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Chapter 3

FALMOUTH: POEMS.

At Falmouth, as usual, he was soon at home in his new environment;
resumed his labors; had his new small circle of acquaintance, the
ready and constant centre of which was the Fox family, with whom he
lived on an altogether intimate, honored and beloved footing;
realizing his best anticipations in that respect, which doubtless were
among his first inducements to settle in this new place. Open cheery
heights, rather bare of wood: fresh southwestern breezes; a brisk
laughing sea, swept by industrious sails, and the nets of a most
stalwart, wholesome, frank and interesting population: the clean
little fishing, trading and packet Town; hanging on its slope towards
the Eastern sun, close on the waters of its basin and intricate
bay,--with the miniature Pendennis Castle seaward on the right, the
miniature St. Mawes landward to left, and the mining world and the
farming world open boundlessly to the rear:--all this made a pleasant
outlook and environment. And in all this, as in the other new
elements of his position, Sterling, open beyond most men to the worth
of things about him, took his frank share. From the first, he had
liked the general aspect of the population, and their healthy, lively
ways; not to speak of the special friendships he had formed there,
which shed a charm over them all. "Men of strong character, clear
heads and genuine goodness," writes he, "are by no means wanting."
And long after: "The common people here dress better than in most
parts of England; and on Sundays, if the weather be at all fine, their
appearance is very pleasant. One sees them all round the Town,
especially towards Pendennis Castle, streaming in a succession of
little groups, and seeming for the most part really and quietly
happy." On the whole he reckoned himself lucky; and, so far as
locality went, found this a handsome shelter for the next two years of
his life. Two years, and not without an interruption; that was all.
Here we have no continuing city; he less than any of us! One other
flight for shelter; and then it is ended, and he has found an
inexpugnable refuge. Let us trace his remote footsteps, as we have
opportunity:--

_To Dr. Symonds, Clifton_.

"_Falmouth, June 28th_, 1841.--Newman writes to me that he is gone to
the Rhine. I wish I were! And yet the only 'wish' at the bottom of
my heart, is to be able to work vigorously in my own way anywhere,
were it in some Circle of Dante's Inferno. This, however, is the
secret of my soul, which I disclose only to a few."

_To his Mother_.

"_Falmouth, July 6th_, 1841.--I have at last my own study made
comfortable; the carpet being now laid down, and most of my
appurtenances in tolerable order. By and by I shall, unless stopped
by illness, get myself together, and begin living an orderly life and
doing my daily task. I have swung a cot in my dressing-room; partly
as a convenience for myself, partly as a sort of memorial of my poor
Uncle, in whose cot in his dressing-room at Lisworney I remember to
have slept when a child. I have put a good large bookcase in my
drawing-room, and all the rest of my books fit very well into the
study."

_To Mr. Carlyle_.

"_July 6th_.--No books have come in my way but Emerson's, which I
value full as much as you, though as yet I have read only some corners
of it. We have had an Election here, of the usual stamp; to me a
droll 'realized Ideal,' after my late metrical adventures in that
line. But the oddest sign of the Times I know, is a cheap Translation
of Strauss's _Leben Jesu_, now publishing in numbers, and said to be
circulating far and wide. What does--or rather, what does not--this
portend?"--


