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are the only persons there not responsible for the crossing of races; that, as far as the action of the white race is concerned, it is entirely the action of adult males, over whom the females of the race can have little control. And this is, to a certain extent, true. It is to the mothers of the race, black and white in South Africa, that we must look, if the doom which has overtaken other communities is to be averted from cur own. If the white women of South Africa, sunk in the slothful ease of a singularly smooth and pleasant existence, refuse to arouse themselves to a study of our national condition, and prefer to shut their eyes to the dangers and difficulties that surround us, rather than undertake a painful and stern duty; and if our Bantu women, forgetting their racial self-respect, teach their daughters that better is a white man's money than a black man's companionship and the maintenance of racial integrity; then, indeed, I know not where we are to look for deliverance from the threatened eyil. But we fix an infinite hope on the stand which will ultimately be made by the B.intu and white women of South Africa, in this matter.
I am afraid that this is but a forlorn hope at the best : but even if they responded to her appeal, she herself calls attention to the fact that most half-breeds are themselves the children of half-breeds, for this unfortunate race increases and multiplies with rapidity.
despises his own blood. “I could bite my own arm," a low coloured girl once said in our presence, * when I see how black it is. My father was a white man!” The half-caste alone of all created things is at war within his own individuality. Of that divine contentment with his own inalienable personality which lies at the root of all the heroic and half the social virtues, the half-caste can know little.
HEREDITY AND IMMORALITY. No wonder then that the half-caste supplies the vicious and criminal class to South Africa :
It is impossible that the half-caste should possess that traditional standard and racial pride which tend to save the black woman from absolute degradation. She necessarily feels it small disgrace to bring her children into the world as her own ancestors were brought; and better to her often is the most degrading relationship, which binds her children closer to the race she covets, than the most honourable which binds them to the race she scorns. No ancestral coile of hononr rises up in her case, strengthening her self-respect. Threefourths of the prostitutes who fill our brothels and lock hospitals are “coloured” or half-caste; only the remaining fourth are of pure breed. In the smaller criminal cases tried in our Magistrates' Courts, the “ coloured man” figures out of all proportion to the pure-blooded Europeans, Bantus, or Malays.
AN OPPORTUNE OBJECT-LESSON. When Olive Schreiner was writing this article, a tall half-caste woman came and approached her house:
She stuck a letter through the window, and asked us in Taal-the only language she spoke-to read it for her. The letter had been written at the request of her second son, to inform her that he had just received a sentence of four months, the crime not being stated. It also asked her whether she had heard that his brother Jacob was free again. On inquiring what this meant, she replied that her eldest son had just served four years for attempted rape. We asked her whether she had other children. She lighted up; the watery, blue Caucasian eyes looked at us out of the shrivelled, brown face. “I have four daughters,” she said, "the eldest is living with a white mason in the Fraserburg district. I have always brought my children up well,” she added proudly, “ since they were so high "-indicating with her hand a child of about three years old—“I have told them, • Have nothing to do with a black man, hold by the white.' My three youngest daughters are prostitutes among the gentlemen of Kimberley !” Her further remarks cannot be recorded.
OUR RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE HALF-CASTE. All nations have to deal with problems for which they have either a remote responsibility or none at all:
It is not so with the half-caste; Englishman and Dutchman brought him here for their own purposes-if we except the few half-castes descended from Hottentots and Bantus this is true; the Boer inoculated him with his virile blood to make him permanent. He is here, our own; we made him ; we cannot wash our hands of him. When from under the beetling eyebrows in a dark face something of the white man's eye looks out at us, is not the curious shrinking and aversion we feel something of a consciousness of a national disgrace? The half-caste is our open, self-inflicted wound; we shall not heal it by shutting our eyes and turning away from it.
It is difficult to see, therefore, what can be done; nor does Olive Schreiner's suggestion go beyond that of preventing a further increase of the mischief.
AN APPEAL TO THE WOMEN OF SOUTH AFRICA. Confronted by this gangrene of a continent, Olive Schreiner appeals to her own sex to arrest the progress of the plague. She says:
It is to the women of South Africa, black and white, that we must look, if the growth of this evil is to be restrained among us! It may be objected that the white women of South Africa
MRS. MAX MÜLLER IN TURKEY. In Longmin's Maguzine for July Mrs. Max Müller describes her visit to the Turkish harems in Constantinople, and what she witnessed at the celebrations when the Persians commemorated the anniversary of the death of Hasan and Husain. When she witnessed the movements of the procession at the beginning of the ceremony,
she was inclined to think that its horrors had been exaggerated :
But after a time we again heard the strains of music, this time louder and wilder, and the people all round us began to show signs of great and increasing excitement and agitation as the procession, lighted by the lurid glare of the petroleum bonfiros, re-entered the khân. The children passed by ts before, followed by a white horse, on which sat two white doves, emblematic of the souls of Hasan and Husain. The cries of “ Van! vah! Hasan! Husain!” grew louder and louder, many of th spectators joining in, whilst the first company passed beating their bare breasts with such violence and regularity that it sounded like sledge hammers coming down on blocks of granite. The second company passed swinging their chains over their heads, and bringing them down on their now bare backs till the flesh was lacerated aud streaming with blood. Then, last and worst of all, came the men with the swords, cutting themseives, particularly their heads, in good earnest, so that one had to stand back to avoid the blood which spurted forth in all directions. Soon their white shirts were crimson with blood, their heads looked as if covered with a red fez, and the pavement was running with blood; and yet these people marched on as if on parade. Very few indeed fell out. One mau fell down dead before our eyes; and at last a kind of police came forward, holding their sticks over the people so as to prevent their backing themselves to death in their frenzy.
From this, it is a pleasant change to turn to her description of the life led by Turkish women in the harem. It did not strike her as being at all an enviable one, although she quotes a remark made by a minister's wife, whom she visited, which shows that there may be another side to this matter. Speaking of this lady, shu says:
Her idea of European life was founded on French novels which she read incessantly, and she said to me: " Well, we are happier than you, for our husbands may fancy one of our slaves whom we know, but your husbands go about with French actresses whom you don't know !”
share of his thoughts than heretofore, during the last ten or MR. WILFRID WARD contributes to the New Review twelve years of his life. ... It was by allowing the most free an article, written at the present Lord Tennyson's
and explicit voice to doubt that he gradually worked further
and further towards the solution of the mysteries of life and suggestion for the Deutsche Revue, entitled “ Talks with
of the world. He was a thoroughgoing idealist; and his conTennyson.” It is an intensely interesting record. As a boy
clusions recall in some respects portions of the writings of the writer knew the poet, and was a close friend of his son
three great thinkers-Kant, Berkeley, and Father MaleLionel. He recalls the shyness which Tennyson habitu branche. ally showed on coming into the room, and whicb, even Mr. Ward remarks upon
“ the intense candour and with intimate friends, only gradually wore off. “ There was
truthfulness" of his conversation :a tar-off look in his eyes, something between the look of a
His accuracy as to quite trivial matters was even scrupunear-sighted man and a very far-sighted man,” conveying
lous. If a story were told with the slightest inaccuracies in it sense that “his mind was not yet focussed on the world
detail, he would spoil it by repeated interruptions rather immediately about him.” With strangers this shyness
than let them pass. ... So, too, speaking of liistorical or social pissed less readily a way, and gave an impression of great facts, dates and numbers were always prominent and always riserve. But, once the spell was broken, he conversed with accurate. ... And above all he remembered and delighted in the "absolute freedom and naturalness,” Mr. Ward used to facts of astronomy. ... It was then, I think, partly this close walk out with him in a party of six or eight: and“ con truthfulness in his perception and memory of all he spoke of versation rever flagged: neither did the rapid pace at
which gave one such a strong sense of the reality of his inetawhich the poet walked." Even when seventy he was
physical thought. ... One felt confidence in his glimpses all proud to have outwalked Professor Jebb-then only forty
the more from the frankness with which he recognised that --- and in his eighty-third year the poet climbed a gato
they were but a partial insight into truths beyond us. and literally ran down-hill.
A CALVINIST'S LURID FORECAST.
