Chapter 6




The Landed


A man with fifty, with five hundred, with a thousand pounds a
day, given him freely, without condition at all,--on condition,
as it now runs, that he will sit with his hands in his pockets
and do no mischief, pass no Corn-Laws or the like,--he too, you
would say, is or might be a rather strong Worker! He is a Worker
with such tools as no man in this world ever before had. But in
practice, very astonishing, very ominous to look at, he proves
not a strong Worker;--you are too happy if he will prove but a
No-worker, do nothing, and not be a Wrong-worker.

You ask him, at the year's end: "Where is your three-hundred
thousand pound; what have you realised to us with that?" He
answers, in indignant surprise: "Done with it? Who are you that
ask? I have eaten it; I and my flunkeys, and parasites, and
slaves two-footed and four-footed, in an ornamental manner; and
I am here alive by it; _I_ am realised by it to you!"--It is, as
we have often said, such an answer as was never before given
under this Sun. An answer that fills me with boding
apprehension, with foreshadows of despair. O stolid Use-and-wont
of an atheistic Half-century, O Ignavia, Tailor-godhood, soul-
killing Cant, to what passes art thou bringing us!--Out of the
loud-piping whirlwind, audibly to him that has ears, the Highest
God is again announcing in these days: "Idleness shall not be."
God has said it, man cannot gainsay.

Ah, how happy were it, if he this Aristocrat Worker would, in
like manner, see _his_ work and do it! It is frightful seeking
another to do it for him. Guillotines, Meudon Tanneries, and
half-a-million men shot dead, have already been expended in that
business; and it is yet far from done. This man too is
something; nay he is a great thing. Look on him there: a man
of manful aspect; something of the 'cheerfulness of pride' still
lingering in him. A free air of graceful stoicism, of easy
silent dignity sits well on him; in his heart, could we reach
it, lie elements of generosity, self-sacrificing justice, true
human valour. Why should he, with such appliances, stand an
incumbrance in the Present; perish disastrously out of the
Future! From no section of the Future would we lose these noble
courtesies, impalpable yet all-controlling; these dignified
reticences, these kingly simplicities;--lose aught of what the
fruitful Past still gives us token of, memento of, in this man.
Can we not save him:--can he not help us to save him! A brave
man he too; had not undivine Ignavia, Hearsay, Speech without
meaning,--had not Cant, thousandfold Cant within him and around
him, enveloping him like choke-damp, like thick Egyptian
darkness, thrown his soul into asphyxia, as it were extinguished
his soul; so that he sees not, hears not, and Moses and all the
Prophets address him in vain.

Will he awaken, be alive again, and have a soul; or is this
death-fit very death? It is a question of questions, for himself
and for us all! Alas, is there no noble work for this man too?
Has he not thick-headed ignorant boors; lazy, enslaved farmers;
weedy lands? Lands! Has he not weary heavy-laden ploughers of
land; immortal souls of men, ploughing, ditching, day-drudging;
bare of back, empty of stomach, nigh desperate of heart; and
none peaceably to help them but he, under Heaven? Does he find,
with his three hundred thousand pounds, no noble thing trodden
down in the thoroughfares, which it were godlike to help up? Can
he do nothing for his Burns but make a Gauger of him; lionise
him, bedinner him, for a foolish while; then whistle him down
the wind, to desperation and bitter death?--His work too is
difficult, in these modern, far-dislocated ages. But it may be
done; it may be tried;--it must be done.

A modern Duke of Weimar, not a god he either, but a human duke,
levied, as I reckon, in rents and taxes and all incomings
whatsoever, less than several of our English Dukes do in rent
alone. The Duke of Weimar, with these incomings, had to govern,
judge, defend, every way administer _his_ Dukedom. He does all
this as few others did: and he improves lands besides all this,
makes river-embankments, maintains not soldiers only but
Universities and Institutions;--and in his Court were these four
men: Wieland, Herder, Schiller, Goethe. Not as parasites, which
was impossible; not as table-wits and poetic Katerfeltoes; but
as noble Spiritual Men working under a noble Practical Man.
Shielded by him from many miseries; perhaps from many
shortcomings, destructive aberrations. Heaven had sent, once
more, heavenly Light into the world; and this man's honour was
that he gave it welcome. A new noble kind of Clergy, under an
old but still noble kind of King! I reckon that this one Duke of
Weimar did more for the Culture of his Nation than all the
English Dukes and _Duces_ now extant, or that were extant since
Henry the Eighth gave them the Church Lands to eat, have done for
theirs!--I am ashamed, I am alarmed for my English Dukes: what
word have I to say?

_If_ our Actual Aristocracy, appointed 'Best-and-Bravest,' will
be wise, how inexpressibly happy for us! If not,--the voice of
God from the whirlwind is very audible to me. Nay, I will thank
the Great God, that He has said, in whatever fearful ways, and
just wrath against us, "Idleness shall be no more!" Idleness?
The awakened soul of man, all but the asphyxied soul of man,
turns from it as from worse than death. It is the life-in-death
of Poet Coleridge. That fable of the Dead-Sea Apes ceases to be
a fable. The poor Worker starved to death is not the saddest of
sights. He lies there, dead on his shield; fallen down into the
bosom of his old Mother; with haggard pale face, sorrow-worn,
but stilled now into divine peace, silently appeals to the
Eternal God and all the Universe,--the most silent, the most
eloquent of men.

