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GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND—IV
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The Best of the World's Classics
GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND—IV
VOL. VI—GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND—IV
JOHN HENRY NEWMAN—(Born in 1801, died in 1890.)
I The Beginnings of Tractarianism. (From the "Apologia pro Vita Sua")
II On His Submission to the Catholic Church. (From the "Apologia")
III Of Athens as a True University. (From Volume III of the "Historical Sketches")
EDWARD BULWER LYTTON—(Born in 1803, died in 1873.)
The Descent of Vesuvius on Pompeii. (From "The Last Days of Pompeii")
LORD BEACONSFIELD—(Born in 1804, died in 1881.)
Jerusalem by Moonlight. (From "Tancred")
CHARLES MERIVALE—(Born in 1808, died in 1893.)
The Personality of Augustus Caesar. (From the "History of the Romans Under the Empire")
ALEXANDER W. KINGLAKE—(Born in 1809, died in 1891.)
I On Mocking at the Sphinx. (From "Eothen")
II The Beginnings of the Crimean War. (From "The Invasion of the Crimea")
CHARLES DARWIN—(Born in 1809, died in 1882.)
I On Variations in Mammals, Birds and Fishes. (From "The Origin of Species")
II The Genesis of a Great Book. (From the "Autobiography," printed in Volume I of the "Life and Letters")
JOHN BROWN—(Born in 1810, died in 1882.)
Rab and the Game Chicken. (From "Rab and His Friends")
WILLIAM M. THACKERAY—(Born in 1811, died in 1863.)
I The Imperturbable Marlborough. (From "The History of Henry Esmond")
II At the Ball Before the Battle of Waterloo. (From "Vanity Fair")
III The Death of Colonel Newcome. (From "The Newcomes")
IV London in the Time of the First George. (From the "Four Georges")
CHARLES DICKENS—(Born in 1812, died in 1870.)
I Sidney Carton's Death. (The conclusion of "A Tale of Two Cities")
II Bob Sawyer's Party. (From Chapter XXXI of "The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club")
III Dick Swiveller and the Marchioness. (From Chapters LVII and LVIII of "The Old Curiosity Shop")
IV A Happy Return of the Day. (From Book III, Chapter IV, of "Our Mutual Friend")
CHARLOTTE BRONTE—(Born in 1816, died in 1855.)
I Of the Author of "Vanity Fair." (Preface to the second edition of "Jane Eyre")
JAMES ANTHONY FROUDE—(Born in 1818, died in 1894.)
I Of History as a Science. (From "Short Studies on Great Subjects")
II The Character of Henry VIII. (From the "History of England")
III Caesar's Mission. (From the concluding chapter of "Caesar—A Sketch")
JOHN RUSKIN—(Born in 1819, died in 1900.)
I Of the History and Sovereignty of Venice. (From Chapter I of "The Stones of Venice")
II St. Mark's at Venice. (From Vol. II of "The Stones of Venice")
III Of Water. (From Vol. II, Section V, of "Modern Painters")
GEORGE ELIOT—(Born in 1819, died in 1880.)
At the Hall Farm. (From "Adam Bede")
HERBERT SPENCER—(Born in 1820, died in 1904.)
I The Origin of Professional Occupations. (From Volume III of "The Principles of Sociology")
II Self-Dependence and Paternalism. (From the "Essays, Moral, Political and Esthetic")
III The Ornamental and the Useful in Education. (From "Education, Intellectual, Moral and Physical")
IV Reminiscences of His Boyhood. (From Part I, Chapter II, of the "Autobiography")
V A Tribute to E. L. Youmans. (From Part VII of the "Autobiography")
VI Why He Never Married. (From Part XII of the "Autobiography")
HENRY THOMAS BUCKLE—(Born in 1821, died in 1862.)
I The Isolation of Spain. (From Vol. II, Chapter VIII, of the "History of Civilization in England")
II George III and the Elder Pitt. (From Vol. I, Chapter VII, of the "History of Civilization in England")
MATTHEW ARNOLD—(Born in 1822, died in 1888.)
The Motive for Culture. (From "Culture and Anarchy")
EDWARD A. FREEMAN—(Born in 1823, died in 1892.)
The Death of William the Conqueror. (From "The History of the Norman Conquest")
THOMAS HENRY HUXLEY—(Born in 1825, died in 1895.)
On a Piece of Chalk. (From "Lay Sermons, Addresses and Reviews")
FREDERIC HARRISON—(Born in 1831.)
The Great Books of the World. (From an address on "The Choice of Books")
JOHN RICHARD GREEN—(Born in 1837, died in 1883.)
George Washington. (From Book IV, Chapter II, of the "History of the English People")
JOHN MORLEY—(Born in 1838.)
Voltaire as an Author and as a Man of Action. (From "Voltaire")
ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON—(Born in 1850, died in 1894.)
I Francis Villon's Terrors. (From "A Lodging for the Night: A Story of Francis Villon")
II The Lantern Bearers. (From "Across the Plains, with Other Memories and Essays")
GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND—IV
JOHN HENRY NEWMAN
Born in 1801, died in 1890; son of a banker; educated at Oxford; a Fellow of Oriel in 1822, where he was associated with Dr. Pusey; made a voyage to the Mediterranean in 1832-33, returning from which he wrote "Lead, Kindly Light"; joined the Oxford movement in 1833, writing many of the "tracts for the times"; formally joined the Catholic Church in 1845; established an Oratory in 1849; published "Lectures" in 1850, the "Apologia" in 1864, "Grammar of Ascent" in 1870; made a cardinal in 1879.
THE BEGINNINGS OF TRACTARIANISM
During the first years of my residence at Oriel, tho proud of my college, I was not quite at home there. I was very much alone, and I used often to take my daily walk by myself. I recollect once meeting Dr. Copleston, then Provost, with one of the Fellows. He turned round, and with the kind courteousness which sat so well on him, made me a bow and said, Nunquam minus solus, quam cum solus. At that time, indeed (from 1823), I had the intimacy of my dear and true friend Dr. Pusey, and could not fail to admire and revere a soul so devoted to the cause of religion, so full of good works, so faithful in his affections; but he left residence when I was getting to know him well. As to Dr. Whately himself, he was too much my superior to allow of my being at my ease with him; and to no one in Oxford at this time did I open my heart fully and familiarly. But things changed in 1826. At that time I became one of the tutors of my college, and this gave me position; besides, I had written one or two essays which had been well received. I began to be known. I preached my first University sermon. Next year I was one of the public examiners for the B. A. degree. In 1828 I became vicar of St. Mary's. It was to me like the feeling of spring weather after winter; and, if I may so speak, I came out of my shell. I remained out of it until 1841.
[Footnote 1: From the "Apologia pro Vita Sua."]
[Footnote 2: Richard Whately, Bampton lecturer at Oxford in 1822; principal of St. Albans Hall in 1825; afterward Archbishop of Dublin; best known for his "Logic" and "Christian Evidences." When Newman met him, he was already famous for his "Historical Doubts Relative to Napoleon Bonaparte," which had been published in 1814.]
The two persons who knew me best at that time are still alive, beneficed clergymen, no longer my friends. They could tell better than any one else what I was in those days. From this time my tongue was, as it were, loosened, and I spoke spontaneously and without effort. One of the two, a shrewd man, said of me, I have been told, "Here is a Fellow who, when he is silent, will never begin to speak, and when he once begins to speak will never stop." It was at this time that I began to have influence, which steadily increased for a course of years. I gained upon my pupils, and was in particular intimate and affectionate with two of our Probationer Fellows, Robert Isaac Wilberforce (afterward Archdeacon), and Richard Hurrell Froude. Whately then, an acute man, perhaps saw around me the signs of an incipient party of which I was not conscious myself. And thus we discern the first elements of that movement afterward called Tractarian. The true and primary author of it, however, as is usual with great motive powers, was out of sight. Having carried off, as a mere boy, the highest honors of the University, he had turned from the admiration which haunted his steps, and sought for a better and holier satisfaction in pastoral work in the country.
[Footnote 3: A brother of James Anthony Froude. Richard Hurrell Froude's influence on the founding of the Tractarian movement was strong. He cooperated with Newman in writing the "Lyra Apostolica." His health had long been delicate, when in 1836 he died. His "Remains" were published in the following year, with a preface by Newman. Three of the "Tracts for the Times" were by Froude.]
Need I say that I am speaking of John Keble? The first time that I was in a room with him was on the occasion of my election to a Fellowship at Oriel, when I was sent for into the Tower, to shake hands with the Provost and Fellows. How is that hour fixt in my memory after the changes of forty-two years; forty-two this very day on which I write! I have lately had a letter in my hands which I sent at the time to my great friend, John William Bowden, with whom I passed almost exclusively my undergraduate years. "I had to hasten to the Tower," I say to him, "to receive the congratulations of all the Fellows. I bore it till Keble took my hand, and then felt so abashed and unworthy of the honor done to me, that I seemed desirous of quite sinking into the ground." His had been the first name which I had heard spoken of, with reverence rather than admiration, when I came up to Oxford. When one day I was walking in High Street with my dear earliest friend just mentioned, with what eagerness did he cry out, "There's Keble!" and with what awe did I look at him! Then at another time I heard a Master of Arts of my college give an account how he had just then had occasion to introduce himself on some business to Keble, and how gentle, courteous, and unaffected Keble had been, so as almost to put him out of countenance. Then, too, it was reported, truly or falsely, how a rising man of brilliant reputation, the present Dean of St. Paul's, Dr. Milman, admired and loved him, adding, that somehow he was strangely unlike any one else. However, at the time when I was elected Fellow of Oriel, he was not in residence, and he was shy of me for years, in consequence of the marks which I bore upon me of the Evangelical and Liberal schools, at least so I have ever thought. Hurrell Froude brought us together about 1828; it is one of the sayings preserved in his "Remains"—"Do you know the story of the murderer who had done one good thing in his life? Well, if I was ever asked what good thing I had ever done, I should say I had brought Keble and Newman to understand each other."
[Footnote 4: Keble, one of the chief promoters of the Oxford movement, will long be remembered as author of "The Christian Year," published in 1827. For ten years he was Professor of Poetry at Oxford. Three of the "Tracts for the Times" were by him. He was Newman's senior by eight years.]
ON HIS SUBMISSION TO THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
I had one final advance of mind to accomplish, and one final step to take. That further advance of mind was to be able honestly to say that I was certain of the conclusions at which I had already arrived. That further step, imperative when, such certitude was attained, was my submission to the Catholic Church.
[Footnote 5: From the "Apologia." Newman, for many years, had held to the possibility of English churchmen maintaining a middle ground between the Catholic Church and Protestantism, but in 1843 he abandoned this hope, resigning his living, and in 1845 formally entered the Catholic Church. He says in the "Apologia" that "from the end of 1841, I was on my death-bed as regards my membership with the Anglican church, tho at the time I became aware of it only by degrees."]
This submission did not take place till two full years after the resignation of my living in September 1843; nor could I have made it at an earlier date, without doubt and apprehension; that is, with any true conviction of mind or certitude.
In the interval, of which it remains to speak—viz., between the autumns of 1843 and 1845—I was in lay communion with the Church of England: attending its services as usual, and abstaining altogether from intercourse with Catholics, from their places of worship, and from those religious rites and usages, such as the Invocation of Saints, which are characteristics of their creed. I did all this on principle; for I never could understand how a man could be of two religions at once.
What I have to say about myself between these two autumns I shall almost confine to this one point—the difficulty I was in as to the best mode of revealing the state of my mind to my friends and others, and how I managed to reveal it.
Up to January, 1842, I had not disclosed my state of unsettlement to more than three persons.... To two of them, intimate and familiar companions, in the autumn of 1839; to the third—an old friend too, whom I have also named above—I suppose when I was in great distress of mind upon the affair of the Jerusalem Bishopric. In May, 1843, I made it known, as has been seen, to the friend by whose advice I wished, as far as possible, to be guided. To mention it on set purpose to any one, unless indeed I was asking advice, I should have felt to be a crime. If there is anything that was abhorrent to me, it was the scattering doubts, and unsettling consciences without necessity. A strong presentiment that my existing opinions would ultimately give way, and that the grounds of them were unsound, was not a sufficient warrant for disclosing the state of my mind. I had no guarantee yet, that that presentiment would be realized. Supposing I were crossing ice, which came right in my way, which I had good reasons for considering sound, and which I saw numbers before me crossing in safety, and supposing a stranger from the bank, in a voice of authority and in an earnest tone, warned me that it was dangerous, and then was silent—I think I should be startled, and should look about me anxiously, but I think too that I should go on, till I had better grounds for doubt; and such was my state, I believe, till the end of 1842. Then again, when my dissatisfaction became greater, it was hard at first to determine the point of time when it was too strong to suppress with propriety. Certitude of course is a point, but doubt is a progress: I was not near certitude yet. Certitude is a reflex action; it is to know that one knows. Of that I believe I was not possest, till close upon my reception into the Catholic Church. Again, a practical, effective doubt is a point too; but who can easily ascertain it for himself? Who can determine when it is that the scales in the balance of opinion begin to turn, and what was a greater probability in behalf of a belief becomes a positive doubt against it?
In considering this question in its bearing upon my conduct in 1843, my own simple answer to my great difficulty had been, Do what your present state of opinion requires in the light of duty, and let that doing tell; speak by acts. This I had done; my first act of the year had been in February. After three months' deliberation I had published my retractation of the violent charges which I had made against Rome: I could not be wrong in doing so much as this; but I did no more at the time: I did not retract my Anglican teaching. My second act had been in September in the same year: after much sorrowful lingering and hesitation, I had resigned my Living. I tried indeed, before I did so, to keep Littlemore for myself, even tho it was still to remain an integral part of St. Mary's. I had given to it a church and a sort of parsonage; I had made it a parish, and I loved it: I thought in 1843 that perhaps I need not forfeit my existing relations toward it. I could indeed submit to become a curate at will of another; but I hoped an arrangement was possible by which, while I had the curacy, I might have been my own master in serving it. I had hoped an exception might have been made in my favor, under the circumstances; but I did not gain my request. Perhaps I was asking what was impracticable, and it is well for me that it was so.
[Footnote 6: St. Mary's was the church of the University of Oxford, Newman being its vicar. Littlemore was an outlying place attached to St. Mary's and to which Newman withdrew on leaving Oxford in 1842. Here, with several young men who had attached themselves to his fortunes, he established himself in a building which came to be known as "the Littlemore Monastery." It was here that Newman passed the three years of meditation and anxiety which preceded his final decision to join the Roman Church.]
These had been my two acts of the year, and I said, "I can not be wrong in making them; let that follow which must follow in the thoughts of the world about me, when they see what I do." And as time went on, they fully answered my purpose. What I felt it a simple duty to do, did create a general suspicion about me, without such responsibility as would be involved in my initiating any direct act for the sake of creating it. Then, when friends wrote me on the subject, I either did not deny or I confest my state of mind, according to the character and need of their letters. Sometimes in the case of intimate friends, whom I should otherwise have been leaving in ignorance of what others knew on every side of them, I invited the question.
And here comes in another point for explanation. While I was fighting in Oxford for the Anglican Church, then indeed I was very glad to make converts; and tho I never broke away from that rule of my mind (as I may call it) of which I have already spoken, of finding disciples rather than seeking them, yet that I made advances to others in a special way, I have no doubt; this came to an end, however, as soon as I fell into misgivings as to the true ground to be taken in the controversy. For then, when I gave up my place in the movement, I ceased from any such proceedings; and my utmost endeavor was to tranquillize such persons, especially those who belonged to the new school, as were unsettled in their religious views, and as I judged, hasty in their conclusions. This went on till 1843; but at that date, as soon as I turned my face Romeward, I gave up, as far as ever was possible, the thought of, in any respect and in any shape, acting upon others. Then I myself was simply my own concern. How could I in any sense direct others, who had to be guided in so momentous a matter myself? How could I be considered in a position, even to say a word to them, one way or the other? How could I presume to unsettle them as I was unsettled, when I had no means of bringing them out of such unsettlement? And if they were unsettled already, how could I point to them a place of refuge, when I was not sure that I should choose it for myself? My only line, my only duty, was to keep simply to my own case. I recollected Pascal's words, "Je mourrai seul" [I will die alone]. I deliberately put out of my thoughts all other works and claims, and said nothing to any one, unless I was obliged.
