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Yes, in what tumultuous huge anarchy soever a Noble human
Principle may dwell and strive, such tumult is in the way of
being calmed into a fruitful sovereignty. It is inevitable. No
Chaos can continue chaotic with a soul in it. Besouled with
earnest human Nobleness, did not slaughter, violence and fire-
eyed fury, grow into a Chivalry; into a blessed Loyalty of
Governor and Governed? And in Work, which is of itself noble,
and the only true fighting, there shall be no such possibility?
Believe it not; it is incredible; the whole Universe
contradicts it. Here too the Chactaw Principle will be
subordinated; the Man Principle will, by degrees, become
superior, become supreme.
I know Mammon too; Banks-of-England, Credit-Systems, worldwide
possibilities of work and traffic; and applaud and admire them.
Mammon is like Fire; the usefulest of all servants, if the
frightfulest of all masters! The Cliffords, Fitzadelms and
Chivalry Fighters 'wished to gain victory,' never doubt it: but
victory, unless gained in a certain spirit, was no victory;
defeat, sustained in a certain spirit, was itself victory. I say
again and again, had they counted the scalps alone, they had
continued Chactaws, and no Chivalry or lasting victory had been.
And in Industrial Fighters and Captains is there no nobleness
discoverable? To them, alone of men, there shall forever be no
blessedness but in swollen coffers? To see beauty, order,
gratitude, loyal human hearts around them, shall be of no moment;
to see fuliginous deformity, mutiny, hatred and despair, with the
addition of half a million guineas, shall be better? Heaven's
blessedness not there; Hell's cursedness, and your half-million
bits of metal, a substitute for that! Is there no profit in
diffusing Heaven's blessedness, but only in gaining gold?--If so,
I apprise the Mill-owner and Millionaire, that he too must
prepare for vanishing; that neither is _he_ born to be of the
sovereigns of this world; that he will have to be trampled and
chained down in whatever terrible ways, and brass-collared safe,
among the born thralls of this worrd! We cannot have _Canailles_
and Doggeries that will not make some Chivalry of themselves:
our noble Planet is impatient of such; in the end, totally
intolerant of such!
For the Heavens, unwearying in their bounty, do send other souls
into this world, to whom yet, as to their forerunners, in Old
Roman, in Old Hebrew and all noble times, the omnipotent guinea
is, on the whole, an impotent guinea. Has your half-dead
avaricious Corn-Law Lord, your half-alive avaricious Cotton-Law
Lord, never seen one such? Such are, not one, but several; are,
and will be, unless the gods have doomed this world to swift dire
ruin. These are they, the elect of the world; the born
champions, strong men, and liberatory Samsons of this poor world:
whom the poor Delilah-world will not always shear of their
strength and eyesight, and set to grind in darkness at _its_ poor
gin-wheel! Such souls are, in these days, getting somewhat out
of humour with the world. Your very Byron, in these days, is at
least driven mad; flatly refuses fealty to the world. The world
with its injustices, its golden brutalities, and dull yellow
guineas, is a disgust to such souls: the ray of Heaven that is
in them does at least pre-doom them to be very miserable here.
Yes:--and yet all misery is faculty misdirected, strength that
has not yet found its way. The black whirlwind is mother of the
lightning. No _smoke,_ in any sense, but can become flame and
radiance! Such soul, once graduated in Heaven's stern
University, steps out superior to your guinea.
Dost thou know, O sumptuous Corn-Lord, Cotton-Lord, O mutinous
Trades-Unionist, gin-vanquished, undeliverable; O much-enslaved
World,--this man is not a slave with thee! None of thy
promotions is necessary for him. His place is with the stars of
Heaven: to thee it may be momentous, to him it is indifferent,
whether thou place him in the lowest hut, or forty feet higher at
the top of thy stupendous high tower, while here on Earth. The
joys of Earth that are precious, they depend not on thee and thy
promotions. Food and raiment, and, round a social hearth, souls
who love him, whom he loves: these are already his. He wants
none of thy rewards; behold also, he fears none of thy
penalties. Thou canst not answer even by killing him: the case
of Anaxarchus thou canst kill; but the self of Anaxarchus, the
word or act of Anaxarchus, in no wise whatever. To this man
death is not a bugbear; to this man life is already as earnest
and awful, and beautiful and terrible, as death.
Not a May-game is this man's life; but a battle and a march, a
warfare with principalities and powers. No idle promenade
through fragrant orange-groves and green flowery spaces, waited
on by the choral Muses and the rosy Hours: it is a stern
pilgrimage through burning sandy solitudes, through regions of
thick-ribbed ice. He walks among men; loves men, with
inexpressible soft pity,--as they _cannot_ love him: but his
soul dwells in solitude, in the uttermost parts of Creation. In
green oases by the palm-tree wells, he rests a space; but anon
he has to journey forward, escorted by the Terrors and the
Splendours, the Archdemons and Archangels. All Heaven, all
Pandemonium are his escort. The stars keen-glancing, from the
Immensities, send tidings to him; the graves, silent with their
dead, from the Eternities. Deep calls for him unto Deep.
Thou, O World, how wilt thou secure thyself against this man?
Thou canst not hire him by thy guineas; nor by thy gibbets and
law-penalties restrain him. He eludes thee like a Spirit. Thou
canst not forward him, thou canst not hinder him. Thy penalties,
thy poverties, neglects, contumelies: behold, all these are good
for him. Come to him as an enemy; turn from him as an unfriend;
only do not this one thing,--infect him not with thy own
delusion: the benign Genius, were it by very death, shall guard
him against this!--What wilt thou do with him? He is above thee,
like a god. Thou, in thy stupendous three-inch pattens, art
under him. He is thy born king, thy conqueror and supreme
lawgiver: not all the guineas and cannons, and leather and
prunella, under the sky can save thee from him. Hardest
thickskinned Mammon-world, ruggedest Caliban shall obey him, or
become not Caliban but a cramp. Oh, if in this man, whose eyes
can flash Heaven's lightning, and make all Calibans into a cramp,
there dwelt not, as the essence of his very being, a God's
justice, human Nobleness, Veracity and Mercy,--I should tremble
for the world. But his strength, let us rejoice to understand,
is even this: The quantity of Justice, of Valour and Pity that
is in him. To hypocrites and tailored quacks in high places, his
eyes are lightning; but they melt in dewy pity softer than a
mother's to the downpressed, maltreated; in his heart, in his
great thought, is a sanctuary for all the wretched. This world's
improvement is forever sure.
'Man of Genius?' Thou hast small notion, meseems, O Mecaenas
Twiddledee, of what a Man of Genius is! Read in thy New
Testament and elsewhere,--if, with floods of mealymouthed
inanity, with miserable froth-vortices of Cant now several
centuries old, thy New Testament is not all bedimmed for thee.
_Canst_ thou read in thy New Testament at all? The Highest Man
of Genius, knowest thou him; Godlike and a God to this hour?
His crown a Crown of Thorns? Thou fool, with _thy_ empty
Godhoods, Apotheoses _edgegilt;_ the Crown of Thorns made into a
poor jewel-room crown, fit for the head of blockheads; the
bearing of the Cross changed to a riding in the Long-Acre Gig!
Pause in thy mass-chantings, in thy litanyings, and Calmuck
prayings by machinery; and pray, if noisily, at least in a
more human manner. How with thy rubrics and dalmatics, and
clothwebs and cobwebs, and with thy stupidities and grovelling
baseheartedness, hast thou hidden the Holiest into all
'Man of Genius:' O Mecaenas Twiddledee, hast thou any notion
what a Man of Genius is? Genius is 'the inspired gift of God.'
It is the clearer presence of God Most High in a man. Dim,
potential in all men; in this man it has become clear, actual.
So says John Milton, who ought to be a judge; so answer him the
Voices of all Ages and all Worlds. Wouldst thou commune with
such a one,--_be_ his real peer then: does that lie in thee?
Know thyself and thy real and thy apparent place, and know him
and his real and his apparent place, and act in some noble
conformity therewith. What! The star-fire of the Empyrean shall
eclipse itself, and illuminate magic-lanterns to amuse grown
children? He, the god-inspired, is to twang harps for thee, and
blow through scrannel-pipes; soothe thy sated soul with visions
of new, still wider Eldorados, Houri Paradises, richer Lands of
Cockaigne? Brother, this is not he; this is a counterfeit, this
twangling, jangling, vain, acrid, scrannel-piping man. Thou dost
well to say with sick Saul, "It is naught, such harping!"--and in
sudden rage grasp thy spear, and try if thou canst pin such a one
to the wall. King Saul was mistaken in his man, but thou art
right in thine. It is the due of such a one: nail him to the
wall, and leave him there. So ought copper shillings to be
nailed on counters; copper geniuses on walls, and left there for
I conclude that the Men of Letters too may become a 'Chivalry,'
an actual instead of a virtual Priesthood, with result
immeasurable,--so soon as there is nobleness in themselves for
that. And, to a certainty, not sooner! Of intrinsic Valetisms
you cannot, with whole Parliaments to help you, make a Heroism.
Doggeries never so gold-plated, Doggeries never so escutcheoned,
Doggeries never so diplomaed, bepuffed, gas-lighted, continue
Doggeries, and must take the fate of such.
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