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hand, the surliest critic must allow that Scott was a genuine man, which itself is a great matter. No affectation, fantasticality or distortion dwelt in him; no shadow of cant Nay, withal, was he not a right brave and strong man, according to his kind? What a load of toil, what a measure of felicity he quietly bore along with him with what quiet strength he both worked on this earth and enjoyed in it; invincible to evil fortune and to good! A most composed, invincible man; in difficulty and distress knowing no discouragement. Samson like, carrying off on his strong Samson shoulders the gates that would imprison him; in danger and menace, laughing at the whisper of fear. And then, with such a sunny current of true humour and humanity, a free, joyful sympathy with so many things. An eminently well-conditioned man-healthy in body, healthy in soul-we will call him one of the healthiest of men. Neither is this a small matter; health is a great matter, both to the possessor of it and to others.' Thus is Carlyle the prophet answered by Carlyle the man, in some respects the wiser individual. Health is indeed a great matter, both to the possessor of it and to others! We are tempted to call it the greatest, the chiefest of

matters.

'Scott became the historiographer royal of feudalism,' says Arnold, somewhat regretfully. If a man is born capable above all other men of becoming a magnificent chronicler of the past, capable of becoming such an historiographer royal of feudalism as Scott was, why should we desire that his natural genius should be forcibly driven into other channels? A consummate master of the art of battle description might not prove a powerful street preacher, or shine a conspicuous figure before the footlights. Scott's talent was a rare, an

extremely rare one; it was worthily employed. Our educators tell us that the cardinal principle of progress is to discover and direct the natural bent of the individual mind, that thus and only thus we become gainers, that in the effort to thwart Nature men are rarely successful. Like Landor and Keats, Scott was not a son of his own generation; he was born, a happy fortune for us, a century too late. From the new armoury of ideas that came with the 'drums and tramplings' of the opening century, he chose not a single weapon. We may regret that he did not go deep enough into human life to give us any ideal hero like the Happy Warrior' of Wordsworth; but his work could not have been done by another. His range was on the whole wider than that of any writer since Shakespere, and even the poetic headings of the chapters of his novels are sufficient to prove the width of that range. Take this in a style not characteristic of him; does it not approach the manner of Shakespere himself?—

'The storm increases; 'tis no sunny shower,
Foster'd in the moist breast of March or April,
Or such as parched summer cools his lips with.
Heaven's windows are flung wide; the inmost deeps
Call, in hoarse greeting, one upon another;

On comes the flood in all its foaming horrors,
And where's the dike shall stop it?'

Scott's passion for humanity was such as belongs to the great poets. Nature, especially in her sterner and more solitary Border country aspects, he loved with a very deep and true affection. 'If I did not see the heather at least once a year, I think I should die,' he said. His descriptions are unmarked by any meditative insight, by any 'sense of something far more deeply interfused,' whose dwelling-place

Nature is we do not expect it but they call up a very vivid impression of the scene or the object. Through Scott many who have thought themselves destitute of the poetic sense have made their way into the realm of gold. He was successful in calling the attention of the civilised world to the beauties and the history of his native country. His magic wand called into life its buried heroes and forgotten traditions, and without him the advancing tide of civilisation would have obliterated every ancient landmark, and the heroic age of Scotland would have been as completely sunk and hidden beneath its waves as the round towers of Ireland that lie beneath the waters of its greatest lake.

In width of human sympathy Scott is with Shakespeare. With what better word can we take leave of him? He has created for us, and creation must rank before philosophising or the literary arts of polishing and refining; creation counts for more. Tory as Scott consistently was, he did no wrong to political foes in any of his writings. That large-souled, humorous, joyous man touched life at a vast number of points. He did not touch it at the point we are accustomed, perhaps truly, to regard as the most vital of all, the point at which its circle meets the greater circle whose centre is the source of all being, and whose circumference is not coincident with any physical horizon. This was his limitation, partly conscious and deliberate, but it was not such a limitation as enfeebles though it may restrict art. Nor was it sufficient, in the minds of many as good friends to precision of epithet as Carlyle, to reverse the testimony of his contemporaries to his greatness. Tennyson spoke the sentiment of the English-speaking peoples when in his last days he

wrote,

'Oh, great and gallant Scott,
True gentleman, heart, blood and bone;

I would it had been my lot,
To have seen thee, and, heard thee and known.'

Southey and Scott were not the greatest poets of their age, but they were its best as well as its greatest men. The laurel is not only the meed of mighty conquerors and poets sage, it is earned by all signal service in the estates of the universal human realm.

CHAPTER IX

THE PARTING OF THE WAYS

*

Tennyson-Arnold-Browning

BEFORE the Sturm und Drang of the first quarter of the present century had perceptibly abated, while England was engaged in the momentous struggle for her own liberty and that of Europe, while the new revolutionary and spiritual ideas were still powerfully exciting motors to action and thought, literature responded to the high-beating pulse of the time. It was passion - full, sometimes fevered, at all times in unison with the thrill and stir of a nation's hour of heightened vitality. Poetry was its natural voice; but with the succeeding calm, with the quieter, steadier pulse of the body politic and social, came the era of prose, representative of mental equanimity; of the novel, affording artificial stimulus to compensate for the loss of exciting causes in the real world; of æsthetic and scientific enquiry, only possible to a people who have leisure, who are unoccupied with pressing questions of foreign policy affecting their nationa] existence; of studied art, less spontaneous, less the result of the direct inspiration of an exciting period, but more

The reader is referred to the chapter entitled 'Neo-Classicism,' and to Professor Dowden's suggestive essay on Tennyson and Browning, in his Studies in Literature.

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