With the Poem called _The Election_, here alluded to, which had been
more than once revised and reconsidered, he was still under some
hesitations; but at last had well-nigh resolved, as from the first it
was clear he would do, on publishing it. This occupied some
occasional portion of his thoughts. But his grand private affair, I
believe, was now _Strafford_; to which, or to its adjuncts, all
working hours were devoted. Sterling's notions of Tragedy are high
enough. This is what he writes once, in reference to his own task in
these weeks: "Few, I fancy, know how much harder it is to write a
Tragedy than to realize or be one. Every man has in his heart and
lot, if he pleases, and too many whether they please or no, all the
woes of OEdipus and Antigone. But it takes the One, the Sophocles of
a thousand years, to utter these in the full depth and harmony of
creative song. Curious, by the way, how that Dramatic Form of the old
Greek, with only some superficial changes, remains a law not only for
the stage, but for the thoughts of all Poets; and what a charm it has
even for the reader who never saw a theatre. The Greek Plays and
Shakspeare have interested a hundred as books, for one who has seen
their writings acted. How lightly does the mere clown, the idle
school-girl, build a private theatre in the fancy, and laugh or weep
with Falstaff and Macbeth: with how entire an oblivion of the
artificial nature of the whole contrivance, which thus compels them to
be their own architects, machinists, scene-painters, and actors! In
fact, the artifice succeeds,--becomes grounded in the substance of the
soul: and every one loves to feel how he is thus brought face to face
with the brave, the fair, the woful and the great of all past ages;
looks into their eyes, and feels the beatings of their hearts; and
reads, over the shoulder, the secret written tablets of the busiest
and the largest brains; while the Juggler, by whose cunning the whole
strange beautiful absurdity is set in motion, keeps himself hidden;
sings loud with a mouth unmoving as that of a statue, and makes the
human race cheat itself unanimously and delightfully by the illusion
that he preordains; while as an obscure Fate, he sits invisible, and
hardly lets his being be divined by those who cannot flee him. The
Lyric Art is childish, and the Epic barbarous, compared to this. But
of the true and perfect Drama it may be said, as of even higher
mysteries, Who is sufficient for these things?"--On this _Tragedy of
Strafford_, writing it and again writing it, studying for it, and
bending himself with his whole strength to do his best on it, he
expended many strenuous months,--"above a year of his life," he
computes, in all.

For the rest, what Falmouth has to give him he is willing to take, and
mingles freely in it. In Hare's Collection there is given a _Lecture_
which he read in Autumn, 1841 (Mr. Hare says "1842," by mistake), to a
certain Public Institution in the place,--of which more anon;--a piece
interesting in this, if not much in any other respect. Doubtless his
friends the Foxes were at the heart of that lecturing enterprise, and
had urged and solicited him. Something like proficiency in certain
branches of science, as I have understood, characterized one or more
of this estimable family; love of knowledge, taste for art, wish to
consort with wisdom and wise men, were the tendencies of all; to
opulent means superadd the Quaker beneficence, Quaker purity and
reverence, there is a circle in which wise men also may love to be.
Sterling made acquaintance here with whatever of notable in worthy
persons or things might be afoot in those parts; and was led thereby,
now and then, into pleasant reunions, in new circles of activity,
which might otherwise have continued foreign to him. The good
Calvert, too, was now here; and intended to remain;--which he mostly
did henceforth, lodging in Sterling's neighborhood, so long as lodging
in this world was permitted him. Still good and clear and cheerful;
still a lively comrade, within doors or without,--a diligent rider
always,--though now wearing visibly weaker, and less able to exert
himself.

Among those accidental Falmouth reunions, perhaps the notablest for
Sterling occurred in this his first season. There is in Falmouth an
Association called the _Cornwall Polytechnic Society_, established
about twenty years ago, and supported by the wealthy people of the
Town and neighborhood, for the encouragement of the arts in that
region; it has its Library, its Museum, some kind of Annual Exhibition
withal; gives prizes, publishes reports: the main patrons, I believe,
are Sir Charles Lemon, a well-known country gentleman of those parts,
and the Messrs. Fox. To this, so far as he liked to go in it,
Sterling was sure to be introduced and solicited. The Polytechnic
meeting of 1841 was unusually distinguished; and Sterling's part in it
formed one of the pleasant occurrences for him in Falmouth. It was
here that, among other profitable as well as pleasant things, he made
acquaintance with Professor Owen (an event of which I too had my
benefit in due time, and still have): the bigger assemblage called
_British Association_, which met at Plymouth this year, having now
just finished its affairs there, Owen and other distinguished persons
had taken Falmouth in their route from it. Sterling's account of this
Polytechnic gala still remains,--in three Letters to his Father,
which, omitting the extraneous portions, I will give in one,--as a
piece worth reading among those still-life pictures:--

"To Edward Sterling, Esq., Knightsbridge, London_.
"FALMOUTH, 10th August, 1841.