Exceptions,--ah yes, thank Heaven, we know there are exceptions.
Our case were too hard, were there not exceptions, and partial
exceptions not a few, whom we know, and whom we do not know.
Honour to the name of Ashley,--honour to this and the other
valiant Abdiel, found faithful still; who would fain, by work
and by word, admonish their Order not to rush upon destruction!
These are they who will, if not save their Order, postpone the
wreck of it;--by whom, under blessing of the Upper Powers, 'a
quiet euthanasia spread over generations, instead of a swift
torture-death concentred into years,' may be brought about for
many things. All honour and success to these. The noble man can
still strive nobly to save and serve his Order;--at lowest, he
can remember the precept of the Prophet: "Come out of her, my
people; come out of her!"


To sit idle aloft, like living statues, like absurd Epicurus'-
gods, in pampered isolation, in exclusion from the glorious
fateful battlefield of this God's-World: it is a poor life for a
man, when all Upholsterers and French-Cooks have done their
utmost for it!--Nay, what a shallow delusion is this we have all
got into. That any man should or can keep himself apart from
men, have 'no business' with them, except a cash-account
business!' It is the silliest tale a distressed generation of
men ever took to telling one another. Men cannot live isolated:
we _are_ all bound together, for mutual good or else for mutual
misery, as living nerves in the same body. No highest man can
disunite himself from any lowest. Consider it. Your poor
'Werter blowing out his distracted existence because Charlotte
will not have the keeping thereof:' this is no peculiar phasis;
it is simply the highest expression of a phasis traceable
wherever one human creature meets another! Let the meanest
crookbacked Thersites teach the supremest Agamemnon that he
actually does not reverence him, the supremest Agamemnon's eyes
flash fire responsive; a real pain, and partial insanity, has
seized Agamemnon. Strange enough: a many-counselled Ulysses is
set in motion by a scoundrel-blockhead; plays tunes, like a
barrel-organ, at the scoundrel-blockhead's touch,--has to snatch,
namely, his sceptre cudgel, and weal the crooked back with bumps
and thumps! Let a chief of men reflect well on it. Not in
having 'no business' with men, but in having no unjust business
with them, and in _having_ all manner of true and just business,
can either his or their blessedness be found possible, and this
waste world become, for both parties, a home and peopled garden.

Men do reverence men. Men do worship in that 'one temple of the
world,' as Novalis calls it, the Presence of a Man! Hero-
worship, true and blessed, or else mistaken, false and accursed,
goes on everywhere and everywhen. In this world there is one
godlike thing, the essence of all that was or ever will be of
godlike in this world: the veneration done to Human Worth by the
hearts of men. Hero-worship, in the souls of the heroic, of the
clear and wise,--it is the perpetual presence of Heaven in our
poor Earth: when it is not there, Heaven is veiled from us; and
all is under Heaven's ban and interdict, and there is no worship,
or worthship, or worth or blessedness in the Earth any more!--


Independence, 'lord of the lion-heart and eagle-eye'--alas, yes,
he is a lord we have got acquainted with in these late times: a
very indispensable lord, for spurning off with due energy
innumerable sham-superiors, Tailor-made: honour to him, entire
success to him! Entire success is sure to him. But he must not
stop there, at that small success, with his eagle-eye. He has
now a second far greater success to gain: to seek out his real
superiors, whom not the Tailor but the Almighty God has made
superior to him, and see a little what he will do with these!
Rebel against these also? Pass by with minatory eagle-glance,
with calm-sniffing mockery, or even without any mockery or sniff,
when these present themselves? The lion-hearted will never dream
of such a thing. Forever far be it from him! His minatory
eagle-glance will veil itself in softness of the dove: his lion-
heart will become a lamb's; all is just indignation changed into
just reverence, dissolved in blessed floods of noble humble love,
how much heavenlier than any pride, nay, if you will, how much
prouder! I know him, this lion-hearted, eagle-eyed one; have
met him, rushing on, 'with bosom bare,' in a very distracted
dishevelled manner, the times being hard;--and can say, and
guarantee on my life, That in him is no rebellion; that in him
is the reverse of rebellion, the needful preparation for
obedience. For if you do mean to obey God-made superiors, your
first step is to sweep out the Tailormade ones; order them,
under penalties, to vanish, to make ready for vanishing!

Nay, what is best of all, he cannot rebel, if he would.
Superiors whom God has made for us we cannot order to withdraw!
Not in the least. No Grand-Turk himself, thickest-quilted
tailor-made Brother of the Sun and Moon can do it: but an Arab
Man, in cloak of his own clouting; with black beaming eyes, with
flaming sovereign-heart direct from the centre of the Universe;
and also, I am told, with terrible 'horse-shoe vein' of swelling
wrath in his brow, and lightning (if you will not have it as
light) tingling through every vein of him,--he rises; says
authoritatively: "Thickest-quilted Grand-Turk, tailor-made
Brother of the Sun and Moon, No:--_I_ withdraw not; thou shalt
obey me or withdraw!" And so accordingly it is: thickest-
quilted Grand-Turks and all their progeny, to this hour,
obey that man in the remarkablest manner; preferring _not_
to withdraw.

O brother, it is an endless consolation to me, in this
disorganic, as yet so quack-ridden, what you may well call hag-
ridden and hell-ridden world, to find that disobedience to the
Heavens, when they send any messenger whatever, is and remains
impossible. It cannot be done; no Turk grand or small can do
it. 'Skew the dullest clodpole,' says my invaluable German
friend, 'shew the haughtiest featherhead, that a soul higher than
himself is here; were his knees stiffened into brass, he must
down and worship.



Art of Worldly Wisdom Daily
In the 1600s, Balthasar Gracian, a jesuit priest wrote 300 aphorisms on living life called "The Art of Worldly Wisdom." Join our newsletter below and read them all, one at a time.
Email:
Sonnet-a-Day Newsletter
Shakespeare wrote over 150 sonnets! Join our Sonnet-A-Day Newsletter and read them all, one at a time.
Email: