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[Edward Dowden was born in Cork, on | ful and pliant, spreading its first leaves to May 3, 1843. He entered Trinity College in the sunshine of May, differs from the moving 1859. During his undergraduate career he expanse of greenery visible a century later, chiefly devoted his attention to the study of which is hard to comprehend and probe with mental science, and obtained the highest col- the eye in its infinite details, multitudinous legiate distinctions attainable in this subject. and yet one, receiving through its sensitive His fellow-students gave the perhaps not less surfaces the gifts of light and dew, of noonvaluable testimony to his mastery of this day and of night, grasping the earth with inbranch of study by electing him president of extricable living knots, not unpossessed of the University Philosophical Society twice in haunts of shadow and secrecy, instinct with succession. In 1867 he became professor of ample mysterious murmurs,--the tree which English literature. has a history, and bears in wrinkled bark and wrenched bough memorials of time and change, of hardship, and drought, and storm. The poet Gray in a well-known passage invented a piece of beautiful mythology, according to which the infant Shakspere is represented
Mr. Dowden has been a frequent contributor to all the high-class magazines: the Contemporary, Fortnightly, Westminster, Fraser, and Cornhill. His first work was published in 1875-Shakspere, his Mind and Art, a Critical Study. This is a very remarkable con- as receiving gifts from the great Dispensatribution to the literature of the great Eng-tress:lish dramatist, and has already taken rank among the standard works on the subject. It is now in its fourth edition, and has been translated into German and Russian. A volume of Poems, which appeared in 1876, was received with great favour by the leading critical journals, and has passed that Rubicon of poets-a second edition. Studies in Literature (1875) contained a number of suggestive criticisms on the chief literary masters of our time-the most remarkable perhaps being that on George Eliot. Mr. Dowden has, besides, contributed a Shakspere Primer to the "Literature Primers" edited by the well-known historian Mr. J. R. Green, and he was chosen to contribute Southey to the series of "English Men of Letters," in course of publication under the guidance of Mr. John Morley.]
THE GROWTH OF SHAKSPERE'S
Now we proceed to observe, in some few of its stages of progress, the growth of that organism. Shakspere in 1590, Shakspere in 1600, and Shakspere in 1610, was one and the same living entity; but the adolescent Shakspere differed from the adult, and again from Shakspere in the supremacy of his ripened manhood, as much as the slender stem, grace
1 By permission of the author.
"Far from the sun and summer gale
Thine too these golden keys, immortal Boy!
Everything takes up its place more rightly in a spacious world, accurately observed, than in the narrow world of the mere idealist. In bare acquisition of observed fact Shakspere marvellously increased from year to year. He grew in wisdom and in knowledge (such an admission does not wrong the divinity of genius), not less but more than other men. Quite a little library exists illustrating the branch of information, and with that: The minute acquaintance of Shakspere with this Legal Acquirements of Shakspere; Shakspere's Knowledge and Use of the Bible; Shakspere's
Delineations of Insanity; The Rural Life of | had gained vigour to cope with fate; and Shakspere; Shakspere's Garden; The Orni- could "accept all things not understood." thology of Shakspere; The Insects mentioned And during these years, while each faculty by Shakspere; and such like. Conjectural was augmenting its proper life, the vital play inquiry, which attempts to determine whether of one faculty into and through the other Shakspere was an attorney's clerk or whether became more swift, subtle, and penetrating. he was a soldier, whether Shakspere was In Shakspere's earlier writings we can obever in Italy, or whether he was in Ger- serve him setting his wit to work, or his many, or whether he was in Scotland,-in- fancy to work; now he is clever and inquiry such as this may lead to no very certain tellectual, and again he is tender and enresult with respect to the particular matter in thusiastic. But in his latter style imaginaquestion. But one thing which such special tion and thought, wisdom, and mirth, and critical studies as these establish is the enor- charity, experience and surmise, play into and mous receptivity of the poet. This vast and through one another, until frequently the sigvaried mass of information he assimilated and nificance of a passage becomes obscured by made his own. And such store of information its manifold vitality. The murmur of au came to Shakspere only by the way, as an embryo thought or feeling already obscurely addition to the more important possession of mingles with the murmurs of the parent life knowledge about human character and human in which it is enveloped. life which forms the proper body of fact needful for dramatic art. In proportion as an animal is of great size, the masses of nutriment which he procures are large. "The Arctic whale gulps in whole shoals of acephala and molluscs."