"MY DEAR FATHER,--I was not well for a day or two after you went; and
since, I have been busy about an annual show of the Polytechnic
Society here, in which my friends take much interest, and for which I
have been acting as one of the judges in the department of the Fine
Arts, and have written a little Report for them. As I have not said
that Falmouth is as eminent as Athens or Florence, perhaps the
Committee will not adopt my statement. But if they do, it will be of
some use; for I have hinted, as delicately as possible, that people
should not paint historical pictures before they have the power of
drawing a decent outline of a pig or a cabbage. I saw Sir Charles
Lemon yesterday, who was kind as well as civil in his manner; and
promises to be a pleasant neighbor. There are several of the British
Association heroes here; but not Whewell, or any one whom I know."

"_August 17th_.--At the Polytechnic Meeting here we had several very
eminent men; among others, Professor Owen, said to be the first of
comparative anatomists, and Conybeare the geologist. Both of these
gave evening Lectures; and after Conybeare's, at which I happened to
be present, I said I would, if they chose, make some remarks on the
Busts which happened to be standing there, intended for prizes in the
department of the Fine Arts. They agreed gladly. The heads were
Homer, Pericles, Augustus, Dante and Michael Angelo. I got into the
box-like platform, with these on a shelf before me; and began a talk
which must have lasted some three quarters of an hour; describing
partly the characters and circumstances of the men, illustrated by
anecdotes and compared with their physiognomies, and partly the
several styles of sculpture exhibited in the Casts, referring these to
what I considered the true principles of the Art. The subject was one
that interests me, and I got on in famous style; and had both pit and
galleries all applauding, in a way that had had no precedent during
any other part of the meeting. Conybeare paid me high compliments;
Owen looked much pleased,--an honor well purchased by a year's hard
work;--and everybody, in short, seemed delighted. Susan was not
there, and I had nothing to make me nervous; so that I worked away
freely, and got vigorously over the ground. After so many years'
disuse of rhetoric, it was a pleasant surprise to myself to find that
I could still handle the old weapons without awkwardness. More by
good luck than good guidance, it has done my health no harm. I have
been at Sir Charles Lemon's, though only to pay a morning visit,
having declined to stay there or dine, the hours not suiting me. They
were very civil. The person I saw most of was his sister, Lady
Dunstanville; a pleasant, well-informed and well-bred woman. He seems
a most amiable, kindly man, of fair good sense and cultivated
tastes.--I had a letter to-day from my Mother [in Scotland]; who says
she sent you one which you were to forward me; which I hope soon to
have."

"_August 29th_.--I returned yesterday from Carclew, Sir C. Lemon's
fine place about five miles off; where I had been staying a couple of
days, with apparently the heartiest welcome. Susan was asked; but
wanting a Governess, could not leave home.

"Sir Charles is a widower (his Wife was sister to Lord Ilchester)
without children; but had a niece staying with him, and his sister
Lady Dunstanville, a pleasant and very civil woman. There were also
Mr. Bunbury, eldest son of Sir Henry Bunbury, a man of much
cultivation and strong talents; Mr. Fox Talbot, son, I think, of
another Ilchester lady, and brother of _the_ Talbot of Wales, but
himself a man of large fortune, and known for photogenic and other
scientific plans of extracting sunbeams from cucumbers. He also is a
man of known ability, but chiefly employed in that peculiar
department. _Item_ Professors Lloyd and Owen: the former, of Dublin,
son of the late Provost, I had seen before and knew; a great
mathematician and optician, and a discoverer in those matters; with a
clever little Wife, who has a great deal of knowledge, quite free from
pretension. Owen is a first-rate comparative anatomist, they say the
greatest since Cuvier; lives in London, and lectures there. On the
whole, he interested me more than any of them,--by an apparent force
and downrightness of mind, combined with much simplicity and
frankness.

"Nothing could be pleasanter and easier than the habits of life, with
what to me was a very unusual degree of luxury, though probably
nothing but what is common among people of large fortune. The library
and pictures are nothing extraordinary. The general tone of good
nature, good sense and quiet freedom, was what struck me most; and I
think besides this there was a disposition to be cordially courteous
towards me....

"I took Edward a ride of two hours yesterday on Calvert's pony, and he
is improving fast in horsemanship. The school appears to answer very
well. We shall have the Governess in a day or two, which will be a
great satisfaction. Will you send my Mother this scribble with my
love; and believe me,

"Your affectionate son,
"JOHN STERLING."

One other little event dwells with me, out of those Falmouth times,
exact date now forgotten; a pleasant little matter, in which Sterling,
and principally the Misses Fox, bright cheery young creatures, were
concerned; which, for the sake of its human interest, is worth
mention. In a certain Cornish mine, said the Newspapers duly
specifying it, two miners deep down in the shaft were engaged putting
in a shot for blasting: they had completed their affair, and were
about to give the signal for being hoisted up,--one at a time was all
their coadjutor at the top could manage, and the second was to kindle
the match, and then mount with all speed. Now it chanced while they
were both still below, one of them thought the match too long; tried
to break it shorter, took a couple of stones, a flat and a sharp, to
cut it shorter; did cut it of the due length, but, horrible to relate,
kindled it at the same time, and both were still below! Both shouted
vehemently to the coadjutor at the windlass, both sprang at the
basket; the windlass man could not move it with them both. Here was a
moment for poor miner Jack and miner Will! Instant horrible death
hangs over both,--when Will generously resigns himself: "Go aloft,
Jack," and sits down; "away; in one minute I shall be in Heaven!"
Jack bounds aloft, the explosion instantly follows, bruises his face
as he looks over; he is safe above ground: and poor Will? Descending
eagerly they find Will too, as if by miracle, buried under rocks which
had arched themselves over him, and little injured: he too is brought
up safe, and all ends joyfully, say the Newspapers.

Such a piece of manful promptitude, and salutary human heroism, was
worth investigating. It was investigated; found to be accurate to the
letter,--with this addition and explanation, that Will, an honest,
ignorant good man, entirely given up to Methodism, had been perfect in
the "faith of assurance," certain that _he_ should get to Heaven if he
died, certain that Jack would not, which had been the ground of his
decision in that great moment;--for the rest, that he much wished to
learn reading and writing, and find some way of life above ground
instead of below. By aid of the Misses Fox and the rest of that
family, a subscription (modest _Anti_-Hudson testimonial) was raised
to this Methodist hero: he emerged into daylight with fifty pounds in
his pocket; did strenuously try, for certain months, to learn reading
and writing; found he could not learn those arts or either of them;
took his money and bought cows with it, wedding at the same time some
religious likely milkmaid; and is, last time I heard of him, a
prosperous modest dairyman, thankful for the upper light and safety
from the wrath to come. Sterling had some hand in this affair: but,
as I said, it was the two young ladies of the family that mainly did
it.

In the end of 1841, after many hesitations and revisals, _The
Election_ came out; a tiny Duodecimo without name attached;[24] again
inquiring of the public what its suffrage was; again to little
purpose. My vote had never been loud for this step, but neither was
it quite adverse; and now, in reading the poor little Poem over again,
after ten years' space, I find it, with a touching mixture of pleasure
and repentance, considerably better than it then seemed to me. My
encouragement, if not to print this poem, yet to proceed with Poetry,
since there was such a resolution for it, might have been a little
more decided!

This is a small Piece, but aims at containing great things; a _multum
in parvo_ after its sort; and is executed here and there with
undeniable success. The style is free and flowing, the rhyme dances
along with a certain joyful triumph; everything of due brevity withal.
That mixture of mockery on the surface, which finely relieves the real
earnestness within, and flavors even what is not very earnest and
might even be insipid otherwise, is not ill managed: an amalgam
difficult to effect well in writing; nay, impossible in
writing,--unless it stand already done and effected, as a general
fact, in the writer's mind and character; which will betoken a certain
ripeness there.

As I said, great things are intended in this little Piece; the motto
itself foreshadowing them:--


"_Fluellen_. Ancient Pistol, I do partly understand your
meaning.
_Pistol_. Why, then, rejoice therefor."

A stupid commonplace English Borough has lost its Member suddenly, by
apoplexy or otherwise; resolves, in the usual explosive temper of
mind, to replace him by one of two others; whereupon strange
stirring-up of rival-attorney and other human interests and
catastrophes. "Frank Vane" (Sterling himself), and "Peter Mogg," the
pattern English blockhead of elections: these are the candidates.
There are, of course, fierce rival attorneys; electors of all creeds
and complexions to be canvassed: a poor stupid Borough thrown all
into red or white heat; into blazing paroxysms of activity and
enthusiasm, which render the inner life of it (and of England and the
world through it) luminously transparent, so to speak;--of which
opportunity our friend and his "Muse" take dexterous advantage, to
delineate the same. His pictures are uncommonly good; brief, joyous,
sometimes conclusively true: in rigorously compressed shape; all is
merry freshness and exuberance: we have leafy summer embowering red
bricks and small human interests, presented as in glowing miniature; a
mock-heroic action fitly interwoven;--and many a clear glance is
carelessly given into the deepest things by the way. Very happy also
is the little love-episode; and the absorption of all the interest
into that, on the part of Frank Vane and of us, when once this gallant
Frank,--having fairly from his barrel-head stated his own (and John
Sterling's) views on the aspects of the world, and of course having
quite broken down with his attorney and his public,--handsomely, by
stratagem, gallops off with the fair Anne; and leaves free field to
Mogg, free field to the Hippopotamus if it like. This portrait of
Mogg may be considered to have merit:--

"Though short of days, how large the mind of man;
A godlike force enclosed within a span!
To climb the skies we spurn our nature's clog,
And toil as Titans to elect a Mogg.

"And who was Mogg? O Muse! the man declare,
How excellent his worth, his parts how rare.
A younger son, he learnt in Oxford's halls
The spheral harmonies of billiard-balls,
Drank, hunted, drove, and hid from Virtue's frown
His venial follies in Decorum's gown.
Too wise to doubt on insufficient cause,
He signed old Cranmer's lore without a pause;
And knew that logic's cunning rules are taught
To guard our creed, and not invigorate thought,--
As those bronze steeds at Venice, kept for pride,
Adorn a Town where not one man can ride.

"From Isis sent with all her loud acclaims,
The Laws he studied on the banks of Thames.
Park, race and play, in his capacious plan,
Combined with Coke to form the finished man,
Until the wig's ambrosial influence shed
Its last full glories on the lawyer's head.

"But vain are mortal schemes. The eldest son
At Harrier Hall had scarce his stud begun,
When Death's pale courser took the Squire away
To lands where never dawns a hunting day:
And so, while Thomas vanished 'mid the fog,
Bright rose the morning-star of Peter Mogg."[25]

And this little picture, in a quite opposite way:--

"Now, in her chamber all alone, the maid
Her polished limbs and shoulders disarrayed;
One little taper gave the only light,
One little mirror caught so dear a sight;
'Mid hangings dusk and shadows wide she stood,
Like some pale Nymph in dark-leafed solitude
Of rocks and gloomy waters all alone,
Where sunshine scarcely breaks on stump or stone
To scare the dreamy vision. Thus did she,
A star in deepest night, intent but free,
Gleam through the eyeless darkness, heeding not
Her beauty's praise, but musing o'er her lot.

"Her garments one by one she laid aside,
And then her knotted hair's long locks untied
With careless hand, and down her cheeks they fell,
And o'er her maiden bosom's blue-veined swell.
The right-hand fingers played amidst her hair,
And with her reverie wandered here and there:
The other hand sustained the only dress
That now but half concealed her loveliness;
And pausing, aimlessly she stood and thought,
In virgin beauty by no fear distraught."

Manifold, and beautiful of their sort, are Anne's musings, in this
interesting attitude, in the summer midnight, in the crisis of her
destiny now near;--at last:--

"But Anne, at last her mute devotions o'er,
Perceived the feet she had forgot before
Of her too shocking nudity; and shame
Flushed from her heart o'er all the snowy frame:
And, struck from top to toe with burning dread,
She blew the light out, and escaped to bed."[26]

--which also is a very pretty movement.

It must be owned withal, the Piece is crude in parts, and far enough
from perfect. Our good painter has yet several things to learn, and
to unlearn. His brush is not always of the finest; and dashes about,
sometimes, in a recognizably sprawling way: but it hits many a
feature with decisive accuracy and felicity; and on the palette, as
usual, lie the richest colors. A grand merit, too, is the brevity of
everything; by no means a spontaneous, or quite common merit with
Sterling.

This new poetic Duodecimo, as the last had done and as the next also
did, met with little or no recognition from the world: which was not
very inexcusable on the world's part; though many a poem with far less
proof of merit than this offers, has run, when the accidents favored
it, through its tens of editions, and raised the writer to the
demigods for a year or two, if not longer. Such as it is, we may take
it as marking, in its small way, in a noticed or unnoticed manner, a
new height arrived at by Sterling in his Poetic course; and almost as
vindicating the determination he had formed to keep climbing by that
method. Poor Poem, or rather Promise of a Poem! In Sterling's brave
struggle, this little _Election_ is the highest point he fairly lived
to see attained, and openly demonstrated in print. His next public
adventure in this kind was of inferior worth; and a third, which had
perhaps intrinsically gone much higher than any of its antecessors,
was cut off as a fragment, and has not hitherto been published.
Steady courage is needed on the Poetic course, as on all courses!--

Shortly after this Publication, in the beginning of 1842, poor
Calvert, long a hopeless sufferer, was delivered by death: Sterling's
faithful fellow-pilgrim could no more attend him in his wayfarings
through this world. The weary and heavy-laden man had borne his
burden well. Sterling says of him to Hare: "Since I wrote last, I
have lost Calvert; the man with whom, of all others, I have been
during late years the most intimate. Simplicity, benevolence,
practical good sense and moral earnestness were his great unfailing
characteristics; and no man, I believe, ever possessed them more
entirely. His illness had latterly so prostrated him, both in mind
and body, that those who most loved him were most anxious for his
departure." There was something touching in this exit; in the
quenching of so kind and bright a little life under the dark billows
of death. To me he left a curious old Print of James Nayler the
Quaker, which I still affectionately preserve.


Sterling, from this greater distance, came perhaps rather seldomer to
London; but we saw him still at moderate intervals; and, through his
family here and other direct and indirect channels, were kept in
lively communication with him. Literature was still his constant
pursuit; and, with encouragement or without, Poetic composition his
chosen department therein. On the ill success of _The Election_, or
any ill success with the world, nobody ever heard him utter the least
murmur; condolence upon that or any such subject might have been a
questionable operation, by no means called for! Nay, my own approval,
higher than this of the world, had been languid, by no means
enthusiastic. But our valiant friend took all quietly; and was not to
be repulsed from his Poetics either by the world's coldness or by
mine; he labored at his _Strafford_;--determined to labor, in all
ways, till he felt the end of his tether in this direction.

He sometimes spoke, with a certain zeal, of my starting a Periodical:
Why not lift up some kind of war-flag against the obese platitudes,
and sickly superstitious aperies and impostures of the time? But I
had to answer, "Who will join it, my friend?" He seemed to say, "I,
for one;" and there was occasionally a transient temptation in the
thought, but transient only. No fighting regiment, with the smallest
attempt towards drill, co-operation, commissariat, or the like
unspeakable advantages, could be raised in Sterling's time or mine;
which truly, to honest fighters, is a rather grievous want. A
grievous, but not quite a fatal one. For, failing this, failing all
things and all men, there remains the solitary battle (and were it by
the poorest weapon, the tongue only, or were it even by wise
abstinence and silence and without any weapon), such as each man for
himself can wage while he has life: an indubitable and infinitely
comfortable fact for every man! Said battle shaped itself for
Sterling, as we have long since seen, chiefly in the poetic form, in
the singing or hymning rather than the speaking form; and in that he
was cheerfully assiduous according to his light. The unfortunate
_Strafford_ is far on towards completion; a _Coeur-de-Lion_, of which
we shall hear farther, "_Coeur-de-Lion_, greatly the best of all his
Poems," unluckily not completed, and still unpublished, already hangs
in the wind.

