stately cities; and withal the man himself first ceases to be a jungle and foul unwholesome desert thereby. Consider how, even in the meanest sorts of Labour, the whole soul of a man is composed into a kind of real harmony, the instant he sets himself to work! Doubt, Desire, Sorrow, Remorse, Indignation, Despair itself, all these like hell-dogs lie beleaguering the soul of the poor day-worker, as of every man; but he bends himself with free valour against his task, all these are stilled, all these shrink murmuring far off into their caves. The man is now a man. The blessed glow of Labour in him, is it not a purifying fire, wherein all poison is burnt up, and of sour smoke itself there is made bright blessed flame.
Destiny, on the whole, has no other way of cultivating us. A formless Chaos, once set it revolving, grows round and ever rounder; ranges itself, by mere force of gravity, into strata, spherical courses; is no longer a Chaos, but a round compacted World. What would become of the Earth, did she cease to revolve? In the poor old Earth, so long as she revolves, all inequalities, irregularities disperse themselves; all
irregularities are incessantly becoming regular. Hast thou looked on the Potter's wheel, one of the venerablest objects; old as the Prophet Ezechiel, and far older? Rude lumps of clay; how they spin themselves up, by mere quick whirling, into beautiful circular dishes. And fancy the most assiduous Potter, but without his wheel, reduced to make dishes, or rather amorphous botches, by mere kneading and baking! Even such a Potter were Destiny, with a human soul that would rest and lie at ease, that would not work and spin! Of an idle unrevolving man the kindest Destiny, like the most assiduous Potter without wheel, can bake and knead nothing other than a botch; let her spend on him what expensive colouring, what gilding and enamelling she will, he is but a botch. Not a dish; no, a bulging, kneaded, crooked, shambling, squint cornered, amorphous botch, a mere enamelled vessel of dishonour! Let the idle think of this.
Blessed is he who has found his work; let him ask no other blessedHe has a work, a life-purpose; he has found it, and will follow it! How, as a free flowing channel, dug and torn by noble force through the sour mud-swamp of one's existence, like an ever deepening river there, it runs and flows; draining off the sour festering water gradually from the root of the remotest grass blade; making, instead of pestilential swamp, a green fruitful meadow with its clear flowing stream. How blessed for the meadow itself, let the stream and its value be great or small! Labour is life; from the inmost heart of the Worker rises his God-given force, the sacred celestial life-essence, breathed into him by Almighty God; from his inmost heart awakens him to all nobleness, to all knowledge "self-knowledge," and much else, so soon as Work fitly begins. Knowledge! the knowledge that will hold good in working, cleave thou to that; for Nature herself accredits that, says Yea to that. Properly thou hast no other knowledge but what thou hast got by working; the rest is yet all an hypothesis of knowledge a thing to be argued of in schools, a thing floating in the clouds, in endless logic vortices, till we try it and fix it. "Doubt, of whatever kind, can be ended by Action alone."
And again, hast thou valued Patience, Courage, Perseverance, Openness to light; readiness to own thyself mistaken, to do better next time? All these, all virtues, in wrestling with the dim brute Powers of fact, in ordering of thy fellows in such wrestle, there, and elsewhere not at all, thou wilt continually learn. Set down a brave Sir Christopher in