Tennyson hal a horror of the vindictive deity of a THE POET ON HIS FELLOW-AUTHORS. About his fellow-anthors many sayings of Tennyson
clebased Calvinism. He told Mr. Ward :are preserved here. His judgment of Browning is note
" I remember one woman who used to weep for hours because worthy, if not very generous:
God was so infinitely good. He had predestined (she said)
most of her friends to damnation, and herself, who was no “ Browning,” he added, “ has a genius for a sort of dramatic
better than they, to salvation. She shouk her head at me composition and for analysing the human mind. And he hic
sadly, and said, · Alfred, Alfred, whenever I look at you I a great imagination. But a poet's writing should be sweet to
think of the words of Seripture, “ Depart from me, ye cursed, the month and ear, which Browning is not. There should be a
into everlasting fire."' glory of words' as well as deep thought. This he has not
He almost as much disliked the anthromorphism got. In his last work he makes “impulse' rhyme with .dim pulse.'” He spoke of Browning's love of London society :
which turned God into a sort of “magnified clergyman." “I once told him te would die in a white tie, and he rather He preferred to say not “God,” but
“the Highest or liked it."
Supreme Being." He said: Of Arthur Clough, Tennyson said :
God is unknowable as He is in Himself, but He touches us at “I knew him well in later life. He once travelled with us
one point. That point is the conscience. If the conscience in France. He was a delightful companion, but was rather
could be further developed, we might in some sense see wanting in a sense of humour. He had great poetic feeling. He read me his In Mari Mugno, and cried like a child as he
“Lushington used to say to me,” he continued, " that if
there were no other world this world would be all the more read it."
valuable. I, on the contrary, feel that it is only the light Of George Eliot he admired the genius and the
shed on our earth from another world which gives it any insight into human character, but maintained that she
value. The thought of working for the human race is not was not so truthful as Shakespeare or Miss Austen. incentive enough to virtue if man is not immortal.” “The character of Adam Bede," he said, “is not quite
Evolution was, we are told, a favourite topic of his. true to human nature. It is idealis d.”
“Huxley once said to me that Tennyson's grasp of the Macaulay he met only once, and was introduced by principles of physical science was equal to that of the Guizot. The historian merely bowed, and went on
greatest experts. talking to Guizot. Of Carlyle he said, “ He was at
A SACRED SCENE. once the most reverent and the most irreverent man I have known.”
The article closes with an account of the late Laureate * The great fault of Disraeli's character,” he said,
rearling and explaining De profundis. At the end :was that he was scornful. Gladstone is genial and His voice deepened as the greeting to the immortal soul of kindly."
the man was read. He raised his eyes from the book at the
seventh line and looked for a moment at his hearer with an He was very grand on contemptuousness. It was, he said, a sure sign of intellectual littleness. Simply to despise nearly
indescribable expression of awe before he uttered the word always meant not to understand. Pride and contempt were
spirit”: :-“Out of the deep-Spirit-out of the deep." spocially characteristic of barbarians. Real civilisation taught
When he had finished the second greeting he was trembling
much. Then he read the prayer-a prayer, he had told me, human beings to understand each other better, and must
of self-prostration before the Infinite .. It is an outpouring therefore lessen contempt. It is a little or immature or uneducated mind which really despises.
of the simplest and most intense self-abandonment to the
Creator . . . He began to chaunt in a loud clear voice :HIS METAPHYSICAL LEANINGS.
Hallowed be Thy name-Halleluiah. He would discuss among friends the plan of a forth His voice was growing tremulous as he reached the second coming poem of his own" with that absolute simplicity part :in which, I think, he had no rival in privato conversa
We feel that we are nothing --for all is Thou and in Thee :
We feel that we are something--that also has come from Thee. tion; and he was not unwilling to be guided by the judgment of those he spoke with :
And he broke down, and sobbed aloud as he tinished the
prayer :I think I am right in saying that the great problems of
We know we are nothing—but Thon wilt help us to be. metaphysics and of man's destiny an l origin occupied a larger
Hallowed be Thy name-Halleluial.
“ Oh, that,” she said, " is no reason. “ The angels keep out
of the way; And Dora, the child, observes nothing, although you should
please me and stay.” At which he rose up in his anger. • Why, now, you no
longer are fair! Why, now, you no longer are fatal, but ugly and hateful, I
swear!" At which she laughed out in her scorn : “ These men! Oh,
these men overnice, Who are shocked if a colour not virtuous is frankly put on
by a vice.
