Chapter 8




The Didactic


Certainly it were a fond imagination to expect that any preaching
of mine could abate Mammonism; that Bobus of Houndsditch will
love his guineas less, or his poor soul more, for any preaching
of mine! But there is one Preacher who does preach with effect,
and gradually persuade all persons: his name is Destiny, is
Divine Providence, and his Sermon the inflexible Course of
Things. Experience does take dreadfully high school-wages; but
he teaches like no other!

I revert to Friend Prudence the good Quaker's refusal of 'seven
thousand pounds to boot.' Friend Prudence's practical conclusion
will, by degrees, become that of all rational practical men
whatsover. On the present scheme and principle, Work cannot
continue. Trades' Strikes, Trades' Unions, Chartisms; mutiny,
squalor, rage and desperate revolt, growing ever more desperate,
will go on their way. As dark misery settles down on us, and our
refuges of lies fall in pieces one after one, the hearts of men,
now at last serious, will turn to refuges of truth. The eternal
stars shine out again, so soon as it is dark _enough._

Begirt with desperate Trades' Unionism and Anarchic Mutiny, many
an Industrial _Law-ward,_ by and by, who has neglected to make
laws and keep them, will be heard saying to himself: "Why have I
realised five hundred thousand pounds? I rose early and sat
late, I toiled and moiled, and in the sweat of my brow and of my
soul I strove to gain this money, that I might become
conspicuous, and have some honour among my fellow-creatures. I
wanted them to honour me, to love me. The money is here, earned
with my best lifeblood: but the honour? I am encircled with
squalor, with hunger, rage, and sooty desperation. Not honoured,
hardly even envied; only fools and the flunkey-species so much
as envy me. I am conspicuous,--as a mark for curses and
brickbats. What good is it? My five hundred scalps hang here in
my wigwam: would to Heaven I had sought something else than the
scalps; would to Heaven I had been a Christian Fighter, not a
Chactaw one! To have ruled and fought not in a Mammonish but in
a Godlike spirit; to have had the hearts of the people bless me,
as a true ruler and captain of my people; to have felt my own
heart bless me, and that God above instead of Mammon below was
blessing me,--this had been something. Out of my sight, ye
beggarly five hundred scalps of banker's-thousands: I will try
for something other, or account my life a tragical futility!"

Friend Prudence's 'rock-ledge,' as we called it, will gradually
disclose itself to many a man; to all men. Gradually, assaulted
from beneath and from above, the Stygian mud-deluge of Laissez-
faire, Supply-and-demand, Cash-payment the one Duty, will abate
on all hands; and the everlasting mountain-tops, and secure
rock-foundations that reach to the centre of the world, and rest
on Nature's self, will again emerge, to found on, and to build
on. When Mammon-worshippers here and there begin to be God-
worshippers, and bipeds-of-prey become men, and there is a Soul
felt once more in the huge-pulsing elephantine mechanic Animalism
of this Earth, it will be again a blessed Earth.

"Men cease to regard money?" cries Bobus of Houndsditch: "What
else do all men strive for? The very Bishop informs me that
Christianity cannot get on without a minimum of Four thousand
five hundred in its pocket. Cease to regard money? That will be
at Doomsday in the afternoon!"--O Bobus, my opinion is somewhat
different. My opinion is, that the Upper Powers have not yet
determined on destroying this Lower World. A respectable, ever-
increasing minority, who do strive for something higher than
money, I with confidence anticipate; ever-increasing, till there
be a sprinkling of them found in all quarters, as salt of the
Earth' once more. The Christianity that cannot get on without a
minimum of Four thousand five hundred, will give place to
something better that can. Thou wilt not join our small
minority, thou? Not till Doomsday in the afternoon? Well;
_then,_ at least, thou wilt join it, thou and the majority
in mass!

But truly it is beautiful to see the brutish empire of Mammon
cracking everywhere; giving sure promise of dying, or of being
changed. A strange, chill, almost ghastly dayspring strikes up
in Yankeeland itself: my Transcendental friends announce there,
in a distinct, though somewhat lankhaired, ungainly manner, that
the Demiurgus Dollar is dethroned; that new unheard-of
Demiurgusships, Priesthoods, Aristocracies, Growths and
Destructions, are already visible in the grey of coming Time.
Chronos is dethroned by Jove; Odin by St. Olaf: the Dollar
cannot rule in Heaven forever. No; I reckon, not. Socinian
Preachers quit their pulpits in Yankeeland, saying, "Friends,
this is all gone to a coloured cobweb, we regret to say!"--and
retire into the fields to cultivate onion-beds, and live frugally
on vegetables. It is very notable. Old godlike Calvinism
declares that its old body is now fallen to tatters, and done;
and its mournful ghost, disembodied, seeking new embodiment,
pipes again in the winds;--a ghost and spirit as yet, but
heralding new Spirit-worlds, and better Dynasties than the
Dollar one.