Now what does this extraordinary growth imply? It implies capacity for obtaining the materials of growth; in this case materials for the growth of intellect, of imagination, of the will, of the emotions.
It means, therefore, capacity of seeing many facts, of meditating, of feeling deeply, and of controlling such feeling. It implies the avoidance of injuries which interfere with growth, escape from the enemies which bring life to a sudden end, and therefore strength, and skill, and prudence in dealing with the world. It implies a power in the organism of fitting its movements to meet the numerous external co-existences and sequences. In a word, we are brought back once again to Shakspere's resolute fidelity to fact. By virtue of this his life became a success, as far as success is permitted to such a creature as man in such a world as the present.
But it was not alone or chiefly through mass of acquisition that Shakspere became great. He was not merely a centre for the drifting capital of knowledge. Each faculty expanded and became more energetic, while at the same time the structural arrangement of the man's whole nature became more complex and involved. His power of thought increased steadily as years went by, both in sure grasp of the known, and in brooding intensity of gaze upon the unknown. His emotions, instead of losing their energy and subtlety as youth deepened into manhood, instead of becoming dulled and crusted over by contact with the world, became (as is the case with all the greatest men and women) by contact with the world swifter and of more ample volume. As Shakspere penetrated farther and farther into the actual facts of our life, he found in those facts more to rouse and kindle and sustain the heart; he discovered more
"That was the thrush's last good-night," I
And heard the soft descent of summer rain
awful and mysterious darkness, and also more The perfect iterance,-freer than unsought
[It is one among the many hopeful signs of | ber of small buildings, either grouped together our times that the enthusiasm for the study as at Glendalough, or thickly scattered over of Ireland's remote past, which is practically the face of the country; and at the time of a new phenomenon in Irish literature, has transition to Romanesque there was no corpassed from the ranks of men to those of responding change in the ecclesiastical system women. Equally encouraging is it to see the of the country. love of archæological study pass from one generation to another.
When the group of humble dwellings which formed the monasteries and schools of Ireland is seen at the foot of the lofty tower whose masonry rarely seems to correspond in date with the buildings that surround it, and which does not, as elsewhere, seem a component and accessory part of the whole pile that formed the feudal abbey, we cannot but feel that some new condition in the history of the Irish Church must have arisen to account for the apparition of these bold and lofty structures. And here we may take up the thread of the history where we left it, at the close of the period of steady progress from the fifth to the end of the eighth century, when the language of Ireland was being developed and her schools were the most frequented in Northern Europe. In the beginning of the ninth century a new state of things was ushered in, and a change took place in the hitherto unmolested condition of the Church. Ireland became the battlefield of the first struggle between paganism and Christianity in Western Europe; and the result of the effort then made in defence of her faith is marked in the ecclesiastical architecture of the country by the apparently simultaneous erection of a number of lofty towers, rising in strength of "defence and faithfulness of watch" before the doorways of those churches most liable to be attacked. For seven centuries Christianity had steadily advanced in Western Europe. At first silent and unseen, we feel how wondrously it grew, until, in the reign of Charlemagne, it became an instrument in the hands of one whose mission was to strengthen his borders against the heathen, and to establish a Christian monarchy.
Miss Stokes, it will be known, has a hereditary right to deal with Celtic archæology. Her father, who finds a place in vol. iii., attained, as we have said, great distinction as an Irish scholar; and his daughter has worthily pursued the same path of study. Her chief work is Early Christian Architecture in Ireland. This is a remarkably able book. It is written in a clear and pleasant style; the facts are skilfully grouped, and the authoress shows a complete mastery of her subject. Miss Stokes has also edited Christian Inscriptions in the Irish Language.]
