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by temperament; full of enthusiasm for what is noble; keen in his perceptions of what ought to be and might be; bitterly conscious of the contrast with what is; sympathising with almost painful vividness in the sufferings of the unhappy and the wronged, but perversely showing that sympathy rather by con. temptuous anger than by relieving gentleness; richly endowed with warm human affections, which yet he is half ashamed of, and would fain conceal; little accustomed to control himself, and never taught to respect others,—his spirit is in a perpetual state both of internecine and of foreign war; and his tenderness, instead of being like oil upon the troubled waters, seems to be only one more incongruous and fermenting element cast into the seething caldron. But whenever he will let it beam out unchecked, it not only spreads a rare sunshine over his pages, but communicates at once elevation and sobriety of tone. It is this which makes his Life of Sterling far the most pleasant as well as one of the truest of his books.
Mr. Kingsley's tenderness is of a different order. Like all his excellencies and defects, it springs from his physical temperament; and is therefore manly, prompt, and genuine, but not profound. Indeed, we think the special peculiarity of Mr. Kingsley's nature, as of his genius, is that it wants depth. It is as sound as a bell, thoroughly healthy, indescribably vigorous; but, if we must speak our thought, a little superficial. Perhaps it is too healthy to be deep. Still it is very pleasant, because so bubbling, lively, and sincere. We will quote one passage in illustration: it is rather long; but, as we do not intend to quote much, and as it is in his best manner, we will transfer it to our pages.
“ Was there no poetry in these Puritans, because they wrote no poetry? We do not mean now the unwritten tragedy of the battlepsalm and the charge; but simple idyllic poetry and quiet housedrama, love-poetry of the heart and hearth, and the beauties of everyday human life. Take the most commonplace of them : was Zeal-forTruth Thoresby, of Thoresby Rise in Deeping Fen, because his father had thought fit to give him an ugly and silly name, the less of a noble lad? Did his name prevent his being six feet high ? Were his shoulders the less broad for it; his cheeks the less ruddy for it? He wore his flaxen hair of the same length that every one now wears theirs, instead of letting it hang half way to his waist in essenced curls; but was he therefore the less of a true Viking's son, bold-hearted as his sea-roving ancestors, who won the Danelagh by Canute's side, and settled there on Thoresby Rise, to grow wheat and breed horses, generation succeeding generation, in the old moated grange? He carried a Bible in his jack-boot; but did that prevent him, as Oliver rode past him with an approving sinile on Naseby field, thinking himself a very handsome fellow, with his moustache and imperial, and bright red coat, and cuirass well polished, in spite of many a dint, as he sate his
father's great black horse as gracefully and firmly as any long-locked and essenced cavalier in front of him ? Or did it prevent him thinking, too, for a moment, with a throb of the heart, that sweet cousin Patience far away at home, could she but see him, might have the same opinion of him as he had of himself? Was he the worse for the thought? He was certainly not the worse for checking it the next instant, with manly shame for letting such carnal vanities' rise in his heart while he was doing the Lord's work’ in the teeth of death and hell : but was there no poetry in him then? No poetry in him, five minutes after, as the long rapier swung round his head, redder and redder at every sweep? We are befooled by names. Call him Crusader instead of Roundhead, and he seems at once, (granting him only sincerity, which he had, and that of a right awful kind,) as complete a knight-errant as ever watched and prayed, ere putting on his spurs, in fantastic Gothic chapel, beneath 'storied windows richly dight.' Was there no poetry in him, either, half an hour afterwards, as he lay bleeding across the corpse of the gallant horse, waiting for his turn with the surgeon, and fumbled for the Bible in his boot, and tried to hum a psalm, and thought of Cousin Patience, and his father and his mother; and how they would hear, at least, that he had played the man in Israel that day, and resisted unto blood, striving against sin and the Man of Sin? And was there no poetry in him, too, as he came wearied along Thoresby dyke, in the quiet autumn eve, home to the house of his forefathers, and saw afar off the knot of tall poplars rising over the broad misty flat, and the one great Abele tossing its sheets of silver in the dying gusts, and knew that they stood before his father's door? Who can tell all the pretty child-memories which flitted across his brain at that sight, and made him forget that he was a wounded cripple? ... And now he was going home to meet her (Patience) after a mighty victory, a deliverance from Heaven, second only in his eyes to that Red-Sea one. Was there no poetry in his heart at that thought ? Did not the glowing sunset, and the reed-beds which it transfigured before him into sheets of golden flame, seem tokens that the glory of God was going before him in his path? Did not the sweet clamour of the wild-fowl, gathering for one rich pæan ere they sank into rest, seem to him as God's bells chiming him home in triumph with peals sweeter and bolder than those of Lincoln or Peterborough steeple-house? Did not the very lapwing, as she tumbled softly wailing before his path, as she did years ago, seem to welcome the wanderer home in the name of Heaven?