"MY SQUEAMISH PUBLIC.” LETTERS OF THACKERAY AND MRS. BROWNING. IN Mrs. Richmond Ritchie's article in the Cornhill for July she mentions a curious episode in her father's editorial management of that magazine. Mrs. Browning had sent for publication in the Cornhill one of her poems
-“ Lord Walter's Wife.” Thackeray refused to publish it, on the ground that his public was too squeamish to permit him to insert any poem which alluded to such a thing as lawless love. Here is the letter in which Thackeray communicated his decision to Mrs. Browning:
Who am I to refuse the poems of Elizabeth Browning and set myself up as a judge over her? I can't tell you how often I have been going to write and have failed. You see that our magazine is written not only for men and women, but for boys, girls, infants, sucklings almost, and one of the best wives, mnothers, women in the world, writes some verses which I feel certain would be objected to by many of our readers. Not that the writer is not pure, and the moral most pure, chaste and right, but there are things my squeamish public will not hear on Monday, though on Sundays they listen to them without scruple. In your poem you know there is an account of unlawful passion felt by a man for a woman, and though you write pure doctrine and real modesty and pure ethics, I am sure our readers would make an outcry, and so I have not published this poem.
To have to say No to my betters is one of the hardest duties I have, but I'm sure we must not publish your verses, and I go down on my knees before cutting my victim's head off and say, “Madam, you know how I respect and regard you, Browning's wife and Peneny's mother: and for what I am going to do I most humbly ask your pardon.”
MATERFAMILIAS AND THE CONSPIRACY OF SILENCE. To him Mrs. Browning replied in a letter in which she puts the truth with good humour, but with uncompromising directness :
I confess it, dear Mr. Thackeray, never was any one turned out of a room for indecent behaviour in a more gracious and conciliatory manner! Also, I confess that from your Cornhill standpoint" (paterfamilias looking on) you are probably right ten times over. From mine, however, I may not be wrong, and I appeal to you as the deep man you are, whether it is not the higher mool, which on Sunday bears with the “plain word," so offensive on Monday, during the cheating across the counter? I am not a “fast woman”-I don't like coarso subjects, or the coarse treatment of any subject. But I am deeply convinced that the corruption of our society requires not shut doors and windows, but light and air : and that it is exactly because pure and prosperous women choose to ignore vice, that miserable women suffer wrong by it everywhere. Has paterfamilias, with his Oriental traditions and veiled female faces, very successfully dealt with a certain class of evil? What if materfamilias, with her quick sure instincts and honest innocent eyes, do more towards their expulsion by simply looking at them and calling them by their names? See what insolence you put me up to by your kind way of naming my dignities ...“ Browning's wife and Penini's mother!"
THE EXCLUDED POEM. The following extract from the poem in question will be read with interest as illustrating the kind of thing that could not be stood by the Cornhill public thirty-six years ago.
Lord Walter's wife is told by her husband's friend that he loves her, but that he will leave her rather than bring dishonour on her home. She simulates a desire that he should remain. He urges reasons why he should 89, and finally :"... But you," he replied, “have a daughter, a young
little child, who was laid In your lap to be pure; so. I leave you : the angels would
make me afraid.”.
“ If a man finds a woman too fair, he means simply adapted
too much To uses unlawful and fatal. The praise !--shall I thank
you for such ? “Too fair?-not unless you misuse us, and surely if once in
a while You attain to it, straightway you call us no longer too fair,
but too vile! “A moment, -I pray your attention !—I have a poor word
in my head : I must utter, though womanly custom would set it owu
better unsaid. * You grew, sir, pale to impertinence, once when I showed
you a ring. You kissed my fan when I dropped it. No matter !-I'vo
broken the thing. You did me the honour, perhaps, to be moved at my side
now and then In the senses--a vice, I have heard, which is common to
beasts and some men. “ Love's a virtue for heroes as white as the snow on high
hills, And immortal as every great soul is that struggles, endures,
and fulfils." Mr. St. Loe Strachey may thank his stars that he has a much freer hand than the great man whose chair he occupies.
In the Sunday Magazine Mr. P. Almy describes the postman-poet of Bideford, Mr. Edward Capern. Miss Hammond in her paper, “Life at the Cambridge Teachers' College,” publishes portraits of Miss Clough, Miss Buss, and Miss Hughes.
PERHAPs the most attractive paper in Badminton for July is the Countess of Malmesbury's “On a Bicycle in the Streets of London." She complains of the new sport which the hansom cabby has found, that of chasing the lady bicyclist, or, as she elegantly phrases it, “ the pursuit on wheels of alien wheels surmounted by a petticoat which half conccals, yet half reveals,' the motive power within.” She remarks on the other hand on the courtesy of the 'bus driver. Cosmopolitan sport is well represented.