But this brought upon me a great trouble. In the newspapers there were continual reports about my intentions; I did not answer them: presently strangers or friends wrote, begging to be allowed to answer them; and if I still kept to my resolution and said nothing, then I was thought to be mysterious, and a prejudice was excited against me. But what was far worse, there were a number of tender, eager hearts, of whom I knew nothing at all, who were watching me, wishing to think as I thought, and to do as I did, if they could but find it out; who in consequence were distrest that in so solemn a matter they could not see what was coming, and who heard reports about me this way or that, on a first day and on a second; and felt the weariness of waiting, and the sickness of delayed hope, and did not understand that I was as perplexed as they were, and being of more sensitive complexion of mind than myself, they were made ill by the suspense. And they too, of course, for the time thought me mysterious and inexplicable. I ask their pardon as far as I was really unkind to them....
I left Oxford for good on Monday, February 23d, 1846. On the Saturday and Sunday before, I was in my house at Littlemore simply by myself, as I had been for the first day or two when I had originally taken possession of it. I slept on Sunday night at my dear friend's, Mr. Johnson's, at the Observatory. Various friends came to see the last of me: Mr. Copeland, Mr. Church, Mr. Buckle, Mr. Pattison, and Mr. Lewis. Dr. Pusey too came up to take leave of me; and I called on Dr. Ogle, one of my very oldest friends, for he was my private tutor when I was an undergraduate. In him I took leave of my first college, Trinity, which was so dear to me, and which held on its foundation so many who had been kind to me both when I was a boy, and all through my Oxford life. Trinity had never been unkind to me. There used to be much snapdragon growing on the walls opposite my freshman's rooms there; and I had for years taken it as the emblem of my own perpetual residence, even unto death, in my University.
On the morning of the 23d I left the Observatory. I have never seen Oxford since, excepting its spires as they are seen from the railway.
OF ATHENS AS A TRUE UNIVERSITY
If we would know what a university is, considered in its most elementary idea, we must betake ourselves to the first and most beautiful home of European civilization, to the bright and beautiful Athens,—Athens, whose schools drew to her bosom, and then sent back to the business of life, the youth of the Western world for a long thousand years. Seated on the verge of the continent, the city seemed hardly suited for the duties of a central metropolis of knowledge; yet what it lost in convenience of approach, it gained in its neighborhood to the traditions of the mysterious East, and in the loveliness of the region in which it lay. Hither, then, as to a sort of ideal land, where all the archetypes of the great and the fair were found in substantial being, and all departments of truth explored, and all diversities of intellectual power exhibited; where taste and philosophy were majestically enthroned as in a royal court; where there was no sovereignty but that of mind, and no nobility but that of genius; where professors were rulers and princes did homage,—hither flocked continually from the very corners of the orbis terrarum, the many-tongued generation, just rising or just risen into manhood, in order to gain wisdom.
[Footnote 7: From Volume III of the "Historical Sketches."]
Pisistratus had at an early age discovered and nursed the infant genius of his people, and Cimon, after the Persian war, had given it a home; that war had established the naval supremacy of Athens; she had become an imperial state; and the Ionians, bound to her by the double chain of kindred and of subjection, were importing into her both their merchandise and their civilization. The arts and philosophy of the Asiatic Court were easily carried across the sea, and there was Cimon, as I have said, with his ample fortune, ready to receive them with due honor. Not content with patronizing their profession, he built the first of those noble porticoes, of which we hear so much in Athens, and he formed the groves, which in process of time formed the celebrated academy. Planting is one of the most graceful, as in Athens it was one of the most beneficent, of employments. Cimon took in hand the wild wood, pruned and drest it, and laid it out with handsome walks and welcome fountains. Nor, while hospitable to the authors of the city's civilization, was he ungrateful to the instruments of her prosperity. His trees extended their cool, umbrageous branches over the merchants who assembled in the Agora, for many generations.
[Footnote 8: Pisistratus flourished from 605 B.C. until 527. He was a friend of Solon, but usurped supreme power in 560; was twice expelled and then restored to power. He is usually credited with a notable systematic attempt to preserve the Works of Homer.]
[Footnote 9: Cimon died in 449 B.C. He was a son of Miltiades and defeated the Persians on both sea and land in 466.]
Those merchants certainly had deserved that act of bounty; for all the while their ships had been carrying forth the intellectual fame of Athens to the Western world. Then commenced what may be called her university existence. Pericles, who succeeded Cimon, both in the government and in the patronage of art, is said by Plutarch to have entertained the idea of making Athens the capital of federated Greece; in this he failed; but his encouragement of such men as Phidias and Anaxagoras led the way to her acquiring a far more lasting sovereignty over a far wider empire. Little understanding the sources of her own greatness, Athens would go to war; peace is the interest of a seat of commerce and the arts; but to war she went: yet to her whether peace or war mattered not. The political power of Athens waned and disappeared; kingdoms rose and fell, centuries rolled away;—they did but bring fresh triumphs to the city of the poet and the sage. There at length the swarthy Moor and Spaniard were seen to meet the blue-eyed Gaul; and the Cappadocian, late subject to Mithridates, gazed without alarm at the haughty conquering Roman. Revolution after revolution passed over the face of Europe, as well as of Greece, but still she was there,—Athens, the city of the mind, as radiant, as splendid, as delicate, as young, as ever she had been.
Many a more fruitful coast or isle is washed by the blue AEgean, many a spot is there more beautiful or sublime to see, many a territory more ample; but there was one charm in Attica, which in the same perfection was nowhere else. The deep pastures of Arcadia, the plain of Argos, the Thessalian Vale, these had not the gift; Boeotia, which lay to its immediate north, was notorious for the very want of it. The heavy atmosphere of that Boeotia might be good for vegetation, but it was associated in popular belief with the dulness of the Boeotian intellect; on the contrary, the special purity, elasticity, clearness, and salubrity of the air of Attica, fit concomitant and emblem of its genius, did that for it which earth did not;—it brought out every bright line and tender shade of the landscape over which it was spread, and would have illuminated the face even of a more barren and rugged country.
A confined triangle, perhaps fifty miles its greatest length, and thirty its greatest breadth; two elevated rocky barriers meeting at an angle; three prominent mountains commanding the plain,—Parnes, Pentelicus, and Hymettus; an unsatisfactory soil; some streams, not always full;—such is about the report which the agent of a London company would have made of Attica. He would report that the climate was mild, the hills were limestone; there was plenty of good marble; more pasture than at first survey might have been expected, sufficient certainly for sheep and goats; fisheries productive; silver mines once, but long since worked out; figs, fair; oil, first-rate; olives in profusion. But what he would not think of noting down was, that that olive-tree was so choice in nature and so noble in shape, that it excited a religious veneration, and that it took so kindly to the light soil as to expand into woods upon the open plain, and to climb up and fringe the hills. He would not think of writing word to his employer, how that clear air, of which I have spoken, brought out, yet blended and subdued, the colors on the marble, till they had a softness and harmony, for all their richness, which in a picture looks exaggerated, yet is after all within the truth. He would not tell how that same delicate and brilliant atmosphere freshened up the pale olive, until the olive forgot its monotony, and its cheek glowed like the arbutus or beech of the Umbrian Hills. He would say nothing of the thyme and thousand fragrant herbs which carpeted Hymettus; he would hear nothing of the hum of its bees, nor take much account of the rare flavor of its honey, since Sozo and Minorca were sufficient for the English demand.
He would look over the AEgean from the height he had ascended; he would follow with his eye the chain of islands, which, starting from the Sunian headland, seemed to offer the fabled divinities of Attica, when they would visit their Ionian cousins, a sort of viaduct thereto across the sea; but that fancy would not occur to him, nor any admiration of the dark violet billows with their white edges down below; nor of those graceful, fanlike jets of silver upon the rocks, which slowly rise aloft like water spirits from the deep, then shiver and break, and spread, and shroud themselves, and disappear, in a soft mist of foam; nor of the gentle, incessant heaving and panting of the whole liquid plain; nor of the long waves, keeping steady time, like a line of soldiery, as they resounded upon the hollow shore—he would not deign to notice that restless living element at all, except to bless his stars that he was not upon it. Nor the distinct detail, nor the refined coloring, nor the graceful outline and roseate golden line of the jutting crags, nor the bold shadows east from Otus or Laurium by the declining sun—our agent of a mercantile firm would not value these matters even at a low figure. Rather we must turn for the sympathy we seek to yon pilgrim student, come from a semi-barbarous land to that small corner of the earth, as to a shrine, where he might take his fill gazing on those emblems and coruscations of invisible, unoriginate perfection. It was the stranger from a remote province, from Britain or from Mauritania, who in a scene so different from that of his chilly, woody swamps, or of his fiery, choking sands, learned at once what a real university must be, by coming to understand the sort of country which was its suitable home.
Nor was this all that a university required and found in Athens. No one, not even there, could live on poetry. If the students at that famous place had nothing better than bright hues and soothing sounds, they would not have been able or disposed to turn their residence there to much account. Of course they must have the means of living, nay, in a certain sense, of enjoyment, if Athens was to be an alma mater at the time, or to remain afterward a pleasant thought in their memory. And so they had: be it recollected Athens was a port and a mart of trade, perhaps the first in Greece; and strangers were ever flocking to it, whose combat was to be with intellectual, not physical difficulties, and who claimed to have their bodily wants supplied that they might be at leisure to set about furnishing their minds.
Now barren as was the soil of Attica, and bare the face of the country, yet it had only too many resources for an elegant, nay, luxurious abode there. So abundant were the imports of the place, that it was a common saying that the productions which were found singly elsewhere were brought together in Athens. Corn and wine, the staple of existence in such a climate, came from the Islands of the AEgean; fine wool and carpeting from Asia Minor; slaves, as now, from the Euxine; and timber too, and iron and brass, from the coasts of the Mediterranean. The Athenian did not condescend to manufactures himself, but encouraged them in others, and a population of foreigners caught at the lucrative occupation, both for home consumption and for exportation. Their cloth and other textures for dress and furniture, and their hardware—for instance, armor—were in great request. Labor was cheap; stone and marble in plenty; and the taste and skill, which at first were devoted to public buildings, as temples and porticoes, were in course of time applied to the mansions of public men. If nature did much for Athens, it is undeniable that art did much more.
EDWARD BULWER LYTTON
Born in 1803, died in 1873; educated at Cambridge; member of Parliament in 1831-41, and 1852-66; Colonial Secretary in 1858; raised to the peerage in 1866; his first work, "Falkland," published in 1827; "Last Days of Pompeii" in 1834; besides many other novels, wrote volumes of verse, made translations and wrote dramas, including "The Lady of Lyons" (1838), and "Richelieu" (1839).
THE DESCENT OF VESUVIUS ON POMPEII
On the upper tier (but apart from the male spectators) sat the women, their gay dresses resembling some gaudy flower-bed; it is needless to add that they were the most talkative part of the assembly; and many were the looks directed up to them, especially from the benches appropriated to the young and the unmarried men. On the lower seats round the arena sat the more high-born and wealthy visitors—the magistrates and those of senatorial or equestrian dignity: the passages which, by corridors at the right and left, gave access to these seats, at either end of the oval arena, were also the entrances for the combatants. Strong palings at these passages prevented any unwelcome eccentricity in the movements of the beasts, and confined them to their appointed prey. Around the parapet which was raised above the arena, and from which the seats gradually rose, were gladiatorial inscriptions, and paintings wrought in fresco, typical of the entertainments for which the place was designed. Throughout the whole building wound invisible pipes, from which, as the day advanced, cooling and fragrant showers were to be sprinkled over the spectators.
[Footnote 10: From "The Last Days of Pompeii." The great theater at Pompeii, built in the time of Augustus, was semi-circular in form, with a diameter of 322 feet.]
The officers of the amphitheater were still employed in the task of fixing the vast awning (or velaria) which covered the whole, and which luxurious invention the Campanians arrogated to themselves: it was woven of the whitest Apulian wool, and variegated with broad stripes of crimson. Owing either to some inexperience on the part of the workmen or to some defect in the machinery, the awning, however, was not arranged that day so happily as usual; indeed, from the immense space of the circumference, the task was always one of great difficulty and art—so much so that it could seldom be adventured in rough or windy weather. But the present day was so remarkably still that there seemed to the spectators no excuse for the awkwardness of the artificers; and when a large gap in the back of the awning was still visible, from the obstinate refusal of one part of the velaria to ally itself with the rest, the murmurs of discontent were loud and general.
The aedile Pansa, at whose expense the exhibition was given, looked particularly annoyed at the defect, and vowed bitter vengeance on the head of the chief officer of the show, who, fretting, puffing, perspiring, busied himself in idle orders and unavailing threats.
[Footnote 11: The house of Pansa in Pompeii, as now uncovered, shows one of the largest and most elaborate dwellings in the city. It measures 120 by 300 feet.]
The hubbub ceased suddenly—the operators desisted—the crowd were stilled—the gap was forgotten—for now, with a loud and warlike flourish of trumpets, the gladiators, marshaled in ceremonious procession, entered the arena. They swept round the oval space very slowly and deliberately, in order to give the spectators full leisure to admire their stern serenity of feature—their brawny limbs and various arms, as well as to form such wagers as the excitement of the moment might suggest.
"Oh!" cried the widow Fulvia to the wife of Pansa, as they leaned down from their lofty bench, "do you see that gigantic gladiator? how drolly he is drest!"
"Yes," said the aedile's wife with complacent importance, for she knew all the names and qualities of each combatant: "he is a retiarius or netter; he is armed only, you see, with a three-pronged spear like a trident, and a net; he wears no armor, only the fillet and the tunic. He is a mighty man, and is to fight with Sporus, yon thick-set gladiator, with the round shield and drawn sword but without body armor; he has not his helmet on now, in order that you may see his face—how fearless it is! By-and-by he will fight with his visor down."...
While thus conversing, the first formalities of the show were over. To these succeeded a feigned combat with wooden swords between the various gladiators matched against each other. Among these the skill of two Roman gladiators, hired for the occasion, was the most admired; and next to them the most graceful combatant was Lydon. This sham contest did not last above an hour, nor did it attract any very lively interest except among those connoisseurs of the arena to whom art was preferable to more coarse excitement; the body of the spectators were rejoiced when it was over, and when the sympathy rose to terror. The combatants were now arranged in pairs, as agreed beforehand; their weapons examined; and the grave sports of the day commenced amid the deepest silence—broken only by the exciting and preliminary blast of warlike music.
It was often customary to begin the sports by the most cruel of all; and some bestiarius, or gladiator appointed to the beasts, was slain first as an initiatory sacrifice. But in the present instance the experienced Pansa thought better that the sanguinary drama should advance, not decrease, in interest; and accordingly the execution of Olinthus and Glaucus was reserved for the last. It was arranged that the two horsemen should first occupy the arena; that the foot gladiators, paired off, should then be loosed indiscriminately on the stage; that Glaucus and the lion should next perform their part in the bloody spectacle; and the tiger and the Nazarene be the grand finale. And in the spectacles of Pompeii, the reader of Roman history must limit his imagination, nor expect to find those vast and wholesale exhibitions of magnificent slaughter with which a Nero or a Caligula regaled the inhabitants of the Imperial City. The Roman shows, which absorbed the more celebrated gladiators and the chief proportion of foreign beasts, were indeed the very reason why in the lesser towns of the empire the sports of the amphitheater were comparatively humane and rare; and in this as in other respects, Pompeii was the miniature, the microcosm of Rome. Still, it was an awful and imposing spectacle, with which modern times have, happily, nothing to compare; a vast theater, rising row upon row, and swarming with human beings, from fifteen to eighteen thousand in number, intent upon no fictitious representation—no tragedy of the stage—but the actual victory or defeat, the exultant life or the bloody death, of each and all who entered the arena!
The two horsemen were now at either extremity of the lists (if so they might be called), and at a given signal from Pansa the combatants started simultaneously as in full collision, each advancing his round buckler, each posing on high his sturdy javelin; but just when within three paces of his opponent, the steed of Berbix suddenly halted, wheeled round, and as Nobilior was borne rapidly by, his antagonist spurred upon him. The buckler of Nobilior, quickly and skilfully extended, received a blow which otherwise would have been fatal. And the wild murmur, swelled by many a shout, echoed from side to side.
The visors of both the horsemen were completely closed (like those of the knights in after times), but the head was nevertheless the great point of assault; and Nobilior, now wheeling his charger with no less adroitness than his opponent, directed his spear full on the helmet of his foe. Berbix raised his buckler to shield himself, and his quick-eyed antagonist, suddenly lowering his weapon, pierced him through the breast. Berbix reeled and fell.
"Nobilior! Nobilior!" shouted the populace.
"I have lost ten sestertia," said Clodius, between his teeth.
"Habet!" (he has it) said Pansa deliberately.
The populace, not yet hardened into cruelty, made the signal of mercy: but as the attendants of the arena approached, they found the kindness came too late; the heart of the Gaul had been pierced, and his eyes were set in death, It was his life's blood that flowed so darkly over the sand and sawdust of the arena.
There were now on the arena six combatants: Niger and his net, matched against Sporus with his shield and his short broad-sword; Lydon and Tetraides, naked save by a cincture round the waist, each armed only with a heavy Greek cestus; and two gladiators from Rome, clad in complete steel, and evenly matched with immense bucklers and pointed swords.
The initiatory contest between Lydon and Tetraides being less deadly than that between the other combatants, no sooner had they advanced to the middle of the arena than as by common consent the rest held back, to see how that contest should be decided, and wait till fiercer weapons might replace the cestus ere they themselves commenced hostilities. They stood leaning on their arms and apart from each other, gazing on the show, which, if not bloody enough thoroughly to please the populace, they were still inclined to admire because its origin was of their ancestral Greece.
No persons could at first glance have seemed less evenly matched than the two antagonists. Tetraides, tho no taller than Lydon, weighed considerably more; the natural size of his muscles was increased, to the eyes of the vulgar, by masses of solid flesh; for, as it was a notion that the contest of the cestus fared easiest with him who was plumpest, Tetraides had encouraged to the utmost his hereditary predisposition to the portly. His shoulders were vast, and his lower limbs thick-set, double-jointed, and slightly curved outward, in that formation which takes so much from beauty to give so largely to strength. But Lydon, except that he was slender even almost to meagerness, was beautifully and delicately proportioned; and the skilful might have perceived that with much less compass of muscle than his foe, that which he had was more seasoned—iron and compact. In proportion, too, as he wanted flesh, he was likely to possess activity; and a haughty smile on his resolute face, which strongly contrasted with the solid heaviness of his enemy's, gave assurance to those who beheld it and united their hope to their pity; so that despite the disparity of their seeming strength, the cry of the multitude was nearly as loud for Lydon as for Tetraides.
Whoever is acquainted with the modern prize-ring—whoever has witnessed the heavy and disabling strokes which the human fist, skilfully directed, hath the power to bestow—may easily understand how much that happy facility would be increased by a band carried by thongs of leather round the arm as high as the elbow, and terribly strengthened about the knuckles by a plate of iron, and sometimes a plummet of lead. Yet this, which was meant to increase, perhaps rather diminished, the interest of the fray; for it necessarily shortened its duration. A very few blows, successfully and scientifically planted, might suffice to bring the contest to a close; and the battle did not, therefore, often allow full scope for the energy, fortitude, and dogged perseverance that we technically style pluck, which not unusually wins the day against superior science, and which heightens to so painful a delight the interest in the battle and the sympathy for the brave.
Tetraides struck—it was as the blow of a smith on a vise; Lydon sank suddenly on one knee—the blow passed over his head. Not so harmless was Lydon's retaliation; he quickly sprang to his feet, and aimed his cestus full on the broad chest of his antagonist. Tetraides reeled—the populace shouted....
The people had been already rendered savage by the exhibition of blood; they thirsted for more; their superstition was aided by their ferocity. Aroused, inflamed by the spectacle of their victims, they forgot the authority of their rulers. It was one of those dread popular convulsions common to crowds wholly ignorant, half free and half servile, and which the peculiar constitution of the Roman provinces so frequently exhibited. The power of the praetor was a reed beneath the whirlwind; still, at his word the guards had drawn themselves along the lower benches, on which the upper classes sat separate from the vulgar. They made but a feeble barrier; the waves of the human sea halted for a moment, to enable Arbaces to count the exact moment of his doom! In despair, and in a terror which beat down even pride, he glanced his eye over the rolling and rushing crowd; when, right above them, through the wide chasm which had been left in the velaria, he beheld a strange and awful apparition; he beheld, and his craft restored his courage!
He stretched his hand on high; over his lofty brow and royal features there came an expression of unutterable solemnity and command.
"Behold!" he roared with a voice of thunder, which stilled the roar of the crowd: "behold how the gods protect the guiltless! The fires of the avenging Orcus burst forth against the false witness of my accusers!"
The eyes of the crowd followed the gesture of the Egyptian, and beheld with dismay a vast vapor shooting from the summit of Vesuvius in the form of a gigantic pine-tree; the trunk, blackness—the breaches fire!—a fire that shifted and wavered in its hues with every moment, now fiercely luminous, now of a dull and dying red, that again blazed terrifically forth with intolerable glare!
There was a dead, heart-sunken silence; through which there suddenly broke the roar of the lion, which was echoed back from within the building by the sharper and fiercer yells of its fellow beasts. Dread seers were they of the Burden of the Atmosphere, and wild prophets of the wrath to come!
Then there arose on high the universal shrieks of women; the men stared at each other, but were dumb. At that moment they felt the earth shake under their feet; the walls of the theater trembled; and beyond in the distance they heard the crash of falling roofs; an instant more, and the mountain cloud seemed to roll toward them, dark and rapid, like a torrent; at the same time it cast forth from its bosom a shower of ashes mixt with vast fragments of burning stone! Over the crushing vines, over the desolate streets, over the amphitheater itself; far and wide, with many a mighty splash in the agitated sea, fell that awful shower!
No longer thought the crowd of justice or of Arbaces; safety for themselves was their sole thought. Each turned to fly—each dashing, pressing, crushing against the other. Trampling recklessly over the fallen, amid groans and oaths and prayers and sudden shrieks, the enormous crowd vomited itself forth through the numerous passages. Whither should they fly? Some, anticipating a second earthquake, hastened to their homes to load themselves with their more costly goods and escape while it was yet time; others, dreading the showers of ashes that now fell fast, torrent upon torrent, over the streets, rushed under the roofs of the nearest houses, or temples, or sheds—shelter of any kind—for protection from the terrors of the open air. But darker, and larger, and mightier, spread the cloud above them. It was a sudden and more ghastly Night rushing upon the realm of Noon!
Born in 1804, died in 1881; son of Isaac D'Israeli; entered Parliament in 1837, where he opposed Peel; Chancellor of Exchequer and leader of the House in 1852, and again in 1858; Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1866; carried the Reform bill of 1867; Prime Minister in 1868, and again in 1874-80; made Earl of Beaconsfield in 1876; plenipotentiary at the Congress of Berlin in 1878; published several novels, including "Vivian Gray" (1826), "Henrietta Temple" (1837), "Coningsby" (1844), "Sybil" (1845), "Tancred" (1847), and "Endymion" (1880).
JERUSALEM BY MOONLIGHT
The broad moon lingers on the summit of Mount Olivet, but its beam has long left the garden of Gethsemane and the tomb of Absalom, the waters of Kedron and the dark abyss of Jehoshaphat. Full falls its splendor, however, on the opposite city, vivid and defined in its silver blaze. A lofty wall, with turrets and towers, and frequent gates, undulates with the unequal ground which it covers, as it encircles the lost capital of Jehovah. It is a city of hills far more famous than those of Rome: for all Europe has heard of Zion and of Calvary, while the Arab and the Assyrian, and the tribes and nations beyond, are as ignorant of the Capitoline and Aventine mounts as they are of the Malvern or the Chiltern hills.
[Footnote 12: From "Tancred."]
The broad steep of Zion crowned with the tower of David; nearer still, Mount Moriah, with the gorgeous temple of the God of Abraham, but, built, alas! by the child of Hagar, and not by Sarah's chosen one; close to its cedars and its cypresses, its lofty spires and airy arches, the moonlight falls upon Bethesda's pool; further on, entered by the gate of St. Stephen, the eye, tho 'tis the noon of night, traces with ease the Street of Grief, a long winding ascent to a vast cupolaed pile that now covers Calvary—called the Street of Grief, because there the most illustrious of the human, as well as of the Hebrew race, the descendant of King David, and the divine son of the most favored of women, twice sank under that burden of suffering and shame which is now throughout all Christendom the emblem of triumph and of honor; passing over groups and masses of houses built of stone, with terraced roofs, or surmounted with small domes, we reach the hill of Salem, where Melchisedek built his mystic citadel; and still remains the hill of Scopas, where Titus gazed upon Jerusalem on the eve of his final assault. Titus destroyed the temple. The religion of Judea has in turn subverted the fanes which were raised to his father and to himself in their imperial capital; and the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob is now worshiped before every altar in Rome.
Jerusalem by moonlight! 'Tis a fine spectacle, apart from all its indissoluble associations of awe and beauty. The mitigating hour softens the austerity of a mountain landscape magnificent in outline, however harsh and severe in detail; and, while it retains all its sublimity, removes much of the savage sternness of the strange and unrivaled scene. A fortified city, almost surrounded by ravines, and rising in the center of chains of far-spreading hills, occasionally offering, through their rocky glens, the gleams of a distant and richer land!