Fair Patience, too, though she was a Puritan, yet did not her cheek flush, her eye grow dim, like any other girl's, as she saw far off the red coat, like a sliding spark of fire, coming slowly along the strait fen-bank, and fled upstairs into her chamber to pray, half that it might be, half that it might not be he? Was there no happy storm of human tears and human laughter when he entered the courtyard-gate? Did not the old dog lick his Puritan hand as lovingly as if it had been a Cavalier's? Did not lads and lasses run out shouting? Did not the old yeoman father hug him, weep over him, hold him at arm's length, and
hug him again, as heartily as any other John Bull, even though the next moment he called all to kneel down and thank Him who had sent his boy home again, after bestowing on him the grace to bind kings in chains, and nobles with links of iron, and contend to death for the faith delivered to the saints ? And did not Zeal-for-Truth look about as wistfully for Patience as any other man would have done, longing to see her, yet not daring even to ask for her ? And when she came down at last, was she the less lovely in his eyes because she came, not flaunting with bare bosom, in tawdry finery and paint, but shrouded close in coif and pinner, hiding from all the world beauty which was there still, but was meant for one alone, and that only if God willed, in God's good time? And was there no faltering of their voices, no light in their eyes, no trembling pressure of their hands, which said more, and was more, ay and more beautiful in the sight of Him who made them, than all Herrick's Dianemes, Waller's Saccharissas, flames, darts, posies, love-knots, anagrams, and the rest of the insincere cant of the court ? What if Zeal-for-Truth had never strung two rhymes together in his life? Did not his heart go for inspiration to a loftier Helicon, when it whispered to itself, My love, my dove, ny undefiled, is but one,' than if he had filled pages with sonnets about Venuses and Cupids, love-sick shepherds and cruel nymphs ?
And was there no poetry, true idyllic poetry, as of Longfellow's Evangeline itself, in that trip round the old farm next morning, when Zeal-for-Truth, after looking over every heifer, and peeping into every sty, would needs canter down by his father's side to the horse-fen, with his arm in a sling; while the partridges whirred up before them, and the lurchers flashed like gray snakes after the hare, and the colts came whinnying round with staring eyes and streaming manes; and the two chatted on in the same sober business-like English tone, alternately of “the Lord's great dealings by General Cromwell, the pride of all honest fen-men, and the price of troop-horses at the next Horncastle fair?
Poetry in those old Puritans ? Why not? They were men of like passions with ourselves. They loved, they married, they brought up children; they feared, they sinned, they sorrowed, they fought, they conquered. There was poetry enough in them, be sure, though they acted it like men instead of singing it like birds."