The article in Lippincott's for July most calling for attention is one by "a Russian,” on the decadence of modern Russian literature, This he attributes to the repressive influence of press censorship. The coinparative freedom allowed at the end of the “ fifties” and in the beginning of the “sixties” synchronized with a great ontburst of literary activity; but ever since, under Imperial restrictions, literature has been going downhill. Among modern writers there is not practically a single noted naine, except Korolenko.
of the “
Departmental Ditties," for instance—were written not only to music, but as music. Only the other day in Vermont, I heard him read, or rather intone, some of his unpublished Barrack-room Ballads to original tunes, which were infinitely preferable to the commonplace melodies to which his published ballads have been unworthily set-with the exception, perhaps, of " Mandalay.” When he had got a tune into his head, the words and rhyme came as readily as when a singer vamps his own banjo accompaniment.
WOMEN WHO HAVE MADE HIM.
REMINISCENCES OF RUDYARD KIPLING. . MR. E. Kay ROBINSON, who was formerly Kipling's editor at Lahore, contributes to McClure's Magazine for July an interesting paper copiously illustrated with portraits of Mr. Kipling and views of Lahore as reminiscences of his distinguished assistant.
MASTER RUDYARD TEN The acquaintance dates back for ten years, and when he first met Kipling he was not particularly impressed by his appearance:
Early in 1886, his face bad not acquired the character of manhood, and contrasted somewhat unpleasantly with his stoop (acquired through much bending over an office table), his heavy eyebrows, his spectacles, and his sallow Anglo-Indian complexion; while his jerky speech and abrupt movements added to the unfavourable impression. But his conversation was brilliant, and his sterling character gleamed through the humorous light which shone behind his spectacles, and in ten winútes he fell into his tural place as the most striking member of a remarkably clever and charming family.
Kipling in the newspaper office was a persistent worker, and slaved industriously at the hackwork of journalism without a murmur:
THE INK-SPLASHED KIPLING.
Intellectual women, who are proportionately numerous in India, were especially fond of his society; and the witty wife of a gallant colonel still frequently boasts at Simla that the dedication of Kipling's first work, "To the Wittiest Woman in India,” applies to her. General opinion, however, holds that Kipling intended the phrase for his mother, and, indeed, it might have been worse applied. Another charming woman friend of Kipling's, who is now dead, but while living was especially proud of the confidence implied in the occasional submission of his manuscript for her approval, was the wife of an Anglo-Indian novelist and verse writer, now coming into English repute. And much of his keen insight into the working of the feminine mind was due to the acquaintance of these and other ladies, as well as to his home influence.
WHO DISCOVERED KIPLING ? " Mr. Robinson tells the following story of his failure to secure a recognition of Mr. Kipling's genius before the appointed time :
Having, to my own great delight, " discovered ” Kipling (though his name was already a household word throughout India) in 1886, I thought that the literary world at home should share my pleasure. He was just then publishing his first little book in India : but the “ Departmental Ditties " were good enough, as I thought at the time, and as afterwards turned out, to give him a place among English writers of the day. So I obtained eight copies, and distributed them, with recommendatory letters, among the editors of English journals of light and leading. So far as I could ascertain, not a single one of those papers condescended to say a word about the unpretentious little volume. It had not come, I suppose, through “the proper channel”-i.e., from the advertising publisher.
There was one peculiarity of Kipling's work which I really must mention; namely, the amount of ink he used to throw about. In the heat of summer white cotton trousers and a thin vest constituted his office attire, and by the day's end he was spotted all over like a Dalmatian dog. He had a habit of dipping his pen frequently and deep into the ink-pot, and as all his movements were abrupt, almost jerky, the ink used to fly. When he darted into my room, as he used to do about one thing or another in connection with the contents of the paper a dozen times in the morning, I had to shout to him to * stand oft';” otherwise, as I knew by experience, the abrupt halt he would make, and the flourish with which he placed the proof in his hand before me, would send the pepful of inkhe always had a full pen in his hand-flying over Driving or sometimes walking home to breakfast in his light attire plentifully besprinkled with ink, his spectacled face peeping out under an enormous, mushroom-shaped pith hat, Kipling was a quaint-looking object.