Yes, here as there, light is coming into the world; men love not
darkness, they do love light. A deep feeling of the eternal
nature of justice looks out among us everywhere,--even through
the dull eyes of Exeter Hall; an unspeakable religiousness
struggles, in the most helpless manner, to speak itself, in
Puseyisms and the like. Of our Cant, all condemnable, how much
is not condemnable without pity; we had almost said, without
respect! The inarticulate worth and truth that is in England
goes down yet to the Foundations.

Some 'Chivalry of Labour,' some noble Humanity and practical
Divineness of Labour, will yet be realised on this Earth. Or why
_will;_ why do we pray to Heaven, without setting our own
shoulder to the wheel? The Present, if it will have the Future
accomplish, shall itself commence. Thou who prophesiest, who
believest, begin thou to fulfil. Here or nowhere, now equally as
at any time! That outcast help-needing thing or person, trampled
down under vulgar feet or hoofs, no help 'possible' for it, no
prize offered for the saving of it,--canst not thou save it,
then, without prize? Put forth thy hand, in God's name; know
that 'impossible,' where Truth and Mercy and the everlasting
Voice of Nature order, has no place in the brave man's
dictionary. That when all men have said "Impossible," and
tumbled noisily elsewhither, and thou alone art left, then first
thy time and possibility have come. It is for thee now: do thou
that, and ask no man's counsel, but thy own only and God's.
Brother, thou hast possibility in thee for much: the possibility
of writing on the eternal skies the record of a heroic life.
That noble downfallen or yet unborn 'Impossibility,' thou canst
lift it up, thou canst, by thy soul's travail, bring it into
clear being. That loud inane Actuality, with millions in its
pocket, too 'possible' that, which rolls along there, with
quilted trumpeters blaring round it, and all the world escorting
it as mute or vocal flunkey,--escort it not thou; say to it,
either nothing, or else deeply in thy heart: "Loud-blaring
Nonentity, no force of trumpets, cash, Long-Acre art, or
universal flunkeyhood of men, makes thee an Entity; thou art a
_Non_entity, and deceptive Simulacrum, more accursed than thou
seemest. Pass on in the Devil's name, unworshipped by at least
one man, and leave the thoroughfare clear!"

Not on Ilion's or Latium's plains; on far other plains and
places henceforth can noble deeds be now done. Not on Ilion's
plains; how much less in Mayfair's drawingrooms! Not in victory
over poor brother French or Phrygians; but in victory over
Frost-jotuns, Marsh-giants, over demons of Discord, Idleness,
Injustice, Unreason, and Chaos come again. None of the old Epics
is longer possible. The Epic of French and Phrygians was
comparatively a small Epic: but that of Flirts and Fribbles,
what is that? A thing that vanishes at cock-crowing,--that
already begins to scent the morning air! Game-preserving
Aristocracies, let them 'bush' never so effectually, cannot
escape the Subtle Fowler. Game seasons will be excellent, and
again will be indifferent, and by and by they will not be at all.
The Last Partridge of England, of an England where millions of
men can get no corn to eat, will be shot and ended.
Aristocracies with beards on their chins will find other work to
do than amuse themselves with trundling-hoops.

But it is to you, ye Workers, who do already work, and are as
grown men, noble and honourable in a sort, that the whole world
calls for new work and nobleness. Subdue mutiny, discord,
widespread despair, by manfulness, justice, mercy and wisdom.
Chaos is dark, deep as Hell; let light be, and there is instead
a green flowery World. O, it is great, and there is no other
greatness. To make some nook of God's Creation a little
fruitfuler, better, more worthy of God; to make some human
hearts a little wiser, manfuler, happier,--more blessed, less
accursed! It is work for a God. Sooty Hell of mutiny and
savagery and despair can, by man's energy, be made a kind of
Heaven; cleared of its soot, of its mutiny, of its need to
mutiny; the everlasting arch of Heaven's azure overspanning _it_
too, and its cunning mechanisms and tall chimney-steeples, as a
birth of Heaven; God and all men looking on it well pleased.

Unstained by wasteful deformities, by wasted tears or heart's-
blood of men, or any defacement of the Pit, noble fruitful
Labour, growing ever nobler, will come forth,--the grand sole
miracle of Man; whereby Man has risen from the low places of
this Earth, very literally, into divine Heavens. Ploughers,
Spinners, Builders; Prophets, Poets, Kings; Brindleys and
Goethes, Odins and Arkwrights; all martyrs, and noble men, and
gods are of one grand Host: immeasurable; marching ever forward
since the Beginnings of the World. The enormous, all-conquering,
flame-crowned Host, noble every soldier in it; sacred, and alone
noble. Let him who is not of it hide himself; let him tremble
for himself. Stars at every button cannot make him noble;
sheaves of Bath-garters, nor bushels of Georges; nor any other
contrivance but manfully enlisting in it, valiantly taking place
and step in it. O Heavens, will he not bethink himself; he too
is so needed in the Host! It were so blessed, thrice-blessed,
for himself and for us all! In hope of the Last Partridge, and
some Duke of Weimar among our English Dukes, we will be patient
yet a while.

The Future hides in it
Gladness and sorrow;
We press still thorow,
Nought that abides in it
Daunting us,--onward.

THE END.



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