THE NORTHMEN IN IRELAND. (FROM "EARLY CHRISTIAN ARCHITECTURE.") Pugin has observed in his essay on the "Revival of Christian Architecture" that "the history of architecture is the history of the world;" therefore in tracing the origin and growth of new forms in this art, we may expect to find a parallel stream in the course of events which mark the career of the race to whom it belongs. Where any decided innovation occurs in the architecture of any country, it seems probable that some revolution in its history may be found to account for the phenomenon. Hitherto the churches of Ireland, in their humble proportions and symmetrical simplicity, were the natural offspring, not only, as Dr. Petrie has beautifully expressed it, "of a religion not made for the rich, but for the poor and lowly;" they were also the result of choice and adherence to a primitive national system. Even after the introduction of the ornamental style termed Irish Romanesque, we find that there was no material departure from the simple ground-plan and small dimensions of the earlier churches of the horizontal lintel. The church-system of Ireland continued to be, as it had always been, one that entailed the erection of a num
Dense as is the obscurity in which the cause of the wanderings and ravages of the Scandinavian Vikings is enveloped, yet the result of the investigations hitherto made upon the subject is, that they were in a great measure consequent on the conquests of Charlemagne in the north of Germany, and on the barrier which he thereby-as well as by the introduc
tion of Christianity-set to their onward march. | march; and such was the fury of their arms It can scarcely be attributed to accident that that even now, after a lapse of a thousand with the gradual strengthening of the Frank-years, their deeds are held in appalling reish dominion the hordes of Northmen de- membrance throughout Europe, not only in scended on the British Islands in ever-increas- every city on the sea-shore or on the river, ing numbers. The policy of Charlemagne in but even in the peasant traditions of the his invasion of Saxony, A.D. 772, and the smallest inland village. "Wheresoever," says energy by which he succeeded in driving his Mr. Laing, "this people from beyond the pale enemies beyond the Elbe and to the German and influence of the old Roman Empire and Ocean, were manifestly directed and intensi- of the later Church empire of Rome, either fied by religious zeal. The Saxons were still settled, mingled, or marauded, they have left heathens, and the first attack made by the permanent traces in society of their laws, inFrankish king was on the fortress of Eres- stitutions, character, and spirit. Pagan and bourg, where stood the temple of Irminsul, barbarian as they were, they seemed to have the great idol of the nation. carried with them something more natural, something more suitable to the social wants of man, than the laws and institutions formed under the Roman power."
We read that he laid waste their temples, and their idols were broken in pieces. "He built monasteries and churches, founded bishoprics, and filled Saxony with priests and missionaries. For some years previously the countries between the Elbe, Upper Saxony, the German Ocean, and the Baltic, had been devastated by the Frankish army, the population flying into Denmark and the north, and the war of Charlemagne,” writes Mr. Haliday, "was now a crusade. Its object was alike to conquer and convert. The military and religious habits were united in his camp, which was the scene of martial exercises, solemn processions, and public prayers; and the clergy who crowded round his standard participated in the objects and results of his victories." The war thus entered upon leads us to that point in the history of the Western Church when the religion of Christ is first met by a mighty revulsion arising in the mingled grandeur and gloom of all that is great and all that is false in the spirit of ancient heathenism, when the flood, driven backwards into the northern seas, first heaved its mighty volume of resistant waters, and broke in a great wave upon the Irish shore.