His Letters to friends continue copious; and he has, as always, a
loyally interested eye on whatsoever of notable is passing in the
world. Especially on whatsoever indicates to him the spiritual
condition of the world. Of "Strauss," in English or in German, we now
hear nothing more; of Church matters, and that only to special
correspondents, less and less. Strauss, whom he used to mention, had
interested him only as a sign of the times; in which sense alone do we
find, for a year or two back, any notice of the Church, or its affairs
by Sterling; and at last even this as good as ceases: "Adieu, O
Church; thy road is that way, mine is this: in God's name, adieu!"
"What we are going _to_," says he once, "is abundantly obscure; but
what all men are going _from_, is very plain."--Sifted out of many
pages, not of sufficient interest, here are one or two miscellaneous
sentences, about the date we are now arrived at:--

_To Dr. Symonds_.

"_Falmouth, 3d November_, 1841.--Yesterday was my Wedding-day: eleven
years of marriage; and on the whole my verdict is clear for matrimony.
I solemnized the day by reading _John Gilpin_ to the children, who
with their Mother are all pretty well.... There is a trick of sham
Elizabethan writing now prevalent, that looks plausible, but in most
cases means nothing at all. Darley has real (lyrical) genius; Taylor,
wonderful sense, clearness and weight of purpose; Tennyson, a rich and
exquisite fancy. All the other men of our tiny generation that I know
of are, in Poetry, either feeble or fraudulent. I know nothing of the
Reviewer you ask about."

_To his Mother_

"_December 11th_.--I have seen no new books; but am reading your last.
I got hold of the two first Numbers of the _Hoggarty Diamond_; and
read them with extreme delight. What is there better in Fielding or
Goldsmith? The man is a true genius; and, with quiet and comfort,
might produce masterpieces that would last as long as any we have, and
delight millions of unborn readers. There is more truth and nature in
one of these papers than in all ----'s Novels together."--Thackeray,
always a close friend of the Sterling house, will observe that this is
dated 1841, not 1851, and have his own reflections on the matter!

_To the Same_.

"_December 17th_.--I am not much surprised at Lady ----'s views of
Coleridge's little Book on _Inspiration_.--Great part of the obscurity
of the Letters arises from his anxiety to avoid the difficulties and
absurdities of the common views, and his panic terror of saying
anything that bishops and good people would disapprove. He paid a
heavy price, viz. all his own candor and simplicity, in hope of
gaining the favor of persons like Lady ----; and you see what his
reward is! A good lesson for us all."

_To the Same_.

"_February 1st_, 1842.--English Toryism has, even in my eyes, about as
much to say for itself as any other form of doctrine; but Irish
Toryism is the downright proclamation of brutal injustice, and all in
the name of God and the Bible! It is almost enough to make one turn
Mahometan, but for the fear of the four wives."

_To his Father_.

"_March 12th_, 1842.--... Important to me as these matters are, it
almost seems as if there were something unfeeling in writing of them,
under the pressure of such news as ours from India. If the Cabool
Troops have perished, England has not received such a blow from an
enemy, nor anything approaching it, since Buckingham's Expedition to
the Isle of Rhe. Walcheren destroyed us by climate; and Corunna, with
all its losses, had much of glory. But here we are dismally injured
by mere Barbarians, in a War on our part shamefully unjust as well as
foolish: a combination of disgrace and calamity that would have
shocked Augustus even more than the defeat of Varus. One of the four
officers with Macnaghten was George Lawrence, a brother-in-law of Nat
Barton; a distinguished man, and the father of five totally unprovided
children. He is a prisoner, if not since murdered. Macnaghten I do
not pity; he was the prime author of the whole mad War. But Burnes;
and the women; and our regiments! India, however, I feel sure, is
safe."


So roll the months at Falmouth; such is the ticking of the great
World-Horologe as heard there by a good ear. "I willingly add," so
ends he, once, "that I lately found somewhere this fragment of an
Arab's love-song: 'O Ghalia! If my father were a jackass, I would
sell him to purchase Ghalia!' A beautiful parallel to the French
_'Avec cette sauce on mangerait son pere_.'"

Thomas Carlyle

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