The moon has sunk behind the Mount of Olives, and the stars in the darker sky shine doubly bright over the sacred city. The all-prevailing stillness is broken by a breeze, that seems to have traveled over the plain of Sharon from the sea. It wails among the tombs, and sighs among the cypress groves. The palm-tree trembles as it passes, as if it were a spirit of wo. Is it the breeze that has traveled over the plain of Sharon from the sea?
Or is it the haunting voices of prophets mourning over the city that they could not save? Their spirits surely would linger on the land where their Creator had deigned to dwell, and over whose impending fate Omnipotence had shed human tears. From this Mount! Who can but believe that, at the midnight hour, from the summit of the Ascension, the great departed of Israel assembled to gaze upon the battlements of their mystic city! There might be counted heroes and sages, who need shrink from no rivalry with the brightest and the wisest of other lands; but the lawgiver of the time of the Pharaohs, whose laws are still obeyed; the monarch, whose reign has ceased for three thousand years, but whose wisdom is a proverb in all nations of the earth; the teacher, whose doctrines have modeled civilized Europe—the greatest of legislators, the greatest of administrators, and the greatest of reformers—what race, extinct or living, can produce three such men as these!
The last light is extinguished in the village of Bethany. The wailing breeze has become a moaning wind; a white film spreads over the purple sky; the stars are veiled, the stars are hid; all becomes as dark as the waters of Kedron and valley of Jehoshaphat. The tower of David merges into obscurity; no longer glitter the minarets of the mosque of Omar; Bethesda's angelic waters, the gate of Stephen, the street of sacred sorrow, the hill of Salem, and the heights of Scopas can no longer be discerned. Alone in the increasing darkness, while the very line of the walls gradually eludes the eye, the church of the Holy Sepulcher is a beacon-light.
And why is the church of the Holy Sepulcher a beacon-light? Why, when it is already past the noon of darkness, when every soul slumbers in Jerusalem, and not a sound disturbs the deep repose except the howl of the wild dog crying to the wilder wind—why is the cupola of the sanctuary illumined, tho the hour has long since been numbered, when pilgrims there kneel and monks pray?
An armed Turkish guard are bivouacked in the court of the church; within the church itself, two brethren of the convent of Terra Santa keep holy watch and ward; while, at the tomb beneath, there kneels a solitary youth, who prostrated himself at sunset, and who will there pass unmoved the whole of the sacred night.
Yet the pilgrim is not in communion with the Latin Church; neither is he of the Church Armenian, or the Church Greek; Maronite Coptic, or Abyssinian—these also are Christian churches which can not call him child.
He comes from a distant and a northern isle to bow before the tomb of a descendant of the kings of Israel, because he, in common with all the people of that isle, recognizes in that sublime Hebrew incarnation the presence of a divine Redeemer. Then why does he come alone? It is not that he has availed himself of the inventions of modern science, to repair first to a spot, which all his countrymen may equally desire to visit, and thus anticipate their hurrying arrival. Before the inventions of modern science, all his countrymen used to flock hither. Then why do they not now? Is the Holy Land no longer hallowed? Is it not the land of sacred and mysterious truths? The land of heavenly messages and earthly miracles? The land of prophets and apostles? Is it not the land upon whose mountains the Creator of the Universe parleyed with man, and the flesh of whose anointed race He mystically assumed, when He struck the last blow at the powers of evil? Is it to be believed that there are no peculiar and eternal qualities in a land thus visited, which distinguish it from all others—that Palestine is like Normandy or Yorkshire, or even Attica or Rome?
There may be some who maintain this; there have been some, and those, too, among the wisest and the wittiest of the northern and western races, who, touched by a presumptuous jealousy of the long predominance of that Oriental intellect to which they owed their civilization, would have persuaded themselves and the world that the traditions of Sinai and Calvary were fables. Half a century ago, Europe made a violent and apparently successful effort to disembarrass itself of its Asian faith. The most powerful and the most civilized of its kingdoms, about to conquer the rest, shut up its churches, desecrated its altars, massacred and persecuted their sacred servants, and announced that the Hebrew creeds which Simon Peter brought from Palestine, and which his successors revealed to Clovis, were a mockery and a fiction. What has been the result? In every city, town, village, and hamlet of that great kingdom, the divine image of the most illustrious of Hebrews has been again raised amid the homage of kneeling millions; while, in the heart of its bright and witty capital, the nation has erected the most gorgeous of modern temples, and consecrated its marble and golden walls to the name, and memory, and celestial efficacy of a Hebrew woman.
Born in 1808, died in 1893; educated at Cambridge; became rector of a parish in 1848; dean of Ely Cathedral in 1869; published his "History of the Romans Under the Empire" in 1850-62; "A General History of Rome" in 1875, "Contrast Between Christian and Pagan Society" in 1880.
THE PERSONALITY OF AUGUSTUS CAESAR
In stature Augustus hardly exceeded the middle height, but his person was lightly and delicately formed, and its proportions were such as to convey a favorable and even a striking impression. His countenance was pale, and testified to the weakness of his health, and almost constant bodily suffering; but the hardships of military service had imparted a swarthy tinge to a complexion naturally fair, and his eyebrows meeting over a sharp and aquiline nose gave a serious and stern expression to his countenance. His hair was light, and his eyes blue and piercing; he was well pleased if any one on approaching him looked on the ground and affected to be unable to meet their dazzling brightness. It was said that his dress concealed many imperfections and blemishes on his person; but he could not disguise all the infirmities under which he labored; the weakness of the forefinger of his right hand and a lameness in the left hip were the results of wounds he incurred in a battle with the Iapydae in early life; he suffered repeated attacks of fever of the most serious kind, especially in the course of the campaign of Philippi and that against the Cantabrians, and again two years afterward at Rome, when his recovery was despaired of. From that time, altho constantly liable to be affected by cold and heat, and obliged to nurse himself throughout with the care of a valetudinarian, he does not appear to have had any return of illness so serious as the preceding; and dying at the age of seventy-four, the rumor obtained popular currency that he was prematurely cut off by poison administered by the empress.
[Footnote 13: From the "History of the Romans Under the Empire." Merivale's purpose in writing this book was to fill in the interval between the unfinished history by Thomas Arnold and Gibbon.]
As the natural consequence of this bodily weakness and sickly constitution, Octavian did not attempt to distinguish himself by active exertions or feats of personal prowess. The splendid examples of his uncle the dictator, and of Antonius his rival, might have early discouraged him from attempting to shine as a warrior and hero; he had not the vivacity and animal spirits necessary to carry him through such exploits as theirs; and, altho he did not shrink from exposing himself to personal danger, he prudently declined to allow a comparison to to be instituted between himself and rivals whom he could not hope to equal. Thus necessarily thrown back upon other resources, he trusted to caution and circumspection, first to preserve his own life, and afterward to obtain the splendid prizes which had hitherto been carried off by daring adventure, and the good fortune which is so often its attendant. His contest therefore with Antonius and Sextus Pompeius was the contest of cunning with bravery; but from his youth upward he was accustomed to overreach, not the bold and reckless only, but the most considerate and wily of his contemporaries, such as Cicero and Cleopatra; he succeeded in the end in deluding the senate and people of Rome in the establishment of his tyranny; and finally deceived the expectations of the world, and falsified the lessons of the republican history, in reigning himself forty years in disguise, and leaving a throne to be claimed without challenge by his successors for fourteen centuries.
[Footnote 14: Mark Antony.]
But altho emperor in name, and in fact absolute master of his people, the manners of the Caesar, both in public and private life, were still those of a simple citizen. On the most solemn occasions he was distinguished by no other dress than the robes and insignia of the offices which he exercised; he was attended by no other guards than those which his consular dignity rendered customary and decent. In his court there was none of the etiquette of modern monarchies to be recognized, and it was only by slow and gradual encroachment that it came to prevail in that of his successors. Augustus was contented to take up his residence in the house which had belonged to the orator Licinius Calvus, in the neighborhood of the Forum; which he afterward abandoned for that of Hortensius on the Palatine, of which Suetonius observes that it was remarkable neither for size nor splendor. Its halls were small, and lined, not with marble, after the luxurious fashion of many patrician palaces, but with the common Alban stone, and the pattern of the pavement was plain and simple. Nor when he succeeded Lepidus in the pontificate would he relinquish this private dwelling for the regia or public residence assigned that honorable office.