But when all has been said that can be for the invigorating influence of their energy and the enkindling spark they are held to have borne with them of a free social existence, in which men might have a voice in their government and in the enactment of their laws, it must still be borne in mind that at the period when Ireland was the scene of this struggle, and indeed for two centuries later, the faith of these Northmen was idolatry, and there is no proof that they possessed the knowledge of letters. In contemplating the history of a period which left, as it did, such important traces in the ecclesiastical architecture of North-western Europe, we may pause to consider the two forms of faith that now met face to face in battle. In both these systems we find belief in the immortality of the soul, but the latter is merely based on faith in the potency for good or ill of the embodied forces of nature. "The primary characteristic of this old northland mythology," says Carlyle, is the "impersonation" and "earnest simple recognition of the workings of physical nature, as a thing wholly miraculous, stupendous, and divine”—the recognition of such forces as personal agencies, gods and demons; and in this faith the main result attained was the belief in an inexorable and inflexible destiny which it is useless trying to bend or soften, and that the one thing needful for a man was to be brave. Odin stands the central figure of this Scandinavian religion; Frigga, Faeya, and Thor attend with a number of minor deities, and throughout the whole mythology vestiges of ancient and general tradition are to be found. Oracles, divinations, auspices, presages, and lots formed parts of their system. The Christianity by
However it may appear from ancient authorities that for some centuries before the Scandinavians had occasionally infested the southern shores of Europe, yet in the added light that is cast by the Irish annals upon the subject we perceive that from this date their piratical incursions afford evidence not before met with of preconcerted plan and insistent energy; and these events in the reign of Charlemagne may lead us to discover what was the strong impulse that thus tended in some measure to condense and concentrate their desultory warfare. Impelled by some strong, overmastering passion, these hordes of northern warriors held on from year to year their avenging
which this religion was confronted may be also said to have preserved vestiges of ancient heathenism; but if we contemplate it in the only fair way to look at any form of faiththat is, as revealed to us by its representative men and through the medium of their mind -we behold it as the handmaid of original investigation and discovery. The teachers of Ireland, from the eighth to the tenth century, declared the spherical form of the earth, and the summer solstice in the northern hemispheres, while her astronomers had well-nigh anticipated the theory of Copernicus. We find
these ecclesiastics upholding Greek learning and philosophic speculation, asserting the freedom of the will, even at this early date, and still clinging fast to that faith which, more than a century before, had given us the Hymn of Patrick, with its passionate and absorbing devotion to Christ; while in the fearless denunciations of sin poured forth by Columbanus and Kilian upon the rulers in whose power they lay, we see the courageous faith of men ready to lay down their lives in the cause of that moral purity which is involved in our religion.
Justin McCarthy was born in Cork in November, 1830. He had the advantage of an excellent education. In 1853 he went to Liverpool, which was then-perhaps owing to the fact that an Irishman was the owner of a leading paper in the city—a favourite huntingground of Irish journalists, and retained his connection with one of the newspapers till 1860. In that year he obtained a London engagement, being employed by the Morning Star as a member of its reporting staff. In the autumn of the same year he obtained another and more congenial situation on the same journal, being appointed foreign editor; and in 1864 he received further and well-merited recognition of his talents by being raised to the position of chief editor. In 1868 he resigned this post, and went to the United States. Here he found a public ready to welcome him; for he was well known, both through his own writings and as the conductor of a journal that had been unswerving in its friendship to the United States. His pen was eagerly sought for; but though he wrote a good deal, he chiefly employed himself in lecturing, and performed the remarkable feat of visiting nearly every town in the Union.
[Men of letters do not often receive in Great | On his return to England, Mr. McCarthy was Britain recognition in the shape of political offered an engagement as a leader-writer on honours. This fully accounts for the general the Daily News-a position he still holds. satisfaction with which the return to parliament of a littérateur like Mr. McCarthy was received; but the popularity of the event was due still more to the feeling that the new member had won his way in literature by brilliant work, and that he bears his honours with the modesty of genuine ability.
It will be seen from this sketch that Mr. McCarthy has had a sufficiently active life as a mere journalist; but he has found time besides to write a number of works which have made his name familiar throughout the whole English world. His first novel, The Waterdale Neighbours, was published in 1867. To this have succeeded My Enemy's Daughter (1869); Lady Judith (1871); A Fair Saxon (1873)—a work in which, we may mention en passant, the Anglo-Irish difficulty is discussed in a very good-tempered, and, indeed, it may be said, charming fashion, for the disputants are a beautiful Englishwoman and an Irish lover; Linley Rochford (1874); Dear Lady Disdain, (1875); Miss Misanthrope (1877); and Donna Quixote (1880). The qualities which distinguish all those works are a graceful, elegant, transparent style; keen insight into character, especially female character; and a satire which, though it can occasionally be sharp, is never absolutely cruel.
Mr. McCarthy's most successful work is in a different line from any of its predecessors. It is A History of our own Times (4 vols. 1879). Those volumes-written in lucid and vigorous English, free from party spirit, and abounding in picturesque description and striking portraits-have been eagerly read by all parties; and have passed through a large number of editions in a very short time. Mr. McCarthy is also the author of a volume of essays entitled Con Amore. Having, at the general election in 1874, refused two offers to stand for Irish con