KIPLING AS A WORKER. Mr. Robinson speaks very enthusiastically of the diligence and enthusiasm of his assistant:
I suffered little in the hot weather, day or night; and yet Kipling, who suffered much at times, willingly went through trials in pursuit of his art which nothing would have induced me to undergo. His “City of Dreadful Night” was no fancy sketch, but a picture burned into his brain during the suffocating night-hours that he spent exploring the reeking dens of opium and vice in the worst quarters of the native city of Lahore; while his “ City of Two Creeds” was another picture of Lahore from the life--and the death-when he witched Mussulman and Hindu spending the midnight hours in mutual butchery. While possessing a marvellous faculty for assimilating local colour without apparent effort, Kipling neglected no chance and spared no labour in acquiring esperience that might serve a literary purpose. Of the various races of India, whom the ordinary Englishman lumps together as " natives," Kipling knew the quaintest details respecting habits, language, and distinctive ways of thought.
CO-OPERATION IN MOUNTAINEERING, Sir W. M. CONWAY, writing in Scribner's Magazine on mountaineering in Switzerland and the Tyrol, gives a very interesting account of the immense impetus which a judicious application of co-operative principles has given to mountaineering among Germans. He says:
The German and Austrian Alpine Club is in reality a co operative association of over thirty thousand members, who kindly permit the members of other Alpine clubs to participate in their advantages. When it is remembered that the guidesystem of the Tyrol is under the governance of this club, that it makes paths, receives privileges from the railways, publishes and supplies gratis to its members useful annuals, maps superior to those provided by the government surveys, and handbooks of different sorts, the value and extent of its activity may be conceived.
The whole country is in consequence wandered over, not by herds of tourists following personal conductors, but by an immense number of individuals going alone or in parties of two or three, taking a guide dow and again from one hut to another, but for the most part carrying their own baggage and finding their own way. There are no great centres where people flock together and make vne another miserable. Travellers keep moving about, and strew themselves fairly evenly over the mountain area.
Each hut and village-inn forms a small focus where chance assemblages of wanderers meet for the night to sunder again next day. Community of momentary interests unites them into a society for the few hours of their common life. The wandering spirit pervades them and the whole country during the summer season. Twenty
HOW HE COMPOSES HIS BALLADS.
The efforts of the native police-band in the public gardens at Lahore to discourse English music to a sparse gathering of native nurses and infants would awaken, as we passed, some rhythm with accompanying words in his mind, and he would be obviously ill at ease because he could not get within reach of pen and ink. Whether Kipling would ever have been much of a musician, I cannot say ; but I know that all the poems he wrote during the years we worked together-many
years ago this state of things did not exist. I remember the Stubai and Zillerthal Mountains when there was not a hut among them, not a guide nor an ice-axe in their villages. During the three months I spent in the district scarcely a traveller came by. The change, which is due to German enterprise, is doubtless reacting upon the youth of Germany. The spirit cultivated by the mediæval Wanderschaft, which sent every young craftsman away from his home for three years, now grows out of the annual summer tramp. Youthful stndents from the German universities are infected by it.
“MAN-MAKING AND VERSE-MAKING.”
WARNINGS BY MR. GLADSTONE. THE New Review for July closes with an article by Mr. Gladstone headed as above. It illustrates the characteristic humour and didactic seriousness of the author, whose personality and autobiographic reminiscences form its chief attraction. It has two headings and really consists of two papers, the first, a homily on the serious conduct of life and character-building in general, the second, an admonition to writers of verse to pause and ponder before printing what they write.
CHARACTER AND CALLING. Mr. Gladstone recalls the old riddle, “What is all the world doing at once?". and the answer “growing older" to suggest another answer “Building: all men are building themselves." He regrets that most men do not take heed how they build. They are provident of opportunity and resource for building fortune and fame, but too generally take no thought as to building themselves. Mr. Gladstone feels the need of impressing on youth-without detracting from its "royal insouciance" --the duty and the reward of building character rightly. Geod and wise behaviour in youth is like laying out money at high interest and on absolute security. As trees make their largest growths in periods of their early spring, so man in youth. And each one of us is born to his own special work in the world, and it is the high duty of everyone concerned to discover his special fitness. On choice of pursuits on which life is to be spent, Mr. Gladstone quotes Bishop Butler's saying that the observation of Divine truth is the highest occupation for the mind of man. He points to two others: the field of history--" very far as yet, especially among the British race, from being fully occupied "—and that of natural
ADVICE TO VERSIFIERS ABOUT TO PRINT. This leads Mr. Gladstone to his second division. For “The most flowery of all the paths of mental exertion is in poetry or verse making”!
The temptation to versify is so great that, as I suppose, most or all of us have indulged in it. This is no offence at all. Only by trying our feathers shall we learn whether we are fit to fly ... If, when it is found out, the moth still flies into the candle, it is no great offence. The lucubrations may still charm a family circle; possibly, as Cupid is blind, may even smooth the path of courtship ... The point at which the case grows serious is, when we come to think of printing.
THE GREATEST DRUG IN THE LITERARY MARKET. How serious the case is, Mr. Gladstone has learned by the things he has suffered from budding versifiers :
My experience leads me to believe that the supply of poetry, or verse assuming to be poetry, is more egregiously in excess of the demand than any other description of literature. A very long life has made me a familiar figure to an unusual number of persons; so that I am the recipient accordingly of a large number of presented works, often of lively or enduring interest, through the courtesy of authors, and likewise of publishers. When the form of a book offers itself to my eye or hand, the first feeling is a sense of uncertainty or of curiosity, often to be followed by interest and gratitude ; but if at that · very first stage the eye discovers that it is a volume of poetry, then I admit that the initial encountering sentiment changes to dismay. I have, indeed, received from authors gifts of poetry both rare and precious. But, if we define a poet (or poetess) to be one who has published one or more volumes in verse, then the pocts who have dawned upon England (or Great Britain) within the last forty or fifty years are, as I believe, counted in four figures, that is, by the thousand. Of these there are a very few with certain fame before them. Here and there may arise a Watson ; but he is indeed rarus nans in gurgite vasto. An extremely small number have laid the foundations, nay, erected the fabric, of a durable renown. (Both Tennyson and Browning were anterior to the time I have named.) The enormous majority of these producers have not in the Muse's eye a weight equal to what one of their rolumes would indicate in postal scales.
WANTED—A NEW ANTHOLOGY. Mr. Gladstone wishes to make " the serious poetical recruit” aware of the arduous nature of his service, and “to induce the tempted beginner to pause and pause again, to think thrice, aye and three times thrice," before he prints. Mr. Gladstone treats first of those who have attained fame without deserving it, as in Pollock's“ Course of Time.” Tupper's Proverbial Philosophy, and Robert Montgomery's "Satan": and then of those who, like the late Lord De Tabley, deserved but did not atta'n fame. Lord Tennyson agreed with Mr. Gladstone in believing that much good poetry is still-born. Mr. Gladstone seems to recommend a sort of anthology-1 selection of “the waifs and strays of material truly valuable in itself,” by a process of "judicious critical collection, accompanied with much resolute slaughter of the innocents." Toplady with his one poem “ Rock of Ages” out of great masses of verse, Miss Naden and Mrs. Clive (“ V.”) are adduced as instances of persons who can produce good poetry, but in very small quantities.
These are dangers; but a worse danger is that of attaining mediocrity which “it would require Thomas Carlyle to describe"; a thing in poetry tolerated neither by gods, nor men, nor the bookseller. Why should mediocrity, tolerable in prose, be so deadly in poetry? Because, answers Mr. Gladstone, the prose-writer has something to offer besides his literary form: while except in the case of very high poetry, the poet has not and cannot have. Literary form means that a composition is apart from its contents "a work of art from the manner of its construction.”
THE WEAKNESS OF THE ENGLISHMAN. He then utters the warning, which, he feels, the age specially needs :
It is an age of wealth, of excitement, and of ambition ; an age, too, in which an unusually considerable proportion of the young have, or seem to themselves to have, some considerable latitude allowed them in the choice of a profession, still more in the regulation of their daily employment. Now, hard thinking and patient plodding, which (and especially the latter of them) have made the Germans illustrious, do aot as a rule find favour with the Englishman. I take the Englishman as the principal member of the original stock of the English - speaking races, now become enormous, and still in course of rapid multiplication ; and my assumption is, that what is generally true of him will be somewhat largely true of them all. The Englishman, then, is, as far as my experience carries me, more largely endowed with mental gifts than with a determination to turn them to the best account. If this proposition be true then his indisposition to hard and continuous work, which will often hinder him from all work, will also, in some of its intermediate gradations, incline him to prefer paths which are flowery, Fork which is easy.