Many anecdotes are recorded of the moderation with which the emperor received the opposition, and often the rebukes, of individuals in public as well as in private. These stories are not without their importance, as showing how little formality there was in the tone of addressing the master of the Roman world, and how entirely different the ideas of the nation were, with regard to the position occupied by the Caesar and his family from those with which modern associations have imbued us. We have already noticed the rude freedom with which Tiberius was attacked, altho step-son of the emperor, and participating in the eminent functions of the tribunitian power, by a declaimer in the schools at Rhodes: but Augustus himself seems to have suffered almost as much as any private citizen from the general coarseness of behavior which characterized the Romans in their public assemblies, and the rebukes to which he patiently submitted were frequently such as would lay the courtier of a constitutional sovereign in modern Europe under perpetual disgrace.
On one occasion, for instance, in the public discharge of his functions as corrector of manners, he had brought a specific charge against a certain knight for having squandered his patrimony. The accused proved that he had, on the contrary, augmented it. "Well," answered the emperor, somewhat annoyed by his error, "but you are at all events living in celibacy, contrary to recent enactments." The other was able to reply that he was married, and was the father of three legitimate children; and when the emperor signified that he had no further charges to bring, added aloud: "Another time, Caesar, when you give ear to informations against honest men, take care that your informants are honest themselves." Augustus felt the justice of the rebuke thus publicly administered, and submitted to it in silence.
ALEXANDER W. KINGLAKE
Born in 1809, died in 1891; traveled in the East and published "Eothen; or Traces of Travel Brought Home from the East," in 1844; visited Algiers in 1845; went with the British army to the Crimea in 1854, remaining until the siege of Sebastopol; a member of Parliament in 1857-68; published his "Invasion of the Crimea" in 1863-87.
ON MOCKING AT THE SPHINX
And near the Pyramids, more wondrous and more awful than all else in the land of Egypt, there sits the lonely Sphinx. Comely the creature is, but the comeliness is not of this world; the once worshiped beast is a deformity and a monster to this generation, and yet you can see that those lips, so thick and heavy, were fashioned according to some ancient mold of beauty—some mold of beauty now forgotten—forgotten because that Greece drew forth Cytherea from the flashing foam of the AEgean, and in her image created new forms of beauty, and made it a law among men that the short and proudly wreathed lip should stand for the sign and the main condition of loveliness through all generations to come. Yet still there lives on the race of those who were beautiful in the fashion of the elder world, and Christian girls of Coptic blood will look on you with the sad, serious gaze, and kiss your charitable hand with the big pouting lips of the very Sphinx.
[Footnote 15: From "Eothen," which long since took its place as a classic among books of travel.]
Laugh and mock if you will at the worship of stone idols; but mark ye this, ye breakers of images, that in one regard the stone idol bears awful semblance of Deity—unchangefulness in the midst of changes—the same seeming will and intent for ever and ever inexorable! Upon ancient dynasties of Ethiopian and Egyptian kings—upon Greek and Roman, upon Arab and Ottoman conquerors—upon Napoleon dreaming of an Eastern empire—upon battle and pestilence—upon the ceaseless misery of the Egyptian race—upon keen-eyed travelers—Herodotus yesterday, and Warburton to-day—upon all and more this unworldly Sphinx has watched, and watched like a Providence with the same earnest eyes, and the same sad, tranquil mien. And we, we shall die, and Islam will wither away, and the Englishman straining far over to hold his loved India, will plant a firm foot on the banks of the Nile, and sit in the seats of the Faithful, and still that sleepless rock will lie watching and watching the works of the new busy race, with those same sad earnest eyes, and the same tranquil mien everlasting. You dare not mock at the Sphinx!
THE BEGINNING OF THE CRIMEAN WAR
Looking back upon the troubles which ended in the outbreak of war, one sees the nations at first swaying backward and forward like a throng so vast as to be helpless, but afterward falling slowly into warlike array. And when one begins to search for the man or the men whose volition was governing the crowd, the eye falls upon the towering form of the Emperor Nicholas. He was not single-minded, and therefore his will was unstable, but it had a huge force; and, since he was armed with the whole authority of his empire, it seemed plain that it was this man—and only he—who was bringing danger from the north. And at first, too, it seemed that within his range of action there was none who could be his equal: but in a little while the looks of men were turned to the Bosporus, for thither his ancient adversary was slowly bending his way.
[Footnote 16: From "The Invasion of the Crimea," one of the masterpieces of modern historical literature, but often criticized for its excessive bias against France as represented by Napoleon III.]
To fit him for the encounter, the Englishman was clothed with little authority except what he could draw from the resources of his own mind and from the strength of his own wilful nature. Yet it was presently seen that those who were near him fell under his dominion, and did as he bid them, and that the circle of deference to his will was always increasing around him; and soon it appeared that, tho he moved gently, he began to have mastery over a foe who was consuming his strength in mere anger. When he had conquered, he stood, as it were, with folded arms, and seemed willing to desist from strife. But also in the west there had been seen a knot of men possest for the time of the mighty engine of the French State, and striving so to use it as to be able to keep their hold, and to shelter themselves from a cruel fate. The volitions of these men were active enough, because they were toiling for their lives. Their efforts seemed to interest and to please the lustiest man of those days, for he watched them from over the Channel with approving smile, and began to declare, in his good-humored, boisterous way, that so long as they should be suffered to have the handling of France, so long as they would execute for him his policy, so long as they would take care not to deceive him, they ought to be encouraged, they ought to be made use of, they ought to have the shelter they wanted; and, the Frenchmen agreeing to his conditions, he was willing to level the barrier—he called it perhaps false pride—which divided the government of the Queen from the venturers of the 2d of December. In this thought, at the moment, he stood almost alone; but he abided his time. At length he saw the spring of 1853, bringing with it grave peril to the Ottoman State. Then, throwing aside with a laugh some papers which belonged to the Home Office, he gave his strong shoulder to the leveling work. Under the weight of his touch the barrier fell. Thenceforth the hindrances that met him were but slight. As he from the first had willed it, so moved the two great nations of the West.
Born in 1809, died in 1882; grandson of Erasmus Darwin; educated at Edinburgh and Cambridge; went around the world on a scientific expedition in 1831-36; settled in Kent in 1842 and thenceforth devoted his life to scientific research; published "The Origin of Species" in 1859, "The Descent of Man" in 1871, "The Emotions of Man and Animals" in 1872.
ON VARIATIONS IN MAMMALS, BIRDS AND FISHES
Not only the various domestic races, but the most distinct genera and orders within the same great class—for instance, mammals, birds, reptiles, and fishes—are all the descendants of one common progenitor, and we must admit that the whole vast amount of difference between these forms has primarily arisen from simple variability. To consider the subject under this point of view is enough to strike one dumb with amazement. But our amazement ought to be lessened when we reflect that beings almost infinite in number, during an almost infinite lapse of time, have often had their whole organization rendered in some degree plastic, and that each slight modification of structure which was in any way beneficial under excessively complex conditions of life has been preserved, while each which was in any way injurious has been rigorously destroyed. And the long-continued accumulation of beneficial variations will infallibly have led to structures as diversified, as beautifully adapted for various purposes, and as excellently coordinated as we see in the animals and plants around us. Hence I have spoken of selection as the paramount power, whether applied by man to the formation of domestic breeds, or by nature to the production of species. If an architect were to rear a noble and commodious edifice without the use of cut stone, by selecting from the fragments at the base of a precipice wedge-formed stones for his arches, elongated stones for his lintels, and flat stones for his roof, we should admire his skill, and regard him as the paramount power. Now, the fragments of stone, tho indispensable to the architect, bear to the edifice built by him the same relation which the fluctuating variations of organic beings bear to the varied and admirable structures ultimately acquired by their modified descendants.
[Footnote 17: From "The Origin of Species."]
Some authors have declared that natural selection explains nothing, unless the precise cause of each slight individual difference be made clear. If it were explained to a savage utterly ignorant of the art of building how the edifice had been raised stone upon stone, and why wedge-formed fragments were used for the arches, flat stones for the roof, etc.; and if the use of each part and of the whole building were pointed out, it would be unreasonable if he declared that nothing had been made clear to him, because the precise cause of the shape of each fragment could not be told. But this is a nearly parallel case with the objection that selection explains nothing, because we know not the cause of each individual difference in the structure of each being.
The shape of the fragments of stone at the base of our precipice may be called accidental, but this is not strictly correct; for the shape of each depends on a long sequence of events, all obeying natural laws; on the nature of the rock, on the lines of deposition or cleavage, on the form of the mountain, which depends on its upheaval and subsequent denudation, and lastly on the storm or earthquake which throws down the fragments. But in regard to the use to which the fragments may be put, their shape may be strictly said to be accidental. And here we are led to face a great difficulty, in alluding to which I am aware I am traveling beyond my proper province. An omniscient Creator must have foreseen every consequence which results from the laws imposed by Him.
But can it reasonably be maintained that the Creator intentionally ordered, if we use the words in any ordinary sense, that certain fragments of rock should assume certain shapes so that the builder might erect his edifice? If the various laws which have determined the shape of each fragment were not predetermined for the builder's sake, can it be maintained with any greater probability that He specially ordained for the sake of the breeder each of the innumerable variations in our domestic animals and plants; many of these variations being of no service to man, and not beneficial, far more often injurious, to the creatures themselves? Did he ordain that the crop and tail-feathers of the pigeon should vary in order that the fancier might make his grotesque pouter and fantail breeds? Did He cause the frame and mental qualities of the dog to vary in order that a breed might be formed of indomitable ferocity, with jaws fitted to pin down the bull for man's brutal sport? But if we give up the principle in one case—if we do not admit that the variations of the primeval dog were intentionally guided in order that the greyhound, for instance, that perfect image of symmetry and vigor, might be formed—no shadow of reason can be assigned for the belief that variations, alike in nature and the result of the same general laws, which have been the groundwork through natural selection of the formation of the most perfectly adapted animals in the world, man included, were intentionally and specially guided. However much we may wish it, we can hardly follow Professor Asa Gray in his belief, "that variation has been led along certain beneficial lines of irrigation." If we assume that each particular variation was from the beginning of all time preordained, then that plasticity of organization which leads to many injurious deviations of structure, as well as the redundant power of reproduction which inevitably leads to a struggle for existence, and as a consequence, to the natural selection or survival of the fittest, must appear to us superfluous laws of nature. On the other hand, an omnipotent and omniscient Creator ordains everything and foresees everything. Thus we are brought face to face with a difficulty as insoluble as is that of free will and predestination.
THE GENESIS OF A GREAT BOOK
During the voyage of the Beagle I had been deeply imprest by discovering in the Pampean formation great fossil animals, covered with armor like that on the existing armadillos; secondly, by the manner in which closely allied animals replace one another in proceeding southward over the Continent; and thirdly, by the South American character of most of the productions of the Galapagos Archipelago, and more especially by the manner in which they differ slightly on each island of the group; none of the islands appearing to be very ancient in a geological sense.
[Footnote 18: From Darwin's "Autobiography," as printed in Volume 1 of the "Life and Letters." Published by D. Appleton & Co.]
It was evident that such facts as these, as well as many others, could only be explained on the supposition that species gradually become modified; and the subject haunted me. But it was equally evident that neither the action of the surrounding conditions, nor the will of the organisms (especially in the case of plants), could account for the innumerable cases in which organisms of every kind are beautifully adapted to their habits of life; for instance, a woodpecker or a tree-frog to climb trees, or a seed for dispersal by hooks or plumes. I had always been much struck by such adaptations, and until these could be explained it seemed to me almost useless to endeavor to prove by indirect evidence that species have been modified.
After my return to England it appeared to me that by following the example of Lyell in geology, and by collecting all facts which bore in any way on the variation of animals and plants under domestication and nature, some light might perhaps be thrown on the whole subject. My first notebook was opened in July, 1837. I worked on true Baconian principles; and without any theory collected facts on a wholesale scale, more especially with respect to domesticated productions, by printed inquiries, by conversation with skilful breeders and gardeners, and by extensive reading. When I set the list of books of all kinds which I read and abstracted, including whole series of Journals and Transactions, I am surprized at my industry. I soon perceived that selection was the keystone of man's success in making useful races of animals and plants. But how selection could be applied to organisms living in a state of nature, remained for some time a mystery to me.
In October, 1838—that is, fifteen months after I had begun my systematic inquiry—I happened to read for amusement "Malthus on Population"; and being well prepared to appreciate the struggle for existence which everywhere goes on from long-continued observation of the habits of animals and plants, it at once struck me that under these circumstances favorable variations would tend to be preserved, and unfavorable ones to be destroyed. The result of this would be the formation of new species. Here then I had at last got a theory by which to work; but I was so anxious to avoid prejudice that I determined not for some time to write even the briefest sketch of it. In June, 1842, I first allowed myself the satisfaction of writing a very brief abstract of my theory in pencil in thirty-five pages; and this was enlarged during the summer of 1844 into one of two hundred and thirty pages, which I had fairly copied out and still possess.
But at that time I overlooked one problem of great importance; and it is astonishing to me, except on the principle of Columbus and his egg, how I could have overlooked it and its solution. This problem is the tendency in organic beings descended from the same stock to diverge in character as they become modified. That they have diverged greatly is obvious from the manner in which species of all kinds can be classed under genera, genera under families, families under suborders, and so forth: and I can remember the very spot in the road, while in my carriage, when to my joy the solution occurred to me; and this was long after I had come to Down. The solution, as I believe, is that the modified offspring of all dominant and increasing forms tend to become adapted to many and highly diversified places in the economy of nature.
Early in 1856 Lyell advised me to write out my views pretty fully, and I began at once to do so on a scale three or four times as extensive as that which was afterward followed in my "Origin of Species"; yet it was only an abstract of the materials which I had collected, and I got through about half the work on this scale. But my plans were overthrown, for early in the summer of 1858 Mr. Wallace, who was then in the Malay Archipelago, sent me an essay "On the Tendency of Varieties to Depart Indefinitely from the Original Type"; and this essay contained exactly the same theory as mine. Mr. Wallace exprest the wish that if I thought well of his essay, I should send it to Lyell for perusal.
The circumstances under which I consented, at the request of Lyell and Hooker, to allow of an abstract from my MS., together with a letter to Asa Gray dated September 5th, 1857, to be published at the same time with Wallace's essay, are given in the "Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society," 1858, page 45. I was at first very unwilling to consent, as I thought Mr. Wallace might consider my doing so unjustifiable, for I did not then know how generous and noble was his disposition. The extract from my MS. and the letter to Asa Gray had neither been intended for publication, and were badly written. Mr. Wallace's essay, on the other hand, was admirably exprest and quite clear. Nevertheless, our joint productions excited very little attention, and the only published notice of them which I can remember was by Professor Haughton of Dublin, whose verdict was that all that was new in them was false, and what was true was old. This shows how necessary it is that any new view should be explained at considerable length in order to arouse public attention....
My habits are methodical, and this has been of not a little use for my particular line of work. Lastly, I have had ample leisure from not having to earn my own bread. Even ill health, tho it has annihilated several years of my life, has saved me from the distractions of society and amusement.
Therefore my success as a man of science, whatever this may have amounted to, has been determined as far as I can judge by complex and diversified mental qualities and conditions. Of these, the most important have been the love of science, unbounded patience in long reflecting over any subject, industry in observing and collecting facts, and a fair share of invention as well as of common sense. With such moderate abilities as I possess, it is truly surprizing that I should have influenced to a considerable extent the belief of scientific men on some important points.
Born in 1810, died in 1882; son of a Biblical scholar of the same name, studied medicine at Edinburgh University and practised medicine successfully in Edinburgh until his death; published the first volume of the "Horae Subsecivae" in 1858, the second in 1861, and the third in 1882; one of these contained his best known work, "Rab and His Friends," frequently printed separately since his death.
RAB AND THE GAME CHICKEN
Four-and-thirty years ago Bob Ainslie and I were coming up Infirmary Street from the Edinburgh High School, our heads together, and our arms intertwisted, as only lovers and boys know how, or why.
[Footnote 19: From "Rab and His Friends."]
When we got to the top of the street, and turned north, we espied a crowd at the Tron Church. "A dog fight!" shouted Bob, and was off; and so was I, both of us all but praying that it might not be over before we got up! And is not this boy-nature? and human nature too? and don't we all wish a house on fire not to be out before we see it? Dogs like fighting; old Isaac says they "delight" in it, and for the best of all reasons; and boys are not cruel because they like to see the fight. They see three of the great cardinal virtues of dog or man—courage, endurance, and skill—in intense action. This is very different from a love of making dogs fight, and enjoying, and aggravating, and making gain by their pluck. A boy, be he ever so fond himself of fighting, if he be a good boy, hates and despises all this, but he would have run off with Bob and me fast enough; it is a natural, and a not wicked interest, that all boys and men have in witnessing intense energy in action.