Again, both men are heartily and instinctively religious; yet both incessantly grate against the religious feelings of reve. rent Christians, though in a different manner, and from different causes. The one is full of reverence, but has no fixed or definite belief; the other is orthodox enough in doctrine, but does not know what reverence means. The one has no creed; the other has no doubt. Mr. Carlyle—as all deep and great spirits must-approaches the high mysteries of the Infinite and the Eternal with awe unspeakable, and almost with humility. He dares not even define the Illimitable Agencies; he always speaks of them in the plural number. You cannot tell what he means precisely when he whispers of the Silences and the Immensities—probably he could not tell himself; but there is no mistaking the natural tone and sentiment with which man refers to something supremely and incomprehensibly above him. There may be no distinct Being for whom this awe is felt, but the awe is unquestionably there. In Mr. Kingsley there is nothing of all this. The great creative and pervading spirit of the universe, who for Mr. Carlyle is l’Etre Suprême, for Mr. Kingsley is simply le bon Dieu. He is not a stricken mortal, prostrate before the Ineffable Intelligence, but a workman of God, a soldier of Christ, a messenger who has got his orders from his immediate superior, and will execute them like a faithful labourer. He knows God's will, and it always harmonises strangely with Mr. Kingsley's objects and opinions. He has an unquestioning obedience, cheerful service, boundless devotion, to his Father who is in heaven; but of what we call reverence-hushed and breathless adoration, solemn sense of infinite depth and infinite littleness,—we can perceive no trace whatever. He seems as unconscious as the infant Samuel of a superior Presence. His feelings towards God appear to hover between those of the negro and the Israelite, or rather to partake of both. He speaks of Him, and to Him, with the simple directness, the confiding but not disrespectful familiarity, now of Moses and now of Uncle Tom. When he issues his commands to the world of sinners, it is as though he had just come from an interview with the Most High on Sinai. When he prays, it is (to use Mrs. Stowe's lan
, guage) as though he knew God was listening behind the curtain. He is unpleasantly fond of introducing the Great Name on all occasions: it is always “God's work," " God's feasts," “God's heroes," “ God's bells,” “Good news of God;" expressions which, just and fitting enough when sparingly, solemnly, and appropriately used, produce almost a profane effect by their incessant and uncalled-for recurrence; appear to be dictated chiefly by an appetite for strong language operating on a gentleman in orders; and are, in fact, we believe, Mr. Kingsley's way of swearing
There are further points of resemblance between the two men still. Roaming through our world of complicated and
. corrupt civilisation, laying about them with an iron flail, and smashing shams, follies, and abuses with little mercy and less discrimination, they have yet both their weak places and their blind sides. Iconoclasts as they are, they are idolaters also,— and idolaters of the worst sort, and at the coarsest shrine. These teachers of mankind in an age of advanced science and refinement, trained in the highest culture, rich in the noblest endowments,
“ These, the heirs of all the ages, in the foremost files of time,”
worship much as the barbarians of old did, and much as the savages do now, and fall prostrate before brute Force and a tyrannous and unrelenting Will. They are “ Titanolaters," as Archdeacon Hare appropriately named them. Mr. Carlyle raves about “ Jarls” and “ Vikings," and the “grand old Norsemen, till we are sick of the recurring cant; and Mr. Kingsley echoes his precise phrases and expressions, page after page, with
: an almost parrot-like exactitude of iteration. This idolatry of mere strength, however, assumes distinct forms in the two writers; and, strange to say, it takes a somewhat higher type in the Pagan than in the Christian votary. The one idolises chiefly strength of purpose, the other chiefly strength of muscle and of nerve. Both probably have "gone in” for their own
“ especial line of superiority. Mr. Carlyle,-never strong in
, health or agile in frame, nor trained either as ploughman, sportsman, soldier, or athlete, but having had to fight his way in life with a persistent energy and a self-denying power which do him infinite honour-thinks little of mere bodily strength, and, indeed, seldom speaks of the animal frame at all, but feels an irresistible attraction towards inflexible tempers and overmastering volitions. Indeed, he is essentially and consistently a despot; and with all despots, if only they be relentless and inconsiderate enough, he has a prompt and abounding sympathy. If they be utterly brutal in addition, there are no limits to his admiration. His heart yearns to them, and leaps up to meet them as to a brother. He calls them “MEN,” “true men,” “ types of real manhood.” No one acquainted with Mr. Carlyle's writings will, we are sure, charge us with one shade of exaggeration. Every book, and almost every page, will witness for us. The fierce rough Danton was among his earliest idols, bloody and ignorant as he was, because he was simple and earnest, knew what he wanted (or thought he did), and went with Juggernaut directness and recklessness to his end. Samuel Johnson too-noble old bear that he was-Mr. Carlyle really loves for his unendurable brutality. But it was not till he met with Frederick-William of Prussia,—probably the most truculent ruffian that ever sat upon a throne; an absolute savage in taste and temper; often half mad, and constantly quite drunk; for ever and in every relation of life trampling upon justice, decency, kindness, and natural affection,—that Mr. Carlyle recognised the “realised ideal” of his fancy, and hugged the “just man made perfect” to his heart of hearts.
But Mr. Carlyle not only worships “forcible” men; he would apply force-physical force—to all recalcitrants; he would govern the world by force. The wise and powerful must rule; the ignorant and foolish must submit. The scourge and